Right-wingers all over America - including little old Bend, Oregon - are gearing up for their big "Tax Day Tea Party" next week, and the rhetoric is getting pretty hot.
Inspired by a rant by Rick Santelli of CNBC, who called for a 21st Century version of the Boston Tea Party to protest President Obama's attempt to clear away the economic train wreck inherited from George W. Bush, the movement (slogan: "Revolution Is Brewing") has gone national. It's been helped along in no small measure by the "fair and balanced" Fox News Channel, which has exhaustively covered the preparations for it and actively encouraged viewers to join up.
Sean Hannity is planning a special Tax Day Tea Party show, and his fellow Fox bloviator Neil Cavuto told his audience that the tea party movement is taking off because "folks are fed up with out-of-control spending" and huge federal deficits.
Oddly enough, Hannity, Cavuto et al. were not nearly so exercised about deficits when Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress were running up record ones to finance tax cuts for billionaires and a phony war based on lies.
Boiled it down to its essence, the message of the tea partiers - The Eye will refrain from the cheap shot of calling them "tea baggers" - is "Obama = Lenin." They're incensed about Obama's "tax increases" (i.e., letting the aforesaid tax cuts for billionaires expire) and "nationalization" of American industries (i.e., requiring companies that get taxpayer bailouts to display some accountability).
On the Oregon Tea Party website, right-wing activist and blogger Geoff Ludt is beset by dark visions about the sinister machinations of the eeeeee-vil Obama supporters.
"As you likely know by now," he warns, "the statists [sic] are going to hold a rally on April 11th. ... My understanding is that many [in the Oregon Tea Party movement] are suggesting a counter-protest to demonstrate that this is not the 'Tax Day Tea Party' as they fear the aim of this statist protest is to cause disruption to the point that permits are canceled for the event occurring on Tax Day."
Ludt advises his followers against staging such a counter-protest because it "could cause EXACTLY what is feared and, divert our attention in the closing hours from planning for our event to dealing with a petty nuisance designed to play on emotions. If you have the statists, by themselves, the potential exists for them to cause some chaos yes but, if you have the statists, with our people, not only does the potential still exist for chaos but, I believe it puts our people in jeopardy and, sets the stage for a potential clash that could lead to the revocation of permits."
Punctuation and sentence structure evidently aren't the strong suit of the tea partiers. Just the same, being called "statists" is a refreshing change from being called "socialists" and "communists." Thanks, Geoff.
As of this writing, 21 tea parties have been planned for April 15 in Oregon. The one in Bend is supposed to take place at Troy Field downtown across from McMenamin's from 3 to 7 pm. If you want to know more about it you can e-mail [email protected] or phone 541-317-5052.
The Eye's gut feeling is that the tea party is going to fizzle rather than sizzle. But since the "American Idol" results show won't be on until 9 pm, we just might wander over and check things out if the weather is halfway decent.
UPDATE: Lucy Brackett, the Deschutes County Chair of Americans for Prosperity, a national organization based in Washington, DC that supports the standard assortment of right-wing causes, has informed The Eye via e-mail that the event will feature speeches by "everyday citizens," patriotic music, a march, "historical re-enactments," a signing of a giant replica of the Constitution by the participants, and, of course, the "tossing of the tea." (Where and how tea will be tossed is not specified.)
"We are expecting a large crowd," Brackett said. We'll see.