Watching the news the other day, a reporter commented on Tea Party results in the recent primaries. Another story dealt with the Tea Party and racism. There was also a newspaper article on poll results for Americans towards the Tea Party. Even the London Daily Telegraph ran a story relating a candidate for Prime Minister to the Tea Party.
It was pretty darn good PR for something that doesn't actually exist.
I mean, honestly now -- the Tea Party? There isn't a Tea Party, other than that thing your four-year-old daughter throws with her invisible friends. Which, come to think of it, is an excellent description of this other "Tea Party."
It's also one of the great examples of razzle dazzle. Getting the public pondering the Tea Party. As if it was an actual political party. Which it isn't.
Mind you, this isn't to say that there aren't people running around with tea bags hanging from their hats, carrying signs with swastikas, and even organizing in large groups that can sway votes. There are. Only a month ago, 9,000 activists rallied in Nevada to protest Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and health care reform. Television coverage was massive.
Then again, just one week ago, an estimated one million people gathered across America to protest Arizona's immigration bill. In downtown Los Angeles alone, there were 60,000 people.
For those keeping score, one million is larger than 9,000.
But still, that rally in Nevada sure got a lot of news coverage. More even than the million did. It was a Really Big Deal! Because they wore funny hats, had signs with swastikas, and called themselves -- TEA PARTYERS!!
Huzza, oh, huzza.
There is no Tea Party.
Forget the internal documents showing that the "Tea Party Express" outfit is merely a blatant, cynical effort to make money for the PR agencies who are organizing crowds. Those are just facts and can easily be dismissed by anyone willing to close their eyes.
But less easily dismissed is that for all the effort of the PR agencies putting together rallies, putting together town halls, putting together "conventions," there's one thing they somehow haven't been able to put together, that you'd think would be really important for a political party:
I don't mean Republican candidates who say they support the "Tea Party," pandering to get "Tea Party" votes. No, no, I mean people running on an actual Tea Party Ticket.
For instance, there was angst-ridden outrage last week in California when Sarah Palin endorsed fired Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina for the Senate over the supposed "Tea Party Candidate," Chuck DeVore. Except that, you see, Mr. DeVore is a Republican. He's running in the Republican primary. He wants to be the Republican Senator.
If the Tea Party actually existed, if Tea Party People truly had the courage of their convictions, if the Tea Party wasn't merely a PR gimmick -- then we'd see Chuck DeVore running in the Tea Party.
We'd see somebody running in the Tea Party. Somewhere. I mean, honestly, if the Tea Party actually existed, if the Tea Party was a growing movement, a meaningful movement, a movement period -- you'd think we'd see one candidate who was actually, seriously running as a designated representative of "The Tea Party." Rather than what they are -- in Utah, Florida, Arizona, everywhere: running as Republicans, for the Republican nomination, to be a Republican candidates.
They may pander, but they're not idiots.
Hey, all you Tea Party folks who think you're in a real party? You've been snookered. Sorry.
There is no Tea Party. Tea Folks are the disenfranchised fringe of the far right wing of the Republican Party. The unwavering, blindly-supportive base of a Bush-Cheney Administration that brought you the Iraq War, warrantless wiretapping, economic collapse, divisive hatred, and so much less. And some clever PR marketing illusionists have figured out a way to bamboozle you, bamboozle the public and bamboozle the news media by rebranding something you threw out into thinking it is a Real Party - or a movement! - that can get the attention which the tiny, voiceless, discredited, radical conservative wing of the Republican Party that they are can't get on its own.
So, they call it a "Tea Party." Yes, it's a goony name. But it's better than Wing Nuts.
It's not a party. It's not even a "movement." It's the far right wing of the Republican Party. And that's fine, valid. But let's just be honest about who we are.
Scott Brown? He didn't become senator of Massachusetts because of the "Tea Party." He won because his opponent took a month off and went on vacation. And then ignored Brown. And then crumbled in the debate. So, Scott Brown won. As a Republican.
Sorry. I apologize for breaking it to you. But you're not a Tea Party. It doesn't exist. You're far right wing Republicans.
To be clear, that doesn't mean that if such people are mobilized that they can't have a voice in an election. They can. And are -- especially as activist voices within the Republican Party. Driving it farther and farther to the right.
If there is dissatisfaction in government today, dissatisfaction in government has existed since the days of Genghis Khan. If there is a desire to vote for the party out of power in an off-year election, there is always a desire to vote for the party out of power in an off-year election. These have nothing to do with a Tea Party that doesn't exist. How it all will play out in November, however, and to what degree -- or not -- we'll find out in November.
In the meantime, if you want to join a Tea Party, don't forget to bring your invisible friends.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/relisberg