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June 18, 2010 8:06 PM   Subscribe

The terrifying tale of the Tea Party Movement from an insider

(at Playboy.com, read it for the articles)
posted by mathowie (158 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thank you, Number One, for making me not sleep tonight.
posted by The Whelk at 8:13 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it's chilling stuff. The thing that kills me is that it reads like the ToDo list from a bored nihilist. The author claims to care about certain stances, but really they seem more anarchist than anything else, just doing what they can to fuck shit up.
posted by mathowie at 8:17 PM on June 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Not really sure what's so terrifying.
posted by gyc at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


*quietly poops pants*
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


*quietly poops pants*

I haven't known anyone to poop their pants for years (as childhood was a long time ago) but is the use of the word quietly necessary?
posted by juiceCake at 8:21 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


*noisily poops pants by popular demand*
posted by shothotbot at 8:22 PM on June 18, 2010 [73 favorites]


Most people living in the hinterlands tend to have trouble mastering the finer points of creating and funding 501(c)(4) organizations and leveraging that support into targeted independent expenditures in races in which limited soft dollars can make a difference.

NOT ANYMORE, LOL


SCOTUS
posted by Rhaomi at 8:24 PM on June 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I haven't known anyone to poop their pants for years (as childhood was a long time ago) but is the use of the word quietly necessary?

Not to derail, but I wanted to indicate that I was so frightened by these tactics that I even shat myself in a discreet manner, lest the Tea Party organizers hear and COME FIND ME.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:25 PM on June 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


This must be the longest Playboy Party Joke ever.
posted by Hammond Rye at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by intermod at 8:28 PM on June 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


""American Heart," which is like Lee Greenwood’s "God Bless the USA" only better. David’s song makes you want to waterboard a terrorist and then fuck a bald eagle. Under a cherry tree, on an American flag blanket."

What?
posted by smcameron at 8:30 PM on June 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


"OH HAI WE LIEK TO KEEP OUR METHODS SEKRETS SO I WROTE ABOUT HOW WE DOES THEM IN PLAYBOY K?"
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:33 PM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


What bullshit.

He spends seven pages trying to convince us that the Tea Party is just a rag-tag bunch of really funky, joint-smoking, down-to-Earth folks who aren't religious or racist or anything, they're just really concerned about the national debt and privacy.

He also spends the first two pages or so bragging about all the "evil" stunts that he's pulled as a Republican strategist. That, even more than the above, strikes me as bullshit. Nobody, not even Republican strategists, see themselves as doing "evil". Everyone is the hero in their own story. Even Hitler thought he was doing good.

This isn't really an expose from an insider. It's a fictional short story designed to drive traffic. I'm kind of sorry that we're helping out.
posted by Avenger at 8:33 PM on June 18, 2010 [69 favorites]


This must be the longest Playboy Party Joke ever.

"We're the Aristocrats!"
posted by furiousthought at 8:34 PM on June 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Huh. So basically, Tea Party:politics::/b/:internet .

*shits pants at an average and unremarkable volume*
posted by homuncula at 8:35 PM on June 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


Avenger, I'm not sure. I've met more then a few people in reprehensible employment who decided to take a gleeful supervillian take on it "ha ha I'm taking their church money and spending it on whores ha ha!" it seems like a viable Personal Narrative along with I Am Doing What Is Best, but they didn't tend to be very high up.
posted by The Whelk at 8:36 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like how he pays lip service to expelling birthers and truthers from the (non-)party even though nobody else seemed to have gotten that message, as if that somehow made up for all the fraud, xenophobia, hypocrisy, anti-intellectualism, and racism. You know you're hanging with a professional troll when having anything whatsoever to do with Michelle Bachmann is considered positive.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:36 PM on June 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Huh. So basically, Tea Party:politics::/b/:internet .

That comparison may actually be more terrifying than anything contained within the article, but as far as I can tell it's the most accurate explanation yet.

Would anyone else like to get in on the pooping party?
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:37 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always try to understand the other point of view, even if I don't agree. So too with the Tea Partiers. Having done that, I calmly conclude that they are cowards and idiots. They are oh so brave to attack the weak and disadvantaged. They've taken on ACORN! Whoa! It's almost like they took down the KKK. I mean, ACORN was helping poor people - and that's just evil. So edgy! So anti-authoritarian! Because you just know that those who hold power and are the Authority are poor people - yes, of course, you rebel, you. Meanwhile, you look to support conservatives and Republican right wingers - because those are known to be really against big business, against big banks, and are not at all into authority and power. See all those bad things authority and power - that's Democrats. Republicans are the defenders of the common man against the power of big business and the police state.

Oh, NOW I get it - the Tea Party is a giant honeypot to trap all the political illiterates and douchebag poseurs in the nation... THANK YOU, the Democratic Party!
posted by VikingSword at 8:42 PM on June 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


Wow, this is not at all as advertised. Shame on you, fearless leader.
posted by wierdo at 8:46 PM on June 18, 2010


The exciting news for me is that the organization still needs someone who can deliver a message to the masses using traditional means. Even the most forward-looking political professionals know blogging and text messaging will get you only so far. That’s where I come in. I’m part of the team prepping to deliver the Tea Party message via traditional means.

Okay. So I guess we should listen to this guy. He must be pretty important.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:47 PM on June 18, 2010


I'm not scared by this guy, I'm furious.

Sonja Merchant-Jones, former co-chair of ACORN’s Maryland chapter, told The New York Times in March, "That 20-minute video ruined 40 years of good work."

If this doesn't make you mad then I guess I don't consider you to be much of a person.
posted by JHarris at 8:48 PM on June 18, 2010 [40 favorites]


Gangs, cheats, thugs, and scum rule the world, on the whole.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:48 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"This cause is worthier and more real than anything I’ve done in the past. ... They may not read much, but they all know their Ayn Rand."

Come the fuck on, this is just bullshit.
posted by mwhybark at 8:52 PM on June 18, 2010 [18 favorites]


Breathless impossible-to-prove story from an unknown, unverifiable source.

I dislike the Tea Party shenanigans intensely. But my real bile is saved for shoddy journalism.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:55 PM on June 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Would anyone else like to get in on the pooping party?"

Back and forth. Forever.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 8:58 PM on June 18, 2010 [17 favorites]


Breathless impossible-to-prove story from an unknown, unverifiable source.

this is going to be my mantra while I sleep
posted by The Whelk at 8:59 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Playboy isn't Instapaper ready?
posted by bwanabetty at 9:00 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


they hate our freedom
posted by philip-random at 9:01 PM on June 18, 2010


"Ensuring Liberty’s relationships run deep into the new media and use of cloud computing and innovation along with the black arts of campaign management."

Okay, now I know that we all have to jump on the buzzword-of-the-moment and everything, but could somebody PLEASE tell me how they're going to use cloud computing? Are they going to implement a Tea Party SaaS or something?
posted by Afroblanco at 9:17 PM on June 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


Dear Anonymous, the author: if you're going to spend page 4 talking about how Tea Partiers hate the "crazy", don't talk about your friend singing the intro to Michelle Bachmann speeches on page 5. You should space out your internal self-contradictions a little better.
posted by gimonca at 9:19 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm no a tea-partyist but most of the article sounds fake. Anonymous author, nothing in the article that can be proved or disproved, and most of the "allegations" within are things that have already been made public knowledge by other sources.

The author mentions Fight Club in the beginning of the article, which is fitting - the author reads as if written by Chuck Palahniuk complete with little bits of insider knowledge to make it sound realistic to an outsider.
posted by overthrow at 9:23 PM on June 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


this is fake. more to the point it's trolling lib'rul nightmares. So if you are disturbed by this tripe, it sucks to be you.

It's an interesting whitewash airbrush on the TP crowd, but about as authentic as Clifford Irving.

Normally, I'd say the editor who passed on this should be ashamed, but that's kind of pointless here. Plastic people...
posted by warbaby at 9:25 PM on June 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Nobody, not even Republican strategists, see themselves as doing "evil". Everyone is the hero in their own story. Even Hitler thought he was doing good.

Trying to figure out what goes on inside of other people is generally extrapolation at best, but my observation suggests there are people who don't really believe in "good" and whose conception of positive has collapsed into personal advancement and recreation... including games like the rather heady experience of playing the mighty wurlitzer of social opinion.

Breathless impossible-to-prove story from an unknown, unverifiable source.

