The Tea Party movement: Everybody talks about them, but nobody tries to infiltrate their ranks in an effort to make them look even more crazy than they already are. Until now?
At the nexus of funemployment and superfluous political hackery comes the Crash The Tea Party movement, fronted by Jason Levin, who has been organizing a cadre of infiltrators to attend Tea Party rallies in order to "push them farther from the mainstream." Apparently, the Tea Partiers themselves haven't sufficiently made their distance from mainstream politics abundantly clear to everyone.
"Every time we have someone on camera saying that Barack Obama isn't an American citizen, we want someone sitting next to him saying, 'That's right, he's an alien from outer space!'" Levin said.
Uhm... okay! Yeah. That sounds like a devilishly effective tactic, doesn't it?
Levin believes that by scattering operatives throughout the Tea Party movement, the odds increase that his pranksters will draw a share of the media attention. And, if they manage to present themselves as out-and-out insane, public approval of the Tea Party movement will fade and the media will move on from covering them. You know, because of the media's well-known aversion to political freakshows.
TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports that there are lines that Levin's army of sneaks will not cross:
He emphasized that his group is non-violent, and not interested in "perpetuating racism, homophobia or misogyny." Levin said that "members are free to do as they wish," but if violence breaks out at a tea party rally on Thursday, or more epithets like the ones thrown around during the health care debate are heard, it won't be because of his group.
He explained the distinction to me this way: If you see someone wearing a Nazi uniform at a tea party, it could be one of his members. If you see some one wearing a Nazi uniform throwing a rock, it's definitely not one of his members.
Well, thanks for not braining me with a handful of raw gravel, Tea Party prankster, but I'm going to have to suggest that anybody who dresses up in a Nazi uniform for fun is being pretty offensive, maybe?
Of course, these tactics may have an effect that is opposite from their stated intentions: namely, insulating the Tea Party movement from criticism by allowing them to claim that any off-putting activity is the work of dedicated moles. (Many in the Tea Party movement already contend that the worst behavior on display at rallies is the work of agents-provocateurs.) This is probably why it's best to not publicly disclose your super-secret plan to infiltrate the Tea Parties!
Anyway, it's going to be pretty hilarious when the day finally comes that "Tea Party rallies" are entirely populated by satiric infiltrators, all of whom are completely unaware of each other's existence.