Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips, speaking from what appears to be the party room of a Mexican restaurant
One of the best/worst parts of being a member of Tea Party Nation are the daily* emails from founder Judson Phillips. Phillips is not a craftsmanlike writer, but he’s passionate. He’s not afraid to invoke Karl Marx, make broad statements about Muslims, or point out who and sometimes what hates America. But as a just-folks kind of guy, Phillips also lards his statements with the homey, personal touches of an Andy Rooney. Consider his reflection from last Sunday, which begins with this glimpse into his daily life: “When I was in Washington this past Friday, I walked by the United Methodist Building, next to the Russell Office Building. The sign in front of the United Methodist Building said, ‘Pass the DREAM Act.'” Three hundred words later, he arrives at this conclusion: “For the few remaining patriots in the Methodist church, know what that church supports and then you should abandon the church, much like the Methodist church as abandoned American values and patriotism.” Where he goes in between is pretty exciting, too.
Tea Party Nation leader Judson Phillips, photographed here with his deputy, Ponderin' Joe Phillips
Now that Election Fever has passed, and we are left with only Election Post-Fever Palsy, it’s time to take stock of what we’ll miss. I personally miss the last campaign cycle in roughly the same way King Kong misses vaudeville, but it did have its highlights. There were the insane commercials, for example, which a slightly less hysterical electorate and some version of the DISCLOSE Act will hopefully ensure that we never see again. There was Christine O’Donnell, who is presumably doing buttershots in a Dave & Buster’s right now. Best of all, there was Tea Party Nation, whose unstoppable email apparatus sent me two, sometimes three emails a day.
If you haven’t heard of Judson Phillips, it’s probably because you haven’t yet signed up for Tea Party Nation, the national-level organizer of Tea Party organizations that sends you a ton of emails, many of which are titled “Draft” or, once, “Do Not Send.” Judson Phillips may be an idiot. As the organizer of the first national Tea Party Unity Convention, he may also be one of the few identifiable leaders in the still-amorphous movement. The Tea Party Nation website is either the canary in the mine or one arbitrarily drawn constellation in the exploded galaxy that is the Tea Party, depending on whose side you took in the series of schisms that immediately followed its formation. I prefer the first interpretation, since A) the alternative is to have no concrete information about the Tea Party at all and B) Phillips is hilarious. Case in point: his recent screed/policy proposal regarding illegal immigration, which is the subject of today’s Close Reading. Text after the jump.