Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dump the Tea

It's time to stop pussyfooting around and start attacking the Tea Party directly, on substance and candidates. I know that there have been attacks pointing out the racist elements of the movement as well as the astroturf aspect -- that it's been created and/or fueled by Republican-based organizations like Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey's (R-TX) Freedomworks lobbying group and Fox News. Sure, there's videos showing how ill-informed or Glenn Beck-informed so many of these people are. But I'm starting to think that's missing the point. Those aren't attacks in the political realm, just in the galleries. Screw this false notion that they are somehow made up of "Independents" -- they're overwhelmingly Republican and we need the Democratic Party to come out hard against them.

The fear is that these are jus' reg'lar folks getting involved with pollyticks for the first time, so it's all democracy in action. Don't be afraid. An attempt to create a Tea Party Exchange, essentially a customer loyalty program for card-carrying Tea Partiers that local business would opt into, including a 5% kick-back on all purchases to fund rallies, is a MASSIVE FAIL. My favorite quote about it:

"I feel like I was hoodwinked," Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Club owner Bill DeFries told the Daily News. "I think [Hutchinson] was trying to make money."

Like Ballachino, DeFries found that being a part of the Exchange pissed off more customers than it impressed. He "received threats and was called a Nazi by one woman," according to the paper.

Yep, the time is ripe to turn this Tea Party thing on its head and turn any neutral or slightly positive attitudes towards this movement with its terrible philosophy and ideas into negative sentiment. There's already anecdotal evidence that they're considered evil by some. But on substance, they are just plain wrong. As Froma Harrop writes, Be glad the tea party wasn't running the government when the recession hit:

Using econometric models, Alan Blinder and Mark Zandi argue that the bailouts, the stimulus and other extraordinary actions saved America from nothing less than another Great Depression. Blinder was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve. Zandi is chief economist at Moody's Analytics and advised Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

Had Washington not taken any aggressive steps starting in 2008, the results would have been horrific, their study says. Real gross domestic product would have fallen a "stunning" 12 percent, rather than the actual decline of 4 percent. Nearly 17 million jobs would have vanished, twice as many as the real count. And the unemployment rate would have peaked at 16.5 percent.

The campaign trail is not a welcoming place for careful analysis. Tea-party favorites routinely bash their opponents (often fellow Republicans) for having supported the stimulus and various government rescues.

Giving even a modicum of power to any Tea Party candidate is an invitation to failure. They've already failed to hold their own convention, how do they expect to solve anything in government? There's an argument to be made for sane, responsible conservative voices (witness Olson and Scarborough in yesterday's post) but the Tea Party is neither. And they are terrible students of history -- making it up or misreading/miswriting it based on their own ideological dictums. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it, but those who lie about it have the potential to doom all of us.

Say it loud and clear: To electing any members of the Tea Party or endorsed by the Tea Party is to instantly put our nation in grave jeopardy. These people must be stopped, and we need to campaign against them, using the very name of their movement against them, ASAP. The Tea Party must be exposed, not as racist, but as dead wrong

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