Every political movement gets the sound track it deserves.
Beginning August 6 in Jackson, New Jersey, for example, strident anti-Obama talk-radio star and Tea Party supporter Sean Hannity hosts the first of eight Freedom Concerts featuring Lyrnyrd Skynryd, the Charlie Daniels Band, and Michael W. Smith. Hannity's concerts benefit the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund, which, among other activities, helps pay for the education of children of dead or disabled U.S. service members.
Freedom Alliance is a nonprofit organization founded by Oliver North, the Iran-Contra patsy and convicted felon. Its goal is to "advance the American heritage of freedom by honoring and encouraging military service, defending the sovereignty of the United States and promoting a strong national defense." Two months ago Sean Hannity denied the accusations of blogger Debbie Schlussel that he used Freedom Alliance funds to pay for private jets, SUVs, and luxury suites for himself and his family. Charity Navigator, which is sort of the Standard & Poor's of charity rating services, subsequently downgraded Freedom Alliance from a four-star charity to a two-star cause.
But I digress. What I really wanted to address was a few recent examples of music inspired by the Tea Party, the fringe group Paul Krugman suggests probably represents the current Republican Party ideology more accurately than party leaders themselves would willingly admit. As the Nobel Prize-winning economist wrote in his New York Timescolumn last year, "[I]t turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News." And Fox News is, of course, the TV home of Sean Hannity.
So what sort of music are you likely to hear at a tea party? Last month I posted about former convice and current "community leader" Polatik's "Tea Party Rap." Since then, thanks to Tumblr site Christian Nightmares, I've discovered Tea Party rocker Joe Ardis Horn. The self-proclaimed "wild man of the Ozarks" lives in Oregon and leads the band Triple Threat, which recently released "Freedom." The song is a don't-tread-on-me paranoia orgy boasting not one but two Eddie Van Halen-inspired solos. But it's all about the video, which compares the government to a pig-masked child molestor threatening the singer's daughter, who only wants to play with her balloons – inscribed with the words "tax," "debt," and "Socialism." Triple Threat is rocking the exurbs, where the cute curly-haired female guitarist weaps over the American flag and a woman sends her husband off to war while children recite the Pledge of Allegiance over the song's chorus. Horn looks a little too sincere to be working the parody angle, but it's unclear precisely what particular freedoms he's so worked up about losing.
Maybe Victoria Jackson can help him out. The former "Saturday Night Live" second-stringer has rejuvenated her media profile by becoming an avid Tea Party advocate. Again, you'd like to believe it's all nothing more – or less – than an extended performance-art project. But Jackson's new video, "There's a Communist Living in the White House!!" (note the two "excitement marks," as my kids learned to call them), is one scary piece of propaganda. Frightened by our rapid descent into Socialism (though I'm still waiting for my guaranteed pension, annual paid vacation, and universal health care), the frequent Hannity guest strums her ukulele and, in her scared-little-girl voice, seeks solace on – where else? – Fox News:
Only Glenn Beck understands me
And of course Sean Hannity and Huckabee
But you know besides those three, and the sweet people who drink the tea,
There is no one else who can see the communist living in the White House
Jackson's beef with Barack Obama lies in his background more than his policies. According to Jackson, his grandparents were Socialists, he taught a course on Saul Alinsky, he told Joe the Plumber that we should "spread the wealth," and he subscribes to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's black liberation theology, "which is actually Marxism." Well, at least she did her homework while drinking the tea.