Monday, April 13, 2009

THESE ARE PEOPLE OF THE LAND. THE COMMON CLAY OF THE NEW WEST. YOU KNOW... MORONS. As someone who's actually been to a Tea Party, I can tell you that they're fascinating events and you should try to attend one in your area on April 15. You've probably heard that these parties are dependent on often shameless shilling of major rightwing organizations. They are, in part -- but not entirely.

That's easy to forget, because of the appalling bad faith of the phenomenon's promoters. High-traffic political operatives like Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin have for months been selling the Tea Parties like telemarketers in heat, and at the same time declaring them "grassroots" events. (Reynolds placed a particularly ballsy example of this in Monday's New York Post, claiming tea partiers "aren't the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs" -- as if union people don't have jobs [that's why they call them labor unions, Perfesser], or the millions who protested the Iraq War in 2003 are still out there with placards, semi-professionally protesting or waiting at the shape-up for a gig.)

But it's not a total con. People come to these things, sometimes in great numbers. They're not zombies summoned by Glenn Beck, but real people with whom the tea party idea resonates.

And if past events and present promotion are any indication, on April 15 what they'll be hearing is that the President of the United States is a socialist and/or a communist who ignores the Constitution and must be resisted as a usurper with revolution. There'll be complaints about high taxes, of course, but everyone complains about that. The main message is that Obama is an illegitimate leader, and that the folks holding the signs, notwithstanding the electoral results, are the true voice of America.

I'm not cherry-picking, folks. This is how they talk. You won't read about it in the promo pieces, but if you go among tea partiers, that's what you'll hear.

You can see why the high-level operatives spend most of their times talking about grass-rootsy authenticity of the tea parties -- how they's all jes' folks, includin' the perfessers, newspaper columnists, and former members of Congress -- rather than about the message. They want people who don't attend these events -- that is, most Americans -- to know that they draw crowds, because that suggests power and gets respect. But if Malkin, Reynolds, or the rest of them went up front and said, "We represent a national movement that believes the Muslim pretender Barry Soweto to be a fake President, believes the rich should hole up in a gulch with a perpetual motion machine until the poor cry for them to rule (unless the rich want to rule socialistically, in which case never mind), and wants paupers taxed the same as billionaires," they might receive a different kind of publicity than they've been getting.

In other words, the reason to oppose them is not because they are somehow not real or summoned under false pretenses; the reason to oppose them is that they're nuts.

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