Monday, April 13, 2009

Tea Parties, All The Way Down

I'm still having a lot of fun with these tea parties, but Krugman puts my juvenile mockery in a more serious context:

Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.

But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.

So what’s the implication of the fact that Republicans are refusing to grow up, the fact that they are still behaving the same way they did when history seemed to be on their side? I’d say that it’s good for Democrats, at least in the short run — but it’s bad for the country.

For now, the Obama administration gains a substantial advantage from the fact that it has no credible opposition, especially on economic policy, where the Republicans seem particularly clueless.
Clueless is a good word.

Carry on, Tea Baggers.


  1. I'd be interested in your analysis of the difference between the tea parties and the various left wing protests over the past few years. Do you view the Obama presidential campaign as Astroturf because it was centrally organized and promoted by prominent left wing blogs? What about protests from or Code Pink? In other words, what is it in your view that separates legitimate grassroots expression from astroturf?

  2. The difference, Bradley, would be mainly in the ratio of Lobbyist to Populist in the "uprising."

    The tea parties, while not only unfocused, and just vaguely angry about something, were contrived nearly 5 months ago by a collection of corporate lobbyists.

    Obama's campaign, however, was actual populism (his final average campaign donation was still under $200 in the end... a historic even in a presidential election).

    Hope that answers your question (also, sorry for the delayed reply, arguing with Sutherland keeps a person busy.)

  3. Why he did it?
    The video from the scene:
    Jayson Williams-"suicidal"