Saturday, April 11, 2009

About those tea parties

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Andrew Sullivan is absolutely right about those Fox News-promoted right-wing mobfests known as "tea parties":

These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It's a function of a movement's intellectual collapse and a party's fast-accelerating nervous breakdown.

This from "a fiscal conservative who actually believed in those principles when the Republicans were in power." (Read his entire post -- it's an excellent attempt to figure out what the hell the "tea parties" are all about. He's "still befuddled.")

And Think Progress, in a similarly valuable post, is also right that these "tea parties" aren't grassroots events "rising up spontaneously":

Fox News isn't the only right-wing organization involved in building up these so-called "grassroots" events. The tea parties have been heavily backed by corporate lobbyists. The principle organizers of many of the local events are actually the lobbyist-run think tanks Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, and Newt Gingrich's American Solutions. The groups are heavily staffed and well funded, and are providing all the logistical and public relations work necessary for planning coast-to-coast protests.

The tea partiers and their cheerleaders would have us believe that what is happening now is as revolutionary as what happened way back when in Boston. Which is, of course, sheer nonsense. Today's tea parties are nothing more than contrived outlets for manufactured right-wing populist rage. To suggest otherwise, and to buy into the right-wing spin, on Fox and elsewhere, is to diminish the significance of the American Revolution and to sully the very purpose of America as an experiment in democratic self-rule and as a bulwark against tyranny.

Once again, as we see so often on the right, those supposedly fighting for America, these "patriots," are actually, unwittingly or not, working to undermine it.

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