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Fuel

Andrew Huff / May 18, 2010 1:03 AM

...And we don't mean the Boston one.

christian / May 18, 2010 8:03 AM

Well, I do enjoy the occasional scone, but tea just isn’t my thing.

Pun Dit / May 18, 2010 8:47 AM

Not my cup of tea.

Hails / May 18, 2010 9:13 AM

completely misguided and almost completely uneducated.

David / May 18, 2010 9:15 AM

I think they're a perfectly reasonable response to mounting socialist tende...

Ah, forget it. They're 100% crazeballs.

BT / May 18, 2010 9:16 AM

Fairly low. I respect everyone's right to demonstrate and protest but the movement is so chock full of conspiracy theorists, xenophobes, and opportunists I don't take them seriously. They've been given disproportionate credibility by media of all stripes and I'm tired of it, frankly.

vise77 / May 18, 2010 9:26 AM

Yet another surfacing of the idiot fringe/angry ethnic-religious-demographic majority in America, which has happened from time to time since this country was born (and has happened in many other countries, of course), especially during times of economic stress. Typical vague frustration and anger, no centralizing principle, platform or leadership and vast amounts of willful ignorance combined with a celebrated sense of childish fiscal fantasy and extreme selfishness (no new taxes, but damn you if you cut MY benefits or pork barrel wish list). While this 'movement' is nothing new--hell, the Know Nothings actually had a party way back when, and George Wallace managed a presidential run with a tide of similar (if less blatantly racist) energy behind him about 40 years ago--it will be interesting to see how long it lasts and what lasting influence it has. While America has alway been more center-right than center-left--sorry, progressives--Tea Partiers make the mistake of thinking the country, as whole, is much more right wing libertarian than is ever has been and likely ever will be. Even St Reagan, after all, raised some taxes and offered amensty to illegals and made nice with the Soviets and--it must be said--greatly expanded govt.

So, to keep it simple, my opinion is the Tea Party movement represents anger and frustration and anxiety that is certainly understandable and in many cases more than justified (who isn't worried about federal debts and deficits, or pissed off by the fact that bankers are still making gobs of money while the rest of us make do with much less?), yet a willful ignorance and selfishness that is unacceptable (sorry, but if you want your Medicaid, Medicare and big honking military, you need revenue to keep up with the cost increases of those programs, which means more taxes. You can't have it all.).

vise77 / May 18, 2010 9:28 AM

Of course, I meant Wallace and his followers were more blatantly racist than modern day Tea Partiers. If you don't believe me, you don't know much about Wallace.

Rick Abplanalp / May 18, 2010 9:40 AM

I am willing to accept complaints that the media paints them in a more negative light than necessary. I am sure not all Tea Partiers are illiterate backwater hillbillies. The Party would however have significantly more credibility had any of these people spoken out against the superfluous spending and Big Government programs of George W Bush. The fact that all the outcry started shortly after Obama's inauguration only makes the Tea Party seem less about concern about Big Government and more about rebranding the GOP at a time when their popularity was at a nadir.

And yeah, some of these people are just dumb racists.

Rich / May 18, 2010 10:42 AM

@Rick...great point. If I could add...while I am not a Tea Party guy myself, I do have friends that are.

Their response to your Big Government issue is that there is a difference between a Big Gov't consisting of Military Spending...compared to a Big Gov't which Redistributes Wealth. Right or wrong, the Tea Partiers don't mind Big Military Spending.

In my opinion, the Tea Party represents Conservative Americans who are not too well versed in American History.

Andy Marfia / May 18, 2010 12:09 PM

@Rich: The next time you're talking to your Tea Party friends, you might want to throw out George Bush's prescription drug benefit that he added to Medicare. That has nothing to do with the military and added a ton of unfunded government spending and debt. Ask them if they complained about that one?

Cheryl / May 18, 2010 12:12 PM

They're a bunch of racist idiots.

