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. lurker9876 says:

    I find the far right to believe in the founding principles while there are some fringe. I suppose that I would put myself on the far right but I don’t insult fellow Americans. 🙂

    I think stereotyping, especially inaccurate labeling, is not good for anyone from the center to right, mainly because of how the progressives play this game.

  2. Terrye says:


    I think Johnson has gone off the deep end myself, but having Birthers show up at the Tea Party convention will only give him something else to yammer about. Why make it easier for people like that?

  3. lurker9876 says:

    BTW, the local tea party organizations are not crazy. They are reasonable, conservatives, and most certainly NOT the fringe and of purity. Most that I know are strong believers in the Founding principles, US Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and BORs. They believe in limited and self-governance. They believe in low taxes, controlled and low spending with a balanced budget, the federal government to stay out of our lives, and so on. Some of them are members of the Oath Keepers.

    Maybe that’s why AJ sees something entirely different from what I see as what exactly is far right, fringe, and purity.

  4. dbostan says:

    1. Anybody can question anything about our President, including his BC. I do not think this is a winning issue, but I would not censure somebody for asking questions.
    2. This conference is one of many, not even coalescing all the tea parties. I do not think that would be desirable, as a matter of fact.
    People are just looking to find common ground and a way to influence how the country is governed.
    3. In my opinion, to which I am entitled, I hope, is that the tea parties MUST stay independent of both parties, for the time being.
    They must support candidates that represent the people, irrespective of the D or R after their name. It is true that right now, the demshevik party being completely taken over by the marxists, the GOP seems to be the only viable choice, even displaying some variety of opinions.

  5. Terrye says:


    Well of course, a lot of the locals are fine, sane people, but then a lot of the locals were not at the conference either.

  6. Terrye says:


    Yes, the Tea Party movement, is just that: a movement. It is not a political party and it should stay that way. If and when it becomes a party or becomes part of any one party then the divisions will make themselves plain. In fact, I think that just having a national conference was a little strange in and of itself. A lot of the people I know who are involved in all this, are strictly local people who are working from the bottom up, they have nothing to do with any national parties.

    But the Birther issue is a fringe issue and it detracts from the main purpose of the movement, which is out of control spending and growth of government. Tancredo running his mouth about how fortunate we are that McCain lost is no more helpful than the birther issue, either.

  7. WWS says:

    I agree that the conference was quite out of keeping with what most people thought the Tea Party was all about, and it sure looks to me like it was a few people who decided they could cash in quick. $500 tickets? Come On. And that made it a free for all for everyone who has an axe to grind – who anywhere listens to Tancredo now that he’s out of office for good? But a stage like this begging for old names was tailor-made for him.

    It’s hard to know if Palin’s attendance will help her or not – she does need to keep finding ways to keep her face in the news, but did she go too far? Remains to be seen. Personally, I think she would do better by staying on Fox for a few years, and I don’t really want to see her run for anything – too divisive. But if she keeps teaming up with Beck they could drive the Dems crazy and that’s all to the good.

    The Tea Party movement is going to follow the trajectory of all other great American protest movements; it’s like a great beast with 10,000 mouths but no head, and it will rage through the land and lay waste to many things. But in the end the fire will burn itself out, the best parts will be co-opted by the closest party (in this case, the GOP) and the movement will fade away, like all the other before it.

    And that’s not a bad thing – the good ideas will be absorbed, the bad ideas will be purged, and a lot of old deadwood will be swept away. That’s how our system works.

  8. lurker9876 says:

    Yeah, I wouldn’t pay 500 bucks for it either. I cannot believe that Palin asked for 100,000; yet, later that money is to go back into the cause.

    WWS, good point. I still believe that there’s lots of goodness coming out of this and that is EDUCATION of Constitutionalism ANd conservativism. NOT the fringe and NOT the purity.

    Unless someone equates purity with the Founding principles. Why? Because the Founding principles is NOT equal to moral relativism, collectivism, and historicism.

  9. owl says:

    This was a good thing, warts and all. It forced the MSM to pay attention if for no other reason than to attack.

    No, I could not believe they had Tancredo. I still think the issue DIMS will revive right before the election will be immigration. They know it was as destructive to the GOP as Katrina was to Bush. Close family members agree on most but will still argue over this one.

    We only have to agree over the Constitution, security and leave all the social issues to the states. The other person I would buy a roll of tape for his mouth is Glenn Beck. Such a darn shame for someone to do such good work and then go over the cliff. I hate to tell him but don’t think he is perfect Tea Party either.

