Joseph West is editor-in-chief of TeaPartyPoison.com. He's a politics geek with a leftward bent, but also an appreciation for the middle-ground (where the facts reside). Follow Joseph on
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After a year that’s been punctuated by Tea Party-caused crises — a government shutdown, a narrowly-averted debt ceiling disaster, and record levels of Congressional ridiculousness — America still stands.
Miraculously, we’ve also survived the so-called “death panels” of the Affordable Care Act; we’ve persevered through the impending apocalypse; and those gay “sinners” have yet to cause the collapse of society. Here’s a brief recap of some of 2013′s most notable Tea Party blunders.
The Tea Party ushered-in the year with a wave of Nazi imagery — because apparently, that makes sense. In January, TeaParty.org sent its followers an email graced by a picture of a Hitler-mustachioed President Obama. As reported by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the email also included a picture of two Nazi executioners at work, and bore the title, “Stop America’s Hitler.”
In February, the Tea Party Patriots issued an attack email aimed at rank-and-file GOP strategist Karl Rove. The email reportedly included an image of Rove’s smiling face, Photoshopped into the uniform of sadistic S.S. officer Heinrich Himmler.
Tea Party Social Network
February also saw the official launch of right-wing America’s social network: Tea Party Community (TPC). Created by Tea Party leader Ken Crow, TPC was designed to look and function like Facebook — in fact, it was created because, as Crow told Fox News, Tea Partiers on Facebook “absorb a lot of abuse from liberals.” Perhaps they’re turned-off by all the “Nazi” talk. Silly liberals.
It’s been quite a year for the Tea Party’s homophobic bigots, too. In an October interview with Peter LaBarbera (President of an anti-gay hate group), TeaPartyUnity.org founder Rick Scarborough literally suggested bringing a class action lawsuit against homosexuality, itself. ”The tobacco industry was held accountable” for its cancer-causing product, he argued — so why can’t we sue homosexuality for AIDS?
Predictably, narcissistic motor-mouth Glenn Beck has racked-up yet another lucrative year of crap-peddling. From touting climate change denial and claiming that Obamacare will more than double food stamp enrollment by 2016, to screaming about the First Lady’s “fat ass” and insisting that within a year, we’ll experience “the beginning of World War III,” 2013 saw Beck further solidify his role as the Tea Party’s chief propagandist.
Overt plagiarism was definitely en-vogue this year. Possible 2016 presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul was initially called-out because of a speech about the dangers of Eugenics he’d delivered at Liberty University. MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow pointed out that portions of the speech were directly ripped-off from Wikipedia. That quickly led to the discovery of several other instances of plagiarism.
As BuzzFeed‘s Andrew Kaczynski put it, “An entire section of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s 2013 book Government Bullies was copied wholesale from a 2003 case study by the Heritage Foundation.” After the plagiarism debacle, right-wing rag The Washington Times discontinued Paul’s weekly column. Nevertheless, Breitbart eagerly snapped it up in no time.
Similarly, Former Congressman Allen West published a heavily-plagiarized article in December, entitled “Backdoor gun control is here: no lead means no bullets.” The plagiarism story was initially broken by yours, truly, and after being caught red-handed, West’s article was edited, and lies were told in an effort to dodge the blow-back.
Always the quintessential religious-extremist, Minnesota’s Tea Party Congresswoman Michele Bachmann continued her McCarthy-esque crusade against Islam — once again singling-out Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, whom she still claims is a Muslim Brotherhood operative of some sort.
Likewise, Tea Party leader and long-time right-wing loon Larry Klayman had quite an Islamophobic year, too. While trying to organize a “second American Revolution” aimed at overthrowing President Obama, he has written, among other things, that it’s time to “cleanse the nation of the half-Muslim, anti-white, socialist fraud in the White House before the nation goes under for the final count,” and also that in Obama, “We are ruled by someone who is in effect the pharaoh and at the least a Muslim at heart.”
Immigration reform, of course, has been on the agenda this year — something absolutely despised by the Tea Party’s motley crew of nativists and xenophobes. Iowa Rep. Steve King made waves in July, when he told NewsMaxthat the overwhelming majority of undocumented immigrants are drug-smugglers who have “calves the size of cantaloupes” as a result of ferrying their contraband across the desert.
2013 also saw the meteoric rise of Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, whose government shutdown-inducing crusade against Obamacare has cemented his status as Tea Partier numero uno. Considering the Tea Party’s unchecked nativism and disdain for “elites,” Ted Cruz — a Canadian-born millionaire whose wife is a managing director at Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs — seems an unlikely hero.
Nevertheless, to the Tea Party, he is exactly that — a fact he’ll try to leverage during his probable bid for the presidency in 2016.
The Good News
Fortunately, there was some good news, this year. In what was essentially a referendum on the Tea Party, Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson were both defeated by their respective opponents in Virginia’s November election. Considering that Cuccinelli (who ran for governor) and Jackson (who ran for lieutenant governor) are two of the farthest-right and, in Jackson’s case, outwardly insane Tea Party figures — America really dodged a bullet (or two).
Additionally, the Tea Party’s popularity has continued to decline, according to a December Gallup poll. Only 30% of Americans now view it favorably — a new low-point since Gallup began asking in 2010.
From Steve Stockman’s “Obama Barf Bags,” to the nasty descriptions of Nelson Mandela after his death, 2013 was a very Tea Partyish year. With the 2014 midterms approaching, and the GOP civil war between the ideologues and the so-called “RINOs” intensifying, next year will likely be every bit as ridiculous.