Conservative author Jonathan Kay went to the Tea Party in Nashville and discovered he was surrounded by lunatics:
It’s a charming act, which makes the tea-party movement seem no more unnerving than the people who spend their weekends reenacting the Civil War. But the 18th-century getups mask something disturbing. After I spent the weekend at the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., it has become clear to me that the movement is dominated by people whose vision of the government is conspiratorial and dangerously detached from reality. It’s more John Birch than John Adams.
Like all populists, tea partiers are suspicious of power and influence, and anyone who wields them. Their villain list includes the big banks; bailed-out corporations; James Cameron, whose Avatar is seen as a veiled denunciation of the U.S. military; Republican Party institutional figures they feel ignored by, such as chairman Michael Steele; colleges and universities (the more prestigious, the more evil); TheWashington Post; Anderson Cooper; and even FOX News pundits, such as Bill O’Reilly, who have heaped scorn on the tea-party movement’s more militant oddballs.
One of the most bizarre moments of the recent tea-party convention came when blogger Andrew Breitbart delivered a particularly vicious fulmination against the mainstream media, prompting everyone to get up, turn toward the media section at the back of the conference room, and scream, “USA! USA! USA!” But the tea partiers’ well-documented obsession with President Obama has hardly been diffused by their knack for finding new enemies.
I’m not sure how this could be, when Reason magazine has spent months informing me these are just average (gun-toting) Americans upset by too much government. Personally, I see a number of elements to the tea party:
1.) Republican operatives bankrolled by the usual suspects, with the sole intent of using the tea party to advance the GOP and corporate agendas and to regain political power (FreedomWorks, DeMint, Palin, etc.)
2.) Cynical operators like media operations, talk show hosts and glibertarians and snake oil salesman who see a way to raise their profile and raise a buck (Fox news, PJTV, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Reason, all the little for profit hucksters starting their own tea party funds). To a lesser extent, I would throw in the hundreds of cynical “new media consultants” the GOP seems to burp up on a daily basis.
3.) Straight up Birchers, birthers, flat-earthers, racists, militiamen, Patriot movement members, and that motley crew of scumbags and lunatics.
4.) A very small group of folks who honestly are very upset about government spending, but manage to never care when the GOP is the one doing it. They probably make up the smallest chunk, but you can pick them out quite easily- they are the somewhat sane looking people that the folks from the three previous groups try to hide behind every time the cameras are on.
At any rate, the fact that the Tea Parties have gotten this far with their incoherent and often times hypocritical message (to say nothing of the lunatics and racists and militia types) is a sign to me there is no amount of bullshit our media won’t swallow. The fact that it is allegedly a “populist” movement that was inspired by a tantrum from millionaire tv financial personality and a Brooks Brothers mafia on the Chicago trading floor, upset over meager plans to help troubled mortgage holders in the wake of a near trillion dollar bailout of the the wealthy elite who pay Rick Santelli’s salary, just ups the humor value in this theatre of the absurd. Nothing cracks me up like an angry peasant mob screaming for the repeal of the estate tax and ending the capital gains tax.
A sad state of affairs.