Hollywood Producer: John Wilkes Booth a “Poster Child for the Tea Party”

Last year, noted Hollywood entrepreneur of independents Harvey Weinstein put out a movie about bullying. Bully featured the stories of teenagers who had been bullied in school. The New York Times lauded the film for taking a look at “the extent to which that cruelty is embedded in our schools and therefore in our society as a whole.”

And the Obama administration immediately showed the film at the White House, just after informing the public that he would support two bills designed to target bullying. Valerie Jarrett said, “Earlier today, we screened BULLY at the White House. This film is a powerful call to action: We must do everything we can to work toward the day when no young person or family suffers the pain, agony, and loss caused by bulling in our schools and communities.”

But the Obama administration has no interest in stopping Hollywood bullying. So they didn’t call out Weinstein for his own career-long bullying – he has assaulted a reporter from the New York Observer, threatened a director’s companion, and screamed at Democratic higher-up Terry McAuliffe, “You motherf***er! I’ll rip your balls off!”

Hollywood bullying isn’t restricted to the screaming producers and vile thugs who inhabit the town. It carries over to the political viewpoint of those who work here. For example, producer Erik Jendresen, writer of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln special on National Geographic, said that Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth was just like today’s Tea Party:

This is not the act of somebody who can be easily dismissed as a psychopath so that it’s easy to understand: ‘Oh, well, he was crazy.’ No. It’s more disturbing to find out who Booth was. This is a man who believed what still probably 20 percent of this country still believes. He could be a poster child for the Tea Party.

Well, no. Booth was an ardent anti-abolitionist who believed strongly in slavery. He actually signed up for the local militia to watch anti-slavery zealot John Brown meet his maker at his hanging. He smuggled quinine from North to South to help the slavery cause during the Civil War. This was not a Tea Partier, opposed to the growth of government and believing in basic capitalism. The Confederacy was an agrarian economy based on forced labor. And it was the Democrats primarily who defended its racism and its evil.

But the left isn’t interested in the truth. They’re interested in bullying. They don’t want to deal with the Constitutional and economic and moral arguments of the Tea Party. They just want to paint Tea Partiers as morally evil, so that they don’t have to debate them. Because who would debate a John Wilkes Booth? Who would debate a Nazi? Even though its own ideas are marginal, the left knows that there is a mainstream of thought – and that if you can marginalize your opposition beyond that mainstream, you need not contemplate their arguments.

Insults and emotion are the only tactics Hollywood liberals have left. And it’s infected our national politics. Now all that matters is the emotion in politics – the sheer demonization of the other political point of view, the slandering of their intentions. And if you can cry – if you can show that you care – you can be as incompetent as you want. Bill Clinton said it himself during this last campaign cycle:

Governor Romney’s argument is, we’re not fixed, so fire him and put me in. It is true we’re not fixed. When President Obama looked into the eyes of that man who said in the debate, I had so much hope four years ago and I don’t now, I thought he was going to cry. Because he knows that it’s not fixed.

If you cry, you’re a good person. And if you disagree, you are an uncaring jerk unworthy of further discussion, even if your policies are more successful at forwarding human happiness.

This is the way the Hollywood emotional calculus has infected traditional politics. We can laugh off the stupidity of the Hollywood celebs – their shallowness, their foolishness – but they have their desired effect: they turn the political into the emotional. And that’s how they bully conservatives into defeat.

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  • Lee Poteet

    zBen needs to read Thomas diLorenzo and Edgar Lee Masters on Lincoln because he does not understand the conflict at all. Booth killed a tyrant and probably keep American blacks from being deported and the genocide of American Indians, both things which Lincoln had planned. The problem with history is that you have to know the facts and not the pretty stories told to justify the deaths of over six hundred thousand American men in a war that was ultimately over taxes and money and not slavery at all. The truth – which no one wants to know – is that Northern wage slaves were in a much worse financial condition than Blacks in the South.

