Tea Party: Crazy or Evil?
Normally, the charge of lunacy is a bit ad hominem for these pages. But, what if the charge of lunacy is actually exculpatory, like a plea of temporary insanity at a murder trial? I raise the issue because a large number of Tea Party folk, who descended upon Washington yesterday to commemorate tax day, are either a little bit looney or they are a whole lot evil. You be the judge.
On Chris Matthews’ "Hardball" last night, Chris interviewed two leaders of the movement, one younger and the other older, both articulate about their concerns and points of view. In fact, there was one point where Matthews seemed to think he had one of them cornered. In discussing health care reform, the Tea Party spokesman objected to the mandate, saying it was constitutional to tax but it was unconstitutional to mandate that a citizen buy what he deemed "a consumer good." Matthews went in for the kill, asking if he would support a single payer system in which the government would collect tax dollars and pay for all health care. The Tea Party spokesman saw the trap and responded coolly that while the a single payer system avoided that particular constitutional issue, it raised other concerns. Very measured. Very thoughtful.
And, then Chris asked about the President birth certificate and a new New York Times poll that showed 30 percent of Tea Party folk said they did not believe President Obama was born in the United States and another 29 percent said they did not know. The man said that he was not himself a birther, that he thought there were more important things to be discussing, but he couldn’t quite finish without adding that the White House could have cleared all this up by releasing the documents for which people were asking. Busted: This man is a birther. The state of Hawaii has shown Obama’s birth certificate. The press unearthed a notice in the local newspaper announcing baby Obama’s birth at the time. If that does not satisfy someone, they are willfully in error, be the root of that error mere craziness or mere evil.
"I just feel he’s getting away from what America is," Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville told the Times. "He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says. He’s been in office over a year and can’t find a church to go to. That doesn’t say much for him." This has a different, dare we say a darker, tone to it than is the norm in political debate.
This darker perspective has begun to extend to a view of Obama’s policies. Jerry Johnson, a 58-year old lawyer from Berryville, Va., told the Washington Post: "We can’t run our households like the government’s running the country. That, and the idea of people [sitting] around on their butts. Fifty percent of the people collecting a check are paying no taxes, while the other 50 pull the wagon." Apart from being factually untrue – if someone collects a check, they are paying payroll taxes on the very first dollar – there is a resentment here, not of the rich, but of poor folk, not the "deserving poor" who these fine Christians know they should support with their charity, but the "undeserving poor." If you are old enough to recall Ronald Reagan’s invocation of "welfare queens," as if anyone living on welfare actually lived like royalty, you can recognize such sentiments for the simple stoking of racial hatred they entail.
In some ways, Tea Partyers are just like the rest of us. They are opposed to more government spending, but they do not support cutting Social Security or Medicare, the two entitlements that are causing the lion’s share of projected government debt. They are opposed to the health care bill, although cutting the overall cost of what the nation spends on health care is the only way to solve the government’s fiscal woes. And, they feel that they are not represented in Washington, which sounds to me like a recognition that they lost the last election.
I am looking forward to the comments, to the justification for the Tea Party crowd, to the attempts to cloak their arguments with legitimacy and their hatreds with the kind of context that makes it less repulsive. But, a word to the wise on the right: Conservatism is better than this. If American politics is to remain healthy, it needs a healthy conservative voice. This is not it. This is the John Birch Society updated for a new century. The most important thing the conservative movement – and the Republican Party – needs is someone with the courage to take on the Tea Partyers. The Democratic Party was tainted by its association with Jim Crow until Harry Truman took on the racist wing of his own party and, in a moment of political courage, let the Dixiecrats walk out of the Democratic National Convention. George H. W. Bush took on the free market idolators in his own party and passed a tax reform bill that helped shore up the nation’s finances for more than a decade. Someone in the Republican Party needs to have the courage of his or her convictions and call out the hatefulness that is driving too many of the Tea Partyers.
There is a bit of denial implicit in the movement, which seeks to advance the silly notion that Bush, McCain and the congressional Republicans were repudiated over fiscal policy rather than their bungling of the War in Iraq. You can see this in their attempt to link Obama to the deficits Bush created and to claim that Obama's Iraq strategy is simply Bush warmed over. The latter is only partly true. Secretary Gates and General Patreus effectively rescued George W. Bush from the tragedy by scuttling the Cheney/Rumsfeld strategy on Iraq and installing something that made sense. However, that change came after the GOP was repudiated at the ballot box and after Cheney and the neocons were kicked out of the room.
