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Tempest in a Very Small Teapot

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Posted on Sep 22, 2010

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Is the tea party one of the most successful scams in American political history?

Before you dismiss the question, note that word successful. Judge the tea party purely on the grounds of effectiveness and you have to admire how a very small group has shaken American political life and seized the microphone offered by the media, including the so-called liberal media.

But it’s equally important to recognize that the tea party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers.

Yes, there is a lot of discontent in America. But that discontent is better represented by the moderate voters who expressed quiet disillusionment to President Barack Obama at the CNBC town hall meeting on Monday than by tea party ideologues who proclaim the unconstitutionality of the New Deal and everything since.

The tea party drowns out such voices because it has money—some of it from un-populist corporate sources, as Jane Mayer documented last month in The New Yorker—and has used modest numbers strategically in small states to magnify its impact.

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Just recently, tea party victories in Alaska and Delaware Senate primaries shook the nation. In Delaware, Christine O’Donnell received 30,563 votes in the Republican primary, 3,542 votes more than moderate Rep. Mike Castle. In Alaska, Joe Miller won 55,878 votes for a margin of 2,006 over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is now running as a write-in candidate.

Do the math. For weeks now, our national political conversation has been driven by 86,441 voters and a margin of 5,548 votes. A bit of perspective: When John McCain lost in 2008, he received 59.9 million votes.

Earlier this year, much was made of the defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett, a Utah conservative insufficiently conservative for the tea party. Bennett lost not in a primary but at a Republican convention attended by all of 3,500 delegates.

Even in larger states, the tea party’s triumphs were built on small shares of the electorate. Rand Paul received 206,986 votes in Kentucky, where there are more than 1 million registered Republicans and nearly 2.9 million registered voters. Sharron Angle won with 70,452 votes in Nevada, a state with more than 1 million registered voters.

The media have given substantial coverage to tea party rallies and even small demonstrations. But how many people are actually involved in this movement?

Last April, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that 18 percent of Americans identified themselves as supporters of the tea party movement, but slightly less than a fifth of these sympathizers said they had actually attended a tea party rally or meeting. That means just over 3 percent of Americans can be characterized as tea party activists. A more recent poll by Democracy Corps, just before Labor Day, found that 6 percent of voters said they had attended a tea party rally or meeting.

The tea party is not the only small group in history to wield more power than you’d expect from its numbers. In 2008, Barack Obama did very well in party caucuses, which draw many fewer voters than primaries. And it was Lenin who offered the classic definition of a vanguard party as involving “people who make revolutionary activity their profession” in organizations that “must perforce not be very extensive.”

But something is haywire in our media and our politics. Jill Lepore, a Harvard historian whose new book is “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle Over American History,” observed in an interview that there is a “hall of mirrors” effect created by the rise of “niche” opinion media. They magnify small movements into powerhouses while old-fashioned journalism, which is supposed to put such movements in perspective, reacts to the same niche incentives.

There is also the decline of alternative forces in politics. The Republican establishment, such as it is, has long depended far more on big money than on troops in the field. In search of new battalions, GOP leaders stoked the tea party, stood largely mute in the face of its more outrageous untruths about Obama—and now has to defend candidates like O’Donnell and Angle.

And where are the progressives? Sulking is not an alternative to organizing, and weary resignation is the first step toward capitulation. The tea party may be pulling a fast one on the country and the media. But if it has more audacity than everyone else, it will, I am sorry to say, deserve to get away with it.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group


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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Manni, hope the march goes well, but liberal? Seems more like middle of the road to me? But as stated before the term liberal is not a clear one.

John your whining about the authors on TD may be what is wrong with this county, of course you are free to whine and you did! So you like Hedges so much it means others should not be allowed to write?  Censorship seems a steep price to pay for freedom of speech, maybe someone else may disagree with your selection of authors, what then?

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By Anarcissie, September 27, 2010 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

Right-wing talk about ‘big government’ could be easily exposed as the fraud it is if progs were not deluded about the subject themselves.  They generally believe along with Zinn that the liberal (actually, anarchist) ideals of peace, freedom and equality can be brought about by means of a powerful state, whereas the state is actually and necessarily the antithesis of these ideals.  Ironically, Zinn himself as quoted here invokes the same goddess TINA as do the false purveyors of capitalist inevitability and imperialism.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 27, 2010 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

The recent comments here give credence to the right-wing mantra of Big Government. The Big Government mantra is #1 on the list of Republican talking points; this mantra is sold and bought by ring-wingers, reactionaries and their dupes. Let us not concern ourselves with the micro realities, and the trivial fact that the center/ left Clinton Administration reduced the size of government, while the right-wing Bush administration presided over a huge expansion of government and government accumulation of debt, reduced civil liberties, created a huge but highly ineffective national security apparatus, invaded foreign countries, advocated for U.S hegemony and Empire, while at the same time warning us of the danger of Big Government. The Right promoted a bogus “Small Government” philosophy that nearly destroyed the global economy by ceding autonomy to Big Business interests, along with a corresponding active attempt to destroy government agencies designed to protect the masses from the excesses and detriments of Big Business. Right wing opponents of Big Government, and their dupes, object to policies that restrict the monolithic power of Big Business. Those who have been duped by the “Big lie” and claim separation from, and no collusion with tyranny, are in fact the unwitting agents of tyranny, not recognizing that short of a totally futile murder and mayhem producing violent revolution and armed insurrection, resulting in more of the same, or an even more negative outcome, good government is the only entity capable of restraining tyranny. 

A government more inclined to “Promote the General Welfare” and more inclined to restrain the excesses of tyrannical policies is portrayed as being tyrannical by the tyrants and their dupes. Wall street representatives accuse the current President of whacking their treasure filled piñata with a stick, while they openly claim, in near unison, while being interviewed, that they are superior beings who merit the excessive wealth they accumulate, and claim that the government bailouts necessitated by their unbridled greed have no significance, and had no affect on their constantly increasing share of the nation’s wealth, while the peoples of nations suffer from austerity measures. They rail against miniscule increases in their income taxes, while railing against the Federal Deficits caused by their self interested tax and war policies. Government expenditures on wars of aggression which seek hegemony over foreign lands, cultures, and resources are seen as legitimate, while government expenditures on self funding, humanitarian, revenue positive, social programs are seen as grossly illegitimate by them.

Right-wing government policies advocated by the near totality of Republican Legislators and those with a Libertarian bent, along with a smaller percentage of centrist Democrats, have facilitated the activities of Trans-National Corporations, interconnected Global Financial Markets, and a nearly omnipotent Global Capitalism. Good Government is the only entity with the possibility of countervailing the monolithic imbalance, but the dupes attack any semblance of good government, and accuse it of tyranny, which effectively serves the interests of tyrants.

It’s not government; it’s the despoilers of government, stupid!

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By Maani, September 27, 2010 at 9:31 am Link to this comment

“Liberals” answer the TP with a rally of their own:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/us/politics/27rally.html?sq=liberal&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By John, September 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is so tiresome. What is it with so many of the columnists here at “liberal” Truthdig? You publish Scott Ritter who has been arrested three times in the last decade for improper sexual behavior with minor girls. You have Ruth Marcus who has argued for immunity and impunity for Bush Administration torturers. And,today, E.J. Dionne showed up at Harvard to honor the right wing bigot New Republic publisher Marty Peretz.

