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Tea Parties are for Mad Hatters

Tom Tancredo


For several months now we’ve had people telling us not to be closed-minded about the Tea Party Movement, that they aren’t a Republican operation, they’re independents and we should join forces with them.

Bullshit.

Republican Tom Tancredo (who ran for the GOP Presidential nomination in 2008) gave the kickoff speech at the Tea Party Convention in Nashville:

The opening-night speaker at first ever National Tea Party Convention ripped into President Obama, Sen. John McCain and “the cult of multiculturalism,” asserting that Obama was elected because “we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote in this country.”

The speaker, former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., told about 600 delegates in a Nashville, Tenn., ballroom that in the 2008 election, America “put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House … Barack Hussein Obama.”

Tancredo did not stop at the Democratic president — ripping McCain, R-Ariz., the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, for shaping up to be a repeat of “Bush 1 and Bush 2.”

“Thank God John McCain lost the election,” he said, voicing his belief that McCain would have presided over big budgets and lacked a tough stand against immigration.

Tancredo served 10 years in the House of Representatives and made a name for himself with his ardent opposition to immigration. He believes the 2008 election served to galvanize the right.

“This is our country,” he told the crowd. “Let’s take it back.”

But wait, there’s more:

In a bid to advance the tea party movement from holding rallies to holding office, the leaders of the anti-establishment groups announced a new political organization Friday that they say will “endorse, support and elect” conservatives across the country.

Mark Skoda, chairman of The Memphis TEA Party, made the announcement at a news conference in the middle of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Though he said the group — Ensuring Liberty Corporation and an affiliated political action committee — is “distinct and separate” from other parts of the tea party movement, including convention organizer Tea Party Nation, the announcement was the closest thing so far to a national organizing strategy for the upcoming 2010 midterm elections.

“Let us not be naive here. The notion of us holding up signs … does not get people elected,” said Skoda, who is poised to become president of the new group. Skoda said the organization would take in small donations as well as corporate donations.

According to a written statement, the group would work to build a “sustainable coalition of elected officials” on the national level and in state and local races that might not be getting the attention of the Republican Party establishment.

The announcement came with an official platform that could help define what the multi-faceted tea party movement stands for and expects from the candidates it supports. The group’s leaders plan to support candidates who stand for a set of “First Principles.”

Those principles are: fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states’ rights and national security.

Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform. If a particular candidate meets the proposed criteria he or she would be eligible for fundraising and grassroots support.

Once elected to office, members would be expected to join a congressional caucus of “like-minded representatives” who attend regular meetings and are held accountable for the votes they cast. Those who stray from the tea party path would risk losing the new organization’s support and a possible re-election challenge. (emphasis added)

Down with socialism and multiculturalism, up with states’ rights and literacy tests for voting! For anyone who spent the past 50-60 years in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar on Funk&Wagnalls’ front porch, “states rights” was the argument used by the pro-segregationists during the Civil Rights era, and literacy tests were used back then to prevent blacks and other minorities from voting.

I’ve repeatedly attacked the notion that somehow every criticism of Obama is a dogwhistle for racists, but these guys are doing everything except wearing white hoods and burning crosses.

Let me be clear – I don’t think that every person who ever showed up at a tea party rally is a member of the RepubliKlan party. But whatever grassroots spontaneity may have existed at the beginning is being squeezed out by GOP-led organization and funding.

We do not need to join the action of the mad hatters. We need to apply Sir isaac’s Third Law and create an equal and opposite reaction.

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144 Responses

  1. Joseph Cannon:

    This fascistic neo-Birchite hate movement encapsulates everything that is wrong with this country. Anyone who tries to sell you on the lie that there is diversity within that movement, or that some elements are liberal-friendly, is simply a bought-and-paid-for infiltrator trying to sell you cyanide relabeled as soda pop.

  2. Chris Bowers (via Corrente):

    Dave Weigel is reporting on the tea party convention over twitter. One big scoop is that the organizers have flatly rejected the idea of forming a third party to run their own candidates in general elections:

    Organizers say they “absolutely do not support a third party.”

    Well, that’s that. Any hopes that Democrats will preserve their large congressional majorities in 2010 through a wave of tea party candidates who splinter conservative votes should be dashed.

    Tea partiers are correctly identifying increasing their electoral power within an already powerful electoral institution–the Republican Party–as an easier path to overall power than a creating a new electoral institution altogether.

  3. i get so pissed everytime i hear the same thing from these pricks

    • indepenedent are they hmmmmmmmmmmm ask any of them if they would support an independent libreal . the number you get will be around ZERO

    • Anyone who claims Obama is a socialist is either stupid, a liar, or both.

      • The only people I’ve ever heard call 0bama a socialist were Republican. They were stupid Republicans. If he were a socialist I would have voted for him.

        • If Obama were really a socialist, I would have rushed to the polls to vote for him and I’d be backing him now. But socialists don’t seek to make cuts in Social Security and Medicare, they don’t support bankers over jobs for the working class, etc., etc.

          • Me three. Public option would have been the only option, not the welfare for insurance companies they were trying to pass off as HCR.

