It was bound to happen. The Tea Party movement can seem so bizarre– what with the Nazi outfits and three-corner patriot hats strung with tea bags, the misspelled signs touting the English language and the conspiracy theories that predominate– it was only a matter of time before anti-tea partiers decided to seize on the whackiest elements to attempt to discredit the movement. A group called Crash the Tea Party appears to be partly borrowing from the absurdist French Situationist activist movement of the 50s and 60s in deciding to infiltrate Tea Party protests across the country scheduled for Tax Day Thursday and make the protesters appear ridiculous. The plan is to out tea party the Tea Party.
“Our plan is not to shout them down,” Levin told me yesterday, “but to infiltrate them and push them farther from the mainstream.”
The scheme reads like a sequel to “Being John Malkovich”: Levin’s group of protesters plan to get in the heads of tea partiers at the Tax Day Tea Parties nationwide Thursday and manipulate them right out of relevance. They’ll dress like tea partiers, talk like tea partiers and carry signs like tea partiers. In fact, according to Levin they’ll be completely indistinguishable from tea partiers, except for one thing — they won’t be out-crazied by anyone.
“Our goal is that whenever a tea partier says ‘Barack Obama was not born in America,’ we’re going be right right there next to them saying, ‘yeah, in fact he wasn’t born on Earth! He’s an alien!” Levin explained. He said that by making the tea parties sound like a gathering of crazy people — his group’s goal — the movement will lose its power.
Conservative analysts have previously suggested the FBI had infiltrated the movement to undermine it. Dave Weigel at the Washington Post writes that top Tea Party groups are now preparing seriously to deal with the Crash the Tea Party movement.
For tea party organizers, this is both an irritation and a godsend. Since the movement’s outset, tea partiers have fretted about liberals infiltrating their events. And leaders have speculated that the signs that have most embarrassed the movement were created by liberals trying to discredit activists. Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks, who’s deep in the planning stages for Thursday’s rallies, tells me that CrashtheTeaParty activists validate their arguments while creating an organizational headache.
Who’s the silly fool with the tea bag tattooed on her forehead screaming about socialism on the Denver capitol steps? Is that Michelle Malkin or is it a Michelle Malkin tea party crasher lookalike? You decide.