Tea Party and the Right  
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Slick, Paranoid Tea Party Video Aims for Violent Insurrection

Fear walks the land, and the Tea Party Patriots are here to package and sell it.

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Mother Jones magazine cited the group's use of “high-priced PR consultants and GOP-connected direct-mail and telemarketing firms,” and questioned the IRS status it uses to maintain its secrecy. Rolling Stone (“The Lie Machine,” 2009) and Talking Points Memo have evidence that the group was used as a front operation by GOP operative Dick Armey’s “Freedomworks” group.

As Talking Points Memo noted, the group accepted Armey’s choice for its original logo, which showed a raised fist in front of the Capitol building. “The left thinks we don’t understand the connotations of the symbol,” said one of the group’s organizers, “which we do.”

Republican funding would explain “Movement On Fire’s” rhetorical finish, which otherwise seems unsatisfying and even anticlimactic. As the video ends we see a blue starry shield draped in a red-and-white sash appear on the screen and then burst into flame. Words appear, their anemic, Republican-friendly phrases a stark contrast to the video’s heated imagery and rhetoric: “Fiscal Responsibility.” “Constitutionally Limited Government.” “Free Markets.” Then they, too, burst into flames. The final words appear: “Tea Party Patriots.”

We may never know who paid for the Tea Party Patriots’ slick and professional video, but we do know that it taps into some very deep – and very disturbing – strains in the American psyche. For most conservative viewers it will provide nothing more than one more moment of escapist fantasy. But for those who have been stepped in death and destruction, resurrection and revelation, it may be highly provocative.

Who’s behind the Tea Party Patriots? We don’t know. Their new logo is a torch, and this film shows that they’re still playing with fire.

Richard Eskow is a writer, a senior fellow with the Campaign for America's Future, and the host of a weekly radio show, "The Breakdown."
 
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