The Billings Outpost

John Birch Society making right-wing comeback

Can a boogieman change its spots? If the Tea Party is losing members, where are they going? If Ayn Rand is no longer the Savior of the whack job right, who is?

The answer to these questions is: The John Birch Society, The John Birch Society and the John Birch Society.

Top tier Tea Partiers say it’s not so. The JBS is a Cold War relic, mired in an outdated obsession with communists and communism, they say.

As early as 1962, William F. Buckley denounced Robert W. Welch Jr. and the John Birch Society as “far removed from common sense” and urged the GOP to purge itself of Welch’s influence.

If you just fell off the turnip truck, Buckley and Welch were two of the biggest right wingers in the U.S. of A. Both were, of course, whack jobs.

Welch’s John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supported and continues to support anti-communism, limited government, a constitutional republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing. Buckley was called a right-wing radical.

Welch is gone. He died in 1985. Hotter than a cheap pistol in the 1960s, the John Birch Society shed membership like a fir tree dropping needles. But the JBS is back.

Recently it began a comeback after a deep decline. The JBS is recruiting in Montana with a series of radio ads and hunting low-hanging fruit among Tea Party crowds. Last year the society co-sponsored the Conservative Political Action Convention.

CPAC is the largest gathering of conservatives each year. It draws speakers of the caliber of Ronald Reagan and Rush Limbaugh.

No telling how many fish the JBS pulled from that gene pool, but the society’s sponsorship of the event has ended. CPAC’s directors voted not to allow either the Birch Society or GOProud (a group of gay conservatives) to sponsor the convention.

When Republicans won’t take your money, you may have a lethal case of BO.

Republicans, taking a tail kicking last November, have spent six months contemplating their navels and wondering why no one seemed to like them anymore.

Prominent members of their own party told it was because they were old white men who hated everyone else.

The GOP has been in the hate business for decades. The JBS has a traditional stock of hate targets that date to the 1940s, including the Rothschild and Rockefeller families, international organizations such as the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral Commission.

Today’s Tea Party hates are not nearly so sophisticated and continental. The Teas Partiers hate Obama, progressive income taxes, progressive legislation and progress. They are not high on Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Orientals, some Canadians and four flavors of Mediterraneans, Rumanians and any of the old Soviet states.

Back in the 1970s, Col. Saunders, the fried chicken king, spotted a whack job he admired. The Colonel made him an offer hard to refuse. He wrote the man, “I would like to support you, but - if you think it might do you more good, I would be glad to oppose you.”

In the early 1960s I was home from college for Christmas when a handful of American Legion officers camped around our kitchen table. They were drinking coffee and talking politics.

One of the party laid open a newspaper to a spread on the John Birch Society. “Who are these guys?” he asked. “What are they up to?”

As a college student, I was not expected to be smart. I was expected to think I was.

With scarcely a thought, I said, “They are pretty much like you guys.” Several of the vets smiled. “You mean they’re patriotic?” a second vet said. “Oh yeah,” I said. “They’re patriotic. Chock full of patriotism.”

The answer seemed to please the crew at the counter. To tell the truth, I knew squat about the JBS. On second thought, I suspected the Birchers might be more like the Shriners, but didn’t say so.

In the early 1960s Gov. Donald G. Nutter was rumored to be a member of the John Birch Society. Guys who claimed to be Birchers said Nutter was one of their own.

In 2008, Sarah Palin, Tea Party leader and GOP vice presidential candidate, was rumored to be a Bircher. Look for much closer vetting of candidates and elected officials in the future.

Copyright 2012 Wild Raspberry Inc.

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