Tea Party

Don't Follow Leaders, Watch the Parking Meters


Kenneth Vogel on the Mark Williams affair:

I'm on the pavement thinkin' 'bout the government.

When a group called the National Tea Party Federation took it upon itself to read California radio host Mark Williams and the Tea Party Express out of the insurgent movement because of Williams's mocking and racially tinged attack on the NAACP, the media seized on the episode as evidence of the tea party movement's struggle to purge racism from its ranks.

But for tea party organizers, who for months have grappled with what they contend are false allegations of racism, the incident highlighted a problem they believe is a more serious threat to the tea party's longevity and effectiveness: the petty political disputes among rival leaders and groups competing, sometimes clumsily, to be the voice of a decentralized movement.

To be sure, most tea party activists and leaders agreed with the need to condemn Williams's attack, but the spectacle of the media breathlessly covering a self-appointed tea party spokesman being cast out of the movement by a self-appointed tea party police agency left many activists and leaders concerned that the movement is losing its grass-roots grounding.

"If we're not successful, it'll probably be due to groups like (National Tea Party Federation and Tea Party Express)," predicted Everett Wilkinson, coordinator of the South Florida chapter of the influential Tea Party Patriots umbrella group.

His group's local coordinators voted not to associate with either the Tea Party Express or the federation because, as Wikinson puts it, those groups "aren't holding meetings in local restaurants across the country to plan local rallies. They're the people who are drawing salaries and are sending out e-mails asking for money."

Whole thing here.

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  1. I find it inconceivable that a political movement is unable to structure itself, identify leaders and criteria for membership.

    1. “I find it inconceivable that a political movement is unable to structure itself, identify leaders and criteria for membership.”

      I see that as a feature – not a bug.

    2. The “tea party” is less of a “movement” than an idea: a vague, grasping, frustrated, often inconsistent, unorganized, mostly inarticulate (philosophically) but generally well meaning idea. That’s all. But it’s just enough of an idea to alarm the political left, as evidenced by the relentless attacks on the “party” by those leftist politicians and their buddies in the press.

    3. We just need a Vanguard Party to lead the Revolution.

      “Without a strong organisation skilled in waging political struggle under all circumstances and at all times, there can be no question of that systematic plan of action, illumined by firm principles and steadfastly carried out, which alone is worthy of the name of tactics”

      Revolutionaries, however, lagged behind this upsurge, both in their “theories” and in their activity; they failed to establish a constant and continuous organisation capable of leading the whole movement.

      1. Ooooh! Pick me! Pick ME!!!

        1. Mom says I can join!

    4. Don’t worry, I get it.

  2. That whigga pictua is racist.

    1. The pump don’t work ’cause Suki took the handle…

  3. Sadly, it’s not just the Democrats that want to discredit/destroy the Tea Party: many Republicans want to do it too,

  4. The Tea Party phenomenon is a LOCAL one, and should strive to remain that way…NO extra-mural leaders, NO political platforms, NO agendas, NO agents, NO conspiracies…just ordinary folk who vote their conscience…
    Can’t work, you exclaim! Well, the alternative is so much more baneful; just one more political party with all the wickedness and corruption that that entails…
    Tea Partiers…Remain “One Nation UNDER GOD!”

    1. Tea Partiers…Remain “One Nation UNDER GOD!”


      1. Yeah that is something that really bothered me. I was a really big supporter of the Tea party until they started using Palin as spokesperson and spouting a bunch of right wing “One Nation Under God” thing. You do not have to be a religious person to believe in freedom.

        1. “that right wing”


        2. Has is this “they” you are referring to? There is no tea party organization using Palin as a spokesperson because there is no tea party organization.

          1. She is always speaking at the tea party rallies.

            1. Maybe no one sees her as a tea party leader but the fact that they even listen to her is discouraging.

              1. Let me understand this – Palin was running for the #2 spot for running the country – but she’s not worth listening to?

                1. Let me understand this – Palin was running for the #2 spot for running the country – but she’s not worth listening to?

                  Yes: in the same way that Joe Biden (who won the #2 spot for running the country) is not worth listening to.

