Are the Tea Parties Racist?

Charles Blow thinks so.

It’s an extension of a now-familiar theme: some version of “take our country back.” The problem is that the country romanticized by the far right hasn’t existed for some time, and its ability to deny that fact grows more dim every day. President Obama and what he represents has jolted extremists into the present and forced them to confront the future. And it scares them.

Even the optics must be irritating. A woman (Nancy Pelosi) pushed the health care bill through the House. The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner). And the black man in the White House signed the bill into law. It’s enough to make a good old boy go crazy.

[…]

Politically, this frustration is epitomized by the Tea Party movement. It may have some legitimate concerns (taxation, the role of government, etc.), but its message is lost in the madness. And now the anemic Republican establishment, covetous of the Tea Party’s passion, is moving to absorb it, not admonish it. Instead of jettisoning the radical language, rabid bigotry and rising violence, the Republicans justify it. (They don’t want to refute it as much as funnel it.)

I’m sorry, but this is complete and utter disgusting nonsense.

Look, I’ve been going to protests, left, right, and libertarian for 15 years, and if there’s one thing I can guarantee about protests, it’s this–you’ll find moronic, passionate thugs in every single one of them. Especially if you’re looking for them. Go to a left-wing protest and you’ll undoubtedly run into some Che Guevara wearing, vandalize housing development idiots peddling Mao’s Little Red Book. Go to a right-wing protests and you’ll find your share of theocrats, homophobes and the occasional neo-Nazi. Go to libertarian protests and there’ll be idiots trying to sell the Turner Diaries and the Anarchist cookbook trying to tell you that the income tax is illegal.

Look, I don’t think that I’ve made any secret of the fact that I don’t care for the Tea Parites. I think that they’re by and large representative of partisanship with a narrow view of what constitutes a ‘conservative.’ I think that they are, in fact, doing a lot of damage to the Republican Party and by extension the country with their rigid ideology. But that doesn’t make them racists, and it doesn’t make their passion illegitimate, as misguided as I think it is. Do I wish they’d tone down the rhetoric? Hell yes. Oklahoma City and Ruby Ridge weren’t that long ago, and a climate of heated rhetoric only increases the odds of some crazy person doing something stupid.

But do I think that means that most folks who join the Tea Parties are racists bent on doing violence and destroying the government? Hell no. Most folks who join the Tea Parties are decent people who care about the direction their country is going. I disagree with them. I think that their political positions are harmful for the most part and you better believe that I’ll argue with and about them. But racist? No. They’re not pissed that a black man is in the White House. They’re pissed that a liberal Democrat is in the White House. Believe me, they’d be just as pissed if we were talking about President Clinton or President Biden. That’s because they’re conservative, not because they’re racist.

Moreover, let me just add that nothing pisses a decent person off like being accused of being immoral in some way, especially of being a racist or of being violent. Not only are such claims immoral and disgusting, they’re stupid and counterproductive. By making claims like this, liberals and Democrats are only ramping up the pressure by the Republican base for GOP politicians to continue to obstruct the Democrats and continue to decrease any cooperation in government.

As for the actual racist idiots who show up at the Tea Party protests, my advice is to treat them like you treat a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum: ignore them. They just want the attention–don’t give it to them.

FILED UNDER: Race and Politics, US Politics,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dodd says:

    Well put, Alex, even if you are wrong that TPers are hurting the GOP. 🙂 That said, I don’t think “complete and utter disgusting nonsense” is quite forceful enough a rejection of this meme.

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    That said, I don’t think “complete and utter disgusting nonsense” is quite forceful enough a rejection of this meme.

    My first draft was stronger but I try to avoid swearing when I post here. 🙂

  3. Thank you Alex. I am growing weary of being told that I am a racist, a misogynist, and threatening violence because I do not agree with the policy agenda of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.

    As to the Tea Party’s rigid ideology, I wasn’t aware that there really was a coherent ideology other than contempt for government spending that is out of control and the attendant loss of liberty that goes with all of that deficit spending. Oh, and, of course, being called racist, misogynist and threatening violence for being contemptuous of the ever growing Leviathan.

    As you know, many of us were upset about spending habits under the previous administration and now we see that the current administration is making the previous one look like amateurs when it comes to spending money THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE! Look, we can argue all day about what level of this service or that program we should or shouldn’t wish to have in our society, but only if we can pay for them. If we can’t pay for them then it is a non-starter. Full stop.

    Sorry for the all caps, but these days I feel like I have no mouth but I must scream, with apologies to Harlan Ellison.

  4. An Interested Party says:

    How interesting that some of the same people who have their feelings hurt when labeled as racists don’t mind mislabeling others as Marxists, communists, socialists, etc…

  5. fin says:

    Hillary would’ve minimized most of this nonsense by meticulously destroying all evidence of her Nigerian birth certificate.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Blow is right and Alex is wrong.

    Someone explain to me where all the racists disappeared to. Because we’re all supposed to pretend that they evaporated one fine day. One day we had ’em, and the next day they were just . . . gone. Never to be seen again. Except, oh, sure, two or three around the margins.

    So I guess I would start with my core skepticism when it comes to magical phenomena. I don’t think a large percentage of the population simply evaporated.

    In fact, I can Google and find them quite easily. Or I can go to a family reunion and find a couple. So can most of you.

    So they clearly still exist. And they continue to exist in serious numbers. They are not unicorns. Let’s stop pretending they are.

    Second, I’d like someone to explain to me why although I curse like a sailor in my regular life I never seem to do it when addressing groups of kids. Like most people who curse I gauge the temper of the room. We all do. We judge our audience. And most people can do this pretty well.

    A person screaming, “N—-” at a Congressman in a public demonstration has likewise gauged the temper of the room.

    The excuse that there are other nuts at other demonstrations proves my point. The reason that a left-wing demonstration has the inevitable goat-bearded youth yelling about Bushitler or whatever is because he, too, has gauged the temper of the room. In other words, he knows that his remarks while perhaps they go further than others around him, are not so utterly out of keeping with the room that he will face reprimand or attack.

    The left has long had a problem with outright America-hatred and it shows when they demonstrate.

    The right has long had a problem with race and it shows when they demonstrate.

    I was actually at an anti-war demonstration while my father was serving there. (He was a career soldier who had no objection to getting the hell out.) It was clear to me from that demonstration (and many others seen through the media) that the supposed peace demonstrators were far too radical and extreme to accomplish much good.

    I was angry that people around me did not tell the nuts to f– off. I was angry that a peace demonstration became a rhetorical attack on the military. And I was damned if I was going to participate in demonstrations where the North Vietnamese flag was being waved.

    The peace movement accomplished nothing but to elect Richard Nixon (my first vote) and prolong the war. The reason they failed was not that they were wrong but that they were heavily adulterated with anti-American extremists. I attended no more anti-war demonstrations.

    It was foolish and counterproductive and contrafactual to deny that the Vietnam peace movement allowed itself to be a home to anti-Americanism and even some pro-Communism.

    It is equally foolish and counterproductive and contrafactual to pretend that the Tea Party movement has not allowed itself to be a home to racists.

