The Montana and national TEA parties have been mewling for a few days because former Republican and current Democratic Senate candidate John Bohlinger compared the action of the TEA Party in shutting the government down to the actions of the Taliban. Bohlinger said:
“We need to challenge the Tea Party representatives who like the Taliban shut our country down,” Bohlinger told reporters, according to the Billings Gazette.
The paper reported that Bohlinger compared the actions of tea party representatives in the lead-up to the shutdown to the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Bohlinger’s point, while certainly not nuanced, was not that the TEA Party is a bunch of Islamic radicals, nor that they ruled Afghanistan, but a fair assessment of the reactionary wing of the Republican Party that is willing to engage in economic sabotage against the United States to ensure the support of the TEA Party, which still holds undue influence in Republican primaries. Bohlinger was right to call out the most destructive force in American politics today–a force which gets far more media attention than its waning membership warrants.
Predictably, the TEA Party and its representatives in Montana responded with their typical umbrage, umbrage being the second most common political strategy they use. Astroturf dealer and bunker dweller Henry Kriegel embodied the hurt feelings of the TEApublicans, repeatedly tweeting about his hurt feelings and demands for an apology:
That the TEA Party, the group most responsible for debasing American political discussion over the past six years, is asking for an apology would perhaps be reasonable were it not so laughably hypocritical. That it’s coming from someone like Henry Kriegel is even more absurd, given his rhetoric in the recent past. For instance, following a visit by President Obama to Bozeman, Kriegel compared union workers to Nazi thugs, calling them “the new brownshirts of our time.” At the same rally, organized by Mr. Kriegel, classy posters like this were on full display. I’m quite certain no apology has been issued by Kriegel for either.
Could Montana politics do with a bit more reason and a bit less heated rhetoric? Certainly. But there’s no reason anyone should take a movement built on inane accusations of simultaneous fascism and communism, coupled with the most egregious racism this side of a Klan rally, seriously when it demands apologies for mean words from anyone.
I’m not sure at all why the Montana media gives these people a platform to spew their largely irrelevant nonsense, but when quoting them about their hurt feelings, it’s probably a good idea to remind readers how truly horrible some of things they’ve said have been. They’re certainly not victims; they’re largely the group responsible for the state our politics are in today.
Update: So I had to add this. Defending his group, Henry Kriegel sent me this link, which includes this section:
We still have to be smart and very attentive with our signs. Please keep in mind that we would advise you not to use profanity or racist symbols e.g. Swastikas so on… that will likely be interpreted as extremely offensive to others, particularly those we would like to have joined our event.
It says everything you need to know about the TEA Party that they have to advise members not to use racist images or swastikas in their signs. Wow.