I'll be discussing the themes of this post all morning on AM760 here in Colorado. Stream the show live at www.am760.net - and join the conversation at 303-713-7600. - D
In my book, The Uprising, I have a chapter on the Minutemen that's called "Mainstreaming the Militia." I think between the media coverage of yesterday's Tea Parties and the national Republican Party effectively coming to the public defense of right-wing extremist groups against the Department of Homeland Security, that mainstreaming has gone into overdrive.
I'm not saying everyone - or even a majority - of those who attended the Tea Parties are violent extremists. But I am saying that there is a very calculated and coordinated campaign to mainstream extreme right-wing politics - and this shouldn't be surprising. The uprising that I reported on last year has only intensified since I reported the book, and as I noted at the time, that uprising is both a left and right phenomenon.
Indeed, the battle for the future of the country will be a battle between the left and right uprisings - a battle to see who can out-organize the other in the fight for the hearts and minds of the country. The Obama campaign's stellar organizing success clearly shows there's a progressive majority ready to be organized, but the right's counter salvos these last few weeks shows that if Democrats keep handing over trillions to Wall Street, there will be an opening for conservative populism.
So while we can (and should) ridicule the Tea Parties, we should also recognize that they A) highlight very real anger out there at government giving away the store to Corporate America and B) preview a long battle over economic policy that will unfold over the next few months and years.