The Paranoid Wing Of The Tea Party

The tinfoil hat crowd has made its way back into the mainstream.

For some reason, various Tea Party groups across the nation have taken it upon themselves to take up a new cause, and it reads like something straight out of a John Birch Society conspiracy pamphlet:

Across the country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and conserve energy. They brand government action for things like expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property rights and herd citizens toward cities.

They are showing up at planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a big-government blueprint against individual rights.

“Down the road, this data will be used against you,” warned one speaker at a recent Roanoke County, Va., Board of Supervisors meeting who turned out with dozens of people opposed to the county’s paying $1,200 in dues to a nonprofit that consults on sustainability issues.

Local officials say they would dismiss such notions except that the growing and often heated protests are having an effect.

In Maine, the Tea Party-backed Republican governor canceled a project to ease congestion along the Route 1 corridor after protesters complained it was part of the United Nations plot. Similar opposition helped doom a high-speed train line in Florida. And more than a dozen cities, towns and counties, under new pressure, have cut off financing for a program that offers expertise on how to measure and cut carbon emissions.

“It sounds a little on the weird side, but we’ve found we ignore it at our own peril,” said George Homewood, a vice president of the American Planning Association’s chapter in Virginia.

The protests date to 1992 when the United Nations passed a sweeping, but nonbinding, 100-plus-page resolution called Agenda 21 that was designed to encourage nations to use fewer resources and conserve open land by steering development to already dense areas. They have gained momentum in the past two years because of the emergence of the Tea Party movement, harnessing its suspicion about government power and belief that man-made global warming is a hoax.

In January, the Republican Party adopted its own resolution against what it called “the destructive and insidious nature” of Agenda 21. And Newt Gingrich took aim at it during a Republican debate in November.

Tom DeWeese, the founder of the American Policy Center, a Warrenton, Va.-based foundation that advocates limited government, says he has been a leader in the opposition to Agenda 21 since 1992. Until a few years ago, he had few followers beyond a handful of farmers and ranchers in rural areas. Now, he is a regular speaker at Tea Party events.

Membership is rising, Mr. DeWeese said, because what he sees as tangible Agenda 21-inspired controls on water and energy use are intruding into everyday life. “People may be acting out at some of these meetings, and I do not condone that. But their elected representatives are not listening and they are frustrated.”

Fox News has also helped spread the message. In June, after President Obama signed an executive order creating a White House Rural Council to “enhance federal engagement with rural communities,” Fox programs linked the order to Agenda 21. A Fox commentator, Eric Bolling, said the council sounded “eerily similar to a U.N. plan called Agenda 21, where a centralized planning agency would be responsible for oversight into all areas of our lives. A one world order.”

This reminds me of Dan Maes, last year’s Republican candidate for Governor who said at one point that Denver’s plan to increase the number of bicycle lanes on city streets was part of some United Nations plot.

Maes ended up coming in third behind the eventual winner John Hickenlooper and Tom Tancredo, who entered the race as a third party candidate shortly after Maes made those bizarre comments. Nonetheless, it points to an element of the Tea Party movement that I’ve noticed from the beginning.  While It certainly cannot be said to be true of everyone who choose to identify themselves with the movement, there is clearly a certain element that isn’t all that much different from the same paranoid wing of conservatism that William F. Buckley Jr. worked hard to bar from the conservative coalition back in the 1950s.

He succeeded back then, but those people never really went away. Groups like the Birch Society stuck around in the shadows of American politics, as did others, including magazines like The Spotlight, whose mailing list Ron Paul used in the 19 90s to sell subscriptions to a newsletter that became increasingly obsessed with odd conspiracy theories. The 90s saw this movement revive itself in the form of the militias, the people who believed that black helicopters laden with United Nations troops were just over the horizon, and the various insane conspiracy theories that grew around the Clinton Presidency. It was the ideology and movement that gave birth, in at least some sense, to Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nicholas and the deaths of 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995. And now it’s found a home back inside the conservative movement that had once shunned it.

There are plenty of legitimate issues to debate when it comes to development issues and the extent to which governments at all levels are attempting to control the manner in which people can use and dispose of their private property. It’s a debate worth having and one that people should get involved with at the local level if they are truly concerned about it. Living in the delusion that it’s some kind of United Nations plot, however, is neither helpful to any cause nor does it make people tend to think that you’re a person worth listening to. If the Tea Party movement wonders why some people don’t take them seriously, it’s because they allow people like this in their ranks.

