NIH Money Used to Fund Study Tying Tea Party to Big Tobacco
February 16, 2013 - 5:30 am
What this has to do with health is beyond me. Perhaps they are thinking metaphorically; the Tea Party is a cancer on the country, or something.
Regardless, your tax dollars were spent funding a study that purported to show a link between the Tea Party and tobacco companies.
It’s all very academic and complicated — not to mention laughably bogus.
The charge that the Tea Party is a tool of broader corporate interests is one often leveled by Democratic critics. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi was fond of calling the movement “astroturf” in the run-up to the 2010 mid-term elections where Tea Partiers helped Republicans take control of the House.
The research at the University of California-San Francisco echoes the claim, while weaving in an attractive narrative for Tea Party critics — that the Tea Party is continuing the agenda of the tobacco industry.
Tea Party leaders, though, roundly rejected the findings. They argued that the groups the study focused on do not compose the entirety of the movement, and that the tobacco issue is a relatively minor aspect of the present-day small-government agenda.
And they complained that a study that arguably targeted administration critics was funded by taxpayers.
“It’s an example of the frivolous spending inside the government … that has landed us $17 trillion in debt,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.
The study was funded by federal taxpayer grants through the National Institutes of Health and its subsidiary the National Cancer Institute, both federal agencies. It’s difficult to tell how much grant money specifically went toward this study, but federal records show researchers at the university have received $7 million since 2007 to study tobacco issues.
‘If you’re going to have a conspiracy theory, at least try to make it pass the laugh test’
- AFP President Tim Phillips
The study argues that while conventional wisdom says the Tea Party launched in the spring of 2009, its “roots” lie in the tobacco industry efforts of the 1990s. The premise is that the group Citizens for a Sound Economy, a tobacco industry ally which opposed tobacco taxes and control in the ’90s, split a decade later into the conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which have since linked up with part of the Tea Party movement. The study argues that their tactics and beliefs have remained constant by opposing new taxes and regulations.
Since there are still dozens of Tea Party groups that pay no homage, get no cash, receive no help from FreedomWorks or any other advocacy group — and never have — you might be wondering how they can possibly establish a connection when it is ridiculously obvious that none exists.
The problem is your imagination is not broad enough, nor are you sufficiently liberal to see nothing wrong with using tax dollars to promote Democratic party talking points. Of course there’s a connection between the two:
Personally, though, he said he thinks the grassroots part of the Tea Party “pretty much originated with that smokers’ rights stuff — but we’re not saying that it’s the only thing that’s going on.”
It’s obvious you’ve missed the thousands of signs at Tea Party rallies calling for an end to tobacco taxes and setting up cigarette vending machines in grade schools.
Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips said, “If you’re going to have a conspiracy theory, at least try to make it pass the laugh test … and this one doesn’t even do that.” Alas, since most liberals are humorless, they can’t give a laugh test to their propaganda. But one would think they’d at least have some kind of “outrageousness quotient” that they could fall back on in a pinch.
Rumor has it that the duo responsible for this study have begun another project; “Why conservative men beat their wives.” It should be a hum-dinger.