by: Kelpie Wilson, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
If President Obama gets a new start on his presidency in 2010, then progressive, liberal Americans should also get a "do-over" on our activism in support of real change. We need to a chance to throw our own Tea Party. I'm calling it Tea Party 2.0 and I have a Facebook page!
First of all, let's be honest. We were all so exhausted after eight years of Bush and so impressed with ourselves that we elected the first African-American president, that we decided it was O.K. to take a nice long break early last year. I don't know how else to explain the fact that MoveOn didn't start a real push for the public option until Sarah Palin's Tea Party shouters had done shock and awe all over Democrats in the August town hall meetings and health care reform was on life support in the ER.
With Glenn Beck claiming to channel Tom Paine and all the rest of the conservative pantheon spouting nonstop, content-free rage, the Tea Party movement successfully tapped into the patriotic, righteous anger of a good chunk of middle-class America.
Middle-class America has a lot to be angry about. Unfortunately, the Tea Party is turning that anger against the wrong targets. They have one very abstract and very meaningless target: "big government spending"; and one very concrete, but blameless target: immigrants.
The pantheon knows that the Tea Party lacks substance and threatens to go off its nut and do something crazy like fly a plane into an IRS office. In his February 17 Talking Points Memo, Bill O'Reilly warned Tea Partiers about their nut job tendencies and reminded them to stay on message. He gave them their talking points one more time: