Intimidation Nation

What is it about Tea Party Republicans?

These are the same people who turned town hall meetings into near-riots throughout 2009. They are the ones who were big on carrying guns to political rallies. They fantasized about armed rebellion.

There seems to be a pattern here of politics through intimidation. It was repeated in the  budget talks last week. Shouting “Cut it or shut it!” they negotiated Federal spending as an ultimatum, trying to alter our national priorities on matters such as medical care for the poor, clean air, Health Care Reform, NPR, financial reform — and threatening to shut down the Federal government if they didn’t get their way.

At the last minute, with the clock ticking, Republican legislators found themselves hostage to the most extreme elements of their own party. They had little choice except to hold Democrats hostage or lose control of the Republican party. Going forward from this point, if Republicans back down from the narrow extremist Tea Party policy demands, they’re

Somebody get me a tissue

going to earn the ire of the very people who have been trying to intimidate the Democrats. The Teapers have already shown they’re willing to primary Republicans all the way out of politics, even willing to turn seats over to Democrats to punish those of their own who don’t conform. And in the vein much like wagging the dog, Speaker Boehner is holding the tail of a rabid mongrel and has no choice but to unleash it upon the Democrats.

But what is the end game? How much longer can elected Republicans knuckle under to the Tea Party politics of intimidation that is not only doing untold damage to their party, but even to the very nature of American political discourse?

Let’s look beyond the immediate manufactured crisis over meeting America’s spending responsibilities. Paul Ryan has outlined a floorplan for dismantling nearly a century of progress toward creating prosperity, for the sake of placating far-right talking points. He has promised soon to provide a plan to dismantle Social Security in ways similar to how he proposes to undo Medicare and Medicaid. The goal seems to be to return to the Good Old Days of Herbert Hoover, with 90% + of our seniors in poverty, eating dog food and living on the street while they slowly die from untreated medical conditions.

Ryan’s blueprint doesn’t even get rid of the deficit. He provides tax kickbacks to people in the upper brackets, cutting their taxes by almost the same amount by which he slashes domestic spending. So as the middle class is demolished and impoverished, the wealthy elites continue to profit.

The Tea Party seems to crave a vision of the past, an illusion of their aging demographic that no longer exists and can no longer be possible. Their failure to comprehend the changes going on around them is going to drag us further into a morass that will become harder to extricate ourselves from. Is this what we really want? Is this truly the world we want to be bullied into accepting?


About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He is the author of Rune Song and of the novels Still Life and A Melancholy Humour. He lives with his wife, a dog, a cat, and a lizard, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar and piano, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts—for fun.
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67 Responses to Intimidation Nation

  1. Monotreme says:

    When PPACA was being considered, I kept hoping that President Obama would step in and say, “okay, now you see why we need single payer.”

    Now, I keep hoping that President Obama will step in and say, “okay, now you see why you should’ve adopted the recommendations of my bipartisan deficit reduction commission.”

    Something tells me I’m about to be disappointed again.

  2. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Funny though, ain’t it?

    For the past several weeks we heard the continuing meme from those good folks about how (what? again?) President Obama was “weak”, and showed no “leadership”.

    But, once again, for the nth time in the past two years, there is suddenly silence. And for the past 18 hours, all we’ve heard form them is how Boehner rolled over!

    Damn!

  3. rgbact says:

    My latest theory is Boehner cut a crappy deal in order to incite massive anger in the TP’s and get them more involved in the coming bigger fights. Who knows.

    Nice scare tactics on the Ryan plan. Pretty hyperbolic considering your party just yanked $500B out of Medicare—all without improving its solvency. Good luck finding a doctor, seniors.

  4. Monotreme says:

    I’m looking forward to a source on this statement, rgbact.

    your party just yanked $500B out of Medicare

    and once we have that, then we’ll discuss what the CBO has to say about the Ryan plan.

  5. Whatevs says:

    I am always amazed that the majority of the people in the Tea Party are going to be the ones to get screwed by Republican nonsense like Ryan’s plan. And they really don’t understand what a government shutdown would do to them. That’s like burning your bridges while standing on it.

