Category Archive 'Tea Parties'

17 Sep 2010

The Tea Party Has Already Won

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Gene Taylor (4-MS) this week became the first House democrat to sign the Repeal Obamacare petition.

Democrats in larger numbers are deserting Obama and calling for tax cuts for all Americans.

A.B. Stoddart
, at the Hill, observes that you don’t have to wait for November to tell that the tide has turned, the Tea Party has already stopped Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid’s leftist offensive. The war will continue, but the initiative has changed sides.

Even before Christine O’Donnell handily defeated Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in an epic upset Tuesday night, the Tea Parties, all of them, had already won. No matter what happens in the midterm elections on Nov. 2, the Tea Party has moved the Democrats to the right and the Republicans even more so, and President Obama’s agenda is dead. …

As of last week, before the House and Senate even reconvened, it was clear there were enough Senate Democrats joining Republicans seeking an extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest earners that the Democrats don’t have the votes to pass President Obama’s permanent extension of the middle-class tax cuts without passing cuts for the top two tax brackets as well.

When Obama introduced his latest economic proposals earlier this month, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), an ally of the Obama White House, immediately put out a statement not only criticizing Obama’s newest infrastructure plan but knocking the original stimulus as well. “I will not support additional spending in a second stimulus package. Any new transportation initiatives can be funded through the Recovery Act, which still contains unused funds,” Bennet said.

Obama won’t get his infrastructure plan through the Congress, and he knows it. Next year, when he is running for reelection, tax and budget reform will be the only issues he could realistically work on with a GOP majority or a razor-thin Democratic majority. In other words, the Tea Party agenda.

The Tea Party candidates themselves — like O’Donnell, whom Karl Rove called “nutty,” — matter little. Only a few will actually get elected this fall. Yet the Tea Party has won without them. There are no tea leaves left to read. Democrats have been spooked and Republicans threatened, cajoled or cleansed. The results are already in.

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Overseas, the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung agrees:

“Obama has underestimated the frustration in the country and the power of the Tea Party movement, which gives the prevailing disillusionment a platform and a voice. It is by far the most vibrant political force in America. Obama’s left-of-center coalition, which got young people and intellectuals involved and which appealed to a majority of women, blacks and Latinos, has evaporated into nothing. …

The new right, though, is on the rise. It sets the agenda. America is facing a shift to the right. The Republicans have already marched in this direction of their own accord, regardless how many Tea Party reactionaries get a seat and a voice in Congress in November. The Democrats and the president have been put totally on the defensive. From now on they will only be able to react, rather than act.

03 Aug 2010

Frum Follower Objects To Tea Parties Serving Up Ayn Rand

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Ayn Rand

Former New Republic intern Ellsworth Noah Kristula-Green, writing at Frum Forum (where else?), observes the prominent role that the writings of Ayn Rand are playing in providing intellectual fuel for opposition to the Age of Obama with harrumphing indignation.

Rand’s popularity tells us two things about the state of modern conservatism.

First, it suggests that Rand’s atheism and permissive social views are no longer deal-breakers among conservative thought leaders. Jennifer Burns, the author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, has explored Rand’s influence through the years. She told FrumForum that while religion had been a crucial issue for William F. Buckley and the conservatives of the 1970s, “someone like Glenn Beck isn’t going to argue about the existence of God or the need for religion. Beck and Limbaugh can use the parts of Rand they want to use and not engage the rest.”

Second and more troubling, the conservative rediscovery of Rand signals an increasing conservative divergence from mainstream America. Conservatives falsely assume that because more copies of Rand’s books are being sold, that everyone who reads them agrees with her. Conservatives are buying into Rand’s extreme views without understanding why many people—and not only liberals—revile her.

Contra Kristula-Green, Rand’s strong readership over many decades and the ability of her ideas to make their way and expand their influence in the face of entrenched establishment opposition, and despite an embarrassing personal cult, constitutes good evidence that Rand’s values and political perspective were very much in tune with the American mainstream (if not with its cultural elite), a nation whose soul, in D. H. Lawrence’s critical view was always “hard, isolate, stoic and… unmelted.”

07 Jun 2010

Tea Party Patriotism

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Michael Kinsley sneered at participants in the Tea Party Movement, in the Atlantic, dismissing them as people only interested in a tax cut, and challenging their patriotism. Kinsley admires instead the 1960s anti-war movement, which he describes as “selfless and idealistic.”

Bah, humbug! I was there. Whom does Kinsley think he’s kidding? The 1960s anti-war movement was pure selfishness. The student revolution gave people our age the chance to throw their weight around and they took it. Adolescent hormones, excess energy, and self-importance found expression in opportunistic rebellion against authority powered by the disproportionate weight of an unusually large age group sept. A lot of people back then went out to the demonstration motivated by nothing nobler than the desire to see themselves on the six o’clock news.

The antiwar movement had no problem recruiting. Opposition to the war was morally crucial to justify one’s being at home in college, smoking pot and chasing girls, not on the other side of the world with the less fortunate male members of our generation, marching through the jungle getting shot at. If the war was right and a good cause, then we were a sleazy bunch of self indulgent louses taking shameful advantage of our student deferments while the blue collar crowd went to war in our place. If the war was wrong, we were wiser, better people, too noble to support an imperialist war. How surprising that so many people our age found the second theory so attractive.

