Sacramento : Tea Bagger Hate-Fest

“Tea bagger” protests took place all over the United Sates Wednesday. Pictured is Vince Schuck at a rally in Montpelier, Vt. Photo by Toby Talbot / AP.

Too many liberals are trying to deal with this with dismissive humor, but it’s deadly serious. Too many of the “tea party” spokesmen are calling for the right to become “armed and dangerous,” with their sights aimed at Obama and the progressive left. These people are not fools, and serious people had best develop serious tactics to mobilize against them. Fox and Hannity would be a worthy focus for mass anti-fascist protest.

Carl Davidson / The Rag Blog / April 15, 2009

In the land of Fox News and right-wing talk radio truth and falsehood blend together in an ideological muck that denounces Obama and the Democrats as ‘socialists,’ ‘fascists,’ ‘communists,’ and ‘terrorists’ all at the same time.

By Joseph A. Palermo / April 15, 2009

SACRAMENTO — The hatred was palpable today on the State Capitol’s steps. Hatred for taxes, hatred for government, hatred for state workers, hatred for teachers, hatred for Democrats, and hatred for all of the straw men that leap from the imaginations of talk radio jocks. But the most hated figure of all at today’s “Tea Bag” anti-tax rally in Sacramento was President Barack Obama. One of the first placards I saw as I entered the Capitol grounds read: “Wake Up! Fresh Prince of Belair is Destroying Us — Stop Drinking the Red Koolaid.” A state police officer told me that he thought the crowd was “a couple thousand.”

It was a sea of American flags of all shapes and sizes and many “Don’t Tread On Me” yellow flags as well. The crowd was predictably very white, very Republican, and on the older side. I didn’t see one African American (except for one of the musical performers on the stage who denounced Obama), and I didn’t see any Latinos. George W. Bush could have been the focus of some of this rage because theoretically their hatred could just as well be aimed at him. But since he is a “good” Christian, white Republican Bush remained unscathed. I didn’t see one sign that would indicate that it was anything other than a Republican hate rally.

Several placards called Obama the “Teleprompter in Chief” probably because Glenn Beck denounced the president for using one. The crowd chanted in unison: “No More Bail Outs! No More Stimulus! No More Taxes!” I was given an ice-cold coke from a vender who was handing them out for free and I strolled around for a good hour taking in the scene. There was one Jumbotron television or otherwise I couldn’t see the stage because of the number of people packed into the Capitol grounds. It was a sizeable rally. Bigger than many of the anti-Iraq War protests I attended there. Obama’s name or face was featured with sickles and hammers so much that his likeness became synonymous with something deeply un-American.

An elderly woman on a scooter — I didn’t ask her if Medicare paid for it — had a sign affixed to her chair: “If I wanted Socialism, I’d Move to Europe.” Many of the participants in today’s Tea Bagging protest seemed to be as old as John McCain but there were a smattering of families with little kids and some tweens who were waving American flags.

Speakers from the local right-wing talk radio establishment led the crowd in chants: “Vote Them Out! Vote Them Out!” There were plenty of signs depicting Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as criminals, or the Three Stooges, or terrorists. One local talk radio speaker denounced Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano daring her to come and arrest this crowd. The straw man being that President Obama and the Democrats have somewhere denounced their tax revolt as being “un-American.”

In the land of Fox News and right-wing talk radio truth and falsehood blend together in an ideological muck that denounces Obama and the Democrats as “socialists,” “fascists,” “communists,” and “terrorists” all at the same time. Speakers at the rally attacked labor unions and “card check” (a reference to the Employee Free Choice Act), which was ironic because most of the people in the crowd were clearly working class.

The Right has a monopoly on Sacramento’s AM radio dial (1380 and 1530 where Rush Limbaugh started his career). So it was easy for them to pump up the volume and get people out. There’s no progressive or even liberal information flowing on the public’s AM airwaves in this region of California but somehow the Right always gets to play the “oppressed” victim. Ironically, after denouncing the “Liberal Media” and anyone else who suggested the Tea Bagging phenomenon was a product of cheerleading from Fox News and right-wing talk radio, a local AM jock confirmed to the crowd just that: “A lot of this is because of talk radio and Fox helped us defend ourselves!” This statement brought a huge cheer from the crowd.

The right-wing talker also complimented channels 1380 and 1530 for bringing in people “from Rancho Cordova, Placerville, and El Dorado Hills.” And he said the liberals want to impose the “fairness doctrine” that would undermine the good work of right-wing radio and urged people to go to “Talkback.com” to find out how they can save talk radio from the Democrats.

With the U.S. military base at Mather Field close by the veteran contingent loomed large. They were older vets though, mostly Vietnam, I only saw a few I thought were the age of the average Iraq or Afghanistan vet. There was a contingent of Republican state legislators and their staffers milling about who stood out because they were the only ones wearing suits and ties. Most of the people there were crusty-looking, grizzled biker types with American flag T-shirts and jeans, men with gray beards and baseball caps, women with big sunglasses and cheap jewelry. None of those people looked to me like they earn anywhere near $250,000 a year (like the AM jocks or Republican legislators do).

And therein lies the beauty of the whole Tea Bag “movement.” Affluent people like Michelle Malkin and Grover Norquist and the army of radio “personalities” convince working people, most of who have a relative or are themselves on Medicare or Social Security, to denounce taxes on affluent people. Many of the people at the rally were from the eastern foothill communities that are pretty impoverished and would benefit from Obama’s health care, economic, and education policies. The foreclosure rate alone east of Sacramento would lead one to think that far more people in this region could use some government help.