There's a certain glee at and grasp of the game along with a subtext of supposed self-awareness combined with shallow policy depth that combine to ring true enough that even if it's fiction, the speaker seems credible as a representative of people who are almost certainly doing the same work and thinking rather similar things.
posted by weston at 9:31 PM on June 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


“Say what you will about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, but at least it's an ethos.”
posted by kipmanley at 9:38 PM on June 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


That’s when I realized this isn’t an average fringe movement. This one is credible, legit and—for the first time in a decade—scaring the crap out of the left.

o_0
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:42 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


He also spends the first two pages or so bragging about all the "evil" stunts that he's pulled as a Republican strategist. That, even more than the above, strikes me as bullshit. Nobody, not even Republican strategists, see themselves as doing "evil". Everyone is the hero in their own story.

I don't know whether or not this guy is full of it, but you need to read about the Nixon administration and Colson, Sengretti, Haldeman and Ehlichman (and several others). They revelled in doing 'dirty tricks'--Colson saying he'd run over his grandmother to get Nixon elected.

A liberal's nightmare? More like a civil person's nightmare. Many people are not civil and they love playing their nasty games in the political arena.
posted by eye of newt at 9:47 PM on June 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


You know, when you think about it, the Tea Party is a lot like a Playboy Playmate: superficially attractive, completely brainless, and held together with staples.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:51 PM on June 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


Congressional report clears ACORN of wrongdoing — after group forced to disband

In GOP narrative, ACORN lives on
posted by homunculus at 9:51 PM on June 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


I don't think he understands the left's point of view. We are not terrified of the tea party in and of itself -- it's been clear from the beginning that it's just a co-opted pseudo-libertarian group that somehow got dominated by a bunch of racist assholes who aren't worth anyone's time.

What we're actually worried about scary Rupert Murdoch's power and ability to completely manipulate people's perceptions of the tea party. He has been the vehicle (and indirect funding source) for legitimizing the party in the eyes of common Americans. It's scary that he can pull off such a huge ploy and manipulate his viewers into believing Glenn Beck and company actually care about them, successfully hiding the fact that they're just greedy opportunists who'd gladly sell out the tea partiers if it proved to be profitable.
posted by spiderskull at 9:53 PM on June 18, 2010 [16 favorites]


aside from getting certain people elected and dry-gulching people they don't like, i'm having a hard time figuring out what these people are FOR from this article, aside from mindless self-aggrandizement

do they really think that it's possible to lead the american people through the 21st century with no more vision than a venal ward-heeler's?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The tea party is only coherent in their disaffection and inability to talk to other people. It is a political movement of the apolitical. I signed up as I do for a lot of things because I get one less filter between myself and what someone is trying to tell me what to think. It's less fun than watching the sensationalist news and seeing the demagogues that try to exploit the disaffection but I think I get a better sense that way. I also live in Washington State and go hiking and talk to people in logging country, tea party country, and the people that talk to strangers openly mock the tea party.

I think what is shown by how few people show up at the tea party gatherings is that they are a movement of people that are (relatedly) shy and ill-tempered. I think their shyness is more salient than their ill-temper and because of that they are incapable of congealing into coherency nevermind their scattered ideals. This will probably make some people that take the statements of the leadership of the tea party and even the surveys of their members upset (sorry to beg the question, please bear with me) but I understand the tea partiers more as confused misanthropes who wished more people liked them. Hatred of Mexicans or any other are just a means for them to feel as though they belong to a nearer group. They can't admit that so it comes out sideways. I don't mean to say that they aren't dangerous in perhaps a McVeigh sense (which is bad enough) but I think that the mindset of those that identify as tea partiers precludes the possibility of the tea party developing into a larger movement.

In the emails I get they mostly want money.
posted by vapidave at 10:03 PM on June 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


No question this Segrettti posing ratfucker has done his research, but that's part of being a pro. Clearly there are some people out there doing this sort of thing, but not this guy and not these precise things. But any author of fiction has to do some research or fail massively.

Also, no question he's reactionary in his politics. I can easily see the TP mokes lapping this up - and they are dead center in the Playboy marketing demographic. So he's not writing this to soil your drawers, he's writing this to stroke the 'baggers. Nicely spun, but you're not the target audience.

Slick fake is still fake.

More seriously, the TP are talking like people who want to have a civil war. This sort of puffed up rhetoric is common on the right, but they also have a few people (think McVeigh) who can do it. So the real deal will be coming down between March and May next year. For what it's worth, not taking these people seriously or (conversely) whipping them up as political pawns is going to cost some people their lives.

The parallel to the militias 15 years ago is a good one because the people egging the militias on then are the people egging on the TP now. Come next fall, it will likely be an election like '66 or '94. Most of the peanut gallery will be bought off, the D's will lose some of their edge and maybe even the House. But afterwards, the really dangerous loons will be more cranked up than ever.

The elections in '94 didn't calm the scene down a bit. After OKC, all the militia fan club cut an ran, hell, they never knew them much less supported them. Might as well take them at their work now, because when it gets real, they'll claim they never did....

Sorry for the rant, but this stuff isn't anything new. the same political pattern has been running like a cracked record since about 1960. The Repo's are fools and thieves when in power and raging backlash nincompoops when they're out.

At least Chris Simcox is a little ray of sunshine this week.
posted by warbaby at 10:08 PM on June 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


"[T]hey all know their Ayn Rand."

oh shit! They've reached a middle school reading level! Run for the hills!

"David’s song makes you want to waterboard a terrorist and then fuck a bald eagle. Under a cherry tree, on an American flag blanket."

I have never heard the Tea Party platform stated more succinctly.

Anyway, I'm reasonably certain there are enough filthy Democrats out there doing much the same. I like how liberals tend to think that it's only the Republicans that play this dirty. Whatever. I'll be to the left of all of them playing my violin when both their edifices burn.
posted by cthuljew at 10:08 PM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'll be to the left of all of them playing my violin when both their edifices burn.

Violins are so conservative. You should be playing a Bassoforte.
posted by davejay at 10:26 PM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


pyramid termite wrote: "do they really think that it's possible to lead the american people through the 21st century with no more vision than a venal ward-heeler's?"

It got us through the 19th. Sort of.

Regarding the "second amendment remedies" to use the going Tea Partier euphemism, it's getting to the point of disturbing. Several prominent "Republican" (tea party) candidates are talking openly about armed resistance if they don't win. Couched in the euphemism, of course.

I'd take them less seriously if these were two bit state legislators, but we're talking serious candidates for federal office.
posted by wierdo at 10:31 PM on June 18, 2010


Tea Party leadership (who play inside ball) don't want even the most tentative of Truthers.

Makes me wonder what they know.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:37 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


They may not read much, but they all know their Ayn Rand.

That's the kind of sentence that makes my knuckles itch...
posted by lumpenprole at 10:55 PM on June 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


waterboard a terrorist and then fuck the corpse of a bald eagle. Under a cherry tree, on an American flag blanket

I dont know why, but that sentence just needed a corpse in it somewhere. Some things just go better with corpses.
posted by Sparx at 11:19 PM on June 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


I recommend everyone reads up on who Saul Alinsky was... and why this author saying that the Tea Party insiders consider him 'their hero' rings as the most nihilistic, facetious comment in this whore of an article.

Thanks for posting
posted by ogallalaknowhow at 11:45 PM on June 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


"The reality is the Tea Party as we know it will cease to exist within an election cycle. Its ideas won’t go away, but most of its leaders will."

Well, that's nice.
posted by twirlypen at 12:10 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe it is fake, but it certainly has the nihilistic triumphalism I've come to expect from the conservative right.

Republican triumphalism was annoying when the GOP controlled the government, but it turns out they get even more annoying when they're out of power and haven't noticed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:32 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


So I got that they're all truthers, birthers, and nutjobs, but that they welcome others too.
posted by Brian B. at 12:59 AM on June 19, 2010


We are tremendously plugged in to BigGovernment.com and its stable of writers. Our news cycle is measured in minutes, not days. Combine the DNA of a flash mob, a news addict and a con­servative who feels betrayed by the spending excesses of George W. Bush, sprinkle in some anxiety and you’ve got my people.

Congratulations, conservatives. You now have netroot activists. You'll find that occasionally they help out with a tight race, but mostly they just write breathless magazine articles and blog posts overestimating their influence.
posted by joedan at 1:17 AM on June 19, 2010 [14 favorites]


I vote for realsies on this one.

Reading the keys to power while distracted by animated "come-look-at-the-titties!" banners is having a weird effect on me; like I've been ushered into the cabal ... and their meeting is being held in a strip club ...

vapidave thanks for your insight. obviously, consulting from anonymous doesn't come cheap.
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 1:50 AM on June 19, 2010


This is article is bullshit to my eyes.

