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Q: Why Don’t Tea Parties Care About Wall Street? A: Because Fox Didn’t Tell Them To

Cenk Uyger has a very good point about the lack of…er, anything coming out of the tea parties in the wake of Wall Street’s excesses:

If you remember, the Tea Parties were originally formed to protest the bailouts. They were so mad at the Wall Street bankers who destroyed the economy and then took our hard earned money for their efforts.

So, they will take this opportunity, of course, to launch their own protest of Wall Street. They will protest the TARP money, the easy credit, the lack of regulation, the wild risk taking and the excessive bonuses paid with taxpayer money. They’re really going to take the fight to them.

Just kidding. They’re not going to do anything. They’re going to sit out this fight on financial reform and put absolutely no pressure on Wall Street at all. Because they are tools easily manipulated by right-wing organizations funded by corporate America.

Cenk chalks it up to the fact that Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks didn’t arrange any corporate-sponsored bus rides against Goldman Sachs.  Which is probably true — tea partiers tend to “demonstrate on command.”

But as the CBS News poll indicates, the profile of the tea partiers is now almost identical to that of the Fox News demographic:  old, white, male and Republican.  There’s nothing independent about them.  When Fox made a huge rebranding effort for the GOP last year and broadcast “all tea parties, all the time” they successfully harnessed the anti-AIG bailout anger and pointed it at Obama.  AfP and Freedomworks just ran the field operations in support of the Fox messaging machine, and they all worked in concert to hijack the tea parties from Ron Paul.

Whatever their origins, the tea parties quickly became a squadron of GOP apparachiks who have shown little independence or ability to organize themselves outside of corporate-funded efforts. If they truly are the “free thinking independents” they believe themselves to be, wouldn’t they be putting aside tribal and party differences and joining the AFL-CIO’s protest of Wall Street on April 29th?  Or at the very least, trying to organize their own?

And how about that insurance mandate they were all so angry about? (*crickets*).  The Fox News tea partier will go to the ballot box in 2010, cast their vote for some Republican who is cussing “ObamaCare,” but never ask what they plan to do about it.  How many Republicans are actually co-sponsoring Ron Paul’s bill to end the mandate?  Nine.  Out of one hundred and seventy-eight.  The insurance mandate is a Heritage Foundation wet dream, and the GOP is only sorry they weren’t the ones to reap the donation bonanza for passing it.

Over at the Daily Paul, they note that Ron Paul finds equal fault with the spending habits of both liberals and conservatives — who just like to spend on different things.  Conservatives, he says, “like embassies, and they like occupation. They like the empire. They like to be in 135 countries and 700 bases.”   As in, the 8 years of profligate spending under George Bush.  Yet tea partiers have a favorable opinion of George Bush over Ron Paul by more than 2:1.  That’s completely incoherent.

Fox News is still betting that you can fool some of the people all the time.  And it appears to be working. Jamie Dimon can still knock back cocktails with John Boenher and watch Fox without feeling the slightest bit threatened by the tea parties.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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