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The TEA Parties: A Mushroom Roots Movement

Posted by Chris Liebenthal on March 6, 2010

Eric Alterman at the Daily Beast has a story about a recently discovered PowerPoint created by the Republican Party which shows great disdain for their own members:

Well, this is something. Just when you thought politics could not possibly get any more cynical than phony accusations of “death panels” and “Tea Party” conventions that rip off crazy people with the promise of revolution, we discover that the Republican National Committee thinks its funders are so stupid that they can soak them the basis of “fear,” “socialism,” and tchotchkes.

No really. According to a document uncovered by Politico, RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart gave a presentation at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida, on February 18 in which he explained how “ego-driven” Republican donors could be bilked by a campaign of fear and the promise that only the Republicans could “save the country from trending toward socialism.”

The document is breathtaking in the contempt demonstrated for Republican supporters, expecting them to insist that a president who, on the one hand, is accused by his own supporters as being overly cozy with Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry—to say nothing of his hawkish foreign policy—while he’s also dubbed the second coming of Joe Stalin. “What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate…?” the memo asks. The answer is apparently a series of cartoons in which Obama is portrayed variously as The Joker, and “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.”

Illusory Tenant points us to a similar story at Politico which also points out the documented proof that the conservatives have only one play in their playbook, the old Fear and Schmear:

The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides headed “RNC Marketing 101.” The presentation divides fundraising into two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and lays out the details of how to approach each group.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.”

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”

Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”

The slide also allows that donors may have more honorable motives, including “Patriotic Duty.”

A major Republican donor described the state of the RNC’s relationship with major donors as “disastrous,” with veteran givers beginning to abandon the committee, which is becoming increasingly reliant on small donors.


These are the same clowns that bring you the annual “Defenders of the American Dream” revival meeting. It is pretty common knowledge that the AFP was created and is sponsored by the co-owners of Koch Industries, a multibillion dollar company that is part of oil and chemical industries among many others. Koch Industries has a deep seated hatred for the government, probably due to some degree to the fact that they were slapped with hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments and fines for causing hundreds of oil spills, damaging the environment and not properly maintaining their oil pipelines, which led to an explosion which killed two teenagers.

The two brothers who co-own this company have such a love of money that they have even been accused of cheating their other two brothers when they bought them out.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to put the pieces together and see that the whole TEA Party movement is a cynical attempt of the uber-rich to try to regain control of the government from the people. In their effort to do so, they are using all the tools at their disposal, like talk radio and these TEA Parties to play on people’s fears, hatreds, and bigotries and plying them with misinformation and flat-out lies to help stoke the fires.

Between the Republican memo and the ultrarich big businesses that are behind the TEA Party movement, the one thing for certain is that these are not the grassroot movements they pretend to be. It would be more accurate to call them a mushroom root movement, since they apparently like to be kept in the dark and feed off of the manure that is being flung at them.

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