    You really can’t fix stupid.

  6. filistro says:

    I just watched the inimitable demon sheep ad again, and I realize it was prophetic and revealing. Had we the eyes to see, we would have known it was showing us the true nature of the Tea Party. But better late than never, this budget battle has certainly outed them.

    The Teapers are the real FCINO’s. They talk budget cutting, but they vote anti-choice, and anti-environment, and pro Big Pharma and Big Pollution.

    They are the same old red-eyed wolves, wrapped in soggy teabags. We should have recognized them right from the start.

  7. filistro says:

    Wait… that’s a Tea Party rally?

    And she’s carrying a sign saying “Hands Off My Body?”

    quelle ironie!

  8. rgbact says:

    Mono-

    To be exact…$500B less than projected. Thats a cut in DC lingo. Anyway, Wall Street Journal has an article that Ryan is adopting the Dems idea on Medicare cuts (which I have wanted),calling him a hypocrite. Either way, both sides are going to slash Medicare, so please hold off on the hyperbole for Ryan’s plan.

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/sep/20/60-plus-association/medicare-cuts-health-care-law-will-hurt-seniors-sa/

  9. Monotreme says:

    rgbact,

    Seriously? You’re citing Politifact’s “barely true” rating as a source?

    From the linked article:

    It’s important to note that the law does not take $500 billion out of the current Medicare budget. Rather, the bill attempts to slow the program’s future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in future spending over the next 10 years.

    It’s what the bill was designed to do. It’s called “bending the cost curve”. It’s also what Republicans, including Rep. Ryan, claim the PPACA will not do. You can’t argue both sides of the argument using half-truths and misstatements to support each side.

  10. GROG says:

    DC, posts like this are beneath you and beneath what I think this blog is trying to do. You’re too smart this kind of stuff. You and the other contributors are very capable of making sound arguments without resorting to this kind of filth.

    These are the same people who turned town hall meetings into near-riots throughout 2009. They are the ones who were big on carrying guns to political rallies. They fantasized about armed rebellion.

    Pure nonsense. What percentage of “Tea Party Republicans” carried guns to political rallies? How many “Tea Party Republicans” fantasized about armed rebellion? I trust you have all the figures or you wouldn’t have wrote it.

  11. dcpetterson says:

    @Monotreme
    It’s what the bill was designed to do. It’s called “bending the cost curve”. It’s also what Republicans, including Rep. Ryan, claim the PPACA will not do. You can’t argue both sides of the argument using half-truths and misstatements to support each side.

    It’s also worth noting that a significant portion of the “$500 billion” is in the form of reduced overpayments to insurers for “Medigap” coverage. None of it is going to reduce the benefits paid to Medicare recipients. The argument that Ryan is simply doing what PPACA did is both false and misleading.

  12. rgbact says:

    Mono-

    Hmm..If thats their criteria for “barely true”–I question their independence. I guarantee you–every Dem will be screaming about Ryan “cutting” Medicare. “Cuts” can mean many things in budgetting.

    Anyway, the GOP’s big beef with PPACA was that the Medicare “cuts” would never happen and were just being used as a funding source for a new program. The govt has tried many schemes to make Medicare costs less. Then providers complain—and they fold. Given the crazed hyperbole about Ryan’s similar cuts—it sort of shows that the Dems were never planning to go thru with their cuts.

  13. dcpetterson says:

    rgbact, since Ryan wants to replace Medicare with a voucher system that is overseen by the states, I don’t think any of it is hyperbole. Ryan isn’t “cutting” Medicare. He’s dismantling it.

  14. rgbact says:

    DC-

    Yep, I’d be happy if Ryan just kept the PPACA cuts and not create a whole new structure. Maybe that can be negotiated. Also would prefer it start in 2014, like in PPACA.

    Not sure what “reduced overpayment to insurers for Medigap coverage” means? The govt is purposely giving insurers extra under a GOP conspiracy? Medigap is paid for by individuals, not govt–so I’m not sure whats up.

  15. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    rgb,

    I’d be even happier if Ryan copied the Canadian Medicare plan pretty much item for item.

