Tea party exposed as agent of Big Tobacco?

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Proving you can’t get anything past the intellectual elite on the left, the tea party has been exposed for what it’s really about — organized opposition to smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes.


You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

According to the University of California’s San Francisco Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, “rather than being a purely grassroots movement that arose spontaneously in 2009,” the tea party evolved “in part as a result of tobacco industry efforts to oppose smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes beginning in the 1980s.”

So in February 2009, when CNBC’s Rick Santelli went off on what came to be known as “the rant heard ’round the world,” calling for a tea party to protest Obama’s plan for a massive housing bailout to reward people who bought homes they couldn’t afford, it was all part of a carefully crafted plot by the tobacco industry.

Who knew?

Santelli was cleverly taking advantage of taxpayer frustration over the shameless bailout of those largely responsible for the 2008 financial collapse — outside the Democratic Party — via the Troubled Asset Relief Program, to push the interests of Big Tobacco.

How Santelli knew hundreds of thousands of Americans would respond is not explained, but somehow he knew.

The San Francisco report points to Citizens for a Sound Economy, described as a nonprofit funded in part by cigarette companies, and how it eventually “split into the tea party organizations Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works.”

The only problem with that theory is that those “tea party organizations” did not launch the first tea party rallies where fiscal responsibility, limited government and free-market principles were established as the movement’s calling cards.

It was only after realizing the depth of this great awakening that these groups came to embrace the movement fully. Dick Armey, then-chairman of FreedomWorks, did speak at a “Tax Day Tea Party” in Atlanta on April 15, 2009, but he said in an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity at the time:

“Let me be very clear. I’m going to Atlanta, because I was invited by the Atlanta organizers. I don’t know these people. I’ve never worked with them before.”

One can make a reasonable case that both Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks have developed too much influence within the tea party, but this idea of the tea party being nothing more than an agent of Big Tobacco is a bridge too far, even for the loons in San Fransisco.

The worst part about such a hairbrained theory is not the heavy odds that the study was funded by taxpayer dollars, but that these individuals are teaching our children.



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Tom Tillison


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