Are the new “tea party” protests a grass roots rebellion or agitprop?

Summary:  Are the “tea party” protests a genuine grass roots movement?  Or are they a well-planned and funded agitprop campaign, perhaps designed to weaken the Obama Administration?   Or, as C Smith notes in comment #3, perhaps both!  A provocative article at Playboy provides some evidence that this is serious money at work.  Or not:  see the March 2 update!

The campaign opened on 19 February 2009 on CNBC with this broadcast (see a transcript here, posted by Freedom Eden):

“CNBC’s Rick Santelli and the traders on the floor of the CME Group express outrage over the notion they may have to pay their neighbor’s mortgage, particularly if they bought far more house than they could actually afford, with Jason Roney, Sharmac Capital.”

Two websites previously set up went live shortly thereafter.

  • Here is the website claiming to be the “official home of the Chicago Tea Party”.
  • Here is the “Official Chicago Tea Party” website.

There is also the “Tax Day Tea Party” website, “Online HQ for the April 15th Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party Rallies”.  Glen Reynolds, the Instapundit, has throughly covered this phenomenon:  see this Google list of his 160 posts about them (with photos!).

Now there is an article claiming that this is well-planned agitprop:  “Backstabber:  Is Rick Santelli High On Koch?“, Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, online at Playboy, 27 February 2009 — {as noted by Rick Caird in comment #1, they are editors of The Exiled Online (see Wikipedia entry for details).

Update on March 2: 

  1. Really bogus behavior by Playboy!  The story has disappeared, taken down without an explanation.  (hat tip to Instapundit)
  2. I Want to Set the Record Straight“, Rick Santelli, CNBC, 2 March 2009 — His reply to the allegations.

Excerpt from the Playboy article

Last week, CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli rocketed from being a little-known second-string correspondent to a populist hero of the disenfranchised, a 21st-century Samuel Adams, the leader and symbol of the downtrodden American masses suffering under the onslaught of 21st century socialism and big government. Santelli’s “rant” last-week calling for a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest President Obama’s plans to help distressed American homeowners rapidly spread across the blogosphere and shot right up into White House spokesman Robert Gibbs’ craw, whose smackdown during a press conference was later characterized by Santelli as “a threat” from the White House. A nationwide “tea party” grassroots Internet protest movement has sprung up seemingly spontaneously, all inspired by Santelli, with rallies planned today in cities from coast to coast to protest against Obama’s economic policies.

But was Santelli’s rant really so spontaneous? How did a minor-league TV figure, whose contract with CNBC is due this summer, get so quickly launched into a nationwide rightwing blog sensation? Why were there so many sites and organizations online and live within minutes or hours after his rant, leading to a nationwide protest just a week after his rant?

What hasn’t been reported until now is evidence linking Santelli’s “tea party” rant with some very familiar names in the Republican rightwing machine, from PR operatives who specialize in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns (called “astroturfing”) to bigwig politicians and notorious billionaire funders. As veteran Russia reporters, both of us spent years watching the Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and control the political landscape. To us, the uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that’s because it was.

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

I strongly recommend reading this in full!

For more information

  1. Mentioned as a cog in this campaign, The Daily Bail presented evidence to show that they are uninvolved — except as an observer.
  2. See the Wikipedia entries about astroturfing and agitprop.
  3. Interesting comment on the significance of the Tea Parties from Rick Moran (libertine and free-lance writer):  “Weak Tea“, at his site Rightwing Nuthouse, 27 February 2009 (hat tip to Instapundit).


Please share your comments by posting below.  Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

For information about this site see the About page, at the top of the right-side menu bar.

For more information from the FM site

To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar.  Of esp relevance are:

Some posts on the FM site about disinformation and propaganda:

  1. News from the Front: America’s military has mastered 4GW!, 2 September 2007
  2. 4GW at work in a community near you, 19 October 2007
  3. The media discover info ops, with outrage!, 22 April 2008
  4. Successful info ops, but who are the targets?, 1 May 2008
  5. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable”, 8 June 2008 – About Debkafile
  6. Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber?, 15 June 2008
  7. Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us), 26 November 2008
  8. Concrete evidence of government info ops against us, but it’s OK because we are sheep, 2 December 2008
  9. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 February 2009
  10. The media doing what it does best these days, feeding us disinformation, 18 February 2009
  11. The media rolls over and plays dead for Obama, as it does for all new Presidents (Democrats only, of course), 19 February 2009
  12. George Will: climate criminal or brave but sloppy iconoclast?, 23 February 2009

29 thoughts on “Are the new “tea party” protests a grass roots rebellion or agitprop?”