    Talk about bending the cost curve. 60% less cost than healthcare costs here. Think of the savings!!!!! Not just in Medicare and Medicaid expenses, but in every other segment of the industry.

  16. GROG says:

    Mono,

    You’ve illustrated the fact that about .01% of all Republicans take guns to rallies (we really don’t know if the percentage is that high because there were no reports on how many attended those rallies, which were overwhelmingly peaceful btw).

    And you’ve come up with 3 names, Catherine Crabill, Michael Schuers (whoever they are) and Sharon Angle to prove that “Tea Party Republicans are calling for armed rebellion”.

    Nice try.

  17. Pingback: Next on the Agenda for Washington: Fight Over Debt « Brandon Dale Bowers' Blog

  18. Monotreme says:

    GROG,

    I’m going to let you have the last word on this.

    If you honestly can’t see how the articles I supplied are relevant to DC’s points (hint: he never said “a high percentage”, so you’ve reframed the debate) then I could back a dump-truck full of evidence to your door and let it go, and you still won’t be convinced.

    Let’s just agree to disagree.

  19. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    rgbact,

    Would like to hear your view of the 40% reduction in healthcare costs by going to the Canadian Medicare plan.

    Anybody got any guesses as to why there is the cost savings?

    Thanks

  20. rgbact says:

    Max/Mono-

    I’m waiting for more details from you. I’m no expert on Canada. I do know their regular HC system is run by the provinces (ie states), which supposedly will mean the Apocolypse if we tried that. I’m always open for ideas on ways to save money, so let me know how wonderful Canada is.

  21. Monotreme says:

    Rgbact,

    What response do you want from me? I am inclined to accept the CBO analysis of both proposals, unless someone provides evidence to the contrary.

  22. drfunguy says:

    rgbact
    “I do know their regular HC system is run by the provinces (ie states), ”
    I don’t think that’s quite right, though I am no expert either. Certain aspects of the system are Provincially run, but much of the funding comes from federally mandated insurance that every working adult is required to purchase for about $60 per month. Additional funds come from alcohol and tobacco taxes (provincially-managed?)
    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hcs-sss/medi-assur/index-eng.php

  23. rgbact says:

    Mono-

    Specific details on how Canada Medicare saves money/is better than the US. My only knowledge of Canada is a few trips where I found regular items pretty expensive.

  24. drfunguy says:

    A big difference between the US and Canada is admin overhead for numerous health insurance providers:
    “Health administration costs totaled at least $1,059 per capita, in the United States vs. $307 per capita, in Canada.”
    Int J Health Serv. 2004;34(1):65-78.

  25. GROG says:

    Mono,

    DC’s claims of “these are the same people who” is what I have a problem with. Who are the people he’s talking about? Was he talking about Catherine Crabill, Michael Schuers, and Sharon Angle specifically? Because they had nothing to do with the budget talks.

    Was he talking about the unknown number of people who showed up at a pro gun rally somewhere in New Mexico?

    This kind of thing does nothing but diminish the debate. It’s like me saying “these are the kind of people who” rooted for a government shutdown, just because Howard Dean did. Or “these are the kind of people who” are tax cheats, just because Tim Geithner’s a tax cheat. Or “these are the kind of people who” belong to the KKK, just because Robert Byrd belonged to the KKK.

    Leftwing blogs and the leftwing media are desperate to destroy the Tea Party movement becuase of the threat they pose to liberalism. Rather than debate the issues and what the Tea Party really stands for, they try to paint them as an extremist group who carries guns to rallies, shooting up the place. In reality, the Tea Party movement is very mainstream. Let’s debate the issues rather than cherry pick a few events from a quick Google search.

    DC is being intelluctually dishonest and he’s smart enough to realize it.

  26. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    You assert: “the Tea Party movement is very mainstream” — without any proof whatsoever.

    What are the “mainstream” views and goals that the tea party has? And don’t cop out on this, after your plea to “debate the issues” without mentioning a single issue that could be debated.

  27. dcpetterson says:

    Grog,

    I always value and appreciate your point of view.

