Yes, the Tea Baggers made it official last week: they are simply a fringe arm of the Republican Party. How do I know this? But, but, but they are a new, "grass roots" political uprising, right?
According to the Tea Baggers themselves (and as reported in many places...I personally like the story in Militant Libertarian.org), to be accepted by the Tea Bagging Party you must fully support the Republican Party's platform. Maybe I missed something, but if the platforms are one in the same, then how could the Tea Bagging Party be not be indistinguishable from the Republican Party?
Now it all held such promise for me, at least at first. I'm not in favor of bailout money, massive stimulus spending and I absolutely agree that most politicians in Washington DC are more skilled at self preservation than they are at representing constituents. Then came the national bus tour, coordinated by RNC Strategists, complete with blatantly racist signs depicting the President as an African Witch Doctor, at which point I knew that whatever started as a grass-roots organization had morphed into the political equivalent of a ball-peen hammer. The fact that Michael Steele gave all of this "wink, wink, nod, nod" approval provided a sick coda to the whole damn thing. I should have expected as much, after all, Mr Steele probably had to be part of this as part of his Penance for committing the sin of criticizing drug-addict Rush Limbaugh (with apologies to drug addicts everywhere who might be offended at the comparison to Limbaugh).
Those of us looking for a truly grass-roots, non-partisan political organization...one that recognizes that both established political parties have been bought and paid for by special interests...will need to look elsewhere.