The latest Playboy features a "confessional" by an alleged Tea Party consultant that claims, among other things, that he was paid to play to the "reptilian brain" of average Americans:
"We're playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives...In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage."
The anonymous K street consultant also writes that one of the organizations he works for describes the methodology they will use to win the next election as "the black arts," and that Truthers (people who think 9/11 was an inside job) and Birthers (who think President Obama is not a real United States citizen) are considered to be pariahs:
"Here’s a good example of why some Tea Party members aren’t as stupid as you may think: They know the birther argument is a loser. (That’s the theory that President Barack Obama’s missing birth certificate is the key to unlocking a vast conspiracy.) It’s no secret people think my friends are crazy; they are hypersensitive about being considered conspiracy theorists. Truthers are equally unwelcome."
So adamant is the Tea Party to distance themselves from "conspiracy nuts," the consultant alleges, that:
"Our candidate-interview process is pretty simple. The candidate is asked two questions:
(1) Are you a birther?
(2) Are you a truther?
If the answer is anything but "no" or "hell no," the conversation ends right there. If the candidate answers correctly, the conversation continues, looking at viability and whether we can have a worthwhile impact. The reality of this litmus test is as patriotic as practical. Donors don’t contribute to lunatics."
This is all very interesting in light of the fact that much of the Tea Party is seen through the lens of the media (outside of Fox News) as being very paranoid and prone to conspiracy theories. The leaders of, and consultants to, the Tea Party seem anxious to weed such people as the Truthers and Birthers out of their organization -- but one wonders how much of that very same "lunatic fringe" is fueling their grassroots efforts.
Also, the idea crossed my mind that this "confessional" to Playboy was in itself highly calculated to get the "word" out to the public that the Tea Party is in the process of ridding themselves of that fringe.