    When the self-appointed spokespeople for a movement make statements in the context of that movement — and then are not contradicted by others in the movement — you don’t get to complain that it is only some tiny percent of the movement who feel that way.

    If you want to disassociate yourself from the calls for revolution, and from the town hall near-riots, and from the “Cut it or shut it!” chants of last week, I would commend your good sense. I would also suggest that someone who doesn’t want to be associated with these actions and these views might also want to disassociate from the Teapers in general. It may be unfair, but if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas; these attitudes clearly permeate the movement, and are encouraged by its political and media spokespeople.

    Michelle Bachmann, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Sarah Palin, and other Teaper spokespeople have embraced and immersed themselves in this language and in this movement. Until Teapeople of their standing repudiate such remarks, it is more than fair to attribute those attitudes to the movement in general. And it is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.

  28. rgbact says:

    Dr-

    Thanks for the info. I’ll check it out. Its a complex study. I am dubious about admin as a silver bullet. Admin can often be a good thing. Depends on whether its extra money spent on fraud detection or money spent taking doctors on golf junkets to prescribe your drugs. Hard to tell.

  29. drfunguy says:

    rg
    That was just the first ref I found easily and it is 7 years old. I read several like it during the health care debates of 2008/9.
    When there are dozens of insurance companies (administered separately in each of fifty states), all for-profit, doing the job that a relatively few non-profit government agencies do in Canada, how can it not cost more? Does administration include profits? I couldn’t say.
    Also note that per capita comparisons are artificially low for the US because not everyone is covered; costs per individual covered would be higher still in the US relative to Canada.

  30. shortchain says:

    I guess, based on GROG’s inability or unwillingness to formulate a response to my question, that there aren’t any “mainstream” goals of the tea party that he really wants to “debate”.

  31. Whatevs says:

    Rather than debate the issues and what the Tea Party really stands for, they try to paint them as an extremist group who carries guns to rallies, shooting up the place.

    And that’s wrong how, exactly? And just how many liberal dems are packing heat to their events? Funny, I don’t see many Obama as Hitler signs at there rallies. And I don’t hear too many liberals advocating revolution by force if necessary.

    It’s not hard to cherry pick when there is an abundance of low hanging fruit.

  32. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    dr,

    I believe the per capita numbers are obtained by simply taking the national healthcare costs and dividing by the population, not just the insured portion.

  33. drfunguy says:

    Max,
    That is my point. Perhaps not clearly expressed.
    In Canada insured pop. = total population
    In US insured pop. < total population
    So if per capita US cost were equal to Canada it still would be a higher cost per insured person.

  34. rgbact says:

    Dr-

    Yeah, thats what makes me question the numbers. Looks like about 15+% overall. But if you assume the uninsured, people on Medicare/Medicaid/Large employers/unions who should be way lower…..getting to 15% overall seems sketchy.

    I guess the crux of the argument is that liberals think Medicare/govt is more efficient than the private sector. The private sector supposedly needlessly fritters away money on things like executive bonuses and marketing.

  35. Mule Rider says:

    “Funny, I don’t see many Obama as Hitler signs at there rallies.”

    Are you being willfully obtuse or are you just that stupid?

    Of course you wouldn’t see any Obama/Hitler signs at a LEFT-WING rally, but we have plenty of evidence of Bush/Hitler and other insidious material at left-wing functions. Do we really need to drag out the pictures and have thatargument again?

    It kills me how some of you guys have completely whitewashed your memory of all the heinous things liberals said circa 2003 through 2009.

  36. Mule Rider says:

    “And just how many liberal dems are packing heat to their events?”

    Was about to let this go but thought of something I couldn’t pass up…

    Do you want us to publish a list of all the documented threats/assaults of union members through the years? You know, where there’s been actual political intimidation and violence instead of just being in possession of something that could be used for violent means.

    There have been some disgusting things done by (liberal-baked) union thugs through the years, so you can spare me the sanctimony over a few gun-toting TeaPartiers. The people who should be indignant are the ones who’ve actually had their lives and livelihood threatened by a bunch of power-hungry union lowlifes.

  37. Whatevs says:

    Do you want us to publish a list of all the documented threats

    Well, if you have it handy.

