Q: Who cares what Sarah Palin thinks?
A: Everybody who is somebody.
Now, my colleagues on the left detest this kind of talk, but only because it's true. She types two ridiculous words on Facebook like "death panels", it affects policy. She tweets, and Tucker Carlson makes it into news.
Next, she'll be calling down the works of heaven to the BP oil volcano from behind Twitter oh wait…
Even what she doesn't say, e.g. "happy father's day" to Levi, is news. Apparently, it takes two people to report it.
Recently, Chris Matthews took it on the jaw by the astroturfed faction of the tea bag set because of his special show, "The Rise of the New Right". Naturally, Sarah Palin came up. The links to the show are up, now. The show is worth watching for anyone interested in the current form of rightwing frother politics. The Palin-banshee footage is in part four.
Did they forget? A bunch of them so taken by Sarah's charms, were going to boycott Fox News itself because they weren't deferential enough, in their estimation. Something like that.
One could only hope Matthews had done a "hit piece" on the tea party. The tea party should in fact be grateful Matthews did not delve further into the roots of their bigotry, leaving the viewer instead with a fairly solid history of today's most vocal, headline-making faction of the extremist rightwing.
I've covered this history quite a bit, at Oh Crap, I Have A Crush on Sarah Palin.
With that in mind, let's go over a few things worth noting that Matthews missed or left out.
"New Right" is a misnomer. Or, perhaps Matthews intends to recycle the old Reagan-era, Weyrich/Viguerie label from their 1980 book, The New Right: We're Ready to Lead. Heretofore, the "New Right" were the post-Johnson, post-Watergate Reaganites ideologues (including the Reagan Democrats who never get any mention in these discussions of the teabaggers. That's shameful, because people should know the Reagan Democrats were the prototypes for the soccer moms, security moms, nascar dads, bogus hockey moms, and cetera.
Father Coughlin, anti-Semitic priest. Matthews included footage of the notorious Father Coughlin and made mention of the man's frothing anti-Semitism. There is a connection between the tea party's own anti-Semitism problem that Matthews left unexplored. See Adam Holland's exposés on this topic, as well as "Teabagger Follies: Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Antichrists, Militias and Anti-Semitism".
The ideological (and theological) split between the Ron Paul/Campaign for Liberty/whatreallyhappened/Alex Jones/libertarian-paleoconservative teabaggers versus astroturf/FreedomWorks/Dick Armey/Sarah Palin/neoconservative teabaggers. Matthews lumps them all together, when in fact there are stark ideological differences between these two groups. Plenty of ones and zeroes have been spent on this, including a couple coming from Oh Crap. It's worth it to note that Matthews includes the full interviews with 9/11 Truthbagger Alex Jones, and Rand Paul, though they go unnoticed as representatives of the libertarian-paleoconservative faction.
The John Birch Society. The John Birch Society is trying to make a comeback. Prior to 2010, the Birchers were considered a fringe movement by other conservatives. But the JBS, to the dismay of many cons, co-sponsored this year's CPAC. In turn, CPAC was notably eschewed by Palin but attended by Beck; Matthews includes some of Beck's CPAC footage. Jury's still out as to why; Sarah was just as mum about it as she is silent on her personal Christian beliefs. But the Bircher element may have had something to do with it. For his part, Beck has to fend off accusations of anti-Semitism himself, after promoting books by Elizabeth Dilling, one of American anti-Semitism's most notorious headcases.
Anti-Semitism. There were some burbles about "race" in the Matthews docu, but as is predictable, "race" really means "Black people", and no one else. This is glaringly evident in Maddow's well-tempered grilling of Rand Paul on his position re: the Civil Rights Acts. The tea party apparently has no issues with recklessly invoking the Holocaust or using images of people's relatives who perished in the Holocaust to score political points. One need only check any comments section under articles at Campaign for Liberty, Daily Paul, Mike Rivero's Whatreallyhappened, Prison Planet/Infowars, and other anti-NWO/truthbagger sites for how many times "Jews", "Zionazis", "Israel-did-it" mutterings by the rank and file. This is not new behavior on the extremist right. It's foundational to it. These internal-shooting-gallery teabaggers even tag Rivero and Jones as crypto-Jewish Zionist plants.
The Constitution Party. Dontcha love these rightwingers who think they and only they are the only people on planet earth who work or pay any taxes? The Constitution Party is something of an 800 pound gorilla at the tea party and was completely missing from the Matthews doc. As Palin observers know all too well, Todd Palin's former party of choice, the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) is the AK affiliate of the Constitution Party. Matthews is correct to trace much of the tea party rhetoric to internet-based relative newcomers like Alex Jones. But much of the same rhetoric can be traced to the Constitution Party/fmr. US Taxpayers Party. More on the CP's (non-)relationship to Palin can be found "Scared of Sarah, Part 2" and in "Teabagger Follies".
Ross Perot. The Matthews doc included refrains to Pat Buchanan circa 1992, but left off the part about Ross Perot siphoning off a lot of what might now be considered the proto tea party. Even a dumb conservative as stupid as Dan Quayle sees the connection.
Many remember the Reform Party of the 1990s, which formed around the candidacy of Ross Perot. I sure do, because it eliminated any chance that President George H.W. Bush and I would prevail over Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1992. What started as a grass-roots phenomenon ended with 19 percent support at the ballot box — and a majority of those voters would probably have gone Republican in a two-party race. Speaking on behalf of the Bush-Quayle campaign, to this day we firmly believe that Perot cost the Republican Party the White House. The 1992 election was the best showing for the movement Perot started, and whatever national influence it retained kept working to the benefit of Democrats.
In my estimation, this is precisely why Sarah Palin, who, prior to early this year had nothing to say to the tea party, was called to rein in those GOP teabaggers who were still reachable. Suddenly, the tea party became a beautiful movement worthy of her time, just so long as it was after her book tour. Bringing her on was smart thinking, because so far, it has worked. It's also worked in keeping Palin herself tethered to the GOP, instead of going third party, splintering the rightwing vote that much more.
The people who make up the tea party are those ever-willing to be led by the nose by any demagogue who tells them what they want to hear, this year, that they are being oppressed by the government and liberal minorities taking their money and forcing their business to serve us at integrated lunch counters instead of in the back. This is the same old GOP McCarthyite/Goldwateresque/Reaganoidalism repackaged for the '10s. Think about it; it was only a generation ago.
But now the tea party, whatever it's supposed to be, is a domestic movement with what will soon evidence a severe ideological split, becoming more pronounced by the day. The National Tea Party Federation already screens out the birthbaggers and the truthbaggers. Wise move. They, like Palin, know those people discredit them and that their presence harms their movement. Constitutionbaggers and other bigotbaggers are still welcome, for the moment, until the meme gets flung far and wide that the 'turfed teabaggers are really just duped, unpaid shills for big business. If screaming their Dick Armey talking points at reps' and senators' town hall meetings wasn't beginning enough, the GOP's obstructionist, party-of-no haste to apologize to BP for Obama's $20 bil "slush fund" has certainly started that in motion.
If they agree with Supreme Court rulings that corporations are persons, they should consider all that "personal responsibility" rhetoric they have tried to cram down the throats of American citizens since the Perot Era. Now it's time for corporations like BP to take some of that legendary "personal responsibility" and act like Normal-American people.
And let's hope we don't see the teabaggers at townhalls screaming on BP's behalf as they did for the insurance industry, even as Palin has flip flopped herself after telling her minions not to trust her husband's former foreign employer.
I predict someone or something in the tea party movement is going to throw down the gauntlet over the usual gauntlet-throwing: Israel, and anti-Semitism. Those two things are the consistent burble under the soft underbelly of the extremist, bigot-fascist rightwing. The call for a boycott threat won't hurt Matthews. It's just a reprisal for the left boycotting their favored media/facebook/twitter talking heads, favorite sons, and beloved saviors. The extremist right has enough problems presenting a unified face to the public already. The fissures in the tea party underscore just how, and why.Powered by Sidelines