The “Tea Party Nation” represents the far-right wing of the Republican Party, and it has a new figurehead: Sarah Palin.
“Bury Obamacare with Kennedy!” “It’s so bad, I miss Bill Clinton.” “Unarmed, this time!” These signs were paraded through the streets of Washington on September 12th by Tea Party members who fear that the United States is in danger of becoming, according to their definition, a socialist country under Barack Obama’s leadership.
They’re against higher taxes, the expansion of government power, and above all, they’re against Obama’s healthcare reform plans. They’re anti-Obama, just on general principles. Why? Because he’s a socialist or a Nazi who wants to nationalize everything, raise taxes and force unneeded healthcare reforms costing millions of tax dollars down America’s throat.
Hitler, Stalin, Obama
The ideological differences between Nazi ideology and socialism aren’t important to members of the Tea Party Nation (TPN). Hitler, Stalin, Obama – in their minds, it’s a logical progression. The TPN is a loose confederation of ultra-conservative Republicans who named their movement after the Boston Tea Party of 1773. Citizens of Boston opposed paying taxes to their British colonial masters and their opposition culminated in their dumping a cargo of East Indian Trading Company tea into Boston Harbor.
Palin As Chief Spokesperson
The TPN also favors paying the lowest taxes possible and vehemently opposes any tax increases that might be necessary to pay for healthcare reform. They will hold their first national convention from the 4th to the 6th of February; their keynote speaker will be former Vice-Presidential candidate and one-time governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin.
Hope For the Right Wing
Palin rejected an invitation from the more traditional Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) to address their meeting scheduled for the end of February. The rejection is seen as an indication that Palin thinks associating herself with the far right instead of the moderates will enhance her prospects for nomination as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012. The British weekly newspaper The New Statesman cites an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that found 41 percent of Americans support the TNP. In comparison, Democrats have 35 percent support and traditional Republicans only 28 percent.
Istanbul Is Proof of “Peace and Stability” in Iraq
The TPN is still in its infancy. The movement is currently a melting pot for diverse conservative groups. One of the TPN’s leading Republican spokesmen is Howard Kaloogian, who ran for the Senate in 2004 and two years later for the House of Representatives – both times unsuccessfully. He made headlines in 2006 with his confused geography. After a trip to the Middle East, he published a photograph on his website depicting a street scene which he claimed was proof of “peace and stability” in Baghdad. The politically liberal website Daily Kos examined the photo more closely and discovered women in western dress, a couple holding hands, and billboards written using the Latin alphabet. They published these revelations on their website.
It quickly became evident why the photograph looked so little like Baghdad: it wasn’t a photo of Baghdad at all, but of Istanbul. Kaloogian’s group made a stopover there on their return trip to the United States. Kaloogian apologized for the mistake and the photo was quickly pulled from the website.