America is about to learn how the right-wing engages in community organizing. Rather than working to get the support of like-minded citizens to participate in public events on behalf of their agenda, Tea Partiers are planning a campaign of dirty tricks that fails to advance the debate, but succeeds in revealing their own contempt for the democratic process. For a crowd who professes to revere the Constitution, they are openly demonstrating their disrespect for the First Amendment’s guarantees of free assembly and the redressing of grievances.
Here is what I am doing in Sacramento, where they are holding a 5:30 PM event this coming Tuesday: (1) I signed up as an organizer (2) with any luck they will contact me and I will have an “in” (3) in or not I will be there and am asking as many other people as can get there to come with, all of us in SEIU shirts (those who don’t have them we can possibly buy some from vendors likely to be there) (4) we are going to target the many TV cameras and reporters looking for comments from the members there (5) we will approach the cameras to make good pictures… signs under our shirts that say things like “screw the taxpayer!” and “you OWE me!” to be pulled out for the camera (timing is important because the signs will be taken away from us) (6) we will echo those slogans in angry sounding tones to the cameras and the reporters. (7) if I do get the “in” I am going to do my darnedest to get podium access and take the mic to do that rant from there…with any luck and if I can manage the moments to build up to it, I can probably get a cheer out of the crowd for something extreme.
And Williams describes precisely what his goals are for this charade:
Our goal is to make the gathering look as greedy and goonish as we know that it is, ding their credibility with the media and exploit the lazy reporters who just want dramatic shots and outrageous quotes for headlines. Even if it becomes known that we are plants the quotes and pictures will linger as defacto truth.
It should come as no surprise that the Tea Party aspires to manufacture falsehoods that they hope will linger as “defacto truth.” They rarely show much regard for actual truth. And with this project they affirm that their movement is utterly devoid of principle.
Mark Williams is a veteran Tea Bagger with a dubious history. He was expelled as the head of Tea Party Express for composing some overtly racist screeds for his blog. Subsequently, the Tea Party Express was banished from the Tea Party Federation. But the affiliation between these people and groups continues without interruption. Williams’ scheme has been endorsed by the Patriot Action Network, another Tea Party adjunct, whose partners include Islamophobe Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs and, of course, Tea Party Express.
In addition to this, Tea Party Express, which is known for funneling donations into the GOP lobbyist firm that created it, has been embraced by CNN. The network is co-hosting a Republican presidential primary debate with the disreputable organization. And CNN’s affiliation with the phony Tea Party movement also extends to their airing of Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party response to the State of the Union address, and to the hiring of Tea Party flack (and Breitbart’s editor-in-chief) Dana Loesch. CNN’s love affair with the Tea Party has been orchestrated by their new head, Ken Jautz, who will forever be marked as the man who gave Glenn Beck his first job in television.
The Tea Party’s response to the massive week-long demonstrations by labor and others in Wisconsin has been pitiful. Despite Tea Party star-power like Andrew Breitbart, Herman Cain, and Joe the Plumber, their big counter-demonstration last Saturday fizzled as a mere 2,500 Baggers showed up to confront an estimated 70,000 pro-worker demonstrators. And their little affair lasted less than an hour and a half, wrapping up at about 1:20pm although it had been scheduled to go until 3:00. This show of weakness may be why the Tea Baggers are resorting to dirty tricks.
The pro-American worker demonstrators should be on alert for Tea Party saboteurs. They should be prepared to expose them and inform the media of the desperate and unethical tactics. The media, for its part, should also be aware of the misrepresentation that they are being targeted with, and they should not hesitate to reveal it to their audience.
Whether or not this childish prank succeeds is still up in the air. One thing that Williams gets right is that the press can be astonishingly lazy. That means it’s up to citizens to make sure that the press do their jobs. So if you are attending any rallies, be aware, be vigilant, and be careful. These instigators have been primed by the rhetoric of Glenn Beck and other purveyors of hate. They have been deluded into thinking that the giant. multinational corporations who despise workers’ rights are actually representing their interests. And they are capable of anything in pursuit of their anti-union, anti-democracy mission.