August 15, 2016

THE POWER OF LIFE AND DEATH:

How We Killed the Tea Party (PAUL H. JOSSEY, August 14, 2016, Politico)

As we watch the Republican Party tear itself to shreds over Donald Trump, perhaps it's time to take note of another conservative political phenomenon that the GOP nominee has utterly eclipsed: the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement is pretty much dead now, but it didn't die a natural death. It was murdered--and it was an inside job. In a half decade, the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives.

What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement's true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more "prospects." In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through "petitions"--which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause. While the solicitations continue, the audience has greatly diminished because of a lack of policy results and changing political winds.

I was an employee at one of the firms that ran these operations. But nothing that follows is proprietary or gleaned directly from my employment. The evidence of the scheming is all there in the public record, available for anyone willing to look.

Except that the Tea Party was always a wholly owned subsidiary of the Beltway Right, Secrets of the Tea Party  (BEAU HODAI, 3/21/10, In These Times)

As the Tea Party movement has gained momentum during the last 12 months, it seems few Tea Partiers have caught on to the troubling past of the man at the center of their movement: FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and recently-retired lobbyist extraordinaire, Dick Armey.

As chairman of FreedomWorks, the group credited with mobilizing the Tea Party movement, Armey is the movement's de facto leader. Yet Armey's years spent lobbying for a group recognized by the State Department as being a terrorist organization should give Tea Partiers pause.

In the weeks before April 15, 2009, local newspapers began reporting that groups calling themselves TEA, or Taxed Enough Already, were planning rallies to protest wasteful government spending. By the time Tax Day rolled around, over 300 protests were under way in all 50 states. More than 100,000 people took to the streets, gathered in parks and city centers with signs, slogans and costumes evoking America's revolutionary past.

The protests have continued. On Sept. 12, 2009, Tea Partiers marched on Washington, D.C. From a podium at the base the Capitol Building, Armey addressed the crowd with his wife Susan by his side. They were standing there together, he said, for the future of their grandchildren.

When the first rounds of stimulus didn't work, what'd they do? The same thing the government always tries to do with a bad idea: If it doesn't work, do more. ... I want to make one clear idea: Not too long ago, President Barack Obama stood right there on that stage. He said the one singular pledge of commitment that we ask of every elected official in America at every level. He pledged a commitment of fidelity to the United States Constitution.

At which point the crowd burst into the collective chant: "You lie! You lie! You lie," echoing Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-S.C.) outburst during Obama's address to Congress three days earlier.

Armey went on to lead the masses in the chant: "Freedom works! Freedom works! Freedom works!"

If the good Lord did not mean for them to be fleeced He would not have made them sheep.


Posted by at August 15, 2016 8:29 PM

  

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