  7. steve says:

    I am much in agreement. However, there is another valid POV. Coates had a very interesting post at the link below. Once you start protesting, you own your own crazies. The media will lock onto them. They have done it in every protest since we have had them. Every gay protest always shows the most over the top group on TV. The anti war folks get Code Pink on TV. That is just the way the media works.

    If you are going to have a populist movement, especially one that wants to make it clear how angry it is, that movement needs to be prepared to do its own internal policing if it wants to be taken seriously. It would also help to have an internally cohesive positive agenda.

    Steve

  8. wr says:

    From what I’ve seen, the dominant strain of tea partiers is not racism so much as self-pity and victimhood. And I’m afraid that this post, well-written as it might be, does nothing to change that perception.

    Sorry, but “those Fascists who hate America and want to kill my grandmother before they put me in a death camp because they know I’m better than them called me a mean name” is hardly soul-strring.

    And the notion that calling out the actual racists in your movement — and I’ve seen the witch doctor email, thank you — will cause Republicans to become even more obstructionist is as laughable as Lindsay Graham and John McCain claiming that passing HCR with simple majorities or using recess appointments to fill positions left empty because some Republican senator filibustered to demonstrate disapproval of an action by the Canadian government will make them say no even louder. The Rs have done everything they can to obstruct — now they even routinely shut down the Senate at 2 pm every day. There’s no way left for them to escalate.

  9. steve says:

    I am much in agreement. However, there is another valid POV. Coates had a very interesting post at the link below. Once you start protesting, you own your own crazies. The media will lock onto them. They have done it in every protest since we have had them. Every gay protest always shows the most over the top group on TV. The anti war folks get Code Pink on TV. That is just the way the media works.

    If you are going to have a populist movement, especially one that wants to make it clear how angry it is, that movement needs to be prepared to do its own internal policing if it wants to be taken seriously. It would also help to have an internally cohesive positive agenda.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/03/the-tea-partys-rank-amateurism/38077/

    Steve

  10. Stan says:

    I agree with Joyner’s post, but I wish he had been a little more sympathetic to a professor’s attempt to disassociate himself from his former student’s cartoon showing a black man after having had exploitive sex with Lady Liberty. I think the cartoon aimed at exploiting the darkest aspects of the American soul, and if I had been the professor my note to my former student would not have been as polite.

    charles austin, I sympathize with your protest at being called a racist, but I have to say that your habit of labelling programs and people you don’t like as socialist is just as intellectually lazy, though less repugnant. If Obama is a socialist for supporting the health care reform bill that just passed, so is Richard Nixon for proposing a similar bill in the 70’s, Bob Dole for suggesting the same plan as an alternative to Bill Clinton’s proposals in the 90’s, and Mitt Romney for pushing the health care plan in Massachusetts through the state legislature. All three proposals are free-enterprise ways of achieving universal coverage. They preserve the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the present employer-provided medical insurance system. I don’t see anything socialist about them.

    As far as paying for this system, did you demand that our war with Iraq be funded? Did you oppose President Bush’s tax cuts? If the answer is no, you’re in an awfully poor position to criticize President Obama’s spending on health care. At least Obama’s spending accomplishes something useful, which is more than can be said for either Bush’s war or Bush’s tax cuts.

  11. john personna says:

    I think it’s overblown to attack the Tea Party movement as simply racist, just as it is an overblown defense to call out that straw man.

    There is a racist component, as Alex acknowledges when he talks about “the actual racist idiots who show up at the Tea Party protests”. How large it is may be a reasonable question, but not the only question.

    I liked Frank Rich’s column today, called The Rage Is Not About Health Care. I don’t read it as “It’s all about Racism” but you can read it and make up your own mind.

    Two obvious things to me: (1) to deny racism is to deny (at least current) human nature, (2) what we call “racism” in this context may be something less genetic … something more like a loss of culture and identity. Angry old white men might be angry less about the genetics of the new generation, and more about the foreignness of their culture (including, perhaps, their acceptance of small socialisms).

  12. michael reynolds says:

    John P:

    I agree it’s not simply racism. But it’s like saying the Catholic church isn’t simply child molestation.

    There are some human attitudes and behaviors which are very hard for me to set aside as tangential. Racism and child molestation being two good examples.

    Racism is the central sin of American history. It’s sort of our national alcoholism or drug addiction. The thing which, when it rears its head, subverts so much of our identity and puts the lie to so many of our beliefs.

  13. TangoMan says:

    I find myself in the odd position of agreeing with Alex that there are kooks in every movement and pretty much in the general thrust of his argument. Well done, Alex.

    Moreover, let me just add that nothing pisses a decent person off like being accused of being immoral in some way, especially of being a racist or of being violent. Not only are such claims immoral and disgusting, they’re stupid and counterproductive.

    What I find interesting is the issue of what propels people to make such charges. My hypothesis is that it has more to do with the accuser’s need to bolster their own self-image than it has to do with the nature of the accused. When an accuser takes umbrage at someone else’s alleged “racism” what they’re really doing is validating themselves as being “non-racist” and thus bolster their own self-image, not to mention the bonus of posturing to others on the issue of their enlightenment. This process of ego-gratification is like a drug – it feels good to think that you are better than others. The problem is that in order to get the high from this drug you need to have someone to demonize.

    Someone explain to me where all the racists disappeared to.

    CNN Exit Poll, 2008:

    Race of Candidates Was…

    Most Important Factor (2%)
    OBAMA 58%
    MCCAIN 41%

    Important Factor (7%)
    OBAMA 52%
    MCCAIN 47%

    Was Race of Candidates an Important Factor to You?

    Yes (9%)
    OBAMA 53%
    MCCAIN 46%

    Was Race of Candidates a Factor to You?

    Yes (19%)

    OBAMA 53%
    MCCAIN 45%

    The data provides you with the answer to your question of where have the racists migrated. We see that 19% of the electorate still views individuals through the lens of race and that the majority of these racists are “progressives.”

  14. Tim says:

    I am a capitalist. I am a (r)epublican. I am a Christian. I am white. I am middle-class. To most of the posts I’ve seen so far, that means I am a racist, heartless, theo-crat scared to death that in a few years “my kind” will no longer be in control.

    Okay, if that’s how you feel.

    I prefer to think that it is not so. My capitalism, I believe, makes it easier for everyone to succeed without having castes, or classes to limit their potential and it actually enables us (us being citizens of the United States, not just whites) to succeed financially.

    I believe that being able to vote for representatives removes the idea that we would rule the government by the tyranny of the majority alone, actually taking power FROM the majority and recognizing the need for the minority to be able to exercise control over the rule-making as well.

    I believe that being a Christian makes me think a lot more about those less fortunate and to work, both through the Church and individually to help them (whoever they are, whatever color, whatever religion) achieve their goals. By doing so, society is better by having relieved the suffering of a greater percentage of the people.

    I believe that being white is not a club where everyone welcomes you in and wants to help you, so I have never felt in control of anything to start with, so losing control and a fear of that seems irrational.

    This is and always has been a big enough country for all of us, but if we have to demonize white people, Christians, capitalists and (r)epublicans in order to raise other boats, I don’t see that it really gets us anywhere. Do we have to tear down what is there to build something else?

