Tea Partiers are not an intelligent lot.
A tipster recently emailed me about an incident in Bozeman. As the tipster points out, the incident was actually nothing more than a guest appearing on a radio show hosted by a Tea Party leader. The guest was Chuck Baldwin, right-wing ultra-nut and Constitutional party leader who often finds himself at the top hate-watch lists published by human rights groups. Baldwin is a preacher who recently moved from Florida to Montana and according to Montana Human Rights Network he hangs in circles that include include militia leaders, white supremacists, racists, and other fine people.
Apparently Baldwin was a guest on Bozeman KMMS AM talk radio, and was interviewed in a buddy-buddy kind of a way by the radio show host, another right-winger, who is none other than Henry Kriegel, the head of the Bozeman Tea Party.
This might all sound very run-of-the-mill. But here are two very interesting items for your consideration. The first is an anti-Semitic sermon written by Baldwin, in which he lashes out at the Jewish Banking Conspiracy and refers to Jews as the modern day “moneychangers” which Jesus banished from the temple. He also says these same moneychangers control the media and thus will never report on their own banking conspiracy, and so of course it is he, Chuck Baldwin, who must bring us the truth about them. “They are destroying America,” Baldwin says, “but Christians don’t see it,” and so he implores Christians to wake up to the reality of what Jewish leaders are up to.
And here is a fact about Kriegel: he is not only Jewish, but according to a letter he wrote to the Bozeman Chronicle, his parents are both Holocaust survivors. The letter he wrote was in 1997, and he sounds quite rational at the time, arguing against discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, etc. Clearly, some kind of inner cork must have popped.
It is tempting to wonder what this idiot Kriegel can possibly be thinking, making common cause with Baldwin on his radio show. But that assumes he thinks at all, which idiots do not.
There is another fact about Kriegel which this blog uncovered last year, and which might serve to shed some light on all of this: he was once (and may still be) a high-ranking member of the Church Universal Triumphant (CUT), the once-mighty Montana cult that based its existence on the idea that a nuclear rapture would occur on exactly a certain date. The CUT spent millions of dollars on an underground network of bunkers up near Gardiner, Montana, where they intended to wait out the nuclear fallout– for decades if necessary–and then emerge when it was safe, presumably to re-populate the earth with their progeny. Of course, when the nuclear apocalypse never happened, the church kind of lost credibility and went into decline, as you would imagine. But Kriegel found another fringe movement to join–the Tea Party.
And so, as I said, Tea Party types are not bright folk. Kriegel’s mother was a prisoner in a Nazi labor camp, a camp that was the end product of a society that allowed hate-speech against Jews to become a normal, accepted type of political discourse. And Kriegel is so oblivious and insular in his Tea Party world that he doesn’t even understand that the same types of people who created Nazism still exist in the world, and that in America they reside predominantly in the far right wing.
My guess is that it never even occurred to Kriegel that Baldwin is bad news and an anti-Semite. Kriegel probably just figured that since Baldwin is a right-wing Tea Party lunatic, that he and Baldwin must be birds of a feather.
Well, Kriegel and Baldwin are definitely alike in one respect: they are both a few french fries short of a happy meal.