Rich / May 18, 2010 12:18 PM

@Andy...good point. I'll def bring that up next time we have a drink. I normally have fun with them and point out their contradictions....this will add to that. :-)

Mucky Fingers / May 18, 2010 1:53 PM

The Tea Party is rightfully angry, mildly misguided and heavily misinformed.

It's ironic that Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have earned millions through screwing over these people by repeatedly reminding them how screwed over they've been.

Clint / May 18, 2010 3:04 PM

As long as the coked up rabbit didn't try to pull anything funny; id hang with alice for a cuppa.

Anthony Lewellen / May 18, 2010 3:20 PM

No my cup of...Doh!

BG / May 18, 2010 3:22 PM

The practice of teabagging is just plain rude.

PMan / May 18, 2010 11:33 PM

A sign that there are many people out there whose parents didn't do a very good job. To demean an incoming administration fighting imminent economic collapse with the most vitriolic language possible while offering NO solutions to any of the real problems we face is the height of irresponsibility. The nod of legitimacy that lazy politicians and media grant these buffoons is a real sign of the troubles we face.

Spook / May 19, 2010 12:43 PM

honestly,
living in Chicago and being witness to the complacency on injustice,i.e. childen being murdered, etc.,
has changed my thinking about the "Tea Party".

Despite, their complete ignorance about American economics,race and class, I give them A LOT of credit for actually organizing at grassroots levels to make a stand. It also seems thay they are mostly working class folks with out college education.

Most of the people that I know have all the right political
views and opinions but do nothing to make our country better, unless they're being paid by a nonprofit. These are mostly educated and relatively affluent people.

Also, it’s funny how the liberal media makes fun of the tea baggers for being mostly white, but most parties/affairs of white liberals that I go to are equally all white as well.
At least the Tea baggers are trying to diversify although with tragicomic results.

So, I think If tea baggers were more exposed to progressive ideas than they would do more than the NPR crowd who are always so self-righteously holier than thou.

Nuke LaLoosh / May 19, 2010 1:32 PM

@Spook - interesting insights!

I agree -- I am also impressed at the success of the TP's grass-roots organizing, especially in a relatively short period of time.

I wonder about the tie between their relative success and the politics they espouse. Would they be so effective at organizing (getting the same numbers at rallies, raising the same amount of money, etc.) if they were not so overheated (and often inaccurate) about their history and their politics?

The often-ahistorical rhetoric around these TP groups -- about the role of religion and government, about race and class, etc. -- really winds up their supporters and servers as a powerful motivator.

TP leaders have tapped into a powerful reserve of anger and anxiety that is based on fear and misinformation. Fear is, of course, a powerful political motivator.

Many of the college-educated middle-class, white, "liberal" NPR types that I know seem to be more thoughtful "on-the-other-hand" people who are not likely to get so excited. They are generally unwilling to engage in meaningful political action. They don't make phone calls, knock on doors, or donate much money: they prefer to talk about politics at cocktail parties.

Put another way, most of these folks mistake talking about and reading about politics for taking political action.

vise77 / May 19, 2010 3:01 PM

"It also seems thay they are mostly working class folks with out college education."

Well, maybe it seems so, and I don't know of any deep research into this movement beyond a NY Times poll of about a month ago, but that poll suggested that a good number of Tea Partiers, perhaps most, have college educations and are relatively well off. This would jive with history, which shows that many, if not most, reactionary movements in the modern Western world usually are driven by middle class people with above-average educations, those being the people with the most to lose as demographics shift and economies change.

I know you like to bitch about lazy libs, Spook--and you have good reason to do so--but don't let that blind you to other possiblities.

amyc / May 19, 2010 4:03 PM

"Despite, their complete ignorance about American economics,race and class, I give them A LOT of credit for actually organizing at grassroots levels to make a stand."

True-ish, although the "movement" is also heavily funded and supported by think tanks like Dick Armey's Freedom Works and by Fox News, which organized many of these "grassroots" events and sent their staff to both speak at them and cover them as news.