  4. Good call, Myiq. At first the teabaggers seemed like they were a completely independent group, but now it looks like they’ve been taken over by reactionary right wingers.

    • Some of them are “independent” because they think the GOP is too liberal.

      • i know and alot of them thought that way during the GE and stayed home .

        • They hate McCain almost as much as they hate Obama.

          Possibly more.

          • They were interviewing them on CNN last night. I couldn’t believe that people would say things like that on TV! One woman was talking how about how Obama was doing Satan’s work. She was serious! It was appalling! Most of them sounded like they were the Kompassiate Konservative Kristians. It’s like American Taliban Fest!

          • I live in a part of the country where Obama is considered the Anti-Christ. And people are serious, no joke.

            I find the recent anti-progressive rant really disturbing; they’re on the same wavelength as the Anti-Christ meme. Not that the term progressive hasn’t been perverted by the likes of Kos and Huffy-po, but Beck’s “enemy list,” regarding any and all progressives, semi-progressives or anyone using or referencing the word, is a dangerous turn. It leads to the branding and condemnation of a Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, FDR, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and even Lindsey Graham as . . . Evil, evil people.

            Sound strangely familiar? I wasn’t around for the heyday of McCathyism [well, I was around but still sucking my toes].

            Something wicked this way comes. Don’t like the feel of it.

        • in not sure who im more pissed at the O-sheep for falling for BOs O-scam or these pricks that stayed home and let it happen

      • i know i hear the same thing

  5. I don’t think the mad hatters are evil. I’m sure they mean well and think they are doing the right thing for themselves and the country. Everybody thinks their political views are the right ones, but most of them are wrong. But which ones are which?

    Just about everyone on both sides of the political spectrum loves America and is against waste, fraud and abuse. Nobody likes paying taxes or wants someone else to get over on the system.

    We need to sell our beliefs in the marketplace of ideas. The tea partiers are not our potential customers, they are our competitors.

    • We need to sell our beliefs in the marketplace of ideas. The tea partiers are not our potential customers, they are our competitors.

      I totally agree with this.

      I also think that the left had it’s own astroturf called moveon, etc., and that progressives conveniently ignore this. In 2008, the progs acted as if they were the only ones who can have “real grassroots” and organization on the internet, etc. Because of this mistaken belief and arrogance they never understood that the other side — no matter how stupid or backwards they may seem to people on the left — was perfectly capable of catching up and playing the left at its own game.

      I guess my only issue is that I think the left invests too much in mocking the Tea Party FOR protesting. I just don’t think it’s smart strategy to dismiss a swath of people as “unpatriotic” or “mob.:. I prefer going after their bad IDEAS. Their ideology is what is anathema to me. Not their exercise of their right to protest and dissent. And, there are SOME people sympathetic to the pushback by the mad hatters simply because they are SO frustrated with DC and not being heard–you can think these people are deluded or gullible for not recognizing that the GOP is just exploiting frustrations, but there are moderates who right now think “a pox on both their houses” essentially. They know both sides are astroturf. I’m not talking about people who line up with the flaming idiocy of Tancredo and the rest of his ilk. I’m talking about people disaffected from both parties right now–some of them are actually disaffected Democrats actively being turned away from the Democratic party. And, they are the people the Dems are turning off when they just dismiss their opposition as a bunch of birthers, mad hatters, etc. Argue the bad ideas of the tea party, don’t argue their right to be frustrated with DC or to oppose the president. IMHO.

      • Here’s just what you’re talking about – The Winter of America’s Discontent:
        http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-rutten6-2010feb06,0,1034960.column

        Tancredo outed this tp group (tea party, not toilet paper!), which is a good thing. They just sound like the rightist wing of the Republican Party to me. I think they’ll just succeed in splintering the tea partiers.

        • What do you want to bet that Tancredo’s Italian immigrant ancestors couldn’t say vote in English either when they first arrived? The mean streak in those people is as wide as a skunk’s streak.

      • Yes, Democrats and “progressives” are happy to mock not just the teapartiers themselves but the people who are attracted to their ideas. They’re happy to use them as a massive distraction to the fact that their ideas are just as much an epic fail as the Teapartiers. They don’t try to compete for ideas because their ideas aren’t better, they’re just tied up in prettier packages. Isn’t Obama talking about tax cuts and shrinking “entitlement programs”?

        It’s just an extension of their strategy in the primaries — rev up the supporters by demonizing the ‘enemy’, feed their own condescension and arrogance to rile up supporters in favor of empty process instead of substantive policies. Both sides at this point are using the same d*mn tactics, and totally ignoring the very real pain, anger and frustration that lead people to the Teapartiers..

        • I agree. And I’d add that sniffing at the absurdity of the tea partiers rejecting “liberalism” because of Obama and the current Dems, on the grounds they are not ACTUAL liberals, is ignoring the obvious.

          Guess what? They are the face of liberalism in the here and now. That’s how they identify themselves. The conservatives can play that game too – “a rejection of Bush is not a rejection of conservatism because he was not an ACTUAL conservative.” It’s an easy out in politics.

