The Last Tea Party
The Last Tea Party: Or How “Operation American Spring” Turned a Once Powerful Political Movement into the Laughing Stock of the Country
Friday May 16th, 2014. It was supposed to be a date that future writers would carve in stone in the annals of American History. According to organisers, ten to thirty million “patriots” would descend on Washington, DC, arrest President Obama and assemble a tribunal of conservative lawmakers to decide the charges he would be facing before they shipped him off to Guantanamo Bay.
According to their official website, this was how the plan was supposed to go:
Concept of Operations:
Field millions, as many as ten million, patriots who will assemble in a peaceful, non-violent, physically unarmed (Spiritually/Constitutionally armed), display of unswerving loyalty to the US Constitution and against the incumbent government leadership in Washington D.C., with the mission to replace with law abiding leadership. Go full-bore, no looking back, steadfast in the mission.
One million or more of the assembled 10 million must be prepared to stay in D.C. as long as it takes to see Obama, Biden, Reid, McConnell, Boehner, Pelosi, and Attorney General Holder removed from office.
Consistent with the US Constitution, as required, the U.S. Congress will take appropriate action, execute appropriate legislation, deal with vacancies, or U.S. States will appoint replacements for positions vacated consistent with established constitutional requirements.
Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President.
The plan was signed, Harry Riley, COL, USA, Ret.
These liberty-loving patriots were ready, they had their plan laid out, their numbers tallied, and God was on their side as their commander ordered them to “bathe this effort in prayer”.
Of course their efforts were also soaked in the paranoid gibberish of the American Right, with vague warning about what to do if you’re captured and put in one of the FEMA camps, dark comments about plots to poison the water with chemicals, and other sorts of brain-damaged swill that comes straight from the script of Alex Jones’s radio show.
So what happened on May 16th? Was it the day of reckoning for President Obama’s administration? Was the Tea Party finally in control of Washington, DC?
For all the fire-breathing about tens of millions of patriots flooding the National Mall in Washington, approximately 150 people showed up according to even the most generous estimates.
Oh they came prepared, they had their Gadsden Flags, their signs proclaiming that America is a Christian Nation (long a favorite rallying cry of the Right) and of course plenty of signs about Benghazi, their current political hard-on.
But there was no revolution, no uprising, no attempt to seize control of the city in the name of “We the People”, nothing of the sort. What happened would be considered a standard political rally in Washington, there were speakers, chants, flag-waving, and a hilarious butchering of the National Anthem (you would think such ardent patriots would at least get that one right). By the afternoon, there were photos floating around of zealous patriots lounging about on the grass with their flags fluttering in the breeze. I guess such revolutionary fighting really takes the wind out of a man.
Not ones to merely accept the total failure of their operation, the paranoid nutjobs were quick to come up with excuses. First and foremost was the weather – apparently it had rained in Virginia earlier in the day. If all it takes is a little rain to stop your fight, you must be pretty pathetic revolutionaries. No word yet on whether or not the rain was caused by Obama’s secret meteorological weapons system, but I’m sure the Teabaggers are cooking up the perfect story for that one.
And of course, they claimed that there was a “media blackout” on the event, that the mainstream media deliberately ignored them because of “liberal bias”. I guess no one had the heart to tell them that when a few dozen people gather in Washington DC to bitch about the government, it’s not considered news. Not by the national press corps and certainly not by the local DC papers, who see far bigger turnouts for charity events.
But this abysmal failure may indeed be a watershed in the history of American politics.
The Tea Party emerged in 2009 and quickly became a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party as Tea Party-backed candidates toppled many strong moderate Republicans from office. They showed their strongest political muscle in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primaries, forcing Governor Mitt Romney, a long known moderate, to go hard to the right. He even remarked on national television that he was a “severely conservative governor”, a laugh to anybody who knows Romney’s political history; he was the governor of Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in the country. If he was “severely conservative”, he never would have been elected governor.
So now, five years later, it seems the Tea Party has fallen and they have fallen in full view of everyone. While “Operation American Spring” was the public showing, behind the scenes, the defeats were even deeper. A Tea Party backed Senate candidate is currently seventeen percentage points behind in Mississippi and in Kentucky. Tea Party backed candidate Matt Bevin is twenty-six points behind Senator Mitch McConnell.
If they can’t even get solid support in deeply conservative states like Mississippi and Kentucky, they’re finished.
When the obituary is written for the Tea Party and it will be written by a much better political journalist than I, the cause of death will be suicide of hubris. The Tea Party died because they made the fatal mistake of all hard-bent ideological political movements: they took their own paranoid gibberish too seriously and expected vast segments of the American public to go along with them.
And many did, for a while at least. But bizarre ranting about FEMA camps, birth certificates, socialist indoctrination, religious fundamentalism, as well as endless political whining over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and the Benghazi attack, makes most people take a second look at such a movement. Many people don’t like President Obama, but they’re smart enough to know that another couple years with him is better than turning over the country to bunch of whackjobs who are so paranoid they see socialists in their toilet tanks.
Friday was the last dance for the Tea Party as a serious political force in America. When their abysmal failure was made public, the internet became hot with jokes at their expense. The Party’s over, now all that is left is to crack a few jokes as the few remaining true blue paranoid believers clinging to the sunken ship.