If the Tea Party really is about liberty, the evils of debt, and fat white bankers rolling in your hard earned tax dollars, why does the Tea Party movement only appear as Obama is elected?

What are those activists doing during the years when George Bush's administration enacts some of the worst laws on liberty since time began, racks up huge debt and gives bankers a free pass? That's right. Eight years of nothing.

If activist Hannah Giles isn't the netroots arm of Bigots Anonymous, why is her first coup to stitch a gotcha tape together to take down an organisation whose main crime is to get uppity negroes out to vote?

Really, if teabaggers are going to get so up in arms about socialism it might actually behoove them to acknowledge that George Bush was, in many respects, the tax and spend, debtor socialist that they supposedly abhor.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:03 AM on June 19, 2010 [21 favorites]


Regarding the "second amendment remedies" to use the going Tea Partier euphemism, it's getting to the point of disturbing. Several prominent "Republican" (tea party) candidates are talking openly about armed resistance if they don't win. Couched in the euphemism, of course.

I'd take them less seriously if these were two bit state legislators, but we're talking serious candidates for federal office.


It's happened before. Hopefully this time they'll listen to the faction that wanted the traitors hung from the trees, rather than the "reconstructionists".
posted by rodgerd at 2:07 AM on June 19, 2010


Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004? That was me.

Man knows which buttons to push.
posted by dabitch at 2:34 AM on June 19, 2010


dabitch: The one with the dollar signs on it.
posted by cthuljew at 3:05 AM on June 19, 2010


Voting by Road Rage impulses. America, fuck yeah.

If this doesn't make you mad then I guess I don't consider you to be much of a person.

Eh, I understand your point of view, but it's poorly worded following an article about how the Conservative White-Collar Folks are pushed by their lizard brain. Or maybe "you're with us or you're against us" is a more common push to action than I realized.

The good news is that Gay Marriage is too hard to spin anymore, so it's no longer a hot topic for this "edgy because we say 'Shit' in our adverts" (non)group.

Personally, I'm more frightened that Playboy thinks Old Timey Typewriter Font is appropriate for their "newsfront" buttons. Unless "newsfront" is where they collect the scathing old timey reports (scandalous phonograph recordings! Pictures of strippers apparently performing at Jack Ruby's Carrousel Club! An alphabet of sexual acts!). Maybe the world of easy access to pornography online really has harmed Playboy readership, leaving them with people who don't know they can find their porn (and racy tidbits from past eras) elsewhere on the internet.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:37 AM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dear Penthouse: Reading the keys to power while distracted by animated "come-look-at-the-titties!" banners is having a weird effect on me; like I've been ushered into the cabal ... and their meeting is being held in a strip club ...
posted by hal9k at 3:52 AM on June 19, 2010


I don't really understand the point of this article. From the buildup, I was expecting to hear about some really Machiavellian, Rovian slime tactics. But all I got was: "Man, Tea Partiers know how to ROCK! Like, this one time, we had a snowball fight in a bar! And then James O'Keefe went home with someone's grandma. Good times."
posted by painquale at 4:02 AM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Another milestone for Playboy. Remember when they decided to "show pink"? Now they include huge dicks.
posted by hal9k at 4:09 AM on June 19, 2010 [12 favorites]


That’s when I realized this isn’t an average fringe movement. This one is credible, legit and—for the first time in a decade—scaring the crap out of the left.

LOL. It's not hard to "Scare the crap" out of the leadership of the democratic party. That seems to be their default setting.
posted by delmoi at 4:19 AM on June 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


He also spends the first two pages or so bragging about all the "evil" stunts that he's pulled as a Republican strategist. That, even more than the above, strikes me as bullshit. Nobody, not even Republican strategists, see themselves as doing "evil". Everyone is the hero in their own story. Even Hitler thought he was doing good.
Oh come on. Hitler might have thought he was doing a good thing, but there are obviously lots of people who just love to fuck shit up for fun. I mean, how does a bored teenager in the suburbs think of himself as 'doing good' by knocking over mailboxes with garbage cans? They may have some kind of justification for why they think what they are doing is OK but that's not the same thing as believing they are being heroic.

I think it's pretty obvious that O'Keefe, Breitbart and so on are total nihilists, they may have a goal but what they really want to do is fuck up liberals. They see politics as a game, like being football fans except you get to participate instead of just bitching about the coach on the internet.
Regarding the "second amendment remedies" to use the going Tea Partier euphemism, it's getting to the point of disturbing. Several prominent "Republican" (tea party) candidates are talking openly about armed resistance if they don't win. Couched in the euphemism, of course.
I think you're talking about Sharron Angle, who's campaigning against Harry Reid. So far she's refused to talk to any media that wasn't already hard core right wing. Doesn't seem like a winning strategy. She's the one who beat the "chicken lady" Sue Lowden in the republican primary. Heh heh heh. And the reporter was asking her what she meant by "second amendment remedies" -- she refused to answer.


Anyway, everyone seemed to think this article was B.S. so I'm not going to read it :)
posted by delmoi at 4:40 AM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


This article is "John Galt is comin' to get yo mama" agitprop aimed at the credulous Playboy reader.

Methinks Playboy got spun on this one.
posted by rdone at 4:42 AM on June 19, 2010


> ...more anarchist than anything else, just doing what they can to fuck shit up.

> Tea Party:politics::/b/:internet

If true this is reassuring. True Believers are far scarier than anarchist nihilists doing it for the lulz.
posted by Skorgu at 5:01 AM on June 19, 2010


I'm sorry, I'm just not buying it. Maybe I'm just scared and refusing to face the cold truth.

Nah. I'm still not buying it.
posted by Splunge at 6:16 AM on June 19, 2010


the credulous Playboy reader.

Is there any other kind?
posted by joe lisboa at 6:21 AM on June 19, 2010


My guys see it more as a fight to help reshape the debate and protect future generations from creeping socialism and unimaginable debt.

When President Clinton left office there was an all-time record $128 billion surplus. President Bush turned that into an all-time record $482 billion deficit. When exactly did these people that are "protecting future generations from unimaginable debt" start to get concerned?

Within hours Medina was being treated like a malignant tumor within an otherwise credible movement.

Uh huh.

Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004?

How does that work? "Reelect President Bush. He failed to protect my sister and his policies might get me killed too"?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:24 AM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


AMERICA: LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT TRAITORS! STAND BY THE PRESIDENT!
posted by fuq at 6:57 AM on June 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I mostly agree with your post, and I admire your willingness to directly experience the "movement", vapidave, but your general assessment of its members isn't quite consistent with mine. From what I've seen (I know several, lucky me), xenophobia and plain old racism explains the Tea Party. The members I know are far from shy, I would use the term gregarious, and they certainly aren't misanthropic: they adore their own kind.
posted by belvidere at 7:02 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


So it sounds like the biggest danger posed by the Tea Party is that they might come to cut on your johnson?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:06 AM on June 19, 2010


Breathless impossible-to-prove story from an unknown, unverifiable source.

Yes, there were things that just didn't ring true. Even if the writer is "real," he's spinning a false tale. On the other hand, if you've ever dealt with angry-but-politically-disconnected people, then this profile of attending a "Tea Party" meeting sounds a lot more credible with respect to what's really going on.

Our news cycle is measured in minutes, not days

The funny thing is that Obama's campaign showed pretty conclusively that you can actually ignore the fluctuations of the news cycle. Get bogged down in trying to "win the day/minute," and before you know it your opponent has already registered new voters and had mail-in ballots already sent-in from 1/4th of the entire state.
posted by deanc at 7:07 AM on June 19, 2010


Speaking as a campaign vet on the other side of the political spectrum:

I was all ready to read this and get terrified, but really, the whole thing was a big "meh." He talks on the first page about "black arts," but I don't see anything in there that isn't completely within the normal range of campaign activities.

For instance:

We have new foils, such as the Troubled Asset Relief Program and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 ... Designing a thank-you note from an imaginary Wall Street executive to working-class taxpayers is so much more rewarding than most other messaging campaigns. With new variable-print technology, the postcard can be personalized and won’t look as though it was printed overnight at Kinko’s.

Are you kidding me with this shit? This is not black arts. This is Issue Advocacy 101. Seriously. The left does stuff like this all the time, and has been for years. It's sometimes effective, usually not very. Actually, in general, direct mail doesn't really have a huge impact. And when it does have an impact, it's usually because it comes from an organization that the recipient already trusts because of a prior affiliation, like the union that they're a member of, or another organization they support.