  1. I think Ames and Levine are trying to read way to much into this. The domain was registered in 8/08, for one year, and the domain was registered after the Santelli rant. Both of the web sites are one page sites with a tiny bit of text and an embed of the Santelli video. They probably took all of 10 minutes to create.

    Now, if you watch CNBC at all, you will know this is not unusual for Santelli. You might watch he and Steve Leasman go at it almost every morning. He was against TARP and has been consistently for free market capitalism, against government intervention, and in favor of letting bankrupt corporations go bankrupt. Santelli was being the usual Santelli. This one just struck a chord is not evidence of some vast right wing conspiracy.

    You might also want to Google Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. Here is the Wikapedia entry about The Exile.

    They are editors of a Russian English language web site (formerly a newspaper) called The eXile {now at website The Exiled Online, home of the War Nerd}. I would be more questioning of them and their sources than Santelli.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Thanks for the background information! On the other hand, that Ames and Levine are fringe figures means little in these things, IMO. Valuable insights usually come from the fringes, not the mainstream media pablum. However, everything needs verification.

  2. Why the logical OR {in the title of this post}? It’s quite plausible that there has been groundwork laid since 05 Nov 2008, and Santelli just yelled “theater” in a crowded fire. Standing around all the professional 30-to-40-somethings like myself at the DC Tea Party, wondering “was I supposed to bring my own sign materials?”, I can tell you that there was a pleasant lack of manufactured, professional faux-trage.

    The bad good news is that The Congress That Will Live in Infamy* (facebook) has much more effluent to follow, and these Tea Parties should evolve into a standard outing. BHO shall score more protests in 80 days than his predecessor in 8 years.
    Fabius Maximus replies: Great point! I will note that in the post.

  3. If my wife is any example, this thing is pure grass roots. She is just maximally pissed at Obama, and is champing at the bit to go to a “Tea Party”. Talk radio is fanning the flames, along with selected internet nodes, but that is certainly fair game.
    We’re approaching the point in the film where the big ship has sunk, and the upper middle class is in the life boats. The poor are in the water, and we want to save them by letting them hold onto the gunwales. But if they threaten to capsize our little boats, we’re going to have to start hitting them with our oars.

  4. As a Seattle attendee, I can attest that our organizer (who also organized the first anti-stimulus protest I know of, back on President’s Day) is not a puppet of any organization. I mixed and mingled with attendees, who all heard about the protest from friends, family, or similarly concerned members of the community opposed to the current mode of crisis handling. I laughed out loud when I read the “Backstabbers” posting last night, I found it so absurdly off-base from what I experienced here in Seattle.

  5. Playboy is a notch below the National Inquirer for investigative reliability. The bios on the authors of the Santelli hit piece do not increase confidence. Truth from the fringes, FM? Perhaps so, and perhaps Santelli is exactly the fringe you should be looking to.

    Grassroots resentment at ruinous and clueless Obama policies is beginning to bubble up into tangible action. Time for Obama to stop promising the moon and start behaving rationally in this crisis. Having Nancy Pelosi as a sidekick doesn’t seem to be helping Obama’s credibility these days.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I agree on all points, and have commented about this in my series about “Theft pretending to be solutions:

    * Slowly a few voices are raised about the pending theft of taxpayer money, 21 September 2008
    * The Paulson Plan will buy assets cheap, just as all good cons offer easy money to the marks, 30 September 2008
    * A reminder – the TARP program is just theft, 24 November 2008
    * A solution to our financial problems: steal wealth from other nations, 2 February 2009
    * Stand by for action – more theft of our money being planned in Washington, 4 February 2009
    * Update: yes, the Paulson Plan was just theft, 14 February 2009

  6. I’ve been listening to cnbc for years, just for Santelli. Rick Cairds second paragraph is dead on.

    Mark Ames and Yasha Levine are clowns. They state, “So today’s protests show that the corporate war is on, and this is how they’ll fight it: hiding behind “objective” journalists and “grassroots” new media movements.” Uh huh, tell me again, how did Obama get elected.

    They also state, “Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal.” I guess the auto companies or the big banks don’t count. Oh, the link to the Wall Steet Journal contains this paragraph, “Meanwhile, an alliance of electric utilities, coal and mining companies said it will spend as much as $40 million to make sure Congress approves a global-warming plan with funding for technology to reduce emissions that includes carbon capture and storage at coal-fired plants. In his speech, Mr. Obama called for a $15 billion-a-year investment in clean-energy sources, including clean coal.” Just what plans of Obama is Big Business trying to destroy here?

    BTW, love the Blog

  7. Obama is going to make sure I can pay my mortgage and car payments. It’s why I and my friends voted for the man. You need to give the man a break here. Everybody’s trying to destroy him because he is the maverick outsider. This whole thing stinks of the Klan.

  8. This “Tea Party” is all a lot of talk; it reeks of Tupperware.

    Now what would be interesting would be a new “Opium Wars” to force the United States to legalize drugs….

  9. I’ve read up on these ‘Tea Parties’ a bit already. It is interesting to examine the degree of either planned astroturf or unplanned sentiment that these protests represent. What interests me about them is that they seem oddly disconnected from the recent past.

    Over the past eight years, conservatives have shown that they absolutely love government deficit spending, and that they desire a large and quite intrusive surveillance state.

    Yet, from from the language expressed at these “Tea Party” events, these people are against Obama for his “socialism”, by which they apparently mean his plan of government spending, and are afraid that under Obama the state will become too powerful and intrusive (see the linked article, search for ‘House bill HR645’):

    He was also troubled by House bill HR645 because “what that is, is FEMA is allowed to set emergency camps on military bases. If the government decides that the gathering of people like this is an emergency, we can all be put on military bases, with the concomitant loss of all of our rights….

    So, since these people are protesting certain Obama policies, while they apparently were just fine with these same policies when George W Bush instituted them, I tend to view these “Tea Party” protests as a form of partisanship, rather than a protest against policies that the protesters find obnoxious. To me, it is as if these protesters have suddenly, and completely, forgotten the past eight years.

  10. Due to credibility issues (aptly highlighted by comment #10), TPs are unlikely to gain a tremendous momentum in their current incarnation–but they will, assuredly, morph/develop as those organizing them gain experience in street theater.

    The bigger picture is that this is the first serious post-election attempt to tap into the gathering anger/resentment as Americans watch their way of life crumble. There will be many more, and future ones are likely to be much more effective in targeting scapegoats and suggesting “remedies.”

  11. Tea Parties are not the only form protest might take

    This downturn will test social cohesion in nations around the world, as described in these posts:
    * This financial crisis is the transition to a new world; like birth, it is painful, 11 February 2009
    * Everything written about the economic crisis overlooks its true nature, 24 February 2009

    Looks like officials in the UK share this opinion.

    (1) BNP stoke summer of discontent“, Daily Star, 1 March 2009 — Excerpt:

    POLICE fear race riots could erupt again in northern hotspots this summer due to a BNP credit crunch campaign. AS poverty and unemployment rise, a Daily Star Sunday investigation found activists from the far-right group are highlighting race issues in several troubled towns and cities. In Bradford, Burnley and Oldham – all hit by violent riots eight years ago – BNP members have been “preying on” the unemployed and recently redundant.

    Job seekers told us how they have been canvassed for support as they leave JobCentres – and have been told that “foreigners” have taken over their jobs. Police fear those taken in by the BNP’s tactics could cause serious unrest and spark a “summer of discontent”.

    (2) MI5 alert on bank riots“, Daily Express, 1 March 2009 — Excerpt:

    TOP secret contingency plans have been drawn up to counter the threat posed by a “summer of discontent” in Britain. The “double-whammy” of the worst economic crisis in living memory and a motley crew of political extremists determined to stir up civil disorder has led to the ­extraordinary step of the Army being put on ­standby.

    MI5 and Special Branch are targeting activists they fear could inflame anger over job losses and payouts to failed bankers. One of the most notorious anarchist websites, Class War, asks: “How to keep warm ­during the credit crunch? Burn a banker.” Such remarks have rung alarm bells in Scotland Yard and the Ministry of Defence.

    Intelligence sources said the police, backed by MI5, are determined to stay on top of a situation that could spiral out of control as the recession bites deep. The chilling prospect of soldiers being drafted on to the streets has not been discounted, although it is regarded as a last resort.

    What worries emergency planners most is that the middle classes, now struggling to cope with unemployment and repossessions, may take to the streets with the disenfranchised. The source said “this potent cocktail is reminiscent of the poll tax riots which fatally wounded Margaret Thatcher’s government in 1990”.

  12. Playboy goes off the rails for me in identifying the Koch family as “conservative”. They are libertarians, hence their well-known funding of the LP, CATO and Reason. Eliding their beliefs with the “craziest and sleaziest” conservatives obscures more than it reveals.

    The Tea Party protests, to the extent that they are authentic, strike me as Ron Paul Revolution Round 2. The people that they are attracting, contra #10, were probably not big supporters of the prior administration.

  13. I agree with FM in the comment above. These kinds of protests are inevitable in the economic climate ahead. I also think this one smells of canned right-wing politics, a reappearance of the hackneyed claim that Democrats want to steal your money and give it to the undeserving. Another word for it is scapegoating: the cause of all your troubles is that group over there! There is a great danger that we will slip into this kind of stupid blame-game politics in America. The end result will only be violence, and the result of that, repression.

  14. After years of hysterical Bush-hate, Seneca makes me lagh: “There is a great danger that we will slip into this kind of stupid blame-game politics in America.”

    #13 drank is probably most correct, TeaParties are a Ron Paul kind of protest.

    Let’s also recall that since 1980, Republicans have only had 1992-1994 to protest: either a Rep has been President, or the Reps were a majority in Congress. And responsible Reps don’t have as much experience at the fun and social unity of protesting gov’t.

    Lots of Reps didn’t like the Big Spending of Bush, but voted in 2004 for victory in Iraq and/or for pro-life / family values. Obama’s campaign in 2008, emphasizing tax cuts for 95% of Ameircans, was about as conservative as McCain’s.

    Reps voted for Big Spending Rep leaders who were incumbents, because many Reps prefer winning with an (R) than losing with somebody who has a conservative philosophy.

    The big issue for TPs is whether there will be a united policy that comes out, like “Tax Cuts now, until the recession ends” (my preference). But I don’t see this yet, mostly personal, widly scattered, anti-Obama, anti-socialist, anti-tax increase anger. But I like it. It will be interesting to see how the Dems take to being the establishment and having the cool anti-establishment comedians making fun of them.

    Why do Dem elites like to raise taxes so much?
    ‘Cause they plan on cheating anyway! (Reps need better jokes.)

  15. @: “…[Santelli’s rang] was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign…”

    Uh, does no one watch CNBC? Rick Caird in comment #2 above points this out – Santelli has been playing this same tune on and off for a couple of years. The difference is that popular mood is swinging around and “all of a sudden” his message strikes a nerve. It’s like the old saw about rock bands that are “overnight successes” when an album hits after they’ve been recording music and touring for ten years.

  16. Update: The article has now been pulled offline.
    FM note: Really bogus behavior by Playboy to take this down without comment. Also note thie following.
    * “I Want to Set the Record Straight“, Rick Santelli, CNBC, 2 March 2009 — His reply to the allegations.

  17. Thanks for articles on violent political expression in the UK, by the way. That’s an interesting situation to try to gauge.

  18. Tea parties were all over Twitter and my personal network — my sense was that whatever the initial source, they certainly had the support of the rightroots.

    Why the low turnout? I would’ve gone, but like most taxpayers, I had to work. (and I feel lucky to have a job — BTW, does the unemployment rate have anything to do with the overall tax burden approaching 50% here in Washington state?) You might as well ask why students are overrepresented in protests (duh).

    Atheist is half-right that “Over the past eight years, conservatives have shown that they absolutely love government deficit spending, and that they desire a large and quite intrusive surveillance state.” Correct that those things happened, wrong that “conservatives” loved them. We held our noses over the steel cave-in, the prescription drug benefit, the foreign intervention, the incompetence, the massive me-tooism of the Bushies trying to out-lib the libs domestically.

    Republicans and authoritarians may have loved them, but conservatives and libertarians are dismayed that the Republican establishment never repudiated Bush. In fact, they validated Bush’s brand of “abandon principles, move left” by nominating the left’s favorite Republican, McCain. Hence we have yet more alienated voters. Obama’s actions and appointments since the election show that choice between Ds and Rs is an illusion.

  19. Here’s a challenge to Atheist: show a link where some leading conservatives have stated that they love, or even like, deficits. McCain was a press darling in 2003 because he was against the Bush Tax Cuts — without a spending reduction — because he preferred LESS deficit spending.
    Fabius Maximus replies: You’re kidding, right? We judge them not by what they say but by what they do. We’ve had a series of Republican Presidents and congressional majorities since 1982, accompanied by ever-growing deficits. Deficits even under the Federal government’s cash basis accounting (statutory fraud in most States when used by anybody other than small businesses). Under real accounting there have been only massive deficits since 1982.

  20. Arms Merchant in comment #19: “Correct that those things happened, wrong that “conservatives” loved them. We held our noses over the steel cave-in, the prescription drug benefit, the foreign intervention, the incompetence, the massive me-tooism of the Bushies trying to out-lib the libs domestically.”

    I understand the situation of someone who, holding their nose, gives support to a political party that they don’t like very much, simply because the alternative seems worse. In fact this describes much of my political activity for the past decade. But it seems to me that pragmatic, nose-holding support is one thing, and the odd atmosphere portrayed in that “Tea Party” article I linked to is quite another.

    It seems to me that you are separated from the people at these protests because you admit that “those things happened”, that Bush ran up record levels of national debt, and created a huge and intrusive surveillance state. The protesters shown in the article, however, don’t really seem aware of this. It is as if they had been sleeping since 1999, and had suddenly woken up to find that the world was not as they felt it should be. And had perversely decided that Obama was to blame for this.

  21. @2, re FM comment: agreed. I would be inclined to add that with the credibility of the mainstream pretty much shot and events moving rapidly into Uncharted Waters, the word “fringe” becomes less and less useful a distinction. Too often, it simply means “I’ve never heard of them.”

    @15: While at least some of the “hysterical” Bush hate was reflexive, a lot of it stemmed from the fact that Bush/Cheney pursued disastrous policies that have substantially weakened America–and they denounced anyone who didn’t agree with those policies as unpatriotic, thereby undermining the republic in more ways than one. Whether Obama will do the same remains to be seen.

    It’s fascinating the extent to which the die-hard supporters of the two parties are like robots: just tell ’em the party line, and they’re on board. (Imho this was Orwell’s great insight–maintain the symbol, and you can shift the underlying reality.) Atheist is quite right to cite the way the GOP supporters suddenly woke up to the importance of the debt. But ultimately the unfolding economic cataclysm may jeopardize the cozy arrangements of our two-party system.

  22. If you are going to send messages to congress or the White House always sign it from BUBBA… The biggest fear in Washington DC acording to CIA and FBI specialists is the “BUBBA Effect”. They cannot get a handle on what we Bubbas are up to and do not know how to train for anything we might do. So if you send a Tea bag on Apri 1st with a note about your disatisfication to Congress, the President, Harry Reed, Nancy Peloci etal: just sign it from Bubba. Those who are in leadership positions are worried about BUBBA!
    FM replies: I have no idea what this means. Perhaps a Democratic Party agent giving advice so that conservatives’ letters to Congress get trashed.