Thanks for your balanced and measured response.
I really have no problem with capitalism or even people being rich, as long as that is not predatory and at the expense of worker's rights and safety. I have no argument that the establishment of new small businesses creates jobs. Nevertheless, if the government does not do its job of regulating and overseeing this system, it becomes the proverbial wild west scenario.
I would trust capitalists a lot more if they didn't interfere in the legislative and election processes with huge amounts of money. This has now been exacerbated by the recent Supreme Court decision.
There is , no doubt, large amounts of waste in the government. But then again, no one ever talks about reforming the system. Managers are put in place by a top down selection system, as in the RC Church, with similar problems. Perhaps some sort of external review system manned by competent private citizens could work. Government does have an important role to play for this system to work at all.
And though money is "trusted", as you say, there are people who are motivated by more than money. There is such a thing as enough. Beyond that, and before it, there is pride in one's work and the respect of peers. I consider this to be the primary motivation for scientists and engineers. Thankfully, enough money goes along with it. Yes, some strike out to establish businesses and make lots of money, but the desire to do new things is still very important, and probably primary. There are rich entrepreneurs who strike out and try to do new things, cool things. I can't help but love these guys. But those who work in a pure financial environment can lose their sense of reality. We saw this happen in Wall Street with the conjuring (I am reluctant to use the word "fabrication", which I respect) of derivatives and such. To trust the financial entities in this country (as you say, "credo"), I think they must keep it simple. I don't like creativity in finance any more than creativity in accounting.
I think the system will work a lot better if the controls established by the first and second Roosevelts were re-established after being so joyfully torn down in the name of free market capitalism. That was my main hope in voting for Obama. We'll see if that hope is fulfilled.
In 2003, as a young Jesuit-educated student, I remember trying to decide whether I was a Republican or Democrat. I vividly remember at the time reading the comments from readers on the NY Times website. I was shocked that some of the (supposedly) most educated and self-professed tolerant people in the world could write such vitriol about President Bush & conservatives in general. At the same time I began reading conservatives like George Will & the young Ramesh Ponnuru & remember being struck by the contrast; their columns never failed to enlighten and challenge, even their own side sometimes. It was a formative experience in my life contrasting the 2 styles. I see so much of the same in Winters' posts, at least the political ones, as well as in Dowd, Krugman - routinely carping and make snide comments aimed I think at only rousing anger (yeah, there's anger on BOTH sides Pres. Clinton). This style is in contrast to people like David Brooks & Ross Douthat whom I never fail to read without coming away enlightened. The comments on this post also betray the same patterns. Angry, sniping, sarcasm from the left, patient, even plodding, reasoning on the right.
Oh, and if Winters issues a challenge to his readers in his post, it would sure be nice for him to respond, esp. when he gets over 70 responses.
If you want to read some of the best written conservative points of view, go to City Journal and poke through their archives.
Also read Myron Magnet's ''The Dream and the Nightmare'' about the effects of welfare and the policies of the secular left. Also you should read David Carlin's book ''Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?'' written by a liberal Catholic politician. Each will give you some views of people who are very familiar with the liberal left.
Are you perhaps over generalizing? I know that I've certainly tried to make calm and reasoned positions without demonizing others, and I think others coming from the left side of the spectrum commenting here do the same. Personally I think it would be fair to say that both left and right have lots of angry voices, sometimes generating more heat than light. I'd actually like to campaign for understatement as a more effective argumentative technique. Something along the lines of "That turns out not to be the case" instead of "You moron you're wrong!" Better for reasoned discourse and probably for the blood pressure.
I confess that I've come to think of Maureen Dowd as sort of an indiscriminate machine gun firing in every direction. Just as I've learned to skip her column when she writes about Benedict or the Church, I learned to skip her column whenever she mentions one of the Clintons-she has a visceral hatred for them that complicates her normal identification as a liberal (which she most certainly is on "lifestyle" issues).
Ultimately, this is a resolved political question. Congress counts the votes and it is unlikely that the votes will be extant to even consider the question in January of 2013. Of course, if they raise it for a second term President, that does not invalidate the electoral votes - it simply makes Joe Biden the POTUS.
