New York Times columnist Frank Rich isn't just convinced suicide pilot Joe Stack shared many views with the Tea Partiers.
He also believes some of the movement's members are basically domestic terrorists whose leaders include Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.
"What made that kamikaze mission eventful was less the deranged act itself than the curious reaction of politicians on the right who gave it a pass — or, worse, flirted with condoning it."
Yes, Rich's "The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged" was the kind of column we see too often from his ilk these days basically blaming all that's wrong in the nation -- even a disgruntled man flying his plane into an IRS building -- on regular Americans concerned about the direction of the country:
It is not glib or inaccurate to invoke Oklahoma City in this context, because the acrid stench of 1995 is back in the air. Two days before Stack's suicide mission, The Times published David Barstow's chilling, months-long investigation of the Tea Party movement. Anyone who was cognizant during the McVeigh firestorm would recognize the old warning signs re-emerging from the mists of history. [...]
Barstow confirmed what the Southern Poverty Law Center had found in its report last year: the unhinged and sometimes armed anti-government right that was thought to have vaporized after its Oklahoma apotheosis is making a comeback. And now it is finding common cause with some elements of the diverse, far-flung and still inchoate Tea Party movement. All it takes is a few self-styled "patriots" to sow havoc.
So, a Times reporter confirmed what a far-left leaning legal organization wrote last year, and this mean's he's right?
What would REALLY be shocking is if Barstow AND Rich DIDN'T agree with SPLC's views.
But this is common for liberal shills like Rich: reference articles published by your own newspaper to prove your point. This allows you to completely misrepresent the truth with impunity:
Equally significant is Barstow’s finding that most Tea Party groups have no affiliation with the G.O.P. despite the party’s ham-handed efforts to co-opt them. The more we learn about the Tea Partiers, the more we can see why. They loathe John McCain and the free-spending, TARP-tainted presidency of George W. Bush. They really do hate all of Washington, and if they hate Obama more than the Republican establishment, it’s only by a hair or two.
Nonsense. Tea Partiers certainly didn't agree with Bush's policies, and likely were not McCain supporters in 2008. But their hatred for Obama is far greater than for the Republican establishment.
Rich knows this, for this is what he wrote last May:
At those tax-protesting "tea parties" on April 15, signs and speakers portrayed Obama as a "fascist," a "socialist," a terrorist and Hitler.
A month earlier, Rich wrote, "Even the anti-Obama 'tea parties' flogged by Fox News last week had wider genuine grass-roots support than this so-called national organization."
So, less than a year ago, Rich saw this movement as clearly anti-Obama. But now that the Tea Parties have indeed become a powerful force, the Times columnist views them as being almost equally opposed to Republicans as they are the current White House resident.
As anyone that has attended a Tea Party knows, nothing could be further from the truth. But facts weren't getting in Rich's way, for he was clearly on a conservative-bashing roll:
The passion on the right has migrated almost entirely to the Tea Party's counterconservatism.
The leaders embraced by the new grass roots right are a different slate entirely: Glenn Beck, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin...But these leaders do have a consistent ideology, and that ideology plays to the lock-and-load nutcases out there, not just to the peaceable (if riled up) populist conservatives also attracted to Tea Partyism. This ideology is far more troubling than the boilerplate corporate conservatism and knee-jerk obstructionism of the anti-Obama G.O.P. Congressional minority.
Wow. So some Tea Partiers are "lock-and-load nutcases." This image allowed Rich to crescendo towards a truly disgusting conclusion:
In his Times article on the Tea Party right, Barstow profiled Pam Stout, a once apolitical Idaho retiree who cast her lot with a Tea Party group allied with Beck's 9/12 Project, the Birch Society and the Oath Keepers, a rising militia group of veterans and former law enforcement officers who champion disregarding laws they oppose. She frets that "another civil war" may be in the offing. "I don't see us being the ones to start it," she told Barstow, "but I would give up my life for my country."
Whether consciously or coincidentally, Stout was echoing Palin's memorable final declaration during her appearance at the National Tea Party Convention earlier this month: "I will live, I will die for the people of America, whatever I can do to help." It's enough to make you wonder who is palling around with terrorists now.
So, some Tea Partiers are domestic terrorists, and Beck and Palin are their leaders.
And this guy writes a regular column for the New York Times.
Of course, like so many things, Rich is quite clueless about the Tea Parties, for here's what he wrote almost exactly one year ago today:
G.O.P. pseudopopulism ran riot last week as right-wing troops rallied around their latest Joe the Plumber: Rick Santelli, the ranting CNBC foe of Obama's mortgage rescue program. Ann Coulter proposed a Santelli run for president, and Twitterers organized national "tea parties" to fuel his taxpayers' revolt. Even with a boost from NBC, whose networks seized a promotional opening by incessantly recycling the Santelli "controversy," the bonfire fizzled. It did so because - as last week's polls also revealed - the mortgage bailout, with a 60-plus percent approval rating, is nearly as popular as Obama.
The Santelli revolution's flameout was just another confirmation that hard-core Republican radicals are now the G.O.P.'s problem, not the president's.
So, on March 1, 2009, Rich declared the Tea Party movement dead.
Should anyone care what he has to say about it or any of its members now?