Who invented this Tea Party stuff, anyway? Glenn Beck? Rick Santelli? Twinings? The matter is up for dispute. Serious dispute. In fact the dispute over who invented the tea party may be a more serious and substantive dispute than anything that will actually be disputed at the Tea Parties themselves.
On the Rachel Maddow Show Tuesday night, Maddow explained the burgeoning teabaggy rift that's emerged within the teabaggers. On one side: RON PAUL SUPPORTERS! They were going to float around the country on a blimp and drop tea into Boston harbor. On the other side: a special Astroturf comprised of Newt Gingrich and Fox News and Dick Armies.
It's Paul's supporters who most strenuously claim ownership, and they largely feel that their great works have been co-opted by the GOP. Maddow quotes libertarian activist Jason Pye, who griped to the Washington Independent thusly:
Then Maddow has a guy named Stephen Gordon on, and suggestive teabagging japery ensues, involving Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee and props.
But, do the libertarian/Ron Paul factions have a case? Wonkette's Ken Layne thinks so, insisting, "this is one thing we are going to totally give to the Paultards. They started it. We were there, man. We were there." And, actually? He pretty much was!
This is from your editor's RADAR Magazine story about the ultimately failed attempt to ride the blimp to Washington and then to Boston, for the stated purpose of dumping tea into Boston Harbor, as a protest, against the big-spending Republicans, particularly the hated George W. Bush:
The original flight plan was a thing of goofy beauty: The airship would cruise over Washington, DC, the nucleus of Imperial America, land in northern Virginia for a triumphant rally, then fly to New York City to buzz the evil Federal Reserve Bank on Wall Street. From there it would cruise to Boston to reenact the original Tea Party by tossing boxes of tea into the harbor from hundreds of feet in the air, while crowds of Paul supporters and journalists looked on in wonder. Finally, there would be a three-week-long crisscrossing tour of the New Hampshire skies. Up until January 8, the date of the all-important primary in the Granite State, the great craft would mercilessly harass the other candidates from the air.
It was understood by everyone else on the Ron Paul discussion forums that the blimp would forever change America. Eyes would be opened. The "sheeple" would see the truth. All the Paulians had to do was cough up $200,000 by December 7 for a month's blimp rental from Airship Management Services in Elizabeth City.
To me, "Tea Parties" are about the beautiful dreams of innocent children, and look at how many such dreams of whimsy are knit up in Layne's account! Ron Paul! The Ron Paul Forum! RADAR Magazine! Writing for RADAR Magazine! Blimps! Writing about Ron Paul for RADAR Magazine on blimps! We thus rule in favor of the Ron Paul origin story.