Ah, the tea party faithful...wrapping themselves in the American flag.

The Floyd tea party — such as it is — endorsed Morgan Griffith for Congress last week.

Yeah, sure. They weren’t going to endorse Boucher. He’s a Democrat and far too moderate for the right-wing extremists of the tea party “movement.”  Jeremiah Heaton? No way. Heaton makes Sharron Angle look well versed on the issues.

Of course they went for Griffith, who doesn’t even live in the Ninth District but claims he will once Virginia redistricts from the new census — an interesting act of precognition since the census figures aren’t even out yet.

Griffith, a GOP delegate and majority leader of the Virginia House, is no stranger to carpetbagging. He was born in Philadelphia.

He is, however, a stranger to ethics and sound judgment. Griffith aligned himself with Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Gordon Hannett when the county prosecutor tried to run his office via email from Iraq while serving in the Army reserve. Circuit Judge Ray Grubbs thought that was illegal and improper and appointed an interim prosecutor.  Hannett fought the judge’s action, taking his case all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court — where he lost on legal grounds — twice.

So Griffith put politics above the law and introduced legislation to bar judges from appointing replacements in the future. Didn’t help Hannett. Voters tossed him out and then the cops busted him for stealing hard drives from his county office when he left the job. The Virginia Bar Association publicly reprimanded him for his action.

So I guess it’s understandable that Floyd’s tea party would think Griffith is the right man for the job (the key word being “right” as in extreme “right wing”).  Griffith is a product of the same extremist factory that gave us national embarrassments like Virgil Goode, George Allen and Eric Cantor.

And we should learn to expect these kinds of shenanigans from the tea party, a phony grassroots operation created by a Republican consultant for the Koch brothers who put a few millions of pocket change from their billions into trying to seize control of the government and keep the world safe for robber barons and energy companies.

Following the election, the Kochs will gather their faithful at the exclusive Ranchos Las Palms Resort and Spa in Rancho Mirage, California, to — as the invite letter says — “develop strategies to counter the most severe threats facing our free society and outline a vision of how we can foster a renewal of American free enterprise and prosperity.”

And who do they turn to to develop these strategies? Oh, people like Glenn Beck, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (of pubic hair on soft drink can fame) and Sen. Jim DeMint, the primary spokesman for the tea party in the Senate.

I know more than I really care to about Charles and David Koch. They funded the GOP consultant — Eddie Mahe — who created Citizens for a Sound Economy, a faux grassroots campaign that morphed into the Tea Party with a little help from former GOP honcho Dick Armey and his FreedomWorks organization.

During my venture over the dark side (politics), I worked for Mahe and was involved in a number of Citizens for a Sound Economy projects. During that time — and much to my later shame — I created several sham grassroots operations for well-heeled clients. Some of them are still around, a sad fact that I’m not proud of. It’s no coincidence that I quit drinking and joined AA right about the time I gave up working in politics.

But wait! Isn’t the tea party a real grassroots operation of civic-minded folks who want to return control of government to “the people?”

Nope. The tea party is a gaggle of amateurs who think they are doing the Lord’s work but are really just rubes of the uber-rich in a conspiracy to control the political system.

And — surprise, surprise — another associate of Eddie Mahe’s old firm now runs the political action committee for Koch industries.

The tea party’s “grassroots” credentials are as phony as Demi Moore’s mammary glands.

Phony boobs. How appropriate.

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