After all of the talk of the Tea Party dying out, I was kind of excited to see the video of the hyped up Palin speech in New Hampshire. I already knew that her speech was slightly better performed that usual, but it wasn’t Palin that interested me (I fear this is a national trend). It was the people. Who are they, what are they doing….
Here ya’ go! We have video of the New Hampshire Tea Party rally in between speakers; after Palin and before Angle. Dave Weigel of Slate says the folks emptied out fast after Palin, and I’m sure they did, after all it was hot out, but the reports of financial troubles, canceled rallies, low poll numbers and low turnout for the Tea Party have been in evidence for months now. Even Tea Party leader Palin hasn’t been able to generate huge crowds. However, Palin did manage to pull in a much larger crowd that Romney in the same state during the same weekend. But larger than isn’t the same as large.
Here’s the thing I noticed right away: there are as many tents hawking wares as there are people attending. And really, isn’t that the perfect visual for everything the Tea Party stands for? Sellouts, cons, marks — money behind a fake grassroots movement, money being made off of a fake grassroots movement, and money being grifted by speakers and alleged performers off of a fake grassroots movement. This is truly sad.
Video from Dave Weigel, sardonically entitled “excitement”:
And yes, the majority are older. White. On Medicare and Social Security. Etc. Weigel took the picture above of a lonely guy holding a sign reading, “Conservatives have more fun,” which is kind of hopeful and clubby, while at the same time signaling Willy Loman-esque type desperation. It’s hard not to have compassion, but I steel myself against it knowing if there’s one thing the Tea Party hates, it’s compassion.
Still, when the singer tries to rile up the exceptionally sparse — no, we can’t call this a crowd, it looks like a craft show after it’s over — gathering, then, by saying to them “They say the Tea Party is over but we’re not over” and only a few people manage the spunk to reply, it pulls at your heart strings. It’s hard not to remember that they know not what they do.
And then the camera pans over a bit too far camera left and we see the camping chairs lined up in the front row. And I think to myself, “Oh, let them have their fun, they’re not hurting anyone.” But, of course, they are. Unknowingly, most likely, but still. Maybe they just wanted to believe in something again and the costumes and instant belonging of the faux movement provided that for them; some way to finally join in with their Fox Sisters and Brothers, to imagine themselves as young and beautiful and sure as many of their “leaders” appear to be from the vantage point of the sadly disrespected class of the over 60 crowd in a country that worships reckless youth.
The Tea Party is dying. Soon the media will have to find its new shiny ball, but you can bet it won’t be the labor movement, any liberal cause like protesting the wars, or the call to make Wall Street play fairly. No, it will be the next Britney Spears manufactured, synthesized, photoshopped and soulless icon they can make a buck off of.
Sarah Palin will always represent the utter depravity of the people behind this movement, and she too is racing toward the sure shelf date of her coy games with the press. The New York Times reported that activist Peter Bearse, 70, of North Hampton, N.H. expressed his belief that Palin was the leader of the Tea Party, “She won’t say this, but I’ll say it: She’s the acknowledged leader of the leaderless Tea Party movement.” So much for the constant attempts to deny Palin as the leader of the Tea Party and distance themselves from her when she falls down.
I fear Rick Perry will find a way to hook the Tea Party primary voters of the GOP while managing to dump them at just the right time in order to sell himself to the more reasonable remnants of the Republican Party. How boring will it be to redoux the Texan cowboy cheerleader?
Perhaps it will only serve eventually to remind people of their utter loathing and despair for George W Bush. Maybe it will finally force us to confront the elephant in the room. It’s about time we had that discussion as a nation; why George W Bush’s presidency failed so massively and what, if anything, the Republican Party done about it.
While many of us know the answer to that question, it still needs to be asked and answered. Rick Perry may just hold the keys to that national dialogue, and I for one would welcome it with open arms.
We are watching the death of a salesman, but behind him is the Big Money that will simply rebrand itself once again, morphing into the the next big thing it can distract the masses with in order to sell them things they don’t need while robbing them blind of the things they do.