Judging by the e-mail we’re already getting on this, Nancy Pelosi’s combination of claim on Tea Party sensibility while attacking Tea Partiers themselves will probably be the story of the day. Via Newsbusters, CentristNet, Weasel Zippers, and probably everybody else, Pelosi continues to claim that Tea Parties are nothing more than Astroturf (in other words, fake grassroots), but she’s added a twist today. Now she says that Democrats have a lot in common with this apparent Astroturfing movement. And you’ll never guess what the primary motivation for these protests really are, according to the Speaker:
ELIZABETH VARGAS, ABC NEWS: Let’s talk a bit about the coming elections in November. You had recently– and the Tea Party movement, do you think it will be a force to be reckoned with? You had said last summer that it was a faux grassroots movement. You called it the Astroturf movement.
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE SPEAKER: In some respects it is. Uh-huh.
VARGAS: Is the Tea Party movement a force?
PELOSI: No – No what I said at the time is, that they were — the Republican Party directs a lot of what the Tea Party does, but not everybody in the Tea Party takes direction from the Republican Party. And so there was a lot of, shall we say, Astroturf, as opposed to grassroots.
But, you know, we share some of the views of the Tea Partiers in terms of the role of special interest in Washington, D.C., as — it just has to stop. And that’s why I’ve fought the special interest, whether it’s on energy, whether it’s on health insurance, whether it’s on pharmaceuticals and the rest.
VARGAS: So, common ground with many people in the Tea Party movement.
PELOSI: Well, no, there are some. There are some because they, again, some of it is orchestrated from the Republican headquarters. Some of it is hijacking the good intentions of lots of people who share some of our concerns that we have about the role of special interests and many Tea Partiers, not that I speak for them, share the view, whether it’s — and Democrats, Republicans and Independents share the view that the recent Supreme Court decision, which greatly empowers the special interests, is something that they oppose.
Er, what? How many who have attended Tea Parties have heard anyone decrying the Citizens United v FEC decision? No wonder Pelosi had to throw in the caveat that “I don’t speak for them.” She also hasn’t listened to them, again not exactly a surprise.
The Tea Parties got their start from the conclusion that Democratic policies would create a need for massive new taxes in the US, the growth of statist policy, and especially the attempt by Democrats to seize control of the health-care and energy sectors of the American economy. Every Tea Party features speakers — both politicians and regular citizens — that address the need to reduce government interference in the lives of Americans, roll back federal spending, and reduce the burden that Washington places on the economy. What exactly does that have in common with Pelosi’s radical-Left agenda, which the Tea Party has successfully stalled for more than a year?
One gets the impression that the Speaker has become the Baghdad Bob of the Beltway. The Tea Parties aren’t real!, she will continue to insist, while the movement swamps the midterms and puts Pelosi back in the minority.
Update: Jim Vicevich has a great video of the one-year anniversary of the Tea Party, and a message back to Pelosi from her new-found allies in the movement.