FILED UNDER: Tea Party, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DRS says:

    You really have to wonder if these people even know what the United Nations actually is.




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  2. David M says:

    It boggles the mind that people can be get so worked up over energy conservation. Energy efficiency is a good thing, and Doug is right there can be reasonable differences of opinion over the level of government involvement, but this is just crazy talk.




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  3. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    If the Tea Party movement wonders why some people don’t take them seriously, it’s because they allow people like this in their ranks.

    Yet Republican politicians who don’t want to be primaried out of office are forced to take these whack-jobs as serious as a heart attack.
    The crazy beliefs aren’t the problem, Doug; the real issue is how the nuts are holding hostage an entire political party.




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  4. And yet these same Tea Party voters will tell you low gas prices are a government responsibility.




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  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Local officials say they would dismiss such notions except that the growing and often heated protests are having an effectthey are totally gutless.

    FTFY.

    Doug, you are way too kind. The “Tea Party” is nothing but a group of bullies who scream and yell until others give up. And the threats of physical violence are buried none too deeply in the language they use, if it is buried at all.




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  6. Brummagem Joe says:

    Of course they never went away. Paranoia has always been a major virus in the conservative political system. Libertarians (or at least Paulites) aren’t exactly immune from it. I’ve re-read Hoftstadter’s famous essay and a couple of his books over the past year or so and although they were written back in the 50’s/60’s they could just have easily have been written today. The UN hysteria is a standard part of the dialectic of conservative talk radio, bloggers and cable tv. The Tea party crowd in its pyschological outlook is to all intents and purposes the modern incarnation of the John Birch Society. The fundamental difference is that back in the sixties they were the crazy fringe but today they are driving the Republican bus.




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  7. grumpy realist says:

    Gahh. Much more of this and I’m moving back to Japan. I’ll take my chances with the radiation.




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  8. superdestroyer says:

    Isn’t part of the problem the lack of real leadership on the issue. Politicians talk about energy conservation just before they jet off to Europe on a vacation. Politicains talk about sustainablility while supporting open borders and unlimited immigration. Politicians talk about smaler environmental footprints while moving into big houses, flying in private planes, and owning a larger number of cars.

    Just like leadership in the 60’s and 70’s passed a huge number of government regulations that impacted the middle and lower classes while isolating themselves from the impact, leadership today wants everyone to ride the bus or ride a bicycle so that their black Suburban can have a faster drive.




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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @grumpy realist:

    My niece is in Sendai and says it is quite pleasant just now.




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  10. Gustopher says:

    Paranoid wing of the Republican party — the Tea Party is just a wing of the Republicans, and the dominant one at that.




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  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    This sounds like an alibi to me. These crazies were around in thirties. Ever heard of Father Coughlin or Franklin Delano Rosenstein…they’ve just moved onto new targets.




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  12. DRS says:

    It wasn’t just the ’30’s either. Hofstadter’s works include a history of the paranoid tendency in American politics that goes right back to an obsession with Free Masons at the beginning of the 19th century – and using much of the same language about and many of the fears of communists in the mid-20th century. The difference now is that they can all communicate via email and therefore they seem more numerous than in the days when everything had to be handwritten or printed up page by page. The wonders of technology!




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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You can call them bullies and thugs, but I think the reality is the Tea Party is a group of poorly educated reactionaries caught up in a world changing so quickly they can’t keep up or even comprehend it. People in such circumstances, particularly the entitled, elderly white, tend to respond by lashing out at those they perceive as responsible for their discomfort. When we also take into consideration their reactionary conservative thinking, the Tea Party is in reality a predictable outcome.

    Rather than being crazy, their conspiracist mindset is entirely rational for anyone with such a warped and narrow understanding of life. I’d genuinely feel pity for them if they weren’t blinded with malice and hate.




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  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    @DRS:

    It wasn’t just the ’30′s either. Hofstadter’s works include a history of the paranoid tendency in American politics that goes right back to an obsession with Free Masons at the beginning of the 19th century – and using much of the same language about and many of the fears of communists in the mid-20th century. The

    Absolutely. And his book on anti intellectualism echoes all the language we hear today about Washington or Hollywood elites. The riffs against Obama, Harvard etc are all there at the Scopes monkey trial or in Hughie Long’s oratory. Hughie who I find a fascinating character was a racist socialist.




