Allahpundit asks: if Ron Paul isn’t safe from the tea party movement, who is? And it’s a good question. The tea party movement began as a sort of Libertarian/conservative uprising, focused on shrinking government, ending bailouts and cutting taxes. It definitely had an element of Obama Derangement Syndrome grafted onto it, but in theory at least, it also was anti George W. Bush. Clearly it has morphed into something else — a confederation of people who reject the results of the 2008 election, mainly Palinites (the angry mobs who shouted “kill him!” and “off with his head!” at Palin’s ’08 rallies look an awful lot like those making up the tea rallies these days…) George W. Bush defenders, neoconservatives (who really don’t seem to fit in, but whose beef with Paul is that he opposes foreign adventurism, a la Iraq) plus the well-documented fringe of racists, nativists, birthers and just plain angry white people. Throw in Tom Tancredo leading the lobster-gobbling, pinky in the air Nashville conventioneers and you get a strange gobbledygook of race baiting and snobs who can afford to pay $800 to hear Sarah Palin say what you can hear her say for free on Fox News, and what you’re left with is a very strange brew.
And while The Alaska Prompter has endorsed Paul’s son Rand in his run for for Senate in Kentucky, I’m not sure how much longer Paulite Libertarians, who to my reading are already a minority in the tea party “movement,” can realistically hang on.
Actually, I’m not sure how long anyone outside the Palinite/neocon camp can stay committed to a movement that is getting more and more fringy by the day. Case in point: Palin got big applause when she mentioned Scott Brown during the rump tea party convention in Nashville (though not as many cheers as when she mentioned secession,) but being a smart pol who has to get re-elected in New England in two years, he has already shunted the movement aside. And lots of tea types are already calling him a RINO. Teas also hate John McCain, but both Palin and Brown plan to campaign for him, choosing the two-time Republican presidential candidate over much more right wing J.D. Hayworth. This week’s Newsweek talks up Marco Rubio’s delicate balancing act, in which he doesn’t seem sure he wants to be fully part of the “movement,” even though he’s relying on its energy to sweep him into the GOP nomination for Senate in Florida.
Really, it doesn’t make much sense.
Unless … unless, which is what I’ve come to believe, we in the media have simply made too much of the tea parties as some new, separate phenomenon, when it now appears to be just the latest manifestation of the far right of the Republican Party. My prediction is that eventually, or maybe even soon, the Libertarians will look for the exits, particularly since tea partyism is also morphing into an evangelical crusade focused on the usual GOP feints of “guns, god and gays…”) and the tea party movement will become just another part of the GOP — but a part expressly focused on getting Sarah Palin nominated for president in 2012.
And I’m not the only one who thinks the “professional conservatives” have gobbled the tea parties up. Says Kleinhelder:
… the media now have their definition of what it means to be Tea Party. This convention gave them simplistic nativism, birtherism, media bashing,homophobia, and a heavy does of neoconservative foreign policy.
That is the image of tea partydom that Judson Phillips poured out to the eager media this weekend and is now percolating through the many channels of mass and new media.
By Monday afternoon, it will begin to harden and the tea party movement will be Sarah Palin’s movement.
And that is no tea party at all.