Really. The President of the United States, whose party controls both houses of Congress, who has enjoyed unqualified support and adoration from America’s elite media, who had the raw political power to drive an extremely unpopular healthcare plan into law, used one of his high profile, posh fundraising occasions to take a cheap shot at the grassroots people’s movement known as the Tea Party.
“I’ve been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes,” the president said, noting the numerous tax cuts pushed by his administration. “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”
That was a jaw-dropper. Especially since the House Ways and Means Committee has calculated that we’re facing $670 billion of tax increases over the next four years. As reputable newsman Chris Wallace said the next day, “I’m no Obama-basher, but that was the height of condescension, an effort to marginalize a major grassroots movement in America.”
So in spite of efforts to discredit the movement that The Economist, among others, called ‘the most dynamic political movement in America right now’, the Tea Party grows exponentially by its appeal to a broad spectrum of disenfranchised citizens no longer comfortable in either of the two political parties. And they brought their message ‘home’ to the ‘people’s house’ on Tax Day in America. The degree to which their organization threatens the power elite is evident in the efforts to belittle or besmirch it.
Referring to recent reports about a website called CrashtheTeaParty.org – which encouraged liberals to pretend to be tea partiers, attend rallies and voice fringe sentiments to marginalize the movement (the website appears to have been stripped of its content) – Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said he welcomed any infiltrators.
“I’m hoping that you’ll learn something,” he said from the stage at the FairTax/Tea Party Express rally. “And I’m hoping that you realize and come clean that the only misbehavior that you’ll see at a tea party rally is caused by infiltrators and not members of the tea party.”
It is a growing and dynamic force, this movement identified in the latest polling data as “generally representative of the mainstream public at large.” It is beneath the dignity of the office of the President of the United States to take a derisive swipe at a large swath of maistream Americans…Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, all races and religions and no religion…who find energy and synergy in their common interests and political goals.
It’s also indicative of how challenged he and his party leadership must feel by their swelling ranks.
In meetings before and after different rallies, veteran political strategists tried to channel the movement’s energy from street theater to boiler-room organizing. The Tea Party movement, which is strongly against taxes and big government, has no national leader and is not aligned with either major party.
Used to the Saul Alinsky method of naming enemies and isolating them, Mr. Obama seems to feel he’s losing the level of control he has enjoyed…until now.