The main driver of economic growth in both the 80s and the 2000s was the accumulation of a large national debt. Keynes explains it all. Keynes also explains how in the 90s, taxes on the wealthy were increased which allowed revenue to go up and the debt to go down at the same time. Money was shifted from the savings sector to the consumption sector, which fueled investment in plant and equipment to meet the requirement to build facilities for consumer demand. This fortuitous trend was stopped when Clinton got caught with his pants down and signed a capital gains tax cut, which made it more profitable to buy other companies and invest in the tech bubble than actually build products that people buy. The Housing Boom came about because the Bush tax cuts left too much money in the hands of the wealthy (since the Chinese were buying much of the debt). If most of that money had gone into debt reduction instead, Wall Street would not have had too many dollars chaseing too few non-junk investments. Most of that paper wealth evaporated. It would have been better to have been taxed away instead.
Since Keynes dies in 1946, do you mind explaining how, exactly, he "explained" economic realities some 40 plus years later?
"The Housing Boom came about because the Bush tax cuts left too much money..."
I think its also been demonstrated that at least another major cause of the housing bust were liberal policies pushing lending to lower income persons and lax oversight of Frannie & Freddie. In fact, when conservatives argued in the late 90s that Frannie & Freddie needed reform, liberal dems accused them of racism and being too hard on the poor.
@KEvin Mulcahy; yes, of course I'm over-generalizing. But it is my experience, nonetheless, that I find the political discourse among conservative intellectuals (NOT including Limbaugh, et. al. in that group) to be more stimulating than liberals. And I have yet to find any conservative media outlet with the kind of dirty comments left by NY Times readers.
I think you might well be right about dirty (scatalogical or sexual) language on the left being more common. I expect that many conservatives have cleaner mouths. They are, however, somewhat prone to brand people as communists and socialists who would be denounced by any real socialist or communist party as enemies of the people. One of the problems with that particular kind of exaggeration (by either left or right) is that it exhausts your vocabulary and then when an actual socialist (or fascist) shows up, you have to call him the same name that you called somebody a great deal more moderate and sensible. It almost provides cover for the real McCoy.
And the current right might be a bit more prone to violent rhetoric (e.g. the lock and load, take our guns to Washington and reclaim the republic kind of stuff). That's one of the things some of us find frightening about some of the more extreme members of the Tea Party, and I suspect something totally lacking from the more thoughtful conservatives you admire. As I said in an earlier post, it's probably wise for all of us to dial back the rhetoric a bit. A long time ago I worked as a faculty member supervising student housing at a college. We had some training in handling minor crises, and the trainer told us "If someone is shouting, you can either try to outshout him, or to talk very quietly." Sometimes when you talk softly, the other person finally realizes that he is shouting, and starts to speak in a normal tone. And then you can have a conversation.
Now the aspect of Keynesian economics that has worked was taxes. Four times in the last 65 years the government has applied tax cuts and the economy has jumped in response. The first was just after World War II after Roosevelt was dead and his draconian tax policy was ameliorated especially for businesses and his grand schemes for government programs thrown in the trash heap. There was large scale economic expansion. This was a Democrat program with Republican support. In the 1960's Kennedy recommended reducing taxes and when Johnson became president he made it happen. Again economic expansion. But the cuts were not large enough and did not affect the key group, namely the investing class. Then in 1980's and in 2001 and 2003 under Reagan and Bush there were additional tax cuts followed by economic expansion which did affect everyone but especially the entrepreneurs who then invested it creating long term jobs.
So fiscal policy works when it is in the form of tax cuts but not government spending but tax cuts have to be aimed at the right people who will create business expansion. Why? Because tax cuts affect every one and gives them more money to chose what they want but especially the investors or those who want to be rich and create the new business that provide sustainable employment. Government spending can never do this because they pick the winners while tax cuts go to those who win the race. Government spending never creates sustainable employment. After the expenditure is done, it is done and unless it continues to keep people on the dole for non economic reasons. So Government spending is a formula for disaster except in those sustainable areas deemed necessary for the society such as defense and law enforcement, some entitlements, basic research, recreation efforts and infrastructure projects. However, some government projects are best handled locally such as education, road construction etc.
But the main source of economic control that has also proved the most fruitful is monetary control, or control of the money supply through interest rates. This is why we owe our prosperity to Milton Friedman and not to John Maynard Keynes. Cheap loans like tax cuts will also let the efficient and the effective win the race by allowing them to create small businesses that people want which is the real engine of the economic well being. If anyone thinks Keynesian spending leads to anything good then they should cite examples. I can cite all sorts of failures especially the policies of the Great Depression. Read Robert Samuelson's book
''The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence''
66% of Americans feel very strongly that we are overtaxed. Are they all crazy or evil? Afraid of "change"? This is what passes for serious liberal thought these days.
