Truth-Seeking with Lawrence O'Donnell and Matt Taibbi: Tea Party is 'Narcissistic,' 'Incredibly Stupid'

"What's the answer to the Tea Party racist question?"

Galloping into the 10 p.m. Eastern timeslot as the white knight of truth, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, host of "The Last Word," challenged left-wing writer Matt Taibbi on September 29 to answer this incisive question.

Eager to discuss the subject of his latest conservative hit-piece, Taibbi imparted the sort of thoughtful analysis viewers should expect from a Rolling Stone political reporter: "My answer is it's not so much about hating black people for these people, I think it's more about believing in this preposterous fantasy that white people are some kind of oppressed minority in the age of Obama."

After belittling the Tea Party for its "incredibly stupid" worldview, Taibbi pointed to the grassroots movement's "collective narcissistic" behavior as the source of its alleged stupidity. A seemingly entranced O'Donnell concurred with Taibbi's diagnosis, then invited the correspondent to press on:
They really believe in this sort of idea that they're this persecuted, oppressed people and they have no frame of reference about anybody else's experience and they also don't have any sense of how their rhetoric is received by the rest of the country.
Taibbi, who once referred to Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) as a "elderly sumo wrestler in drag," further fleshed out the Tea Party movement's ostensible intolerance with a closed-minded rant: "Just think of the whole idea of a tea party: if they're the Tea Partiers, people like you and me are redcoats, you know, we're literally not Americans, we're un-American. And they really believe that."

A transcript of the relevant portion of the segment can be found below:
MSNBC
Last Word
September 29, 2010

10:19 p.m. EDT

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Matt, before we get to the transformation, one of the central questions about the Tea Party, and one of the accusations that flies around, is that this is a racist group – predominantly racist group, partially racist group, or more racist than your average collection on a subway car in New York City. You've been in and among them. What's the answer to the Tea Party racist question?

MATT TAIBBI, Rolling Stone magazine: My answer is it's not so much about hating black people for these people, I think it's more about believing in this preposterous fantasy that white people are some kind of oppressed minority in the age of Obama. And I don't know whether that's racism, but it is just incredibly stupid. And that's really my answer. I think there's not that much overt racism, clearly race is a factor in almost all of their political views. But it's really more like a collective narcissistic –
    
O'DONNELL: They're working without a historical framework for anyone else's experience except their own and their own families. And that's what you're calling the kind of the narcissistic view of our politics.

TAIBBI: They really believe in this sort of idea that they're this persecuted, oppressed people and they have no frame of reference about anybody else's experience and they also don't have any sense of how their rhetoric is received by the rest of the country. Just think of the whole idea of a tea party: if they're the Tea Partiers, people like you and me are redcoats, you know, we're literally not Americans, we're un-American. And they really believe that.

O'DONNELL: Now the narcissism is why we were playing the (inaudible) thing on the way in, it had nothing to do with you. Okay, that is not our view of Matt Taibbi.