As exhaustively detailed at the following link, the tea parties are a massive magnet for massive stupidity. They can't do anything right and the only reason they aren't little more than an embarrassing blip on U.S. political history is because their opponents are only marginally smarter than they are. Instead of trying to intellectually engage the partiers and show how they're wrong, those opponents have engaged in a long series of similarly childish activities, such as calling the partiers names or the like.
The latest example is the "Crash the Tea Party" group (crashtheteaparty.org) which is seeking infiltrators to try to make the partiers look bad by cranking their lunacy up a notch: bringing misspelled signs to rallies, advancing positions that are even more fringe, and so on. One problem with that is that it's lowering debate in the U.S. even more than the partiers are doing. Another problem is that it's difficult for even Pajamas Media to tell the difference between the real partiers and the infiltrators (pjtv.com/?cmd=mpg&mpid=72); everything they say about infiltrators applies to some or many real partiers.
And, yet another problem with the "Crashers" is that it gives the real partiers cover: they can (and will) simply blame loony signs and loony ideas on the infiltrators. The person behind the "Crashers" (Jason Levin, twitter.com/tpartycrasher, twitter.com/xenex11) is in effect helping the partiers (he might even be secretly on their side). Even Dave Weigel can figure out that Levin is helping them (link).
Another twist and turn in this disturbing tale is that FreedomWorks - one of the string-pullers for the partiers - knows how they're vulnerable. At the Washington Post article, their Brendan Steinhauser says:
Steinhauser passed on a chance to critique the CrashtheParty strategy of discrediting tea partiers. "I'm not going to suggest what they'd do if they were smart," he said.
OK, so I'll do that:
1. Their opponents could send smart, high-minded people - i.e., not the Max Blumenthal types - to tea party events and meetings and have them engage those present - preferably their leaders - in debate about policy. Those smart people could show how their libertarian-leaning ideology leads to a raft of negative consequences. Videos of the debates could be uploaded to video sharing sites so that Americans who aren't that familiar with the partiers could see what they really support.
2. Their opponents could show why average Americans don't want to be useful idiots for Freedom Works, the Koch family, Grover Norquist, and all the others who are the real leaders of the tea parties. I believe that Rachel Maddow has discussed those who pull the strings on their movement, but based on what I've seen of her I don't think she would do it in a way that would convince those outside her small circle.
3. Their opponents could point out that the leaders of the partiers are lowering debate in the U.S.: instead of encouraging an open debate about policy, those leaders have encouraged their charges to throw tantrums, shout down politicians, and engage in other uncivil and ineffective actions.
4. Their opponents could point out that the leaders of the partiers have completely ignored immigration matters, and could suggest why that might be. Their opponents could use this issue to separate the bulk of the partiers from their corrupt DC and libertarian leaders.
Wed, 04/14/2010 - 10:09 · Importance: 4