There are many reasons for supporting what they are doing, the main one is for fiscal sanity and a healthy economy. If one wants to follow what is happening at Tea Party events go to Glenn Reynolds' site, Instapundit.
Mr. Winters is a flame thrower and likes to hurl all sorts of ad hominems at anyone who does not tow his narrow party line. What do we have here, crazy, looney, evil, hatefulness. All wrong Mr. Winters. They are very sane, above average intelligence and probably show more love for others than those who have supported the Democrat Party,
I will comment on the heath care bill in another post since what has just passed in the eyes of many here was a legislative debacle.
By the way, it sure would be nice if America bloggers responded to comments like bloggers on other posts.
1. With respect to Obama's place of birth - Having witnessed the fake Democrat-created documents about George Bush's military service that were "unearthed" by esteemed reporter Dan Rather, what is so far fetched about the idea of a faked birth certificate and a fake newspaper report? What can we trust in anymore?
2. With respect to Medicaire and Social Security: If I could have all of the money that I pumped into these programs back in my bank account, I'd take it in a heartbeat. Yes, I could have better prepared for my older age (or squandered away the money) without the assistance if the federal government.
With all due respect and sympathy for the underprivileged, the greatness and power of the United States over all other nations is rooted in getting the government out of the way of the people, not in the government taking care of its people. The United States has never been about a guarantee of a good quality of life; on the contrary, it has always been about the opportunity to attempt to make one's fortune, unfettered by the government taking from those who have and giving to those who have not. It is a country built on greed, power, competition, and aggression. Liberal, government-controlled schooling since the 1960s has taught us a different story; that we are a nation of pacifism and of empathy; that the government has an obligation to take care of us. There are countries like that now; countries whose very existence is possible because the United States is not like them.
You might not like the Tea Partier's resistance to the leftist turn that the country seems to be taking; you might think they're crazy and evil. But they're really just looking back to what the country has been for most of its history, and at what made the country so unique, powerful and the greatest force of peace the world has ever known (notwithstanding the poverty of its own citizens).
There are two main factors that have led to the continual increases in medical cost and as a recent cancer patient who has witnessed the medical system up close for the last three years can attest to both. The first is
The constant increase in available options for treating any illness. Anyone who is seriously ill wants the best treatment possible. These new procedures and medicines are expensive but who is going to deny anyone hope for recovery so all the resources are thrown at every patient and they are expensive. A cousin of mine told me about the new MRI machines that will be coming on line soon and how they will make any machine currently available obsolete. No hospital will be able to do without one and they won't come cheap. Multiply that by a hundred other tests and procedures and you get the picture, rapidly rising expenditures at hospitals and other medical facilities. At the end of the Stanford discussion the head of the Stanford Hospital talked about how they were completely modernizing their health care delivery to be the best. And I am sure very expensive. The local hospital system here in suburban New York demanded higher fees from the insurance companies because they just spent $100 million modernizing their four hospitals.
The second cost driver that was not addressed by the Stanford experts was the Tort System that awards large settlements to lawyers who sue over bad medical outcomes. I have seen this figure as $20-$30 billion or referred to as a drop in the bucket of over $2.5 trillion dollars spent on health care each year. Yes it is, but a significant portion of the $2.5 trillion is defensive medical practice by doctors to avoid the suits they so desperately want to avoid. In the last few years several of my friends and myself have all pointed to each one of us or our families who saw this played out in various ways by doctors. Just this small group could point to over $100,000 of unnecessary medical costs all covered by insurance. One person felt chest pains and $16,000 later it was diagnosed as probably indigestion.
The Stanford people did make a point that competition is a major cost reducer and this bill does not address this. They also talked about the accounting gimmicks that were used to make the bill look lest costly than it will end up being.
So many can trump what a great achievement the health care bill is, but there will be no cost reductions unless care is rationed because the cost drivers are still in work full force. And that will restrict employment as business struggle to contain these costs by reducing employment or consumers have less to spend on non-medical areas thus essentially reducing demand for products and consequently, less jobs.
Who will be hurt the most, the poor and less educated. And to me that is not social justice which is the magic word here.
"Print what he means, not what he says," they would urge reporters.
And the trick with Social Security and Medicare is this: if a thirty-five year old with dependent children dies, his family gets SS benefits (over and above whatever insurance he might have). Also, if one had plowed all his retirement money into Enron and Lehman Brothers, for example, he or she might have a difficult retirement.
