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Tea Party: Life imitating art in Nashville

February 7, 2010 |  9:41 am

Am I the only one to notice the coincidence that the Tea Party Convention met in Nashville, which is also the title of a 1975 Robert Altman movie about (among other things) an anti-establishment presidential candidate? Hal Phillip Walker, the standard-bearer of the Replacement Party, would have felt at home last weekend in Nashville.

Walker's populist platform included forbidding lawyers from serving in Congress  ("Did you ever ask a lawyer the time of day? He told you how to make a watch, didn't he?"), taking on oil companies, abolishing the Electoral College and eliminating farm subsidies. Some of his positions, such as taxing churches, might not go over so well with some Tea Partiers, but the ethos of his campaign was distinctively populist/outsider. Consider this quote:

"Fellow taxpayers and stockholders in America. On the first Tuesday in November, we have to make some vital decisions about our management. Let me go directly to the point. I'm for doing some replacing. I've discussed the Replacement Party with people all over this country and I'm often confronted with the statement -- 'I don't want to get mixed up in politics,' or 'I'm tired of politics,' or 'I'm not interested.' Almost as often, someone said, 'I can't do anything about it anyway.' Let me point out two things. No. 1: All of us are deeply involved with politics whether we know it or not and whether we like it or not. And No. 2: We can do something about it. When you pay more for an automobile than it cost Columbus to make his first voyage to America, that's politics."

Also, he was capable of surreal Sarah Palin-esque rhetoric: "Have you stood on a high and windy hill and heard the acorns drop and roll? Have you walked in the valley beside the brook, walked alone and remembered? Does Christmas smell like oranges to you?"

Was "Nashville" prophetic? You betcha!

-- Michael McGough
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