| I spent yesterday afternoon at one of those teabagger rallies that Fox News personalities are hosting around the country. This one featured Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Karl Rove and the musical stylings of the wingnuttiest half of a country duo called "Big & Rich" or something like that. I had never heard of him before and doubt I ever have occasion to hear of him again.
The show opened with a local talk-radio nutjob who, without a trace of irony, told a joke about a republican, a Libertarian and a Democrat who save Jesus (I know, but suspend disbelief) and in his gratitude, he grants them all a gift. The republican says his eyes are going, and Jesus touches him and fixes them. The Libertarian has him fix his back, and, the joke goes, the Democrat says "don't touch me, I'm on disability." The crowd of mostly older white people roared with laughter, because everyone knows that liberals and Democrats are lazy freeloaders who all want a handout. No conservative worth his salt would ever take anything from the gummint, especially not a hale and hardy militia type. Why, he would rather lay down and die than take a government disability check, wouldn't he? That's how they all talk, anyway.
The local winger found seven doctors in KC who were willing to attend their rally and say they were against "Obamacare" - one even claims to be President Obama's cousin, and he was the only one who spoke, repeating the "16,000 new IRS agents and not one new doctor" lie. My companion and I just looked at one another in a non-plussed way.
Laura Ingraham followed the local wingnut. I wasn't all that familiar with her. I have never listened to her show and I don't watch the television shows that invite her to come on as a guest. I know her from video clips posted to YouTube.
I hadn't missed much. She's catty and sarcastic and hateful, has a strange obsession with community organizers and she seems to think that physically she's all that and a bag of chips. Sorry toots - maybe you were there first, but the aging white guys of the tea party movement have already decided that Sarah is the one they want to have a
ball beer with while she plays connect-the-dots with a sharpie and their liver spots.
The next speaker on the lineup was K-K-Karl Rove. He spouted debunked talking points and spin, and seemed confused about where in the metro he actually was. The Sprint Center is on the Missouri side, in our revitalized downtown, but K-K-Karl seemed to think he was across the state line in Kansas.
Hannity didn't update his speech with any local color, either. Hell, it was an afternoon event and he kept saying "tonight."
The cynic in me says that the head of steam that this movement had seems to be dissipating, it's just that the Hannitys and Ingrahams haven't finished cashing in yet. The tickets for this thing started at $40 a pop and went all the way up to $150 for the front row. The place wasn't quite half full, but under the circumstances, it didn't have to be. They jetted in, appeared, and flew out again for another one of these things in another city a couple of hours later, and didn't stick around and spend any money.
I saw a bunch of cynical media personalities cashing in on the racism and fear of a bunch of white people who are either retired or nearing retirement and who never thought they would live long enough to see a black man in their White House.
They can protest that this isn't the case all day long - in fact, we kinda hope they do - because their very words and actions put the lie to the empty rhetoric of their protestations. Even the wingnuts who support them and the alternate reality they project realize when they yammer about "repeal and replace" that they had eight years of total control and did nothing about health care, so it rings hollow now.
I did come away from the afternoon with one thing: I am not worried about the people I saw yesterday taking back a lunch order, let alone "their country."