Prior to November's secular-socialism rollback, America's ever-shrill "progressive" machine contorted in a desperate effort to paint the Tea Party movement as a horde of hateful, inbred racists. Judging by the results, it was an epic failure.
Instead, and thanks at least in part to the left's overreaching smear campaign, the grass-roots Tea Party groundswell - representing every facet of traditional American values - grew to become a political force of nature.
Now the frays of the fanatical fringe have done it again. These so-called "progressives," led by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center SPLC, have gifted the American mainstream with yet another teachable moment. The SPLC is a small, hard-left political activist outfit known for promoting a panoply of radical liberal causes. The center holds itself out as an objective monitor of potentially violent or subversive hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, skinheads and other white supremacists. But in recent years - and with increasing abandon - the SPLC has leveraged (abused, really) its rapidly decreasing political capital and waning credibility to target and undermine organizations that, rather than dealing in the business of genuine "hate," instead pose a direct threat to the advancement of postmodern secular-socialism generally - and to the Democratic Party specifically. This is what we in "the biz" call "political hackery."
In sum, the SPLC has become an extremist wolf in "watchdog" clothing. Mark Potok, a columnist with the liberal Huffington Post, doubles as SPLC director. When he's able to find time away from long walks on the beach, reading poetry and maligning Grandma Ann, Uncle Dan and other Tea Party patriots as "right-wing extremists - shot through with rich veins of radical ideas, conspiracy theories and racism" - Mr. Potok can usually be found, like a yappy little pug, chasing after some of the largest and most reputable conservative and Christian "mail trucks" in the country. Apparently having become frustrated with the relative ineffectiveness of the SPLC's more subtle "guilt by false association" scheme, Mr. Potok evidently has decided to gather his last remaining credibility chips and go "all in."
Following to the letter Saul Alinsky's admonition to "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it," the SPLC, in its most recent Intelligence Report, has "officially" labeled a number of highly influential mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as "hate groups."
Matt Barber is founder and editor-in chief of BarbWire.com. He is an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war. (Follow Matt on Twitter: @jmattbarber).