But an even better reply to Mr. Kinsley came this weekend at a Tea Party gathering of residents of Douglas and Carroll Counties held at Clinton Preserve in Villa Rica, Georgia. The syndicated columnist and talk show host Herman Cain addressed the crowd, then there was a magical moment:

(Examiner):

The most memorable part of the tea party occurred near the end. A white-haired gentleman let a young woman go ahead of him in the rapid fire line so he could be last. When he reached the microphone, he introduced himself as Louis, a former Marine, and announced that he had recently heard the second, seldom played, verse of the Star Spangled Banner and then began to sing:

    Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto, “In God is our trust”
    And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

As Louis sang (actually the fourth and last verse; find the complete lyrics here), the surprised crowd began to stand to their feet, remove their hats, and cover their hearts with their hands. As he reached the more familiar last lines, members of the crowd joined in, and the entire crowd erupted into cheers at the finale. Upon completion of the song, Louis turned and hurried away, shaking a few hands that were thrust toward him as he walked. He quickly blended into the crowd, not to be seen again, but a photographer from http://secularstupidest.com recorded his performance and posted it on youtube for posterity.

2:56 video

Hat tip to David Larkin, Karen L. Myers, and Bruce Kesler.

18 Apr 2010

Tea Parties: Revolution From Above?

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Today’s Day By Day illustrates Richard’s point about the sophistication of Tea Party commentary

Richard Fernandez notes that Tea Parties have taken the political debate to deeper than customary levels of analysis, which may possibly be connected to the recently discovered fact that Tea Party activists are not really the rubes and yokels that the community of fashion inevitably supposed they were.

Perhaps the greatest distinction between the Tea Parties and the televised “debates” between candidates is that issues are raised at fundamentally different levels. In the first the money is for the candidate to dispense. In the second it is about how much he has a right to dispense not at the margins but structurally. The psychological difference is captured perfectly by Barack Obama’s response to the Tea Parties. ABC News reported that

    Speaking at a Democratic fundraiser tonight, President Obama touted his administration’s tax cuts and said that the recent tea party rallies across the nation have “amused” him.

    “You would think they should be saying thank you,” the president said to applause.

    Members of the audience shouted, “Thank you.”

‘Thank you for what?’ the Tea Partiers might respond, ‘it is our money.’ The incendiary potential of that type of conversation may explain the heat which has been generated by the crashers and anti-crashers at these events. The Tea Parties are less a debate than political clash. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has a number of links to sites which have promised to infiltrate the Tea Parties and efforts repel boarders. It has the aspect of conflict and consequently generates many of the same emotions. Dana Milbank at the Washington Post was nearly beside himself at the sight of these “faux populists”, only recently described as hicks, but now revealed to have Harvard Degrees.

    A CBS News/New York Times poll released on Tax Day found that Tea Party activists are wealthier than average (20 percent of their households earn more than $100,000, compared with 14 percent of the general population) and better educated (37 percent have college or postgraduate degrees vs. 25 percent of Americans ).

Milbank should be careful about opening that can of worms lest it lead to a discussion of whether the half of US households who pay Federal Income Tax so it can be transferred to the other half should have any say on how their money is spent. Because the only thing worse than the narrative that Tea Partiers are the ingrates who should be saying “thank you” to the quality that wisely governs them is the reverse: a narrative where the Tea Partiers are the quality who dare to question the ingrates that govern and write about them. Any idea that threatens to invert the positions of the elite and the peasantry is by definition subversive. The real problem with portraying the rebels as well educated and smart is that it begs the question of what their critics are.

19 Apr 2009

MSM and the Tea Parties

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Jeffrey Lena admires the MSM’s reportial double-standards.

On March 2nd there was a demonstration in Washington D.C. It was billed as the largest demonstration for green power/global warming awareness/stop dirty coal/ let’s all go live in a tepee, ever held. It was attended by, (are you ready for the number?), 2,500 people. That was the largest one ever! This demonstration was covered by every major television and news service. No station or alleged newspaper gave any coverage to opposing opinions. Ironically there was a blizzard that day another fact which, to the best of my knowledge, was not noted by any major news outlet.

Thirteen days later one of the first of the grassroots “Tea Parties” was held in Cincinnati Ohio. Over five thousand average middle-class folks showed up on Fountain Square in the center of the city. Their message was simple, we can’t afford our government! Did you see it on CNN? Maybe you caught it on ABC or MSNBC? If you did you need to check the strength of your prescriptions, it wasn’t on any of them. …

In thousands of cities and towns across America, hundreds of thousands of plain folks came out into the streets to say. “Enough!” This was not a protest against any party or person in particular but against a paradigm in governments from Washington D.C. to the local city halls that assume there is no end to the amount of money we are willing to kick in.

You wouldn’t know that from the coverage. Everyone from CNN to MSNBC to my local paper went out of their way to make it seem like anyone who attended one of these gatherings was a right-wing extremist! Right-wing extremist, hummm where have I heard that term lately? Wasn’t there some sort of government document leaked to the public the day before all these Tea Parties? I am not a believer in coincidence, especially in politics. I believe that the Department of Homeland Security report was released in an effort to intimidate some citizen and keep them from attending the anti-tax rallies.

These demonstrations were too many and too big to be ignored so the leftists in the media moved to their second tactic, belittle and mock.


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