Several days ago, I wrote about the Tea Party protest on July 2 outside Tom Perriello’s office, and how it appeared, well, extreme and unhinged.
Perhaps it was, but perhaps...
The Tea Party movement is a tiny, impotent and extremist movement that is embarrassing itself and America. It bother me because it is misappropriating the symbols of American patriotism and greatness for its narrow and thermidorian political cause. The very idea that the movement sees itself as occupying some higher level of American patriotism whose political views somehow trump the votes of the 69.3 million Americans who voted for President Obama and Vice-President Biden is both laughable and irrational. Television stations come out to cover them because they are a freak show, not because they are being taken seriously in any political context.
That all said, I also think it is perfectly reasonable for the Tea Partiers to try to convince Americans to see it their way. That is what America and democracy are all about.
But then along comes Catherine Crabill, a GOP House of Delegates candidate (See this report at Blue Virginia for the incredible video – In the interest of saving a bandwidth tree, I won’t be reposting it). To sum up what she said, if the Tea Party platform cannot prevail at the ballot box, then armed revolution (the “bullet box” in her word) in a viable alternative. That, after all, is what the Second Amendment is for, Crabill explains, to facilitate armed revolution.
Look, Crabill obviously has emotional problems, so I don't want to judge her too harshly. But the fact of the matter is that Crabill, at the behest of whatever demons inhabit her brain and soul, simply committed a Kinsley Gaffe -- she inadvertently spoke the truth about this extremist movement. She got to the heart of what these Tea Partiers really believe, namely, that it is somehow a expression of patriotism to overthrow their own democratically elected government because of policy differences over taxation.
And they wonder why others mock them. they blame it on a liberal press that just doesn’t “get” conservatives, and that has stacked the deck against them.
Quite honestly, I wonder why people don’t mock them more.
To date, the Republican Party has tried to have it both ways with the Tea Partiers, trying to exploit the movement’s appeal to portions of the GOP base while at the same time separating themselves, sub rosa, from the movement’s extremist rhetoric and positions so as not to alienate the more moderate independent voters they will need to get elected.
Bradley Rees, 5th District Republican Congressional hopeful, for example, has embraced this movement and spoken at three of its rallies that I know of, but to date he has steadfastly refused to publicly condemn any of their actions, even as he suggests his private feeling are quite different. In fact, on this very blog his campaign manager, Michael Emette, recently wrote about the Perriello protest, “I don't personally consider Perriello a traitor, nor does the campaign,” but he fell well short of condemning the people who did express that extreme and ugly opinion by characterizing the protest as “a couple hundred people voicing their displeasure.”
Well, will Rees condemn Crabill? Will Bob McDonnell condemn her comments? Will anyone from the RPV condemn Crabill? Will any Conservative blogger?
Or is this the Republican Party in Virginia in 2009?