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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Yeah, what you said.




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  16. michael reynolds says:

    But also: I think Doug has mistaken the breast, thighs and drumsticks of the Tea Party, for a wing.




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  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Heart?…Brain?…OMG!




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  18. Jay says:

    This sounds like a fake controversy. Get back to me when these people number in the tens.




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  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Jay:

    This sounds like a fake controversy. Get back to me when these people number in the tens.

    Oh there’s only a couple of hundred of them….that’s reassuring




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  20. James H says:

    Did you know Queen is part of the Agenda 21 conspiracy?




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  21. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: Concur.




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  22. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    JJ that’s your problem isn’t it?




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  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug, I believe you’re a Libertarian and therefore a supporter of Ron P. Apparently it was necessary for the sainted Ron to associate with white supremacists in order to clean the country up (happily Jay assures us there are only ten of them)…

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/39869_Free_Republic_Reacts_to_Ron_Pauls_White_Supremacist_Links




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  24. @Brummagem Joe:

    If you’ve paid attention you’ll know I’ve been critical of Paul in many respects over the past two months.




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  25. @michael reynolds:

    All I will say is that I know people who have been involved in Tea Party activities over the past three years, some of them still are. Not all of them are like the people represented in the linked article. The people I speak of have a genuine belief in limited government, individual liberty, and the accountability of elected officials. For that reason, I think it’s somewhat unfair to judge every person who might identify with whatever the “Tea Party” is by the kooks. All the same, I’ve never really been a fan of the movement myself mostly because I never believed it would do anything other than be co-opted by the Republican Party.




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  26. MBunge says:

    @Jay: “This sounds like a fake controversy.”

    If you want to know how mainstream paranoia is in today’s conservatism, you should have listened to the Rush Limbaugh show on Friday. His reaction to the drop in unemployment was to all but accuse the government of faking the numbers, specifically questioning the fact that the unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted as though that was some kind of sinister behavior. He eventually backed off that, likely after being barraged with e-mails and tweets calling him a moron for talking about politics for over 20 years without ever noticing that the jobless rate is always seasonally adjusted, but the initial reaction of the leading conservative pundit in America to good economic news was suspicious denial and conspiracy mongering.

    Mike

    Mike




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  27. mannning says:

    I second Doug’s comments on Tea Party members. I believe every party has its fringe groups that can be huge embarrassments to the majority membership on occasion. When, however, the opposition deliberately selects the wild statements of the fringe as representative of the whole party, I denounce that as being disingenuous, devious, and dirty, and that holds for any party and its opposition.




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  28. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    If you’ve paid attention you’ll know I’ve been critical of Paul in many respects over the past two months.

    Apologies no offense intended but Paul is generally considered a Libertarian and I believe you claim to be one. Btw the link was for laughs. These people are crazy and unfortunately there are more than ten of them.




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  29. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    because I never believed it would do anything other than be co-opted by the Republican Party.

    Doug…puhleeze it is the Republican party. Who organised it Dick Armey and co, how many democrats are part of it?




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  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    You can call them bullies and thugs

    I did not call them “thugs”… That is a term reserved for good dues paying members of Unions related to the AFL-CIO who have worked their @sses off for 30 years and get upset when GOP’ers say that SS and Medicare (which they have been paying into their entire working life) are a drain on the country while we need to give even LARGER tax cuts to the (cough cough) job creators…

    Get your talking points straight, Ben.

    Silly you.




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  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    @MBunge:

    you should have listened to the Rush Limbaugh show on Friday. His

    Rush Limbaugh?… this conspiracy spin was commonplace across conservative blog comments including here….of course El Rushbo could have told them to say this.




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  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mannning:

    When, however, the opposition deliberately selects the wild statements of the fringe as representative of the whole party, I denounce that as being disingenuous, devious, and dirty, and that holds for any party and its opposition.

    Yes shocking Manning…I agree….where could anyone get the idea that there are more than a handful of crazy people involved in the tea party….where DO these ideas come from?…probably Olberman has something to do with it….Perhaps Issa should investigate.