The fact is, the Tea Party gets media coverage wildly disproportionate to its numbers. Millions of people took to the streets to protest the Iraq War in 2003, but those protests got far less ink than the average 500-person gathering of teabaggers waving historically inaccurate and gramatically challenged signs.

vise77 / May 19, 2010 4:26 PM

AmyC: Yes, that is true.

But it is true that the Iraq protestors had no chance in hell of making any change about the Iraq War. We still went to war and we remain at war, and the progress of the war has barely--if at all--been influenced by the protests, and likely would not have been with more media coverage. As well, the Iraq protests were limited-time events. Truth is, most anti-war protests or even anti-draft riots in modern Western history do far less than participants hope. They rarely topple governments or have any immediate or medium-term effect on war policy--and this holds true for the Vietnam era protests, as that war generally was brought to end for two main factors: It was costing far too much and contributing to the danger of inflation, and there was no way we could win without dropping some A- or H-bombs on North Vietnam.

The Tea Partiers, by contrast, are engaging on ongoing action, for better or worse (and you can read above to see what I think), and are having modest to significant effect on American politics and government.

The Iraq protests were likely much larger than the Tea Party thing will ever get, at least in terms of one-day protest numbers, but the Tea Partiers are much more influential, even if one sees their influence as being mainly within GOP intra-party business.

So, I think, the anti-Tea Party people need to at least drop the Iraq War protest angle, which makes a nice sound bite but really makes no deep sense.

Dennis Fritz / May 19, 2010 9:01 PM

Just the latest manifestation of White Nationalist, pseudo-populist outrage. They'd not hae gotten this far without fudning from right-wing foundations and the cooperation of a lapdog media willing to treat these goofs seriously.

Just Sayin' / May 19, 2010 9:28 PM

Seems to be a lot of rationalizing and projecting going on, doesn't there? Obviously a lot of thought has been put into a movement you deem unimportant and dismissable.

Would you all diminish Rosa Parks' act of defiance in 1955 because she sat in the back of the bus all of the years leading up to that moment? As if the timing of resistance somehow repudiates it's sincerity or authenticity.

You folks do remember that Bush & Co's aproval ratings during the last term were in the 30%'s. That would lead anyone with an objective mind to understand that there was plenty of dissaffected conservatives as well as disapproving liberals. Gallup has shown that around 40% of the country describes themselves as conservative while 20% describe themselves as liberal, so do the math.

Everyone outside of the liberal echo chamber knows the racist meme is a joke. Really, how hard did the media try to paint them as racists - and it has fallen flat.

...btw, where are those war protestors now that Obama is in the WH? I remember the annivesary march a couple months ago, and was in the area, but it was your run of the mill socialist and anti-US groups. You can get those people to protest a weather report. Where were all the normal people?

Mike / May 19, 2010 10:47 PM

I see them all the time at Fed Plz, dickwad.

gate / May 20, 2010 10:24 AM

I think many are eager to diminish the defiance of the TP because they were perfectly content to sit in the back of the bus while the bus driver was white.

Bush had a low approval rating but I didn't see any conservatives protesting in the street until Obama was elected and continued to carry out many of his policies (TARP, war, off-shore drilling).

Why aren't we protesting the War now? Well, most liberals have a "you broke it, you bought it" perspective on the war. We are stuck there until we can fix it enough to leave peacefully. No point in protesting about it.

Oh enough already / May 20, 2010 11:24 AM

Gate,

This is where the whole "racism" label gets ridiculous.

One of the largest parts of the tea party movement is financially focused (anti-bailout, ending Federal Reserve abuses, budgetary process reform, anti-earmark and pork spending, tax reform, etc...).

Previous adminstrations (including Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, etc...) have contributed their own legislative/policy mistakes to get the country to where it is today, fiscally.

So what happened in between 2008 and 2009?

- We voted for a black man for president

- The financial markets were rolled as a result of fraud and mismanagement, leading to a deep recession where the unemployment rate doubled and will remain high for years to come. It also led to a period where people's retirement savings were wiped out or halved.

So, in light of these two events, some people choose to assign the rise of the tea party movement to something as insignificant as the color of the president's skin, rather to the fact that the nation was taken to the brink of financial catastrophe.