  10. Redteam says:

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

    Does that include the people that insult the ‘far right’?

    owl said:
    We only have to agree over the Constitution
    uh….. but not this part?
    <blockquote>Article II section 1.
    No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President;

    We all know what a ‘natural born citizen’ is and we all know what BHO ain’t. And that does not make me a birther, it makes me an American that can read and understand and believe in the constitution.

  11. Redteam says:

    The other person I would buy a roll of tape for his mouth is Glenn Beck.

    what we need is 10 more Glenn Beck’s out there showing the truth and showing it loudly. People are listening, he’s the biggest show on Fox News. Thank Goodness.

  12. ivehadit says:

    AJ, you would be interested to find out what the Hillbuzz boys (Hillary supporters) think about what is actually on the birth certificate…it’s not about HIM, in their opinions.

  13. Terrye says:


    Glenn Beck cares for Beck. He went after Scott Brown as soon as the man was elected. He said Bush should have been impeached and he said we were better off with Obama than with McCain…he also said Teddy Roosevelt was an imperialist thug for picking on the Spanish…the man is not a conservative, he is at best a libertarian and he is all about making money.

  14. WWS says:

    I was kind of surprised to see what the Hillbuzz boys thought, because that’s real similar to what I’ve always thought privately.

    my belief has always been:

    He was born in Hawaii, no citizenship problem – but the birth certificate almost certainly lists him as white (caucasion) since his father was nowhere around and his mother was white.

    Obama has never wanted to try to explain how a white boy grew up to be a black man. And remember he grew up in his rich white grandparents house. It’s a pretty good metaphor for the fraud that’s been at the center of his personality since the day he was born.

    It’s like the Jon Edwards stuff – it’ll come out once he’s out of office and there’s nothing more to protect.

  15. Redteam says:

    He was born in Hawaii, no citizenship problem

    no citizenship problem. agree.

    BHO, Sr British citizen.
    natural born citizen? problem, not eligible

    but hey, that’s only according to the US Constitution, what does it know.

  16. AJStrata says:


    What you don’t know staggers the mind. What bubble gum wrapper constitution did you read to say the son of a US woman is not a citizen? Is this because you are an intelligent designer and don’t get the DNA thing with mothers, etc???

    Dude, do yourself a favor and stop showing off far right stupidity. Just for a while????

    It really is embarrassing.

  17. Flint says:

    I’m sure I’m not the first person to suggest, A.J., that your apparent enthusiasm for “comprehensive immigration reform” places you on the fringes of conservative thought. This puzzles me, since you do not seem the sort who would endulge in Geraldo-like self-simulation over the issue. I can appreciate your disapprobation of the “haters”–people who instinctively view the “cultural other” with hostility. They are doing a great deal of damage, particularly in areas such as mine, which is predominately Hispanic (and, for the record, I have Hispanic relatives, and 3 of my closest neighbors are Hispanic.) Even conservative Hispanics who have been here so many generations they can hardly get out a complete sentence in Spanish are quick to take offense at the crude stereotypes hurled at the undocumented. And it is hardly a matter of refusal to recognize that many of them are worthy people, doing as we would do, were we similarly situated. But on what basis do I acquire a greater duty to them than may have existed before their (to me) unwelcome arrival? What is the source of my duty to bestow voting rights upon them? Why should their labor, thought necessary by some, be linked to citizenship? You and I know how they will vote for generations.

    The present state of affairs is intolerable. We should be bringing in the most educated, not the least. Even the most hardened “progresso” would stand aghast at the thought of opening our borders to the masses of Asia and Africa. So why have we created a system which creates a preference for those coming from the South? And we know that, once granted citizenship, they will do their utmost to bring their relatives here, many of whom will be additional “dead weight” on the system.

    The worst of it is this: even if we knuckle under to the demands being made, the Democrats will simply go through the motions of closing the border. Why would they do otherwise? They feel more affinity for the immigrants than for the rest of us. I suspect you’re going to end up on the wrong side of history on this one, A.J.

  18. Frogg1 says:

    Glenn Reynolds came away feeling quite good about the National Tea party Conference in Nashville:

    Glenn Reynolds: Nashville Shows Tea Party Is America’s Third Great Awakening


  19. AJStrata says:


    If the ‘fringe’ of conservative thought is also centrists that should tell you something about the perch you are sitting on.