Remember the 113th Congress, whose purpose was to thwart President Obama’s legislative agenda so that Republicans could retake the Senate and get stuff done in the 114th? It tuns out single-party control only works when the GOP is a single party. Over at the Times, Neil Irwin suggests that this week will tell us whether Boehner and McConnell can manage the tea party wing of their caucus, and things aren’t looking good. He points out that the House only avoided a DHS shutdown earlier this month by passing a stopgap bill at the last minute with Democratic votes. Meanwhile, Pelosi and Boehner agreed on a doc fix for Medicare but may not bring their parties along. And a bill to fight human trafficking has been derailed by a redundant anti-abortion amendment, which has in turn left nominated Attorney General Loretta Lynch with the longest wait for confirmation in US history. So next on the list is a federal budget.
Reliable coverage of Operation American Spring has been hard to find, maybe because major media outlets are colluding to cover up a popular movement that threatens to restore constitutional government, and maybe because hardly anyone showed up. Although organizers predicted a turnout between 10 and 30 million, only a few hundred people attended—and that number comes from OAS itself. According to this mean-spirited photo essay by Carl Woodward—in which he congratulates himself on foreseeing “weeks ago” that their plan wouldn’t work—OAS attendees were so few as to be indistinguishable among the families there for a GW commencement.
It’s Monday, and the federal government appears to be functioning much as it did on Thursday. Either Operation American Spring has failed, or the mainstream media has predictably covered up the resignations of the President and congressional leaders from both parties, along with the repeal of virtually all federal taxes. My money is on the second one, because I am a self-deluding maniac. In retrospect, Col. Harry Riley’s prediction that “10 to 30 million” patriots would mass on the National Mall this weekend may have been unreasonable. But isn’t that what the Tea Party/constitutional patriot movement is all about?
Last week, we discussed the IRS/Tea Party scandal and the problem of distinguishing social welfare organizations from political groups. Noted parser of fine distinctions Ben al-Fowlkes sent me this follow-up article from the New York Times, in which intrepid reporters who are probably interns researched some of the complainant groups. It’s an interesting read throughout, but it reaches a boiling point of surreality with the last two paragraphs. Quote:
…[T]he Ohio Liberty Coalition, another Tea Party group that has complained about the scrutiny it received from the I.R.S.,… canvassed neighborhoods, handing out Romney campaign “door hangers,” Mr. Zawistowski said. The I.R.S. usually considers such activities to be partisan. But when Mr. Zawistowski consulted his group’s lawyers, he said, he came away understanding that the I.R.S. was most concerned with radio or television advertising. He said he believed that other activities, like distributing literature for the Romney campaign, would not raise concerns. “It’s not political activity,” he said.
At least one of the groups that applied for 501(c)(4) status in the last few years claims that going door-to-door on behalf of a candidate for president is not a political activity. How does one deal with/in such mendacity?
The best part of this video for the Tea Party Patriots—if you’re going to make me choose—is the way it goes from dystopian fantasy to informative commercial in the last three seconds. The second best part is everything else. From the evocatively-named Development Party, with its eerily familiar emphasis on “progress,” to the vaguely Palin-esque woman gazing contentedly at the shores of liberty before she is kidnapped, this trailer captures everything the Tea Party is about. Specifically: a fantasy of persecution and revolt.