With his appearance on CNN's Parker Spitzer show this evening, Ralph Reed continues to cement his position as the latest member of the fringe right to jump on the Tea Party bandwagon (or is that Tea Party Express?).
For those who aren't familiar with his 'work', Reed was the first executive director of Pat Robertson's now-tarnished Christian Coalition, and an intimate of upstanding and more characters like Jack Abramoff. Reed is himself a high-priced lobbyist, even as he now dons the mantle of "Washington outsider" along with the other astroturf Tea Party candidates. At the height of his earnings from the business of influencing federal policies, Reed was making $20,000 a month on a contract for Microsoft, which was fighting federal anti-trust charges at the time.
"Take back our country", eh Ralph?
Reed is another of those fundamentalist paragons of Christian virtue who would urge us to do as he says, not as he does. What else can be concluded about a man who portrays himself as an anti-gambling crusader while with the other hand financing a bid for State Chairman of the Georgia Republican party with Choctaw Indian gaming monies. What else can be concluded from someone who would make a statement such as this:
"The whole 'right to choose' thing -- that is sooo pre-right-wing-takeover!"
....and yet be linked to so many scandals and investigations, and who has avoided misdemeanors and even criminal fraud charges by the sheer grace of....
Well, no point in implicating others.
Suffice it to say that Mr Reed is a classic fringe conservative hypocrite, of the kind whose attraction to the fake grassroots of the Tea Party is endlessly telling - about them and about the erstwhile Republican resurgency.
Still liberals can take heart, as Reed's record shows that he's actually much better at blading his fellow Republicans than he is at actually upsetting Democratic candidates. A excellent case in point is his stint as campaign strategist for the campaign of Mitch Skandalakis for Georgia's Lieutenant-Governor. After appearing personally in ads "vouching for Skandalakis' conservative credentials and personal integrity", Reed then masterminded a series of attack ads in which his candidate's Republican opponent for the primary was depicted as a "vandal" and a "grave robber" who desecrated Indian graves. While candidate Skandalakis won the party nomination, he failed to defeat his Democratic rival - which seems a likely outcome for his new Tea Party buds like Christine "Behind by Double Digits" O'Donnell.
For other recent summaries of Reed's shenanigans, by writers far more knowledgeable and talented than I, the interested reader is urged to peruse The Deceptions of Ralph Reed in the The Atlantic on September 26, and Ralph's Way, in The Economist, September 16, and Up From Abramoff in The New Republic, September 30,