    There have been some disgusting things done by (liberal-baked) union thugs through the years, so you can spare me the sanctimony over a few gun-toting TeaPartiers

    Really, you’re gonna jump on that train of fabrication? And I’m assuming you meant liberal-backed not liberal-baked (though that did put a warm fuzzy image in my mind). I realize back in the Hoffa days there was a lot of mafia influence and things were a lot rougher, but that stuff was decades ago. After the air traffic controller thing, nobody made a lot of waves anymore.

    The people who should be indignant are the ones who’ve actually had their lives and livelihood threatened by a bunch of power-hungry union lowlifes.

    Insert ‘corporate’ for ‘union’ in that statement and them you’ll be correct. And that’s all middle class people, union or not. Man, where’d you learn all this crap?

    So yeah, I can give you all the sanctimony I want about your t-baggers.

  38. Whatevs says:

    And I actually meant to say Boehner = Hitler signs but once you hit send…

  39. drfunguy says:

    @rgbact
    “I guess the crux of the argument is that liberals think Medicare/govt is more efficient than the private sector. ”
    Actually I never said that. I think that overhead is higher for upteen separate insurance companies, primarily because each company has a smaller pool to insure and has to duplicate administrative services as a secondary cause of higher costs. Insuring everybody in one pool reduces the cost per insured _and_ reduces administrative overhead. Taking profit out of the equation probably cut costs some too.

  40. drfunguy says:

    “Yeah, thats what makes me question the numbers. Looks like about 15+% overall. But if you assume the uninsured, people on Medicare/Medicaid/Large employers/unions who should be way lower…..getting to 15% overall seems sketchy. ”
    Sketchy why?
    Why should Unions or Large employers have lower overhead? d
    Can you rephrase please, I have know idea what you are trying to say.
    You seem to be questioning the admin overhead cost; do you have another source?
    As mentioned I did not do exhaustive research, just posted one link that is representative of what I recall from looking harder before.
    There is concensus in publications on this topic that the US has higher costs than the next most expensive country (Canada) despite health care outcomes that are not particularly better overall (you can find diagnoses for which either country has better or worse outcomes than the other).
    The US costs are higher per capita despite covering something less than the total population. There is no argument about that.
    Why is US healthcare more expensive? At least partly because of administrative overhead, but there are no doubt other reasons.

  41. rgbact says:

    Cause unions and large employers are alot like Medicare. They take everyone, they don’t market, they just pay some low wage person to cut checks to your doctor. Not a ton of costs there. You’re likely right that there are savings from having one standardized format. I guess if GM only sold one car type, that would save on costs too.

    I’m just supried liberals never mention doctor’s fees in the US as a cost driver. You’d think that would rank ahead of how much menial office workers get paid for handling insurance applications or paying claims. Its like saying baseball tickets are expensive because of the inefficient umpires.

  42. Monotreme says:

    Rgbact asks:

    I’m just supried liberals never mention doctor’s fees in the US as a cost driver.

    Because they’re not.

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/14/do-doctors-salaries-drive-up-health-care-costs/

    http://www.slate.com/id/2227965/

  43. Armchair Warlord says:

    It boggles my mind that it is a stone-cold fact that other countries do health care better than we do, for a lot less money, and people find our current system defensible.

    To make a cumbersome analogy – for an entire generation after Vietnam the US military believed that our way of doing business was the best and only way of doing business, that the Vietnam War was a bizarre military anomaly and that the best solution to an insurgency is to avoid getting involved in one. We had a happy thirty years of fantasizing about fighting the Soviet Union in the Fulda Gap, until reality kicked us in the ass on 9/11. And then it took us five years to wake up to the fact that what we were doing was not working! So we went outside of our comfort zone, learned from the past and the present without preconceptions, adapted and overcame – America now has a war-winning military, not a war-fighting military.

    The nation as a whole faces similar challenges. What we have been doing, what we are used to doing, the simple cliches that define our collective comfort zone, have failed. We, as Americans, need to step up and face our problems head-on. The basic tenet of conservatism is, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” – the corollary is that what is broken must be fixed.