Do people really start diving deep into the financials and budgetary processes of government (at federal, state, and local levels, no less) simply because there is a black man in an executive position?

This is why the racism meme never took off except for the people who truly wanted to see their fellow citizens as racists and lable them as such. (Ironic, since these are largely the same people who are up in arms over so-called racial profiling elsewhere)

What I really think is sad, is that the liberal side of the country has yet to figure out what damage it has done to this country by labeling honest dissent and protected speech as racially motivated.

David / May 20, 2010 1:01 PM

Honest dissent? That's a larf.

There's nothing honest about that dissent at all. When George Bush was running the highest budget deficits in recent memory, where were you? Asleep at the wheel. And when he funded an entire war OFF THE BOOKS because he couldn't be bothered to get Congressional approval, where were you? Nodding along with Limbaugh.

The Tea Party is essentially racist. Know why? Because the policies of Obama frankly aren't all that different than Bush. He's made incremental changes which I approve of, but he's certainly not leading this country off a socialist cliff.

Why didn't any of these patriotic Americans say anything about all these excesses before? Why'd they wait until the worst President in the last hundred years as out of office, before cranking up their outrage machine? Answer me that question with any kind of reasonable clarity, and I'll grant you the point.

Until then, I'll be staying away from big crowds of white people holding angry signs, thank you very much. Those people are a disgrace to American patriotism, and anathema to anybody with even an ounce of human compassion for all Americans.

Oh enough already / May 20, 2010 3:17 PM

David,

Since you find your fellow citizens to be so contemptable, that they have not an ounce of human compassion, and that they are a disgrace, it is not difficult to see that you are the type of person who will want to see people as racists.

It serves to confirm your hatred of them. Dehumanizing people is the easiest way to justify hatred.

...and that is a really sad place to be.

David / May 20, 2010 4:18 PM

Aw, what's the matter? Can't respond to the content, so you attack the messenger?

Boo hoo.

I brought up legitimate questions. Questions which you've failed to address in any substantive way whatsoever. If you want to attack me personally, go right ahead. But that won't bolster your shaky intellectual position, nor will it make your arguments any more effective.

I don't hate the Tea Party people. I think they're severely deluded and misguided, but they're also Americans. I'm well within my rights to assert that they don't have compassion for their fellow human beings, and I could bolster that claim with dozens of examples. Remember the guy with Parkinson's who was rallying in favor of the health care bill? The Tea Party protesters shouted at him, belittled him, mocked him, and threw money at him. I'd say that's a great example of Tea Party intolerance. And merely one of MANY.

Now then, do you actually have anything to say, or are you going to keep attacking me?

Rich / May 20, 2010 4:42 PM

@Dave...good post buddy.

Why didn't any of these patriotic Americans say anything about all these excesses before?

Those excesses were mostly tax cuts and Military Spending. The Tea Party's mission is not about that type of spending...it has to do with the Bailouts and Stimulus Programs. The Tea Party sounds like they wanted more of a Hoover approach to the Banking Crisis...and we all know how that turned out. ;-)

Why'd they wait until the worst President in the last hundred years as out of office, before cranking up their outrage machine?

Because Obama put forth the Stimulus and another Bailout *after* he became President. The Tea Party did not like Bush's Bailout (see incumbents losing this week), and they do not like Obama's Bailout/Stimulus Programs.

oh please already / May 20, 2010 5:12 PM

Are you calling your unhinged rant content?

Your argument boils down to a degree of magnitude.

You look to discredit the tea party movement because when Bush was running budget defecits in the range of $400 billion, there were no protests. Now that Obama is running defecits at $1.4 trillion, a 350% increase, there is resistance to that defecit spending, and that resistance is based on racism.

Chicagoans were up in arms over a 1% increase in the sales tax, so its not surprising that a 350% increase in defecit spending will produce resitance.

Under the Obama budgets, the amount of debt as a percentage of GDP increases to over 100% by 2020. People aren't stupid, they realise at that point the country will default.

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