Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paranoia briefing

The Nation provides a useful primer on a crackpot conspiracy theory - the "Cloward-Piven strategy", as it's known - that is a favorite among grassroots Republican Tea Partiers and leaders like Sarah Palin: The Mad Tea Party by Richard Kim 03/25/10. Kim's article is a good explanation of one crackpot far-right theory that is pieced together with what looks like plenty of documentation to someone either not interested in real evidence or not able to tell the real thing from the totally bogus.

And he makes an educated guess as to how this particular theory came to be as popular as it has become in the far right precincts of our politics:

On another level, the theory is an adaptive response to the tea party's fragmentation. As Jonathan Raban pointed out in The New York Review of Books, the tea party is an uneasy conclave of Ayn Rand secular libertarians and fundamentalist Christian evangelicals; it contains birthers, Birchers, racists, xenophobes, Ron Paulites, cold warriors, Zionists, constitutionalists, vanilla Republicans looking for a high and militia-style survivalists. Because the Cloward-Piven strategy is so expansive, it allows tea party propagandists to engage any one--or all--of the pet issues that incite these various constituencies. For some, the left's "offensive to promote illegal immigration" is "Cloward-Piven on steroids." For others, it is the Cloward-Piven "advocates of social change" who "used the Fed, which was complicit in the scheme" to "engineer" the 2008 fiscal crisis. In his speech at the tea party convention in Nashville, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah notes that Obama was just 4 when the Cloward-Piven strategy was written. "We think," Farah said. He paused dramatically before adding, "Without the birth certificate we really just don't know," as a sizable portion of the audience broke into applause.
It would be misleading to assume that a movement like this will soon disintegrate into factionalism because of the diverse brands groups involved. Because the Tea Party movement is mostly what the Republican Party looks like out of power. Casey Seiler reports for the Albany Times-Union 03/24/10 on the results of a recent Quinnipiac University poll in Q Poll: Tea Party movement leans waaay Republican.

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