  44. drfunguy says:

    “Its like saying baseball tickets are expensive because of the inefficient umpires.”
    Hardly.
    I am surprised at conservatives reluctance to look at data in health care debates and instead rely on poor analogies and ideologically-based ‘reasoning’.

  45. GROG says:

    Shortchain said: I guess, based on GROG’s inability or unwillingness to formulate a response to my question, that there aren’t any “mainstream” goals of the tea party that he really wants to “debate”.

    A little patience there, shortchain. I have a life outside political blogs.

    The Tea Party stands for Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets.

    To the far left those may be extreme, but they are mainstream to most Americans.

    Free Markets

  46. dcpetterson says:

    Grog,

    I agree, those are mainstream ideas. Or at least, they are mainstream labels. It is the application of those labels that can seem extreme.

    For example, what the Tea Party seems to mean by “fiscal responsibility” tends to promote tax breaks for the wealthy while shifting the burden for balancing the budget onto the poor and middle class; and while also dismantling Social Security (which contributes nothing to the budget deficit) and Medicare. The idea of erasing Title X in the name of “fiscal responsibility” also seems extreme. The phrase “fiscal responsibility” is nice sounding. How does the Tea Party propose to get there?

    Likewise, “constitutionally limited government” seems to mean an end to workplace safety rules, repeal of minimum wage laws, dismantling the EPA, defunding NPR. Progressives do see these ideas as “extreme.” In contrast, what progressives would mean by “constitutionally limited government” are things like keeping the government out of our bedrooms, disallowing the excessive use of “signing statements” intended to put the President above the law, respect for Miranda, and calling something “torture” (and disallowing it) when that’s what it is.

    A “free market” is not the kind of crony capitalism where business interests write the regulations that are supposed to insure fair access to the market. There can be no such thing as a “pure” free market; sensible regulation is important. What does the Tea Party view as sensible regulation? The push to repeal the new financial reform laws does seem extreme in the wake of the excesses that led to the 2008 world financial collapse.

    So it isn’t the words “Fiscal Responsibility”, “Constitutionally Limited Government,” and “Free Markets” that are extreme. It is the modern Republican policies that hide behind these words.

    So, in my understanding, you haven’t answered shortchain’s challenge. You were asked to describe Teaper goals that you felt were mainstream. Instead, you provided three phrases — “Fiscal Responsibility,” “Constitutionally Limited Government,” and “Free Markets.” What are the “mainstream” goals that you see behind these phrases?

  47. shortchain says:

    Thanks, DC. I agree, we have to have a translation for these terms.

    Just as the tea party movement has been described as “populist” — it requires a new, and, to my understanding, weird, twisting of the term to make it fit.

    That’s why I said goals, not “empty phrases”.

    If we go by the people that are popular with the tea party, for example, we hear that Donald Trump is popular with the tea party, no doubt for his “fiscal responsibility”, right?

  48. GROG says:

    See? Talking about real life issues isn’t that difficult.

    Instead of manufacturing some fantastical stories about a bunch of gun toting Yosemite Sam’s riding into town, firing their six shooters in the air at every Tea Party rally – or going right to the Democrat talking point playbook making up tales about how “near riots” were breaking out at town halls across the nation – or taking the words of one person who warned against second ammendment remedies and using that to paint a made up picture about Tea Party members launching grenades into government offices nationwide, I’ve got you talking about actual issues.

    I understand the Tea Party is a tremendous threat to the left, but those tales do nothing but diminsh your argument. Is the left afraid to debate the issues? Why else would you try to paint the movement as something it clearly is not?

  49. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Issues? What issues? You don’t discuss any issues except that “the tea party is a tremendous threat to the left” — which it isn’t.

    What are the goals of the tea party?

  50. Mainer says:

    Grog, while the teaparty is a rectal migrain to a great many of us and in particular to the Democrats that are trying to actually govern I can think of no situation where the teapers will or could cause the demise of the party. On the other hand I can think of several situations where they could spell the end of the Republican party or diminish it to the point of political irrelevance. So did you not get that backwards?

