If there’s one thing Tea Party Dominionists know how to do, it’s craft an appealing, all-American sounding narrative. While all politicians do this, Tea Party candidates are infamous for the utter lack of credibility in the nevertheless successful narrative.
Here’s our cast of All-American players:
Michele Bachmann: Dr, lawyer, and tax litigator in Minnesota, struggling today with gas and food prices for 23 foster children, reluctant candidate, happily married, victim of the evil liberal media, hated for being a conservative woman but never backs down, small town America takes common sense to the big city, cheerleader marries does husband’s bidding and ends up saving America by accident, old fashioned values, has bi-partisan appeal, was drafted into politics by the clamoring of the people against her own will, is attacked for her gaffes but her True Believers know those weren’t gaffes, they are the truth.
Sarah Palin: Fiercely conservative woman who never backs down even though the left hates her and tries to kill her and her family, victim of the liberal media because she is a servant of God and naturally liberals hate God, brings outsider status to DC, is an ethics reformer and small government conservative, doesn’t believe in taking money from the fed, thinks everyone should balance their budgets like Americans do at home, is happily married mother of five, is sexy but doesn’t care about her looks as proven by the fact that she’s too busy mowing her own lawn and going camping to bother with Hollywood things like stylists, All-American basketball star goes to DC and shakes things up, Mrs Smith goes to Washington and shows the boys how it’s done, quit her job as Governor of Alaska to save the state from the evil lawsuits of Obama supporters because she loves America and the taxpayers, is a fiscal conservative who would never spend someone else’s money, is a reluctant candidate who will be drafted at the last second to save America from the evil socialist dependent agenda.
Rick Perry: Fiercely independent cowboy rejects DC and says whatever pops into his head because he’s not playing political games, is against taking money from the fed, is a pro-family conservative, will shoot first and ask questions later because that’s how you lead, has made Texas into the promised land, milk and honey flow from the soil since Perry took office, is a job creator, serves God and doesn’t give a damn what you or anyone else thinks of him.
Taken together you can see that these folks are all playing the same part. Perry is playing the Decider Bush cowboy and the ladies are playing the persecuted Mom hated for her love of her children. If you call them on their hypocrisies, you will be accused of hating them for loving babies. Tough to win that one, eh?
The paper thin narratives might leave you laughing, but you are the not the intended mark. The intended victim of said cons loves to dress up in theatrical costumes so they can pretend they are a founding father or the Goode Mother Besty Ross. They believe in Normal Rockwell paintings, that Jesus hates liberals, and that they should never question the white man in charge. They are told by Fox News that they are independent while at the same time being spoon-fed their beliefs. Luckily the church has weaned them on why some people are to be believed (so-called conservatives) and others (anyone other than a conservative) are not. They scoff at people who warn them that they are eating plastic, after all, that plastic has a big corporate mark on it so it must be a-okay. They adore logos and flags and symbolism in general. A flag pin to these people means you love your country. We are taking a walk on the very, tippy-top surface here, never delving into the murky waters of reality.
Of course, such narratives involve stretching the truth and sometimes plain out lying, but who cares? For the Tea Party, all is fair in love and war. This is not a movement based on integrity. Take for instance almost every single character trait listed in our cast’s character descriptions, and guess what? Only a few are actually accurate.
But when you’re shaking your head wondering why the Tea Party doesn’t care that their candidates are hypocrites, it’s because they bought into these con-artist narratives, and like the best story tellers know, once you get the audience invested in your characters, the audience will forgive the character for even the most egregious wrong.
In this way, we sometimes find ourselves rooting for the killer because we know his cause is right, or he is loved by the heroine and we want to see them together, or we know it’s wrong but we just don’t care because it feels so good to vicariously feel the power of might making right against perceived injustices.
These are the battles that liberals and Democrats face in each election cycle, and indeed on each policy issue, because the Republican Party excels at crafting narratives and selling things that are bad for the people via an all-American faux character the people can fall in love with, fantasize over, and imagine being. The journey of Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann thus becomes the journey of every conservative woman, so when you call Sarah Palin a liar for her claim that she was innocent of Troopergate, you are attacking every conservative woman for being a stay at home mom. Likewise, when you attack Rick Perry for being a know-nothing cowboy, you are attacking hard-working non-elites across the heartland.
The marks don’t care that Scott Walker dropped out of college after being accused of cheating in an election. Who needs an education when the hero is a good guy? When he’s…. just like me.
As frustrating as it is when you try to dispute facts with a Tea Partier only to realize two hours later that they don’t care that you proved them wrong, it’s even worse when you realize that it’s a myth you are fighting. A mirage. A carefully crafted fictitious character propped up by Koch Brother money and ALEC puppet masters.
I’m not even going to link to the multitude of articles available on this site alone which debunk the character narratives for the three major Tea Party myths, because it wouldn’t matter to those who cling to the glittery flag bracelet of Joan of Arc from Alaska or the silver bullet of vigilante justice from Texas.
This game is all about emotions and the characters are all endorsed by God. The fact of the matter is that these mythical heroes and heroines don’t stand for the things they claim and even worse, when you take them apart layer by layer, you discover that they had a wily hand in creating these false narratives, in playing their marks for all they could. The depravity of their actions reveals the craven, repugnant inner core, in which I do not see the face of God, the actions of Jesus, small government, fiscal conservatism, free market proponents or rugged individualists. Every single one of these candidates has used and abused federal funding for their own financial gain and to prop up the illusion of effective fiscal policies, hidden whimpering under cries of persecution when called on their discrepancies and enjoyed Denial of Reality as a campaign strategy.
Remember when we thought Rove was the master at this? Welcome to the New Age of Narrative Crafting and BS selling. The Tea Party age – where there is no bottom.
Just in case the comment section is overcome with outraged Tea Partiers, I’m going to suggest that if you have a specific problem with this article, you state what your candidate believes in and stands for, link to it, and show how they walk their talk before smearing the whole article under a general claim of liberal bias. In other words, when you’re in my house, you play by my rules and here at PoliticusUSA, we deal in facts. So use them to back up your comment or don’t bother because you will be asked to back it up.