Apr 14, 2009
GOP using Astroturf partisan political rally disguised as a “tea party” as a fundraiser
We already knew the April 15 rallies were partisan Republican political affairs with plenty of anti-Obama hate speech thrown in, so it should come as no surprise that right-wingers are using the Astroturf rally organized by Washington, D.C. lobbying groups as a fundraiser.
Former GOP state Representative and head of the so-called “Michigan Taxpayer Alliance (MTA)” Leon Drolet is using the occasion to send out a fundraising email. The MTA is co-sponsoring the Lansing event along with the extreme rightwing Washington, D.C. lobbying group “Americans for Prosperity,” and Drolet is also asking people send a check to his Macomb Township home.
As you may recall, Drolet’s 15 minutes of infamy came in 2007 when he tried to intimidate lawmakers from voting to keep the state government going and avoid further harmful spending cuts when the budget faced a $1.8 million deficit. After much blustering and threats to go after Democrats who did the right and courageous thing and voted to keep government open, he only managed to gather enough signatures to place a recall on the ballot against House Speaker Andy Dillon.
However, it was accomplished with fraud and deceit, out of state money, illegal petition gathers, cash for signatures and illegal campaign contributions. Once it got on the ballot, voters soundly rejected it. Drolet, who has never had a job in the private sector, was seen around Lansing and in districts represented by Democrats hauling a large, model pink pig.
What was the benefit of that sham? According to the pig man:
“Battling to recall the House Speaker wasn't cheap - the Michigan Democratic Party and the Speaker spent well over a million dollars to fight the recall.”
I don’t know if that is true, and since Drolet said it, its suspect. However, is that a reason for people to attend the allegedly nonpartisan Astroturf “tea party?” To send him money to campaign against Democrats?
Then the man who has never had a job in the private sector took his standard shot at government employees that has become a standard GOP refrain.
“Just last week, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average public employee is paid $39.25 an hour in salary and benefits - $11.90 an hour more than comparable private-sector citizens. Benefit costs for government workers cost $13.38 an hour compared to $7.98 for private-sector workers. Who is serving who? “
He, of course, provides no reference, but even worse, he is comparing apples to oranges to smear dedicated state employees. Private sector employees include minimum wage, low skilled workers, but most state employees are not entry level, and the majority of them hold college degrees. In fact, if you go to the Michigan Civil Service web site, 80 percent of the jobs listed have this education requirement: “Possession of a bachelor’s degree in any major.”
Not to be out done in taking advantage of the Astroturf, GOP campaign event, RNC Chair Michael Steele sent out his own letter to make some scratch. Steele sent out a mass email urging people to send a tea bag to Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and while you are at it, he hopes “you will also take this opportunity to make a secure online contribution of $25, $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 to the RNC today.
The Astroturf and misnamed “tea parties” should be well intended after the way Faux News has been playing it up and doing promo after promo advertising where their “unbiased” hosts will be present. Plus, almost 60 million people voted for Republicans in November, but the good news is almost 70 million voted for President Obama.
No matter how many people and rightwing hate groups show up tomorrow, they will continue to be in the minority. A recent Gallup poll finds that 61 percent of Americans say they regard the income taxes they have to pay this year as fair.
I guess we will see the other 39 percent tomorrow.