Truthdig-shame on you!!If this is supposed to be an alternative news site with a leftist/liberal slant you are failing miserably. Chris Hedges is the only columnist published here that provides an alternative view; everyone else is mouthing the same insular Washington D.C. conventional opinion. E.J. Dionne=George Will. They write from different perspectives but ultimately hold the same values and have the same friends.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Egomet Bonmot, September 26 at 4:55 pm:

Anarcissie— Doncha think one out of every, say, five posts ought to speak to the article itself? ...

That depends on the article and what develops from it.  E. J. Dionne is a WaPo flack, so the function of his writing on Truthdig is to serve as a target for derision and abuse, which has been duly tendered.  He did bring up the Tea Party, however, which among other things includes (or did include) some libertarian elements, which I guess is where the size-of-government thing came from.  This led to the Zinn quote; and so forth.

Is Zinn all that vieux-jeu?  His ideas seem fairly popular in these quarters, invoking the tedious but obligatory duty of criticizing them.

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By Leefeller, September 26, 2010 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Self righteousness seems to feed on itself, sort of like ignorance, a different cup of tea maybe?

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By Egomet Bonmot, September 26, 2010 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

E.J. Dionne wrote:

“Last April, a New York Times/CBS News poll found that 18 percent of Americans identified themselves as supporters of the tea party movement, but slightly less than a fifth of these sympathizers said they had actually attended a tea party rally or meeting. That means just over 3 percent of Americans can be characterized as tea party activists. A more recent poll by Democracy Corps, just before Labor Day, found that 6 percent of voters said they had attended a tea party rally or meeting.”

If Dionne really thinks this to be a damning statistic, he ought in fairness to compare it to levels of participation in the Big Two.  How many Dems & Repubs have attended their own rallies or fundraisers in the same time period?  Far, far less of course.

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By Egomet Bonmot, September 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie— Doncha think one out of every, say, five posts ought to speak to the article itself?  I have no beef with you and have on occasion found your posts downright readable. Go back and you’ll see that JDMystic responded to me, not the other way around.  I’d have been happy to leave y’all chatting away in the green felt drawing rooms of Victorian England.

(btw Zinn is so vieux jeu.)

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

Egomet Bonmot, September 26 at 4:04 pm:

... Still, I think I’d rather come up with some hairbrained theory to make sense of the last eight years than to think myself some sort of John Locke, using any old Truthdig article as a platform to bloviate away on the individual and society.

Who on Earth do you think reads that stuff?

Evidently, you do.  I’ll point out, though, that it was neither JDMysticDJ nor myself who brought up the issue of the individual versus society, but Tobysgirl quoting Howard Zinn: ‘Big government is here to stay. The question is, whose government is it?’  To me, Zinn’s remarks niftily encapsulate one of the fundamental contradictions of much of the Left, so naturally I’m tempted to speak to it.  If you have no interest in such things, though, why not leave them alone?

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By Egomet Bonmot, September 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

JDMysticDJ—

I’m crushed. 

Still, I think I’d rather come up with some hairbrained theory to make sense of the last eight years than to think myself some sort of John Locke, using any old Truthdig article as a platform to bloviate away on the individual and society.

Who on Earth do you think reads that stuff?

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By Inherit The Wind, September 26, 2010 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Maani,

Yeah, I just put it simply!

JDMystic:

I think you are right about Bad government vs. no government.

Here’s a proposition: There’s no such thing as “no government” unless there are no people.  As an example, study English medieval history (or French or German or African, Asian, etc.)  What you see is repeatedly strong men amass power around them, become war lords, dictate “law” to others (mainly, give me all your stuff and your prettiest woman and I’ll leave you just enought to eat, maybe, and won’t kill you and your family). Then, to try to be safer, they amass more power either through alliances or by conquering other war lords. That’s pretty much the sum total of English history up to and including Henry the Seventh, although the pattern, slightly altered, continues until Britain FINALLY has a Constitutional Monarachy in the 1700’s.

So..my thesis is that “no government” means, in fact, war lord government.  And war lords are no different than Mafia Godfathers except, in Europe, the Church would bless them and give sanction to their actions (besides, most of the bishops were war lords, too.).

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By Maani, September 26, 2010 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

ITW:

“Every ignoramus needs a boogie-man to blame for all the troubles in the world.”

Dr. Lawrence Britt’s “14 Characteristics of Fascism, No. 3: Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause” and Naomi Klein’s “Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps, No. 1: Invoke a Terrifying Internal and External Enemy.”

Peace.  (?)

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2010 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ, September 26 at 11:15 am:

‘...
I burned the mid-night oil last night composing a lengthy, point by point, rebuttal of your recent post. On completion, I realized that the rebuttal could easily be defined as a “Tempest in a Very Small Tea Pot.,” with a great deal of unnecessary rhetoric. Frankly, my feeling is that if I posted such a lengthy rebuttal to what is essentially nonsense I would be considered guilty by association.

I believe your entire post was built on a false premise. Your bold, but ridiculous assertion, that all governments are bad and that, “the worst, most violent, most cruel, most corrupt people are attracted to government,” is a radical and bold assertion which seems to be verified by a shallow analysis of current events, but this bold assertion is far too broad in condemnation and can only be seen as an extreme exaggeration by a rational person. ...’

Well, we can dispense with evidence for the moment and approach the question logically.  Can government be good?  That probably depends on one’s notion of ‘good’.  Government is the ‘monopoly of violence’, a permanent institution of coercion in a community.  To a naive person, government or indeed any form of coercion might seem good when it makes other people do what he wants, and stops them from doing things he doesn’t want them to do.  However, it will soon occur to the less naive that the principle of coercion can be easily turned against himself by others, whether it is ad-hoc (mob violence) or institutional (government).  Our thinker now may earnestly try to devise some scheme by which coercion will be applied only to others, but never to himself.  Thousands of years of such thought have not come up with a very satisfactory answer.  There is the idea of the gang, the horde, the army, the state, in which our individual allows some (rulers or superior officers) to coerce him, so that he may coerce others (lower-ranking men, civilians, slaves), but many people find this arrangement distasteful; after all, they are still being coerced.  Its clearest formulation in our times, fascism, has actually become an insult!

There is the idea of democracy, but it is pretty obvious that a majority of the population could vote to disenfranchise or even exterminate a minority.  The same process could then occur among the still enfranchised majority, until we were back at the fascist situation.  Another problem with democratic governance is that it is easy to think of (and, in fact, observe) situations in which no choice is supported by a majority, because there are more than two choices.  In short, there is no guarantee that a public will will emerge, or, if it does, that it will not be highly coercive to most or even all of its participants. 

The alternative to exercising and supporting coercion is to decide that coercion is not a good thing after all and should be eliminated from or at least minimized in the social order.  Those who favor complete elimination are, of course, anarchists, because the elimination of coercion would mean the elimination of government.  However, many people think that, should the coercive institution of government be eliminated, a worse one would arise.  That is, government is evil but it is a necessary evil.  These people include such as Locke and Jefferson, the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution; we refer to them as (classical) liberals.  The government they constructed was to be as small as possible, hamstrung by contradictions between its parts, and limited by a set of rules guaranteeing the rights of the people against it.  We can call this ‘small government’.  I will note that in spite of its smallness, it supported Negro slavery, the genocide of the Indians, and imperial war.  But that is drawing in historical evidence, I suppose, which I had said I would avoid.  And I am out of space anyway.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 26, 2010 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

Egomet Bonmot

Based on your post, I’d say your claim to having, “…‘seen’ a ‘couple’ of things,” is an exaggeration.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 26, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

Before I go off topic I’ll offer my opinion that Tea Partiers are dangerous, racist, simple minded little twerps, and not inconsequential as Mr. Dionne suggests.

