Thursday, July 16, 2009

Crabill and the Tea Party: It Takes A Villiage Idiot

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?


  1. It's a Kinsley gaffe, with an "l", after Michael Kinsley. Nothing to do with the Kinsey Reports.

  2. Ha. Thanks, KCinDC, but I say, with this crowd, give it time. Give it time.

  3. Wow, Alan! Trying to tie campaign rhetoric to an extremist that believes that the use of arms is necessary to get what we want. Interesting chess play, but easily defendible. I apologize for the delay, as I was discussing and defending issues pertaining to the actual stance of my candidate, or I would have gotten back here sooner. I don't wish to delve into what passes for "civil" discourse in this country, but if I must...

    I loved watching the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, for the freak show. Nothing like parades of men in assless chaps and drag queens marching toward Concord and Lexington to get me in the patriotic spirit. I also enjoyed the fervor of the riots surrounding the WTO meeting in Seattle a few years ago. The overturned cars and Molotov cocktails must have merely been symbols of the fire burning in the hearts of the protesters in the streets, and therefore was protected speech and qualify as civil debate. And it was also a joy to my heart to watch as Ann Coulter, William Kristol, Pat Buchanan, and David Horowitz were pelted with food items, mostly pies, for engaging in polite yet conservative dialogue on college campuses. This is not to mention the Vail fires, the spiked timber trees (which killed loggers), and other acts of actual violence committed by organizations such as Earth First and the Earth Liberation Front.

    I bring these incidents up, not to arrogantly suggest the obvious inadequacies of comparing the peaceful protests of the TEA parties with some of the violent and extreme positions of the left, but rather to point out that this campaign, the GOP, conservatives, and the whole of the TEA party movement do not consider the above mentioned incidents to be indicative of the progressive movement as a whole. I would not accuse you, Alan, of being a member of the ELF nor do I think you would flip a car and riot in Central LA to get your point across. So I ask, why do you first, want the Rees campaign to throw peaceful (no arrests at TEA parties NATIONWIDE) protesters under the bus for your amusement? Second, can I expect you to disavow every freak show protester that claims to speak for the left, as a sign of good faith?

    In the Rees camp, we respect the dissent and we respect why they are angry, even if we do not completely agree with every sign or sentiment that is expressed. I would hope that most progressives do not concur with the attitudes expressed with signs that likened Bush and Cheney to Adolf Hitler and I am certain that they don't. Therefore, I have stated before and will reiterate, Bradley Rees and his campaign do not consider Rep. perriello to be a traitor to his country. We respect and applaud those in the TEA party movement and agree with most of what they are trying to accomplish. We do not, nor have we ever, condone or sanction the use of force in armed revolution against the government of the United States. I don't know what else you are asking, Alan, but I don't think we can be any clearer.

    Now, can we put the blanket castigations of a candidate and a movement of roughly 3-4 million people away and discuss issues of pertinence, such as the merits of the Healthcare bill? Oh, that's right, its going to be debated this week and "transparency" means that the bill is invisible until it reaches the floor for a vote.

    My Best to You and Your Readers,
    Michael Ernette
    Campaign Manager, Ree for Congress

  4. In regard your comment about voting the President in, you have engaged in the worst sort of spin doctoring. Specifically, you have made assumptions that your data do not support.

    I am not in favor of the current President, but I was less in favor of the previous administration. As a result, my vote was against the Republican party, not FOR the Democrats. A great many people that I know personally voted this way.

    It is not a vote of confidence, but rather a vote of no confidence for the other party.

    As to the rest of your tirade, you might try inserting more fact and less emotion in your content. Such things as you do here are EXACTLY what the Tea Party are against. Your insults and character assassination do not work in your favor with people that are not just party line voters.

  5. Catherine Crabill was quoting a speech Patrick Henry made when she said that they (meaning the founding fathers)had no other choice But the bullet box since there was No ballot box then, but that WE DO have the ballot box today to fight the current course our country is on. It is typical in our society today to omit whatever it is in recounting an event to make either party look good or bad, and that is what they did.