Squeezing the Rubes

It shouldn’t be surprising that the “tea party movement” has so quickly devolved into a scam for squeezing money out of the rubes. It began as a scam for manipulating the rubes into supporting corporate profits over the needs of the people — their own needs — after all. And we’re dealing with a class of people (movement conservatives) whose only measures of value are (1) will this stick it to liberals? and (2) how much money can I get for it?

Tea Party Nation, Inc. owner Judson Phillips has been so blatantly avaricious that even some of the rubes are asking questions. Conservative blogger Melissa Clothier says people have heard Phillips say “I want to make a million dollars from this movment.” The financial arrangements for the upcoming tea party convention in Nashville appear to so be so, um, irregular that one co-sponsor, the American Liberty Alliance, has backed out.

The rip-off is so blatant that even Erick Erickson figured out that something about Tea Party Nation stank out loud. Of course, in his world the pure-of-heart Sarah Palin is in danger of having her sparkling reputation tarnished by her association with these scoundrels. Some things you can count on, and one of those things is Erick’s Erickson’s, um, cognitive deficiencies.

Last week one of Phillips’ former partners, who had donated many hours of website development work to the Cause, went online with a long tale of how Phillips ripped him off.

In his column today, Frank Rich writes,

The entire Tea Party Convention is a profit-seeking affair charging $560 a ticket — plus the cost of a room at the Opryland Hotel. Among the convention’s eight listed sponsors is Tea Party Emporium, which gives as its contact address 444 Madison Avenue in New York, also home to the high-fashion brand Burberry. This emporium’s Web site offers a bejeweled tea bag at $89.99 for those furious at “a government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history.” This is almost as shameless as Glenn Beck, whose own tea party profiteering has included hawking gold coins merchandised by a sponsor of his radio show.

Pass the popcorn.

21 thoughts on “Squeezing the Rubes

  1. Pingback: Big Blue Water Drop wallpaper « The Long Goodbye

  2. WOW! Parting a fool from his/her/its money…
    Why didn’t I think of that?
    I like that tea bag for $89.99 idea.
    My product line would be:
    1. Diamond-dusted, you crust-it, “Anti-G(for Government)-strings – $99.99.
    2. Thinly-lined “Individualist Gloves” – $79.99. No mittens available at all. After all, gloves let your fingers each feel the cold individually. In mittens, your fingers huddle together for warmth -TOO SOCIALIST! Also, mittens remind people of Mitt, and he, like Bush, is not a true conservative.
    3. A single “Aluminum ear-muff” – $29.99. With this, you can only keep one ear semi-warm, while with the other, you can listen to the, “Obama is a _____________ist” at the teabag protests. Also, you may be able to pick up secret CIA signals because of the aluminum. When one ear gets cold, just put the muff on it and let the other ear do the work it’s supposed to do, no loafing, Goddamnit! Besides, if the two ears learn they can both be warm, they may form a union. And then your eyes, lips, nostrils and teeth will unionize to all work in tandem, and then where will you be?
    4. “No Loafers, Loafers” – $199.99. We imbed particles of sand in the insoles so that you never feel any comfort, hence – no loafing!
    5. “A Tit-slinger” – $499.99. It’s a bra that holds a couple of guns – kind of like the bandelero’s worn by those despicable illegal immigrant Mexican bandit’s.
    A version, the “Automatic Titslinger,” that holds an automatic and it’s clips is also available – for only $749.99.
    One that hold rocket-launchers, “An Over-the shoulder-Boulder-Holder-and-Dispatcher” is only $999.99.
    And of course, for $9,9999.99 you can have our top of the line model, our “Swim-wear Tit-slinger.” It houses two torpedo’s, also known as, wait for it, our “Torpedo Bra!”
    6. Impress your tea-bag “girlfriends” (heh!) with our top of the line male “Crotch-rocket” – $49,999. With this, you can turn your limp 3 incles of man-meat into a long, stiff, howitzer. Howitz supposed to fit in your pants is up to you.

    Jesus, why didn’t I think of this months ago? I could be rich by now!

  3. The rubes have been falling for this for ever. In the modern era, I think Jim and Tammy Bakker did it best – they didn’t even have to find something tax payers were mad at to get floods of cash flowing, they just fervently prayed for it on air. Phillips has a long way to go to get into the big leagues.

  4. Taking a wider view on this – these issues seem to be a natural part of modern conservative policy.

    Modern conservatism was born out of an increasing desire to use the media and propaganda (the Southern Strategy, etc.) to essentially market conservatives and manipulate sentiments. Years later, that is all conservative politics is about – marketing. There’s nothing there anymore, no goals to achieve, no measurables, just “get the votes, get the money.” The propaganda machine is all that is left.

    So of course this attracts grifters and opportunists far worse than most normal politics in America, which is saying something. It leaves us with donation-whoring “think” tanks and shallow politicians and ignorant statements portrayed as wisdom. Politicians and institutions are only there for the bucks, because there’s nothing there.

    So of course you have plenty of opportunists piling on from the high and the low. Squeezing the rubes is automatic, ingrained behavior. It’s a feature, not a bug.

