Astroturf: On Heels of Failed 'Coffee Party,' It's 'The Other 95%'
Marco Ceglie has been a busy, busy man.
Ceglie is now executive director of a non-profit called Vote 18, a "get-out-the-vote" organization that harvests the liberal lean of many young voters for the benefit of the Democratic Party. Ceglie spent the second half of the Bush administration as campaign director for the "Get on the Limo" tour, a project by the satirical "Billionaires for Bush" group. They hoped to keep alive the left-wing meme that Republicans only care about the very richest Americans (while studiously avoiding where Democratic candidates such as Barack Obama filled their coffers).
Ceglie now also teaches a variation of Andrew Boyd's "Culture Jamming 101" course, which attempts to refocus and counter movements and beliefs with which they disagree:
Many Culture Jams are simply aimed at exposing questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture so that people can momentarily consider the branded environment in which they live. Culture jams refigure logos, fashion statements, and product images to challenge the idea of "what's cool," along with assumptions about the personal freedoms of consumption. Some of these communiqués create a sense of transparency about a product or company by revealing environmental damages or the social experiences of workers that are left out of the advertising fantasies. The logic of culture jamming is to convert easily identifiable images into larger questions about such matters as corporate responsibility, the "true" environmental and human costs of consumption, or the private corporate uses of the "public" airwaves.
Ceglie's latest project is something called "The Other 95%," which he touts as an activist group to counter the acceleration and rise of the tea party movement. The group -- such as it is -- only recently came out during last week's tea party protests, where Ceglie and allies were among a relative handful of counterprotesters that claimed to represent "that 95% of working Americans [that] received a tax cut from Obama."
It is an interesting angle Ceglie is promoting, to be sure, but no more interesting than the timing of the group's sudden coming out. The group seems to be a scrambled effort to make up for the failure of the watered-down and bitter "Coffee Party," a previous effort of another group of pro-Obama liberal activists to counter the tea parties. The Coffee Party received unwarranted accolades and interest from the left-leaning mainstream media as it was founded, but the group quickly fizzled out. As Democrats in Congress continue to be excoriated for their partisanship and more Americans continue to identify with the tea party movement in recent polls, left-wing activists had a desperate need for a countering organization, which Ceglie and his allies seem intent on creating.
Ceglie casts the group as being good-humored moderates -- hoping to attract Democrats, Republicans, and independents who are thankful of the Obama "tax cuts."
Unfortunately for him -- and like the founders of the Coffee Party before him -- Ceglie makes the unforced error of publicly proclaiming his hate-filled left-wing radicalism on his Twitter page.
It includes the sort of language one would expect from bitter and angry liberals, such as: "Sarah Palin talks a lot of s*** for someone who is recognized by most of the world as a complete f***ing idiot." Also: "many republicans never left the 19th century. progressives have been dragging them into modernity kicking & screaming for 100 yrs."
So much for moderation.
As for how he feels about the tea party movement in specific, Ceglie liked this description so much he had to issue it twice: "Maj of TeaParty are delusionl, grumpy old whte men who pee their pants w fear." And as you may expect, he refers to tea party protesters dismissively as "teabaggers."
And all of those comments were just from April.
A name-calling radical with a career as a left-wing agitator, Marco Ceglie is a poor choice for a counter-tea party leader, but the meme he is attempting to push of "The Other 95%" is an even more amusing farce.
Years before progressives began scrambling for a group to counter the ever-growing tea party movement, the Wall Street Journal destroyed Obama's 95% myth ... while he was still on the campaign trail:
For the Obama Democrats, a tax cut is no longer letting you keep more of what you earn. In their lexicon, a tax cut includes tens of billions of dollars in government handouts that are disguised by the phrase "tax credit." Mr. Obama is proposing to create or expand no fewer than seven such credits for individuals. ...
Here's the political catch. All but the clean car credit would be "refundable," which is Washington-speak for the fact that you can receive these checks even if you have no income-tax liability. In other words, they are an income transfer -- a federal check -- from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this "welfare," or in George McGovern's 1972 campaign a "Demogrant." Mr. Obama's genius is to call it a tax cut.
The Tax Foundation estimates that under the Obama plan 63 million Americans, or 44% of all tax filers, would have no income tax liability and most of those would get a check from the IRS each year. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that by 2011, under the Obama plan, an additional 10 million filers would pay zero taxes while cashing checks from the IRS.
The total annual expenditures on refundable "tax credits" would rise over the next 10 years by $647 billion to $1.054 trillion, according to the Tax Policy Center. This means that the tax-credit welfare state would soon cost four times actual cash welfare.
Obama didn't give 95% of the working population tax cuts. He redefined welfare as "tax cuts" to give more of your hard-earned money to people who didn't earn it.
Of course, I think we can all completely understand why Mr. Ceglie and his allies on the left would prefer to avoid a more fitting name for their rallying point. A moniker that invokes images of lampreys, leeches, and other parasites probably is a culture jam that even his considerable professional skills as an activist couldn't spin.