The entire Tea Party Convention is a profit-seeking affair charging $560 a ticket — plus the cost of a room at the Opryland Hotel. Among the convention’s eight listed sponsors is Tea Party Emporium, which gives as its contact address 444 Madison Avenue in New York, also home to the high-fashion brand Burberry. This emporium’s Web site offers a bejeweled tea bag at $89.99 for those furious at “a government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history.” This is almost as shameless as Glenn Beck, whose own tea party profiteering has included hawking gold coins merchandised by a sponsor of his radio show.Well it's no surprise that the radical lefties are having fun with this. Barbara O'Brien, who is consisently wrong about anything she writes on politics -- and I tell her so much in the comments -- calls tea partiers a bunch of rubes:
Last week a prominent right-wing blogger, Erick Erickson of RedState.com, finally figured out that the Tea Party Convention “smells scammy,” likening it to one of those Nigerian e-mails promising untold millions. Such rumbling about the movement’s being co-opted by hucksters may explain why Palin used her first paid appearance at Fox last Tuesday to tell Bill O’Reilly that she would recycle her own tea party profits in political contributions. But Erickson had it right: the tea party movement is being exploited — and not just by marketers, lobbyists, political consultants and corporate interests but by the Republican Party, as exemplified by Palin and Steele, its most prominent leaders.
Tea partiers hate the G.O.P. establishment and its Wall Street allies, starting with the Bushies who created TARP, almost as much as they do Obama and his Wall Street pals. When Steele and Palin pay lip service to the movement, they are happy to glom on to its anti-tax, anti-Obama, anti-government, anti-big-bank vitriol. But they don’t call for any actual action against the bailed-out perpetrators of the financial crisis. They’d never ask for investments to put ordinary Americans back to work. They have no policies to forestall foreclosures or protect health insurance for the tea partiers who’ve been shafted by hard times. Their only economic principle beside tax cuts is vilification of the stimulus that did save countless jobs for firefighters, police officers and teachers at the state and local level.
The Democrats’ efforts to counter the deprivation and bitterness spawned by the Great Recession are indeed timid and imperfect. The right has a point when it says that the Senate health care votes of Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were bought with pork. But at least their constituents can share the pigout. Hustlers like Steele and Palin take the money and run. All their followers get in exchange is a lousy tea party T-shirt. Or a ghost-written self-promotional book. Or a tepid racial sideshow far beneath the incendiary standards of the party whose history from Strom to “macaca” has driven away nearly every black American except Steele for the past 40 years.
It shouldn’t be surprising that the “tea party movement” has so quickly devolved into a scam for squeezing money out of the rubes. It began as a scam for manipulating the rubes into supporting corporate profits over the needs of the people — their own needs — after all. And we’re dealing with a class of people (movement conservatives) whose only measures of value are (1) will this stick it to liberals? and (2) how much money can I get for it?Actually, Erickson should be commended. He's one of the first major conservative bloggers to call out the Nashville tea party folks for their exclusive exploitation. As for Sarah Palin, maybe she's in it for some money. No doubt she's earned the right to cash in on her fame. Given the continued partisan assualts on her family, I simply do not blame her -- more power to the Palins! And of course, if folks on the left had any consistency, they'd be equally attacking the Obama administration's Wall Street cronies who are swimming in riches, bulking up bankers, while leaving the working class hanging in crisis. That doesn't really fit the left's meme, I guess. Besides, I've participated in close to a dozen tea party events in California and these are (1) driven by the grassroots primarily (and hence far from "astroturfed," like the Democratic/SEIU events we saw all last year), and (2) certainly not motivated by a quest for profits. But Barbara's right about one thing: We are working to piss off the lefties, and to drive them from power ultimately, with increasingly obvious success.
Tea Party Nation, Inc. owner Judson Phillips has been so blatantly avaricious that even some of the rubes are asking questions. Conservative blogger Melissa Clothier says people have heard Phillips say “I want to make a million dollars from this movment.” The financial arrangements for the upcoming tea party convention in Nashville appear to so be so, um, irregular that one co-sponsor, the American Liberty Alliance, has backed out.
The rip-off is so blatant that even Erick Erickson figured out that something about Tea Party Nation stank out loud. Of course, in his world the pure-of-heart Sarah Palin is in danger of having her sparkling reputation tarnished by her association with these scoundrels. Some things you can count on, and one of those things is Erick’s Erickson’s, um, cognitive deficiencies.
There's another post over at Prairie Weather that's even worse, "Steele-ing." This fellow's focusing more on the Michael Steele angle discussed by Rich. But then there's this paragraph, which really gives one a good glimpse into the mind of a smug, falsely self-superior Democratic radical:
Over here on the left we tend to think that the far right, the fundies, the tea partiers are dumb as dirt. But they're not. Membership in their club requires that they reject everything that the left stands for and one of those things is education and knowledge. That's not intended to be catty anymore than this: the people on the right that I know have gone and educated themselves in a different book. For some it's the Bible. For others it's Bill O'Reilly's books, "Going Rogue" and piles of arcane evidence that Obama isn't American (they have proof, right off the internets). They've invented their own inside dope and they shout it from the rooftops. The facts are of no social use if you want an invitation to the tea party.I recommend that folks like this actually spend some time, in person, with the opposition. Lord knows I have! Anyway, I responded at the post:
Sorry, friend, Ph.D. in 1999, enthusiastic tea partier in 2009. And most folks I know pounding the pavement for this movement are attorneys, doctors, financial consultants, political consultants, musicians, etc., etc. If you want stupid, check the mirror, especially if you continue to advance this stupid "dumb as dirt" line. It's leftists simply, who are not well educated, and as a professor, I know that first hand.Of course, what I say, and how I respond to these idiots, matters very little. What does matter is that the larger electorate is rejecting the Democrats' socialist program, even faster than most obvservers would have predicted. See the Washington Post, "Poll shows growing disappointment, polarization over Obama's performance" (via Memeorandum), and the Jonathan Gurwitz, "After one year, Obama's trail of broken promises."
And this, from CNN, "Sources: Obama Advisers Believe Coakley Will Lose":
Multiple advisers to President Obama have privately told party officials that they believe Democrat Martha Coakley is going to lose Tuesday’s special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat held by the late Ted Kennedy for more than 40 years, several Democratic sources told CNN Sunday.
The sources added that the advisers are still hopeful that Obama's visit to Massachusetts on Sunday - coupled with a late push by Democratic activists - could help Coakley pull out a narrow victory in an increasingly tight race against Republican state Sen. Scott Brown.
However, the presidential advisers have grown increasingly pessimistic in the last three days about Coakley's chances after a series of missteps by the candidate, sources said.
Perhaps Frank Rich and his minions should be going after some of their own?