Free Markets, Free People
In this podcast, Bruce, Bryan and Dale discuss the state of the economy and the Obama Administration’s foreign policy. The direct link to the podcast can be found here.
The intro and outro music is Vena Cava by 50 Foot Wave, and is available for free download here.
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What’s with all the demonization: The charges against the Tea Party in DC seem to be unsubstantiated and the Democrats now seem to have actually tried to provoke what they claimed happened. What do Democrats hope to earn with this continued attempt to smear the Tea Partiers and is it possible that continuing on this path of insulting their constituents might have very bad consequences for them electorally in November. Do they even care anymore?
Employment numbers and the economy: Some positive numbers in the employment numbers but are they really a positive sign that the bleak unemployment situation is turning around?
About those poll numbers: Polls continue to be taken and they show a steady erosion of support for the recently signed health care reform law. Polls also show a steady decline of support for Democrats from independents, eroding job approval numbers for the president and expanding numbers of people who think the country is on the wrong track. However, a recent poll shows that the people aren’t all that thrilled with the GOP either. Does this portend trouble for Republicans in November as well?
Recently, former Vice President Dan Quayle offered his two cents about the tea party movement:
Like many influential causes before it, the “tea party” movement appeared on the scene uninvited by the political establishment. Democrats in the White House and in Congress recognize it for what it is — a spontaneous and pointed response to the Obama agenda — but some Republican leaders still aren’t sure what to make of it, as tea partiers have risen on their own and stirred up trouble in GOP primaries.
Bruce takes issue with Quayle’s comments and defends the tea party movement:
The tea party movement is not exclusively a reaction only to “the Obama agenda”. And if the GOP buys into that, they’re buying trouble. Quayle even acknowledges that without knowing it when he talks about trouble in Republican primaries.
This grass roots movement didn’t begin when Obama took office or in reaction to his specific agenda, but instead began to form during the Bush administration as government continued to expand. About the time TARP found its way into the political lexicon, it went public. It was the size of the crisis and response – the trillions of dollars thrown around like confetti – that finally spurred people into the streets and birthed the official “tea party movement”.
I really wish that were true, Bruce, but Quayle is right.
The problem is that tea party types did not organize protests to the economic policies of George W. Bush, and TARP was not the first example of fiscal impropriety of his presidency. He cut taxes, so most self-identified conservatives don’t ask questions. Nevermind that he didn’t cut spending, resulting in massive deficits that will cause huge tax increases in the future.
The first protests were prompted by Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC in response to the Obama Administration’s $75 billion Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan that was a bailout for both irresponsible borrowers and lenders.
[T]his isn’t a movement of right wing disgruntled Republicans. This is a movement of small government fiscal conservatives – almost libertarian in leaning. Her discussion of the demonization of business, the necessity of allowing businesses to fail, getting out of the way of the markets and let them take the lead in recovery were on target and well delivered.
At the beginning of the movement, yes, I think that would have been a true statement. The first Atlanta Tea Party (2/27/09) was a mix of libertarians, like myself and Eric Von Haessler, and fiscal conservatives. There was an authenticity about it as 300 people were huddled together on a cold, wet day at the state Capitol.
Even then, no one was talking about past fiscal recklessness, even though Barack Obama had been in office for just over a month, though everyone was slamming him. I don’t have a problem with that because Obama is spending our country further to insolvency but by what was being said, you’d think Bush never existed.
The day Newt Gingrich got involved was the day I walked away. Gingrich is no fiscal conservative, after all he supported TARP and entitlement expansion. He is a political pragmatist that will endorse any movement or political idea that will advance the Republican Party.
It was even more obvious at the Tax Day Tea Party where Sean Hannity, the Republican cheerleader, showed up to broadcast his show. By this time, libertarians began to take a skeptical eye to the tea party as it seemed that Republicans were successfully co-opting the movement.
And finally, Bruce says it:
[Tea partiers are] not looking necessarily for Republicans. They’re looking for principled small government fiscal conservatives who will return sanity to government and scale down its size, scope and cost. Sen. Olympia Snowe would not qualify. Sen. Lindsey Graham most likely wouldn’t qualify either. And I’ll venture to say, neither would Sen. John McCain. These are the type people they’re promising “trouble” for in Republican primaries.
What are the qualifiers for a “tea party” candidate, rhetoric or actually putting their words into action? For example, J.D. Hayworth, McCain’s primary opponent, isn’t exactly a fiscal conservative, though he may be more so than the incumbent.
I sumbit to you that Hayworth’s tea party support, sans Sarah Palin, isn’t because of fiscal concerns, it’s because McCain doesn’t hate brown people.