    If that is true, then I think we are in for a long, difficult road that continues to create “victims” of every race.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    TangoBrimelow as usual comes along to make my point so eloquently. This is a man who says we have, “A minority occupation government.”

    So if you’re looking or a racist . . .

    This sort of “reasoning” holds that Jews rejoicing in the re-opening of synagogues in Berlin is exactly as racist as the events that led to their closing some 70 years ago.

    It rests on deliberate denial of history. The usual “big lie” that underpins everything Brimelow and his merry band of Up-market Klansmen believe.

  16. john personna says:

    That was a good post on what you believe Tim. I share a lot of that. The thing is we could have said “people are so convinced that Obama is a scary socialist that he could submit a Republican plan, and they’d still be against it.” That’s sort of what happened.

    Where does the “scary socialist” thing come from? Not race for everyone, but for some, perhaps. For the rest … is it just the old barbell politics thing and irrational polarization?

    Is it that a split-off hard right is so far right that literally all past American politics is now “socialist” and only a new free market ideal is “American?”

  17. TangoMan says:

    Reynolds.

    The fact is that instead of judging people by the content of their character, 19% of our fellow citizens judged the two men running for the presidency on the basis of their race.

    “Progressives” don’t get a pass from the charge of racism because they think of themselves as being enlightened for voting for a black man. The simple point of fact is that they viewed Obama as a Black man instead of a man with race being unimportant. This mindset has destructive power baked into it. If it’s wrong to judge a person negatively because of their race then how is it a virtue to judge someone positively because of their race? In both cases you’re seeing race before you see the individual, or you’re valuing race more than you value the individual.

    No matter how you flip it, seeing group characteristics before individual characteristics is demeaning to the person that you’re judging.

  18. john personna says:

    (Was Bob Dole a scary socialist?)

  19. john personna says:

    A blast from OTB past:

    Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican and world renowned heart surgeon, argues that the federal government must require all Americans to purchase health insurance.

    In what sense is labeling it “Obamacare” (a) reasonable, and (b) pushing a few irrational hot buttons?

  20. TangoMan says:

    “people are so convinced that Obama is a scary socialist that he could submit a Republican plan, and they’d still be against it.” That’s sort of what happened.

    How is it a Republican plan to destroy insurance companies? This plan forces insurance companies to take on people with pre-existing conditions, it prohibits insurance companies from charging differential rates, and it allows healthy people, if they pay a minor penalty, to not buy insurance until they find themselves in a moment of need.

    This is a plan that sets out to destroy the insurance market.

    Do you understand how insurance works. If you don’t have auto-insurance and then you severely damage your car, to force an auto-insurer to then offer you coverage, is not an act of insurance. Insurance covers against risk, not certainty.

  21. john personna says:

    This is not my preferred plan. I want vouchers for basic healthcare for all Americans. I want to allow the wealthy to buy voucher-plus insurance, or to seek their preferred doctors and hospitals.

    That said, if you take the Frist-Obama path to complete coverage and require insurance, then you pretty much have to define a broad insurance pool. You have to make the healthy pay for the sick. You have to make rates uniform. The alternative is that a 20 year old with a congenital heart condition is “required” to buy $20k/yr health insurance, or something.

  22. steve says:

    “How is it a Republican plan to destroy insurance companies?”

    I believe what is referred to here is the 1993 Republican counter offer to the Clinton plan. The individual mandate was conceived by Mark Pauly, a conservative AEI guy, as a means of promoting individual responsibility. It was the Republican plan. Also included in that plan was the concept for health care exchanges. The current HCR looks pretty much like the 93 Repub bill with some Romneycare thrown in. This makes claims of socialism look much more like partisanship.

    Interesting that some think this will destroy insurance and others think it will be an insurance bonanza. Methinks most dont know what is in the bill. although to be fair, important items like essential benefits have yet to be defined.

    Steve

  23. Stan says:

    TangoMan, NixonCare, DoleCare, RomneyCare, and ObamaCare provide the medical insurance and pharmaceutical industries with lots of new customers – 32 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Furthermore, the requirement that everybody be insured means that the insurance industry will have lots of young, healthy customers to offset their older clientele. The Obama administration struck a tacit (and perhaps explicit) bargain with the insurers and Big Pharma – the administration would deliver lots of new customers with very little additional regulation, and in return the insurance and pharmaceutical industries would not oppose the bill. The bill is pro-capitalist, too much for my taste, but the Administration felt that their tactics were necessary for passage.

    If you think I’m wrong, tell me why.

  24. just me says:

    Well I have never been to a tea party, and don’t intend to go to one, but I agree with Alex-crazies can be found in any movement, and if one wants to see some really scary crazies, all one needs to look at are the crazies who show up to protest at the WTO conferences/gatherings.

    I think the OP is probably a pretty good take on what is happening, although I would also say to paint all people at a tea party protest into the racist corner in order to delegitimize their complaints is going to eventually backfire. I don’t imagine the tea party crowd intends to sit the next election out.

  25. TangoMan says:

    The individual mandate was conceived by Mark Pauly, a conservative AEI guy, as a means of promoting individual responsibility.

    So long as we live in a society where EMTATA is the law, I don’t have a problem with the individual mandate. It is logically necessary. Under these conditions I have a problem with the low penalty for non-compliance.

    On the broader issue, I have fundamental objections to having poor young people subsidizing wealthier but less healthy older people. Young people have lower net worth than people in middle age, yet they’ll end up subsidizing wealthier (in a relative sense) people’s consumption of a consumer service because people are very reluctant to lower their own net worth in order to pay for their healthcare.

    In a nutshell, I have a few fundamental criticisms:

    -the specifics of the pool(s) and the wealth redistribution are very troubling;

    -these reforms don’t go deep enough and we’re building a superstructure on a unstable foundation. The superstructure will stand for a period but the crumbling of the foundation will eventually lead to its collapse.

    It was the Republican plan. Also included in that plan was the concept for health care exchanges.

    I don’t have a problem with a centralized exchange-market in principle.

    This makes claims of socialism look much more like partisanship.

    No, not when you have Democratic leaders uttering the following:

    Sen. Max Baucus: “Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”

  26. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    If the tea party people are bad, where is the place for William Ayers and the Weather Underground? At a University teaching your children to kill their parents. Those of you not willing to fight for the principles that established this nation will lose your freedom to those who await to take it in the guise of your best interest. Ask you forebears why they came here. To the idiots who will immediately call slavery one of the established principles, grow the fu*ck up.

  27. TangoMan says:

    You have to make the healthy pay for the sick.

    I’d modify this proposition to the following:

    “You have to make the healthy pay for the catastrophically sick.”

    I see absolutely no sense, and no justice, in having a 25 year old healthy person having to pay for the angina treatments of a 50 year old, someone who has had a 30 year working life to accumulate wealth and who more likely than not, has a more secure job, a larger home, a larger net worth, than the 25 year old.

    Growing old and dealing with the “failing” or “slipping” systems, organs and processes that comprise our body is part of a life cycle.

