Fox News is once more actively promoting the tea party movement, with Gretchen Carlson of Fox & Friends noting enthusiastically on Thursday that "the second national Tea Party Express Tour has covered nearly seven thousand miles!"
Host Steve Doocy then spoke with Tea Party Express co-chair Mark Williams, asking him about "the thousands, and in some cases hundreds, of people who showed up."
"Who was it?" Doocy wanted to know. "Was it Republicans? Was it independents? Was it Democrats?"
"All of the above," Williams replied. "I would ask the Democrats in the crowds if the 'dancing queen' Barney Frank really represented them and they would go, 'No!'"
"People are feeling, number one, that both parties have been hijacked by professionals who don't represent the interest of the constituencies," Williams went on. "People are getting together at these tea parties and town halls ... and coming up with creative ways to take back not just the government but the parties. ... And that vote last week in the middle of the night, Saturday, on the health care bill gave them a list of 220 politicians to throw out of office this coming November."
Ironically, Williams himself is one of those professional political organizers he decries. At the time of the first Tea Party express in September, CNN described him as "a former talk radio host" working for "Our Country Deserves Better", the conservative political action committee sponsoring the Tea Party Express bus tour."
A few weeks later, the Washington Independent ran a story -- titled "Tea Party Activists Reject PAC-Backed ‘Tea Party Express’" -- which explained that leaders of the more genuinely grassroots Tea Party Patriots were concerned that "Our Country Deserves Better" was a partisan-leaning PAC that rushed to the aid of Republican candidates; working with them could imperil the tax status of non-profit Tea Party Patriots. Other leaders argued that Mark Williams, the vice chairman of Our Country Deserves Better, was a firebrand whose rhetoric made the rest of the movement look bad."
According to CNN, the real organizers of Our Country Deserves Better are "the two gurus of the tea party movement, veteran politico Sal Russo and his protégé, Joe Wierzbicki. They are charged with turning the passion on display at the tea parties into political action. ... They have three goals: Defeat President Obama's health care reform efforts, win back the House and Senate in 2010 and take the White House in 2012." Russo also heads Move America Forward, an astroturf group closely tied to the Republican Party, of which Our Country Deserves Better appears to be a spinoff.
Not surprisingly, when Doocy asked Williams how the "tea party people" had reacted to Republican victories last week in two elections for governor, Williams replied, "That revved them up like you wouldn't believe."
This video is from Fox News' Fox & Friends, broadcast Nov. 12, 2009.