By Anarcissie, September 24 at 5:10 pm

I burned the mid-night oil last night composing a lengthy, point by point, rebuttal of your recent post. On completion, I realized that the rebuttal could easily be defined as a “Tempest in a Very Small Tea Pot.,” with a great deal of unnecessary rhetoric. Frankly, my feeling is that if I posted such a lengthy rebuttal to what is essentially nonsense I would be considered guilty by association.

I believe your entire post was built on a false premise. Your bold, but ridiculous assertion, that all governments are bad and that, “the worst, most violent, most cruel, most corrupt people are attracted to government,” is a radical and bold assertion which seems to be verified by a shallow analysis of current events, but this bold assertion is far too broad in condemnation and can only be seen as an extreme exaggeration by a rational person.

You stand Zinn’s comment on its head by stating that those who govern are the “Ruling class.” Zinn’s comment, “…The question is, whose government is it?” defines the Ruling class.” In good government, it’s the People’s government, in bad government it’s the government of a ruling class.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2010 at 7:12 am Link to this comment

ITW— You’re right, I left out people for whom racism or religious bigotry are major political considerations.  I think the ‘Southern Strategy’ attracted a lot of these people to the Republican Party, and they’re now proving to be something of a problem just as the Religious Right is.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 26, 2010 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie (Cont.)

You conclude by commenting


“The greatest danger of government, however, is not the evils which it presently produces and necessitates, but the threat of self-annihilation.  The logic of the state leads to war and empire.  (See our present government.)  War was bad enough in the ancient days of static technology.  In the modern world, it has become ever more destructive, and the invention and development of weapons have hardly ceased.  The logical end of increasing violence and destructiveness is total destruction.  Government is a dead end in the most literal sense of ‘dead’.”

I concur with your perception of danger, but I don’t agree that, “The greatest danger of government, however, is not the evils which it presently produces…” I very much believe that the greatest danger we now face is the evil now being produced by bad government. I don’t agree that a good government would result in the self-annihilation you foresee and attribute to government, period. Surely such a self-annihilation would be the end product of bad government.

How do we best avoid both the current and future annihilation scenario? The solution you offer to avoiding annihilation suddenly seems appealing. However, is your proffered solution for ending the danger, in any way practical? Does it have any iota of a chance of ever being viable? Is it some kind of delusional utopian pipe dream, so remote in its potentialities that it can be nothing more than an impossible but pleasant delirious contemplation?

I can not imagine that your dream of no government could be achieved in our country; such an imagining would have to incorporate each and every soul in this country adopting your philosophy, and possessing your supposed virtue. I like singing Kumbaya, but hey, what’s the likelihood of everyone in the country singing it… “All together now!”… Do you foresee all the people in the world coming together to sing Kumbaya in four part harmony? The probability of that occurring might increase slightly, if it were performed by any survivors of the feared annihilation, but I seriously doubt it.

Our only hope of ending the current madness is to seek good governance that will be more inclined to diminish, rather than escalate, the current madness. The haters, the fear mongers, and the destructive can not conceivably be eliminated, but they can be nullified, and made impotent by the installation and maintenance of good government, or at the least, the best government available.”

Elimination of government would accomplish nothing. Eliminating government would create a power vacuum to be filled by corporate predators, Blackwater type thugs, rogue cops, PTSD infected veterans, independent criminal enterprises, vigilantes, Blood feuds, or most likely, the re-establishment of government by fascists of the worst sort.

Our only hope is to improve government, not eliminate it. Your iconoclastic hatred of government is useless, and nothing more than a rationalization for abdicating responsibility, but the fact is, doing so makes you responsible, “If you’re not part of [A rational solution], you’re part of the problem.”

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By Inherit The Wind, September 26, 2010 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:
Don’t forget that there’s a hefty dose of good ol’ fashioned racism for these sons and daughters of the segregationists and their children.  They can’t denigrate non-whites openly (Think George Allen and his “Macaca” moment) but that doesn’t mean they don’t think that way.  And now it’s “safe” to turn that negative energy on Muslims.

Every ignoramus needs a boogie-man to blame for all the troubles in the world.

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By Anarcissie, September 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Ever since the advent of the ‘Southern Strategy’ the Republican Party has included a rather diverse set of inmates.  The Religious Right is especially difficult to deal with because unlike most of the other political groups in the U.S. they don’t believe in liberalism in any form, classical, modern, or neo.  So I don’t think it took any special plotting to get the Republicans to fall apart.  It is a mystery that it didn’t happen sooner.  The hate-Obama stuff is a pale shadow of the good old hate-Communism stuff that once held them together.

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By Egomet Bonmot, September 25, 2010 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

Finally one of you Truthdiggers smells a rat and Jesus, look at the level of response here.

But I see it differently:  Imho a quid pro quo was arranged between elite party Dems and Repubs in 2000 and again in 2002.  Senate and HoR Democrats would roll over on Bush v. Gore, and later on Bush’s war agenda, in exchange for a “Republican implosion” in 2008 and 2012.  Teabaggers serve to safely dissipate the country’s noxious & pervasive racism, and as a convenient Aunt Sally to distract the public from one party’s intentional throwing of an election cycle.

Repub wonks engineer an utterly fake fracturing of their party in partial payment of the favors made by dems to repubs a decade ago—for what reasons I haven’t the foggiest, but trust me, I’m old and I’ve seen a couple of things.

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By Maani, September 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Oops!  Is the “party” already winding down?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/tea-party-convention-is-canceled/?scp=1&sq=convention&st=cse

Peace.

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By cat, September 25, 2010 at 11:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Tea Party have done very well in removing the ole boys club out of the republican party leadership.The Democrat ole boys club has been reduced in numbers.Canidate who should of been gone like Blanch Lincon who Now,fights for her seat even beating who should be a General election write in and win “Bill”, for if not   will the corporations gain control of our government? Has this Tea party taken We the People straight from the skillet into the fire? Their canidates talk of private-tizing our country. Would that not make WE as a people weaker if we are beholden to Corporations and not to ourselves?(We are our governmentinwhich lies the only power the people have.) IF The Corporations through the Tea Parties win and weaken our government then we will be no match for the laws that they put apond us.I Do admit the Government has grown to large but it is not the teachers the police and the fire departments, The peoples jobs. It is the BIG MONEY MAKERS in government jobs that need to be cut. Why are there two a federal and a state officals with offices and staff. Why so many congress men? I say if a PERSON is congress or sentate let him only have one office and an assistant.Let him travel back in forth on his own dime or the people should have a tarp of what you spend on campaigns and put it directly towards the deficet I dont want my tax dollars to pay for him living in Washington and the state he repersents.

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By bpawk, September 25, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Leefeller,

In a democracy, citizens only get a measily vote (with very little choice) and the right to protest. Protesting is the best you can do because voting for either of the two nearly identical parties will continue the status quo (citizens decimated the left years ago so there’s no one else). If you protest, the world will hear you - remember, silence is complicity.

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By Leefeller, September 25, 2010 at 8:57 am Link to this comment

bpawk,  Liberals seem to have a problem defining the world liberal, so if they marched on the streets waving something over their head like dead canarys’, they would look just as silly and incoherent as the Tea Baggers!

Unlike Conservatives who are that way from birth,...... incoherent that is!

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By bpawk, September 25, 2010 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

While I don’t agree with the ideas of the tea potters, I admire them because they organize and make vocal their concerns to the world unlike liberals and democrats who sit around and complain (in a blog too) but do nothing like organize themselves and be heard by the world. I think a lot of liberals who complain here and elsewhere are secretly afraid to protest and dissent for fear of being branded a loser! The only problem is, some people have close to nothing to lose. Either organize on Washington and show your strength in numbers or shut up!

