Once upon a time, the Republican Party pulled the greatest hoax in political history: They rebranded the most radical wing of their party and sold it to the American public as the Tea Party. After the disastrous Bush presidency, in which pretty much the entire conservative philosophy was exposed as fraudulent, the GOP crushed in the 2008 election. What to do?
Create a splinter group to demand “fiscal responsibility,” of course!
The Tea Party, backed by millions of corporate dollars, stormed onto the scene and insisted that they were totally bipartisan, not really a part of the GOP and not interested in the social issues like abortion and racism. The media, not bothering to do its job, swallowed it hook, line and sinker. The Tea Party was all about lowering the deficit and reducing taxes, two completely incompatible goals that no one with a camera and a microphone bothered to challenge. If Occupy had received a tenth of the favorable media coverage that a band of corporate puppets wearing stupid hats did, we’d be living in a very different country right now.
But it worked! The Tea Party influenced local and national politics for two years, culminating in the 2010 Republican takeover of the House. And then the Tea Party did exactly what they promised they would do: they worked on jobs, jobs, jobs. No wait, they didn’t do that at all! They worked on banning abortion, demonizing gays, denigrating women, attacking minorities, redefining rape and overturning Obamacare at the behest of the insurance industry.
And that led to the crushing defeat of the GOP in the 2012 election. The only thing that kept the House under GOP control is massive gerrymandering stemming from their 2010 victories.
But now, the Tea Party has been tarnished with accusations of extremism and general ignorance. So tarnished, in fact, that Tea Party groups are shying away from being called “Tea Party.” Via Palm BeachPost:
Jolted by the re-election of President Barack Obama, the defeat of congressional tea party icon Allen West and the cracking of Republican anti-tax orthodoxy during the recent federal budget showdown, the tea party movement is trying to rebrand and repackage itself in South Florida.
“We felt for branding reasons that we wanted to differentiate ourselves from certain organizations that have the name ‘tea party’ and we can’t control,” said Everett Wilkinson, leader of the organization that will now be called the National Liberty Federation.
How convenient. “It wasn’t us. It was THOSE guys.” Where have I heard this before? Polls show, clearly, that the Tea Party brand of venom and stupidity has run its course. I guess now it’s time to make believe they’re a whole different group of the same exact people with the same exact message.
Just don’t call’em “teabaggers.” Those guys were crazy!