Mike Tipping, the Maine People’s Alliance propagandist, proudly announced recently the publication of his book, “As Maine Went: Governor Paul LePage and the Tea Party Takeover of Maine.” The book’s cover shows our governor looking seriously annoyed at one of the many things that annoy him in this imperfect world.

The photo of himself that Tipping prefers shows a beaming, fresh-faced super-annuated boy scout. The contrasting personal depictions hint at the nature of the Tipping-LePage clash.

The author boasts that he spent more than a year outlining, interviewing, researching, writing and editing his account of his book. We read that this is “a perfect case study for the rest of the country when the Tea Party takes over.” I don’t expect to shell out any cash for Tipping’s magnum opiate, but I expect to read a case study of tea party blather if a free copy comes into my hands.

Those who pay attention to the MPA will expect a standard hymn of hate revealing that LePage is devoid of good will, accomplishment, competence, intelligence and even humanity; a man who has never done any good, never done anything right and never had a kind thought. That’s pretty much routine for hack political journalists and not very interesting.

What would interest me is finding whether my expectation that Tipping’s knowledge of the tea party is a warped, fragmentary and vapid as the norm among almost all left-leaning and left-lurching commentators. My preliminary suspicions are aroused because I’ve checked around have not yet found a single tea party activist who has ever spoken to Tipping or any other journalist who “reports” on the tea party.

Of what did Tipping’s year of “research” consist? Did he get his information from Ethan Strimling, who got his information from reading letters to the editor sent by MPA members who got their facts from reading Tipping’s columns?


I’m pretty familiar with tea party movement. I’ve spoke to at least six of their rallies and have attended the Franklin County Patriots meetings on a number of occasions. Many of their national and state websites are well-known to me.

This is a populist movement. Nobody is paid to show up at its rallies or meetings. There is no Central Control Commission to regulate attendance. Anyone can show up. And so it came to pass a few years ago, a man came from Old Town to deliver an address an Augusta rally with an analysis squarely based on Oswald Spengler’s “Der Untergang des Abendlandes” (that’s “Decline of the West to the German-challenged”). Last Wednesday, I lunched with an Austrian-born friend who was 50 pages along in old Spengler’s two-volume work and finding it heavy going.

My point is that man is only the sixth person I have met in more than 70 years who had ever read that book, and here he is popping up in Augusta. Yet, despite the diversity of this group, there’s a theme displayed in every speech, present at every meeting. The members are always and invariably concerned with the United States Constitution and the limits it places on government powers.

And yet we can read any number of reports and columns in the nation’s “prestige press” about the movement that make no mention of this unifying theme. If “As Maine Went” shows the same ignorance and indifference it’s useful only as a source of information about the ignorance and stupidity of hack propagandists.

The deeper lesson is that Democrats and left-lurchers treat “tea party” as an epithet, in the same spirit that “SOB” is applied to someone devoid of canine DNA. The daily fund appeals I receive from the Democratic Governors Association constantly refer to every single Republican candidate running for governor as a “tea party governor” or a “tea party” candidate.

That is why Maine’s Democratic Party chairman, Ben Grant, will invariably call Bruce Poliquin a “tea party Republican.” They are not condemning Poliquin’s pledge of respect and protect the Constitution; the average voter thinks the Constitution is a good thing. The object is to represent Poliquin as a dangerous radical.

Here’s a verifiable fact. Poliquin had only one invitation to address a tea party rally. He could not make it, and I spoke to the group on his behalf. To the Tippings of this world, a single invitation comprises an entire understanding.

John Frary of Farmington is a former congressional candidate and retired history professor, a board member of Maine Taxpayers United and publisher of www.fraryhomecompanion.com. Email to [email protected].

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.