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  33. Nikki says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    For that reason, I think it’s somewhat unfair to judge every person who might identify with whatever the “Tea Party” is by the kooks.

    Why should the Tea Party get a pass? No one else does.

    Also, saw this and it immediately gave me warm thoughts of you.




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  34. Ben Wolf says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I sincerely apologize.

    @Brummagem Joe:

    To my knowledge Doug has never been supportive of a Ron Paul presidency, and I think it rather unfair to assume he does (even when he just told you it isn’t so) just because both men call themselves libertarians.




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  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, what you said.

    You can call them bullies and thugs, but I think the reality is the Tea Party is a group of poorly educated reactionaries caught up in a world changing so quickly they can’t keep up or even comprehend it. People in such circumstances, particularly the entitled, elderly white, tend to respond by lashing out at those they perceive as responsible for their discomfort. When we also take into consideration their reactionary conservative thinking, the Tea Party is in reality a predictable outcome.

    And you pity these people?

    I’d genuinely feel pity for them if they weren’t blinded with malice and hate.

    But they are.

    Let me quote our brother Jesus, who was a man (some say the son of God. not me but that is another discussion): “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”




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  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    just because both men call themselves libertarians.

    So Ron Paul’s and Doug’s Libertarian views about the role of govt etc wouldn’t largely coincide? OK




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  37. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Of course, you feel free to judge everyone in the Occupy movement as a dirty hippie who wants to drum in circles all day. Because you’ve got Tea Party friends, and apparently know no occupiers.

    It’s pretty standard right wing thinking — if your relative gets a disease, that one deserves federal funding. But that’s as high as empath goes — it’s impossible to make the leap that people suffering from an illness no one you know has are just as worthy.

    So we can’t judge all Tea Partiers by their nuts because Doug knows a couple of Teaists. But we can judge all Occupiers, because Doug doesn’t know any of them…




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  38. mannning says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Just wondering myself, JB, about the far left fringe that appears to have a bigger voice these days in how things go. You know, the fellow travellers, and outright communists that parade themselves today in Democratic gatherings?




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  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Ben Wolf: Apology accepted, (tho not necessary)




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  40. WR,

    I judge them by the actions they take to bring about actual change, or lack thereof. Camping out overnight is not a form of political involvement, it is petulant stupidity.




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  41. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I do pity people who are afraid. It doesn’t stop me from also thinking that they may be evil as well (Talking in general there, not specifically about the TP.) Fear and cruelty, fear and nastiness, fear and hatred often go together. I can understand the fear of the Taliban, for example, as they realize they are in a dead end, left further and further behind in a world that is utterly at odds with their belief system . . . and then I can I can think, yep, let’s go bow their sh!t up real good.




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  42. michael reynolds says:

    Blow not bow.

    (That so could be a punchline.)




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  43. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mannning:

    You know, the fellow travellers, and outright communists that parade themselves today in Democratic gatherings?

    Yeah that singing of the Internationale at the end of all those Obama rallies is going too far…..and pictures of Stalin….wow…..Where’s tail gunner Joe when you need him?




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  44. murray says:

    “The Paranoid Wing Of The Tea Party”

    I’ll use that the next time I am asked what a tautology is..




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  45. anjin-san says:

    Just wondering myself, JB, about the far left fringe that appears to have a bigger voice these days in how things go. You know, the fellow travellers, and outright communists that parade themselves today in Democratic gatherings?

    Did Doug bring you in to probe his point, or did you just step up on your own?




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  46. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Sure. They just completely changed the political discourse in the country…by camping out. Call it petulant stupidity if you want, but it worked.

    Or are you so blinded by the hippies who were mean to you once that you can’t even see that?




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  47. Barb Hartwell says:

    The right wing radio talk shows fill their heads with so much crap and fuels their flames. We got a guy in Portland Or Lars Larsen who is against everything green. If the Democrats like it he will spew his vile against it. He was so upset when the first lady spoke out against unhealthy foods in schools and asked his listeners if they really wanted a granny state. He got mad when some liberal talked about smart cars. He said he loved his full sized pick-up as if someone was taking it away from him. He bashes all liberals for even suggesting global warming is happening. All I really have to say is Rush Limbaugh is his idol. The people who listen to this crap 24-7 are so afraid and I think they could be a little trigger happy too because they talk a lot about protecting themselves with guns. I know they get away with this stuff by claiming themselves to be an entertainment show but most people think it is all facts, and in my opinion they are dangerous.