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By ardee, September 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

anaman51, September 24 at 8:45 pm

Do you really want to live under Republican rule?

You mean we aren’t currently?

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By anaman51, September 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment

You can bet the farm that if the layers of obfuscation were to be peeled away, you’d find the Republican Machine footing the bill for the Tea Party. Remember when the Swift Boat Liars managed to blow enough smoke up America’s collective ass to sway a major campaign with lies? Uh-huh. You can expect more of the same. The Republican Machine wants to dominate this country, without annoying intrusions from the other members of Congress. Do you really want to live under Repulican rule?

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By Maani, September 24, 2010 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

Coupla interesting articles:

Re the Tea Party’s sugar daddies:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/opinion/24fri2.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print

“The Founding Fathers v. The Tea Party”:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/opinion/24chernow.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By Anarcissie, September 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Actually, Zinn’s question is not really a question because its answer is obvious.  Government implies a class system.  Given the presence of a government, there are at least two classes: those who have power and those who do not.  Those who have power determine the rules, including the rules of ownership and control.  So the inevitable answer to Zinn’s question is ‘the ruling class’—the minority who have power.  The ruling class desires a state, that is, an organization of society which will serve its interests.  The monopoly of legitimized coercion within the state, which keeps it organized for its purpose, is the government.

Now, the question arises as to whether government is necessary.  It is said that humans require government because they are so prone to violence and other evils that they must be restrained.  However, the only beings available to do that restraining are the self-same humans.  Surely if humans are too evil to rule themselves, they must be too evil to rule one another as well.  The ruling classes inevitably concoct the fiction that some people are better than others, and these better people are fit to govern.  Anyone can look around and see that the opposite is the case: the worst, most violent, most cruel, most corrupt people are attracted to government.  And this makes sense, because the government legitimizes the violence of its agents.  As the police on television say, ‘We own the streets.’

Now, it is often said that large projects and institutions require the state and its government in order to exist.  I have never seen any proof of this assertion.  But even if it were so, we would still have to question whether the price of blood was worth the size of the projects and the institutions.

The greatest danger of government, however, is not the evils which it presently produces and necessitates, but the threat of self-annihilation.  The logic of the state leads to war and empire.  (See our present government.)  War was bad enough in the ancient days of static technology.  In the modern world, it has become ever more destructive, and the invention and development of weapons have hardly ceased.  The logical end of increasing violence and destructiveness is total destruction.  Government is a dead end in the most literal sense of ‘dead’.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 24, 2010 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie

We live in a big country, with a big infrastructure, encompassing many aspects of the “General Welfare.”

The fantasy is that we can function as a big society without a big government. Zinn is perfectly cogent when he says, “Big government is here to stay. The question is, whose government is it?”

People, who espouse the philosophy of individualism, and individual responsibility, should walk the walk, and stop talking trash. They preach the philosophy of individualism, while they scapegoat others for their lack of success. They appear to be devoid of any hint of altruism, and the simple word “Teamwork” seems to be anathema to them. My belief is that they are petty little self centered iconoclasts, always whining about how others are interfering with their self interest.

Society requires some degree of cooperation and regulation, otherwise there is… anarchy. If self interested powerful forces are harming society, how does society restrain those powerful, self interested and harmful forces? The answer should be obvious, it’s through regulations and laws that these harmful, powerful forces are restrained, and it is a necessary, governance, that enforces laws and regulations. I think they call that civilization, don’t they? This brings us back to Zinns comment, “Big government is here to stay. The question is, whose government is it?” Good government will “Promote the General Welfare,” and big action by government in order to restrain big and powerful harmful forces is necessary in order to “Promote the General Welfare.” Bad governance occurs when powerful self interested harmful groups co-opt the government; which is the state we find ourselves in now.

Progressives advocate for good governance, which “Promotes the General Welfare” and not bad governance which promotes the interests of the few. Libertarians and anarchists blame government, period. Libertarians obstinately and blindly fail to see that their anti-government philosophy and opposition to regulation and law, advances the interests of the most predatory. Anarchists seem to desire the “Failed State,” while Libertarians are advocating policies which, I believe, will cause the State to fail.

“Common characteristics of a failing state include a central government so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality refugees and involuntary movement of populations; and sharp economic decline”

We have not yet met the harshest provisions of the above definition, but we seem to be headed in that direction. I’ll add my own interpretation of the failed state concept. A state that fails to “Promote the General Welfare” is failing.

I could continue my dialectic using extreme examples from history, to go along with a myriad of other examples from history, that illustrate how small or seemingly irrelevant harmful populist groups have arisen from failed or failing states to wreak havoc on societies, and the world. Unlike E.J. Dionne I don’t see The Tea Partiers as being inconsequential. I believe the Tea Partiers have the potential to be very harmful to our society, and I believe Tea Partiers have already been harmful. Anyone who denies the Tea Party’s proclivities to racism, and the Tea Party’s allying themselves with the most pro-corporatist political forces, and politicians, is guilty of a disingenuous denial, or a lack of political acuity.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 24, 2010 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie (Cont.) 

Progressives want a government big enough to combat the Global Corporate Monolith, and they seek to eliminate the quest for empire and hegemony, while Tea Partiers are the dupes of Corporatism and Empire. Tea Partiers could be defined as being cultural nationalists with a desire for cultural hegemony. They object to government, while effectively supporting the advocates of empire. People insult Tea Partiers and accuse them of being bigoted, and ignorant. It is my belief that as a social/political group, they are bigoted, and ignorant.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 24, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

But thanks to “The Man”, the economy has crashed, and my business is in the toilet.

**********************

Sorry, FF: I took that to mean it failed.

The Dems bear part of the responsibility, but going back to Nixon, the lead for all the actions that resulted in your “hiatus” falls on the GOP. Dems went along, but Repubs led all the way.

I’m glad your view of Jimmy Carter is the same as mine. I was very irritated when Obama put Summers in charge whose first steps were to PREVENT Paul Volcker from having any real input.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, September 24, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

The Tea Party may have been pure astroturf in the beginning, but along the
way it appears to have gathered some small but genuine momentum. That
makes this article about a year and a half too late.

The problem, both for us bemused spectators, and for the Tea Party itself, is
that the alleged “movement” is not monolithic, but comprised of incompatible
political animals, with right wing authoritarian followers on one extreme, and
libertarians on the other. From the gallery seats it looks like the only thing
these people share is the fantasy that government is the root, it not of all evils,
then certainly of their problems. Once the media spotlight disappears, they will
scatter to the four winds.

Media spotlight, that’s your cue!

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By Fat Freddy, September 24, 2010 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Look, I’m not going to play this race baiting game. Are there racists in the Tea Patries? Yes. Are all Tea Partiers racist? No. Yes, some of them come to the Libertarian Party Facebook page, and post their racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, anti-immigrant crap, and we quickly show them the door.

I have witnessed first hand the segregation in housing by “liberals”, in my community. There is discrimination in all circles. It is disingenuous for anyone to use that as an excuse to dismiss an entire group. That is prejudice, in and of itself. Because one is racist, they must all be racist. That is a fallacious argument. It may or may not be true. Because one black person has bad credit, they all must have bad credit, by the same argument.

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By Anarcissie, September 24, 2010 at 7:04 am Link to this comment

Tobysgirl, September 24 at 10:58 am:

I read some comments, and have only this to add. As Howard Zinn said, Big government is here to stay…’

I doubt it.  But it is certainly a depressing prospect even in fantasy.