            2. She has spoken at a tiny minority of tea party rallies.

              1. But liberals really really hate her, so they pretend that she is a spokesperson for the Tea Party in their heads.

    2. Which one?

    3. Interesting idea, but too hard to encapsulate in a 15 second sound bite. We’ll continue to define your little “party” as we choose, thanks.

  5. “But it’s just enough of an idea to alarm the political left establishment, as evidenced by the relentless attacks on the “party” by those leftist establishment politicians and their buddies in the press.”

    1. See Lott, Trent. It is not red team versus blue team anymore. It is us versus them.

      1. It really illustrates how much of a party hack Rush Limbaugh is. He was talking the other day about how the tea party wasn’t anti establishment they were anti democrat. It makes me wonder how he has such a following.

        1. He is funny. And the people who listen to him, unlike the liberals who don’t and hate him, get the joke and know he is full of himself.

  6. They are struggling with inevitable emergent properties of any decentralized movement…the lower levels will try to off-load complexity onto higher levels of organizational structure. The larger the movement becomes, the more you will see a centralized national organization.

    1. I think you are confusing left wing political movements with political movements.

      One of the few things the tea party is is adverse to left wing co-option. This is why it has not become one centrally controlled movement. It is not left wing and therefor those who co-opt are by definition prevented from co-opting it.

  7. The Partiers will do best if they stick to the lowest common denominator: limited government. If any public policy interests of the individual members beyond that can be tamped down or kept separate, the movement can endure and prevail.

    1. If they were truly interested in Limited Government, there wouldn’t be such a strong “Save Our Medicare!” presence.

      I don’t think there is an LCD for this movement, because the movement is lacking any real coherency. I suggest that the nearest LCD is anti-incumbency.

      1. Where is the save our medicare presence? I haven’t seen much of that.

        And even if there is, you can think medicare is okay but that the government ought to get out of everything else.

        If you could get rid of OSHA, the Department of Education, HUD, FEMA and Agriculture at the price of keeping medicare, that would be a nice start.

        1. Killing Medicare and keeping OSHA, the Department of Education, HUD, FEMA and Agriculture would shrink the government far more than your suggestion does. Much of the future deficits predicted are due to growth in Medicare, once you add in SS you cover all of the deficit growth, not the alphabet soup of minor government agencies.

          1. You assume the size of government is only about money. It is about a lot more than that. Those departments I list collectively do more to interfere with the economy and take away freedom than medicare ever has. That is not to say medicare is without sin. But, this is about a lot more than money. You could run a full blown totalitarian state on about 1/10th of the money the government currently spends, but so what?

            1. So what? So you wouldn’t have a Tea Party movement, that’s what.

              I’m not buying that the Tea Party movement is a response to the regulatory state. If it was, there would be a Tea Party uproar against the financial regulations bill that just passed. That didn’t happen at all.

              It’s all about the Benjamins.

              1. I think part of it is. The money is easy to count and see. But the daily intrusion of government into people’s lives is reaching a critical mass. I think there is more to it than money.

              2. Those regulations do not effect them…they do oppose the climate bills which does regulate them.

            2. How the hell does the Department of Education, HUD, FEMA and Agriculture interfere with the economy and freedom more than Medicare. Medicare completely skews the entire health care industry to a much larger scale than any of those departments skew the industries they deal with.

              I’ll give you OSHA, since it’s regulations hit every industry.

              1. Education determines what your kids learn in school. Hud tells who you can rent your house to. Agriculture tells you what foods you can eat and what food you can and cannot share with your neighbors.

                1. Medicare tells you whether you will live or die.

      2. Show me one save our medicare sign at a Tea Party. The medicare protests we’re the townhallers.

        1. Houston Tea Party rally

          Google will find quite a few.

            1. The Tea Party is a rage coalition; it’s unfair to expect people bonded by anger at a number of situations to be ideologically consistent. Different people are mad about different things.

              And leftists that are invested at making fun of them really ought to STFU in light of the weirdos that showed up at Bush-era anti-war rallys. Vegans, PETA chicks in cages and cabbage bikinis, Truthers, sophomore anarchists, anti-globalization incoherents, and giant puppet heads don’t really make for a united front.