  23. FM… No this is not a signal from a democratic operative… The BUBBA effect is a cause of concern by leading law enforcement agencies because they don’t know what the BUBBAS like me will do when we have our backs against the wall and the well being of our famlies at stake…Believe me this Bubba has his belly full of the recient crap comming from Washington DC.
    Fabius Maximus replies: I have written about the need for good social cohesion if America is to come through the difficult times ahead. Probably there are demagogues out there looking to sign you up for movements to ruin America. As I have also writen, there are certainly people who just want to see the world burn who will mix in with Bubbas, using you to disguise or even further their activities.

    As usual for 21st century Americans, you comment shows no awareness of responsibilty for what has happened to America. Perhaps you see yourself as a passenger on the ship, disturbed that the service does not meet your expectations. Perhaps you are just a sheep looking for a shepard (see the previous paragraph).

    Fortunately I assume the local, State, and Federal Homeland Security people are prepared to deal with people planning violence. If guilty, do not expect mercy if I serve on your jury.

  24. Fabius Maximus: By your last paragraph it is obvious that you think all BUBBAS are violent people, possibly red necks ect. However there are millions of BUBBAS who are very intelligent, very savvy, can think on their feet and can debate with the best.

    So when you start writing about us BUBBAS, you might want to look in your own neighborhood. You might just be living next to one! BUBBA
    Fabius Maximus replies: Your comments are both not obvious and wrong. I said nothing about “all Bubbas” or “red necks”. I said nothing remotely relevant to Bubbas’ intelligence or ability to debate. Please use quotations, a tool I find effective to respond to the text — not one’s imagination about the text.

    I was responding to what you said in comment #25. I doubt the FBI trains agent to answer letters to Congress.

    “The biggest fear in Washington DC acording to CIA and FBI specialists is the ‘BUBBA Effect’. They cannot get a handle on what we Bubbas are up to and do not know how to train for anything we might do.”

  25. There was an interesting study (I’m going by memory here, so bear with me), which essentially placed Rohsach prints in front of people and asked them to “identify the patterns within”. These people were later quizzed on personal issues about happiness, anger, control over their lives, etc.

    Long and short was that people who felt powerless, their lives less in their control than they wanted, were thusly less happy and more angry, and they categorically saw more identifiable “patterns” in the prints than those who did not answer as such. And thus it is such people who constantly gravitate toward “conspiriacies”, devious “networks”, absurd “connections” and the like, and are many times unable to grasp just how much of life revolves around happenstance, a “karma” of sorts, and just plain unpredictable human nature.

    Veering back to Santelli, I am kind of reminded of the “plastic turkey” held up by President Bush during his Thanksgiving in Baghdad. Well, of course it was fake. What a perfect snapshot of the President’s persona and policies, yabada yabada. Ask virtually anyone who remembers it, it just was a perfact paradigm for the regimes “falsehoods” and “images” and “Rovian manipulation” etc.

    Of course, the turkey was entirely real. The genesis of the rumor was simply that it was not actually served to the troops at that time (thus not their “real” meal), but it was not plastic by any means, and was later eaten by officers. (Hat tip blogger Tim Blair)

    Likewise, this Santelli thing simply hit a nerve, it was on an NBC network (currently O-BC), and thus was surprising in its source and philosophically matched something a great many people wanted to hear right about now. (A rant on Fox News about the Iraq war in 2005 would likely have had an exact same result.) it happened in the right place and the right time to be heard and forwarded in a big way.

    So no “network” was even slightly necessary to get this video the play that it did. And the idea that such things in your oppostion can only happen because of “shadowy players” is naive, lame, and quite tiresome.

  26. The Kansas City Tea Parties – all 3 – were totally grassroots, non-funded. One organizer in particular is a
    semi-disabled (though not on disability) roofer, who is unemployed, has no cell phone, and drives an ’87 Reliant K car. These people don’t even want any sort of outside influence. Local talk radio is the primary mouthpiece. I think many of them get the word through Malkin and Instapundit. No bogeymen here, I can assure you. And scant local coverage despite pretty impressive turn-outs in nasty weather every time.

    If you’re in to this – the whole thing begs for some organization and a coherent message or two. I think it’s coming.

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