The TEA Party: If They Can’t Take the Country Back, They’ll Take it Down.
There are 87 TEA Party congressional representatives out of 435 members in the house. 20%. Although they make up less than a third of the Republican side of the aisle, without them, the Grand Ol’ Party doesn’t have enough votes to beat the Democrats. They amount to what has become either a tumor on the tail that wags the dog, or the birth of a de facto right/far-right coalition party.
In their mind, they are the only members of congress with a constituency. This twenty percent claims to be the representatives of all American people. The TEA Party are, again, in their mind, the minority that should be given all the power of a majority, and if they don’t get it, dammit, they’ll make sure that no one else has it either.
The TEA Party represents a fictitious majority of American people that don’t seem to have their views reflected in most independent polls, and only show up in the tens, mixed in with professional, stand-in demonstrators, whose familiar faces, and 18th century garb, arrive with the corporate sponsored buses, to crowd around Fox News media vans and give the appearance that their numbers far exceed reality.
I witnessed this fiasco, in person, last summer while covering TEA Party rallies in the southwest. It was one particular guy that first caught my attention when I attended my second rally. I realized that I recognized him from the first, and continued to see him at subsequent rallies. It was this same guy, with the same triangular hat sign (not the tricorne hat like they all wear, this bore more resemblance to the block of cheddar headpiece that a cheese-head would wear, except white, and with writing on the sides), that was always the ‘loudest local’ at every pit stop. He and the others like him, there were several (he was just the first that I recognized), were gregarious and charismatic, quickly spreading throughout the crowd whipping small groups into cheering sections, until it seemed like the crowd had come alive organically, and that they were nothing more than part of it, rather than the engineers of it. The Fox News crew would then show up and carefully arrange the small crowd, and choose the perfect angle for the camera shot, to ensure that dozens would effectively look like hundreds to those watching it on their television.
Signs that featured Fox News as the bastion of truth and unbiased reporting would spring up in the hands of those around the reporter and an impassioned and breathless commentary would be given extolling the beauty of the organic, grass-roots movement showing unsolicited support for every conservative value and all the key issues that the corporate clients of Dick Armey’s Lobbying firm cared about the most.
A similar phenomenon exists on line. An exaggerated on-line presence for the TEA Party is achieved through organized groups that work diligently to subvert any non-conservative content by burying it, harassing comment sections, and making false reports of abuses, or violations of terms, while pushing content generated by the right-wing echo chamber (and the lobbying firms that support them and write their talking points), referenced only by right-wing data sources, through multitudes of sock-puppet (fake) accounts run by a relatively small group of conservative ideologues. An expose regarding the depth and breadth of this was released last year. Without any mechanism to end this corruption, it continues.
For example, one particular right-wing crusader, we’ll refer to them simply as ‘Molly’, is believed to have hundreds of accounts throughout social media sites specifically for the purpose of manufacturing the illusion of a large pool of people sharing very specific radical ideas, and having the power of a hundred voices to demand that non-conservative content be censored, banned, or removed from web sites. Here are some of the identities that have been attributed to ‘Molly’ on only one social media/news sharing site, Digg.com.
…and that’s just one site. It seems like more individual names than you can find at many of their rallies.
This gaming of the system, the polls, the on-line feedback forums, and their television presence (with the help of Fox News) has given them a unfounded, and inflated, sense of their own importance. They’ve started to believe their own lies, why not, the main stream media has fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. Now, they can’t fathom why it’s unreasonable for 20% of the congress to hold the rest of the nation hostage. In their mind, that 20% of congress really does represent the entire American population.
It’s not just in the delusional minds of the average TEA party member either. It seems to be in the minds of the congressional reps that are sitting in those 87 seats. Democracy be damned. They signed pledges that subvert their commitment to govern and hold the entire country hostage until it bends to the will of their congressional minority that steadfastly represents their imaginary majority. Even the Republican Party, of which the TEA Party is a part-of, but not really, not unless the Republican Party does everything the TEA Party wants, only controls one of the three parts of government.
The Republican party that was holding all legislative progress hostage for the first two years of Obama’s presidency, is now being held hostage by the TEA Partiers. If it wasn’t so sad for the country it would be funny. The entire country is being held by this rogue minority of the minority that thinks they represent the majority. This minority of the minority is acting as if they truly believe that they really are the chosen representatives of the majority of the entire nation that they are holding hostage. They’ve been allowed to bring the entire government to the point where it cannot ensure its continued viability as a credible, trustworthy, functioning body. It truly is remarkable, and it really must stop.
They will never win the true majority they crave; they know this. They want to control the majority, but deep down they realize that they really aren’t truly part of that majority, any more than that majority is a part of them. They just keep repeating it for their own comfort, and in the hope that if they say it enough, the idea just might start to stick. But, fortunately, in the same way that you can’t snap your fingers and cure ‘crazy’, you just can’t wish it into existence either. At some point the rational majority starts to pay attention and demand an end to the nonsense.
They are the lunatics who lay awake in their cots at night constantly dreaming of controlling the asylum. So, as reality winds up to give them a well deserved slap in the head, it seems as though they think that they need to f*ck sh*t up as much as they can before they get kicked back to the lunatic fringe they came from. Groups such as this have two options: first, they can game and trick their way into a position of supreme power in order to enact their entire ideological platform en masse, or, second, they can cause so much chaos and structural weakness while they have marginal power that they can pursue their goals in the absence of a strong representative body of the people to stop them. In other words, if they can’t have you, no one else can have you either, even you.
Don’t get me wrong; they haven’t given up on the brass ring. They still want it all. While this debacle over the debt ceiling rages on, and continues to weaken the country, Republican state legislators are doing everything they can to corrupt the 2012 elections through voter exclusion legislation and maximizing the use of the unfettered flow of corporate cash that the Conservative dominated Supreme Court voted to allow. It’s a sick joke that the SCOTUS decision that effectively sold the American democracy to corporations in 2010 is referred to as the ‘Citizens United’ decision.
All of Washington has embarrassed itself during this debt ceiling cluster-f*ck. None are exempt, but culpability is attributed for different things, and to different degrees. The level of TEA Party intransigence stands in a class of its own. They proudly stated that compromise was a bad word. TEA Party ignorance about the substance of the issues, and the consequences of their decisions regarding those issues, also sets them apart. They have no idea what can happen as a result of the chain of events they are about to set in motion. The destabilization of the system, as the TEA Party is instigating, will make it an easier target for exploitation than it will for reform.
Although the TEA Party may be about to achieve what left-wing revolutionaries have only dreamed of (a significant blow to global capitalism and the defunding of American imperialism) corporate and financial interests are even more prepared to be able to exploit, through disaster capitalism and the Shock Doctrine, and consolidate their control over all resources and services. Unless, of course, the proponents of alternative sustainable economies are prepared enough to offer, and back-up, something that might actually work, for everyone.
The TEA Party caucus, and the entire bankrupt right-wing brain-trust, don’t take well to not being in charge, and they don’t take well to losing. And, right now, they are nothing more than a bunch of losers who aren’t in charge. Like a spurned lover with an inferiority complex they are going to do everything from slashing your tires, to posting lies about you on Facebook, to trying to get you fired from your job and evicted from your apartment. If that doesn’t work, make sure that you park in a well lit area and keep an eye out for the low-life lurking behind the dumpster in the alley, it just might be the TEA Party making sure that if they can’t have you, nobody can.