              1. Apparently the racists aren’t the only people the Tea Party needs to be purging.

              2. As a proto-troll of antiwar rallies, I can testify that there were, indeed, a whole bevy of weirdos who showed up to these things. Hippie drum-circle freaks, old ladies dressed as Indians, guys selling communist-themed t-shirts. so, yeah, Mega-Sugar-Dittos.

              3. Don’t forget David Duke.

        2. As Nutrasweet alluded to, Google is your friend.

  8. I find it unfortunate that the movement based its nomenclature on something that could be so easily misinterpreted as “Political” Party. It’s the simple presence of the word Party that has led the media simpletons to impute the existence of an actual Political Party where none exists.

    1. I think “Tea Festival” has a nice ring to it.

        1. Great, instead of teabagging there will be insinuations of pedophilia.

          How about “Independents’ Network”? They could go by “Indie N.s” for short. Hur hur hur, cuz it’s a tea party pun.

      1. I would expect people walking around selling illicit chemicals at a “Tea Festival”, Citizen.

        Despite what your parents may have told you, drugs are way cooler than tri-cornered hats.

        1. Not if you have a bong pipe stashed in your tri-cornered hat.

      2. I think now we would call poeple raiding ships and destroying their cargo in an attempt to gain publicity against the state would be called terrorists.

        Back then i think they would called them Pirates.

        Tea Pirates?

    2. I don’t know…bunch of people banding together to push a particular set of political ideas by mobilizing voters and promoting political candidates that they think will further their political goals on the local and national level…kinda sounds like a nascent political party to me.

      1. I think it is. If the Republicans fuck things up again, it will be. People voted for small government in 1980, 1994, 2000 and will again in 2010. They got a little in 1980 and a little more in 1994 but they more or less have been cheated when you look at the big picture. They are not going to put up with it anymore.

        I think 2010 and 2012 are the Republicans’ last chance. They either have to step up and do some pretty radical things or you will see the development of a third party and the Republicans will go the way of the Wigs.

        1. +1 I’ve voted Republican in nearly every national election since 1982 (I was too young to vote in 80) but I’ve never thought of myself as a “hard core” Republican. From my viewpoint, they were merely the best of the two options (or perhaps least bad of the two). I didn’t want to play the role of the Nader voters in 2000. I bought into the idea that a protest vote for a third party would give the election to the party I least liked.

          However, over the last 10~15 years I’ve been reading more libertarian material and increasingly thought that the libertarian approach was closer to my definition of “conservative” than many Republicans.

          I’ll still vote Republican this fall but I’m getting tired of the Republican Party taking my vote for granted. This could be their last chance with me. I’ve been very patient with them, but even my patience has limits. I’ve never actually joined a political party, but I can see myself as a card-carrying Libertarian by 2014.

      2. I suggest that a nascent political party should not be treated by the media like a political party with an identifiable leadership. The media functions through the mouths of talking heads, so they can’t figure out how to address a leaderless movement. But that’s what it is.

      3. It will not be a political party.
        Which is a strength.

        By not becoming a political party, they don’t need to compromise principles to get elected, can maintain a big, broad, if incoherent, coalition that is focused only on fiscal issues, and can thus maintain more influence over the existing parties.

        They have more power as mobs-that-must-be-appeased than as supporters of a third party.

  9. Atheist: The God mentioned here is not a deity; He is simply that part of yourself that you call you! The part that understands that the individual needs no princes, no politicians, not even a Palin to rule over him. All he needs is to be true to himself, which I call God and which you call…
    So! Be a Tea Partier NOT under God. But be a Tea Partier!

    1. I am I am Superman. And I can do anything!!

    2. Tea Partier

      I think we should call em Tea Pirates.

  10. Atheist: if you read your Bible more you would know that there was a society once upon a time which functioned perfectly well without the centralization that politics inevitably evolves into; it was truly “One Nation under God”, until of course, human weakness, gullibility and demands for the trappings of power led to demands for a King other than God….and look at what happened then!
    If there was any splitting done it was done by the ATHEISTS–YOU!

    1. there was a society once upon a time which functioned perfectly well

      Yeah, when I think of all of the societies in the Bible, “fuctioning perfectly well” is exactly how I would describe them. If, of course, you mean for those who were in the rich ruling class at a particular point in time. Not so perfect for the rest of ’em.