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By Tobysgirl, September 24, 2010 at 6:58 am Link to this comment

I read some comments, and have only this to add. As Howard Zinn said, Big government is here to stay. The question is, whose government is it?

I appreciate some of the things Fat Freddy says, but I think Zinn was absolutely right. The Republicans have no interest in reducing the size of government, just ending anything that makes people’s lives a little easier or the environment a little cleaner.

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By the worm, September 24, 2010 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

The author asks: “Where are the Progressives?”

The Progressives voted for a candidate they thought was a Progressive. The
candidate became President.

The “Progressive” President did the following:

1. Gutted real financial reform (no Glass-Steagle, no ‘too big too fail) –
2. Rejected the only option that would have simultaneously extended coverage
and cut costs (single payer) -
3. Supported a stingy stimulus that was a third tax breaks -
4. Doubled-down and accelerated the Bush bailouts -
5. Escalated a meaningless and fruitless war in Afghanistan -
6. Not helped people with bankruptcy & mortgages remediation -
7. Fiddled around & not passed a jobs bill and even had to strain to extend
unemployment compensation -
8. Promoted off shore drilling, only to see it backfire in his face –
9. Ignored previous Republican profligacy, crimes, misdemeanors -
10. Used “Heck of a Job, Timmy” Geithner to promote low capital gains and
dividend taxes for the wealthy –
11. Sand bagged a budget balancing commission to cut Social Security

The Progressives have been burned.
There are few candidates who are Progressives within the Democratic Party. A
third party requires the funding available only to Forbes and his super rich allies
(witness the TeaParty).

When 84% of the nation’s wealth is in the hands of the tippy top percentile,  the
media and hence the electorate is mostly bought and paid for. Perhaps, the
author could write about how voters who have very few resources, very little
access to the electoral process and no media avenue will be able to organize.

Where are the Progressives? Indeed. They are buried under Wall Street’s debt;
where is Wall Street? With its most profitable year in history, it is busy funding
Republican and Tea Party candidates. Who did that? The President the
Progressives voted for.

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By Fat Freddy, September 24, 2010 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

Maani

That’s a pretty good assessment. However, I don’t know if Ron Paul actually said that he and his people created them. We all know who created the Tea Party, right? If he did say that, he is backing off of that now, as you can see in the interview with Anderson Cooper that I posted.

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By Fat Freddy, September 24, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

ITW

I’m sorry your business failed.  Truly I am.  But the blame for that failure falls squarely on the Bush regime and the GOP Senate and House that did EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to sink our economy, just so a few low-lives could get richer.

My business did not “fail”. It is on hiatus. You see,I took my 20 years of knowledge and experience and applied it. I started small, by working out of the trunk of a 92 Buick Regal. I saved my money, and reinvested profits to buy more tools and expand. You see, I have no debt. All of the tools of my business are mine, and mine alone. They are not the bank’s, they are not the government’s, they are not the worker’s, they are not the shareholder’s. They are mine. My private property, for me to use as I see fit. Nobody can take them away from me. That’s private property rights. When and if this Recession ever ends, I will be able to pick up where I left off. What does Obama want me to do? Borrow money. Sorry, I don’t want his money or debt.

If you think that the GOP and they alone are responsible for this mess, you are sadly fooling yourself. These problems have been building for a very long time. Ever since Nixon took us off the gold standard, it has been kick the can down the road, and when we actually did make some some progress, we said “oh, we’ll take care of that tomorrow”. Clinton was no hero to the economy, and neither was Reagan. The only president who actually came close was Jimmy Carter. Yes, I said Jimmy Carter. Carter deregulated the airline, communication, trucking and beer industries. And, he nominated Paul Volker to be Chairman of the Federal Reserve. It was the changes that Carter started and Reagan finished and Volker oversaw, that got us out of the Stagflation of the 70s. 79 - 82 were extremely tough years, but we took our medicine, and got better. Unfortunately, Reagan, didn’t use the boom of the 80s to take care of the shit that was still left from the 70s, so it all fell apart, again.

All that Bush 41, Clinton and Greenspan did was pump the economy with cheap, easy money. Whenever it looked like a recession was coming, like the dot-com, they pumped more money in. All through Clinton and Bush 43, more and more pumping. Well, we pumped until we shot our load. Now, it’s over.

So, what are we doing? We’re still pumping away, only now, we have a soft dick. What happens when you continue to pump with a soft dick? You get the idea.

Trust me, I am not fooled by the Tea Parties. I see how they were hijacked by the likes of Sarah the Palinista, Beck and Bachman. They are opportunists, nothing more. I’ve done my homework, learned economics, and with my knowledge of civil liberties and personal freedom, from when I used to be a liberal, I came to the conclusion that the official Libertarian Party is the only party that offers logical solutions to our economic problems, and protects the freedoms and liberty of everyone.

I really don’t care who contributes what to whom. All I care about is what these organizations and politicians do. Jon Corzine funded all of his campaigns himself. He ended up being no different than any other politician. Once in office, he catered to the special interests. I know, I live in NJ.

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By Fat Freddy, September 24, 2010 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

Peetawonkus

Are you really going to make me go through all of the examples of Ron Paul criticizing the Bush policies, the wars, and civil liberty violations? Do your own damned research. I gave you two places to start. You can also go to YouTube and do a simple search. Stop being intellectually lazy.

Here, you lazy fuck smile

Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich: Allies Against War
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkQW62L_DJU

Ron Paul on the Patriot Act - 2003
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7qvpS5zbqA

This one says it all!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6Ofcd2ToMw&feature=related

I haven’t been able to find one that specifically criticizes Bush for economic policies, but RP has consistently criticized all of the economic policies we’ve had since 1971, which includes Democrat and Republican presidents.

I’m not saying Dr Paul doesn’t carry some baggage. Show me anyone that doesn’t have baggage, and I will show you a robot, or a liar. I bet if I looked I could a shitload of baggage on Mr Nader and Mr Chomsky. It is intellectually dishonest to take a few offhand remarks and use them to try to define the entire career of someone. You must look at what the person has done, consistently, over the course of their career.

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By ardee, September 24, 2010 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

For those who may be taken in by appeals to support Ron Paul.

Search the internet for the organization ,“Stormfront” and its ties to Ron Paul, ties supported by Paul’s own staffers in fact. Then look at the various comments of Rand Paul, chip off the old block, comments than reek of racism.

To me, Libertarian politics is nothing more than a bunch of white folks refusing to join the twenty first century, refusing to grant non whites the same benefits that they themselves enjoy. Underneath a small amount of items appealing to progressives one will find policies that should repel all thinking voters.

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By Morpheus, September 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment

Wake the Hell up America!
It’s time to act - Join the Revolution!

http://www.SaveTheWorldNow.osixs.org and http://www.commonsense.osixs.org
Follow - Me

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By Inherit The Wind, September 23, 2010 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

FF:

I’m sorry your business failed.  Truly I am.  But the blame for that failure falls squarely on the Bush regime and the GOP Senate and House that did EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to sink our economy, just so a few low-lives could get richer.

In fact, all the guys who made out like bandits during the Bush years were what Ayn Rand called “De-freezers”—the guys whose contacts allowed them to get YOU out of having YOUR assets frozen.  I’m glad you see Bush for what he was.

I’m not thrilled with Obama—he should have listened to Paul Volcker first and best right from the beginning, rather than Summers-the-scumbag.  But, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama was stuck with the TARP and the Stim Pack already in place. 

No, he didn’t end the Patriot Act, but could he have, without 60 Senators to support its repeal?  You think Clueless Joe Lieberman would have voted with the Dems to repeal it? No Way!