    If a person is not willing to tap into their own net worth in order to either improve their health or save their life, then I can’t see any justification for sticking someone who is more likely less well off with the bill for their care. The unintended consequences for this act of irresponsible lunacy will be catastrophic.

    You have to make rates uniform.

    You mean just like the uniform rates that are applied to drivers who are 16 year old males and 45 year old females?

    Auto insurance recognizes a changing risk profile typical in a person’s life cycle. The same solid reasoning should apply to health “insurance.” Sticking young and poor people with the bill for old and (relatively) wealthy people is not good policy.

    The alternative is that a 20 year old with a congenital heart condition is “required” to buy $20k/yr health insurance, or something.

    A good insurance system recognizes that bad luck can befall any individual and works to remove the penalty that would land on those who are the victims of bad luck.

    Any parent faces a risk that their child will be born with a disability, so insurance needs to protect against the UNEXPECTED.

    Protecting against the unexpected is far different than cost shifting for the expected, especially when the expected is simply a manifestation of a statistically typical human life cycle.

  28. Triumph says:

    As Glenn Beck said, the only racist is Obama. He nominated that “wise latina” lady to the supreme court to push her immigrant drivel and control our lives.

  29. steve says:

    “Under these conditions I have a problem with the low penalty for non-compliance.”

    1) The fine can be changed.

    2) The bill allows for catastrophic insurance until age 30. (Wish it went past 30) Since a healthy twenty something in my state can get catastrophic for well under $1000 a year, I think it would make more economic sense to go that route. For over 30, I would wait to see the cost of the bronze plan. BTW, IIRC, the clause says $695 or 2.5%, whichever is greater. So, this is a concern, but pretty easily addressed I think.

    “No, not when you have Democratic leaders uttering the following:”

    Guess we will have to disagree here. Our wealth has been concentrated at the top over the last 30 years. This seems to stem more from successful rent seeking than true wealth creation. Certainly the rest of us have seen wages stagnate, while productivity has continued to rise. TBH, I preferred the Senate scheme on finance. I would prefer that total wealth/income be taxed. I dont see why those without insurance should subsidize those who do.

    Baucus aside, the bill does at least start an important redistribution. That of the intergenerational transfer. We have been transferring to many of our resources to the elderly. Rather than investing without limits in their health care, we need to invest more into the health care of our young and the working poor, often the same group.

    Steve

  30. john personna says:

    TangoMan, as I say, it’s not my plan. If we’d gone with vouchers we wouldn’t have those concerns. In a similar vein, in that old Frist thread JJ said “I actually would prefer a more straight-up socialist solution than an unfunded mandate.”

    But you know, once you go with the sometimes-Republican plan of required private insurance, it will naturally fall to questions like those you name.

    But we had to have something, just because Americans want universal health care 2:1. Now, you can move them off that by making the universal coverage scary, as this old poll shows:

    In an extensive ABCNEWS/Washington Post poll, Americans by a 2-1 margin, 62-32 percent, prefer a universal health insurance program over the current employer-based system. That support, however, is conditional: It falls to fewer than four in 10 if it means a limited choice of doctors, or waiting lists for non-emergency treatments.

    Not surprisingly, making universal care (“Obamacare”) scary therefore became the game plan for the minority.

  31. Nice friends you have here Alex.

  32. Stan says:

    TangoMan, the headline on this Gallup poll

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/126959/Majority-Poor-Young-Uninsured-Back-Healthcare-Bill.aspx

    says

    “Majority of Poor, Young, Uninsured Back Healthcare Bill”

    and the subhead says

    “A majority of seniors say passing it was a bad thing”

    If the plan favors the elderly, as you seem to think, how do you explain the poll results?

    What I see in these results is that elderly voters (I’m one of them) already have a government run health insurance plan, one that they like, and they don’t want any help given to younger voters for fear they’ll be hurt in some way. It’s an understandable fear, but it’s ignoble.

  33. tom p says:

    As for the actual racist idiots who show up at the Tea Party protests, my advice is to treat them like you treat a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum: ignore them. They just want the attention—don’t give it to them.

    My advice is, if you don’t want to wake up with fleas, don’t lie down with dogs. Sooner or later you own them.

    This whole thread is so much “wah, wah, call me a wahmbulance.”

  34. UlyssesUnbound says:

    t a University teaching your children to kill their parents

    Since when do children attend University?

    Admit it, Triumph. That’s you under a Zels mask!

  35. TangoMan says:

    Guess we will have to disagree here. Our wealth has been concentrated at the top over the last 30 years.

    Yes, but not to the degree that most presume. Most people seem to think that we’re dealing with a static model, or a zero-sum type of model. We’re not. When you import poverty you change the dynamics within a population distribution. This dynamic model, which skews heavily towards a rising poor immigrant class distorts the variation in income distribution that characterizes native born Americans.

    Secondly, some people hold the illogical view that income disparity is a socially destabilizing force when the evidence shows otherwise. These people tend to ignore quality of life and price metrics to which people show more sensitivity.

    Thirdly, social choices are primary drivers of income disparity. The increasing rise of assortative mating has powerful effects on life outcomes and economic performance.

    This seems to stem more from successful rent seeking than true wealth creation.

    I agree. This is what I meant earlier about building a healthcare superstructure on an unstable foundation. Physicians are notorious for their rent seeking behavior. Same too with Fortune 500 CEOS and top management. Same too with many other economic actors. The key factor which delineates whether the harm arising from the rent-seeking should be actionable via government reform is whether the injured parties are the public or whether they are private actors. Rent seeking CEOS deprive the company shareholders of economic gains by misappropriating those gains. Physicians deprive the public by capturing a legislative-regulatory mechanism which extracts value from the public and provides no opportunities for competing actors to serve the same public.

    Certainly the rest of us have seen wages stagnate, while productivity has continued to rise.

    Productivity in the aggregate has risen but the distribution of those productivity gains has clearly favored those with skills favored by the market. Wages stagnate for some because those wage earners offer skills which are not in high demand, are over-supplied, or which don’t generate sufficient surplus value to warrant being awarded significant wage increases.

    If the introduction of robotics into the domestic manufacturing realm increases the amount of output per worker employed, it’s not clear to me that the worker is the one who should capture the majority of the added value. The value that is added is going to the risk takers and innovators who produce the robots, the engineers who design them and the management of firms who take the risk of implementing robotic manufacturing in lieu of other investment opportunities.

    Baucus aside, the bill does at least start an important redistribution. That of the intergenerational transfer. We have been transferring to many of our resources to the elderly. Rather than investing without limits in their health care, we need to invest more into the health care of our young and the working poor, often the same group.

    I’m half-way on board with you here, in that the “Who, Whom?” question is central to this reform. I do think that the entire implementation of the reform is wrong. Instead of setting out 2,000 pages of legislation trying to account and tweak thousands of contingencies, I believe that the effort should have been restricted to changing fundamental rules and then letting the system develop organically in line with the fundamental principles, in other words, the Soviet-style command economy with centralized 5 year plans is, to me, the wrong avenue to take and I would have preferred a decentralized plan constrained by a few principles.

