I mentioned earlier this week how a former St. Louis tea party speaker expressed his disgust at the mentality in the St. Louis Tea Party that the "ends justify the means," because they see themselves as being "in a war." This of course fits perfectly with STL Tea Party cofounder Bill Hennessy's recent statement that the purpose of the group is to, "destroy the Left." I don't think there could possibly be a better example of how the tea party is willing to flippantly use people in their quest to "destroy the Left" than the way they've gone about trying to exploit the August 6 town hall fight between Kenneth Gladney and Elston McCowan. Gladney, McCowan, and Perry Molens have been used as nothing more than pawns in the tea party's cynical attempts to smear a multitude of political enemies.
Both McCowan and Gladney agree that the fight started after McCowan commented on the buttons Gladney was selling with fake pictures of President Obama smoking marijuana. Thus, the obvious thing to think would be that this was a simple escalation between two people who had a disagreement. Yet the tea party began raising money for Kenenth Gladney within two days of the incident, and just as quickly Gladney and his employer/lawyer/spokesperson David Brown bizarrely linked the incident to President Obama, calling for Obama and Congressman Russ Carnahan to "condemn the racist actions of these union thugs."
It's pretty strange that Gladney, who has described himself as not being very political before this event, would immediately decide to implicate two of the local Tea Party's favorite targets in the incident. Is it that much of a stretch to think that Gladney might have had a little tea party coaching behind this statement? However you answer that question is not particularly important, because I'm about to show you an overwhelming collection of evidence that demonstrates just how blatantly the tea party was willing to use this incident to try to attack strategic opponents on the left. I've assembled a helpful (but not complete, due to the fact that no human could possibly keep up with all of their misinformation) timeline of their pathetic attempts to link this incident to political opponents:
On August 7, one day after the fight, St. Louis tea party leader Bill Hennessy wrote that "[Congressman] Russ Carnahan’s SEIU thugs severely beat a conservative.”
Also on the 7th, Michelle Malkin suggested that Health and Human Services Chair Kathleen Sebelius's quote, "Keep doing what you're doing" was meant to encourage violence.
On Aug. 8, the tea party holds a rally outside of SEIU offices. Hennessy claims President Obama had “sent a signal” to supporters to be violent. The tea party put out chairs for the NAACP and ACLU and implied that they wouldn't support Gladney because he was a conservative.
August 9: Bill Hennessy says Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern “might as well have kicked Gladney himself.”
Aug 18: Friends of the tea party, along with Gladney and Brown, had a protest outside of the NAACP office, claiming that they only care about “liberal black people.” Only problem: they hadn’t even filed a complaint with the NAACP. They also shamelessly were protesting while the NAACP offices were closed to honor one of their recently deceased leaders.
Nov. 10: 97.1 Talk host and St. Louis tea party leader Dana Loesch suggests that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina was involved
Nov. 30: A post on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government (a national blog that patronizes the St. Louis Tea Party) claimed that HCAN national field director Margarida Jorge issued instructions that “inevitably led to violence.”
Dec 1: Also on Big Government, St. Louis Republican political operative John Loudon alleges that there is a conspiracy in the County prosecutors office that is holding up the filing of charges. Loudon writes, “In Pat Reddington’s St. Louis County it appears that “victim” is a status reserved for liberals, and “perpetrator” is a status reserved for conservatives.”
Also on Dec 1: Dana Loesch falsely accused County Counselor Patricia Reddington of “downgrading” the charge without looking at the medical records. Tea Party blogger Jim Durbin did the same. Neither apologized after it was revealed that Reddington had received a copy of the records from the hospital well before the charges were filed.
Dec. 2nd: Big Government adds several more people to their grand conspiracy theory: one of their favorites, Buffy Wicks, who was previously the OFA director in Missouri. Then comes the shocking revelation: “Sara Howard worked with Buffy Wicks on the Obama for America Campaign in Missouri and Sarah Howard worked at SEIU in St Louis. The day before the St. Louis town hall she was hired by Rep. Russ Carnahan.” The author of the post Larry O'Conner then goes after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch: “I think even the most casual observer can look at this and reach the conclusion that Mr. McCulloch brings with him a certain level of partisan bias when executing his duties as Prosecuting Attorney.”
Dec 23: Kenneth's brother Keith Gladney lost his job. Big Government alleges a massive conspiracy involving the local animal control department and SEIU: “Is it a coincidence that the same Prosecuting Attorney that Keith called out in his statement is also one of the highest ranking officials in the government structure that Keith worked for?”
Jan 12th: On Big Government, St. Charles Tea Partier Bob McCartny claims: “Keith Gladney’s firing appears to be an example of how Democrats, in the words President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff Jim Messina used on the day of the Kenneth Gladney beating, “punch back twice as hard” against those who oppose their socialist ways.”
Also on the 12th, Jim Durbin of 24th State suggested that Dolores Gunn, head of the St. Louis County Department of Health, was involved in this conspriacy and claimed that “ultimate responsibility lies with [St. Louis County Executive] Charlie Dooley." Amazingly, Durbin actually admitted he was wrong later, before moving on to another conspiracy theory.
April 16, Andrew Breitbart of Big Government accused former AFL-CIO President John Sweeny of issuing orders for violence.
So, just to recap, according to the St. Louis Tea Party/Big Government story, this massive government conspiracy created simply to get a few punches in on a random guy selling merchandise at a town hall in St. Louis, Missouri involves:
the president of SEIU, the president of the AFL-CIO, the President of the United States, Congressman Russ Carnahan, Carnahan’s spokesperson Sara Howard, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, former OFA Missouri Coordinator Buffy Wicks, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Field Director of Health Care for America Now Margarida Jorge, Prosecutor Bob McCullough, St. Louis County Counselor Patricia Reddington, County Executive Charlie Dooley, the NAACP, the ACLU, the head of the St. Louis County Dept. of Health, and even the local animal control department. Now that's quite a conspiracy theory!
In reality, however, to call this a "conspiracy theory," is probably far too generous. I'm fairly confident that many of the primary people pushing these stories don't think for a second that all or any of these people played a meaningful role in the August 6 incident. Rather, the tea party and their patron Andrew Breitbart see this simply as a political weapon they can use against the people they hate. In fact, with as much as I've written in this post, I haven't even touched on the other way they milk this incident: by using it to deflect and dismiss all of the evidence of racist elements in the tea party. Whenever some incident is reported of racist behavior in the tea party, you can bet that Dana Loesch will be on Fox News the next day saying, "it's Democrats who beat up black men in parking lots."
Elston McCowan, Perry Molens, and Kenneth Gladney all have lives and families that will potentially be forever changed by this incident. Yet to the St. Louis Tea Party leadership and Big Government, they are nothing more than an excuse to take cheap shots at unions, Democratic politicians, and anyone else who stands in the way of their right-wing vision for the country. After all, this is a "war" for them, and the people who are harmed along the way can easily be written off as "collateral damage."