  51. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    If the TeaParty types truly WERE “a tremendous threat to the left”, then pray tell, why are presidential candidates that are most identified WITH the TP the same ones MOST on the Left are praying will get the GOP nomination?

  52. 10kzebra says:

    I have to say DCs responses in the article are better than the article itself. Grog, the tea party isn’t a threat to the left, it’s a threat to America. They are fringe and they are holding our democracy hostage, not for their principles, but for ideas and talking points.

    There is nothing patriotic about the tea party.

  53. GROG says:

    @SC,

    Issues? Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets are three.

    Did you notice how Mainer said the TP “could spell the end of the Republican party or diminish it to the point of political irrelevance”, without giving any specific examples for why he feels that way?

    Did you notice how 10kzebra said the TP is “a threat to America. They are fringe and they are holding our democracy hostage, not for their principles, but for ideas and talking points”, without giving any specific examples for why he feels that way?

    Just talking points. As if they’ve been programmed to think that way.

    At least DC finally talked about some actual disagreements he has with them.

  54. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    If all you want to do is complain about what other people say, what does that say about you?

    Ever hear of a two-edged sword? The GOP right wing created the tea party movement because of the disastrous Bush II administration’s effect on the Republican brand. But the movement has given chops to a group of people that, by your own admission, thinks only in talking points — if that. Your list of things the tea party is for leaves out a few issues, by the way.

    While the tea party may have been useful to the GOP as a stalking-horse, by co-opting the movement the GOP has embraced a movement that, like Sarah Palin, has a short shelf-life. The more people see of this movement and its “leadership”, the poorer it polls. People in this country vote based on their view of the economic scene, and things are now set up for a period in which the vast majority of us are not going to be doing well, financially.

    From what I get through various channels, the local tea party has as its primary goal passing a “voter ID” bill which would require people to get a photo ID that they have to show in order to vote. Its secondary goal is to eliminate as much state spending as it can, without regard for the effects on the safety and security of the citizenry, and pay for the rest of state services by the most regressive taxes possible.

    Even if they manage to pass a “voter ID” bill, it will almost certainly never take effect — it will be vetoed, and they don’t have the votes to override the veto, and, if it did make it past the governor, it would be immediately stayed and probably overturned by the courts.

    In the south, the tea party is more concerned with issues related to race and poverty, in keeping with the traditions of the region. In spite of the differences in goals and issues, though, the result of their efforts will be the same: nothing that lasts.

    The tea party is simply the Don Quixote’s of today, living in delusion, tilting at windmills and, ultimately, getting nothing accomplished. But while they are flailing around, they’re likely to hurt some innocent bystanders (that would be the rest of us).

  55. drfunguy says:

    @Grog
    “Issues? Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets ”
    As pointed out above these are empty talking points until you say what they mean to _you_. Why not pick one and enlighten us as to what you think it actually represents for the tea party?
    For example, some say that constitutionally limited federal government can’t collect income taxes (LaRouche), is that what you mean?

  56. GROG says:

    So shortchain, you think the primary goal of the tea party is a voter ID bill? And secondary “is to eliminate as much state spending as it can, without regard for the effects on the safety and security of the citizenry, and pay for the rest of state services by the most regressive taxes possible”?

    I notice you didn’t give any citations.

    Your whole post again is nothing but talking points.

    You guys don’t even know why you don’t like the Tea Party. You’ve just been told not to like them because they’re a threat to your utopian idea of progressivism.

  57. GROG says:

    Max: If the TeaParty types truly WERE “a tremendous threat to the left”, then pray tell, why are presidential candidates that are most identified WITH the TP the same ones MOST on the Left are praying will get the GOP nomination?

    I have no idea why the left prays for what it does. I do know, however, that this current crop of non TP Republicans who are talking about running have absolutely no chance of beating Obama in 2012.

  58. GROG,

    You guys don’t even know why you don’t like the Tea Party.

    Well, I know why I don’t like the Tea Party. They have an absolutist, zero-compromise policy, which is pure poison to democracy. Picture the House and Senate with roughly equal numbers of Tea Party members and whatever the left equivalent would be. Neither side will compromise on anything, under any circumstances.

