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7 Tricks Teabaggers Will Use to Conceal Their Extreme Right-Wing Beliefs

The repackaging of the Tea Parties as forces of American virtue and pluralism, rather than angry right-wingers, is happening as we speak.

While they can be disparaged as being narrow minded ideologues possessed of an authoritarian personality, conservatives in the U.S.--and the extreme right wing that has now become the center of the GOP--have long been masters of using emotional and moral appeals to motivate their public. While the Democrats are hamstrung by an issues-based approach to politics, conservatives have mastered the art of creating an alternate world of political facts and reason (enabled by the right-wing media echo chamber) where the reality based community need not tread.

This week the note being struck is that liberal infiltrators (in the guise of "agent provocateurs") are targeting the Tea Parties in order to smear and discredit them. Without any factual substantiation (and ignoring the racist, bigoted and violent rhetoric common a Tea Party gatherings) the Right has tried to reframe the narrative that surrounds the tea baggers. Now, freed from any responsibility for their own actions, the Tea Parties can point to some imagined villain as being responsible for all things disruptive and violent at their protests.

This frees the tea baggers from any measure of responsibility for their deeds: if someone has a racist sign he/she is an infiltrator; if someone spits on a black congressman "they aren't really one of us" (or alternatively John Lewis was not spat upon because there is no "proof" save for eyewitness accounts); if someone incites violence "he isn't a tea bagger, it must be a crazy progressive." Not surprisingly, rather than expose this quackery, most in the media are repeating these narratives without critical intervention or comment.

My claim is not that provocation by liberal instigators is an impossibility. No, the rebuttal should be "so what?" With all of the evidence of how central white racial animus and hostility are to the Tea Party movement, what else could the infiltrators possibly do? What other bad behavior--short of bombings, shootings and other wanton acts of violence--could they possibly provoke the tea baggers into committing?

An appeal to the "liberals as infiltrators strategy" is also doubly effective because it inverts the political landscape by making the Tea Parties into victims of Jim Crow 2.0 and Barack Obama's America--those liberals who despise "the patriots" and the good white folk who only want to exercise their First Amendment rights against an "oppressive" and "tyrannical" regime that practices "reverse discrimination" and " pays too much attention" to black people's needs.

The Right has upped the ante. Not content with displacing responsibility onto "liberals" and "progressives" for the brigands in their midst, the Tea Parties are now trying to take the moral high ground as the party of diversity and tolerance. To that end, the tea baggers and their right-wing media arm have been circulating a  video of a confrontation between a Tea Party member and an alleged white supremacist. Here the tea bagger confronts the white supremacist and condemns him. 

While doing so, the Tea Party activist is sticking to a clear script: "The Tea Parties are not racist," "racism has no place with the Tea Parties" and "the Tea Party does not concern itself with race." In one two-minute clip, the Tea Party has created a counter-narrative with compelling soundbites that runs explicitly counter to the popular understanding that the tea baggers are racist xenophobes.

It is also a classic false flag operation. In intelligence and military circles these tactics involve the use of subterfuge and trickery (thus the allusion to a ship flying a "false flag") to create a pretext for military intervention or regime change, for framing events in the service of your own agenda, or more simply for making the public believe that X is occurring when it is in reality Y.