          The game is the same on both sides: hang the most crazy or failed or extreme or batshit insane fringe elements of either group around their neck as the SUM definition of who they are, rather than discuss ideas.

          I honestly think that many independents and others in this country are at a point where they would like to discuss ideas. To discuss what works and what doesn’t, in practical terms. Mark my words, the first side to start giving them that will win over a lot of the frustrated.

          • I agree. And I’d add that sniffing at the absurdity of the tea partiers rejecting “liberalism” because of Obama and the current Dems, on the grounds they are not ACTUAL liberals, is ignoring the obvious.

            Guess what? They are the face of liberalism in the here and now. That’s how they identify themselves. The conservatives can play that game too – “a rejection of Bush is not a rejection of conservatism because he was not an ACTUAL conservative.” It’s an easy out in politics.

            Yup. I internally *cringe* when I hear Obama referred to as “left” or “socialist” but as I’ve said before, THIS is what happens when the left so completely identifies with and endorses a messiah when there was NO record upon which to base such an alliance.

        • Did you watch the CNN special last night and watch the interviewers? I’m not exactly sure that’s how I’d categorize the movement. It seems like a reincarnation of the John Birch Society to me. That and some of the whackiest of the evangelicals. Excuse me if I was just waiting to see if they were going to do burn a few witches during the session breaks. These are not what I’d call ordinary frustrated Americans.

          • And dakini, if you ever peruse and read any of the local teaparty mailing lists (I do), that is PRECISELY why the vast majority of the movement wanted nothing to do with this convention, and did not attend. They think it’s a joke, an obvious attempt by the establishment to co-opt them, and wanted little to do with it.

            Some of the teaparty mailing lists have anywhere from thousands up to more than a million subscribers. And yet this event only got 600 attendees? Says to me that Tancredo the buffoon is not really speaking to what the larger grassroots group is concerned over. They are mostly doing their own thing on the state/local level, and actively resisting any national “platform”. As a matter of fact, they are chuckling over the idea that both the GOP and the media is so incredibly anxious to pigeonhole and define them. They think it’s a hoot.

            While it may be comforting, in a way, to have this convention “prove” that the teapartiers are all wacked out Birchers and fundies, and therefore can be dismissed, I think that assumption is dangerous.

          • Well, they’ve been co-opted by some very out in front of the media people that don’t represent them.

            Somewhat reminds me of the nascent Party Unity My Ass movement.

            They’re being defined in a completely different manner. This convention looks to be a way to make money off them and it looks like a way for the worst of the libertarians and evangelical christians to get a national platform.

          • What dakini just said. I was thinking the same thing myself. We got co-opted by Republicans who then proceeded to trash the name PUMA.

      • Wonk, I think you’ve hit on a lot of what I’ve been saying.

        • I agree that the grass roots people shouldn’t be mocked for protesting, but people like Tom Tancredo need to be called out very loudly and shown up for the fascists they truly are.

          And it would help if the Dems would suppost ideas that can really be distinguished from those pushed by the right.

          • bb, I mentioned above the fact that Obama is the face of liberalism now. And yeah, that’s a big problem.

          • Tom Tancredo needs to not only be called out but his deplorable and inhumane ideas need to be sent back to the dark ages from which they came.

          • I agree with that. But the attraction of the Teapartiers “platform” goes waaaaay beyond their specific nauseating politics an personal odiousness.

            This is just a slightly newer version of classic right-wing populism. And mocking those who are attracted to their ideas, like tax cuts, just further alienates folks who are more in the middle. People (and by people I mean not right-wing nuts) find the idea of tax cuts attractive because they think it’s cash on hand for them. Instead of “their” money going not to fixing the roads or improving education or doing anything to help them, but to pay huge bonuses for the the bonus class. Heck, I passionately believe that government is for working FOR the people, but with the performance of most administrations of the last 40 years, I’m starting to be sympathetic to the idea that my money is better off in my hands than the government’s.

            Sure, the whole TP movement is bankrolled by corporations and the usual suspects who will exploit it for their own greedy or fascist ends. But no amount of corporate advertising can make people buy into something if it doesn’t hit on existing dissatisfactions or (in this case) existing beliefs. Remember New Coke?

            The only way to fight against a movement like this is to offer better alternatives and show people that they can work. Mockery, condescension and snickering name-calling doesn’t win anyone over. It sure didn’t work any of us over when the obots did it to us.

            I’m not really disagreeing with you. It would help if there was a single national politician who was pushing for any sort of action that would actually address people’s very legit concerns.

      • Hear hear Wonk. I agree.

  6. I heard a story about this convention on NPR last week. Apparently quite a few of the original leaders of the so-called tea parties are boycotting the convention. I didn’t quite understand what the spit was about, but there seems to be one.

    Sarah Palin may be really marginalizing herself by appearing to be the leader of a group like this. I guess she is already marginalized though.

  7. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that someone had been reading my post PUMA outline for creating a viable inside/outside movement. Only they went the fascist route instead of the liberal route. It’s like deja vu all over again.

  8. OT–If anyone from the blizzard areas wants to share photos, I’ll put them in the morning new post. Indigogrrl? I hope everyone is OK and no one loses power! In some areas the storm sounds like it’s on “blizzard of ’78” proportions!