    I have some mild hope factions of the Tea Partiers will wake up and realize what’s going on. Which could get interesting indeed.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Mahablog » Squeezing the Rubes -- Topsy.com

  6. Now that’s just not true. There’s plenty of things modern conservatism is for: killing the gays and blacks, raping women and children…

  7. I believe the people in the mid-40s Germany also thought Hitler was “…having [his] sparkling reputation tarnished by [his] association with these scoundrels…”

  8. Man, they must feel pretty used now that they’ve realized what they’ve been laying with. The beer goggles have come off and they can’t believe how desperate they were.

  9. Part of the amusement here is that one essential element of their movement is a thread of “I got mine, screw you”-ism. At heart there is a rejection of ‘liberal’ ideas like interdependence and a shared social responsibility for others.

    By their ‘reasoning’, there actually shouldn’t be anything wrong with someone making a bundle off them – it’s free market capitalism at its finest. After all, they each have ‘choice’ about who to follow and give their money to, and once they’ve given their money, well then, it’s someone else’s money, isn’t it? And god forbid anyone (particularly government) tell anyone what to do with their OWN MONEY. Right? The

    Sure, we ‘liberals’ may think it’s a rip-off, but what do we know? After all, G.W. Bush, the Greatest President Evah, ran an entire administration dedicated to using the tools of the political process to enrich himself and his friends, so what could be wrong about that? Only weak-willed liberal symps worry about people being exploited or used or ripped off – real Conservatives would never belittle someone by worrying about them. Let them take care of themselves!

    I’m glad I got the big container of Orville Reddenbacher at Costco. Should be fun to watch.

  10. These tea baggers got a long long way to go before they can even begin to come close to matching the televangelist marketing scams. Pat Robertson gets $5000 dollars for a cheap pot metal “Founders Club”— made in China— lapel pin, and $1000 for a “Pioneer” pin. Rod Parsley gets $500 for a 1″x1″ square of sack cloth, so $560 to bump elbows with fellow morons, eat some chicken McNuggets, and feel like you are a defender of liberty is really a bargain by comparison.

  11. Tea Party hucksterism aside, what I’m expecting to see is some sort of beginning conversation or union between the anti-corporatist elements on both the left and the right. Jane Hamsher horrified some recently with her wingnut-friendly statements about HCR; I expect more of this, especially as Obama’s tenure wears on.

    This kind of conversation – an undoing of the corporatists’ divide and conquer the masses strategy – is the only way for both We The People to take our government back, and is also a way to defuse the corporatist propaganda that’s been fueling the right.

  12. On the one hand – it’s a scam, just like the con artist still cashing checks from rubes convinced Obama will shortly be dragged into court in cuffs and leg irons over the birth certificate thing.

    On the other hand, the principles listed in the Tea Party Patriot web site are straight out of Ayn Rand – that means the deification of fat cats and super low taxes, a weak federal government, (State’s rights) and no interference in business. A wet dream for bankers and the K-street gang.

    But the tea baggers are absolutely convinced they are storming the Bastille – going AFTER the Wall Street crooks and bankers but the principles of the teabaggers suggests the absolute opposite. It’s like the KKK asking to merge with the NAACP. Fortunately or unfortunately, you have to be a thinking human being to notice the discrepancy, so I don’t expect the MSM or any teabaggers to see the contradiction.

  13. From the TP Emporium, this made me laugh out loud:

    Silver Needle White Tea: White tea is the purest tea available. Stitching us back together, to our pure foundation.

    I’m not saying this is a dog whistle. Really, I’m not. I am saying that whoever wrote the copy for this is c-l-u-e-l-e-s-s.

  14. killing the gays and blacks, raping women and children…

    Shhh. With political correctness being de rigueur, the Leaders believe these things must be handled delicately…

  15. It’s not surprising that this is happening. Despite what has been written about honor among thieves I would never bet on that prevailing. That movement will soon disintegrate under the weight of fractious bickering because it was set in motion by greed and, in the end, that can hardly be masked or hidden from people, even the rubes.

    Lucky for the rest of us, such a corporate-funded sham can never be populated by idealists…at least not those composed of ideals of goodwill towards others and equanimity.

    So it was doomed to failure from the start with the sad things being the rubes themselves who will never gain even a morsel from the table of the fats cats whose agenda they were tricked into supporting.

    I don’t always have time to follow daily upticks in political turbulence. It’s not my daytime job but I do reflect, read and step back from time to time and take a look at the forest. I see all of this as a symptom of a stench that I truly with would go away and that takes all of us, and blogs like this one.

    Lately, I’ve taken to questioning the nature of evil as the utter lack of compassion in what passes for civil discourse is disheartening. I also write sometimes and was moved to write about this. Maybe some will find this blog interesting, especially if you like Mark Twain.

  16. Perverted concentrations of power are perverted concentrations of power regardless of where they operate – government, corporation, religion… The libertarian’s argument that “Corporations and religions cannot use force to achieve their ends!” is shortsighted self-delusion. Just because the means become more sophisticated without legal “force” as a tool, the end for any perverted concentration of power is always some form of ‘milking the rubes’.

    Yeah, lets starve the beast and weaken government so it becomes more of a puppet of corporations and religions.

    Enjoy your ‘virtuously selfish’ leaders, teabaggers.

Comments are closed.