In a rather short time, a small group of ruthless political entrepreneurs have been able to exploit the economic anxieties, anger, distrust and legitimate fears of many struggling Americans in an organized profit making operation network that has trademarked itself as The Tea Party Movement.
Lobbyists and corporate front groups, operatives and profiteers, many of whom are experienced public relations professionals have rapidly been able to set up a sophisticated social networking portals and online solutions to control the information with in this "movement". Ostensibly as "gatekeepers" to these supposedly open forums, they have been able to control the flow of information, set out the agenda and give "marching orders".
These Tea Party Profiteers are making millions cashing in on the movement by selling Tea party support to candidates and policies which continue the legacy of Bush era unregulated capitalism and corporate bailouts.
Here's a capsulated who's who of the players:
Eric Odom, a regular on FOX News as a spokesperson for the movement is at the center of the profiteering. He controls dozens of websites and possibly hundreds of forums through "Ning" technology based social networking. He controls two for profit consulting companies: American Liberty Alliance and Strategy Activism, LLC. In a self promotional video on YouTube, Odom explains how he has developed stealth type marketing and attack web sites.
Alan Fuller: The partner of Odom in his Strategic Activism, LLC., he also has a firm called Flat Creek Public Affairs. Flat Creek has several Republican Congressmen as clients as well as the current candidate for the Colorado Senate, Jane Norton. Fuller corrals tea party support for American Majority, a Republican training organization.
Glenn Beck, the most powerful promoter of the tea parties in the media promotes gold during his shows as the only way to hedge against the coming economic disaster he fortells. He never mentions that gold compaies are his primary sponsors, or that the gold companies he promotes, like Goldline, have predatory fees, selling gold for 35 to 40% more than its market value. He cemented hishold over the tea parties by launching his own 9.12 project network of social networking sites, which of course are hosted by his profitable media compay, Mercury Radio Arts.
Tea Party Nation is a for-profit business which is the organizer of the upccoming Tea Party Convention at the Swank Opryland Gaylord Hotel in Nashville. The conventions "grassroots" ticket price is $550 per person and sells silver tea party jewelry and is able to offer Sarah Palin $120,000 to speak. They also have a social networking board.
Dick Armey who has a long history of organizing conservative grassroot causes in support of his corporate clients. He presets himself as an ideologue with his "non profit" Freedom Works. He rails against the Wall Street bailout and government efforts to rebuild the economy, but his own lobbying firm represented AIG, Lehman Bros and Merril Lynch during the bailouts. His "non profit" organization still pays him a lobbyist salary of $550,000 a year.
:Tea Party Express The Tea Party Express bus tour, and affiliated political action committee, has raised funds using tea party messages. The Tea Party Express effort has been a slick public relations gimmick of the Sacramento-based consulting firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers (RMR). RMR has worked on several stealth campaigns for Republican clients, including the underhanded push to recall Gov. Gray Davis (D-CA). In any case, the Tea Party Express, which RMR staffers operate, has proved to be a cash cow for RMR — in 2009 alone, it plunged at least $1,025,559 of money it raised back into RMR.The profiteers say that the original American revolutionaries cast their tea into the Boston harbor as a simple rejection of taxation, so the modern tea party movement should similarly reject increased financial regulations, health reform, and taxes on the rich. But the history tells a different story. Boston revolutionaries rejected subservience to the East India Company, a British-run international corporation. They cast the tea into the harbor as a symbolic message to say that their taxes should go back into the American community, not subsidizing the profits of London elites and foreign corporations. Now, Republican tea party profiteers are trying to exploit the movement, pushing them to oppose policies which would actually liberate the middle class and crack down on international corporations. Despite the populist rhetoric, the profiteers see the tea party movement as a pool to extract fundraising dollars and volunteers for Republican campaigns. Indeed, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, himself a former lobbyist, has said that he has an “expectation” that tea partiers loyally tow the Republican line.