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Monday, November 02, 2009

 
Teabag Front

by digby

Right wing watcher Adele Stan at Alternet has a must read piece up about the dynamics around the Scozzafava sideshow which, among other things, makes the very important point that while he is certainly a wingnut favorite, her teabagging rival isn't actually the grassroots candidate they are portraying him to be:
Although Hoffman's candidacy seemed to come out of nowhere, it was the endorsement of Armey, chairman of the astroturfing group FreedomWorks, who put him on the map. Then Palin signed on via this note on her Facebook page, putting Hoffman over the top:

Political parties must stand for something. When Republicans were in the wilderness in the late 1970s, Ronald Reagan knew that the doctrine of "blurring the lines" between parties was not an appropriate way to win elections. Unfortunately, the Republican Party today has decided to choose a candidate who more than blurs the lines, and there is no real difference between the Democrat and the Republican in this race. This is why Doug Hoffman is running on the Conservative Party's ticket.

Soon Hoffman was Glenn Beck's favorite interview subject. (The local chapter of Beck's 9-12 Project is a big Hoffman booster.) Tea Party sites around the nation started talking up the Hoffman candidacy and condemning Scozzafava. The Club for Growth had found its candidate. Michelle Malkin, the Fox News commentator whom AlterNet last met at an astroturf event, threw in.

And don't forget the pundits of another media property owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.: those of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

If this cast of characters sounds familiar, it should. These are the same forces who organized the disinformation and thuggery campaign against health care reform, and are many of the same personalities who created the right-wing Tea Party march on Washington on Sept. 12 -- the one with all those "Don't Tread on Me" flags and the signs comparing Obama to Hitler and Stalin.

Stan shows that the conservatives are playing the long game and they know how to do it. They don't care that they might lose in the short run or that the ruling elites think they are kooky. What they care about is that when the electorate looks to change horses, as it always does, the Republican Party will be firmly in the hands of the conservatives and further to the right when they last checked in. And she points out something that simply cannot be emphasized enough about just who those conservatives really are and who they serve:

For Armey and the FreedomWorks crew, the Fox pundits and the Club for Growth, the fight for the 23rd district is more about reminding the GOP establishment who's in charge: The business interests who fund those organizations, whose CEOs were likely not amused by the specter of a moderate Republican congresswoman who embraces the Employee Free Choice Act, a proposal for legislation that would make it easier for workers to join labor unions.

Or indeed, not amused by the Republican party being infused in any way with "moderation" which only works for them politically on the Democratic side of the fence.

This tea party movement is certainly real. And the people who are signing on are truly upset about the election of a perceived liberal to the White House. (They can't believe such a thing could possibly be legitimate.) But the fact is that Dick Armey is and always has been a tool of corporate America and the groups that are sponsoring this stuff aren't doing it because they think Obama was actually born in Kenya or that he's going to take away everybody's guns, euthanize old people or put conservatives in FEMA concentration camps. They are afraid that the Democrats are going to empower unions, regulate business, stop outsourcing jobs and otherwise try to turn back some of the disasterous policies that are breaking the backs of the average American.

The irony in all this is almost beyond belief, but there it is. These teabaggers are sincere, but they are useful idiots for the very elites they deride. (It's pathetic, but then progressives are hardly better with our posturing about being for the working man while our leadership covers for the financial whiz kids.)

Unfortunately, when the right gets more and more extreme it often gets out of control if the masses find themselves truly hurting and desperate for relief. At that point, they start looking for scapegoats and the only question is whether they look to the guillotine or the "other." The rightwing radicals know which direction to point them in. The compromised left merely looks down at its feet hoping it all goes away.


Update: I guess the most violent wingnut enforcers really like Hoffman. They're very civil.


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