On Friday, I was working the afternoon away when a co-worker popped into my office and asked a question (work related). I gave him the answer he needed and he then asked if I have been following the debt ceiling debates and madness that is going on in Washington DC. “A little,” I answered with a slight smirk, as I didn’t want to get into a political debate in the workplace. But he pressed on. “These Tea Party people are ruining the country. They are roadblocking getting a bill passed by refusing to agree with either party. Our economy is going to go into the shitter all because of them!” Oh my. What to do? Put him in his place? Say nothing and let another ignorant soul wander the earth? Those who know me well enough know that I had no choice, really. I had to say something…
But I played nice. It was in my workplace after all. I merely pointed out that with all the troubles of this economy, built over decades of reckless spending, resource plundering, social engineering, and government growing by the Democrats and Republicans, I find it incredulous that one would lie the blame at the feet of the Tea Party caucus that has been in office for less than a year. I added that I also find it odd that it was lost on said co-worker that he would lay the blame on the caucus that is represented by only 56 members of the House of Representatives. After all, the Republicans hold a 240-193 edge over the Democrats (47 seats).
Let’s look at this another way. The Republicans and Democrats hold a 377 – 56 majority over the Tea Party. How on earth can you hold a group that is outnumbered seven to one in the House responsible for roadblocking a bill or ruining the country? Wouldn’t you lay at least a little bit of the blame at the feet of the remaining 186 Republicans and 193 Democrats who absolutely refuse to compromise on anything at all. If those two groups of ass clowns got together and created a bill, the Tea Party caucus would be rendered mute!
But there-in lies the power of the modern media and the power of the leaders of the two major parties in America’s political system. They go out there and claim that the Tea Party is holding America hostage, with their measly little 56 members, and Americans buy it. Democrats are so eager to believe their full of shit party that they don’t even question that Democrats in Congress are the good guys who want to get a deal done. Republicans are so eager to believe their full of shit party that they don’t even question that Republicans in Congress are the good guys who want to get a deal done. Of course, it is those damn Tea Party folks that are causing all the problems.
The fact is that the reason we are watching all this fake drama in Washington is because the Republicans and Democrats are like spoiled children who both want it their way or no way at all. Those two parties of ass clowns are the reason a bill won’t get done (not that I mind for the record, as I think the economic apocalypse talk is nothing but fear-mongering). And for the record as well, we wouldn’t even be in this mess in the first place if it weren’t for the REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS. The Tea Party didn’t get us into this mess! Hell, they are infants in the world of politics. They haven’t accomplished a single thing yet. So how can all this be their fault?
It isn’t their fault. The reality is that the Tea Party exists precisely because this mess was created by the other two parties. Sure, it was the $700 Billion Bailout coupled with President Obama’s health care nonsense and insistence on entitlement program growth that was the catalyst for the initial creation. But the reality is that in the past, if you hated Democratic programs and plans, you rallied to the GOP in order to join the opposition. But that didn’t happen this time. This time a new group split off separate from the GOP because those who rallied to the Tea Party no longer had any faith in the Republicans either.
But an odd thing happened. In a world where the phrase, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” generally rings true, the opposite actually came to pass. The Republicans initially tried to embrace the Tea Party, only to find that the Tea Party wasn’t interested in becoming a new wing in the old boy network. The Democrats, seeing a new enemy of the GOP, didn’t embrace the Tea Party and attempt to align with them. Instead they also denounced the Tea Party. Suddenly the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy. Why would this be? I will tell you why…
I have long held, as have many others here at SUFA, that the two major parties in American politics are not enemies at all. They are both on the same team. Sure they have their differences. They are like two brothers. They fight bitterly and cannot agree on anything. They will beat the dog poo out of each other in a heartbeat. But like two brothers, the second anyone else gets involved, blood is thicker than water. The old, “I can call my brother a son of a bitch but if you call him a son of a bitch I will bash your face in” syndrome kicks in. What both major parties understand is that the Tea Party is a real threat to politics as usual in Washington. After all, one party just got a President elected under the completely false promise to end politics as usual in DC. They know that message works. So they will absolutely come together to end this threat to their two party domination on the reigns of power.
