Monday, April 13, 2009

Conservative Tea Parties

I had somehow missed this bit of information, but conservatives are apparently throwing tea parties meant to be reminiscent of the Boston Tea Party and to protest taxation without representation. Paul Krugman has a column up featuring these parties and coins a term I was heretofore unfamiliar with:

Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.
I don't think Krugman made up the analogy, but I like it. Matt Yglesias meanwhile focuses on the fact that the event that occurred in Nebraska wasn't built on a very accurate premise.

The 1.8 million Nebraskans are very much represented in congress. There’s Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, Rep. Lee Terry, and Rep. Adrian M. Smith in the House of Represenatives along with Senators Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns. Indeed, with a mere 0.6 percent of the nation’s population, Nebraska gets to elect fully 2 percent of the Senators. If anything, Nebraskans have taxation with overrepresentation.
I don't think I have much to add to this. I suppose I would just say that this can be amusing, but ultimately is bad for anyone who would like two parties competing with one another in debates on real ideas. Not that you didn't already know that.

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