The Tea Party believes President Obama is a Socialist, a Communist and a Fascist all wrapped up in one neat but imaginary package. All government programs are socialistic.
Interestingly, while eagerly accepting Medicare and other government benefits, they loudly denounce the new health insurance reform bill as being socialistic.
The JBS waged war against teachers and school systems through character assassination and false charges of being Communist sympathizers. They used their muscle to rid school libraries of books historically considered to be American standards but which in their minds were un-American.
Today the right-wing fringe is rewriting history by restricting what famous figures and events, and how they are interpreted, is covered in text books. The old battle of Creation vs. Evolution is still being fought along with whether or not to allow Bible instruction as it allegedly pertains to literature and history. School boards and legislatures in states such as Texas, Kansas and Kentucky are passing new guidelines which, in fact, will stunt the education of students for decades to come.
Both organizations are made up of religious fundamentalists who have a very narrow interpretation of the Bible. There is no tolerance for other belief systems whether Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism or whatever. These religions, in the minds of fundamentalists, are rejected out of hand because they are not Christian and do not view the Bible as the final authority. Those who attend churches which champion a social gospel are considered un-Christian and socialistic and most likely their souls are doomed to burn in hell.
The JBS and the Tea Party are well funded by some of America’s wealthiest industrialists and corporate lobbyists. Wealthy founders and backers of the Birchers have included William J. Gredes of Gredes Foundries; H. L. Hunt, Hunt Oil, and his son Nelson Bunker Hunt, who tried to corner the silver market; Westbrook Pegler, ultra-conservative columnist; and Robert Mathews, a white supremacist who died in a shootout with the FBI in 1984.
The list of Tea Party funders is extensive, almost mind boggling. A few include American Freedom Works, headed up by former Texas Representative Dick Armey; the Walton Family Foundation; the Scaife Foundations; Edwin Ed Meese; and Richard H. Fink.
Two families who backed the JBS and now the TP are beer baron Joseph Coors, founding member of the JBS, and his son Jeff Coors and the Coors Foundation. The most influential has been the Koch Family Foundation. Fred C. Koch was a founding member of the JBS and his sons carry on the ultra-conservative tradition by generously supporting the Tea Party.
The fact that both organizations are against big government and labor is well known. Both believe in the conspiracy theory – that the sinister Communists or Socialists are intent on destroying the country. Both groups are paranoid by any standards. Both are suspicious of the media and anything or anyone who might be intellectual or cosmopolitan. Both are masters of the big lie - whether as a propaganda tool or as a mechanism of denial.
There are several schools of thought as to whether or not and to what degree racism and anti-Semitism exist.
The Birchers actively opposed integration and became apoplectic over the Brown vs. Board of Education (Kansas) Supreme Court’s ruling that “separate but equal” schools were unconstitutional.
Conversely, Welch strongly advised members not to fall prey to racism or anti-Semiticism. He warned that Communists would divert members into a misguided campaign in order to neutralize the Society’s fight against the Communist conspiracy.
Several members were expelled because of their racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Most recently, the Society’s own web site takes on the movie Invictus:
For in truth, Mandela is nothing more than a communist terrorist thug, placed in prison because he was about to launch a terrorist campaign against South Africans, aimed more against the black population than the white.
Denials of racism by leaders of the Tea Party aside, signs at rallies and on billboards, letters and emails by elected officials, postings and photographs on the Internet and on social networks fly in the face of any reality. The racial slurs directed at President Obama and his family cannot be interpreted as anything but hate and racism.
Recent Tea Party claims that only a few extremists at rallies and on the Internet are racist, that the majority of members are not, is disingenuous at best. After nearly two years of racist rhetoric, the TP’s belated call to “be nicer” and their measured criticism of the so-called fringe element doesn’t ring with resounding sincerity.
The similarities stop here. The differences are more revealing and, in at least a couple of cases, may indicate where the Tea Party might be unable to become that powerful third party they have hoped to be. Never mind that minor parties (here and here) have never lasted in the history of the United States. Their biggest achievement has been to take votes away from their home parties.
While misrepresentation of facts is a characteristic of the JBS and the TP, the latter has refined the art of massauging the truth to a degree not seen since Adolf Hitler and Joe McCarthy. Republican representatives in Congress echo their mythology and the main stream media has gone soft on truth.
The JBS had its fair share of media outlets which were sympathetic to its cause but none were as dedicated and influential as Fox News is to the TP.
Fox News has been carrying on a torrid love affair with the Tea Party ever since they were introduced. A match made in heaven and the honeymoon doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. This entertainment channel makes no pretence of being objective or factual; it actively supports TP rallies and caravans across America. They hire a clown, as opposed to an entertainer, to plant fear and whip up hysteria amongst their fans. There are many people who consider this propaganda, not entertainment.
Finally, the biggest difference between the JBS and the TP is the structure or lack of. The JBS, founded by one man, Robert Welch, was tightly organized, and had one goal: to rid the country of Communism.
In contrast, the Tea Party seems to have no distinctive leader at the helm, no cohesive force directing traffic. It is made up of more ingredients, groups, than a tossed salad, and like vinegar and oil, not all of them complement each other. Most importantly, there is no one single goal. Different groups have diverse agendas and different complaints.
Like fissures in the earth’s crust, the cracks will grow until they break apart. The stresses of an unhinged group, coupled with the human decency of the majority of American citizens, most likely will suck all the tea out of the cup.