Actually, the more I think about this piece, the more I'm laughing, because the tone is so gleeful and so convinced of the sheer brilliance of their deviously brilliant strategy, and yet the strategy itself seems so boringly run-of-the-mill. Similarly, the author seems so taken with the romance of the movement, which is great, but just underscores how long it's been since there's been a legitimate conservative movement and how far behind they are.

Of course, it's possible that the author just isn't sharing the really fucked up shit they have planned. But I see literally nothing in this piece that makes me worried about organized Tea Party influence on the 2010 elections. All I see are some direct mail and some rallies. No get out the vote plan, no precinct strategy, no door-to-door canvasses, no phonebanks. In fact, if anything, this piece makes me less nervous, because it shows how truly unsophisticated the movement is, and how much conservatives have lost touch with how to win elections.

Hey, we might not lose the House after all! Thanks, Matt, for giving me something to be cheerful on this gray northwest morning!
posted by lunasol at 7:09 AM on June 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


Cut off, goddamn how did I fuck that up
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:10 AM on June 19, 2010


Of course, it's possible that the author just isn't sharing the really fucked up shit they have planned.

He did mention that they're impersonating SEIU members, which casts the claims that SEIU members have started fights at Tea Party rallies in an interesting light.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Anyway, I'm reasonably certain there are enough filthy Democrats out there doing much the same.

If so, I'd love to see it. Part of the reason I vote Democrat, even though they don't truly represent me, is that they seem, on the whole, more ethical. Three of my representative -- Keith Ellison, Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar -- have consistently proven they really are in office to serve what they see as the public good. Their campaigns have consistently been honest and issue-based. They have demonstrated a desire to address actual facts, and make sure we were all working from a shared understanding of those facts.

Contrast any of them to Michele Bachmann and then construct your false equivalence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:22 AM on June 19, 2010 [11 favorites]


He did mention that they're impersonating SEIU members

Oh, I missed that somehow. That is pretty wrong and bad. But still not Karl Rove-level wrong and bad. And again, not really innovative.
posted by lunasol at 7:31 AM on June 19, 2010


When President Clinton left office there was an all-time record $128 billion surplus. President Bush turned that into an all-time record $482 billion deficit. When exactly did these people that are "protecting future generations from unimaginable debt" start to get concerned?

And this is what really makes me mad. Why isn't this fact being trumpeted across the airwaves and the internet? I understand that many Tea Partiers don't really care about facts, and that "national debt" is just a cover for "dark-skinned foreign-sounding president." But there are lots of people on the fence who are open to logical arguments, and they're just not hearing enough of them.

We can blame people for not paying more attention and for having short memories, but that doesn't get you votes. Sometimes you have to do people's work for them.

The media in our country has really failed here. We need more Nathan Bacas.
posted by Tin Man at 7:36 AM on June 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


If so, I'd love to see it. Part of the reason I vote Democrat, even though they don't truly represent me, is that they seem, on the whole, more ethical.

This is certainly true right now, although it hasn't always been thus. Also, speaking as a former Minnesotan, you have a truly fine group of members of congress.
posted by lunasol at 7:39 AM on June 19, 2010


Anyway, everyone seemed to think this article was B.S. so I'm not going to read it :)

That sounds like a punchline to a "you might be a redneck if..." joke.
posted by gjc at 7:40 AM on June 19, 2010


I had a friend of mine in Philly do a Tea Party Crasher story last winter because my mom is a tea party member and I saw all these fliers around her apartment announcing the nascent formation of a group in the white working class suburb she lives in and this was to be their first big organized meeting. Obviously I wanted to do the story myself but couldn't because my mom is fucking nuts and totally would have dimed me, I can totally see her standing up in the middle of the meeting screaming "THERE'S MY SON, WATCH WHAT YOU SAY HE'S A SOCIAL WORKER AND WRITES FOR THE LIBERAL MEDIA!!" so I had to hand it off to someone else. The Daily Beast was basically begging me to do a piece about being the communist social worker son of a working class tea party mom but I told them that unfortunately my relationship with my mom is too complicated as it is to put it public view. My friend's experience corroborates the Ayn Rand worship among this otherwise pretty low information set::

"...I also needed a new Gmail account to go with my assumed name. I elected to go with JGalt@gmail.com, a tip of the hat to John Galt, the benignly self-interested protagonist of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, one of the sacred texts of the Tea Party movement. The one hitch I ran into was vastly underestimating how long it would take to scrape the frickin’ Shepard Fairey Obama bumper sticker off the back of my car. With time running out I said ‘fuck it' and jumped on I-95, setting the controls for the mouth of the right wing lion.

The Delco Patriots meet at The Media Inn, a rundown motor lodge on Baltimore Pike, about a mile south of the Media exit on the Blue Route. The big neon ‘M’ on the roof is burned out, so it says EDIA INN. I circled around the parking lot looking for signs of trouble—black helicopters, sharpshooters on the rooftop, men with sunglasses and earpieces talking into their sleeves that kind of thing. Seeing none, I decided to park a few blocks away so that the Obama bumper sticker wouldn’t blow my cover. The Delco Patriots gather in the dank basement banquet hall of the Inn, which, with its low-hanging drop ceiling, cheap glass chandeliers and musty wall-to-wall carpeting, has a certain dungeon-fresh charm. Before I could get inside, though, I had to negotiate a pair of Tea Partiers with clipboards taking down the name, address and email of everyone seeking entry: time to break out the alias. The guy taking down my info seemed a little hard of hearing and asked me to repeat my email, so I said it again louder: Jgalt@gmail.com. His fellow name-taker, a brassy blonde with a fierce Mary Matalin mien, looked up from her clipboard when she heard this and smiled.

'I am John Galt!' she exclaimed. We exchanged knowing glances, mine a little more knowing than hers. I had established Tea Party street cred; this was going well. Once inside the meeting room, I helped myself to the Delco Patriots literature spread out on a table in the back."

His impression, like mine based on my interactions with my mom's newfound political associates is that the bulk of the Tea Party is just angry baby boomers who have taken up political action in their retirement because otherwise their lives are really sad and lonely and without purpose. I'm trying to get cool with it because my mom honestly didn't have anyone or anything in her life before she found this.
posted by The Straightener at 7:41 AM on June 19, 2010 [20 favorites]


the bulk of the Tea Party is just angry baby boomers who have taken up political action in their retirement because otherwise their lives are really sad and lonely and without purpose.

I honestly suspect that a lot of them missed out on the activism of the 60s because they already had kids/middle class lives, or it was scary to them, or they were already conservatives, or it just didn't reach their part of the world. But they saw it on TV and it looked like so much fun! And now's their chance to live that out.
posted by lunasol at 7:46 AM on June 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Part of the reason I vote Democrat, even though they don't truly represent me, is that they seem, on the whole, more ethical.

I think we should always want our politicians to be ethical in the sense that they're not taking bribes or screwing up the country as a means to enrich themselves and pay off their buddies. However, it doesn't help anyone to vote as an expression of one's personal virtue. I want my candidates to set their sights on successful campaigns and election victory, not Adlai-Steveson-esque politicians that view themselves as "too good to win."

I honestly suspect that a lot of them missed out on the activism of the 60s because they already had kids/middle class lives, or it was scary to them, or they were already conservatives, or it just didn't reach their part of the world. But they saw it on TV and it looked like so much fun! And now's their chance to live that out.

Not just that-- they lived their lives in exact opposition to everything about what they believed was liberalism, voted for reagan, were enthusiastic supporters of W, and then woke up in late 2008 to find that the country turned against everything they believed, to the point where it was pretty clear everything that had spent their lives campaigning for was a lie. So they doubled down on conservatism, decided they were "right all along" and set about trying to "take our country back" from the Muslim Kenyan black usurper and those "darn kids" whom they blame for putting him into office.
posted by deanc at 7:51 AM on June 19, 2010 [8 favorites]



The Delco Patriots meet at The Media Inn, a rundown motor lodge on Baltimore Pike, about a mile south of the Media exit on the Blue Route.


Holy crap, I work in Media (or Marple; I take the bus and am new to the area and these townships confuse the fuck out of me). My co-worker and I have been trying to figure out how to crash these things. We were going to wear wild costumes, to obscure our true identities and to get media attention, upon which time we'd say the most fucked up, batshitinsane things.

But this idea has already been done in Cali, and somehow I don't feel like tangling with/trying to embarrass The Straightener's Ma.
posted by angrycat at 8:05 AM on June 19, 2010


I was going to say that if you go she's hard to miss, the really mean little Italian lady with crazy helmet hair, but now that I think of it that might accurately describe like half the women at the meeting.
posted by The Straightener at 8:10 AM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Regardless of the credibility issues, this is a really shabbily written and pretty crap piece in general.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:20 AM on June 19, 2010


Not really sure what's so terrifying.