Personally, I don’t believe the tea party movement as principled as many of promoters and leaders believe it is. For example, during the health care debate, tea partiers echoed Republican criticism of ObamaCare, including the line that it would cut Medicare. If you’re complaining about Medicare cuts, are you endorsing tax increases in the future? Medicare has to be cut to avert a fiscal crisis.
Bruce gives a picture of what the movement is supposed to be, but it’s not and it hasn’t been for a while. But that’s just my personal observation as a disgruntled former tea partier.
There is a growing sense that what happened in Washington DC on the day of the vote in the House on health care reform was an attempt to provoke an incident among Tea Partiers by members of the House Democratic caucus. The Representatives in question usually take the underground tunnel between their office complex and the capital. They certainly never march in lockstep through a hostile crowd to do so. So why did they do it this time?
Well, you’ve all heard the claims and counter-claims. Members of the caucus were called the “N” word and spat upon. The perpetrator of the spitting incident was arrested by Capital police. Barney Frank was called “fag”. Apparently out of all those claims, only the latter one was true and the person who shouted “fag” was rebuked by the Tea Party crowd. However not a single instance of the “N” word is evident in all of the video – both private and network news – shot that day. None. And the spitting incident, which was caught on tape, appears to be a “say it don’t spray it” problem, and not someone intentionally spitting on someone else. Most of the unsubstantiated and unproven allegations continue to be used as “the truth”, by some, despite the lack of any evidence to support them.
So how did the rumors and allegations get spread so quickly? Within 90 minutes, stories were up claiming the allegations were fact (how do you verify anything, edit it and post it on line if you’re a true news organization?). The MSM ran with the story for the next few days and hasn’t yet backed off of it. Yet to this day, not a single verifiable bit of proof – eye-witness, audio or video – has emerged that the “N” word was ever used by anyone during their little parade. However Democrats and the MSM still cite it as proof of the racist roots of the Tea Party movement. The latest attempt at this sort of demoniztion belongs to Steve Cohen (D-TN). Listen to him talk about the Tea Partiers and tell me if this is appropriate for a US Representative to say about other Americans and probably some of his constituents.
The irony here is Cohen, who represents a mostly black district in Memphis, was once compared to a klansman by a Democratic opponent not too long ago. As you might imagine, he found such a comparison highly offensive and was outraged.
Then we’ve had some broken windows characterized as the equivalent of Nazi anti-Semitic pogrom “kristallnacht” in which it is estimated hundreds of Jews were killed. Meanwhile, a brick through a local GOP office with a note tied to it saying “stop the right-wing”? Not such a bid deal. And, speaking of trying too hard, today the NY Times implicitly compares the violent and murderous leftist Weather Underground with the Tea Party protesters by running comparative crowd shots of the WU during the “Days of Rage” protest and a Tea Party protest.
It is and has been an amazing performance. Since day one of the emergence of these Tea Parties, the Democrats have done everything within their power and with the help of much of the MSM to characterize concerned American citizens as anything but. They have invoked the lessons of identity politics with a vengeance and tried their damndest to brand this movement as a malevolent manifestation of racist right-wing America. They often talk about the right’s code words – what do you suppose “Nazi” or “brownshirt” or “kristallnact” really mean? Why note that a crowd is mostly “white” if not to imply “racist?”
Why do I use “FAIL” in the title? Because the people the Democrats are talking about are you and me. One of the reasons independents are deserting the Democrats in increasing numbers is they too identify with this movement calling for the scaling back of government and its cost. They also know they’re not any of these things Democrats accuse them of being. And, like you and me, they’re aghast that their attempts to bring their discontent to the attention of their political leaders – to petition their government – is characterized in such horrific ways and dismissed out of hand.
I often say the Tea Parties represent the tip of the iceberg. Think of talk radio where it is estimated that only 1% of any listening audience actually takes the time and makes the effort to call in. Think of those Tea Partiers as the 1%. While 99% may not call in to a talk show, the vast majority listening agree with what the host has to say. There are a great number of people in America who may not turn out for Tea Party protests for any number of mundane reasons, like the ability to afford to travel or because of their job and family, that agree with most, if not all of what the TP represents. Every time Democrats launch another hateful smear against the TPs, those that identify with the TP but don’t actually turn out for protests internalize the insult. They know what they are and aren’t, and don’t at all appreciate the false characterizations or those making them.
So each time the Steve Cohens of the world make statements like his above, or false (or at least unsubstantiated) smears are launched against these protesters, another bunch who identify with the goals of the TP movement turn away from the Dems.
And, as it is shaping up for November, the Democrats are making it easier and easier through this attempt to paint patriotic dissent as racism, for people to vote against them.