Ron Paul gave birth to Rand Paul, and raised him. There were lots of rumors that Ron was connected loosely to the American nazi parties.  Rand Paul is overtly racist.  What does THAT tell you?

Don’t be fooled by the Dems, or the GOPers, or the teabaggers—or the Pauls.  You’re a smart guy.  Use those smarts wisely.

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By Maani, September 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Although it may not interest everyone, the actual history of the Tea Party is more involved than you think.

The original “Boston Tea Party,” held in December 2007, was an action planned and held by Boston 9/11 Truth - in other words, a 9/11 Truth event, to bring attention to the 9/11 Truth movement.  Its stated purpose: “The 9/11 Commission Report, the Military Commissions Act, the Patriot Act, Presidential Directive #51, the FEMA Report, the continuously revised and delayed NIST Report – the list of attacks on the truth and on our rights and freedoms continues to grow every day, by decree of this administration and with the blessings of Congress. The need to reject this encroachment is even greater than last year and the need for a Tea Party is NOW! The media in New England is ever so slowly waking from its slumber on 9/11 issues and we need to be out there in numbers to make sure they don’t drift back to sleep…We will read a 9/11 Truth Proclamation at the Boston Common Bandstand and publicly declare our demand to reopen the 9/11 investigations.”  The event was attended by many 9/11 Truth leaders, and “side” events also included many 9/11 Truth speakers.

Attending the Tea Party and related events that weekend were many Ron Paul supporters, who basically “co-opted” the concept of the “Tea Party” for their own political purposes.  (I am not placing blame or fault here, merely stating historic fact.)

They began holding their own “tea parties” (based on taxation) - and encouraging othres to hold local “tea parties” - just before the primaries in 2008.  However, they had barely gotten out of the starting gate when they, themselves, were co-opted by a zeitgeist comprised of the very local groups they had encouraged, groups like FreedomWorks, corporate interests like the Koch brothers, and Fox News.  The latter three very early saw the potential for channeling the very real, mostly legitimate free-floating anger to their own political and corporate interests.  And although Ron Paul stated that his people “created” the Tea Party through their own tea parties (a lie, since he was aware of the Boston 9/11 Truth efforts not only in 2007, but even earlier in 2006, and, as noted, many of his people attended the 2007 event), he also stated that “it was quickly co-opted by the neoconservatives.”

Thus, an idea that began with the 9/11 Truth movement has morphed - twice, if not more - into nearly its polar opposite: instead of seeking “truth” and calling government to account for the crimes of 9/11, the TP movement is now about…what?  Well, anything but truth, that’s for darn sure.

Peace.

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By ghostcommander, September 23, 2010 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very few, if any of the MSM have ripped off the veneer of the Tea Party.
The republican label was so tarnished that the Tea Party was created as a backup to the party.
The lever pullers are even willing to sacrifice some of their own members to the Tea Party candidates.

These Tea Partiers are equivalent of the Nazi SA Brownshirts that intimidated, beat up, and even killed the German citizens in line.

So far, they have kept a lid on their extremists, but who knows what the future will hold if they do not do very good politically.

They are dangerous!

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By gerard, September 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

“And any small group of well funded lunatics can indeed effect change”  Add to that, a very large number of frightened “ordinary” (meaning inadequately educated) people who are trained to fear that some hidden enemy is trying to destroy “Christian values” or “the American dream” and you have democracy sold down the river because its managers don’t want it to succeed.  If it succeeds they fear that they will lose money. If it succeeds they fear they will lose power.
  Fear, fear, fear. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!”

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

MC Hammerabi a statements question, answering his own question?

“Can any “liberal” make a cogent argument?  Is there any liberal, besides Camille Paglia, who can write without resorting to belittling and name calling? Glibness does not win converts.”

One could come to the conclusion one MC Hammerabi, must be a liberal for the heritics converts may find it hard to follow and appreciate the stereotyping hypocrisy sans tea bags?

Well, where does one sign up for conversions?

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy,
Let’s just go off-road for a sec and explore a few things. Over on another Truthdig post you claim you intend to vote Green next election. Yet over here you’re chopping wood and hauling water for the Tea Baggers. Now, in your mind, you’re sticking up for the “good” Tea Baggers as opposed to the “bad” Tea Baggers. But let me ask you this: how do you get from Green Party to Tea Bagger cheerleader? I gotta tell ya, I’m not seeing some huge porous membrane allowing passage from one group to the other. You don’t see people flipping over their “Save The Whales” signs to reveal a “Obama=Hitler” sign on the other side. As near as I can tell, Greenies and Baggers have little to absolute nada in common. So what’s the thinking?

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By RayLan, September 23, 2010 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

The Tea Party’s simplistic cant of ‘government and all government social services (including social secuirty) are bad’ is as stupid and ill-conceived as it is dangerous - if it had a brain.

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By kerryrose, September 23, 2010 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

MC Hammarabi

Ron Paul is a libertarian.

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By kerryrose, September 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy

FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity fund and organize the Tea Party.

Both organizations are run by corporate interests; the Koch brothers in particular.

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy,
Ah, yes, logic and facts. Those things Tea Baggers prize above rubies.

I notice you didn’t refute any of my points. You just noted a few of them in passing and then dismissed them as “fails” without offering any counter evidence as to why they are fails. Now, I may be a simple country lawyer but simply standing there and stamping your feet NONONO like a two year old wouldn’t sway many juries.

I’m sure in your mind there are great distinctions to be made between this or that Tea Bagger. Good luck with that argument. By all means carry it around the Web with you. I’m sure you’ll be greeted as a Liberator. But seriously, “dude”, it’s like the difference between an airplane seat in the up versus down position. In other words, no f*&^%ing difference. I think BigB said it quite succinctly and eloquently in his first paragraph.

You take my contempt for your sloppy thinking and 2 + 2 = 5 logic and imagine that I’m an Obama lover. Well, whatever I am I would never vote for that half-principled goof, Ron Paul, or the bewildered loony that is his pup.

I see over on another post that you say you’ll be voting Green. Good for you, comrade! Or is that tovarish? Anywho, I still think you’re deluded. But now I think you’re a better class of deluded.

Now start learning how to make an argument based on evidence instead of a fist. But then, if you did that, you wouldn’t be much a Tea Bag support, would you?

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By Anarcissie, September 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

Given the disparate elements within the Tea Party noted here, it ought to be a simple matter for the Democrats to devise wedge issues to split them regardless of their corporate funding.  The fact that they do not do so requires some explanation.  I don’t think mere incompetence (as compared to we Machiavellis, we Talleyrands, on Truthdig) can be the answer.  I’d suggest that the Tea Party, or rather Tea Parties, are seen as serving the interests of the Democratic Party by making things difficult for their established-order Republican confreres.  That could backfire; but it probably won’t.

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By Big B, September 23, 2010 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy

The difference between a Paul tea partier and a palin tea partier is marginal at best, because come november, they will all vote in droves for the GOP, for they are, for the most part, just angry old Reagan and Cheney repugs. Livid old white people who see Obama as a threat to white america, and still stubbornly believe that Reaganomics can still work.

What can be said for fans of a failed ethos? The problem is that our nation is not run by the majority rule. And any small group of well funded lunatics can indeed effect change.

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By Fat Freddy, September 23, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

These highly principled Tea Baggers had no problem with Bad old Mr. Big Government when George Bush took a surplus and turned it into a record deficit

FAIL number 2

Dude, get a clue.

