A Republican Operative Explains How The Right Wing Manipulates The Tea Parties

The tea party movements have been characterized by angry people who are ignorant of the issues and are being misled by operatives from the far right. Playboy has interviewed one of the right wing operatives who has explained how he manipulates their followers by appealing to the Reptilian portions of the brain as opposed to their logic centers. We’ve seen his type of work before:

Did you get an automated call from the sister of a 9/11 victim asking you to reelect President Bush in 2004? That was me. Did you get a piece of mail with the phrase supports abortion on demand as a means of birth control? That may have been me too.

The people the source deals with “may not read much, but they all know their Ayn Rand.” He described the “black arts” techniques used to manipulate them:

A good piece of mail gets its message across in 10 seconds. Television gives you 30 seconds, maybe. We’re playing to the reptilian brain rather than the logic centers, so we look for key words and images to leverage the intense rage and anxiety of white working-class conservatives. In other words, I talk to the same part of your brain that causes road rage.

In other words, this is a continuation of the usual right wing misinformation campaign. New York Magazine noted the similarity and questions if Democrats will be prepared to counter it:

Think Swift Boating, or the James O’Keefe ACORN project. It sounds dark the way this person describes it (“black arts” never sound particularly appetizing, unless they are practiced by Robert Pattinson), but it’s really nothing new. The question is whether Barack Obama, as head of the Democratic Party, is going to retain his frustrating coolness in the fall as these tactics are being used against liberal candidates across the country in an effort to take away the Democratic majority in Congress. No matter how rational he can be, is reason any good when it’s up against road rage?


  1. 1
    Tracy says:


  2. 2
    Eclectic Radical says:

    While this isn’t terribly new, it may or may not be revealing.
    The problem is that there may not be a genuinely rational counter to a lot of this if there isn’t a compelling reason for the ‘lizard brain’ to be scared of the lizard-baiters.
    As much as I would like to think that 2008 was a case of rationality carrying the day, I don’t think it was. I think the ‘lizard brain’ of America was fed up with the GOP and primed to pick up on certain emotional aspects of the campaign in a way that favored the current President. I think viral videos about the Keating Five may have done more good than strong debate performances and I think some of the people who were repudiated by the Obama campaign for going after McCain did the campaign more good than the repudiation.

  3. 3
    Andy Pakula says:

    Right wing targets the "reptilian brain" to generate mindless anti-liberal rage http://ht.ly/20I0X

  4. 4
    Michael says:

    I love the phrase “lizard-baiting”. Thanks Eclectic.

Leave a comment