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Know your Tea Partyers
February 18, 2010 - John Stack
If there ever was a disjointed political movement, and a misnamed one, it is the Tea Party. First, the second:
The original Tea Party had a rallying cry ‘No Taxation Without Representation’. This was in response to the American colonies being taxed (on tea) but had no representation in the British government. The cry of Tea Partyers was valid and sensible. The colonists didn’t feel they should be paying a distant remote government taxes when they had no control over the tax, the amount and its purpose. They showed their displeasure of course by pouring tons of tea into Boston Harbor rather than pay tax on it. This was an iconic moment in our history, as the colonists made the greatest inroads against true taxation without representation and was a turning point to begin the American Revolution. It of course is our first look at one of the finest beermakers to have lived, that being Samuel Adams whose beer today is still winning awards worldwide. Its interesting to note that if the British had just allowed the colonies a representative at parliament, where would be today?
But today, the Tea Party movement has skewed and debased the original ‘Tea Party’. Whereas the Whigs of 1773 truly had a beef about representation, the Tea Baggers today don’t. We live in a Republic, not a popular democracy. This means we elect officials to represent us in municipal, state and federal matters. Today, we have a representative congress and senate! WE voted in the 59 democrats and 41 GOP members of congress (or who vote that way). We voted in the members of congress. This is precisely the intent of our founding fathers. And they are making laws and decisions based on us having elected them. So, as original Tea Party = No taxation Without Representation, the current Tea Baggers just seems to have a poor grasp of political history. So, I guess that it isn’t that our representatives aren’t representing US, its they are not representing what YOU want. But, even with the unconnected name to anything of relevant significance, some of the Tea Partiers have some good ideas. Except it has all ready been done. Its called the Libertarian Party.
Seemingly the only thing Tea Partyers agree upon is that the government is spending too much, and taxing too much. This is a core tenet on Libertarians. They support a balanced budget amendment, but only if it is balanced by cutting spending and not increasing taxes. Many Tea Partyers also decry the loss of personal liberties. If ever there was a party for you, it is the Libertarian party. The Libertarian Party believe all laws that create crimes without victims be removed (this is ironic that it brings gun rights people together with the drug legalization people). They find all bigotry irrational and repugnant. They believe sexual orientation, preference, gender or gender identity should have no impact on the rights of individuals and believe custody, immigration, adoption and military service laws should be abolished. They are for Adam Smiths invisible hand. They believe the government should not interfere economically and industries (as well as schools and health care) should be governed by the market.
In last week’s P-R there were 2 letters to the editor. The first was by Ted Hohn, the Essex County UNYTEA Coordinator. He wrote a very well thought out and analyzed piece on the exact platform UNYTEA had about health care. Great letter, probably a good leader for them. The next letter was from Barry Devins in Peru. He wrote a very funny letter and threw out terms like ‘Nazi/Socialist path’ – which is of course 2 mutually terms. The funny part, is the readers of this probably fell into 3 camps. 1 those right wingers who thought the letter was a true patriot, and really told it how it is. 2. Left wingers who saw him as another right wing nut job. And the very small part who recognized it as satire. (Even the paper titled the letter ‘Rejects Socialism) Unfortunately for those who really believe in the Tea Party core, way too many actually would follow someone who would write such a letter.
Other Tea Party loyalists have pointed to the surprising run by local right wing nut job Doug Hoffman. They say in the next general election they will try to run a candidate who shares real Tea Party ideals, and are not really like Democrat-lite Dede Scozzafava. Forgetting of course it was the Grand Old Party leaders who got her on the ballot. Forgetting of course where W may have been a social conservative he was by no means a fiscal conservative. People may argue Obama is adding unduly adding to our national debt, but forget W increased the debt 6 trillion when in office, and he didn’t have to deal with the greatest economic disaster in 80 years. He may have cut taxes, but he not only spent spent spent, but added greatly to our debt. Remember his tax cuts of 2001! Great right? Except they added $1.2 trillion to our national debt. So, he wasn’t giving us back money we already had. It was giving you money now, so your grandkids could pay it back. How about the prescription drug bill of a few years ago? Well, socialist if you must. How about the 600 billion for the program? No funding resources – 100% on the national debt. And Obama’s health care. How much would that add to the debt, if a Tea Partyer were so much against the national debt? Well, there is a term made popular back a few years ago. PayGo. Meaning any new programs would have to have a way for them to be paid for. Well, the Obama health care bill would not add any to the debt. It would be paid for with, yes, new taxes, but also other devices.
In closing, its unfortunate the Tea Partiers have themselves co-opted a name that does not describe their movement at all (except discontent with government). Many of the Tea Partyers seem to have ideas that have nothing to do with the movement and make those that supposedly lead the movement lose credibility. Why not just call them the ‘Angry Party?’
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