Tchotchke Watch: Rush Limbaugh's Tea Party Iced Tea

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The talk radio host has finally launched an unobjectionable engine of profit - and he's pitching it in an amusing costume

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There's been a lot of talk recently about the conservative movement selling out its base. There's the Glenn Beck's scheme to push overpriced gold, the sketchy behavior of Human Events, the financial conflict of interest many talk radio hosts have when they plug the work of right leaning think tanks. Today in The Economist, Will Wilkinson puts it this way: "Right-leaning think tanks and advocacy groups are to a significant extent transmission belts conveying the cash of fearful, constitution-loving widows into the bank accounts of "movement" professionals in Washington, DC."

As a longtime critic of all this behavior, its only fair that I credit prominent examples of conservative entertainers making money without compromising their ethics. Lucky for me, Rush Limbaugh's latest venture is both totally above board and kind of hilarious. In order to capitalize on the Tea Party phenomenon, he's just released Two If by Tea, an iced tea brand that has him dressed up like Paul Revere on the label. "The liberals are coming!" he warns. He talked the product up on his Thursday radio show: "The tea inside the 16 ounce bottles is the best that you have ever tasted."

Indeed, it is certified real American:

Two If By Tea is made just the way my mother used to make it, simple and satisfying. Nothing fancy here, just the simple pursuit of excellence in every bottle of tea we make. Whether you're kicking back on the front porch reflecting on the greatness of our country or firing up the barbeque on a nice hot summer afternoon, Two If By Tea is the perfect accompaniment.

See? That's the way to exploit cultural cues for profit without hurting anyone! (Though isn't the taste actually beside the point? A true patriot would pour the tea into the ocean.) In seriousness, there is another noteworthy aspect to the venture:

We have, ladies and gentlemen, a proud sponsor... We are donating a minimum of $100,000 to the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation starting in June of this year. The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, of course, provides college scholarships for the children of Marines killed in action, and in some cases members of other military branches who are killed in action. 

May it succeed so wildly that it funds scholarships aplenty. In fact, perhaps it will inspire more conservative entertainers to abandon their objectionable ventures and enter the food and beverage market. Bill O'Reilly's non-hilal felafel (obviously). Sarah Palin's pre-shaped wolf meat patties ("Red Meat For Red Americans"). Glenn Beck's natural spring water ("An actual tear drop in ever bottle!").

Conservatism never tasted so good.

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Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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