From a historical perspective, it's hard to see the US as taking a leftist turn. In fact, Ronald Reagan was so persuasive, for good or ill as you judge, that the political discourse of the whole country has moved far to the right, and Obama can be seen as making a slight adjustment back to the left. It's ironic that many folks who celebrate Reagan actually underestimate just how effective he was in changing the political map. What passes in the US now for crazed leftism would have been seen as moderate thrirty years ago. If one actually wants to find socialists with any power, you'd have to go to Latin America or Europe. Conservative fury is puzzling simply because they have been so successful in the U.S. forcing the liberals to be much more timid on economic issues than ever before (issues like abortion and gay rights are ones where liberals have been much more successful). It's kind of like the Yankees complaining about the Washington Nationals.
I understand the longing for less government, but let me offer a quick analogy. If you live in a rural area, you can probably get by with minimal traffic regulations. If you live in Manhattan, you need lights and parking rules, etc. We might be too large, complex, and interdependent a society to get by without a fair measure of regulation and government intervention. Otherwise how do the air and water stay clean, how are bridges and roads maintained, how do we educate citizens and workers?
I don't know if you know it or not but you just made a derogatory sexuaL slur at the Tea Party movement.
If they are scared, it is for the future of the country and the inability to sustain the deficit spending forecast. As far as deficits under George W. Bush, the budget was headed towards being balanced till the sub prime mess hit. It was close to $100 billion in 2007, the last year of Republican controlled budgets. And as far as the deficits in the last two years of Bush administration, the budgets are set by Congress and President Obama as a senator voted for each one of them that were authored by his party. For a picture of the deficits and projected deficits see
Some people here have a hard time dealing with truth.
I know of no one in the TP Movement attempting to scapegoat Bush for anything. They are just as angry about the Prescription Drug entitlement as anything Obama has done. ANd I don't think most of them give 2 hoots about where Obama was born.
Where the birthers really err, however, is in not acknowledging that even if everything they say is true about Obama being born abroad, it does not matter since his mother is naturally born. This makes him naturally born, no matter what location he was born in. If this were not the case, John McCain would not be a citizen, since he was born in the Canal Zone when his family was deployed.
This whole question is why stupidity and evil are not so good an option as pathos.
The long form is no one's business. In most (all?) states, the long form contains additional information, including whether the child was a twin or triplet, and, if so, was s/he born first, second, third, etc.
"Among the behaviors that demonstrate a lack of civility are
Elevating rumor to fact
Distorting the words or opinions of others, in particular by taking them out of context or putting them into a context for which they were not intended
Presuming deceitful and mendacious motives on the part of others
Engaging in personal attacks that not only belittle or defame the individuals involved but also risk spreading scandal, confusion, and doubt."
There are those who would say that "Crazy or Evil" is designed, with malice aforethought, to "belittle and defame". In fact, this article would make a fine case study to demonstrate exactly what the Bishops were talking about.
Then, of course, we have the words of Matthew 7:3, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"
What also ticks off the TPers is that Obama won by expanding the electorate to people who had been psyched out of voting and to the young (including some of their own kids). The only reason the GOP picked up governorships last year is because these new voters stayed home.
Some suggestions: cut defense spending by reducing our commitment to weapons systems designed to fight enemies who no longer exist; gradually raise the retirement age for social security and raise the cap on the amount of wages subject to social security taxes; cut subsidies to profitable industries (including farm subsidies to agri-business while maintaining subsidies for family farms); roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest while trying to maintain lower levels for working and middle class families (there is no evidence that the really really wealthy are hurting from over taxation); demand real accountability from businesses working with the government (e.g. the defense and pharmaceutical industries) and demand genuinely competitive bidding for government contractrs to make the market work for us.
I'm old enough to remember Joe McCarthy in my home state of Wisconsin. He and the Korean War were two of the things I encountered when I first started reading the paper at age 10 or so. Those were the good old days of communism as the evil. Socialism was harmless, inconsequential. Now, with the TP folks, it has become the equivalent of 1950's communism. Much of the TP rhetoric reminds me of McCarthy folks back then.
Are you sure of your numbers. I just checked a treasury department site, and according to that site, the national debt was about $10.7 trillion just before Obama took office and is now about $12.8 trillion. That's a big increase, but does not seem to be more than all previous presidents combined (since we were $10.7 trillion in the hole before he was inaugarated). And just before Bush took office the debt appears to have been $5.6 trillion, which suggests an increase of about $5 trillion on his watch. Obama's off to a fast start (though he had a financial meltdown and recession, plus two wars to deal with), but he's not yet topped all previous presidents by what I can find. I welcome correction by folks better with numbers.