      1. Yeah but you misread the Bible. The Bible is not a story of successful societies. It is a story of societies ignoring God and paying the price for it over and over again. It is a story of man’s failure more than anything.

        1. Not sure how I misread it. My claim is that there were no successful societies in the Bible, and certainly nothing that was remotely close to “function[ing] perfectly well”. I wasn’t claiming the reason for such.

          1. Okay. I misunderstood you.

          2. While I don’t think this really has anything to do with the Bible, there are some relative successful societies mentioned: the Romans, the Egyptians(they built some impressive pointy buildings), the Hebrews(they’re still around in some form you know?), Sumarians, etc

    2. Atheist: if you read your Bible more you

      “your” Bible? The Atheist Bible, then? I’m pretty sure The Atheist Bible wouldn’t tell him about how awesome a theocratic nation would be.

    3. Your 10:14 comment, while still a bit too zealous, was close to Emersonian. This comment, however, upped the crazy to 11.

  11. Yes MP. There could NEVER ever be a society that functions perfectly well because…Marx would never recognise it…and his acolytes, you included, refuse to accept that it is possible to have both rich and poor in a society that functions perfectly well!
    So, when we are ALL blind in one eye, halt, lame, one-armed and NONE of us has a pot to piss in, THAT I suppose, would be closer to Utopia than the period of the Judges!

    1. All hail Karl!

      it is possible to have both rich and poor in a society that functions perfectly well!

      It may be possible, but it didn’t happen in my King James.

    2. So atheism=marxism?

    3. Funniest spoof since Organic Girl.

  12. Tea Revolution.

    Seriously, they’re named after the Boston Tea Party, not the Boston Democratic Party. Those are somewhat different things . . .

  13. Ah! So you do have a Bible? Have you actually read it, or do you keep it, as you do Das Kapital, just to say you have it? How twee!
    Yes, I suggest that you read The chapters on Joshua and the Judges and the section that says “Every man did what was right in his own eyes, and they were as ONE NATION UNDER GOD, with ONE HEART and ONE DESIRE!”
    Just to further your education: The English word, JEW, is from the Hebrew YIHUD which derives from “EH-HAD” which means “ONE” or “ONE-NESS” That is what the “YIHUDIM” had in the time of the judges–laws but no kings or princes—and the society functioned, as I’ve said before, perfectly well, until the splitters, read kingmakers, came along. And yet the society continued to function for a while longer, except with increasing partisanship, growing cupidity and finally internecine and baseless hatred!
    That, the Rabbis tell us, is what led to the destruction of “Jerusalem.”
    There’s nothing new here. The tea Party is a sort of New Jerusalem, but it can’t work if its own members, its Yihudim as it were, are at war with each other!

    1. Selected readings from the books of Joshua and Judges:

      Joshua 6:21 – And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.

      Joshua 7:11 – Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.

      Joshua 10:26 – And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees

      Judges 21:11 – And this is the thing ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

      Oh man do I love the Old Testament.

  14. Yeah, when I think of all of the societies in the Bible, “fuctioning perfectly well” is exactly how I would describe them. If, of course, you mean for those who were in the rich ruling class at a particular point in time. Not so perfect for the rest of ’em.

    What about the Garden of Eden?


  15. The snake was probably a Democrat.

  16. Brooks, for the “splitters” among the Tea Partiers the Bible is Myth and Fantasy; Das Kapital is revealed Truth!

    1. Oh yeah, well check this shit out, and tell me that Karl Marx isn’t the true prophet.

      1. You shouldn’t tease Reverse-Shrike. He’s quite excitable.

        1. The anti-shrike?

          1. No, more like The Reverse Flash. He has the same powers as shrike (incoherency, emphasis capitalization, defensiveness) but is opposite in ideological orientation.

            1. Detective Diabeetus, we got a goddamn guy laying face down on the pavement in a puddle of his own brains, a mangled woodland creature, a motorcycle crash, and no idea how to solve this fucking case, yet you want to ramble on about comic books.

              I’m getting too old for this shit.

    2. Remember that guy who used to try to convince Sullum that he was a bad Jew because he doesn’t support gun control?

  17. WTF? Which one of you called down the God-trolls? Monomania is tiresome in ALL forms.

  18. Who decided to have an incredibly vacuous religious debate, and why?

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