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  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, you are far kinder than I….




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  49. Modulo Myself says:

    Virtually the entire GOP believes that climate change is a hoax put upon the public by scientists. How is that belief different from the ‘fringe’ one on display here?




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  50. An Interested Party says:

    All I will say is that I know people who have been involved in Tea Party activities over the past three years, some of them still are. Not all of them are like the people represented in the linked article.

    Than perhaps those people should speak out against the paranoid delusions of their fellow activists, lest the whole movement gets stained with the same brush…

    When, however, the opposition deliberately selects the wild statements of the fringe as representative of the whole party, I denounce that as being disingenuous, devious, and dirty, and that holds for any party and its opposition.

    The same person who typed the above comments later typed…

    Just wondering myself, JB, about the far left fringe that appears to have a bigger voice these days in how things go. You know, the fellow travellers, and outright communists that parade themselves today in Democratic gatherings?

    Hmm…multiple personalities, perhaps…




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  51. michael reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I blame lack of sleep: up all night because of a sick dog.




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  52. Hey Norm says:

    So Manning thinks the Republicans who created the debt ceiling debacle are the fringe…yet they are the mainstream…hmmm…a puzzle wrapped in a conundrum.




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  53. mattb says:

    @mannning:

    about the far left fringe that appears to have a bigger voice these days in how things go.

    I don’t see this as the case. As has been pointed out time and time again, the “fringe left” have been exceedingly disappointed with the President, who has largely enacted a center agenda.

    In fact, at the moment, it seems that the fringe/tea party Right has a bigger voice given their ability to undermine the Speaker of the House. Additionally, if we take a step further out, when one looks to the anti-immigration laws that have been passed in numerous states in the South, again one sees the hand of the more right wing aspects of the party exerting control.

    I really that you’re predisposed to see commies and anti-americans at every democratic event, but looking at the big picture, the argument you are making fails to meet the facts on the ground.




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  54. Mike G. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Hmmm, but much less violent than those buffoons in the public sector unions, right? I thought so.




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  55. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    The “Tea Party”??




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  56. An Interested Party says:

    @Mike G.: Surely you aren’t referring to this




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  57. Mike G. says:

    @An Interested Party:
    I had forgotten about the Gladney incident. I was talking about the violence the unions used in Wisconsin, as well as other venues. Threatening e-mails and letters to the opposition, vandalism, ect., plus the unions’ support of the scum of the Occupy [your city here] who have really made the general public want to give them any kind of support. What a bunch of losers, eh?




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  58. Jay says:

    @MBunge: Mike, Rush is different from random fringe TP groups. Just as bad, but different. We can find paranoia on the same level in the NYT any day of the week. Nothing new here.




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  59. An Interested Party says:

    I had forgotten about the Gladney incident.

    Well yes, of course you did…as for all these nefarious activities, I don’t suppose you would care to link to the evidence for these claims? And about those “losers”…the themes promoted by the Occupy Movement have influenced how a lot of people are now looking at Mitt Romney…hardly a “loss”…




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  60. anjin-san says:

    scum of the Occupy [your city here]

    Near where I live, the Oakland PD put two occupy members in the ER. They were both vets. Are they the scum you are referring to?




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  61. Scott O. says:

    @Jay:

    We can find paranoia on the same level in the NYT any day of the week.

    No, we can’t




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  62. Hoyticus says:

    One thing I know is that the coalition that calls it self the “Tea Party” has taken and ruined a perfectly good title from American history. Future generations will say “What? There were two?” and we’ll all have to say no, one was a group of patriots ticked off at the British the others were just hardcore right wingers pissed off over everything/fiscal terrorists.




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  63. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Mike G.:

    Yeah Mike the Republican WI Secretary of State and a leading member of Walker’s administration has just been convicted on numerous counts of election fraud.




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  64. sam says:

    @mannning:

    Just wondering myself, JB, about the far left fringe that appears to have a bigger voice these days in how things go. You know, the fellow travellers, and outright communists that parade themselves today in Democratic gatherings?

