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 â€” plus the cost of a room at the Opryland Hotel. Among the conventionâ€™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 emporiumâ€™s Web site offers a bejeweled tea bag at $89.99 for those furious at â€œa government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history.â€ 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.