    • OMG! Is that why it’s whitish looking out there?? I just got up.

      • How much do you have so far?

        • A shitload. Multiple inches. Shovels full. Thank god I have a young, healthy and willing teenager who can shovel.
          Oh wait!

      • Fuckity, fuck, fuck, fuck! I forgot to get salt. And beer. Looks like we’re playing wii in the basement today.

        • you should try and check out san antonio someday yestday we had blue skys and it felt like it was around 70.. today it should it be about the same,

          • ;-pppp

          • San Antonio is gorgeous today. I’m currently on my back porch in a robe, with a cup of coffee and my laptop, watching the sun come up over my back fence.

            But if it makes you feel better, RD, we pay for our beautiful winters with hellacious summers.

        • That’s the best plan under the circumstances. I know what it’s like, believe me; and I’m so glad this storm is going to leave us alone up here!

          • 22″ and coming down hard still. Our weatherman is so happy he was finally “right” — yes, he did make that comment.

    • Ohio here…snow up to my knees as I tried to find the porch steps and make my way to what I think is my car. Gave up, went back in the house, called my boss and told her there was no way I’d get there today. I haven’t seen this much snow in years. Kids will be thrilled when they get up though, great snowball and snowman snow.

    • How do we go about sharing pics?

    • BB ~ of course I have photos…my camera is usually attached to my hand.

      Email me and I’ll send some to you….and specify a resolution if necessary.

    • We have 9″ this am and it has started snowing again….

  9. When the puzzle pieces fit together perfectly it means they were all created at the same time.

    • You’re probably right. I think it was a plan orchestrated to move the democratic party to the right. :p
      It’s so not fair. I’m nostalgic for real liberalism that’s not attached to the formerly neocon “progressive” movement

    • They finally pulled off Watergate without being caught.

      A play in one act: Repubs circa 2006:

      Repub#1: Sheeeet…we’re in big trouble here. The people are on to our gig and W isn’t helping. What are we going to do?

      Repub#2: Well, we’re going to have to “rebrand” ourselves and it may mean letting the voters think they’ve kicked us to the curb.

      Repub#1: How do we do that?

      Repub#2: Well, we let the Dems have the majority back — but we control the WHO so that we can begin preparation on the “backlash” against them. Now, what would be the WORST thing that could happen?

      Repub#1: We certainly don’t want a Democrat that does popular things. Remember what happened with Bill Clinton?

      Repub #2: Oh damn,… you’re right. And his wife is now eyeing that throne. We need to make sure that never happens. What else?

      Repub #1: We need to make sure that whoever gets elected does our bidding, or at least can be manipulated; that we create a teflon coating against Dem criticism, and then establish the whole “tax and spend” liberal, socialist meme from our side.

      Repub #2: Yeah, but the American people will still remember we were the idiots in charge under W.

      Repub #1: Hmmm…yes, that’s a problem. We’ll have tocreate a “new” movement that appears to be railing against both parties and then we can slide our issues under the radar.

      Repub #2: OMG!!! Perfect. And for good measure we should find a way to exploit the most vile hate and prejudices along the way.

      Repub. #1: Yep. Get right on that. OK?

  10. OT, but I have to brag to somebody. I get to go to a Jay Sean concert at the end of the month!

  11. I am reading a Zogby article on tea party.(yeah, I know).
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-zogby/boiling-tea_b_451306.html
    Still he surveyed them and seems to think that underestimating them is not wise

    While people who are official members of Tea Party organizations and those who attend Tea Parties are relatively few, those who are generally sympathetic to their cause are many. In fact, taken together, these three groups comprise 47% of likely voters according to our latest survey.

    While I am not in any way on the same side politically, I think that all the insults and deprecation from B0bots and their media only makes the number of sympathizers increase.
    Kinda like knowing that there were B0bots, and there were people who also voted for Obama because they thought there was something to what B0bots were screaming about.

    • When the tea party was first forming a lot of non-conservatives went to their rallies just to see what it was all about, and then the media started in on the “teabagging” business, which made more people sympathetic, and then the republicans saw an opening (well, assuming the whole thing wasn’t planned, as SOD suggests above.)
      I just remember that old video with that one cnn lady harassing the regular folks who were there, and they ended up putting her on leave or something.

      • Remember, those first fledgling “protests” were “initiated” by a CNBC pundit (forget his name — helppp???) complaining about the possible mortgage bailouts.

        Media initiated??? hmmmm….the clues are like buffalo chips all over the road.

        • It is, indeed, uncanny. Follow the money, or in this case, the talking heads.

        • Rick Santini, I think, on CNBC—-NBC business news. However, you have to be careful with that one because it does not fit with the NBC love affair with Obama.

          • Yes it does — see my “one act play” above. It’s part of the script and so is teh One. And thanks for the Santini! I couldn’t remember.

    • “While I am not in any way on the same side politically, I think that all the insults and deprecation from B0bots and their media only makes the number of sympathizers increase.”