    • LibertarianToo

      The point was not "financial condition" – I have listened to Southerners make this warmed-over Northern wage-slave argument in history classes from Virginia to Texas, and sorry – it is still unpersuasive. The point was the preservation of the Union, and adherence to the founding principles of the Republic. I don't recall a single instance where a northern "wage-slave" (you know this is a Marxist term, right?) tried to become an actual southern slave to better his financial condition -do you?

      • Parenthetical Phrase


    • Margarita

      i think this article more about Booth and not much else. the idea of calling booth a "poster child for a tea party" is wrong. additionally there is no glorification of Lincoln in this article as far as i can see.
      there is something that is hard to understand for me, your comments about slavery are confusing. there is no justification of slavery even if wages were much better. if we agree that slavery is wrong even if wages are a bit better, than we can agree on the idea of equal rights and freeing slaves from oppressions. as such, Lincoln was on the right side of this battle and Both was on the wrong side. ideologically, Both could not have being anywhere near tea party and, well, we have to agree with Ben – who could not have being a poster boy for tea party.

    • Guest

      You are exactly correct. We tea party members are in fact closer to booth. Lincoln was one of the worst tyrants this country has known. The facts of his tyranny are easily obtainable if anyone cares to look he imprisoned journalists. He silenced representatives.

      Wilkes did the nation a great favor slthought the South had to pay for it dearly. Lincoln's destruction of our constitution continues to this day. It is very appropriate to consider Lincoln and Obama the same.

      • Omar

        Guest, you and Poteet are so wrong. Lincoln saved America and abolished an oppressive slave system. He moved America closer to the values of freedom. Booth only tried to destabilize the country. That's the reality.

      • LibertarianToo

        Um . . . Booth was an assassin. His cowardly murderous act had no place in a free society -which is probably why he supported the corrupt slave society. He had no pride and no honor, and resembled a Tea Party American about as much as Obama resembles an economist.

        • Questions

          Thomas DiLorenzo has become the go-to guy for Lincoln haters across the nation. A decade ago I read his first broadside, "The Real Lincoln," and came away unpersuaded. He routinely took facts out of context, made wild generalizations and omitted facts if they made the Confederacy look less than the noble proto-libertarians he imagined them to be. DiLorenzo is nasty toward his critics, too; he can't rebut someone else's point without practically declaring war on that person.

    • Omar

      Lee Poteet, you are so ignorant. Lincoln was the Great Emancipator. Booth killed Lincoln because he freed the slaves. Booth himself admitted that. You need to read James McPherson's book, Abraham Lincoln and the Second Revolution, to learn the more about the truth. Quit repeating anti-American lies and propaganda from radicals.

  • tagalog

    When they think of the Tea Party when they think of John Willkes Booth, it shows their fear of the Tea Party.

    They'll do anything to denigrate the Tea Party, even bring up entirely inappropriate similes.

    It's heartening that they are so afraid of conservative ideology; it suggests we may still have a future.

  • Jim_C

    Whether one is talking liberals or TEA party, evangelicals or Muslims, it is the mark of lesser minds to tar all with one broad brush. It helps small people feel superior and it means argument is unnecessary.

    Do I believe in the TEA party platform? Well, I think their supposed identity as a "bipartisan" group that arose immediately after the election of Obama but before Obama asked for his first dime in spending is implausible. I think the fact that they conspicuously leave the private sector's influence on gov't spending out of discussion reveals a massive intellectual flaw.

    But are they right that government spends too much? Sure. Is it good that everyday people get charged up about the direction of gov't? Absolutely.

    • Jay

      are you kidding? The tea party did not arise right after the election but before he asked for his first dime. His first dime was asked for and put into legislation before he was swore in. Tea Party didn't come about until well after (though day one of his administration certainly would have been appropriate).

