Palin and the Tea Party: Phony populists playing a con on the rubes
When you get down to it, Sarah Palin is not only a sick joke but a poster bimbo for what’s wrong with this nation. Even in our celebrity-driven society she is a caricature so far removed from reality that it is hard to imagine how anyone with an IQ above that of the average turnip can take her seriously.
Yet some do.
But we should remember that this is a nation where more people watch American Idol than the nightly news, where more people can name those who have slept with Tiger Woods than identify members of the President’s cabinet.
Palin, however, is the perfect fake symbol for the phony grassroots movement called The Tea Party. Like the Tea Party, she is a creation by those with hidden agendas and a lust for power and money. These con artists prey on those with weak minds and anger towards government. They prove H.L. Mencken’s observation that “nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.”
That Palin become governor of Alaska is not surprising. Alaska has a long and shameful history of putting nutcases into office. Remember Wally Hickel?
The struggling John McCain Presidential campaign plucked Palin from obscurity in a “hail Mary” moment to try and save their run for President. It didn’t work and revelations by McCain staffers show the campaign regretted the decision from the moment that Palin arrived and ran amok.
Palin quickly became a national embarrassment for McCain’s campaign. Palin later quit her job as Alaska governor — amid mounting ethics investigations — and turned her 15 minutes of fame into a road show for money. According to reports, she has cashed in with about $12 million so far. Not bad for a political lightweight who claims she can see Russia from Alaska.
In many ways, Palin’s emergence as the face of the Tea Party “movement” is perfect: A phony organization like the Tea Party needs a phony as its superstar. The Tea Party is not the “grassroots” campaign that it claims but a front for right-wing millionaires who want to push their agenda. The Tea Party grew out of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a fake grassroots operation set up in 1984 by David and Charles Koch, right-wing petroleum and energy magnates. It began life in a consulting firm in Washington, not from “grassroots” activists.
As noted here before, I once worked for the Republican consulting firm in Washington there that fake grassroots operation — Citizens for a Sound Economy — was formed.
Early on, Republican consultants saw the Tea Party as a way to make money.
As Politico reports, the Tea Party is run not by activists but by a slick, California-based Republican consulting firm who admitted in a memo that the party was a way to get rich.
Just days after the first widespread tea party demonstrators hit the streets a year ago Thursday, Joe Wierzbicki, a Republican political consultant with the Sacramento firm Russo Marsh + Rogers, made a proposal to his colleagues that he said could “give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus.”
The proposal, obtained by POLITICO, was for a nationwide tea party bus tour, to be called the Tea Party Express, which over the past seven months has become among the most identifiable brands of the tea party movement. Buses emblazoned with the Tea Party Express logo have brought speakers and entertainers to rallies in dozens of small towns and big cities, including one in Boston on Wednesday that will feature former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Aided by campaign-style advance work and event planning, slick ads cut by Russo Marsh, impressive crowds and a savvy media operation, the political action committee run by Wierzbicki, Russo Marsh founder Sal Russo and a handful of other Republican operatives has also emerged as among the prolific fundraising vehicles under the tea party banner. Known as Our Country Deserves Better when it was founded during the 2008 election as a vehicle to oppose Barack Obama’s campaign for president, the PAC saw its fundraising more than quadruple after it took the Tea Party Express public in July, raising nearly $2.7 million in roughly the following six months, compared with less than $600,000 in the preceding six months, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
This kind of action is “business as usual” for political consultants. I know. I used to be one of them. It’s not something I’m proud of.
In too many ways, Palin is the Professor Harold Hill of politics: A con artists playing the rubes for political gain. Unlike Hill, the central character of The Music Man musical, I doubt Palin will ever have a crisis of conscience and see the light.
She’s too busy cashing in.
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Long-time newspaperman, photographer and videographer who still shoots photos and covers government and courts for a newspaper, shoots video for TV and documentary use and owns web sites like Blue Ridge Muse, Capitol Hill Blue and American Newsreel.