    Ah Christ, Manning. Next time you go shopping, buy some underwear a couple of sizes larger. It’s obvious that ball-strangling pair you’re wearing now is cutting off the blood supply to your brain. And God knows your brain needs all the blood it can get just to rise to mediocre.




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  65. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    I think you mean Charlie White, SOS of Indian
    a. And while I’m no friend or fan of Mr. White, his charges and trial are a clown show.

    In my career I’ve seen “voter fraud” used as a tool by many Republicans to go after dem’s (myself included) because it is a charge sure to get media coverage, and one that is easily manipulated. I find it disgusting for Democrats to sink to the same level.




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  66. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Sorry yep I was having a senior moment, I meant Daniel’s admin. I don’t know too much about the details but the fact the guy was indicted and tried does suggest it wasn’t quite a clown show unless you think the court was corrupt or politicised in some way. If his offense was trivial I agree with you.




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  67. @sam:

    It’s always enlightening when Mannning reports in from Planet X, in the sense that we learn how they manage to still believe what they believe, what contortions are needed.

    It’s a little like Twister(tm)!




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  68. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    His offenses were two fold:

    1. He was elected to the town council. 3.5 years into his 4 year term, he divorced his wife and moved in with a relative. He didn’t resign his seat and didn’t announce he was no longer living in the town he represented. If he had years to go in his term, I’d agree it’s not trivial. With 6 months to go after serving faithfully, I think it’s trivial. (It’s a matter of spirit of the law vs letter of the law IMO).

    2. During his divorce and temporary residency at a relatives, he didn’t change his voting address and instead voted absentee at his old residency. Note: this was for the statewide election, not the local election. (There may have been a few local special elections, but in most of Indiana, municipal elections are on odd years, statewide line up with national elections on even years). In other words the people he was voting for didn’t change based on his residency. Again, spirit vs. letter.




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  69. Neil Hudelson says:

    And I do think the courts were politicized. I haven’t followed the case closely enough to point to exact evidence–but I’ve followed enough cases in Indiana to know how much courts can be politicized (on both sides of the aisle).




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  70. TheColourfield says:

    @mannning:

    Yep, all those commies running the country.

    You are truly stupid.




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  71. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    So it’s not entirely trivial. And he refused to resign his office while the case was being heard even though Daniels asked him to.




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  72. Brummagem Joe says:

    @TheColourfield:

    @mannning:

    Yep, all those commies running the country.

    You are truly stupid.

    But the source of much innocent merriment.




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  73. TheColourfield says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    True. And that silly avatar kills me every time.




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  74. WR says:

    @Neil Hudelson: This was the man in charge of voting — and a man who, like so many Republicans, was desperately trying to disenfranchise anyone he thought might vote in a way he didn’t like by using bogus accusations of voter fraud. Meanwhile, he was committing voter fraud. It would be a mighty long sentence I’d find excessive for that.




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  75. ernieyeball says:

    @Hoyticus: “What? There were two?”

    Three. When I was in college 45 years ago the Tea Party ran candidates for student government on the single issue of legalizing weed.

    Don’t remember if they ever won. But then if you remember the 60’s you weren’t really there.




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  76. WATCH OUT says:

    Noted front group for the UN “Outside the BELTWAY” is mocking the TEA PARTY yet again. We are ON TO YOU




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  77. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: Yes, and when I read Doug’s comment: “While It certainly cannot be said to be true of everyone who choose to identify themselves with the movement, there is clearly a certain element that isn’t all that much different from the same paranoid wing of conservatism that William F. Buckley Jr. worked hard to bar from the conservative coalition back in the 1950s.”

    I wonder who it is in the Tea Party who doesn’t fit this description.




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  78. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “All I will say is that I know people who have been involved in Tea Party activities over the past three years, some of them still are. Not all of them are like the people represented in the linked article. The people I speak of have a genuine belief in limited government, individual liberty, and the accountability of elected officials.”

    So they were protesting the Bush administration’s polices? Where and when were these protests?




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  79. Barry says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Camping out overnight is not a form of political involvement, it is petulant stupidity. ”

    No, it’s protesting and drawing attention. Do you not even comprehend the basic idea here?




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  80. Gulliver says:

    “If the Tea Party movement wonders why some people don’t take them seriously, it’s because they allow people like this in their ranks….”

