On March 14, 2012 Salt Lake Tribune columnist Paul Rolly detailed one rightwing group's plans, from a memo to its members, on how to hijack the local political process to get what they want.
Utah, with its system of caucus meetings for selecting candidates, was the first state to oust a sitting Republican senator in favor of a tea party candidate. Senator Robert Bennett, who was a moderate, was the first in a long list of politicians targeted by the far right, and nationally it caused quite a stir in 2010. Replacing him proved it could be done, that very small but well organized groups could override the will of the majority.
Now Utah's senior senator, Orrin Hatch, has the bullseye on his back, thanks to a group calling itself FreedomWorks (and if ever there was a misnomer, that's it). Their memo, according to Rolly, tells its members to “go early to caucus meetings Thursday and dominate all the seats in the front of the room. That’s because there often are more people than seats, and if the right people hog all the seats, the others will get tired of standing and leave before voting starts.” Rolly continues, "[The memo] tells the minions to make sure they are the last ones nominated as delegates because that means they will be the last ones giving speeches."
There are other tactics: "When the group gets the chance to ask questions, the minions are told to have their stooges there ' to ask you friendly questions,' and to have others ready to ask questions 'to flush out those who think differently than we do.'" (Emphasis mine.)
Rolly’s column goes on to list what makes FreedomWorks mad, which is the usual list of sins committed by elected officials, such as voting for the auto industry bailout (thereby saving hundreds of thousands of jobs), and pork-barrel earmarks (like most Republicans, including Rick Santorum, use), etc., etc.
These tricks work. Personally, I'm sick of Orrin Hatch and his 36 years of living in comfort as my senator, but I'd prefer him to any of the nutcakes the tea partiers want in his place. After all, Bennett's replacement, Mike Lee, is the idiot who has vowed to oppose everything Obama wants voted on, just to show his total disdain not only for the President, but the people of his own state and citizens of America.
American politics usually finds a way of correcting itself, because the great majority of people in the country are moderate. They're worried about jobs and day-to-day stuff, not about moral issues or whether contraceptives can be covered by health plans administered by religious groups. Such issues cause even moderate folks consternation, but not at the expense of what is important.
If the belligerent anti-Obama, anti-voting public tea party groups were confronted by far-left groups who used their tactics, and those tactics worked for them, the tea partiers would be shouting to the mountaintops that the communists were taking over. They wouldn't think it any more democratic than those of us who are just left of center find their dirty tricks. This legal but unethical takeover of the system will come back and bite them, I'm sure. Maybe 2012 will be the year that it does, or maybe it'll be in 2014. Thanks to Paul Rolly for publishing those items from their memo and exposing them for what they are.
I'm reminded that it was a very small group of National Socialists who took over Germany through various underhanded means during a time of great national turmoil. It looks to me as if this revolution the far right is pulling off comes right out of the Nazi playbook. Oh, wait..."Nazi" is a loaded word, isn't it? We mustn't call even our political enemies such things. They certainly don't think of themselves as Nazis. They think of themselves as patriotic Americans who want freedom (a vague term even they have trouble defining, since their ideas of freedom usually mean trouble for everyone else by passing more laws against things they hate). They like to name their groups using words like "freedom" and "American" or "patriot," but I've noticed such groups are actually none of those.They are tiny factions who are using the system and subverting the will of the greater public for their own ends. You know, like Nazis.