      • Jim_C

        I think the first local event was in December 2008, the first national event in February 2009. SO it wasn't like people waited until they felt the effects of his policies. Guess the previous 80 years of gov't spending finally tipped the scales when Obama took office, eh?

    • tagalog

      The bitching about the private commercial sector influencing govenrment spending has been going on for a long, long time, since the Progressive Era, and certainly since the time of FDR.

      The Tea Party movement's genesis is somewhat difficult to pinpoint because Tea Party-type protests calling themselves such names as "Tea Party07" came out of the Ron Paul presidential campaign, but some folks claim with justification that the Tea Party of Sarah Palin and others sharing her views finds its origin the "Porkulus" protest of February, 2009. That protest was held the day before Obama signed the Obama stimulus, that's true, but the Tea Party objection to bailouts began during the Bush administration. There were objections to the Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 and the protests against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and to bills proposed for National Health. That was when the Tea Party was still emerging as more or less definable force.

  • Cassandra

    I saw the new movie Lincoln and I was totally disgusted by its bias and its racism in reverse against white. The war of secession was all about money and not wanted the Union to be broken because of the economy. The liberation of the slave was a political tool to arrive at the first goal. They allude to this in the movie but still the movie is about the freeing of the slave.

  • Dan

    Ben, as you have said: " Valerie Jarrett said, “Earlier today, we screened BULLY at the White House. This film is a powerful call to action: We must do everything we can to work toward the day when no young person or family suffers the pain, agony, and loss caused by bulling in our schools and communities.” This is just another example of the hypocrisy of those who champion the "right" of the strong to kill the defenseless through abortion.

    Just like they promote the highest order of "Bullying" (which is brutally torturing and destroying a defenseless pre-birthed human being) and yet publicly say they are against "bullying", these manipulative people are the epitome of evil. Those who close their eyes to their evil agenda help sentence us and our children to the injustices of evil and slavery thereto.

    "that cruelty is embedded in our schools and therefore in our society as a whole.” because they want it embedded.

    • Jim_C

      Abortion is not "bullying."

      • Mary Sue

        Denying people the right to protest outside an abortion clinic is.

        • Jim_C

          non sequitur.

        • Questions

          Not when "protests" consist of harassment, assault, death threats, property destruction, blockage of building entrances and exits, and on due occasion, murder. The U.S. Supreme Court has defined the limits of protesting in this context, at once protecting freedom of speech and discouraging intimidation. And yes, the most extreme pro-lifers are the worst kinds of bullies. I've encountered them first-hand.

          • Mary Sue

            You've never seen Canadian non-violent protests (and they are "regulated" by BUBBLE ZONES!).

    • tagalog

      Cruelty (in many forms) is embedded in our schools. Children as they grow are often cruel to one another. School authorities, being fallible humans, sometimes accuse innocent children falsely of wrongdoing and punish them for no good reason. No one is completely free of cruelty. Cruelty is inherent in nature, in humans, and in human nature. The best answer to bullying is to learn to harden one's heart while learning how to put one's foot alongside the neck of the bully. In most cases, beating the bully stops the bullying of the victim. It also teaches everyone that it is best to learn to take care of one's self and to learn that not everyone plays fair, and will take everything you have including your dignity and personal integrity if you let them.

  • clarespark

    The presidency of Abraham LIncoln is very controversial all along the political spectrum. O'Reilly believes he would have healed the riven nation had he not been assassinated. Here is a summary of how Lincoln has been understood by various historians, who are all in a bind, but try to appropriate him for present-day politics.. See http://clarespark.com/2011/09/29/the-abraham-linc…. "The Abraham Lincoln Conundrum."

  • Michael M.

    This piece seems kind of snotty, angry and, most important, not very useful to the discussion. So many bytes to fill? Why waste energy and hair-tearing slapping at the Left? And why group them all together, and tar them with the same over-trod and silly "Hollywood-types", brush? Doesn't seem like a very productive or valid way to argue, Besides, the American mythology of many Teapartiers is far better melodrama than whatever tripe hollywood chruns out. See also Jim C above.