What is more amazing to me, however, is the angst directed at the Tea Party from otherwise rational, thinking average citizens. Cries of “morons”, “crazies”, and “radical extremists” seem to rain down upon the Tea Party folks. What exactly is stupid, crazy, or radical about the Tea Party’s basic foundation? The Tea Party is based around three fundamental ideas:
- A government that operates within the limits of the Constitution (as opposed to each sides “interpretation”)
- Sound fiscal policy (reducing the debt and limiting taxation)
- Decrease in government spending (smaller government and less entitlements)
I can understand how someone who instead prefers increased government spending and control, in contrast to the Constitution, such as those who support Socialism/Communism, would disagree with the Tea Party. But to think them crazy or stupid? What about those three things is crazy, stupid, or extremist (I am sure they are one step away from landing with veterans on Napolitano’s most dangerous list)? Is it because there are a few misguided folks out there who have showed up at rallies with signs that are spelled incorrectly? Would it surprise you to know that there have been many polls done to determine the demographics of the Tea Party and one thing that regularly shows up is that they are “likely to be more wealthy and have more education.” (That from the NY Times even!) So much for the “stupid white trash” stereotype.
Or is it because of the sometimes ridiculous stances that the supposed leadership of the Tea Party take. I know that there are some who believe Michelle Bachmann to be certifiable. And certainly the left’s Palin-phobia (who may not be all that smart or fit for the Presidency, but certainly hasn’t said a lot that I would classify as “crazy”) is always on display. When the Washington Post canvassed 647 Tea Party Organizers, asking them what national figure best represents the groups, 34% said no one. The highest individual was Palin at 14%. Ron Paul got 6% and Bachmann got 4%. The Tea Party doesn’t really have a “leader.” A plurality don’t think Palin is fit for the Presidency.
Or is it because they are the radicals who are screaming to get rid of entitlement and social programs? Despite their push for smaller government, a majority of Tea Party members favor Social Security and Medicare as government expenditures that they believe “are worth the cost.”
Oh, I know. It is because the Tea Party believes that Obama is a muslim (something I don’t really care all that much about, for the record) and he is half black. Only about one in ten answered that that was an issue they thought rallied people to the cause. On the other hand, concern over the economy was given in 99% of the answers.
The one downside that I personally see to the Tea Party is that they are a group that identifies themselves as a majority socially conservative. I have had just about enough of the social conservatives as I can stand. When they can get off the idea that gay people should be punished for some reason, I will stop giving them grief. But so long as they continue to embrace limiting gay rights, I have to take a pass.
I get it. I really do. The media will make sure that the vast minority of Tea Party folks who have some outlandish positions are the ones that will be prominently featured and portrayed as the “norm” in the group. Racists, Islamaphobes, and Homophobes, oh my! But the reality is that these types are a tiny part of the Tea Party as a whole. A few crazies who create a bad name for the rest of the party. But at least the Tea Party doesn’t have their fringe extremists as the spotlight characters leading Congress. Can the same be said of the two big boys in town? Are you really going to claim the Tea Party is crazy when your representation is Pelosi, Gingrich, Franks, Rangel, Boehner, McCain, McConnell, and Biden? Realistically, after the catastrophes of Bush and Obama, do you really think that a Tea Party candidate would be all that bad?
The Tea Party is a breath of fresh air in national politics. They are the only party with any traction who are not already in the pockets of corporations. They are willing to take a stand on getting this country back on the path of fiscal responsibility, reigning in spending, decreasing the deficit, and shrinking the government. These are principles that I can agree with. I am not a member of the Tea Party. I am not a member of any party, other than SUFA’s own VDLG. But I will defend them. Because they are up against the two big kids on the block who are better than anyone at manipulating public opinion. The hatred of the Tea Party today is a perfect example of how good they are at that.
But if this country is going to ever get to what I want it to be, it is going to have to start with groups like this who are willing to take a stand against the old boy network in DC. The Tea Party certainly isn’t perfect. They are not everything I would want them to be. But they are a hell of a lot better than the two groups of ass clowns running this country currently.