Frank Rich column on Steele, Palin (or, Erick Erickson again in the Sunday NY Times)

Erick Everywhere strikes again!

Last week, I pointed out that Erick Erickson was in Charles Blow’s Saturday New York Times opinion and in the Sunday New York Times Magazine story on the Florida GOP primary.

I never read columnist Frank Rich, but the column’s headline “The Great Tea Party Rip-Off” caught my attention. Rich rips Michael Steele and Sarah Palin, and I actually somewhat agree with him to a point.

Even given the low bar set by America’s bogus conversations about race, the short-lived Harry Reid fracas was a most peculiar nonevent.

It was a “nonevent” because the MSM won’t touch it because the story involves a Democrat. Duh.

Eugene Robinson, the liberal black columnist at The Washington Post, wrote that he was “neither shocked nor outraged” at Reid’s less-than-articulate observation that Barack Obama benefited politically from being “light-skinned” and for lacking a “Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.” Besides, Robinson said, Reid’s point was “surely true.”

Let’s be serious, Eugene. If Rush Limbaugh goes on the radio this week and calls you a Negro, you’ll lynch him. I’m a member of the American Dialect Society. It’s called AAVE (African-American Vernacular English). No one I know has used “Negro” in over 30 years. Harry Reid is not an entertainer–he’s the leader of the Senate. So yeah, it is kind of a big deal.

President Obama immediately granted Reid absolution

It certainly was immediate. If it was a terrorist incident, Obama would still be playing golf.

The true prime mover in this story was not a book publicist but Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican Party and by far the loudest and most prominent Beltway figure demanding that Reid resign as Senate majority leader as punishment for his “racism.”
On Jan. 10 he stormed “Fox News Sunday” and “Meet the Press” to demand Reid’s head. There has been hardly a mention of Steele’s sins since. He can laugh all the way to the bank.

I’ll grant Rich’s argument that not everyone is a fan of Michael Steele. But nothing has stopped critics from mentioning his “sins.”

Rich then turns to fellow “buckraker” (gotta add that to my “Political Glossary,” although i see my colleague at Word Spy beat me to it) Sarah Palin, pointing out that she’s gone for the big bucks with her book and her new Fox News gig.

She recently signed on as a speaker for the first Tea Party Convention, scheduled next month in Nashville — even though she had turned down a speaking invitation from the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, the traditional meet-and-greet for the right. The conservative conference doesn’t pay. The Tea Party Convention does. A blogger at Nashville Scene reported that Palin’s price for the event was $120,000.

But what does Erick Erickson say?

Last week a prominent right-wing blogger, Erick Erickson of RedState.com, finally figured out that the Tea Party Convention “smells scammy,” likening it to one of those Nigerian e-mails promising untold millions. Such rumbling about the movement’s being co-opted by hucksters may explain why Palin used her first paid appearance at Fox last Tuesday to tell Bill O’Reilly that she would recycle her own tea party profits in political contributions. But Erickson had it right: the tea party movement is being exploited — and not just by marketers, lobbyists, political consultants and corporate interests but by the Republican Party, as exemplified by Palin and Steele, its most prominent leaders.

What’s your final point, Frank?

The right has a point when it says that the Senate health care votes of Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana were bought with pork. But at least their constituents can share the pigout. Hustlers like Steele and Palin take the money and run.

Memo to Frank: Ben Nelson and Mary Landrieu were bribed with the people’s money. Steele and Palin make money from people who desire to purchase their products–which no one is forced by law to buy.

I do have questions with certain moves by Michael Steele (writing a book, etc.) and Sarah Palin (Nashville Tea Party Convention, Fox News gig), but neither is an elected official and neither involves taxpayer money.

I have no idea why the column was titled “The Great Tea Party Rip-Off.” Only a small portion of the column was about this particular Nashville tea party. Certainly, all tea parties are not “rip-offs.” A better title would have been: “Steele & Palin–They’re Republican and I hate them” by Frank Rich.

Take your bets for next Sunday’s New York Times “Erick Erickson” sighting–Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof or Thomas Friedman?