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you are in trouble because the media has turned against you.

When Dana Milbank drops snark and chooses to lay out case, it carries a strong weight.

If you turn to the opinions page of the Washington Post his piece is labeled "Reich and Wrong" which gives you a sense of what is coming.

The actual title is The tea party makes trouble with a capital T and it is what I encountered when I return to my computer shortly after midnight.

Consider the selections I will offer below the fold - and yes, I will add some commentary of my own.

Milbank starts with the famous billboard in Iowa:  

The geniuses of the North Iowa Tea Party erected a billboard in town depicting three leaders: Adolf Hitler (with swastika), Vladimir Lenin (with hammer and sickle) and Barack Obama (with 2008 campaign logo). Over Hitler were the words "National Socialism," over Lenin was "Marxist Socialism" and over Obama was "Democrat Socialism."

and then opines

Folks, we've got trouble in River City.

 Milbank then explores quotes from Thomas Sowell and Sarah Palin, and then offers these three paragraphs:

Sowell to Palin to Mason City: They spread Nazi labels as smoothly as Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance turned double plays. And let's not deny an assist to Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), who went to the House floor to read aloud the Obama-Nazi comparison by the "brilliant" Sowell.

Twenty years ago, the dawn of the Internet Age gave us Godwin's Law: If an online argument goes on long enough, somebody will eventually invoke Hitler. When that happens, it's basically the end of the conversation, because all rational discussion ceases when one side calls the other Nazis.

These sentiments have long existed on the fringe and always will. The problem is that conservative leaders and Republican politicians, in their blind rage against Obama these last 18 months, invited the epithets of the fringe into the mainstream. Godwin's Law has spread from the chat rooms and now applies to cable news and even to the floor of the House of Representatives.

in their blind rage against Obama   - the only reason I might quarrel with that statement is that I think the actions and words have not been blind, but rather deliberate and calculated.  And if that calculation is accurate - although I do not thing it is - this country is about to enter a period that George Herbert Walker Bush once described in a different situation as "deep doo-doo."

We can rightly complain about the media attention that has been given the Tea Party movement, far beyond what the actual numbers of its adherents would under normal circumstances warrant.

We should remember the ancient aphorism from Euripedes, that

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad

because so many of the the statement emanating from the mouths and keyboards of key Tea Party officials and their supporter can only be view as insane statements.

If that becomes the meme of the MSM, then the tea party is ultimately doomed to be nothing beyond a fringe of the Republican party.

Milbank manages to get in the obligatory dig against some Democrats (in this case Jerry Brown, Alan Grayson, and an aide to Claire McCaskill) to cover him from the dread accusation of, a la Dave Weigel, being mean to conservatives) give himself the necessary of not being overly partisan.

This column is an example of how far the tea party movement has gone in antagonizing those who view themselves as responsible for setting the tone of the national political conversation, of informing us of what matters and what we can safely ignore.  Milbank is informing his leadership that (a) the tea party movement matters because (b) it is danger to America.

How else can we understand his penultimate paragraph, which reads:

Isn't there a grown-up to rein in these backbenchers when they go over the top? Don't ask House Minority Leader John Boehner, the man who would replace Nancy Pelosi as speaker. He accuses the Democrats of "snuffing out the America that I grew up in" and predicts a rebellion unlike anything "since 1776." Boehner also said one Democratic lawmaker "may be a dead man" for his vote on health care and predicted that the bill would bring "Armageddon."

Methinks we are beginning to see two things of importance from the MSM:

  1.  raising real questions about the tea party movement
  1.  raising even more serious questions about the (lack of a) response from people of significance within the Republican party.

Remember that the more the half-baked (if that) ideas of tea-party candidates like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul become known, the worse the response of the people who have the power of deciding their future through their votes.

This is not a profound diary.  Perhaps ultimately it i8s of little significance.

Today Dana Milbank of the Washington Post used his column space to denigrate the tea party movement.  Even more, today he virtually lambasted those Republican official who refuse to call the tea party movement on its various attitudes that are, frankly speaking, un-American.

Given his pulpit at the Post I view the column as significant, even though in general I am not a fan Milbank's writing or his political positions as he has over time expressed them in the Post.

Certain creepy-crawly things do not like it when the rock under which they are hiding is turned over and they are in the light of day exposed - for what they really are.

Perhaps this column indicates the beginning of a trend in the MSM that will not be kind to the tea party movement? Nor should it be, given the vileness we are hearing from far too many of its leaders and supporters, and the relative silence we are hearing from Republican leaders who have apparently decided they can tolerate the vile rhetoric without any kind of criticism.

Perhaps given the great weight given by so many Republican politicians to the words of the Christian bible, they should be encourage to go reread Matthew, 16:26:

For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

This is one of those rare occasions where I have found Milbank's words useful, worthy of broader dissemination.  Hence this diary, which focus on his words.

I hope you found if of some use.


Originally posted to teacherken on Fri Jul 16, 2010 at 10:27 PM PDT.

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