They had no problem going halfway around the world to fight a trillion dollar war on the back of a lie—again contributing those record deficits. Oh, boy, do those Tea Partiers hate those wasteful bureaucracies liberals propose. But they had no problem, no sirree, with a whole new German sounding government agency called Homeland Security.

FAIL number 3

Like I said, if you’d pay attention, I distinctly separated the Ron Paul Tea Partiers from the Palinistas. If you don’t know the difference, I suggest doing a little research. You can start with:

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/

and here:

http://www.dailypaul.com/

So, tell me, what has “liberal” Obama and the Democrats done to end the Patriot Act, close Gitmo and end the wars? Nothing? Maybe you should consider supporting Ron Paul.

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By Dale Headley, September 23, 2010 at 10:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How is it that a handful of extremist bigots and know-nothings can so dominate
the political landscape? FOX NEWS!

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By Hammond Eggs, September 23, 2010 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

If the Tea Party is a “successful” scam, then so is The Warshington Post.

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

Well, when facts and figures fail we can always count on the Tea Baggers to insult the intelligence of any who disagree with them. And when that fails, like petulant two old years with guns, they imply violent political solutions if they don’t get their own way.

Speaking of Tea Baggers, inc., Fat Freddy-san, you said: “The rallying cry of no big government means different things to different people.” Well, it certainly does, doesn’t it? These highly principled Tea Baggers had no problem with Bad old Mr. Big Government when George Bush took a surplus and turned it into a record deficit—and in record time, too. They had no problem going halfway around the world to fight a trillion dollar war on the back of a lie—again contributing those record deficits. Oh, boy, do those Tea Partiers hate those wasteful bureaucracies liberals propose. But they had no problem, no sirree, with a whole new German sounding government agency called Homeland Security. And we know what a model of effectiveness that is, don’t we? Do Tea Partiers want Big Gov’mint telling them what to do? Hell, no! Except when it comes to banning abortion rights, banning gay marriage, gays in the military, making English-only laws, enshrining tax cuts for the rich, calling corporations “persons” and allowing unlimited amounts of corporate cash in elections…and on and on. Then Big Government, as an instrument of righteous Christian Capitalism, is a force for good. These would be the same towering intellectual giants who showed up at Health Care rallies with signs like “No Government Interference in my Health Care. And HANDS OFF my Medicare!”

So you might think I’m saying that Tea Partiers are ignorant white racist hypocrites whose new found sense of fiscal responsibility in government only happened since a black man assumed the Presidency but…no, wait, that is what I’m saying.

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

MC Hammerabi
Tsk, tsk. I didn’t call you a “hate filled, redneck “lover of the confederacy” Where did I call you that? I mean, you might be, but I didn’t call you that. I know you faith-based righties don’t spend a whole of time in the research and analysis departments but if you’re going to attack someone at least get their quotes right. You should also check your spelling. There is a spell check function, you know. It’s free and allegedly without government oversight.

Speaking of quotes and quoting, here’s my new favorite quote from you. (See how easy it is to quote someone? You just copy and paste.)
“It can piss you off, but the storm is brewing; “liberals” can only stand by and watch as this storm innundates the power structure they hold so dear, a power strucuture that cares nothing for you, Peetwonkus.”

Is that a death threat?

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By Fat Freddy, September 23, 2010 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Can any “liberal” make a cogent argument?

No, no, no. That would be too much like Ayn Rand. We can’t have any of that. Do you remember, in college, the difference between English Comp I, and II? One was based on personal experiences, and the other was based on formulating a logical argument? I dropped I, twice, and Aced II the first time. Liberals are the opposite.

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By MC Hammerabi, September 23, 2010 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Queenie - Is the reason you mock “teabaggers” due to the fact that you cannot make a cogent argument?  Can any “liberal” make a cogent argument?  Is there any liberal, besides Camille Paglia, who can write without resorting to belittling and name calling? Glibness does not win converts.

If a married couple hated each other as much as different segments of our society do, we would urge them to divorce. 

End the Fed.  End the wars.  End the Nanny state.  End the Empire.

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By Fat Freddy, September 23, 2010 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

I knew the original Fat Freddy. And you, sir, are no Fat Freddy.

Sure, the “original” Fat Freddy sat on the couch all day, watching TV, doing bong hit after bong hit and stuffing his face full of junk food while neglecting his poor sweet cat, which he didn’t even bother to name. Oh, and he was constantly getting beat on weed deals.

I am the new and improved Fat Freddy. While I still may do an occasional bong hit, it is no longer my primary function in life. I got up off my fat ass and went out and started my own business and took responsibility for my actions, and my life. But thanks to “The Man”, the economy has crashed, and my business is in the toilet. I don’t want a hand-out, a low interest loan or a free ride. All I want is opportunity. The same as what my ancestors wanted when they came to this country broke and destitute, 100 years ago.

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By MC Hammerabi, September 23, 2010 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

Nice rebuttal Peetwonkus; quite classy indeed.  So your argument is that people who believe in a limited role for government are stupid, retarded hate mongers.  Corporate sponsorship is necessary for us because we, the country class, are so ignorant and dominated by our “hate” that we couldn’t possibly organize anything besides a book burning.

You know what is really stupid?  Defending a system that has led to the utter bankruptcy of our society and way of life.  You can launch your bile all day long, but it does not change the fact that we are broke!  Broke from social spending; broke from endless war; broke from the Federal Reserve’s destruction of our currency.

I choose to spend time pointing these things out and the best you can do is call me a hate filled, redneck “lover of the confederacy” because I see the writing on the wall.

I beg to differ with you sir.  Considering the invective spewed in your rants, I believe it is you who is doing the hating here.  I’m just a math professor who has run the numbers and realizes there is no way to continue on this trajectory.

It can piss you off, but the storm is brewing; “liberals” can only stand by and watch as this storm innundates the power structure they hold so dear, a power strucuture that cares nothing for you, Peetwonkus.

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By Queenie, September 23, 2010 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

Peetawonkus, I am with you 100% I do not suffer fools gladly and mock teabaggers whenever the subject comes up. Thanks for the “sound the wind makes whistling through thousands of empty heads” line. Quotable and funny.

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2010 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

The Little Tea Pot song would be a happy improvement over the Teabagger ranting approach to politics!...... I can vision the new Congress going through the Little Tea Pot song and motions, which would be a positive direction because at least they would be doing something more constructive singing a happy song instead of the normal divisive hate rendering!

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

I knew the original Fat Freddy. And you, sir, are no Fat Freddy.

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By Fat Freddy, September 23, 2010 at 8:41 am Link to this comment

Peetawonkus

Straw Man, much? I guess when you can’t make a logical argument, you have to resort to a shameless appeal to emotion, as well.

FAIL

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

MC Hammerabi
Oh, it’s a “natural phenomenon” now, is it. So the Tea Party is like…gravity, or light. Almost God-endorsed, in a way, huh?

The Tea Party “movement” is corporate sponsored. It’s not an opinion. It can be proved, demonstrated, as in: “follow the money.” And I do mock it, con gusto, and the fat angry white racist ass-scratchers who show up with Obama=Hitler signs. It’s the Know-Nothing Party all over again, glorying in their stupidity and violent 2nd Amendment fantasies culminating in shooting abortion providers in a church. This isn’t anything new. It’s the same old conspiracy theory John Birchers and Goldwater Republicans who’ve been showing up at Posse Comitatus meetings with their guns and Bibles and macaroni casseroles since LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act. It’s the same old Confederate wine poured into a new bottle. Do you hear the faint howling of the wind? It’s the sound the wind makes whistling through thousands of empty heads.

