Considering Hollywood's liberal bent, however, maybe it isn't much of a surprise at all.
According to a report by TheWrap.com, Erik Jendresen, the writer and executive producer of the film Killing Lincoln, thinks Tea Partiers have something in common with John Wilkes Booth. "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," he said during a press conference at the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
When pressed for details, Jendresen did not attempt to connect Booth to Tea Party values, but instead spoke on the politically charged climate of the day. "I think that if you look at the sort of politics of the time, and a lot of the epithets that were being hurled at Lincoln, there was a feeling in the nation that's not dissimilar from what we've experienced in the past four years in response to Barack Obama – the sense of an imperial presidency or soundbytes about somebody who's going to proclaim himself king and take over," he said.
Jendresen failed to mention that such charges were made against George W. Bush as well after 9/11, and most modern presidents have endured the same sorts of criticisms. Jendresen seemed intent on making a connection, however. "It's stunning to me to read some of the newspaper articles and some of the interviews of the time, some of the contents of the letters and memoirs from the time and some of the things that were thought about Lincoln in the South are so similar to … the dialogue today," he said.
Despite Jendresen's assertions, Booth himself shared little in common with the average Tea Partier. He was an actor, and highly regarded in social circles of the day. He did blame Lincoln for the state of the South after the war and his treatment of Southern sympathizers. Jendresen seems to attempting to allude to the stereotype that Tea Partiers are vengeful and prone to violence, but his lack of an example makes his statement seem like a stretch.
Ironically, Killing Lincoln is based on the book by Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who has supported Tea Party efforts and leans conservative/libertarian.
Victor Medina writes for Yahoo News and his political blog WhenLiberalsAttack.com. His other writing credits include The Dallas Morning News and SportsIllustrated.com. He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum. You can follow him on his blog, VictorMedina.com or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at email@example.com. To be notified of future stories by Victor Medina, click the SIGN UP or SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this page.