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This Tea Party could get out of hand

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There is a relatively new political movement mobilizing in the right wing and I’m apprehensive.

The movement, like the Republican platform, protests “excessive government spending and taxation” and has a literal interpretation of the Constitution. They cite three core values they feel should guide public policy: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.

I understand fiscal responsibility. The phrases “constitutionally limited government” and “free markets” throw me.

The movement kicked off on the heels of what is one of the worst financial disasters faced by our country. The Obama administration issued the stimulus package because of the collapse of Wall Street in 2008 that was largely the result of unregulated and unchecked financial markets.

The Tea Partiers oppose government intervention in our free market, but this is exactly what got the country in to financial trouble in the first place on Wall Street.

The movement protested the increase in our national debt due to the stimulus package, bailout money paid to the banks and subsequent monster bonuses to corporate elite employees that followed.

This fiasco proves that we need some regulation and assessment in the financial industry and this is one of the purposes of government. Yet, the Tea Party sees this as an infringement by “big” government.

Tea Partiers feel that any solution by big government is bad, especially if it costs money. How this undermined our liberties, I am not sure, as big banks and investors were able to undermine the financial freedom and security of so many Americans.

This is a big mess to clean up; the bigger the mess, the longer it will take. But, movement on financial policies is happening in Washington, D.C., it’s just coming slowly.

The House churned out revised legislation on lending late last year. This will hopefully prevent another market disaster. It is now in the hands of the Senate Banking Committee.

There is a jobs bill being bounced around the Senate and Obama wants some of the TARP funds released to help small business regain their foothold.

The Tea Partiers are capitalizing on the anger and fear of Americans who feel the results aren’t coming fast enough.

Moreover, the talking Tea Party heads seem dangerous to me. Party leader Mark Williams illustrates this better than I can explain it.

Williams resorted to a proven tactic from grade schools across the country: name-calling. On his blog, he called President Obama “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief.”

When asked, in a television interview, if he really thought that Obama was racist, Williams replied, “He’s certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country, what else can I conclude?”

The Tea Party uses negative banter and aggression to rally the conservative base. This is no way to make progressive change. This single-handedly erases the idea of unity and bi-partisanship.

The government and American people need civilized, organized debate. The good thing is the Tea Party does bring energy, passion and the occasional viable issue for such a discussion, but it’s muddled with name-calling and cheap shots. For example, we can do without Palin’s taunting with her “hopey-changey” phrase in her keynote speech at the recent Tea Party convention in Nashville, mocking Obama’s campaign slogan, but in a way that only four-year-olds would have understood.

Many protesters are upset with the financial state of affairs and this is justifiable. They have the right to a voice. Sadly, this voice is minimized when Williams or Palin make inane statements that rise above the din.

“Let’s stand up and take our country back,” say the Tea Partiers. However, the movement does not concern itself with viable solutions to what they perceive are problems. The only solution I am aware of is their action plan of voting in the most conservative government officials possible.

The process begins with rallies and members educating attendees how to get themselves, or others, on the Republican ballot in county elections. Senior members will also help them devise their campaign strategy and message.

This constructed message is incredibly compliant with the intention of our founding fathers, which, they say, upholds their three core beliefs. But instead of coming to the middle of the issues, they stand against the furthest right wall and and use their message to feed into the fanaticism and emotional hook they have in many Americans.

What they‘re putting forward is not practical with regard to the financial sector. We have tried unfettered capitalism and it nearly collapsed.

On the other end, the alleged socialism from the Obama camp is not practical either; communism failed long ago.

So here we are with the Tea Party yelling about big government and the problems with the current administration. They will continue to beat their drums until elections, but it’s unlikely there is anything they can do if elected. In the meantime, go ahead and beat your drum.

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7 Comments

  1. David Feb 19, 2010

    Alexandra:

    Oh how times have changed. Isn’t it interesting how those of us who believe in the Founders’ vision of the country they created are now viewed has the “far right,” essentially relegated to dangerous nut-case status by the left.

    So what are you afraid of exactly? That the Tea Partiers will march through the street with pitchforks and torches and demand an overthrow of the government? Cover their faces and destroy storefront windows and the property of others? No, this is a leftist tactic.

    Actually, it seems to me that you’re afraid that the left—with its full control of Washington—has finally pushed the American people too far. The Tea Partiers are “capitalizing” on THAT. You’re afraid of being challenged and of the people’s demand that government respect their constitutional rights and their demand that government limit its role in our lives.

    Name-calling by either side accomplishes little, but that’s from a relatively small number on the right. For the left, it’s a primary tactic (e.g., Al Franken; Janeane Garofalo; Keith Olbermann; Howard Dean) because they generally wish to avoid debate. Vilify the right; talk about your Utopian views of America; borrow and print more money and then take more from the taxpayers because it’ll never be enough.