      My feelings exactly. I’m not at all contemptuous of people who were outraged that the Federal government threw a trillion dollars of taxpayer money at the same gang of compulsive gamblers who got us into this mess, while ordinary people were losing their homes, their sav ings, and their livelihoods by the millions. I am truly revolted to see their justifiable anger co-opted by cynical political operatives and demagogues, just as I was revolted to see justifiable anger at the Bush Administration co-opted by a bunch of Chicago thugs and their corporate masters.

  12. The Tea Party will definitely suffer if it allows itself to be identified and defined by the likes of Tancredo. The anti-immigrant rhetoric of Tancredo has done a lot of damage to the Repubs in places like CA.

    I am interested in what Palin will say to them in her speech to the convention. I notice that she seems to be distancing herself somewhat from the right wing fringes is some of her posts—particularly on the immigrant issues.

    The Tea Party “convention” appears to be organized by an attorney in Tenn. The news reports I have heard are that the focus is not so much on political philosophy or political candidates but on how to organize for political influence at the local level. So the workshops are about tactics, messaging, organizing. I understand that they have taken a strong stand on NOT identifying with either political party. The Republican party seems to be pushing a “natural affinity” with the tp movement and definitely has been involved in different aspects of it. But there also seems to be some resistance to this—–sort of, the Repubs do not own us attitude.

    Those who have boycotted the convention include Michelle Bachman and the boycott seems to be about who has the right to organize anything in the name of the movement or not. Apparently another issue is the cost of attending the convention (I think about $550) and the amount being paid to Palin, $100,000.

    I find this movement interesting from a political science pov.

    • I wish our side was doing anything…..something I could participate in….. I’m still surrounded by those who believe in teh One.

      • I am with you on that. I am going to join RD’s love bomb to Al Franken—rewards for good behavior but we need more.

        • I’m still trying to forgive Franken for saying the Stupakistan infested House bill was a step forward for women. I can actually forgive him more easily for caving and voting for the Senate bill, but his saying the house bill was good for women even with the Stupakistan in it was a push too far for me.

      • I guess it all depends on what you consider to be “our side”. I for one feel like a kibitz in this fight. Got the popcorn too.

        • by our side I mean those with liberal or core democratic values

          I am still on the fence about Mr. Franken…I really really want to embrace him….but my line in the sand is that stupid bill (all versions)

          • Whenever I think of Franken, I remember how taken in he was over Colin Powell’s presentation to the U.N.

            That, and his comments on HCR with Stupak, keep me from getting too gung ho. Still, he is smart and prepared and, for the most part, a solid liberal.

    • A lot of these folks are just really extreme libertarians.

  13. Time Is Running Out
    By BOB HERBERT

    We’ve now lost 8.4 million jobs in this recession, and a vast majority of them are gone for good. The politicians are clambering aboard the jobs bandwagon, belatedly, but very few are telling the truth about the structural employment problems in the U.S. and the extremely heavy lift that is necessary to halt our declining living standards and get us back to an economy that is self-sustaining.

    Neither the politicians nor much of the mainstream media are spelling out the severity of these enormous structural problems or the sense of urgency needed to address them. Living standards are sinking in the United States, and there is no coherent vision or plan for reversing that ominous trend over the long term.

    The conference was sparked by a sense of dismay over what has happened to the U.S. economy over the past several years and a feeling that constructive ideas about solutions were being smothered by an obsessive focus on the short-term in this society, and by the chronic dysfunction and hyperpartisanship in much of the government.

    Bruce Katz, the director of Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, discussed some of the steps that need to be taken to remake an economy that has been thrown completely out of whack by frantic, debt-driven consumption, speculative bubbles, exotic financial instruments, and so on.

    A new, saner, more sustainable economy will have to be more export-oriented, powered by cleaner fuels, bolstered by innovation that comes from a renewed focus on research and development, and committed to delivering a better-educated, more highly skilled work force.

    It’s time for serious people to step forward and help lead on these critically important issues. Time is short.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/06/opinion/06herbert.html?ref=todayspaper

    • Unfortunately, part of that rhetoric is the rhetoric of Obama—we will be saved by green jobs. No one is noticing that “green” is not selling very well. To make it possible for us to have more green jobs we need to be asking:

      How do you stimulate “green” demand?

      I would make all kinds of “green” improvements in my home but I can not afford it right now and I definitely have no interest in getting credit to get the money because consumer credit is way too expensive. I also am not interested in tax credits—they are too distant to be helpful in the moment.

      If I could go to my local home improvement places and get an immediate fire sale price on a tankless hot water heater, solar electricity—I would be standing in line at the cash register.

  14. To say that 3rd party movements have never been successful in national politics to me is a misreading of US history. That conclusion of “not successful” depends a great deal on how you define “political success”. If you define it only as election victory, then you can support that conclusion of failure. But if you define success as influencing and changing policy—then 3rd parties have been successful historically. I think you could even make the case that most significant policy change in this country has emerged from a third party incubator.

  15. The tea party started out as a noble cause, but then the Republicans got involved. We all know what happens when the Republicans get involved. Hell in a handbasket. What didn’t help their cause was the 0bama media coming out calling them teabaggers. They need to regroup, sh*tcan that cause and get a new one.