There's six pages of it, and now I have playboy in my browser history.
posted by the noob at 8:26 AM on June 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Straightener's story is making me very glad my mother's not a baby boomer. Fortunately she's about ten years too old for that, and all her younger friends who are Fox News tea party folks are driving her the other direction.

Having watched the Debra Medina thing that the author referred to in the article, I do think there was some directed media exposure going on there. But to me, Medina's fall came off more as "when Glenn Beck decided she was too crazy, the people who were funding her cut off her spigot" and not necessarily anything about the grassroots. But in analyzing that case, it's also important to remember that of her two opponents, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the "liberal" Republican (insufficiently socially-conservative country-club Republican from Dallas), was already imploding and getting ready to run back to the Senate, and Rick Perry is already right-wing crazy. Perry talks off and on about things like secession, for crying out loud. In that case it sounded to me more like the Tea Party "strategists" decided Medina was a loser and they could get enough of what they want out of Perry, which makes them like every other Republican would-be powerbroker in this state, to the extent that the bully pulpit of the Governor's office has any power.

Or maybe the "black arts" in the Medina case was screwing with the polls so anybody thought she had a chance against Governor Goodhair in the first place, which is what I suspect.
posted by immlass at 8:50 AM on June 19, 2010


posted by WidgetAlley Would anyone else like to get in on the pooping party?

Oh great. The Pee Party.
posted by mattdidthat at 8:52 AM on June 19, 2010


One major theme that occurs to me abut the Tea Party overall is that they're ultimately tilting at windmills. All the racism, nationalism and xenophobia is based on the fact that in America, the White Blue-Collar Middle Class is a dwindling demographic, largely due to birth rates and an influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal. No matter how they try to legislate away the growing minority, the truth is, one day, and really pretty soon, like in another generation or so, the minority is going to become the majority, and then there will be nothing they can do electorally.

They're ultimately going to lose a battle of attrition with the non-white population of America, which will have nothing to do with Tea Party politics due to the blatant in-your-face racism. The Tea Partiers have written off the fastest-growing voting demographic, and as a result will ultimately find themselves on the dustheap.

It's scary now, but it's ultimately futile.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:57 AM on June 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


The Straightener's story is making me very glad my mother's not a baby boomer.

I'm trying not to take that personally. I am Baby Boomer. I don't have any desire to join the Tea Party Movement. I'm also not bored, lonely, or dissatisfied with my life. Not all people of my generation can be fit into a tiny box.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:29 AM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


One major theme that occurs to me abut the Tea Party overall is that they're ultimately tilting at windmills. All the racism, nationalism and xenophobia is based on the fact that in America, the White Blue-Collar Middle Class is a dwindling demographic, largely due to birth rates and an influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal. No matter how they try to legislate away the growing minority, the truth is, one day, and really pretty soon, like in another generation or so, the minority is going to become the majority, and then there will be nothing they can do electorally.

That has been the story of [a certain sect of] conservatism for the entirity of the USA. People whose parents or grandparents were immigrants, who finally feel like they own the place, don't want to make room for the newcomers. The Dutch hated the English who hated the Germans who hated the Irish who hated the Czechs who hated ... ad nausem. They are the losers of the USA, and they will always be a vocal, angry minority.

They are also the idiots who happened to be lucky enough to have idyllic childhoods, or lucky enough to forget all the bad; who are simultaneously narcissistic and ignorant enough to believe that because they remember a good childhood, that's how the whole world had it. Their fathers were far more likely to have been Willie Loman than Mr. Cleaver, but what little kid pays attention to the boring ol' adult world? Now life is shitting on them, they are realizing that they failed to, but really should have, saved for the future and are projecting all their failures onto the Liberals.

What's really scary is that there seems to be a real belief that because they now have the choice to never expose themselves to any other viewpoint but their own, when they lose an election, they can't help but believe that it is a conspiracy and talk openly about revolt.

When enough people don't trust elections, we will have lost. That time is approaching quickly, based on all this "second amendment solution" talk.
posted by gjc at 9:34 AM on June 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not all people of my generation can be fit into a tiny box.

That's what they all say...

/try the veal
posted by gjc at 9:35 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Three of my representative -- Keith Ellison, Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar..."

As a fellow Minnesotan, I totally agree that we'd had some decent candidates elected. Although, as far as I can tell, none of them have actually done anything to make up for the dog-in-a-sweater that is Bachmann's gerrymandered hell-hole of a district, or her (probably often-ironic) media spotlight. So, yeah. They're nice and all, but not really doing anything to make up for Sarah Palin Jr. (or should it be Sr.?).
posted by cthuljew at 10:02 AM on June 19, 2010


All the racism, nationalism and xenophobia is based on the fact that in America, the White Blue-Collar Middle Class is a dwindling demographic, largely due to birth rates and an influx of immigrants, both legal and illegal.

all i can do is tell you what i see around me and this is - it's not the white blue-collar middle class for the most part, it's their managers and others who have a foot on the bottom and middle rungs of "professionalism"

blue collar america is substantially more integrated these days than white collar america
posted by pyramid termite at 10:04 AM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


/try the veal

Heh. That's what the honchos at the conservative newspaper back in college told me when they bought me dinner—the only tangible part of the award I was supposed to have received for writing an article about furniture recycling on campus.
posted by limeonaire at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2010


On a related note: I recently had a conversation with a middle-aged, Caucasian gentleman in which the following phrases were used (by him): "colored fellow", "not a Negro, but probably Nigerian", "that Mr. Obama", "[this country is] changing too fast!". (Fox News was mentioned at some point, too.) I have never worn that shit-eating a grin in my life, let me tell you. But this is the bread and butter of the Tea Party movement, as far as I can tell: white men past their prime and their wives. Others may apply, of course.
posted by cthuljew at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2010


I have friends who live in Bachmann's district. I'd try harder to make fun of them if they didn't reply with "I'm supposed to vote for Elwyn Tinklenberg? Are you joking?"*

That being said, I'm kind of proud that Franken, Klobuchar and Ellison represent our state, and I hope non Minnesotans get an idea of just how badly Bachmann's district is gerrymandered.

/Minnesotan Mefi'ers represent!

*At least this time someone with an actual political resume is running against Bachmann,Tarryl Clark. If you would like to donate to her campaign, now you can!
posted by Sphinx at 10:37 AM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


When enough people don't trust elections, we will have lost. That time is approaching quickly, based on all this "second amendment solution" talk.

I seriously don't see that reaching anything like critical mass. The vast majority of Americans are at least comfortable enough with the system we have that they'll stand aside as the police dispatch the people who go "from ballot box to ammo box."

There's definitely quite a few people out there who feel like armed insurrection is the answer, but like every time we've had a groundswell in that direction in the past, I think their numbers are smaller than they themselves think, and that when they do take to the streets, guns in hand, they'll probably create a little isolated mayhem, but will find out pretty quickly that the mass of society is not rising up with them at all. I bet it's lonely to be barricaded in your Winnebago with your guns and grenades, surrounded by well-trained police, waiting for the revolution that doesn't come.

The sixties were way more tumultuous times, with way more support for a massive change in the status quo, but still, the SLA and the Weather Underground ultimately found themselves isolated & defeated pretty quickly. I don't see the right-wing militias as being able to gain much more traction, ultimately.

I'm not saying don't be vigilant, but don't be terrified, either. I don't want to be caught in the crossfire between the militia crazies & the law, and I am afraid that people will get hurt, but I think it's going to fizzle the way it always has.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:49 AM on June 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


Rick Romero reports: Marketers lie! Film at 11.

Seriously people... I'd call the single most surprising point in that entire TL:DidR article, the fact that the "real" Tea Partiers (as opposed to the complete frauds - TFA's author's clients - using the name) sound fairly reasonable. Not foaming-at-the-mouth "birthers", not thinly disguised racists, but a pleasant middle-American crowd sick of paying so much in taxes for little to no return.


gjc : When enough people don't trust elections, we will have lost. That time is approaching quickly, based on all this "second amendment solution" talk.

"Approaching"??? If Toto running behind the curtain in 2000 and 2004 didn't convince people our election system amounts to a sad charade, I don't know what it would take. At this point, you either already have zero faith in the system, or you may as well just let your local Party leaders fill out your ballot for you.
posted by pla at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can someone suggest a means by which I can read the link, from behind Etisalat's firewall in the UAE?
posted by bardophile at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2010


a pleasant middle-American crowd sick of paying so much in taxes for little to no return.

