In a story by Jay Root for the Associated Press, the news wire service tries to tar the entire tea party movement with guilt by association claiming that it was somehow fathered or “grandfathered” by Texas Representative Ron Paul, the cranky uncle of the GOP. The fact is Ron Paul had nothing at all to do with the tea party movement. The claim that he did is a calumny, one that the AP hopes will discredit the tea party movement.
In the Story, the AP claims that Ron Paul is “both a spiritual father and actual father in the tea party movement.” It mentions that his son, Rand, is a “tea party darling” (that one is true, at least) and claims that since Paul had a 2007 event he called a “‘Tea Party Fundraiser’ aboard a shrimp boat near Galveston,” that must make him the father of the tea party movement.
Then AP finds some Paulbot to claim that, to him, “Ron Paul is the tea party.” Well, that settles it, huh?
Because a Paulienut says it’s so, why it must be. At least that is what the AP wants its readers to believe.
Problem is, Ron Paul has precisely nothing to do with the tea party movement. His folks are a distinctly separate group from the general population of the tea party movement. Sure some Paulies attend tea party events, but they are not integral to that movement and never have been. Paulies are for Ron Paul and that is it.
They don’t support anything or anyone outside Paul as a general rule.
The actual progenitors of the movement rarely mention Ron Paul. You can read about any of the books on the tea party movement and you’ll find Ron Paul barely mentioned if at all. Few if any actual tea party organizers will say that Ron Paul was their influence.
Do some of Ron Paul’s ideas on fiscal responsibility coincide with the goals of many tea party organizations? Sure they do. Were the tea partier’s focus on these economic issues gleaned or spurred by Ron Paul. Hardly.
Ron Paul evokes a lot of loyalty in his disciples. But it is usually a single-minded loyalty verging on a mindless sort of hero-worship. Paulbots rarely venture into the world of politics if that journey takes them away from their Svengali-like leader.
As one who was there with various members of the early tea party movement, I can attest that Ron Paul was not a factor in its early days. As one who has attended CPAC and a dozen other events sponsored by groups like Americans for Prosperity, Freedom Works, Americans for Tax Relief, and other NGO-type conservative organizations, as one that has attended some of the local tea party events I can tell you that Ron Paul serves as the butt of jokes, not the “grandfather” of their work.
So, why is the AP trying to push the meme that Ron Paul created the tea party movement, or was at the least instrumental therein? Because Ron Paul is viewed by most people as a crank and if the AP can drape such an albatross around the necks of the tea party movement, well that will help the left discredit the movement that helped bring a Republican revolution to Washington the likes of which hasn’t been seen in over 60 years.
Ultimately, that is the AP’s goal. The wire service wishes to torpedo any legitimacy the tea partiers have gained and what better way to do it than get people to imagine that a guy with out-there views is a tea party progenitor? Paul is a man that wouldn’t have killed our worst enemy, a guy that is unbothered by the idea of legalizing all drugs, a guy that thinks that prostitution is a great idea, a guy whose past included close association with all sorts of unsavory racists, if he is part of the tea party movement then that movement must be an off-the-wall, wacky gathering. It’s all guilt by association that AP practices.
The fact is Ron Paul had nothing whatever to do with the tea party movement. Period.
[Ed. note: on the flip side: Why Ron Paul Matters]