Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Conservatives love teabagging

UPDATE: I was gonna stay away from the obvious, sophomoric teabag humor, but when I saw that, indeed, they teabagged the Wabash, I'm sorry, but you freakin' asked for it.

No doubt -- I'm away from the TV but I have no doubt -- there's much excitement in the conservative punditsphere over the apparent populist uprising taking place against taxes, which the conservative punditsphere doesn't bother to differentiate from "big" (i.e., wasteful) government. I'm with MSNBC on this little family dispute:

[CNBC's tantrum-throwing NYSE floor reporter Rick Santelli] also said despite the claims from others in the media, including people at CNBC’s sister network MSNBC, calling the movement “Astroturf,” Santelli declared it a grassroots movement.

“I think from a grassroots standpoint, I’m sure some of the media out there is not going to peg it that way, but isn’t it about as American as it gets – for people to roll their strollers and make their signs and go voice their opinion about the direction of the country?” Santelli said. “Good, bad or indifferent – that’s a great thing. There’s not a lot of countries, of course, that afford their people that, that type of right. It’s a great thing.”

Yes, why on earth would 'some media out there' not call this 'grassroots' effort grassroots? Because, quite simply, 'Astroturf' is what this is:

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, a lobbyist whose corporate clients including Verizon, Raytheon, liquor maker Diageo, CarMax and drug company Sanofi Pasteur.

That, people, is not a grassroots, populist uprising. That is an uprising brought to you and underwritten by big business and big government. That is not the peasants sharpening their pitchforks, it's pawns being played in the game. It's simulacrum. Well, and to be fair, it's very effective politics. The slick political insiders convinced the peasants to do the insiders' bidding while convincing the peasants that it was their own idea; and that it is for their own good. Deceptive, but incredibly effective. Or in other words, the usual old-guard Republican game.


Jason said...

One of my best friends on campus, a far left liberal loon to say the least, has been making this joke for weeks. I hate that you've made the same one, now I feel like I can't be so hard on him!

I think the big point is getting missed here though. In the 18th century, you protested to get attention because it was the ONLY way for the "little guy" to get attention. To a lesser degree, this was still true in the Vietnam War-era. In today's time, I see no reason to engage in this foolishness. Your blog is proof o this; it's easy to get attention for your ideas and convictions thanks to the Internet. So while I'm very sympathetic with the feelings of many Americans that wasted undoubtedly almost undrinkable cheap teas on our already not-so-clear waters, I felt no need to join in the excitement.

Chuck said...

No, I think it's fair to be a little harsh; it's a stupid joke that's so obvious it's only barely funny; in my case a legitimate afterthought until I saw that they were doing this in my hometown. When it happens elsewhere, it's just crazy people. When it happens places you know, it's too personal, so I couldn't resist.

I understand the reference to the protests and whatnot, and certainly today they still have a presence and an impact on discourse (though not as much as, say, 200 years ago for the very reasons you point out). What is disturbing about the use of the "reenactment" today is that the original Tea Party was not organized and incited by the entrenched, career political establishment. This one totally was.

Did Howard Dean organize tea parties? I hope not. But I may be wrong; that was a long time ago.

Also, in the future, I'd recommend going the loose-leaf route to avoid all this unsavory talk.