I have long been a fan of political theater. I have seen protests infiltrated and opponents delegitimized. I have seen, or maybe even taken part in internet campaigns to build false grassroots support for causes that might be helpful to my causes in the end. It is done all the time on both sides of most major issues. So today when I read about Jason Levin starting a group called Crash the Tea Party I thought it was a pretty great idea. But by the time I finished reading the article, I had changed my mind completely.
Crash the Tea Party is “a nationwide network…sick and tired of the loose affiliation of racists, homophobes, and morons; who constitute the fake grass roots movement which calls itself ‘The Tea Party.’” They seek to “dismantle and demolish the Tea Party…by infiltrating the Tea Party itself.” The plan is to show up at Tea Party rallies and just exaggerate those things that are already so easily mockable, whether it is misspelled signs or wild claims in TV interviews.
While I am completely in support of the goal, this groups tactics play straight into the hands of the Teabaggers. Most of us probably remember March 20, the day before the US House passed the so called “Obamacare” reconciliation bill. The protesters were out in full force on Capitol Hill that day, and as members of the House walked from their offices to the Capitol several were accosted by them. John Lewis, Andre Carson, and Emmanuel Cleaver all reported demonstrators/thugs yelling the N-word at them, and Cleaver was spat upon one of them. Barney Frank was called a faggot on multiple occasions that weekend by somewhat ironically named Teabaggers.
The immediate response from the Tea Party and even the more “mainstream” of the right was to deny that these events had taken place, and to say that if they had it was left wing infiltrators trying to score points against the “real Americans” standing up to the evil fascist-socialist-Islamist left. Known liar Andrew Brietbart even went so far as to offer a prize of $100,000 to the United Negro College Fund if anyone could prove the slurs were used, and then said that since no video has turned up it must all be a lie. Turn on any right wing talk show in the country and this is already the talking point when any of this comes up.
Now with Mr. Levin out trying to promote his group in the media, the only people he is discrediting are those that have been standing up to the righties who are trying to cover up the hate spewing from the Tea Party movement. This is going to make Fox News’ job that much easier next time a Teabagger does something deplorable in public, and we won’t have to wait long for that to happen. Levin is doing what too many people on the left do every day, shooting himself in the foot. Unless, this is all part of the plan and it is not the Tea Party that is being crashed.