  36. An Interested Party says:

    re: TangoMan | March 28, 2010 | 05:09 pm

    What you wrote could very easily be extended…

    What I find interesting is the issue of what propels people to make such charges. My hypothesis is that it has more to do with the accuser’s need to bolster their own self-image than it has to do with the nature of the accused. When an accuser takes umbrage at someone else’s alleged “socialism” what they’re really doing is validating themselves as being “non-socialist” and thus bolster their own self-image, not to mention the bonus of posturing to others on the issue of their enlightenment. This process of ego-gratification is like a drug – it feels good to think that you are better than others. The problem is that in order to get the high from this drug you need to have someone to demonize.

    The data provides you with the answer to your question of where have the racists migrated. We see that 19% of the electorate still views individuals through the lens of race and that the majority of these racists are “progressives.”

    So if someone views another based on skin color in a positive way, as only one of many factors, that makes that person a “racist”? I suggest you consult a dictionary, as that word doesn’t mean what you imply it to mean…

    This is and always has been a big enough country for all of us, but if we have to demonize white people, Christians, capitalists and (r)epublicans in order to raise other boats, I don’t see that it really gets us anywhere. Do we have to tear down what is there to build something else?

    I assume we can extend that call to not demonize others to include black and brown people, Muslims, socialists, and (d)emocrats?

  37. tom p says:

    How is it a Republican plan to destroy insurance companies?

    Tango: you make it too easy. what makes you think insurance companies are sacrosanct? Why should they be gauranteed a profit? If they don’t like the profit margins they can easily get out of the bussiness.

    I see absolutely no sense, and no justice, in having a 25 year old healthy person having to pay for the angina treatments of a 50 year old, someone who has had a 30 year working life to accumulate wealth and who more likely than not, has a more secure job, a larger home, a larger net worth, than the 25 year old.

    Except for the fact that after building houses and office buildings for 30 years, I am reaching the end of my rope, and yeah, when I was 20 yrs old, I didn’t give a rats ass about some 50+ yr old f**k who had been building houses for 30 years… but now it is me.

    Point is, if you want Health insurance when you need it, you need to pay for it when you don’t. Because when you do need it, you are sucking off of everybody else’s tit. (how else do you pay for pancreatic cancer?)(Ohhh, I forgot about all of that “accumulated wealth”, which if the gov’t would just keep their greedy little hands off with their “death tax” we could easily hand over to the insurance companies for health care they will surely deny)(oops, my bad, by the time the gov’t gets their sights on all my “accumulated wealth”…. it is already gone!)(unless my name is Bill Gates…)

  38. TangoMan says:

    Since when do children attend University?

    Haven’t you seen the news? Obamacare has redefined childhood so that it now extends to age 26.

  39. tom p says:

    “Majority of Poor, Young, Uninsured Back Healthcare Bill”

    and the subhead says

    “A majority of seniors say passing it was a bad thing”

    Stan, shortened: “I got mine. F*ck you.”

  40. TangoMan says:

    So if someone views another based on skin color in a positive way, as only one of many factors, that makes that person a “racist”? I suggest you consult a dictionary, as that word doesn’t mean what you imply it to mean…

    Much hinges on the definition that is applied to “racism.” We can go from the common “A racist is someone who bests a liberal in an argument” to the narrow “A racist is someone who negatively judges a person solely because of their race” with many stops in between.

    Frankly I don’t see the principled difference between “someone who judges a person negatively because of the person’s race” and “someone who judges a person positively because of the person’s race.” In both cases the person is seen as a representative of their race and not as an individual and, to my standards, this is dehumanizing. Racism is about dehumanization, so whether you dehumanize in furtherance of doing good or doing harm, you’re still engaged in the dehumanizing the recipient of the good or harm your directing at them.

    I assume we can extend that call to not demonize others to include black and brown people, Muslims, socialists, and (d)emocrats?

    Black and brown people, and Muslims and democrats are people who believe what they believe and their beliefs aren’t imposed on others. Socialists are a whole other animal in that they rely on coercion to bring their beliefs into reality. If I don’t wish to comply with the socialist credo “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” I can expect my freedom, liberty, and in some cases, my life, to be forfeit.

    People should be free to believe what they want so long as they don’t forcibly impose their views on others, and those who do seek to forcibly impose their views on others should be demonized.

  41. Herb says:

    Most folks who join the Tea Parties are decent people who care about the direction their country is going.

    I’ll grant you that. But on the other hand, why can’t they just be Republicans? It’s not like conservatives concerned about the direction of the party don’t already have a party looking out for their interests.

    My impression of the Tea Partiers is not that they are racist –even though racism does find a home at a Tea Party rally that it wouldn’t at a Republican rally– but that they are cry-babies and sore losers and ineffectual obnoxious blowhards.

    Listening to them whine “Someone called me a racist!” does little to change that impression.

    PS. Video of a congressman being spit on by a Tea Bagger (and yes, I’m reverting to the pejorative for this dude).

    Okay, it doesn’t look like the Tea Bagger intentionally spit on the congressman. He was just screaming so loudly that some of the froth flew through the air and by sheer coincidence landed in the congressman’s face. Indeed, if the congressman hadn’t been walking so closely to the frothing-at-the-mouth crazy man, he might have entered the chamber with a dry face. His bad.

    (By the way, I’m sure the frothing-at-the-mouth crazy man is a decent person…when he’s not frothing-at-the-mouth like a crazy man.)

  42. An Interested Party says:

    We can go from the common “A racist is someone who bests a liberal in an argument”…

    This from someone who seems to get upset when someone accuses him of being Peter Brimelow…tsk tsk…

  43. TangoMan says:

    This from someone . . .

    Most conservatives find themselves on the receiving end of the charge of racism. This definition is widely held. If you use the same sound bite as Keith Olbermann, that doesn’t mean that people should suspect that you’re Olbermann. You idiot.

    Look, as Alex’s post makes clear, many liberals show little restraint in throwing around accusations of racism and many have found it to be a very effective tool at shutting down debates in which they are floundering.

    Liberals are having a lot of trouble contending with the rise in popularity of the TEA Party movement at a time when they think that they’ve been instrumental in electing a popular president. Rather than address the fundamental issues underlying the rise of the TEA Party they seek to shut down discussions of merit and they work to delegitimize the TEA Party by painting members and the movement as racist, thus keeping liberals safe in their cocoon clinging to their belief that were it not for racism President Obama, despite his atrocious policies, would be extremely popular.

  44. TangoMan says:

    I’ll grant you that. But on the other hand, why can’t they just be Republicans? It’s not like conservatives concerned about the direction of the party don’t already have a party looking out for their interests.

    I find that to be an interesting question. Here’s my stab at an answer.

    The Republican Party has institutional inertia. It has existing power centers, existing administrative infrastructure, existing policy platforms, etc so lone voices out in the wilderness who share a particular view can’t coalesce into a meaningful power center in an environment which is working against their interests. These individual voices are too diffused.

    The TEA Party movement is like a spontaneous conglomeration of like minded individuals focused on a central issue – not a wide and diverse policy platform. This specialization works to keep the movement focused on their mission and it differentiates them from Republicans.

