Latest Tea Parties are Astroturf

Editor’s note: THis is not to say that all tea parties are astroturf, but if they are being organized in the background by organizations like Faux News…well, res ipsa loquitur. That being said, I have been to grassroots tea parties, and the theme is absolutely my favorite.

sherry clark with Larry from Boston 9/11 truth group at their Boston Tea Party for 9/11 Truth -- December 16, 2006

by Steven Leser

Following up on my April 10 article, “Tea Parties — Crackbrained” and my appearance on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto show to discuss the tea parties here are some points that were not mentioned in either effort and amplifications of some others.

RNC and other Republican Heavy Hitters 9 Month Effort to Host Corporate Tea Parties

As I mentioned to Stuart Varney on Fox News, the website was registered 9 months ago, here is the data from Network Solutions’ WhoIs search:

Zachary Christenson
Registered through:, Inc.
Domain servers in listed order:
Registrar: GODADDY.COM, INC.
Whois Server:
Referral URL:
Creation Date: 03-aug-2008
Expiration Date: 03-aug-2009

You can do the search yourself if you click/browse here.

Please note the date of creation, August 3, 2008. Fox News and the public faces of the Tea Parties are trying to portray the protests as “organic, spontaneous, grass roots” protests that are in response to Obama’s tax and stimulus policies. One can see that is quite impossible since the date the idea was conceived not only predates the implementation of Obama’s policies and his Presidency, it predates Obama being officially named the Democratic Nominee for President. Right there, we know this movement is a fraud and a sham.

Who is Zachary Christenson, the owner of the domain?

It turns out he is a right wing radio talk show [producer] in the Chicago area with ties to several major Republican think tanks, and the Koch company, a Chicago area based conglomerate which heavily funds several Republican think tanks. These same Republican think tanks, like Freedomworks, the Cato Institute and Americans for Progress, just happen to be the primary groups behind the “Organic, Grass Roots” Tea Party protests.

If you read the leadership of these think tanks, they are all led by heavy hitters in the RNC like Dick Armey and Steve Forbes. These Tea Party Protests are bought and paid for by the RNC and Fox News.

The term I have heard around the web and by such notable pundits as Paul Krugman to describe these protests is “Astroturf”. If you follow sports, you know that in stadiums, they sometimes use Astroturf to simulate grass in stadiums where it would be hard to grow grass. Put more simply, its Fake Grass. That is what we have with these Tea Party protests, fake Grassroots. Republicans have done this before. The supposed “organic and spontaneous” protest of the Miami-Dade recount in 2000 was actually comprised of Republican congressional staffers flown in to impede the recount. There is a great picture on the web of these protesters banging on the glass doors in Miami with each person named along with for which Republican congressperson they work.

Fox News’ involvement with the Tea Parties is further evidence of the corporatism behind the effort. Did the original Boston Tea Party need a cable news network to market and validate its efforts? What does this mean for journalistic ethics going forward? First, Fox was slanted towards Republicans, then it became an unabashed supporter of Republicans, and now it is becoming the news itself. Fox News now IS the Republican Party. Something tells me that Fox’ involvement with the Tea Parties will be a topic of discussion as a negative example whenever Journalistic ethics are taught from now on. A final thought on this, Stuart Varney’s very next statement after he was finished with my segment was “And now it is my great duty to promote the Tea Parties”. That statement speaks volumes.

Economic Facts and Numbers that Tank the Tea

In my April 10 article I called the Tea Parties “Convoluted”. That was too generous. We’re in the midst of an economic crisis. The expanded spending that Obama and congress have approved are a stimulus package designed to get the economy moving again. They aren’t spending this money on a whim or without a serious purpose.

What is the alternative solution? If we were to look at what a Republican supply side solution might be, we would not increase government spending but implement larger tax cuts. The interesting result of this is, if we want to have as big of an impact as the increased spending, we would have to, as a result of those tax cuts, put as much money back into people’s hands as the stimulus would spend. If you are following this mathematically, it means that we would reduce income, as much as Obama increased expenditures, resulting in an identical Federal Deficit. That assumes that we even have enough tax income to reduce to have the necessary effect. The numbers don’t work in the Tea Party protesters favor.

Even that is giving too much credit to the Fiscal Responsibility aspect of this protest. As I mentioned in the Fox News segment, in the last 28 years, we have had 20 years of Republican administrations. Not one of those years have we had a balanced federal budget. Nearly half of the population of the United States has never seen a Republican led Federal Budget that is anything close, or in the same solar system as being balanced. Few if any of those years did we have anything resembling a national emergency that required expenditures as we do now. Where were these protesters then? Where was the movement protesting reckless Republican spending?

That is why I say these protests are a sham. 20 years of reckless Republican spending without a peep from these folks and we are 3 months into a Democratic administration that was handed a failed economy from its Republican predecessors and the steps it is taking to try to fix the mess is protested.

Don’t be fooled. These protests are nothing more than exquisitely funded Republican political theater.

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