    The irony of this statement – and the view it represents – is delicious coming from the folks who brought us the special wisdom offered by Mr. Al Gore – the global fear monger who all the libs supported – and continue to support – when he made the polar ice caps will be gone in five years.

    Now, come to find out that East Anglia says that the temps haven’t changed in 15 years – based on over 30,000 monitoring stations.

    Energy efficiency by government mandate, when it includes control of private property, is nothing more than undue exercise of federal power over individual rights.




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  81. Gus says:

    Holy crap, the Birchers got the last laugh, didn’t they?




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  82. Gus says:

    @WATCH OUT: Is this snark or serious? It’s getting impossible to tell.




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  83. Maggie Z says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Allow? This is the Tea Party. Agenda 21, Birtherism, New World Order, Islamaphobia, you name it: they believe in it fervently. A sample comment from one of them:

    Go out to your mailbox, look at the color of the dot on it. If you have a red dot you are labeled a terrorist and are a target. If your dot is blue you need retraining are on the watch list. If your dot is yellow you are just cannon fodder and can be ignored or starved out. If you have no dot they just have not figured you out yet or are lazy. So to confound the system go out and put a nice baby pink dot over your red dot. This means you are a safe conformist slave and should be protected because you will be usefull later. If you want to really confuse things put a green dot over the red or blue one this means nothing and will confuse everyone.




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  84. Maggie Z says:

    @Gustopher: Actually, they call nearly every Republican either a RINO or a progressive.




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  85. mannning says:

    Critics of my previous comment are undoubtedly quite aware that they are acting as any Sal Alinsky Rules devotees would in castigating me for using old terms to get across my thought. Those of a collectivist mentality today run under very different labels in order to fool the public as to their true orientation and thus get reelected. Some of these labels include: Far Left; Progressive; Collectivist; Democratic Socialist, Socialist or Liberal.

    In fact, in around 2000 there were 70 House Reps that were members of the Democratic Socialists of America as was (proudly one thinks) published by that organization. That number may well have dwindled since 2000, but quite a few tens of those listed are still Democratic Reps in this Congress.

    http://tysknews.com/Dept/gov_philosophy_members.htm

    Given that each of these reps have a sizable staff, it is easy to suggest that many of those staffers are of the same persuasion as their Congressman, and are still running around the halls of Congress.

    Since the strongest collectivist parties are still in existence and active, notably the Socialist Party and the CPUSA, there are indeed still those running around today in the nation as well.

    A critique of Democratic Socialism as an orgainzing idea is given by Eugene Volokh here:

    http://volokh.com/2010/03/10/democracy-and-the-appeal-of-socialism/

    Of course, if one follows Marx, his contention was that Capitalism must be destroyed to be replaced by some form of Socialism (Democratic Socialism perhaps?), which in turn would be replaced inevitably with Communism and the “New Social Man.” It may not be inevitable that this transition would take place, since there are currently states that are semi-socialistic in the EU that have survived till now without turning to full Socialism or Communism: Holland is an example, but their rush towards full Socialism has foundered of late, as many of their citizens, center-right groups, and their industrial powers have fought back quite effectively to stem the tide.

    With the economic problems of today worsening, and challenges to capitalism and free markets becoming more shrill, it is imperative that we beat back any and all of these further collectivist, socialist attempts ourselves, or we will indeed have changes fostered on us, little by little, that we absolutely don’t want.




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  86. mannning says:

    A correction: The piece was by Ilya Somin not Volokh himself.




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  87. Maggie Z says:

    @mannning: Thank you for proving the point.

    For the record, I’m a software engineer, perfectly happy to get paid the big bucks, have never read Alinsky, had never even heard of him until I read about him on a TP site, and, after finally reading the Communist Manifesto, determined that I have never been nor would ever want to be a Communist.

    But I do use reason and think for myself.




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  88. mannning says:

    @Maggie Z:

    Does your taste or your reasoning run to Socialism then? Or what?




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  89. Maggie Z says:

    @mannning: I would have thought my saying that I’m “perfectly happy to get paid the big bucks” made it clear that I’m a capitalist. *shrug*




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  90. mannning says:

    @Maggie Z:

    Well now, I have seen out and out radicals that are very willing to take the very big bucks. Money per se is not a very good measure of virtue, political leanings, or philosophy.
    It might be a measure of greed in some cases, and lack of same might be a great measure of poverty…




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