    • Nope. It was never noble and the republicans were involved long before they pulled out their tea bags and stapled them to their caps.

      This was clearly designed to exploit the people’s anger and prey on their worst fears and prejudices. It can’t be clearer.

      • That make sense. They’re screwed, we’re screwed. Let me just go ahead and send Al some money.

      • I couldn’t agree more. As Cinie said, those grass roots were astroturf to begin with … I think they were guessing that the people weren’t just MAD they were STUPID.

  16. Associate with teapartiers? cheer their independence and expression of free speech? I dun’t thunk so.

    Here’s Tancredo’s full quote on the literacy test:
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201002050021

    TANCREDO: And then, something really odd happened, mostly because I think that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country. People who could not even spell the word “vote,” or say it in English, put a committed socialist idealogue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama.

    Listen to the cheers and laughter from this gathering. This is a hate group. Run for the exits.

    • Well SOD if you are correct that this convention is in fact “the tea party” then take comfort in the fact that only about 600 people showed up. Not exactly a mass movement.

    • It makes sense within the narrative. There is no other explanation for such a well-oiled and refined infrastructure. Can you name another “populist” uprising that formed into such a well-organized structure in such a short period of time?

      You can’t pitch a “tent” like that in a year and a half. The fact that so few attended is not relevant. Theater always involves props, sets, and other scene background. Reality has nothing to do with it.

      • I don’t see them as all that well organized and I would not throw away the idea that somehow this label managed to connect with some real and generalized popular discontent. But that being said I absolutely believe there are all kinds of Republican fingerprints and hands all over this movement. Wouldn’t be surprised to find Karl Rove in the background or a conservative brand George Soros or both.

        I think the small turnout is relevant. You can’t claim much of a big deal with 600 people nationwide. I think that turnout undermines any credibility about being a “movement” of consequence. And I don’t think the mainstream Repubs want to be defined by a guy like Tancredo or a Palin. If this is a Republican plot they are really running the risk of fragmenting their own party and undermining a Republican comeback—unless it is an effort of the party to purge its version of RINOs—meaning the so-called moderates. But that does not fit with what was working in NJ, VA and MA—which did not appear to be victory based upon a turn to the hard right of Tancredo etc.

    • Thank god for bastions of reality like TC or it would be impossible to function in this alternative reality.

  17. Last night on PBS Newshour they did a segment on the Brookings Institute and the economy. They featured an interview with David Stockman who some of the older knitters here may remember from the “Reagan” days (he was I think Reagan’s Director of the Budget person). It was an amazing interview and I wish I knew how to capture it and post it. What was amazing about it was his bottom line. He said that the days of curing economic woes by cutting taxes are just over. There is no way to do that today in the mess that we have before us. That if the US is going to avoid financial disaster it is going to have to come to grips with raising taxes and Republicans are going to have to be a part of that. He outlined a very convincing economic case for why we have run out of tax cutting options. I wish Dakini could review this interview for us and give us her critique.

  18. Anyone out there have a link to Hillary’s thesis that was posted last week? My partner’s students are discussing Alinsky and that would probably be an interesting thing for them to read.

    • there’s a copy up on “Hillary Clinton Quarterly” but I don’t link to it because I’m not sure whether the internet copies are technically infringing on copyright law or not.

    • it’s on my link from a friday ago. you can click on my name in the author’s list and get to it pretty easily.

      • Thanks y’all….. is their a digital version anywhere instead of the scanned PDF? She would like to send excerpts to students….cuz to be realistic there is not a single one that would sit and read all 92 pages.

  19. I’m as Dem as you can get – although now I consider myself “unaffiliated.” I went to a tea party. But at this juncture, the original movement has been co-opted by certain elements of the Republican Party.

    As we know, millions have legitimate concerns about Obama, and those millions belong to every party there is in this country. But, as usual, money has tainted what was originally a good thing, and has probably ruined what the Tea Party movement originally was, at least for me.

  20. There’s a middle ground between encouraging or applauding the TPers for their exercise of free speech and mocking them for it.

    I like the approach Bill Clinton took when he was campaigning for Coakley:

    “I came here to tell the people of Massachusetts this: This country’s revolution was born in Massachusetts. The Revolutionary War was first won here. The war was over here years before it was finally finished. It started with the Boston Tea Party, and the right wing Republicans have appropriated that on the premise the tea party was against government.”

    Clinton added, “What they were against was abuse of power.”

    He sought to frame the race as a battle between those who will fight for the powerful and those who will fight for the powerless.

    Bill argued against the TP’ers bad ideas , i.e. their arguments against government, and argued for the better, competing idea of government fighting/working for the people.

    • Big Dawg: Always gets to the true essentials.

      • Yes, and that is how he wins over the people in the middle who are neither predisposed to one ideology or the other for the sake of itself. He convinces people that government can work FOR people.