    As the movement grows in size and influence it then enters into negotiations with the Republicans on a more equal footing. There is strength in numbers. These numbers allow them to capture precinct level nominating committees, to influence policy platforms, to influence local and distant elections.

    It’s not like conservatives concerned about the direction of the party don’t already have a party looking out for their interests.

    I realize that you’re a liberal, but do you honestly believe that those of us who hold to fiscal conservatism and small government have found a receptive ear in the Republican Party of the last generation? If we were anti-abortion or low tax supporters, yeah maybe, but frankly I didn’t see much Republican action on government downsizing.

    Listening to them whine “Someone called me a racist!” does little to change that impression.

    Are you arguing that you would act differently?

    (By the way, I’m sure the frothing-at-the-mouth crazy man is a decent person…when he’s not frothing-at-the-mouth like a crazy man.)

    Let’s see how you react when you think someone is depriving you of a liberty you hold to be important.

  45. Eric Florack says:

    Politically, this frustration is epitomized by the Tea Party movement. It may have some legitimate concerns (taxation, the role of government, etc.), but its message is lost in the madness

    (Shrug)
    I’ll give you credit, Alex. Your comments were well put, even if they were a little bit off center.

    What we have here can be simply described as somebody on the [nine saying that the biggest danger to the left continuing to hold power, is a republican party that is truly conservative.

    as for the rest, the lead spoil the Healthcare issue down to fundamentals, shall we? By what right does anyone confiscate the fruit of my labor for any purpose whatever? Until you answer that basic moral question, it seems to me the trying to address the various kinds and styles of government run health care, and the moral qualities of each, is simply nibbling around the edges.

    And of course, if you’re truthful about your answer, you won’t support any government health care option at all.

  46. PJ says:

    Race of Candidates Was…

    Most Important Factor (2%)
    OBAMA 58%
    MCCAIN 41%

    Important Factor (7%)
    OBAMA 52%
    MCCAIN 47%

    Was Race of Candidates an Important Factor to You?

    Yes (9%)
    OBAMA 53%
    MCCAIN 46%

    Was Race of Candidates a Factor to You?

    Yes (19%)

    OBAMA 53%
    MCCAIN 45%

    Considering that Obama won 52.9% – 45.7%, so if the exit poll is correct, people who thought that race was a factor voted almost exactly like those who didn’t, well within the error margin. Except for the 2% who thought it was the most important factor, but then 2% is a rather small subset, so the large difference could just be error due to the small number of responses.

    Even so, I’d be suprised if there weren’t African Americans who with a chance to vote for a black president saw that as the most important factor. But then African Americans already vote for democrats so I doubt it had any major impact. Guess there would have been more evidence for or against African Americans voting based on race if for example Colin Powell or Condi Rice had faced a white democrat.

    Not sure what’s the reason for wanting another white president other than racism, considering that every one of them until Obama has been white.

  47. Davebo says:

    I’m sorry, but didn’t we just see the national debt nearly double in 8 short years?

    Where were those tea party folks during that?

    It might not be racism. It could just be that they hate to lose.

    Regardless, they are hypocritical idiots based on any scoring of reality. Call them bigots, call them racists, call them anything you want.

    They are what they are. And it shouldn’t be sugar coated.

  48. steve says:

    “Secondly, some people hold the illogical view that income disparity is a socially destabilizing force when the evidence shows otherwise. These people tend to ignore quality of life and price metrics to which people show more sensitivity.”

    I am looking at the high end. The large majority of economic gain in the last ten years was in the top 0.1%. 40% of the gains came in the financial sector. Is this socially destabilizing. I think the evidence is mixed and it is difficult to take info from a rich country and apply it to a poor one, but this kind of disparity is what one typically sees in third world countries. It would certainly suggest a concentration of capital into the hands of very few people. An economy planned and run by very few people in government or in the financial sector is not a good idea IMHO. Whatever the intent of supply side economics, this has been its outcome.

    Worse, money means power in American politics. We have concentrated wealth into the hands of a few, which means we are concentrating power into the hands of very few people. The wealthy just buy the media now if they dont like its message. While they are at it, they buy the pols also.

    ” I would have preferred a decentralized plan constrained by a few principles.”

    The market could have responded a long time ago. It has not. While some aspects of medicine are amenable to market mechanisms, much of medicine does not meet the most basic aspect of the market. Both parties must be free to walk away from the deal. That does not hold for medicine. First world medicine and pure market pricing in medicine does not exist anywhere.

    Steve

  49. An Interested Party says:

    re: TangoMan at March 28, 2010 21:45

    Considering the slavish devotion you have shown Sarah Palin, it’s awfully rich of you to accuse anyone else of being an idiot…actually, all I was doing was just yanking your chain, but it’s nice to see that you seemingly don’t like being associated with Peter Brimelow/VDARE…that’s progress, I suppose…have you ever denied the claim of Michael Reynolds?

  50. michael reynolds says:

    Interested Party:

    I have watched and waited: Tango has never once denied being Peter Brimelow.

    Further: He has never disavowed a single statement attributed to Brimelow.

    Not once has he said, “Wait a minute! I never said America had a “minority occupation government.” He never argued with any of the quotes I have from Brimelow.

    If it was me and someone accused me of being the equivalent of David Duke I think I’d object.

    If someone attributed to me statements of a clearly objectionable nature I think I’d argue with that, too.

    But not once has Tango denied being Brimelow, or disavowed a statement of Brimelow’s. He’ll try transparent dodges — the old have you stopped beating your wife evasion — but I don’t think he’s able to deny or distance himself. I suspect this is because he’s outed himself to Dr. Joyner. It puts him in a bit of a box.

  51. TangoMan says:

    all I was doing was just yanking your chain, but it’s nice to see that you seemingly don’t like being associated with Peter Brimelow/VDARE…that’s progress, I suppose…have you ever denied the claim of Michael Reynolds?

    I know you’re yanking my chain. My point is that I stand by what I write (which should provide you with enough conniption fits to satisfy you) so I don’t see the point in having to defend anyone else’s writing, be it Brimelow, Olbermann, Maddow, or Joyner, or Alex, etc. It’s a stupid game.

    Have you ever denied that you no longer beat your wife? Do you think that you’ll come out OK if I draw you into that game? The entire premise is loaded.

    Steve,

    It would certainly suggest a concentration of capital into the hands of very few people. An economy planned and run by very few people in government or in the financial sector is not a good idea IMHO.

    I agree. I while back I was looking at IRS data on the breakdown of sources of income for the top earners. The majority of top income is coming from self-employed people. I was surprised at the lack of influence of inherited wealth, income from interest, and income from rents. Without finding that report I can’t anchor my point in real numbers, but my impression is that the system is more geared to rewarding initiative than it is to creating and maintaining an oligarchic and hereditary class. Further, the composition of the top earning class is quite dynamic and the income mobility data from BLS shows quite a bit of movement between quintiles over people’s lives.

    When I see evidence of a hereditary class system putting down roots and exploiting their position to benefit themselves, then I’ll be more sympathetic to calls for serious reform. The Bush and Kennedy and Clinton dynasties are bad news. I hope that they don’t get resurrected.

