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Saturday, February 13, 2010

 
Insty Drinks Some Tea

by digby

So Instapundit went to the tea party convention and, surprise, came out convinced that they were all just plain folks who share his libertarian values. (It's interesting how many people look at the teabaggers and see what they want to see.)

A year ago, many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama's transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli's famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name.

Tea partiers are still angry at federal deficits, at Washington's habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation, and the general incompetence that has marked the first year of the Obama presidency. But they're no longer depressed.

Instead, they seem energized. And surprisingly media savvy.


Yes they do.

Reynolds is right that they are angry at federal deficits, at Washington's habit of rewarding failure with handouts and punishing success with taxes and regulation. That's conservative movement boiler plate. But it's also very sneaky --- when they say "habit of rewarding failure with handouts" they aren't talking about Wall Street bankers, although it's very convenient to pretend that's what they mean.

Let's take a trip down memory lane and revisit that famous Rick Santelli rant, which kicked off the tea party movement as we know it. (Ron Paul staged some earlier tea party protests, but this was the catalyzing event for the right wing.)And he most certainly was not ranting about Wall Street bailouts, he was ranting about the administration's plans to help average Americans ("losers") refinance their mortgages.

Watch it. Remind yourself of what galvanized these teabaggers in the first place:



And then remind yourself of this, via C&L:


Last week, CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli rocketed from being a little-known second-string correspondent to a populist hero of the disenfranchised, a 21st-century Samuel Adams, the leader and symbol of the downtrodden American masses suffering under the onslaught of 21st century socialism and big government. Santelli’s “rant” last-week calling for a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest President Obama’s plans to help distressed American homeowners rapidly spread across the blogosphere and shot right up into White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’ craw, whose smackdown during a press conference was later characterized by Santelli as “a threat” from the White House. A nationwide “tea party” grassroots Internet protest movement has sprung up seemingly spontaneously, all inspired by Santelli, with rallies planned today in cities from coast to coast to protest against Obama’s economic policies.

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.


We know who the tea parties are really serving and why. And so does Instapundit. No wonder he's so smug.



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