        The progressives liked to mock Bill for being only a “pause” in between Bush and Bush…. but look what we got instead of a pause. This was supposed to be an FDR moment, but we got nothing. Bill gave us a pause in a conservative environment and was getting us back on the right track. I don’t think progressives are able to see BIG PICTURE. They are myopic and don’t even see what’s right in front of them all that well either. All they focus on is process and power for the sake of itself. A 50 state strategy for WHAT? What did they want to do with that organization once they got elected?

        • They just wanted to “win” and got a very hollow victory at best. Obama ran for nothing but himself and is governing the same way. What a surprise …

          • I still don’t understand why Obama is willing to settle for pyrrhic victories….. some of the stuff the dems are doing do not make sense unless you view them as completely suicidal or that they feel they are so insulated they will not lose.

          • It’s only understandable if they have bought into the Versailles notion that campaign cash is the only thing that matters. Hard to accept but they may be right about that.

    • Sounds to me like Clinton was campaigning for Scott Brown 🙂

      Brown was not elected by the “Tea Party” movement, btw.

      The MA Tea Party groups are just not as organized as the groups in other states.

      But they have been co-opted and it seems that unaffiliated voters are running the other way at this point.

      Tancredo really freaked people out.
      Also the word “faith” being suddenly thrown around.

      Next up Conservative “purity tests!”

      So, Indies will be up for grabs.

  21. Daki: Wish you could take a look at that PBS Newshour interview with David Stockman and comment or post on it for us. It was a Republican inner circle guy completely repudiating Reagan economics.

  22. With all due respect, I think that if everytime an organization has some whacked out loud mouth Republican infiltrate it you decide that the whole entire thing should be jettisoned I don’t think you are going to ever find a plitical home. Democrats infiltrated by Republicans so discarded. Puma infiltrated by Republicans so discarded. Tea Party infiltrated by Republicans so discarded. Are you sensing a trend here? I agree with the premise that we have competing ideas with someone like Tancredo but I think that ceding the Tea Party movement to conservatives simply because a few of them think they can ride the wave of discontent is a bad idea. Why exactly is it that the Tea Party should be ceded as conservative? Why aren’t the liberals throwing their own Tea Parties with people like the single payer advocates. I think you are handing conservatives a tool by ceding the movement rather than really forcing them to compete. Frankly, I’d make it as difficult as possible for them to gain ground with the Tea Party by making certain not to give them the whole entire “we’re discontent” movement.

    • I completely agree. If ideas are the basis for discussion, should we not have enough faith in our own to put them out there?

      There is a huge amount of disappointment and anger in the electorate. Yielding that to the other side is a mistake.

    • The people who may be participating need not be and are very likely not those who developed the strategy — but they can and are being exploited for the gain of republicans looking for a return to power so that they can finish what they started.

      • We shouldn’t be sitting by and allowing them to be exploited. We ought to be saying ” Hey,we’re unhappy too but the problem isn’t what people like Tancredo are saying.” Obama is far from socialist and we ought to be arguing that. Instead it appears we are going to cede anoher movement simply because a loud mouth or two from the opposition has decided he wants his piece of the pie. They must be excited because it appears that everytime someone else does the groundwork they can simply bully their way into an organization and the liberals will throw up their hands and allow them to have it.

        The single payer people have it right. They show up at these rallies with conservatives and they compete with their “Billionaires for Wealthcare.” They make sure that people understand that there isn’t just one idea on the marketplace and that their side gets heard. I don’t understand why MORE liberals aren’t doing the same thing on more issues.

  23. New post up with gorgeous snow photos!!!

  24. As educated as some of you ladies appear it seems to me you have a misunderstanding about what facism is. I am “right wing” and I dont know any of us who want facism.

    Anti illegal immigration is not anti immigrant. I have seen my old hometown move from black owened businesses and black people serving on the school board to stores with spanish signs. Most of the cashiers dont know english. There are whole part of America that if you dont know spanish you wont be able to move around and do your business. People dont hate immigrants. I think americans want controlled legal immigration and immigrants who want to integrate into American culture.

    States rights may have been used to prevent my people from having basic equal rights but that doesnt mean todays support for states rights is racist. America is not supposed to have so much power in the federal govenrment.

    I will try to lurk but sometimes something is said that I want to respond to. I like this site. Now the “left” isnt so much a caricature. I see you guys for who you are and what you believe. I may disagree with your ideology but you arent a cardboard cut out anyomore.

    • I ain’t no lady neither.

    • You know, you need to get off the time line of right here right now. If you’d have come down to the French quarter and gone shopping about 100 years ago, you’d have to have a good working knowledge of Italian. That’s not the case with the immigrants’ grandchildren now. If you’d have gone back about 200 years, you’d choose the French or the Spanish. That’s the point of being a melting pot. They MELT into some unique blend of what it means to be a nation of immigrants. We have a huge immigrant community of Vietnamese. Their children are all in my university classes now and I assure you, they speak English and want to be accountants and not work in the family restaurants and corner stores. I think you’re missing a bigger picture.

    • (n) fascism
      (a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism))

      fascism (usually uncountable; plural fascisms)

      1. A political regime, having totalitarian aspirations, ideologically based on centralized government, government control of business, repression of criticism or opposition, a leader cult and exalting the state and/or religion above individual rights. Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to Benito Mussolini’s Italy.

