Conor Friedersdorf makes the point -- which Continetti might have thought was implicit -- that there are less conspiracy-minded conservative figures than Beck who engage in psuedohistory about how liberals and progressives are part of a tradition of America-undermining evil. But even if you define conspiracy down, and only call it outrageous to indulge the strangest, Alex Jones-iest rumors, you don't really have a serious conservative effort to purge all of that. You see, instead, arguments that blame the media for "hyping" that stuff to make conservatives look bad. Continetti's article is notable for how it doesn't pretend that this is true.
Now, it shouldn't be a surprise that Grayson does work with conservatives. That's not a sham. He worked with Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) to pass the "audit the Fed" amendment in the House, and according to Paul staffers, worked hard to ingratiate himself to Paul. Grayson offered to speak at 2009 tea parties in Florida and was denied. But Grayson stands to benefit if conservatives vote for the Tea Party candidate, Peg Dunmire, in his district. And GOP-supporting tea partyers -- that is, most tea partyers -- have been tenacious in their attacks on third party candidates who appear to ease the path to re-election for Democrats. Look at Scott Ashjian in Nevada, whose poll numbers plunged after the Tea Party Express ran ads calling him a fraud.
I read Playboy's anonymous piece "Confessions of a Tea Party consultant" last week, and I'm still scratching my head about what the point of it was. It read like it was being dictated by a distracted source to a confused secretary, jumping from point to point, and making assertions that were neither provable nor damning. Follow the work of Big Government's Mike Flynn and Founding Bloggers' videographer Andrew Marcus you know about as much as the mysterious consultant reveals about the movement. Follow the progress of Ensuring Liberty PAC -- which was launched four months ago at the first National Tea Party Convention -- and you wonder whether this piece is promotion for a project that hasn't been very influential yet. Oh, it's fun, but revelations take a back seat to gooey tributes to the people the consultant likes working with.
The first response I see comes from Eric Burns of Media Matters, whose presence in the documentary irritated activists, and who has put out a statement challenged Proctor and Gamble to "refuse to be taken hostage by the extreme anti-government fringe."
"I'd call it extortion!" Phillips said, referring to the fund. "If I tried something like that, I'd be looking at a long sentence in a federal prison. There is a legal system in place to assign liability and assess damages. The regime simply wants to bypass that. By hammering BP, they can draw attention away from their own incompetence. What I think it more damaging than the spill itself is the drilling moratorium, which will put more people out of work and put more upward pressure on oil prices."
The elusive (although not to conservatives) GOP U.S. Senate nominee in Nevada will speak at the next National Tea Party Convention in Las Vegas, a larger (although Sarah Palin-less) sequel to the Nashville convention that represented a sort of coming-out for the movement.