SPLC's Potok says while the tea partiers "cannot fairly be considered extremist groups," they are "shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism."
New York Times columnist Frank Rich notes a connection between the tea-bag protestors and racism.
"[T]he health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It's merely a handy excuse," he writes, comparing the anti-health-care attacks to the 1964 attacks on civil rights legislation.
GOP politicians, most notably Sarah Palin, have been promoting extremism, and even violence, along with their favored news outlet, Fox, and spokesperson Glenn Beck. Examples abound. In the wake of the health care vote, Palin urged her followers not to retreat, but to "RELOAD." She also put rifle crosshairs over the map of districts of lawmakers who voted "Yes." Democrats and others have pointed to such language as an example of the way Republicans have incited angry actions and threats.
Beck, among other things, has lectured that "progressivism" is a "cancer" eating America and the Constitution and akin to fascism.
For recent peoplesworld.org articles on the ultra right and racism: