April 17, 2009
trying not to care about unfair credit
Because I'm no political naif, it came as a shock to see that I had apparently been duped.
(Well, at least so it appeared.)
While catching up on email, I found an apparently official announcement from the American Family Association (how I got on their list I don't know) claiming that the AFA was "the" organization behind the Tea Party protests:
Tupelo, MS - The number of cities organizing Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party rallies has grown to 1,593. American Family Association (AFA), the organization sponsoring the rallies, says that number continues to grow.Lovely.
I can't think of a better way to take the wind out of people's sails, except I don't think that most of the attendees were told that the AFA was "the" organization behind the Tea Party Protests. Fortunately for the Tea Party Movement, the AFA claim is false, even though there's nothing anyone can do about it. False advertising might be actionable in a commercial setting, but political speech is in a category all its own, and exaggeration, misrepresentation, or lying are all protected forms of speech.
Political opportunism crosses all ideological lines. I'm reminded of the Socialist Workers Party's penchant for showing up at any left-wing demonstration and trying to claim credit for it.
Were I on the left, I'd send a check to the AFA. For now, the AFA's message doesn't seem to have resonated with the attendees; if Jennifer Rubin's report is correct, social conservatives might not be ready to rejoice:
Republicans should not be rejoicing quite yet. Many protesters went out of their way to say they are upset with both parties and hold George W. Bush equally responsible for launching the now never-ending stream of bailouts. And the crowd, if anything, was libertarian in bent rather than conservative. These people are advocating less government, restraints on federal power, and a return to "constitutional government." Social conservatives who seek expansion of state power on issues from abortion to support for faith-based programs may find themselves at odds with a newly invigorated movement to shrink government and enhance individual liberty.Regardless of the extent of their involvement, I think it would be a mistake for libertarians (or major libertarian organizations) to claim credit for what a broad-based grass-roots mass movement. It's bad enough that CNN is publicly crediting Fox News.
I realize that there are sharp differences between libertarians and social conservatives, but I don't see why they can't agree on taxation, just as they generally agree on the Second Amendment. I think both sides should take to heart what Ronald Reagan famously said,
"You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit."Good advice, if sometimes hard to follow.
It just strikes me as unfair that those who take the credit should get the credit.
MORE: I'm not the first to criticize the AFA's bogus claims. Hot Air's "Repurblican":
It is these special interests, Right and Left, that pose the biggest threat to the movement. Contrary to what the Media Matters crowd might tell you, the tea parties are a grassroots movement that's picked up some power players along the way, and not the other way around. It's the power players that need to be watched. The Founders didn't forcefully disembark a ship full of tea because of gay marriage, abortion, God in schools, or anything beyond the right of self-determination and right to not be taxed without their interests represented, and if "sponsoring" organizations such as the American Family Association try to make "traditional values" a retrofitted part of the movement, God help us, the movement is going to devolve into a diluted, meandering ideological sideshow that does more harm than good to small-government interests. (AFA, unsurprisingly, doesn't show up at the "sponsoring" link at the "tea party" website,a testament to how decentralized this grassroots movement seems to be.)(Via Glenn Reynolds.)
MORE: Speaking of Newt Gingrich, Andrew Ian Dodge discusses his attempt to co-opt the Tea Parties:
One of the major mistakes made by the national movement was the ill-conceived decision to accept the help of Newt Gingrich and his American Solutions organization. Gingrich is a very divisive and high-profile Republican. His entry into the movement marked the beginning of a campaign by Republican groups to take over and ruin the non-partisan cred.Let's hope the Tea Party Movement continues in spite of him.
posted by Eric on 04.17.09 at 09:21 AM
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