The Dirty Exploitation of the Tea Party Patriots
I’m just a simple, patriotic and selfless person who has entered politics because those in power have lost all contact with the real world. I may not be book smart, but I’m pure. I stand for you. I’m an outsider. They look down on you. They don’t think you’re smart, but I do. I see the goodness in your hearts. I know that you are actually the Real Americans. Not them. Not those who seek to change America.
How’s that working for you so far? Sounds a lot like Palin’s campaign slogan “restore America”, don’t “transform” America, but this was the siren call of the leader of the Poujadist Movement in the 1950’s, albeit with “France” replacing “America”.
I can imagine the howls of horror were the Tea Partiers ever to get wind of their close brush with “Socialist” France, but of course, they won’t. Their masters don’t want them to educate themselves on just how they are being used, and so have convinced them that every source of information but Fox News is suspect. This is mighty convenient when you are lying to people.
The Sandusky Register recently revealed the Tea Party’s purity test for candidates. You must believe:
1. The Right to Life is a Constitutional right, therefore innocent human beings should have legal protection from conception until natural death. If you hold any exceptions please state them.
2. The regulation of Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere should be left to God and not government and I oppose all measures of Cap and Trade as well as the teaching of global warming theory in our schools.
3. Marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman, any other type of Union is not marriage.
4. Children should not be placed into foster homes where the parents are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender.
5. Parental consent should be required for sex education that teaches more than direct abstinence.
6. The second Amendment to the Constitution [the right to keep and bear arms] should not be weakened in any way.
7. Only US citizens should be allowed to vote and a photo ID should always be required to vote. (The Mexican government requires a photo ID and fingerprint).
8. I oppose Ohio’s State Income Tax.
9. I oppose the Obama Health Care Reform and would like to see more affordable healthcare through a competitive, open, and transparent system.
10. I oppose the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy of the military and believe that all same sex partners should be banned from combat duty in the military because of the propensity to transmit blood-borne diseases in the theatre of battle.
11. I support a law that will allow the people to place on a ballot all collective bargaining agreements of all government associations, unions, and guilds, for their expressed approval. Defeat of such an agreement would mean government workers would not be immune from the free market system.
12. I oppose card check for voting to implement a Union as this could give unions an unfair intimidation tactic to implement unionization.
13. I am not an economic pacifist. I believe that we need to protect our economic borders in order to ensure free and fair trade. Tariffs should be used to stop the wealth and jobs of Americans from leaving her borders.
14. The Federal Reserve as it is currently conceived needs to be abolished or at the very least audited.
15. I advocated moving our currency to a debt-free supply-side labor-based currency.
Can you feel the rage? This movement is selling anti-change, fear of immigrants, and Washington DC as unworkable. The meme “government doesn’t work” feeds this unreasonable, oxymoronic and inherently hypocritical agenda (e.g., small government controlling women’s bodies, adherence to Constitution for second amendment but not for others, etc). This purity test is an example of selling proud ignorance, eerily reminiscent of the Poujadist movement in 1950’s France, when postwar reconstruction efforts coupled with the Marshall Plan began to modernize France, turning it into an industrialized and urban nation.
Pierre Poujade was a French populist politician who organized tax protesters in an inchoate, far right movement called Poujadism. Poujadism came to represent being anti-social change. It resembles the American Tea Party in its common man against the elites billing, and even more similarly, in its ability to fuel resentment among the lower classes — using themes of anti-intellectualism, anti-Semitism, anti-modernization, anti-industrialization, war hawkishness and general xenophobic nationalism.
Its basic premise was Republican revolutionaries and conservative nationalists banding together to create an anti-establishment movement, which later was absorbed by the Right. If you think about it, with a brand as damaged as the Republican brand is, rebranding their agenda as a populist movement which they will later co-opt back into their party makes perfect sense. Sarah Palin is already leading the charge to the Tea Party to vote Republican. This was only surprising to those who bought the GOP Tea Party as a legitimate populist uprising.
Perhaps I don’t need to tell you that Poujade was the proud recipient of many state benefits (from retirement pensions to health insurance)…. the sorts of things the taxes he was railing against paid for.
Déjà vu, no?
Poujade proudly proclaimed that he himself had not been tainted by the scourge of book learning and denounced those who had. In another nod to our Tea Party, Poujade declared that the “Real France” was not in Paris, but in small towns and farms. Ah, yes. Real America!
Sarah Palin, self-described leader of the Tea Party, is our own reigning Poujadist Princess, leading the exploitation of those very people whose cause she purports to champion. Although Poujade may have kept his movement a tad bit more pure than our modern Tea Party, he was never able to absolve himself of charges that he used the movement to further his base political ambitions. This will be Sarah Palin’s legacy as well.
“I don’t know if you’re familiar with the history of the Tea Party Express, but it’s dirty,” pronounces proud leader Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots. Proud to be dirty. That’s the rage of the Poujadist talking. An appeal to the down and out to take to streets instead of the realm of ideas.
The easy seduction of the calculating forces behind the Tea Party for the people on the ground is obvious; they feel politicians are betraying them. They don’t trust Washington. They’re threatened by change. They are angry with illegal immigrants whom they blame for the failing quality of their own lives. These elements never change; they are always ripe for manipulation by the dirtiest politicians who appeal to fear. All they need is a scapegoat upon which to funnel their impotent rage.
And how does one achieve directing populist rage? They count on things being bad for the average person and then spread hopelessness and mistrust in the media. This usually comes down to a feeling that no one can be trusted and all in Washington are evildoers. The force behind the anti-establishment movement attacks the current politicians with dirty talk and accusations (like, say, being “Muslim” or not being “Christian” or being a Marxist). Then the movement introduces the “clean” candidate. The “outsider”.
Like, say, Sarah Palin the North Star from the wild frontier of Alaska, who is as pure as the driven snow! This almost writes itself.
Of course, only the very, very gullible would fall for that. Of which, apparently and sadly, we have many. The Poujadist Movement, often labeled as faux fascism, actually threatened the very foundations of French government for a very short time. But here’s the best part: Poujade’s party took more than 50 seats in the National Assembly but once there, they fell rather silent. It seems that when they had to actually govern, they didn’t have a lot to contribute.
It’s easy to make up jingles of opposition, but not so easy to come up with solutions.
So when everything you read is selling you no hope, when the economy certainly backs that up, when you are down and out, you are ripe for the picking. Left or Right, you are an easy target when you give in to despair. Despair is the wolf at the door of change.
It takes the ability to think to overcome these base reactions, because thinking about the economy will tell anyone that there are no simple answers. It’s a matter of time.
Dirty politics are nothing new, just as the Tea Party is nothing new. The problem with dirty politics, aside from their destructive, anarchistic bent, is that they offer no solutions. These movements historically pop up when times are bad. And they usually disappear when the economy improves, having accomplished little but disruption and chaos in already bad times. The Tea Party is like crack for instant gratification junkies hell bent on finding someone else to blame for their troubles. And it feels great for a while….
Like shouting at the top of your lungs, “Vote ‘em all out!” But after the exhale, what now? I don’t know about you, but I prefer the calm and reasonable waters of real solutions to the angry, impotent rage of exploitation.
One of the worst things that can happen to Sarah Palin’s brand of politics is for Tea Party candidates to go to DC this fall. They will either have to become that which they claim to hate or they will fail miserably, neither of which will bode well for Palin in 2012. But even more important than that is an economic recovery. When the people are doing well, they will be less inclined to respond to the dog whistle of hate. The Tea Party’s success this fall could well be Palin’s demise.