Feb 07 2010

Tea Party Self Destructs With Conservative Fringes

Published by at 9:38 am under All General Discussions

When the Tea Parties were non political gatherings of Americans challenging the deficit spending, deficit in tax cuts and deficit in respecting the judgement and goodness of Americans to do the right thing I was a big fan. But as the movement gained followers, it also attracted the same political wannabes who have tried to turn it into a ‘true ‘conservative’ movement. Which has destroyed the movement’s attraction with independents and centrists.

When you have Birthers given center stage to promote absurd conspiracy theories based on ignorance of law and technical issues you have gone way out of the mainstream. When you have nativist Tom Tancredo as a major speaker you have sunk beyond the fringes.

The Tea Party had a chance to allow center-left, center-right and as much of the far right who could stomach the center of America to come together in a modern Reaganesque coalition to oppose the liberal madness gripping DC. That opportunity is now gone:

You see, the popular conservative meme right now is that Democrats are arrogant and condescending and think that voters are stupid.

Given Democrats’ condescension, I wanted to see how a real American conservative would relate to the average voter. How would the far right express its deep belief in the power of the people?

Here is Tancredo’s opening: First, we should have a “civics literacy test” before people are allowed to vote. Second, “People who could not even spell the word vote or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House whose name is Barack Hussein Obama.” Convention organizer Judson Phillips helpfully explained that “Tancredo doesn’t feel like a lot of people who supported Barack Obama understand the basics of this country.”

I am not wasting anymore time with the right-wing fringes. I and many others are fed up with both fringes and their condescending arrogance (usually as unfounded as their wild schemes and purity tests). And I feel for those who think this movement has any future, including one person I have supported recently with great hope:

During her speech at the National Tea Party Convention on Saturday night, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) ripped the Democratic Party and Obama administration, calling on them to “stop lecturing and start listening.”

That is a universally good idea. Stop lecturing and start listening. Start listening when it becomes clear there is no science behind global warming, nor is there any behind ntelligent design. Start listening when it becomes clear the science of biology proves human embryos are precious human beings with all the potential of anyone other human being, especially when that science is rooted in the real science of evolution and genetics.

Start listening when Americans want to be proud of their diversity, not see it as a wild eyed threat or constant handicap. Start listening when we make clear we are not interested in ignorance based conspiracy theories about the President not being a US Citizen or the President wasting time listening in on American telephone calls and not terrorists.

Over the years both fringes have more than demonstrated their inability to do more than tell everyone else what to do and screw up everything they touch. We have Democrat and Republican leaders in jail for bribery, destroying their families through the lust for power, talking out of multiple sides of their mouths and not doing what they preach.

Let me quote Palin again:

“Competition is good, it makes us work harder and produce more,” Palin said. “Despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren’t civil war, they are democracy at work and that’s beautiful.”

To a point. When you get to the Birthers and the immigrant haters it is not a beautiful thing. It is a train wreck. Count me out. As Palin said, there is a segment of the movement I am completely comfortable with:

Asked in a pre-screened questioned-and-answer session after the speech if the movement should become an independent party or join the GOP, Palin said, “The Republican Party would be very smart to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible.”

But it is an ever shrinking segment it seems.

Update: See what I mean – NJ, VA and MA were won by winning over centrists, not repulsing them or rejecting them.

Update: For folks who think I am off base here, I suggest they stop by and see Ed Morrissey’s take on this incident. Others may waster their time with the fringe, but I won’t.

Update: Reader Aitch748 provides this good peak inside the Tennessee event and how it differs from the grass roots movement.

47 responses so far

47 Responses to “Tea Party Self Destructs With Conservative Fringes”

  1. Roger says:

    Can’t argue much with this post, yet don’t throw the baby out with teh bathwater. This was a commercial gathering, and hopefully, does not reflect the true core of the Tea Party movement.


  2. AJStrata says:

    True Roger, but as an indication of where it is going, it is looking to be a disaster. It was fine being a movement rising in opposition to liberal madness. Then the fringes tried to claim it vindicated their waning views, and it all fell apart.

  3. Dandtoy@yahoo.com says:

    Answer me one little question and I will give your article more serious consideration.

    Question is, What year, yes, what year did our President change his name to Barak Hussein Obama?

    Fair Enough?

    Yours in Freedom,

  4. Jinny says:

    I notice that WND’s Farah spoke, I consider him part of a fringe group but in my opinion, he’s mostly interested in making money. The birther movement will go nowhere. It’s a dead issue.

    I think the best part of the “Tea Party” movement is it gives ordinary Americans the sense that they have a voice. But it will fail if it can’t embrace all candidates points of view including those who are not purist conservatives.

    My other fear is that it will be infiltrated to totally discredit any one who is supported by the Tea Party. To get back our country we will have to work together and not let ourselves be divided. There has to be room for everyone, but I do agree, fringe groups are destructive whether from the right or the left.

    There is another group that I consider iffy… GOOOOH, not ever Congressman or Senator is bad. Throwing everyone out of office won’t work either.

  5. Jinny says:

    AJ, you said it better than I did, with fewer words. 🙂

  6. AJStrata says:


    I think you confused me with someone who cares …

    You’d understand better if you read up a bit on the subject.

  7. lurker9876 says:

    The fringe has nothing to do with conservativism and constitutionalism.

  8. lurker9876 says:

    The “purity” also has nothing to do with conservatism and constitutionalism. And I see conservatism == constitutionalism.

  9. lurker9876 says:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/02/025543.php – I see Paul Ryan == conservatism == constitutionalism.

