In the past year, the Tea Party movement has captivated American audiences with its particular brand of spit-fire politics. Protest rallies, (dare I say) publicity stunts, and an unquestionable number of followers and 2010 primary victories have propelled the Tea Party to the status of "party to watch" (and arguably fear) as the nation marches toward November's midterm elections. When the party emerged in early 2009, the so-called "liberal" media boarded the Tea Party bus and has reported every open event, conversation, pit stop, and traffic violation the party has held or endured. The reasons for this love affair are vast, but here is a list of the top ten from my humble perspective:
10. The party rose to prominence mere seconds after the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first African American president. As various members of the media have pointed out, the timing couldn't be more poignant. The words and images from those early protests, including signs featuring slurs and life size effigies of President Obama wearing jeans, sneakers, gold chains, etc, made for compelling reading, listening, and viewing.
9. Has a more hilarious political figure received as much media attention as Rand Paul received shortly after his unfortunate remarks about the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
8. Have more frightening political figures received as much media attention as some Tea Party members? Those Tea Partiers that shout the "n" word at rallies, post anti-Hispanic comments on the web, call Allah a "monkey God," tell people attending churches (namely the Catholic Church) that preach social justice to leave, and unapologetically demonize the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community has helped bring readers to a lot of newspapers and magazines, increase website hits, and glue eyeballs and ears to newscasts.
7. Has any political movement in recent history struck up the "righteous indignation" band so well?
6. "We want our country back!" A majority of Americans fairly and democratically elected the current administration. As Chris Matthews pointed out shortly after Glen Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally in Washington, DC in August, a majority of voters who cast ballots in the 2000 election didn't select the previous administration.
5. It takes an abundance of chutzpah to stage a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
4. "I'm not a witch. I'm nothing you've heard. I'm you."
3. Carl Paladino's lack of email etiquette.
2. Sarah Palin. Enough said.
1. A few Tea Party candidates might actually win a few races next week. If that happens (and by the looks of things, it will), the so called "liberal" media will stock up on tasty beverages, pizza, and chips and dip, and continue to ride the Tea Party bus for as long as the party can afford gas for the bus.