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2010 at 7:52 am Link to this comment

In the end, if the Tea Party started appearing successful in reality, one can suggest the Tea Party will assume a new name rendition of the other two parties, for the manipulations of politics and opportunism has a tradition of ending that way. 

Rigor, no suits or special interests showed up possibly because it was not in their prudent interest at the time?  If the tea party becomes more than a headless snake, me thinks the manipulative opportunists (special interests) will be present to screw the snake head on properly.

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By MC Hammerabi, September 23, 2010 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Kerryrose: ever hear of a guy named Ron Paul?  He has railed and railed against corporate influence in government.  In fact, he has gone so far as to label our system of government a corporatacracy.  So to claim that no portion of the tea party has addressed corporate power is fallacious.

I’m not a defender of the “Tea Party” movement, but what I am claiming is that the sentiment behind the tea parties - the sentiment that was the impetus for its formation - is real and gaining momentum.

If it makes certain people feel better about things to mock the tea party as nothing more than “astro-turf,” then by all means, ridicule and mock the movement - this seems to be the only way most liberals know how to debate anything (reminds me of glib teenagers) -  but as a force, the sentiment to halt ever further government/corporate control and manipulation - be it the Patriot Act, Obamacare, or stifling taxes coupled with reckless spending - turns across the plains: an F5 tornado rumbling towards Washington DC.

Do you hear the faint howling of the wind?  As it culminates into a freight-train roar remember: it aint corporate sponsered guy, it’s a natural phenomenom.

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By Fat Freddy, September 23, 2010 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

kerryrose,

The Tea Party rails about Big Government, but not a peep about Big Busisness or corporations.

It depends which Tea Party you look at. If you look at the Ron Paul Tea Partiers, the ones who actually started the “movement”, you will see that they are against the corporate welfare that you elude to. They are also in favor of personal freedom, and are anti-war, something the liberal Democrats have been very light on in recent years.

They are organized and funded by corporate interests who are diverting them from the fact that it is government/corporate power that is the problem.

No. A big part of the problem is that they are not organized. If you look at a Tea Party group in my state of NJ, you will see a stark contrast to one, in say, Tennessee. There is little or no uniformity. The rallying cry of no big government means different things to different people. If the Tea Party candidates do gain some influence in Congress, I think that you will see that they will need to iron out all of the differences amongst themselves.

It does warm my heart though, to see yet another reference to the Kochtopus hit piece by Jane Mayer. It’s funny, because she uses Brian Doherty as a source, who works for Reason Magazine, which is published by the Reason Foundation, where David Koch is on the Board of Trustees. Funny, she didn’t mention that.

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By Rigor, September 23, 2010 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

I joined the Tea Party here in my little town in
the back-of-nowhere Arizona back during our
primaries to get a take on who would best represent
my ridiculous ideas of Honesty, Integrity, and
Truth…. and have never heard the first word about
big corporations - no “suits” ever showed up at our
local meetings and everything was pretty much off
the cuff. There isn’t much talk about who’s democrat
or republican (I’m a registered dem by the way) but
entirely about who’s a freek’n liar. And due to the
fact that just about EVERY politician is a freek’n
liar I’m about out of options.
The tea party isn’t a solution, its just another
perspective on politics, that doesn’t care what
“side” your on.
Slam your hatred down as best you can, but my free
will was paid for by patriots past and present, and
in the end thats all that really matters.
(PS- I personally think Palin is in it for the
money and a shot at being boss… not too ethical).

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By Mike789, September 23, 2010 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

“...throwing off the suffocating influence of government/corporate power.”

Kerryrose has it right and I suspect that a majority of the Tea Party(ers) do not realize how miss directed there efforts have become.

What has happened, in my observation, is a grass-roots movement with legitimate complaints, was hijacked by the likes of Freedom Works and Tea Party Express who steered the discontent away from the actual source. I think they jumped in before the anger could mature to sound thought.

That’s what the Right, even the Republican Party as a whole, does best. It redirect discontent, not toward constructive solutions, but rather, in circular construct, back upon the reactionary “results” of injustice, and importantly, not toward the “cause” of the reactions themselves. As such, it takes more than half a brain to see this tactic from within, when the non-logical crowd psychology has sway.

This allowed the less-than-level-headed candidates and non-candidates with aligned interests, bent on cementing a position, to stir the caldron with the cudgel of religious sentiment and other peculiarities, viz. Glenn Beck.

The traditional Republicans may not have anticipated the Tea Party wins, and they now have to accomodate them. They will have to absorb them to dissipate them.

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By madisolation, September 23, 2010 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

“Yes, there is a lot of discontent in America. But that discontent is better represented by the moderate voters…”
No, that discontent is better represented by the vilified “Professional Left”—also known as the Democratic base—that want nothing to do with these Corporate Hiney-Lickers, anymore. The mighty ObamaRahma machine thought it could shed its base, and the young and Obama’s OFA would pick up the slack. They were wrong. Now Biden—when he isn’t campaigning for Blanche Lincoln, like he did yesterday—is telling the Professional Left to “get it in gear, man!” Desperation makes you say funny stuff when you’ve lost your base. (Hint to Biden: the “Professional Left” is fighting for issues that the majority in this country want, like saving Social Security, Medicare for All, and an end to wars).

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By FiftyGigs, September 23, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

It is indeed a very small movement. That means, it has very little power, but, in America, one vote is all it takes, if one person is all who vote.

Power is about voting. In just over a month, this Tea nonsense, and the decrepitude of the Republican Party can be tossed into the dumper of history.

Republicans, and even conservatives, are barely represented in the halls of power today. It takes a bare minority block to stall legislation. Cut that sliver of influence, and conservatism is dead. For a long time.

If you are angry at Democrats, you should be furious at Republicans. Start a progressive America by punishing Republicans. Vote.

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By Peetawonkus, September 23, 2010 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

The Tea Pary: the best corporate funded grassroots movement money can buy.

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By Big B, September 23, 2010 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

The tea party is just the pro-corporate wing of the GOP that always envied the political power that was held by the religious right. But no more. The corporations have officially seized power in the GOP (thanks in no small part to Citizens United) and what we are (may) about to witness in 2010 is the OFFICIAL corp takeover of america.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 23, 2010 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

When the GOP wins the House and Senate in November it will owe it to the Teaparty—and they WILL, like a leg-breaking loan shark, collect OR ELSE!

Be afraid. Be very afraid.  Take these crazies seriously BEFORE they get elected or you’ll have to take them seriously after they take office.

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By kerryrose, September 23, 2010 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

MC Hammarabi

Correction.  The Tea Party rails about Big Government, but not a peep about Big Busisness or corporations.

Why?

They are organized and funded by corporate interests who are diverting them from the fact that it is government/corporate power that is the problem.

Don’t believe the Tea Party has ever said a WORD against corporate power.  They refused to rally at Wall Street, for example.

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By MC Hammerabi, September 23, 2010 at 12:33 am Link to this comment

While I’m not a member of the Tea Party, I watch its power grow daily, and I sympathize with its message: throwing off the suffocating influence of government/corporate power. I remain skeptical of the movement, however, because I feel it will be infiltrated by either government agents or neocon ideologues.  But with all due respect to Mr. Dionne, this paradigm shift - away from government provided solutions - is a tsunami rapidly approaching the shore.  It may not happen in 2010; it may not happen in 2012, but the wave is coming. The rejection of Keynesian central planning has begun.  Mr. Dionne can attempt to minimize it, but in the process, only minimizes himself.

End the Fed ... End the Wars ... End the Empire

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2010 at 12:06 am Link to this comment

Well it has been said, Mad Palin has thrown her Tea Party wearing a hat made of Moose fur…..

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