Monday, November 29, 2010

John Birch Society reborn in Tea Party movement?

The John Birch Society, a group denounced by the late conservative icon William F. Buckley, has been making the rounds at several Tea Party events and will host a table at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February for the second consecutive year after having not attended for two decades, save one year in the 1990s. Though marginalized by Buckley in the 1960s and 1970s, the society has started to make a resurgence of sorts by tying itself to the Tea Party movement. Buckley pushed the John Birch Society and its followers, called “Birchers,” out of the American conservative movement after the group’s founder and leader, Robert Welch, expressed his view that President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” In a column, Buckley denounced the John Birch Society and called Welch’s views “so far removed from common sense.” Buckley even went as far as not allowing any person who contributed to a John Birch Society publication to appear in the masthead of the National Review, the influential conservative news journal he founded and edited. But Birchers don’t agree with Buckley’s assessment of them. Several think the reason Buckley disagreed with them was because of personal gripes he had with Welch, and that Buckley used Welch as a scapegoat to eliminate the threat of the rising populist movement, similar to the Tea Party movement...more

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