    As it stands though, I’d rather live in society where dynamism is more prevalent than statis, and were rewards are not limited or punished if they result from innovation and marketable skills. Rewarding people, via redistribution from the successful to the unsuccessful, removes a lot of dynamism from society and I can’t, on balance, see this as a preferable outcome. I’d prefer a solution that puts a floor on income distribution, mostly by increasing the human capital of those who comprise the lowest quintile, than I would the idea of putting a ceiling on success. If we can agree that it is not good policy to encourage the growth of a “high school drop-out” class, then why would we want to add 20 million illegals to our citizenship ranks when most of these folks have extremely low levels of human capital.

    The wealthy just buy the media now if they dont like its message. While they are at it, they buy the pols also.

    I don’t want to come across as flip, but when was this not the case? Politicians have been bought since the dawn of history.

    The market could have responded a long time ago. It has not. While some aspects of medicine are amenable to market mechanisms, much of medicine does not meet the most basic aspect of the market. Both parties must be free to walk away from the deal. That does not hold for medicine. First world medicine and pure market pricing in medicine does not exist anywhere.

    Markets are always constrained by the rules imposed on them by government. Players in markets always try to maximize utility within the boundaries set by government. The banking crisis is a perfect example. When government imposes a matrix decision process on banks, then bankers will utility maximize in response to the “rules.” Banks had to maximize profits and they had to pursue “social justice” goals imposed on them by government regulators. The consequences of ill-thought-out and complex rules can be quite severe and unintended.

    Market-based alternatives are difficult to get off the ground in environments which are locked into reigning paradigms and where experimentation is constrained by regulatory shackles. Here medicine is a good example. I could probably come up with a half-dozen free market variants that should be tried but which would face legislative, regulatory and, for lack of better terminology, “fear of innovation in a sea of conformity” effects. If the environment is changed, then the strategies that result will also be different.

  52. Herb says:

    The TEA Party movement is like a spontaneous conglomeration of like minded individuals focused on a central issue – not a wide and diverse policy platform.

    Spontaneous? Hardly. Although I do agree it’s a “conglomeration of like minded individuals focused on a central issue – not a wide and diverse policy platform.”

    Why do you think this is a recipe for electoral success? It’s a big country, wide and diverse even, and it deserves a policy platform that reflects that.

    I’m glad you brought this up:

    Let’s see how you react when you think someone is depriving you of a liberty you hold to be important.

    I can’t say for certain what I’d do in this hypothetical situation, but one thing I wouldn’t do…

    I wouldn’t stand on the capital steps, frothing at the mouth and yelling at the top of my lungs like a raging madman. If my goal was to look like an idiot and go hoarse, then yeah…I might choose that course of action.

    But if my goal was to get my freedom back, I’d do something else.

  53. anjin-san says:

    By what right does anyone confiscate the fruit of my labor for any purpose whatever?

    When Hank Rearden said something like that, it sounded cool. When you say it, it sounds like a petulant whine.

    By what right did the government take the fruit of my labor and use it to finance a war against Iraq, a nation that did not threaten us, based on nonexistent WMDs? By what right did the Bush admin ship billions in cash, some of it mine, off to Iraq where a great deal of it simply vanished into thin air? Or build infrastructure that in Iraq that Iraq did not even appear to want?

    Funny how the tea party types were cheering as the fruit of our labors was confiscated and spent on this fiasco. Yet when someone wants to maybe send an American to a doctor, they get quite hysterical.

  54. michael reynolds says:

    all I was doing was just yanking your chain, but it’s nice to see that you seemingly don’t like being associated with Peter Brimelow/VDARE…that’s progress, I suppose…have you ever denied the claim of Michael Reynolds?

    I know you’re yanking my chain. My point is that I stand by what I write (which should provide you with enough conniption fits to satisfy you) so I don’t see the point in having to defend anyone else’s writing, be it Brimelow, Olbermann, Maddow, or Joyner, or Alex, etc. It’s a stupid game.

    Have you ever denied that you no longer beat your wife? Do you think that you’ll come out OK if I draw you into that game? The entire premise is loaded.

    See?

  55. Tim says:

    Okay, I’ve read the Tea Party criticisms and still have not found any who oppose it who actually oppose the Tea Parties for who they are, just the stereotypes of who they are.

    If you claim enlightenment, demonstrate it. If you criticize something, you should know what it is, not what some third party said it was.

    Despite what is said on this blog, you are going to have to come to grips with the fact that the Tea Parties are made up of political newbies for the most part, that’s why they sometimes get caught doing things that are not politically astute.

    But, that should scare the devil out of anti-Tea Party people, because it means they are drawing in the normally silent, normally dormant, non-voting types who, before the Santelli Rant, were just pissed, but had nowhere to go and no one with whom to align themselves.

    The trouble THAT causes is that EVERY election in this country was decided by people just like them! 30-some percent will always vote Democrat, 30-some percent will always vote Republican, and some 4% of others will swing the election in one direction or another.

    Here’s the real problem for Tea Party haters: Opinion polls. This is also why you see the charges of racism grow exponentially, why CNN reports “dozens” of protesters at the Nevada rally when Border Patrol images show at least 10,000.

    Here are the stats: Of Tea Party members, 16% are Democrats leaning Democratic, 74% are Republicans or independents leaning Republican, 5% are solidly independent, 45% are men, 55% are women, only 88% are white (I guess the other 12% are black and hispanic masochists who who hang with racist bigots) 15% voted for Barack Obama.

    Here’s some more disturbing news: By a 62% to 12% margin Mainstream Americans say the Tea Party is closer to their views (than the views of Congress).

    That was Rasmussen, so I guess it was rigged by a Vast Right Wing Tea Party Conspiracy.

    I just would like you all to realize that stereotyping the Tea Parties isn’t going to work. To minimize and discard isn’t going to work. I believe the Mortgage Bailout activated these people, not Barack Obama. So, you might just have to take the time to understand what caused their anger, rather than to supplant reason with your own bias. In fact, their anger was caused by Bush, and that’s why even if they lean Republican and may vote Republican, they are going to do everything they can to vote for THE Republican who won’t sell them down the river like Bush did, or McCain routinely does.

    Obama is coincidental and I believe if he didn’t have such America-hating friends like Ayers and Wright and governed more like Clinton, this movement would have died by now.

    Long-winded, I know, but one other thing, they aren’t going away. It isn’t just about health care, it isn’t just about the debt and deficits, it truly is about liberty and as long as programs and issues threaten liberty, these people will be around.

    I do find it curious that no one holding the Tea Party people accountable for threatened or insinuated violence has said a single thing about SEIU thugs beating, on camera and in public, Tea Party people. Check this out:http://www.narbosa.com/2009/08/seiu-union-thugs-cause-violence-at.html

    But, I suppose that would be whining, right?

