Suggests civil rights protesters in early days said equally 'unfortunate and unnecessary' things

Democrats are sometimes accused of being elitists who look down on honest working folk, but former White House senior adviser Karl Rove appears to harbor a certain condescension of his own towards "unsophisticated" Tea Partiers.

MSBC's Savannah Guthrie questioned Rove on Wednesday about the "unfortunate language used this weekend at some of the rallies that one of the Tea Party founders apologized for."

"To the extent that the Tea Party is equated with the Republican Party, is that a concern for you?" she asked.

"This Tea Party movement is largely novices, relatively politically unsophisticated people, and as a result sometimes their rhetoric is raw and angry," Rove replied. "That's the downside."

"The upside," he continued, "is that a large number of people who have heretofore been spectators have been motivated by a deep concern about our country to get involved in politics."

Rove went on to excuse the violent rhetoric of the Tea Partiers by suggesting that "if you look back at the beginning of other similar movements, whether it's the anti-war movement or the civil rights movement or the pro-life movement, there are angry things said that I suspect in retrospect a lot of people realize are unfortunate and unnecessary."

Rove did not offer any examples, however, and he appears to be misinformed about the atmosphere that existed in the early days of the civil rights movement.

The 1950s and early 60s were marked by a pervasive climate of lynchings and racial violence, in which fourteen-year-old Emmett Till could be brutally murdered for not following his mother's advice to "mind his manners" with white people and even white volunteers like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, might be kidnapped and killed (dramatized in the 1988 film Mississippi Burning). As a result, the early civil rights leaders and protesters were known for their politeness and adherence to non-violence in both their words and actions.

Even while being beaten and clubbed by police and irate drug store employees, civil rights protesters had to remain non-violent and compliant, since the alternative could have resulted in lengthy jail sentences, permanent injuries, or death.

This video is from MSNBC's The Daily Rundown, broadcast March 24, 2010.

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