Even before a single bag of tea has been dumped as a form of protest over government economic policies, the gang at MSNBC is in full-attack mode over the notion these protests merit any recognition.
On MSNBC's April 10 "Countdown," fill-in host David Shuster imitated his MSNBC colleague Rachel Maddow's juvenile and overdone description of the tea party protest to disparage the upcoming nationwide event.
"Now to the so-called ‘teabagging parties' you may have heard about," Shuster said. "They have been fluffed repeatedly by Fox News. Citizen protests over the government's collection of taxpayer money, specifically that the wealthiest taxpayers in our nation will see their rates go up 3 percent two years from now."
However, Shuster would be well-advised to go back to the root of the tea parties - to his sister network CNBC and review Rick Santelli's Feb. 19 comments that originally inspired the protests - that responsible Americans are upset the government, using their tax dollars, is stepping in for the benefit of the irresponsible.
Gross blasted the tea party movement as one that came from the top down, the usual MoveOn.org style organization of protests that Fox News host Glenn Beck explained the tea parties weren't. He called the tea parties "astroturf" since he believed they were a top-down movement (versus grassroots) despite not naming a particular organization behind the movement.
He also expressed his confusion over the protest - saying that since some these policies were enacted during the previous administration, it didn't make sense.
"We know they're against the bailout, which were passed last year by the prior administration," Gross said. "They're against the TARP, which was passed last year by the prior administration. The bailout of AIG - passed last year by the last administration. The initial loans to the automakers, again - a product of the last administration, and the last year. They seem to be against the stimulus package, which includes several hundred billion dollars in tax cuts for people like themselves."
And, he included another anti-tax-cut slight to make his criticism complete.
"And they seem to be against large deficits, they don't like these massive deficits. Who does?" Gross continued. "By the same token, when there are measures proposed to do something about those huge deficits, i.e., letting taxes to back to where they were in 2001, they're against it too. So, I have a hard time what it is they're for, other than buying large quantities of leaves of tea and dumping them into tepid water."
Shuster, still perplexed over the symbolism of the tea party and apparently not a student of history and the Boston Tea Party, asked Gross if President Barack Obama should take notice.
"And then, to the extent that there is opposition to some of Mr. Obama's policies, whether it's mouth by Fox News or anybody else, should President Obama ignore it, speak past it, or counter it? I mean, we see the video of them holding up the tea bags and -- I suppose the symbolism of that can be read a lot of different ways -- but what do you think the president ought to do?" Shuster asked.
Gross advised the president to ignore the pleas of his constituents on how their tax money and future generations' tax money is being spent - to dismiss them as a "fringe group," and focus on just the news of the day.
"I think, when it comes to teabagging, the president should probably just ignore this," Gross suggested. "He's got 10 other things on his plate, you know, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, the banking crisis, the overall economic situation, health care. To get bogged down with a -- you know, what seems to be a fringe group of people throwing consumer products into the lakes and rivers of this nation doesn't seem to be worthy of his attention. And in fact, you know, there is a possibility that this is a brilliant, kind of viral PR move by Lipton."