We will see if the Tea Bag phenomenon can be sustained or if it is just a one-time Republican gimmick. But remember, in 1994, Newt Gingrich took the House of Representatives with a similarly cornball gimmicky set of “principles” that channeled the same kind of blind right-wing hatred and anger. The lesson from today I think is that Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration should work together to make the public AM radio airwaves more competitive so more diverse voices are heard.

As long as the Republicans and the Right hold on to their monopoly on AM radio they’ll be able to stage these kind of hate-fests easily and more often. I’d take the Tea Baggers seriously and move to use the FCC to open up the public airwaves and also use the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department to break up Rupert Murdoch’s media empire along with the other media corporations that have become as dysfunctional to our democracy as the “too big to fail” financial corporations.

George W. Bush’s entire eight years was nothing but a neo-liberal experiment in skewing government and every other public good toward serving the interests of profiteers and the rich. That was apparently fine with these rightwingers as long as the government money was flowing upwards into the hands of the rich and corporations.

But as soon as a Democratic administration is elected to power everything’s different now. The sky was the limit during the Bush spending binge on war and giveaways to Wall Street and lavish contracts for shoddy or nonexistent “government” services and corporate welfare and so on and on. But now with Democrats trying to put a little spare change in the pockets of the other 95 percent of the population who gained nothing from the Bush years all of a sudden the sky is falling!

The Tea Baggers I encountered were very polite and well-mannered, even passive. They need cajoling to act out. They need their anger stoked. They need straw men to knock down and people to hate — people like state workers and teachers and Democrats. I couldn’t help but think that the whole damn thing is just one big constructed product of the propaganda from right-wing talk radio and their ideological soulmates at Fox News.

Source / The Huffington Post

Also see DC Tea Party Protest Shut Down By Secret Service / [With Video] by Jason Linkins / The Huffington Post / April 15, 2009

The Rag Blog

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6 Responses to Sacramento : Tea Bagger Hate-Fest

  1. Anonymous says:

    Downtown Austin was filled with “silent majority protestors” this evening at 6 pm, carrying little American flags and homemade posters, making their way to and from the downtown post office, many of them with children in tow. And every one of them that I saw was quite white.

  2. Good article; the best was the last few words:

    I couldn’t help but think that the whole damn thing is just one big constructed product of the propaganda from right-wing talk radio and their ideological soulmates at Fox News.

    I happen to agree with that statement 100%.

    Like I said before, we should have been pissing in buckets for the 8 years of the GWB administration, but we didn’t. Pissing in a bucket instead of putting a tea bag that’s made by some company who’s only making a profit on this bullshit, says absolutely nothing.

    Armed and dangerous???? Yes, these same idiots not toting a tea-bag but a gun, are not only going to shoot themselves in the foot, but could catch a few other innocents at the same time.

    This country is completely being influenced by the crazy MSM – we need to shut of the television; the radio, and turn up the volume on our favorite musical CD or spend the evenings looking at pictures of our kids and family on a home-video.

    Away with the insanity or in this case, the HanINSANITY; the monster-man Rush Limbaugh, and all the other pigs who make big $$$$ inciting the ignorant and oppressed.

    Sane and intelligent people KNOW who caused this mess; letting any president ‘step into it’, was what they’d planned, and I’m sure they figured we’d vote out the GOP party, so why not f*ck it up big-time before they left.

    This too, shall pass……..

  3. Anonymous says:

    As one of those nasty “Socialist, Communist, fascist terrorists”, my name and e-mail address are on scores of “liberal” mailing lists and (to my knowledge) on nary a one of the “good ole’ boy conservative” lists. When I received several messages encouraging me to join the T-day festivities, I assumed they were planned by one or a coalition of plebian progressives. My Mistake! Instead, it was a sneaky elephant in donkey’s clothing who masked it’s yellow skin with a bunting of red, white & true.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is a shame that 3rd world dictators are given more respect exercing freedom of speech than fellow American conservatives who are simply ridiculed.

    Politics in this country have reached a hateful crescendo where dissenters are ridiculed for sport and pleasure. Is this the new fall of Rome?

    Anti-white, anti-capitalism anti-jew, and anti-christian are the sentiments of this blog piece.

    Both parties have betrayed the true interests of the American people.

    It is time government learned more is never enough.

    Obama inherited a mess, but his ideology skews rational thinking so much he is allowing a deeper hole to be dug.

    Bush started this bailout crap! The American people responded 10:1 to 100:1 against the bailout (depending on the district) but CONGRESS – Republicans and Democrats ignored them.

    Yet Obama continues the policy of Bush in regard to this catastrophe! This is not CHANGE for the better.

    Prosecute and jail the persons responsible for this mess- Bush, Clinton, Bernake, Paulson, SEC, members of congress as Dodd and Frank, and the wall street bankers. Seize the profits of this fraud. If Obama had the guts to do this my respect would be undying!

    Unfortunately, Obama is just another agent for wall street and the looting. If this continues we will be a 3rd world country!

    And BTW Nancy Peolsi did denounce these Americans for the protests so get your facts straight! She claimed they were not real. Peolsi is delusional.

    Do you organize such an attack if your opponent is a fantasy? Is it self-denial, self-delusion, stupidity, or arrogance that drives people like Peolsi?

    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/15/pelosi-astroturf/

  5. Davy says:

    Here in San Francisco we were just standing by the “tea bag” protest (ok so like all 7 of us were wearing black) and a guy (we think was a minute man)came up and started yelling stuff at us like “black block fascists” “provocateurs” and then swung at one of my friends who just so happened to be the only black person there, and after my friend choked the crap out of him like any self respecting anarchist would do, we broke it up then the majority started chanting “USA USA USA!” at us, by that point the minute men, libertarians and anti tax liberals were all arguing about our right to be there (or not be, they sang the national anthem at City Hall and left. In short there was definably a racist actions. ignorantly nationalistic too.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What a load of crap!

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