And yet, they don't complain about the military budget, instead they complain about niggers (but not white folks) on welfare.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:59 AM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given the amount of reasearch put into this article, it would have been a lot more interesting if the author had just done some straight-up reporting on the parasites working as political consultants for these hooples. Back in the day, it was not unusual for most of the consulting to be flat con jobs to separate the chumps from their money or taking the hacks money to deliver the chumps as willing dupes. The consultants can be pretty cynical as is implied by this piece of fiction, but he doesn't bother to show anything approaching reality.

But that's not the point. The TP love this sort of stuff; they assume politics is always a mudslinging match so they'll be charmed to have creeps on their side.
posted by warbaby at 11:12 AM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Jimmy Havok : And yet, they don't complain about the military budget, instead they complain about niggers (but not white folks) on welfare.

Many people (on both sides of the aisle) don't consider military spending a waste of money. Me, I'd say we could probably halve the federal budget without significantly decreasing our domestic safety (if anything, looking a bit less militaristic would likely make fewer people want to attack us - In particular, the type of attackers that a large heavily-armed military has proved almost useless against). But for some reason I can't claim to understand, social conservatives in particular seem to really think wasting trillions on bigger bombs and faster planes somehow benefits them.

As for welfare - I have yet to meet a fiscal conservative who cares about the color of a welfare recipient's skin. Even among people I'd say have something of a racist bent, proponents of welfare reform want it minimized across the board, not just for whatever groups they happen to dislike the most.

Though of course, just as not all fiscal conservatives care about social issues - not all racists care about the economy.
posted by pla at 11:19 AM on June 19, 2010


pla wrote: "sound fairly reasonable. ... a pleasant middle-American crowd sick of paying so much in taxes for little to no return."

They would sound reasonable, if they weren't delusional about what they're receiving for their tax money.
posted by wierdo at 11:38 AM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's the text of an email I received just yesterday form a 51-y.o. white American male with a good white-collar job:

AMAZING WORD TRICKS

A. Did you know that the word "race car" spelt backwards still spells "race car"?

B. Did you know that "eat" is the only word that if you take the 1st letter and move it to the last, it spells its past tense "ate"?

C. And have you noticed that if you rearrange the letters in "illegal immigrants" and add just a few more letters, it spells out:
"Go home you fucking free-loading, benefit-grabbing, kid-producing, violent, non-English speaking arseholes and take those other fucking hairy-faced, sandal- wearing, bomb-making, goat-fucking, raggedy-ass bastards with you"?

How weird is that?


It had been far & wide by the time it got to me. *bleah.* I asked him to de-include me from any further racist bullshit.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:43 AM on June 19, 2010


"[this country is] changing too fast!"

Okay I'm reading Stuck Rubber Baby for the first time and I'm reading some reviews of it (shut up I am that person) and Mefi's own Zompist said something in his review

"The moral portraits are nuanced. The KKK types are here, and are terrifying. But the more 'decent' Southerners are here as well-- Toland's father, well-meaning but full of misimpressions of Negroes; his mother, who makes him take a bath after he and a black child have the idea of exchanging clothes; his brother-in-law, who disapproves of violence but can't find a good word for anyone in the civil rights movement; the Episcopal pastor, who denounces racism but isn't ready to take a stand for gays; the local college kids, cheerfully oblivious to the epochal struggle going on downtown. (One type, painfully familiar from my own reading on the period, is missing: the sympathetic Northerner who disapproves only of Southern racism. Many supported Dr. King till he came to their own cities; or listened sympathetically to white speakers denouncing racism, while ignoring blacks who said the same things. And they always worried that Dr. King was moving too fast.) "

Got plate o' shrimped there for a moment.
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on June 19, 2010


When enough people don't trust elections, we will have lost. That time is approaching quickly, based on all this "second amendment solution" talk.

I seriously don't see that reaching anything like critical mass. The vast majority of Americans are at least comfortable enough with the system we have that they'll stand aside as the police dispatch the people who go "from ballot box to ammo box."
...
"Approaching"??? If Toto running behind the curtain in 2000 and 2004 didn't convince people our election system amounts to a sad charade, I don't know what it would take. At this point, you either already have zero faith in the system, or you may as well just let your local Party leaders fill out your ballot for you.


And that difference is the key. People may very well not trust that things are really run exactly as they're meant to be or as they're promised - but people seem to trust that things are generally being handled okay enough for it not to be worth the risk of real action. Basically there's the claim of not liking the government, and then there's the actual process of divorcing yourself. There was an interesting piece about this relationship in the Times the other day.
posted by mdn at 11:51 AM on June 19, 2010


I’ve created more than my share of fake grassroots organizations.

When you're listening to someone brag about the lies he's told, it's a safe bet that he's lying to you too.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:57 AM on June 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


all i can do is tell you what i see around me and this is - it's not the white blue-collar middle class for the most part, it's their managers and others who have a foot on the bottom and middle rungs of "professionalism"

blue collar america is substantially more integrated these days than white collar america
posted by pyramid termite at 1:04 PM


Not to be a Zompist fanboy, but he has an excellent article on this kind of Randism with the conclusion:

Third, and perhaps most common, it's the worldview of a provincial narcissist. As I've observed in my overview of the 20th century, liberalism won its battles so thoroughly that people have forgotten why those battles were fought.

It's hard to read libertarians without concluding that they've never been out of the country-- perhaps never out of the suburbs. They don't know what Latin American rule by the elite looks like; they don't know any way of running an industrial economy but that of the US; they don't know what an actually oppressive government looks like; they've never experienced a depression; they've never lived in a slum or experienced racial discrimination. At the same time, they have a very American sense of entitlement: a gut feeling that they've earned the prosperity they were born into, that they owe the community nothing, that they deserve to have whatever they want, that no one should stand in their way.

In short, they're spoiled, and they've evolved a philosophy that they should be spoiled.

I don't want to leave out the possibility of honest confusion. Some people may be attracted by parts of the libertarian program without buying into its underlying morality.

posted by The Whelk at 12:03 PM on June 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


“Because it's written without identification, the piece has to be read with a measure of skepticism. That said, much of what is written seems grounded in reality. The Tea Party movement described by the consultant doesn't come off as inherently outlandish. In fact, there is a sense of admiration in the prose. ‘This cause is worthier and more real than anything I've done in the past,’ the consultant writes. ‘I'm all in.’

But the piece certainly dispels the myth -- if it still existed -- that the Tea Party is some sort of folksy grassroots movement merely trying to add a modicum of sense to today's corrupt political process. In fact, the movement gets giddy pleasure from sticking it to institutional powers but is quietly dependent on the type of politicking they deplore, as even the author admits.

‘[T]he worst thing I can say about the Tea Party I work for is that it can make lots of noise but can't win without professional help. I love the irony of helping run this organization from the St. Regis Bar [one of D.C.'s fanciest hotels].’” *
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on June 19, 2010


He did mention that they're impersonating SEIU members, which casts the claims that SEIU members have started fights at Tea Party rallies in an interesting light.

"SEIU spokesperson Michelle Ringuette responds to news that Tea Party protesters are dressing up in union t-shirts:
'Every day all around this country, women and men who work hard for a living are proud to put on purple to symbolize their strength when they stand united. It doesn't matter how many t-shirts the Tea Party puts on to cover themselves up -- the Tea Party leaders' ugly and anti-American rhetoric is out of sync with SEIU's 2.2 million nurses, janitors, child care providers and other members who through their union want to win justice for all working people.'" *
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Melinda Warner | Media Matters:
"Based on my prior experience with them, locally active Tea Partiers will be devastated to find out that their newly discovered passion for politics and recommitment to the American way is being driven, reworked, and violated by a small group of DC insiders whose only goals are to get people into power who will bring them the biggest paycheck."
posted by ericb at 1:09 PM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


The odd thing about ideology is how it erases shades of gray and the universe of values collapses rather quickly into stereotypes. This is because the underlying values universes are not very numerous and most issues are simply stand-ins for others.

For instance values around gun ownership and bigotry have high degree of correlation and in turn share high correlation with attitudes on taxation and militarism.

You aren't going to find a lot of people favoring increased military spending and gay rights. But you are going to find a lot of people who favor increased military spending who will also tell you they are paying too much in taxes.

Keith Poole
and others who have done extensive statistical analysis of voting patterns say there's not that many different political categories out there.

Just because the TP wants to deny it doesn't make their values based on cultural separatism and unequal rights (which is another way of saying hereditary class structure) any less real.

