Tea Party politics has kicked into high gear. The already overheated war of words is getting hotter. Republican leaders are vying with each other to gain the fawning love of Tea Partiers. The GOP has turned into the Grand Opposition Party where just saying "no" to Obama-Pelosi-Reid, without offering alternate solutions to policies and programs constitutes political courage. We have seen and heard the angry, paranoid and sometimes racist actions and words of the adherents who claim that they are only being patriotic and true to the US Constitution. Here are some examples of the latest hi-jinx from the right wing of American politics.
Two divas who are riding high on the Tea Party wave and whose philosophy seems to be, "Lie, incite and lie again," are Sarah Palin and Michele Bachman of Minnesota. Folksy, provocative and street smart, they are not mere media commentators like Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. Both have been elected to public office and have their fingers unerringly on the buttons that excite Tea Partiers.
Two of the country's most popular Republicans, Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, teamed up Wednesday for a rollicking campaign rally that targeted President Obama as weak on national security and doomed to a single term.
Bachmann, seeking a third term in the House, never mentioned her Democratic opponents. Instead, she delighted the crowd with mocking references to terrorism suspects being read Miranda rights and sharp criticism of the president for limiting when the United States can use nuclear weapons.
"Two years from now, Obama will be a one-term president," Bachmann said, "because we are going to elect the boldest, strongest, most courageous, rock-ribbed, constitutional conservative president this country has ever seen."
Several thousand people showed up to see Bachmann and Palin, both famous for their fiery populism and ability to rile opponents. Darlings of "tea party" conservatives, the women were appearing together for the first time, and they welcomed the crowd's embrace. Palin headlined a fundraiser for Bachmann later in the day.
The rally was a lively assault on Democrats in Congress and the White House. The emcee, talk radio host Chris Baker, drew cheers and laughter when he said the party in power in Washington is a "lying, thieving . . . bunch of commies."
Then the GOP mucky mucks met in New Orleans where several aspirants to the presidency and party heavy weights tested the political waters by trying to outdo each other with rhetorical flame throwing.
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
With that whoop from partisan warrior and local girl Mary Matalin, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference got underway Thursday night in New Orleans with -- what else? -- a Mardi Gras of Pelosi-Reid-Obama-and-assorted-other-Democrat-bashing.
Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president, got things roiling with a scalding attack on President Obama, calling passage of the epic healthcare bill — without a single Republican vote -- “one of the most arrogant power plays in American history.”
All this and Sarah Palin isn't even on the speaking schedule until Friday.
Cheney drew the first standing ovation of the session — a quadrennial showcase for the party’s rising stars and presidential wannabes -- by invoking the GOP’s....
...rallying cry, “repeal and replace.” She predicted the effort would begin with a GOP Congress elected in November and finish with a Republican president sworn into office Jan. 20, 2013.
Cheney devoted most of her commentary, however, to a scathing assessment of Obama’s foreign policy, which she summarized, alliteratively, as “apologize for America, abandon allies, appease enemies.”
“President Obama,” she said to an appreciative roar, “stop apologizing for this great nation and start defending it.”
Well, if the Palin-Bachman duo needs a third horsewoman for their dog and pony show, they need look no further than Liz Cheney, the angry, gun-toting frontiers-woman from Wyoming. She is a fellow rider whose ability to distort, mislead and raise rabble equals their own.
With so much fire breathing going on by the so-called responsible members of the GOP leadership, it is not a surprise that some party pawns and foot soldiers are shaken to their cores. They feel nervous, bitter and betrayed. They want to take their country back and boy, if necessary, will do so by hook, crook or the barrel of a smoking gun.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty.
Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers.
"Is it scary? It sure is," said tea party leader Al Gerhart of Oklahoma City, who heads an umbrella group of tea party factions called the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. "But when do the states stop rolling over for the federal government?"
The irony here is exquisite. After all, Oklahoma witnessed the worst case of domestic terrorism in US history when a suspicious and jittery lone bomber acted out of paranoia fueled by exactly similar sentiments. But who said one has to heed history's lessons when one is feeling pissed off and ornery?
It is hardly a surprise that with relentless anti-government, anti-tax, anti-immigrant, anti-choice rhetoric issuing forth like a volcano from the right, we have already seen a few instances of vigilantism (here, here and here). We may yet see more before the leadership of the Republican Party decides to put their hunting dogs on a leash. But considerable damage may be done before cooler heads prevail, while the agents of provocation and dog whistle politics will go home without a scratch. A few will also be laughing all the way to the bank after the circus is over. I doubt that any serious debate is possible at this point with the Tea Party patriots and their exploitative, demagogic leaders. So bring in the clowns ... or at least, a talented satirist or two to puncture the veneer of the fake populism and fear mongering masquerading as serious political discourse. Perhaps a comedian can speak the exaggerated language of ridicule that will connect with the true believers who are otherwise in no mood to be swayed by facts or reason.