But since the election I've dipped my toe in the water a little, like for today's Washington Post front page (front page!) article on the September coup and counter-coup waged at one of the largest teabag groups, Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. At least it used to be Dick Armey's grassroots organization. After trying to force out other leaders he thought were conspiring against him, Armey was himself pushed out, albeit with a nice little multi-million dollar golden parachute, courtesy of the "grassroots" organization.
For an article that's almost all about the millionaire shills funding the ideological racket, it does dare mention that some people think the teabag party is kind of astroturf-like.
The group played a crucial role in ushering a wave of tea party candidates into office in recent years, staging rallies, hawking books and videos, and organizing media appearances with conservative personalities such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.
“I’ve enjoyed my association with FreedomWorks,” said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who defeated incumbent Bob Bennett with help from the group. “Matt Kibbe and Dick Armey endorsed me early in my candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and they were a big help to me.”
Despite such testimonials, FreedomWorks has struggled with accusations that it is an “astroturfer” — a national organization of big-money donors that swept in to lay claim to an independent movement.
Well, for those of you who might have thought such a thing, the new FreedomWorks has a response:
Brandon, back in the No. 2 spot as executive vice president, scoffed at the notion that the group is in trouble or that the dispute with Armey was indicative of a larger problem for the tea party. He said FreedomWorks has 2.1 million members, nearly 4 million fans on Facebook and a budget that has grown sixfold in five years. He also pointed to the elections of Senate conservatives Ted Cruz in Texas and Jeff Flake in Arizona as evidence of the group’s electoral success.
So there. Four million likers on FB and two million