Finally, this report might serve as a wake-up call to some people in the Tea Party itself, who would find it a little disturbing that the “grassroots” movement they are so emotionally attached to, is in fact a pawn created by billionaires and large corporations with little interest in fighting for the rights of the common person, but instead using the common person to fight for their own unfettered profits.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving climate disruption.
The common public understanding of the origins of the Tea Party is that it is a popular grassroots uprising that began with anti-tax protests in 2009.
However, the Quarterback study reveals that in 2002, the Kochs and tobacco-backed CSE designed and made public the first Tea Party Movement website under the web address www.usteaparty.com.
The study referenced by this article is here.
Background The Tea Party, which gained prominence in the USA in 2009, advocates limited government and low taxes. Tea Party organisations, particularly Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, oppose smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes.Methods We used the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, the Wayback Machine, Google, LexisNexis, the Center for Media and Democracy and the Center for Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org) to examine the tobacco companies’ connections to the Tea Party.Results Starting in the 1980s, tobacco companies worked to create the appearance of broad opposition to tobacco control policies by attempting to create a grassroots smokers’ rights movement.Simultaneously, they funded and worked through third-party groups, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the predecessor of AFP and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda.There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Tea Party organisations. As of 2012, the Tea Party was beginning to spread internationally.
Conclusions Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests.
It is important for tobacco control advocates in the USA and internationally, to anticipate and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control policies and ensure that policymakers, the media and the public understand the longstanding connection between the tobacco industry, the Tea Party and its associated organisations.
Then there’s Comment on the Tea Party by Bob Altemeyer. One quote:
Another example of Tea Partiers’ intransigence in the face of fact was illustrated by a CBS News/New York Times poll reported on February 12, 2010.
Democrats have lowered income taxes for almost all Americans, but the poll found that virtually none of the Tea Partiers realized their taxes had gone down. Instead nearly half of them thought their taxes had gone up, a mistake they made more than twice as often as the rest of the sample.
They simply believed the rhetoric of their movement more than the information on their own pay slips.
I can confirm this. I do the finances in my house; I saw for myself that the taxes went down in 2010. It helped a lot, as we began buying decent food again instead of cheapo poor-quality food and toiletries at the dollar and discount stores.
So when I’d hear “taxed enough already,” I’d think, “HUH? Are you not paying attention to what’s on your pay stubs?”
No, the true “sheeple” are not the Democrats, but the ones allowing themselves to be under this mind control inspired by selfish billionaires.
If you read the book presented at this website, you’ll find lots of evidence that, as a group, social conservatives share the psychological trait of being authoritarian followers. And you can hardly miss the authoritarian follower tendencies in the behavior of the Tea Partiers. Here are a dozen that seem pretty obvious.
11. Ethnocentrism. Authoritarian followers are notably ethnocentric, constantly judging others and events through “Us versus Them” lenses. They largely choose their friends according to their beliefs. They stick to news outlets that tell them what they want to hear.
They live in a polarized world, divided into their in-group, and out-groups consisting of everybody else. They stress in-group loyalty, and try to keep their distance from the out-groups.
I recall thinking in 2010 that my pet stalker had stopped calling except when he wanted something. That when he did call, he usually talked about politics. But I wasn’t buying his Tea Party/Libertarian/Anarchist politics.
I noted on Facebook that his other friends seemed to mostly be very conservative politically.
In 2010, he (and his friend Chris) began filling his Facebook with political rants that were getting increasingly bizarre, such as saying let’s get rid of the police, or that the Pledge of Allegiance is socialist and should not be recited, or that the American flag puts us under martial law–and I was somehow “wrong”–even complained about by his radical friends–for objecting on occasion to what he posted.
Then after I found myself devalued and discarded in July 2010, I noted that the timeline of the gradual devaluing seemed to correlate with his involvement with the Tea Party.
In 2010 he even wrote that he–though a Christian who wanted to be a priest–had no problem “hating” his political opponents. He once told me he hated Democrats. (In 2010 he showed all sorts of signs of being a poor candidate for the priesthood, and his criminal act in September 2010 will now bar him from it.)
In the early days of trying to figure out what th’ heck just happened, I began blaming the Tea Party for taking my rational friend away and replacing him with a partisan ideologue who didn’t want to be friends with someone who had been a devoted, loyal friend, who had helped him out time and again in rough circumstances, but who did not like the Tea Party.
And this I’ve certainly noted with those ridiculous claims of Obama being a socialist/dictator/worst president ever (no, that’s Bush)/taking our freedoms away (Bush again)/etc.:
5. A lack of critical thinking. Authoritarian followers have more trouble thinking logically than most people do. In particular, they tend to agree with sayings and slogans, even contradictory ones, because they have heard them a lot.
Thus Tea Partiers reflexively, patriotically thump that the United States is the best country on earth, but as well that it is now an Obama dictatorship.
They also have extra trouble applying logic to false reasoning when they like the conclusion. A ready example can be found in Tea Partiers’ assertion that Obama is a socialist. They have heard this over and over again from Rush Limbaugh, etcetera, and “so it must be true.”
But Obama has never advocated state ownership of an industry. He certainly did not advocate state ownership of health insurance, and eventually even backed away from the “public option” (that most Americans wanted) which would have let the government as well as private companies offer health insurance.