  10. lurker9876 says:

    The reason I don’t see conservatism == constitutionalism as purity is because they are based on the founding principles and principles of Aquinas, Republic as described in Montesquieu’s ”
    The Spirit of Laws”, etc.

  11. Aitch748 says:

    There do seem to be in a sense two Tea Parties — there is the grassroots movement, and then there are the would-be leaders. HillBuzz warned about some people in Tennessee connected with the Tea Party convention there:

    We love the Tea Party spirit, as manifest in regular Americans who are taking to the streets, heading to Senators’ and Representatives’ offices, and marching on Washington. We are part of those people, too. We will not be silenced or tread upon by Liberals and their media enablers.

    However, we DO NOT like the people behind the Tea Party Convention in Tennessee. The people running this convention are bad news. We know some of them, and they are slime. A surprising number of them worked here in Chicago in 2008. They are opportunists of the first order. What they have done is simple: they saw a business opportunity in the Tea Party movement, which is very real, and decided to install themselves in a new hierarchical organization of their own design that’s amateur and destined for some forthcoming scandal. The people we know, from Chicago, involved in all of this are unstable, backstabbing, and more than a little crazy.

    So, we are truly torn, because anything that gets more people on their feet and into the streets protesting what the Liberals are doing is a good thing — but we are VERY WARY of the people running this convention in Tennessee. We’ve never had good experiences with these people before, so why would we think they’ve changed because they now have this entity they created to capture the enthusiasm of a grassroots movement?

  12. lurker9876 says:

    American Thinker has an interesting article about the Tea Party movement:


    “Populist Constitutionalism” – that’s what the Tea Party is all about. Love and respect for the Constitution is driving the movement. Sharing the document, and then discussing the meaning, purpose, and the ideas of the Constitution, that is the process that is taking place as a result of this love and respect.

    Some people think Obama, Palin, and Huck are populists but Obama’s “populism” is vastly different from Palin’s and Huck’s “populism”.

    This article says the Tea Party movement lacks a charisma leader but doesn’t need one.

  13. Brickmuppet says:

    The tea-party convention had a wide range of people and views. Some of those, like the ambulatory facepalms that are the birthers are going to most likely be officially repudiated by the group as a whole….as Morrisey pointed out in his update.

    AJ, you are correct that some people who were initially supportive of the movement are concocting their own purity tests (though they’d never say as much) and are trying to purge the movement of those who do not hold views very very close to their own. You can most easily oppose these people by screaming into the nearest mirror.

    Or you could sit back, catch your breath and recognize that Palin is right and we shouldn’t be such purists that we make enemies of people we agree with on 80% of issues. This is politics. It involves compromises and people with divergent views coming together for a common purpose. One thing that does not work is shouting and screaming at people who don’t meet your personal litmus test for “not of the fringe”. A test that seems to have become more stringent with every passing month.

    This nation faces a transcendental threat a debt that will end it in a few years if we don’t deal with it. The first step to correcting this problem is to defeat the left. This will require a broad coalition.

    You point out correctly that the fringes of the left and right can find themselves on the edge of a precipice. But your tone has become very nearly as shrill as either and you now seem to be walking a tightrope over an abyss.

    Sso please shimmy back, sit down, drink some hot chocolate and contemplate the zen beauty and opportunity that is the 32 inches of global warming on on our nations capital. 🙂

  14. Frogg1 says:

    I’m not at all discouraged by a few voices on the fringe. The tea party movement platform rejects them. It is all about fiscal conservatism, freedom, and the Constitution. They are staying away from social issues while realizing they have different voices in those area and are free as individuals to express those opinions –while other can reject those opinions. Where they move forward as a force is on low taxes, limited government, fiscal restraint, etc.

  15. Frogg1 says:

    Breitbart, Farah argue Birtherism at Tea Party convention


    Update: HA commenter Knucklehead says that Carl Cameron at Fox reported a few minutes ago that other Tea Party organizations will hold a presser later today to condemn Birtherism and distance themselves from it. That sounds like a healthy decision. Also, be sure to read the rest of the exchange between Breitbart and Farah in Weigel’s article; it actually went downhill from there.


  16. sjreidhead says:


    How many people do you actually know who are actually involved in “Tea Parties”?

    Where I live, there are 3 active tea party people – and are known locally as a little but crazy.

    More and more I think the whole thing is a FOX news scam.

    The Pink Flamingo

  17. Frogg1 says:

    Erik Ericson of Redstate Blog (who had previously been critical of the Nashville Tea Party Convention) had some thoughts after checking it out for himself:

    Thoughts on the Nashville Tea Party Convention and Sarah Palin

    And, let’s not forget….

    The Nashville Convention is NOT the whole of the tea party movement. It is but a small part.

  18. Terrye says:

    The thing about Tancredo that bothered me was his idiotic statement “Thank God McCain lost the election” or words to that effect. The idea being that if McCain had won we would not be seeing conventions like this…never mind the debt, the division, the wrecked economy, it is all about guys like Tom getting an opportunity to strut their stuff.

    I really doubt if that is why those people turned out to oppose Obamacare and runaway spending.

  19. dbostan says:

    -Count me out-


    You were already out. For a long time.

    When you started attacking the conservatives and taking Johnson’s side (yeah, that despicable lizard…) you chose sides.

  20. AJStrata says:

    dbostan – and happily!

    Of course, my only insult against the far right is they need to stop insulting fellow Americans!

    Too funny. I could say the far right is really thin skinned and struggle to maintain a professional demeanour – but I don’t think they would get it???