    As is typical of the left, you oversimplify the cause of the current economic situation to reflect your position. Government regulation is at least equally at fault and probably more so. As Charles Krauthammer wrote a year ago: “At the very center of our economic near-depression is a credit bubble, a housing collapse and a systemic failure of the banking industry. One can come up with a host of causes: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed by Washington (and greed) into improvident loans, corrupted bond-ratings agencies, insufficient regulation of new and exotic debt instruments, the easy money policy of Alan Greenspan’s Fed, irresponsible bankers pushing (and then unloading in packaged loan instruments) highly dubious mortgages, greedy house-flippers, deceitful home buyers.”

    The left’s answer to almost everything is to have a bigger, more intrusive government. Government was not created to do things for us; rather it was intended to do just enough to protect our freedoms so that we can do for us. With credit to Dennis Prager: “The bigger the government, the smaller the individual.”

  2. Curtis Feb 19, 2010

    Looks like Alexandra drank the Kool aid! Your friends on the extreme left should be proud. You have taken everything they have said as gospel truth, with-out a shred of evidence. What truly frightens me is your complete lack of understanding of the Constitution of the United States of America. To quote you,
    “I understand fiscal responsibility. The phrases “constitutionally limited government” and “free markets” throw me.” If you do not understand the last two items in this quote how is it possible to understand the first? If I’m reading “between the lines” correctly you are against free markets and for unlimited government. Unlimited government equals unlimited spending. Unlimited spending does not equal fiscal responsibility, QED.

    Here is another read between the lines, prior to the year of our Obama the far left seemed to have an uncontrollable knack to name call everything and everybody they did not like. Now that “they” are in control of literally everything, how dare anyone say anything bad about them. Here is the classic case of the kettle calling the pot black. This is not a racial statement! This is case where the people who have been the name callers have become the name called and they don’t like it. You very conveniently do not seem to notice this. Fellow readers, do you notice that when you confuse a liberal with the facts they start immediately screaming racism.

    Now to the Tea Party. Let me try to put this in a simple way that you may be able to comprehend. Let’s say that the price of tuition kept going up. It keeps going up to the point where you can no longer finish your degree without extreme financial hard ship. Do you just sit there and be quite? Heck no! You start to rally protests don’t you! Well isn’t that just exactly what the Tea Party supporters are doing. The current government administration keeps jacking up the taxes to pay for the unlimited spending. But you don’t see this do you. It’s ok to take others people’s money to give to you, but when the shoe is on the other foot how are you going to feel about that?

  3. Rolando from So Cal Feb 19, 2010

    I agree to this in a sense that it is looking almost physically threating when someone hails a sign with an Obama picture with a Hitler mustache or is basically showing, representing, or is led by misinformation, but if the first amendment means anything, they have a constitutional right to do so. When watching the protests, it’s hard to take them when they also carry signs that say “Glenn Beck for President’ or “Drill baby Drill”. The difficult part is distinguishing their political beliefs with their personal beliefs, which can become confrontational. The question is where can you draw the line? I would love to sit down with a protester to see what they mean; so far, none of them has had a reasonable idea for improving the economy.

    Good article. Thoughts and feedback welcome.

  4. Joe Morgan Feb 18, 2010

    The updated definition of racist:

    RACIST: 1. Slang: Extremely Disparaging and Offensive term for a white person. 2: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities, if promoted by white people. 3: a belief that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race, if promoted by white people.

    Ever wonder why nonwhites can promote every type of discrimination they want, even the extermination of whites, and are NOT called racist?

    1. Rolando from So Cal Feb 18, 2010

      Your argument seems to make sense if you are saying that someone non-white can call someone white racist, but if the situation was switched, it cannot be permitted. If it was this cut-and-dry, you would be correct; the problem is that there is more of a protest against the system, rather than white people. It seems almost (and I stress the “almost” part) appropriate when those who are running the system are white and rule the majority. When you say non whites promote every type of nondiscrimination, it’s not about hating whites; it’s about being nonwhite in a white country.

  5. Johnny B Good Feb 17, 2010

    You are not wholly correct about the extremely nuanced and genius-packed Tea Party. I will just point out that lack of government regulation, if the government respected their constitutional role, would have led to the total extinction of the big banks by free markets. That is how nature and the universe works. Let what persists of its own merit persist. Free markets don’t mean there will never be a bad company, but that ultimately, in the long-run, the process of natural selection will prevail. Of course, they are racist as hell, primarily anti-semitic. As Horace said, you can drive out nature with a fork, but she will return.

  6. the_moll Feb 17, 2010

    Funny how this grassroots movement wasn’t even recognized by the MSM for the longest time. It’s one year late and it’s only grown stronger. I guess step 2 is to try and demonize it. Good job, Alexandra.

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