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NY Times - Frank Rich: "The Great Tea Party Rip-Off"

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TomCADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:11 PM
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NY Times - Frank Rich: "The Great Tea Party Rip-Off"
One thing Frank Rich does not mention is the prominent role of Dick Armey and Freedom Works in helping to organize and underwrite the Tea Party "movement" along with the free media coverage provided by Fox News. Heck, it is almost enticing the idea of engaging in grass roots work for a profit.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/opinion/17rich.html?h...


Both Steele and Palin claim to be devotees of the tea party movement. Im a tea partier, Im a town-haller, Im a grass-roots-er is how Steele put it in a recent radio interview, wet-kissing a market he hopes will buy his book. Palin has far more grandiose ambitions. She recently signed on as a speaker for the first Tea Party Convention, scheduled next month in Nashville even though she had turned down a speaking invitation from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the traditional meet-and-greet for the right. The conservative conference doesnt pay. The Tea Party Convention does. A blogger at Nashville Scene reported that Palins price for the event was $120,000.

The entire Tea Party Convention is a profit-seeking affair charging $560 a ticket plus the cost of a room at the Opryland Hotel. Among the conventions eight listed sponsors is Tea Party Emporium, which gives as its contact address 444 Madison Avenue in New York, also home to the high-fashion brand Burberry. This emporiums Web site offers a bejeweled tea bag at $89.99 for those furious at a government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history. This is almost as shameless as Glenn Beck, whose own tea party profiteering has included hawking gold coins merchandised by a sponsor of his radio show.

Last week a prominent right-wing blogger, Erick Erickson of RedState.com, finally figured out that the Tea Party Convention smells scammy, likening it to one of those Nigerian e-mails promising untold millions. Such rumbling about the movements being co-opted by hucksters may explain why Palin used her first paid appearance at Fox last Tuesday to tell Bill OReilly that she would recycle her own tea party profits in political contributions. But Erickson had it right: the tea party movement is being exploited and not just by marketers, lobbyists, political consultants and corporate interests but by the Republican Party, as exemplified by Palin and Steele, its most prominent leaders.

Tea partiers hate the G.O.P. establishment and its Wall Street allies, starting with the Bushies who created TARP, almost as much as they do Obama and his Wall Street pals. When Steele and Palin pay lip service to the movement, they are happy to glom on to its anti-tax, anti-Obama, anti-government, anti-big-bank vitriol. But they dont call for any actual action against the bailed-out perpetrators of the financial crisis. Theyd never ask for investments to put ordinary Americans back to work. They have no policies to forestall foreclosures or protect health insurance for the tea partiers whove been shafted by hard times. Their only economic principle beside tax cuts is vilification of the stimulus that did save countless jobs for firefighters, police officers and teachers at the state and local level.

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