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The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party February 8, 2010

Posted by Lynn Christiansen Esquer in Politics.
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A few thoughts regarding this past weekend’s National Tea Party Convention:

R.I.P.: I think it’s a shame that the original tea party movement is dead. Oh, of course it lives on through the disaffected neo-cons who will use it to fuel their discontent and as a way to become relevant to themselves again. But the original intent of the tea parties, begun by Libertarians and Independents, was to push for a move away from the two-party system that has a chokehold on our country and to fight the structure that rewards candidates and lawmakers when they become beholden to corporate interests, returning to the Constitution. Now that the Republicans have effectively hijacked the movement, the original reason for them being is dead. The tea parties now stand for something completely contrary to their original ideology.

Welcome Back, Jim Crow: By far the most shocking thing to have come out of the tea party convention was the suggestion by opening night speaker Tom Tancredo that the law that kept African Americans from voting be reinstated, because the absence of segregation-era literacy tests could be the only explanation as to why Barack Obama was elected president.

And then the audience applauded enthusiastically.

Palin 1: It’s no secret I’m not a fan of Sarah Palin. But it says something about both Palin and the for-profit tea party movement that she accepted $100,000 for her keynote address that slammed over-spending and greed, at a convention that was largely shunned by other politicos because of allegations of profiteering. Palin’s conduct in this and other instances would lead me to believe she agrees with Mark Twain: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.”

Palin 2: Palin especially loves to talk in vague, vapid terms about “ideas” and “foreign policy” and then refuse to elaborate. Then Palin, who couldn’t even finish her first term as governor of nowhere, had the temerity to offer “advice to the guys in D.C.” She is light on knowledge but big on hate, half-truths and anti-intellectualism: There’s no more dangerous combination.

The Usual Suspects: I’ve read that this convention was the movement’s attempt at maturity. Maybe so. But it was amusing/disturbing to still see many people — with undisguised hate — questioning “Barack Hussein Obama” and the matter of his citizenship, or applauding those who did. The overtly lunatic fringe may have been discouraged from coming by the $549 price tag to attend the NTPC, but the classed up crazies were still very much in evidence.

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