Had I but world enough and time, I would write something original about the sickeningly stupid argument that the Tobacco industry and Koch brothers began planning for the Tea Party movement over a decade ago and long before anyone had even thought up the Stimulus and Obamacare legislation which actually sparked the movement in 2009-2010.

The theory was developed because a study funded by the National Cancer Institute found that the Tobacco industry and Koch brothers advocated and organized for limited government, and even used the term Tea Party.  Because, as we all know, before the Tobacco industry and Koch brothers advocated for limited government and used the term Tea Party, no one had ever done that in the entire history of the United States.

It is so stupid, and such an abuse of taxpayer funding, that one would have hoped it would die in the laboratory, but it was just the sort of crackpot theory to which the left-blogosphere inevitably would be drawn.  And it has.

But since I don’t have world enough and time, I’ll quote from the post by Hans Bader (a sometimes guest contributor to Legal Insurrection and College Insurrection) at Openmarket.org, Shades Of McCarthyism: Federal Government Funds Smear Campaigns On Tea Party, Kochs:

A government-funded study — paid for by the National Cancer Institute! — says (ridiculously) that Big Tobacco and Koch brothers created the Tea Party. The study is now being parroted by Al Gore. The study is based on strange reasoning, such as the fact that one group funded in small part by tobacco companies used the word “Tea Party” in passing in 2002, a group largely unrelated to the groups that later came into being and used it in 2009. (Because, obviously, no one had ever used the words “Tea Party” before the 21st century.) Never mind that much of America’s non-profits get money from tobacco companies, which fund countless causes, such as arts funding, domestic violence shelters, and non-profits across the political spectrum — the family behind Lorillard Tobacco is famously liberal and donates to liberal politicians. But Al Gore trumpets the study, relying on its taxpayer-funded status to buttress its credibility:

A new study by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Medicine reveals that the Tea Party Movement was planned over a decade ago by groups with ties to the tobacco and fossil fuel industries. The movement was not a spontaneous populist uprising, but rather a long-term strategy to promote the anti-science, anti-government agenda of powerful corporate interests.

As the Huffington Post notes, this “study” was “funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health.” The federal government has become so politicized that it can even use money intended for cancer research to demonize the administration’s critics. Here’s a link to the government-funded study by left-wing activists Stanton Glantz and Amanda Fallin. “Co-author, Amanda Fallin, PhD, RN, adds: ‘The records indicate that the Tea Party has been shaped by the tobacco industry, and is not a spontaneous grassroots movement at all.’” The reasoning is based on associating the Tea Party not only with groups that used the word “Tea Party” at some point in time, but also with completely different groups that existed back in the 1980s and didn’t use “Tea Party” terminology at all, but merely happened to share their opposition to big government. As syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum notes, the study argues that supporting “private property rights, consumer choice and limited government” can make you a tobacco-industry tool regardless of whether you get any tobacco money or not. He quotes from the study:

“Echoing well-established tobacco industry arguments and the patriotic rhetoric of the [industry-backed] smokers’ rights groups, they argued for private property rights, consumer choice and limited government.”

According to Glantz et al., then, supporting private property rights, consumer choice, and limited government makes you objectively pro-tobacco, whether or not you are getting any money from cigarette manufacturers. After all, those are “well-established industry arguments.” Likewise, if you oppose ObamaCare, you are doing the bidding of Big Tobacco, even if you don’t realize it.

Despite the study’s logical leaps, the Huffington Post ate it up: “A new academic study confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene. . .The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party’s anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes.”

Your tax dollars at work! Whatever government bureaucrat funded this “study” doubtless took solace in the fact that this kind of thing is rewarded by the Obama administration.