    Please do better. Awaiting your next piece.

  • bryce armstrong

    John Wilkes Booth was a great American and someone we should all be looking to in this dire time in our nations history, hint hint.

    • Omar

      no, armstrong. Booth was not a patriot. He was a criminal and a traitor to American society.

      • bryce armstrong

        and so is the Tea Party(both of them).

    • LibertarianToo

      Booth was the sort of person mullahs look to to carry out a fatwa.

      • bryce armstrong

        Great stab at moral relevace, you should be proud.

    • Ghostwriter

      Once again,I agree with Omar. John Wilkes Booth was not just an assassin,he was also an incredibly racist person. He believed that blacks were inferior people that DESERVED to be enslaved. I can't find anywhere in the tea party where that point of view even exists. Why don't you read some REAL history,Mr. armstrong instead of venerating a monster like Booth.

    • tagalog

      John Wilkes Booth as "a great American" ranks right up there with two other back-shooters: Robert Ford and Jack McCall.

  • Herb Benty

    What IS funny are all these obvious lefties pretending to be Tea Party members saying things like " Lincoln and Obama are similar. Lincoln was a God- fearing, truly good man who rose to greatness by sticking to principles and morality. Obama is a marxist, liar, race-baiting and truly evil man. NO SIMILARITY.

  • stevef

    "…But the left isn’t interested in the truth. They’re interested in bullying…." And the GOP seems to have a victims' psychology, fearful of fighting back or being "offensive"…Truly pathetic. When the GOP states explicitly Obama is " a radical Leftist whose agenda is to destroy America", I'll start sending them $$$ again. Of course, "immigration reform" will be the death nell of the GOP, a political party based on the values and political philosophy of individual liberty of the Euro-Americans.

  • Ghostwriter

    I know a little about history and I find nowhere where the Tea Party and John Wilkes Booth have any agreement. Booth was an incredibly bigoted and angry man. I don't find that anywhere in the Tea Party.

  • surfcitysocal

    I knew it was only a matter of time before somebody tried to link the tea party, with its loathing of tyranny, to Booth and his cry of "Sic semper tyrannis" supposedly after shooting Lincoln. It's sickening how those who are such big fans of tyranny, i.e. Booth and his love of slavery, and now apparently, Jendresen and his love of big government control, continue to lie and blame the very ones who hate tyranny of being tyrants. Lying about and twisting what they are themselves certainly calls to mind one of Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, in that, it is essential to keep the opposition off-balance. I suspect more of this baloney is on the horizon. Sigh.

  • Questions

    Did Ben Shapiro actually see "Bully?" I did. First off, it was a documentary, not a feature "Hollywood" film. And it was a deeply affecting film about high school ostracism and bullying. But we know Ben's tactic: Insert the word "Hollywood" into the title or the first sentence to generate maximum Web traffic. Who is he to generalize about the entire film industry based on a small documentary that came out about 18 months ago. And how does one so effortlessly jump from high school bullying to John Wilkes Booth?

    This is just another hit piece, replete with vicious taunts, wild generalizations, and a barely concealed animus for people more popular or wealthy than he. Hollywood is to the neo-McCarthyist Right what "rich corporations" are to the Occupy Wall Street Left: the politics of raw envy masquerading as moral virtue.

  • Ajaxx

    I had always presumed that National Geographic was above such partisan hatchetry. I would love to know how Mr. Jendresen has arrived at his baseless conclusion. We all know that Abraham Lincoln was a conservative Republican and yet I am to believe the claim that John Wilkes Booth was a conservative that despised Lincoln for his conservative belief system. That makes as much sense as claiming that Lee Harvey Oswald was a poster boy for the Occupy Wall street movement and hated Kennedy for his liberal belief system.  How sad that National Geographic has lost any credibility as a legitimate media outlet.