Liz Mair looks at the claims that yesterday’s anti-tax, anti-spending tea parties were all top-down events organized by the conservative or Republican establishment rather than a grassroots effort. She finds these claims wanting.
Sometimes the distinction between grassroots and Astroturf isn’t 100 percent clear-cut. Obviously, various establishment entities played a role in the tea party business. It’s just as obvious, as Mair points out, that a lot of the people involved on a practical level had nothing to do with the RNC, CNBC, Fox News, FreedomWorks, or anything related. George Soros and others helped fund and stimulate seemingly grassroots opposition to the Bush administration. But to claim that there was no actual grassroots opposition to the Bush administration would be insane. Ditto the draft-Perot movement in 1991-92, which featured both grassroots and Astroturf elements. Sometimes top-down movements trickle down to the grassroots and other times establishment figures or groups try to piggyback on some popular movement, since in a democracy leaders are often really followers.
In any event, I have my own take on tea parties and tax revolts in the May issue of the very un-establishment Ron Paulite Young American Revolution magazine.
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