      2. By vague analogy, any system of strong autocracy or oligarchy usually to the extent of bending and breaking the law, race-baiting and violence against largely unarmed populations.

    • You may not want fascism but it is where the Republican(you’ll notice I don’t say conservative since your party hasn’t been conservative since they uttered the words “deficits don’t matter”).

      The Republican plan for health care is to allow private industry to make a profit off it . They allowed the Drug industry to write the Drug benefits for seniors. They oppose any plan with a government solution even going so far as to suggest that having a government plan would be the equivalent of creating death panels(meanwhile real death panels arbitrarily decide based on profit margins whether or not to allow people with diseases like cancer to recieve treatment. They make money by denying claims. Their own industry insiders have even admitted it.)

      While in power the Republicans allowed our energy policy to be written by Big Oil.

      Telcomms managed to get their retro active immunity for colluding with the government and violating our privacy.

      I’m not saying the Democratic party is saints because they don’t appear to be much better I just think that people need to be very wary about giving the Republicans (who by the way are only conveniently states rights when they aren’t in control of federal government : see California marijuana, or Oregon right to life or Massachussets gay marriage for the hypocrisy on that)free reign simply because you are unhappy with the way government is functioning right now(hint: most liberals are just as unhappy as you are with the state of things)

    • You lost me at “you ladies.”

    • Anyone catch the NY Times article comparing the tea partiers to Poujadism? http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/opinion/03zaretsky.html?pagewanted=1&th&emc=th

      France manages to be ahead of the political curve for both good and ill. The most famous Poujadist, Jean Marie Le Pen, commit torture during the Algerian War, went on to found the far-right racist Front National (which managed to capture a lot of formerly Communist votes) and advanced to the final round of the Presidential elections in 2002. Sarkozy took note of the FN’s electora power and his administration appeals to his electorate in numerous ways (from calling French of north African origin ‘scum’ to emphasizing ‘national identity’ to the burqa ban.) It’s an instructive example.

  25. I’ve been reading your site since 2008 and although I don’t always agree with your views, I respect your perspective on the issues you post and enjoy coming here. After the 2008 debacle and seeing the policies coming out of the Obama abmin. I was just plain pissed and attended the early tea parties just to vent my anger publicly after being dismissed and pushed aside by the DNC and the media. At that time, there were people of ALL political stripes who just wanted to be heard. The attacks began immediately. Painting us as right-wing extremists and nazis. I agree, the Tea Party movement has been hijacked by the Republican right, and I have seen the local Tea party groups slowly disappear as they don’t represent independents and disenfranchised Dems like myself. But, the polarizing, spurious attacks against any opposition to the Dem agenda have damaged them beyond repair. This will serve only to push the voting populace to the far right, I fear. If only Hillary could save the party in 2012. Sigh,

    • This is my feeling as well.

      The Tea Partys started out as a way to vent frustrations from any side without the use of a pitch fork – although I personally think pitchfork protests (maybe from the left and independents) or a Pitchfork Party might be in order to counter the Tea Party’s that have clearly been co-opted by the Republican brand.

    • They were the pre-emptively created shoulder to cry on. Funny how their infrastructure was designed with all of the forthcoming complaints perfectly compatible.

  26. In order to have more than just a rhetorical debate with conservatives, I think it’s important to look at the Republican proposal for the Federal Budget (even a topline one) looking out a minimum ten years. I don’t know if one exists. It would show their plans for managing the deficits, debt, defense, healthcare, social security, taxes, social services, economic survival and growth for the nation and the states. Their policy intentions would be much clearer that way including all the necessary tradeoffs. Without such a proposal, all the yappy talk is just hollow one-way political posturing. No hard real world choices required. Republicans talk about fiscal restraint, but our deficits exploded under Reagan and Bush.

  27. Thanks MyIq for a thought provoking post.

    I’m sure of these things: There are thousands, if not millions, of good and pure hearted people attracted to the TP. We should champion their rights to become active in the political process. Their challenges to the conventional parties is welcome and in the long term could be productive.

    Of these things I’m equally sure: Being angry and being against things is not being “for” something. Being angry and critical is the easiest thing in the world, it is far more difficult to be “for” something. Saying you want the Constitution put back in government is so amorphous as to be useless — like trying to sculpt with water. Having Tancredo and Dick Armey swirling at the edges isn’t altruistic. A litmus test of purity voting is strangely reminiscent of all of which they complain — the Russian Federal Assembly and China’s Yuan might be illustrative.

    Romanticizing the American Revolution and the Boston TP is intellectual curiosity that was last visited in the 4th grade. The American Revolution was an economic war. States’ rights is, and has always been, about cultural enclaves. The Tea Partiers have named their movement perfectly — at their essence they are angry and intolerant about economics and culture. Pissed-offedness is not a prescription for anything positive, but it is the stuff that nicely conjures “I want mine and the rest of you be damned.”

  28. […] about who, or what a TEA Party is, and what that means for the future, are both right there for all to see, no matter what anybody […]

  29. Oh i know you did not just end with “let me be clear”. *shudder*

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