One month after the much-ballyhooed Coffee Party gatherings, Newsweek interviews Annabelle Park, leader of the Astroturf Coffee Party. What we learn is that Coffee Party members are, surprise, surprise, hardcore lefties who do not want civility but payback.
Newsweek: When Annabel Park imagined what it would be like to head a new national political movement, here is what she had in mind: a coming together of engaged, intelligent citizens who had tired of the angry rhetoric and accusations of the Tea Partiers; Americans of all political persuasions joining in a spirit of equanimity to discuss the nation's problems, and maybe even share a laugh. It was this beautiful vision that danced in Park's head on a recent Saturday as she made her way to Busboys and Poets, a cafe in Washington, D.C., for one of nearly 500 Coffee Party meetings taking place nationwide that day. She knew the house would be full—word had spread quickly on the group's swelling Facebook page. Park, a documentary filmmaker, was especially pleased that C-Span had arranged to broadcast the meeting.
But from the moment folks in the crowd stood up to speak their minds, Park knew these people had not come to sip cappuccinos and set an example of civility for an overheated nation. They were angry. They hated the Tea Party, and the Republican Party. They wanted to get even. One audience member said America was under the thumb of oligarchs and denounced "moneyed interests." A few people hissed when Sarah Palin's name was mentioned. Also on hand were the usual suspects drawn to the C-Span bat signal. A man representing Code Pink, the left-wing protest group, said that "racism was the basis for everything that's going on right now." He also seemed to have a real problem with "fear-based rhetoric" and Northrop Grumman.
Park, a 42-year-old Korean-American with a smile that can only be described as "kind," regularly tried to steer the talk back to the group's more centrist principles. But when someone asked how many people in the room were Republicans, all 80 hands remained down. "I like the civility idea, but I hate the Tea Party people," said attendee Karen Anderson. By the end of the event, some in the crowd had decided the movement, barely two months old at the time, needed a new leader. China Dickerson, a 26-year-old community organizer, said the Coffee Party wouldn't last "unless we get someone a little more powerful to head it." She wanted a rabble-rouser, "not someone that says we can all work together." Park seemed a little rattled after the meeting. "If they want to fire me, this may not be the group for them," she said later. "We don't want conflict and confrontation."
Well so much for that bi-partisan civility nonsense. The media has made much noise about the “anger” of the Tea Parties. This so called anger is really passion. Passion against what many see as an illogical direction the nation has taken, large deficits, wild spending and a congress that is interested in issues best suited for its immediate needs rather than the people’s immediate needs.
To think one could counter the Tea Party’s passion with quietly sipping coffee and making signs is pretty ridiculous. Of course, most of the folks who showed up for the Coffee Party kick off would be hardcore lefties looking to combat the coffee party. Given the Coffee Party’s Astroturf roots, aren’t angry lefties what they were going for from the start?
I don’t see the Coffee Party growing into anything more than numbers on a Facebook page. Unless they rip the mask off and come out as angry leftist looking to support Obama’s hard left agenda and challenge the Tea Parties, many will simply lose interest in it and move on.