IS THIS A PRE-4/15 (OR PRE-4/19) RIGHT-WING DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN?
On the ever-recurring "Are right-wingers stupid or evil?" question, I probably made the wrong choice yesterday when I argued that righties were having a gullible response to a joker named Jason Levin and his Crash the Tea Party site. It's now clear that this was (as one of my commenters suggested) part of an effort to create the impression that ugliness at tea party rallies isn't coming from the believers, but rather from provocateurs. More evidence comes in the form of a post titled "Source: State Dems Scrambling to Deploy Tea Party 'Crashers,'" which appears at an upstart "news" site called Now! Hampshire; the story was instantly seized on by many right-wing bloggers today.
Roy Edroso tells us all about Now! Hampshire:
Now!Hampshire, by the way, was started up by Patrick Hynes, described by National Review as "one of the bright minds behind CrushKerry.com, now AnkleBitingPundits.com." He has also worked as a political consultant; Andrew Cline of the Union-Leader describes some of Hynes' prevarications in that role ("Hynes identified himself as 'executive director of Responsible Environmental Policy for New Hampshire'... Turns out the group did not exist").
Hynes was previously head of something called New Media Strategics, which attempted to manipulate blog chatter in less direct ways.
Hynes is also part of the media team for Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign, and he's on the board of directors of the corporate front group Americans for Job Security.
So why gin up a campaign now suggesting that anything ugly you see at a tea party rally is probably the work of provocateurs? Well, maybe the right is worried about ugliness at tomorrow's tea rallies. Or maybe there's concern about what might transpire next Monday.
That's April 19 -- the fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. There'll be a couple of high-profile right-wing rallies that day, which may not be tea party rallies per se but will look awfully similar: an armed "Restore the Constitution" rally in Virginia's Fort Hunt National Park in Virginia, on the Potomac, and an unarmed Second Amendment March organized by the further-right-than-the-NRA Gun Owners of America.
No one knows what's going to happen at the rallies on 4/15 or 4/19. But why wait until anything bad happens to blame it all on liberals?