    We’d get pure gridlock. Nothing would ever get done. Government would grind to a halt. That’s not democracy; that’s de facto anarchy. And that’s why I don’t like the Tea Party.

  59. drfunguy says:

    So Grog,
    I am in favor of constitutionally limited government.
    Should I support the tea party?
    Can you give examples of proposed policies that fulfill that goal?

  60. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    In spite of having almost an entire DAY,
    in spite of having posted SEVERAL comments,
    GROG can’t seem to answer the SIMPLE questions of what those phrases mean to HIM.

    Either we must assume that GROG is playing childish games by intentionally NOT answering,
    or that he is spouting talking points of which he actually hasn’t a clue as to what they mean, he can’t define them.

    Regretfully, this appears to be a consistent tactic of GROG, Mule and others on their side of the political divide. I say tactic because I believe these good folks truly are intelligent people. I don’t believe them to be stupid or ignorant.

    As such, I must assume that they would rather play childish games instead of engaging in reasonable debate of simply being willing to inform others who really do want to know how they look at political issues.

    fili, as you note, I come down like a hammer instead of a feather many times with these good folks. I do so because of that tactical device is a waste of time and is used for the primary purpose of creating frustration in their political opponents, since they don’t really have the ability or knowledge to explain with a degree of clarity the “WHY” of their position.

  61. shortchain says:

    GROG,

    Evidently you are ignorant of the goals of the tea party up here. I, on the other hand, am on a mailing list for the local tea party affiliate (they call themselves “Minnesota Majority”, and amount to about 10 percent of the electorate, if that, humorously enough).

    So yes, GROG, that’s the primary focus of the local teapers.

    This isn’t talking points, it’s facts. Look it up.

  62. GROG says:

    Max,
    You’re willfully missing my entire point which from the beginning was DC’s disingenious description of a gun toting, rioting Tea Party. You know and DC knows that’s not true.

    If one were able to intelligently articulate why he doesn’t like them (like Michael did), he wouldn’t have to make stuff up about them.

    That’s my point and you know it. You’ve been trying to deflect.

  63. drfunguy says:

    Grog
    You say you want to “debate the issues and what the Tea Party really stands for”.
    I’d really like to know what you think constitutionally limited government means.
    It has meant many different things to different groups over the years, thats why just saying ‘constitutionally limited government’ is not, of itself, very useful.

  64. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    GROG,

    Frankly I don’t give a damn about your rationalizations! Not one tiny fart in a hurricane.

    You come on board, lay down snot-nosed statements about other people and their opinions. Many times those opinions have a reasonable amount of independent back-up, sometimes they are just opinion.

    Then, you throw down some half-assed assertion of your own and when you get called for some reasonable back-up, not just to be argumentative, but to give some of us who differ with you some real insight, you whine and cry and point “over there” and blame everybody else for everything but sunspots, AND YOU NEVER, EVER get around to SIMPLY GIVING IT A RUN AT REASONED ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT of your assertion, regardless the title of the thread!

    It’s always more of the same old bullshit trollishness.

    Give it a chance, if you are able, and you might just find that you actually have a high degree of respect and support for your beliefs, even though someone disagrees with them.

    It’s called mutual respect. And so far, your silliness and trollishness is earning you little!

    And you wonder why you get slammed? You need to give respect if you expect to receive it.

  65. 10kzebra says:

    I always thought Grog was a conservative, but I never quite pegged him as a troll. Is he a troll or a TBI survivor?

  66. Mainer says:

    Grog man I should be long since asleep but you did do a come back to me. I would base most of my feelings on the tea party based on my own state but since I am once again in traveling mode I am seeing paterns out there.

    I opined that positions being taken by recently elected tea party types would cause vote loss the next time around….I stand by that position. Please google Maine budget, Maine govenor, NJ budget and or govenor as well as same for Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio……..an electoral success in 2010 that saw many on the left stay out has apparently enraged those same because of the resulting actions……..remember all the rage talk about those on the right? Well I think we are all about to see what an enraged pissed of left looks like, just with out guns, tea bags and funny hats just votes. Hey I could be wrong but I don’t think so the numbers are just not in your favor.

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