Long story short: stereotyping value system may occasionally the source of anecdotes about rare outliers, but on average what you see is what you get.
posted by warbaby at 1:45 PM on June 19, 2010


Okay I'm reading Stuck Rubber Baby for the first time

I envy you; it's a fantastic piece of work. After I read it I started recommending to people as "serious comics" ahead of Maus. It's a shame it doesn't get the profile it deserves (along with One Bad Rat).
posted by rodgerd at 1:47 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I smell fake. It's written to reassure liberals that the populism of the right is indeed not really populism, but carefully crafted astro-turf.

It's populism. It's horribly misinformed and misguided, with entirely misplaced fears and ideals, but that's nothing new. And there has never, ever, been a "populist" movement that didn't happen without a hefty dose of organizational support from someone, somewhere.

Besides, I think the Tea Party's existence is a good sign. It's indicative of the fragmentation that is occurring on the Right.
posted by Xoebe at 1:53 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Whelk:
That is such an excellent quote.
posted by JHarris at 2:01 PM on June 19, 2010


This is the laziest bunch of bullshit - come the fuck on - this is supposed to be taken for real?

This is my favorite idiotic part:
Jon David and Maura Flynn filmed the Andrzejewski TV spot. David is multi­talented. In addition to being one of the best directors I’ve seen, he took the stage before Sarah Palin at the Nashville Tea Party convention...
... He uses a pseudonym because he would lose his job in Hollywood if it were known he uses his free time to play the beautiful intro ballad for Michele Bachmann speeches.
Good thing nobody records or photographs tea party rallies or Sarah Palin!
posted by odinsdream at 2:08 PM on June 19, 2010


The tea party movement is just a rebranding of failed conservative values that didn't work out as intended under Bush-Cheney. The soul searching is mildly interesting because libertarian values ruined the economy and the environment, and religious fervor divided the Republican party. Their challenge was to reinvent themselves, and they came out of the oven as bitter and nasty anti-democrats, rather than moderates, and this should be a sign of relief to most liberals. No more confusion to deal with. Theats of revolution from tax cheats, pedophiles, cop-killers, and anti-public-schoolers sounds like vacation weather to me. The first armed mob that tries to assert their "second-amendment solution" to their personal problems will go down in popularity faster than the Black Panthers or the American Indian Movement after they took a stand, and all the tea baggers with them.
posted by Brian B. at 2:27 PM on June 19, 2010


When enough people don't trust elections, we will have lost. That time is approaching quickly, based on all this "second amendment solution" talk.

I certainly don't trust elections (in particular the treatment of third parties as compared to the major two; I do trust the tallies are correct), but there are very few of us - most simply don't care - and nobody talks about armed resistance, that would be ludicrous. And I don't hear many people seriously questioning the tally. Trust in elections is not a serious concern.

The Second Amendment talk is just that, talk. Maybe if there was hyperinflation it could be an issue, but even then it seems very unlikely. A few individuals or small groups who identify with the Tea Party might strike out, but I doubt we'll see civil strife to match the sixties, let alone anything more.
posted by BigSky at 2:56 PM on June 19, 2010


I too think this article is bullshit. But I am intrigued by the existence of this bullshit. Who wrote it, and why? It all seems very plausible to someone left of center like myself, but that goes a long way toward why I don't trust it -- the element of truthiness. It sounds...well...exactly what you'd expect it to sound like. But there's no attribution, no plain motivation for the article's existence, no real dirt that proves this is an insider, no clear predictions you can use to verify the piece down the road.

More than anything else, it puts me in mind of the fake "love, a billionaire" postcards that are mentioned in the article itself.

So...what does this thing want, then? Is it a right-wing ploy, something sent to stir up some trouble for a week or two before they show it came from a false source? Is it a left-wing ploy to piss off democrats and get them motivated to vote this fall? Is it a Playboy ploy meant to generate page hits, albeit several months too late to capitalize on interest in something that is already falling off the cultural radar? Whatever it is, I don't think it'll be very successful, but I would like to know where it really came from.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:57 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie: "Three of my representative -- Keith Ellison, Al Franken, and Amy Klobuchar -- have consistently proven they really are in office to serve what they see as the public good. Their campaigns have consistently been honest and issue-based. "

I like Al Franken a lot, but last election was a fantastically dirty campaign, and drove several people I know to not vote in that race. I think he's gone on to redeem himself a lot in office, and had a pretty great first term so far, but his campaign wasn't nearly as issue-based as I wanted it to stay.
posted by graventy at 3:34 PM on June 19, 2010


FWIW, there was a very real shift from Taft-style conservatism (faintly pro-Axis isolationism got messed up in the Cold War) in the fifties to what Richard Hofstader termed "pseudo-conservatism" of the New Right (starting with Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy.)

By 1964, the Bircher whack-jobs were able to harness the backlash against Civil Rights to start peeling off the Dixiecrats from the New Deal's uneasy alliance of Northeastern liberals and southern reactionaries.

So the FDR's New Deal coalition, which had fought and won WWII (against Republican resistance varying from appeasement to direct alliance with the Axis) and in so doing finally ending the Depression (brought on largely by Republican economic policies), started to move in the post war years to the logical conclusion of the war against fascist race politics by addressing the segregationist legacy of the Civil War. This lumped the New Right in with the hard-core racists. And the American right has been a sick alliance of reaction against the New Deal, the political coalition that fought and won WWII, and the overthrow of Jim Crow.

This is why the Tea Party seems so incoherent and inarticulate. The issues they are responding to are echoes of political events from two generations ago -- now deeply encoded into the culture as inarticulate values about preserving white supremacy and rolling back the political and economic advances that created the post-WWII middle class, such as the right to collective bargaining and universal voter registration.

By 1972, the New Right under Richard Nixon had refined backlash politics to the point where the only important thing was to promote as much insane devisiveness as possible (orchestrated by people like Roger Ailes, the brains behind Fox's stable of noise machines). So the style has been carved in stone since the TP hooples were kids. They can't see it any more than they can see the air they breathe.

The other thing about the TP - they are the same people who where screaming for an invasion of Iraq and now they are pissed that it actually has some costs (like caving in the global economy) attached to it. With this profound a level of denial going on, it's absurd to expect this mess to get cleaned up by reasoned debate and a public eduction process.
posted by warbaby at 3:46 PM on June 19, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have yet to meet a fiscal conservative who cares about the color of a welfare recipient's skin.

How do you explain the lack of concern about the fact that an actual Tea Party leader is a welfare slacker? How do you explain the "keep the government out of my Medicare" posters? How do you explain the lack of concern over farm subsidies? How do you explain all the complaints that illegal immigrants are sucking at the government teat, when the truth is exactly the opposite?

They may not say out loud that they only want welfare for affluent whites, but the kind of things they do say show it quite clearly.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:51 PM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


That is pretty wrong and bad. But still not Karl Rove-level wrong and bad.

It's more Lee Atwater ratfucking wrong and bad.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:27 PM on June 19, 2010


> Is it a right-wing ploy... a left-wing ploy... a Playboy ploy...

I'm guessing it's a (successful) writer's ploy to sell a hot-button article to Playboy. It reads just like an "I Was A Hell's Angel! No Shit! Really! And Here's What They're Like! From An Insider!!!" article from the July 1957 Reader's Digest or The Saturday Evening Post (with Norman Rockwell Fourth of July patriotic cover.)


> they don't complain about the military budget, instead they complain about niggers

Not flagged, not told on to the mods, but it goes in my WTFmefi? file. So I can straight-out say nigger or faggot or retard or cunt on metafilter and nobody will so much as blink (it was many, many comments upthread, nihil obstat so far) as long as I'm talking about some "they" whose presumed-by-metafilter mindset is to be totally OK with the word? Hey, they all probably say it all the time when they're meeting in their treehouse with the NO NGGGERS ALOUD sign where it's just them, or anyway they want to and wish they dared, so I'll just say it for them. Is fine with everybody? Interesting fact to know about the userbase; on the evidence we'll call that one established.
posted by jfuller at 4:30 PM on June 19, 2010


You think they don't say it? One of my co-workers showed me this a while ago. Nope, no Tea Partiers using the bad word, all just my own imagination.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:48 PM on June 19, 2010


Jimmy Havok : How do you explain the lack of concern about the fact that an actual Tea Party leader is a welfare slacker?

Although I personally would call his views (particularly on medicare / health insurance reform) rather hypocritical, I would also defend disability as an entirely different ballgame from what most people mean by "welfare abuse".

I think, though, many attacking the TPers as inherently racist have attributed malice where mere self-interest would suffice. They don't attack spending that directly benefits them, simple as that. Your one choice racist quote (and yes, I know all too well that you could find dozens more) only takes one person - And not even a sincere one at that, as TFA discusses - in ten thousand to taint the whole group.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to defend their hypocrisy. I sure as hell don't count myself as a TP'er (if nothing else, I find their social views as just shy of "Christian Taliban"esque).


jfuller : Is fine with everybody? Interesting fact to know about the userbase; on the evidence we'll call that one established.

