Tuesday, December 15, 2009


ha you think it's funny / Turning rebellion into money --The Clash

Politico tells us what all that "authentic" "grassroots" Tea Party activism was leading up to:

Conservative leaders are eager to turn Tea Party anger into election-year cash -- and to do that, they're launching a flurry of new political action committees aimed at collecting small-dollar donations from newly engaged anti-tax, anti-spending activists.

The latest entrant: Take Back America PAC, to be launched this week by FreedomWorks, the conservative group and Tea Party leader run by former House Republican leader Dick Armey.

... When Take America Back sends out its first fundraising email this week to FreedomWorks' 415,000 online members, it will join a crowded and growing field of campaign vehicles vying for Tea Partiers’ donations.

The Liberty First PAC was officially launched last week by early Tea Party organizer Eric Odom. GrassRootsPAC, a new project organized partly by the president of the Tea Party-linked American Majority organizing group, is planning a hard rollout next year. And the California-based Our Country Deserves Better PAC–TeaPartyExpress.org, added the "TeaPartyExpress.org" to its name in October after raking in big bucks for an eponymous cross-country bus tour.

Dick Armey you know about For the others, go here and here.

A big reason that Republicans have controlled American politics for nearly thirty years (and, as far as I can tell, still control American politics) is that, while most Americans are moderate or liberal, the power of motivated GOP base voters plus fat-cat money has been enough to keep Democrats out of power or squelch Democratic initiatives when Democrats are in power.

But in the past, the groups that kept GOP voters motivated weren't actually run by the real beneficiaries of Republican dominance -- the Christian Right got the base riled up, but fat cats were the primary beneficiaries. This is new: the rabble-rousers and the plutocrat beneficiaries are now the same people.

Now, I'd love to believe this, but I don't:

... the sudden emergence of so many groups has raised concerns among activists about dissipating the energy behind the already fractured Tea Party movement, and has buoyed Democratic hopes that the Tea Party movement will spark a Republican civil war, resulting in bloody primaries that will leave the GOP limping into the 2010 midterm elections with damaged or fringe candidates.

... Judson Phillips, president of Tea Party Nation, acknowledged there's some disagreement among activists about whether raising money for candidates runs afoul of the issue-based focus that spurred the movement....

To those activists who don't like the direction the movement is taking, I say: This is the bus. This is the underside of the bus. Familiarize yourself with the underside of the bus, because that's going to be your new home in the tae party movement if you don't get on board with what the fat cats want.

If history is any indication, these folks are going to get their candidates elected. (I'm deeply pessimistic about Democrats retaining either house of Congress or the White House past 2012.) And then, a few years down the line, we'll hear the rank-and-file complaining about "betrayal" by their leaders. It'll be partly true -- just as the candidates promoted by the Christian Right never came through with that constitutional amendment banning abortion (despite many, many other victories in the culture wars), the tea party candidates will (surprise!) disappoint the base by suddenlyly discover the value of bailouts when they're in power and another economic bubble has burst (those bailouts will, however, be accompanied by tax cuts).

I don't know what ends this cycle. I know a lot of you are counting on Republicans to sabotage themselves by supporting candidates who are far too extreme. Alas, that's what we thought they'd done in 1980 after picking their presidential nominee.

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