What I wonder about is whether the sudden concern about those who pay no income tax is a shot across the bow on tax reform - meaning that the GOP will attempt to block the Baucus portion of the Bush tax cuts that went to poor and middle class families in order to protect Tea Party funders who want the taxes on the wealthy (including heirs) to be reduced as well. A 60th vote is necessary to overcome a budget act point of order to preserve the cuts the President favors while letting the tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Will the GOP do the right thing? I doubt it. They are playing with fire, however, since their spin machine will blame the GOP for holding most of the country hostage for the selfish few.
Catholics, by the way, pretty much must support the President on this issue if they put their faith before their politics. This is one of those times when they must speak out to their Republican legislators if they truly believe in the Church's teaching Magisterium, which is fairly clear about the option for the poor - and has been for almost 150 years.
The tax reductions under Bush actually increased revenue intake as in stimulated the economy along with fiscal policy. Tax cuts have worked this way four times. First, immediately after WWII, then Johnson introduced lower taxes that Kennedy was advocating, when Reagan reduced taxes in the 80's and then when Bush reduced them in 2001 and 2003.
The balanced budget of Clinton was due to reduced spending constraints by the Republican Congress, some adjustment to the tax laws by both Clinton and the Republican Congress, a sharp reduction of defense spending by Clinton, and the large tax revenues that resulted from the Dot Com bubble and the cashing out of the stock gains that resulted from this bubble.
The budget deficits after Clinton left office were due to recession that resulted from the Dot Com bubble crash in 2000, the further restrictions of the economy due to 9/11 and finally to the increased expenditures to fight the war on terror including Afghanistan, Iraq and other efforts. Despite these increased military expenditures the budget deficit was headed to zero till the sub prime problem.
If one wants a visual demonstration of the budget deficit problem, look at the following video. It is quite dramatic and shows just what a problem it represents to reduce it.
I see your point, though the post I responded to seemed to state the increase as an accomplished fact, not a projection. And the numbers I quoted are higher because of including something called intragovernmental holdings. Note however that Obama will not be in office after 2016 (even assuming that he wins re-election), so that debt accrued from 2017 to 2019 would not actually be on his watch, though he might certainly bear some responsibility.
I've not seen the specific report from the Council of Economic Advisors, so I wonder if it might be a worst case scenario-e.g. no economic growth and increased revenue to offset the spending, and no cuts in future spending (which Obama has indicated he plans). Projections are tricky. At the end of the Clnton administration some were projecting significant reductions in the debt. That didn't happen, and we can't be sure of these projections either, though they are sobering.
Actually, no. I can't tell what you're arguing, other than blaming Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld. I agree with you that Iraq was a major issue in the 2006 midterms & 2008 Presidential election, but I don't get how jump from that to saying the TP Movement is delusional.
And you keep saying GOP won NJ & VA races because Obama voters stayed home. That is patently FALSE. THey won in part because normal voting patterns returned (i.e. the young stayed home) but also because the independents swung away from Obama.
The myths behind the movement are largely the product of forces seeking to use fear as a campaign tool. That is the reason that much of the financing has come from various organizations funded by wealthy Republican conservatives. The myths include the rumors regarding the President's origins and religion, the claims of creeping socialism and even communism, the false assertions about "death panels," "relocation camps" and the elimination of private gun ownership, and a great deal of nonsense about how the tax burden is shared in this country.
With all of the misinformation coming at them from all directions, it is hardly surprising that Tea Party participants have difficulty articulating their fears. For the same reason it is not surprising that the movement itself is frequently incoherent and internally inconsistent.
Does racism pay a role in all of this? You bet it does. Appeals to racism were rampant during the presidential election campaign. The Tea Party train left the station almost before the last inaugural bleacher had been disassembled. The combination of fear of change, economic insecurity, racism and rather vicious lies creates a mob mentality, short on ideas but big on histrionics. But sound and fury is not a policy.
The Honolulu newspapers that published Obama's birth announcement received their info about the newborn directly from the state which received it directly from the Honolulu hospital where Obama was born. The parents had nothing to do with the publication of the birth announcements other than giving birth to the newborn Obama.
I mention this because desperate "birthers," being such dense conspiracy theorists, would like to believe that the family somehow planted the Obama birth announcements knowing that the announcements would come in handy someday. No. Sorry.
"''I don't think that the TeaBaggers are crazy or evil, I think that they are scared. '' I don't know if you know it or not but you just made a derogatory sexuaL slur at the Tea Party movement."
Huh? How so?