I'd far rather someone just come out and say any of those than use the increasingly annoying phrase "the [insert letter here]-word". Either come out and say it, or find a phrasing that doesn't require skirting it.
posted by pla at 4:59 PM on June 19, 2010



the bulk of the Tea Party is just angry baby boomers who have taken up political action in their retirement because otherwise their lives are really sad and lonely and without purpose.



the american left needs to engage with these people rather than composing lolthreads about them, but i guess those times are long gone.
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:14 PM on June 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think, though, many attacking the TPers as inherently racist have attributed malice where mere self-interest would suffice.

Self-serving racism is still racism.

I'd far rather someone just come out and say any of those than use the increasingly annoying phrase "the [insert letter here]-word". Either come out and say it, or find a phrasing that doesn't require skirting it.

I understand that you enjoy being out of the mainstream here but most of us don't want to read racial slurs kthxbai


the american left needs to engage with these people rather than composing lolthreads about them, but i guess those times are long gone.

"These people" are not interested in engagement. Look at their rhetoric and signs and such; they are operating on the level of sixth-grade bullies.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:19 PM on June 19, 2010


An unexpected result for some census takers: the wrath of irate Americans
posted by homunculus at 5:23 PM on June 19, 2010


I could make so much fucking money off these assholes if I cut my hair and wore a suit. Fuck yeah, leverage the synergies web 3.0 emerging paradigms!

I actually work with one of these guys, a conservative nihilist who worked against Kerry in 2004. He moved to California to get away from his (crazy, conservative) family, and just works on gay marriage here because he likes to win and he knows that in 2012, we will. He can make all the right, convincing arguments, but doesn't actually care that they're right.

The part that I really recognize of him in this article? He is full of shit regarding his influence and capabilities. He's good at what he does, but he sees himself as a shadowy Svengali, secretly running all of the pro-gay marriage campaign out of this one office that he's not even in charge of. In reality, he's just good at logistics; he'll always be a second-in-command, but never a leader.
posted by klangklangston at 5:45 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I can straight-out say nigger or faggot or retard or cunt on metafilter and nobody will so much as blink (it was many, many comments upthread, nihil obstat so far) as long as I'm talking about some "they" whose presumed-by-metafilter mindset is to be totally OK with the word?

Lee Atwater:
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger" — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger."
Now they say "birth certificate." Way more abstract.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:48 PM on June 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


So I can straight-out say certain words.

Probably a job for MetaTalk. Maybe an allotment -- like say, one a month. Or we could Cap and Trade.
posted by Trochanter at 6:36 PM on June 19, 2010


In reality, he's just good at logistics; he'll always be a second-in-command, but never a leader.

"Man behind The Man, man, man behind The Man!"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:16 PM on June 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


"They are as talented at destroying liberal institutions as they are at picking up cougars. I don’t mean 30-year-old mothers; I’m talking about tired 50-year-olds. With wrinkles."

Can the hive mind explain to me why on earth he spends two paragraphs building up James O'Keefe et. al, only to end up on this one? Am I supposed to want to high five Mr. O'Keefe at this point? The only idea I can sieve from this wrinkly statement is that 50-year olds, not 30-year olds, are into the Tea Party and its message. Which seems pretty far from the image they're trying to convey, of, well, being relevant and contemporary and such.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 12:22 AM on June 20, 2010


Use/reference. Learn it.
posted by cthuljew at 1:13 AM on June 20, 2010


pla wrote: "I would also defend disability as an entirely different ballgame from what most people mean by "welfare abuse"."

The more right-leaning folks I know (which is pretty far right given that I'm talking about people from Oklahoma) consider long term disability to be nearly as bad as any other form of cash welfare. They're generally OK with short term disability and have more mixed feelings on non-cash welfare like food stamps. Funny that they still complain about food stamp abuse that hasn't been possible since the move to EBT cards, though.

That said, one must keep in mind that these people, who have some of the worst maintained roads in the nation, were against a bond issue backed by a temporary sales tax because "[their] roads aren't that bad, it's just a conspiracy between the government and the construction companies!" Part of it is that they feel over taxed, despite us not being at all abnormally high in the most-taxed rankings. (property tax is stupidly low, sales tax is low-to-middling, as is income tax)
posted by wierdo at 2:03 AM on June 20, 2010


My dad use to have this saying, "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about."

Maybe we should put taxes way the fuck up.....for a year or two. Then drop them down to just slightly above what they are now. (I know it's never going to happen, but I kinda like thinking about it. Don't ever elect me Governor.)
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:27 AM on June 20, 2010


I'm always amused when conservatives write something like "Bush mangled the GOP brand into a grotesque form that conservatives haven’t recognized in five years." I'm all for budget cuts myself, but you guys always try the same shit, and never get anywhere.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:33 AM on June 20, 2010


Graventy: I like Al Franken a lot, but last election was a fantastically dirty campaign

Do you mind clarifying what you mean about this? I was in MN at the time of the race, actually working on a different campaign. I kept hearing how dirty it was, but I couldn't figure out what people meant by that. It was certainly a hard-fought campaign, and often quite antagonistic, but that doesn't necessarily mean dirty. Is there something I missed when I was in the trenches on my campaign?
posted by lunasol at 10:04 AM on June 20, 2010


Liberals always get accused of fighting dirty when they stand up for themselves instead of rolling over the way they're inclined to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:12 AM on June 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


To the extent that the TPers probably overlap with the Americans who meet U.S. census workers with vicious dogs and crossbows,* they don't belong in civil society.

We should give them an island (ironic Huxley reference), except there aren't a whole lot of islands for the offing that would hold them all.

*the article does not explicitly join the census-haters and the TPers, but in the general pool of people who hate the current U.S. government there is probably a lot of overlap.
posted by bad grammar at 3:50 PM on June 20, 2010


I tired to be scared by this, but all I could think is that if these guys are for real, then they're probably the ones spinning shit here in South Carolina this election cycle. And if this is their A game, then they're seriously a bunch of fuckin' amateurs. Nothing to be frightened of here, Donny.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:05 AM on June 21, 2010


I'm a 39-year-old, straight, married white male from the midwest with a good white-collar job, and I embrace all races and religions and so on and so forth. Just wanted to put that out there in case some teabagger wants to buy offset credits from me, kind of like carbon offset credits.
posted by davejay at 11:32 AM on June 21, 2010


And if this is their A game, then they're seriously a bunch of fuckin' amateurs.

Just remember: dedicated organizations improve over time. We here in America tend to go for broke, all or nothing, to win at all costs or crash and burn. Dismissing an organization that isn't up to par currently is tempting, but it takes a while to get really, scary good at something. Ignore 'em at your peril.
posted by davejay at 11:33 AM on June 21, 2010


dedicated organizations improve over time...Dismissing an organization that isn't up to par currently is tempting, but it takes a while to get really, scary good at something. Ignore 'em at your peril.

This is very, very true. I've seen this very thing happen within the Democratic party over a period of only about 4-6 years. It's amazing what being out of political power can do for a movement. Also, not to get all Godwin, but I remember reading once that the "liberal elite" of Berlin once found the Nazis hilarious.
posted by lunasol at 7:07 PM on June 21, 2010


Louisiana Tea Partiers Rally for More Drilling
posted by homunculus at 10:13 AM on June 22, 2010


Louisiana Tea Partiers Rally for More Drilling

The idiocy...it burns!
posted by lunasol at 1:00 PM on June 22, 2010


A possible vision of the future of the Playboy Tea Party Insider.
posted by homunculus at 12:04 AM on June 25, 2010


Michele Bachmann Fears Obama May Create Evil 'Global Economy'
posted by homunculus at 10:25 AM on June 30, 2010


Michele Bachmann Fears Columbus May Create Evil Global Economy

"Trading with savages will be the end of Christian virtue," quoth the Viscountess.
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on June 30, 2010


Tea partiers ascend in many states: With help from Palin and Tea Party Express, anti-government rhetoricians threaten incumbents
posted by homunculus at 8:52 AM on July 4, 2010


Fox News, the Black Panthers, and the same old pattern
posted by homunculus at 10:09 PM on July 5, 2010


The Embarrassing Racist 'Satire' of Tea Party Leader Mark Williams
posted by homunculus at 12:07 PM on July 16, 2010


*blink*


*blink*

what?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:16 PM on July 16, 2010


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