  56. john personna says:

    Tim, I started to formulate an answer to your first line:

    Okay, I’ve read the Tea Party criticisms and still have not found any who oppose it who actually oppose the Tea Parties for who they are, just the stereotypes of who they are.

    but when I went on to James’ next piece I found something very much like what I was thinking:

    Government is so entwined in our lives that many who rail against it don’t even realize that they’re using government programs, Steve Benen argues. He uses notes the case of a Tea Party leader who rails against socialized medicine even though she’s on Social Security and Medicare. Steve says that people like this shouldn’t be listened to since, while they may be sincere, they’re “a confused group of misled people.”

    For me personally, the contradiction of Medicare receivers protesting socialism is just too much. I do look for other reasons for the anger because that part doesn’t make sense.

  57. Herb says:

    Long-winded, I know, but one other thing, they aren’t going away.

    Oh they’ll go away.

    Once Republicans have control of the White House and/or the Senate again. Just watch.

    It’s not some revolutionary movement that’s going to change the course of this country forever.

    It’s a reactionary fad with limited appeal and an expiration date that’s rapidly approaching.

    To paraphrase Pantera, give it five years and you’ll retire your Tea Parties.

  58. Grewgills says:

    I agree with Alex about most of those who show up, but it is fun to watch those who routinely made sport of the fringes of anti-war protests and WTO rallies and made their birds of a feather arguments now defending the Tea Parties because their fringes are not representative. I see a couple of those above. (The inverse phenomenon is equally visible.) It’s almost as if their arguments ride on political expediency.

    How interesting that some of the same people who have their feelings hurt when labeled as racists don’t mind mislabeling others as Marxists, communists, socialists, etc…

    or Stalinist, or Maoist, ‘the real racists’, etc. Of course they only do it because they are sooooo mad at the leftist Dumocrats calling them racists.

  59. Drew says:

    Thanks for the post, Alex.

    And does anyone have some valium they could send Michael?

  60. Grewgills says:

    Completely peripheral and only to satisfy my curiosity but,
    Michael R,
    What evidence do you have that Tango is who you say he is? His lack of denial and responding when you are clearly referring to him despite the name you use don’t count. Absent real evidence you should stop. This particular schtick has become more than a little tiresome.
    Tango,
    Why not just unequivocally state that you are not who Michael claims you are? Why not further state that you find the writings of the odious man he brings up repugnant and be done with it?

    In answer to your related question, I do not now nor have I ever beat my wife and I find the idea of beating my wife repugnant. See, it’s easy.

  61. An Interested Party says:

    But, that should scare the devil out of anti-Tea Party people, because it means they are drawing in the normally silent, normally dormant, non-voting types who, before the Santelli Rant, were just pissed, but had nowhere to go and no one with whom to align themselves.

    Ahhh, so that great Silent Majority will soon rise up again? Hey, it worked for Nixon…

    That was Rasmussen, so I guess it was rigged by a Vast Right Wing Tea Party Conspiracy.

    Well at least you recognize the truth… 🙂

  62. I’m sorry, but didn’t we just see the national debt nearly double in 8 short years?

    Where were those tea party folks during that?

    Check the archives here, there have been plenty of people complaining about runaway spending during the Bush years. Now with Obama doubling down again on the national debt it has passed a bit of a tipping point and got even more people’s attention. This isn’t rocket science.

  63. Grewgills, as a matter of principle why bother to refute any of Michael Reynold’s crazy assertions. If he does then that will be held as proof that anything and everything else he doesn’t refute must be true. It is a waste of time and energy and a classic debating technique to get your opponent to spend all his time responding to spurious accusations, because it takes more time to refute the accusations than to make them.

  64. Tim says:

    I personally don’t see any inconsistency at all if one is in a government program and then complains about it. EVER been in the military? We all joined up, that didn’t mean we couldn’t bitch about the chow!

    Interested Party: You know, I really don’t care if you believe me or not, I am just trying to tell you that most of these people weren’t even politically active in the last election, except to vote Bush out of office. That doesn’t mean they like what they have now.

  65. just me says:

    or me personally, the contradiction of Medicare receivers protesting socialism is just too much. I do look for other reasons for the anger because that part doesn’t make sense.

    I don’t really see the contradiction here. With Medicare a person doesn’t even have the option of purchasing private insurance, because companies don’t sell it.

    If a person is old enough to qualify for Medicare, and it is the only game in town, that doesn’t necessarily mean they think the program is a good one or a good use of taxpayer dollars.

    However, I imagine a lot of tea party participants on Medicare do like their medicare and are afraid it will be changing for the worse. I can see protesting that but being afraid of change to a program they use and like does seem be more of a contradiction.

    When my husband was in the Navy our experiences with the military provided healthcare was less than stellar (we eventually opted to pay more out of pocket and take our kids to a civilian doctor because the care was sub standard or just impossible to get). We still used the system and worked within the rules, but it isn’t one I would want to experience again or considered a model for what I want in healthcare-I don’t think it was a contradition to want it to be better or different.

    *I will note that the system has been completely revamped and changed since my husband was in the military, so it may be improved over our experience.

  66. Eric Florack says:

    By what right did the government take the fruit of my labor and use it to finance a war against Iraq,

    By means of the Constitution, which lays out defense of the country and it’s interests, which unlike health care, is one of the enumerated powers of government.

  67. john personna says:

    Just me, I’m pretty sure there was medical insurance for that age group before there was Medicare. I was listening to the early history of the Blue Cross organizations. In the 1920’s they were non-profits. In those old days ministers would ask from the pulpit for everyone (young and old) to join, in order to support the old and infirm.

    Medicare has changed the field, and sure it would be hard for a private company to compete, just as it would be if Medicare were offered to everyone with pre-existing conditions in the younger population.

    The question is whether a young person with a birth defect should be at the mercy of the market (do you hear someone saying “their parents should have bought insurance”?), or if that bad-luck kid should have a Medicare-like opportunity.

  68. TangoMan says:

    The question is whether a young person with a birth defect should be at the mercy of the market (do you hear someone saying “their parents should have bought insurance”?), or if that bad-luck kid should have a Medicare-like opportunity.

    What a slanted comparison! Mercy of the market, ahem, where do you think the money comes from to create the Medicare-like “opportunity”, do you think it just magically appears or are taxpayers held at the mercy of the mob?

    I don’t understand the liberal mindset which seems to think that it is greedy to want to spend the money you earn on the things that you find important in your life and that it is not greedy to force other people, with a threat of violence, to fund the activities you feel important.

    I’d love for a way to be developed to create a differential tax system based on party registration so that liberals who believe in redistribution would be forced to pay a 15 percentage point premium on their taxes with the proceeds dedicated towards redistribution and conservatives, again based on party registration, would earn some discount on their tax rate with the funds being directed to spending on the public goods that a government traditionally funds.

  69. Eric Florack says:

    I don’t really see the contradiction here. With Medicare a person doesn’t even have the option of purchasing private insurance, because companies don’t sell it.

    They used to, before Medicare came along.
    Look into the past to see your future.

  70. anjin-san says:

    which unlike health care, is one of the enumerated powers of government.

    Interesting, because Bush build a lot of hospitals in Iraq with the fruit of your and my labors. Don’t recall hearing a peep from you about that. But apparently taking care of US citizens is somehow contrary to the intent of the founding fathers…

  71. anjin-san says:
  72. anjin-san says:

    By what right did the Bush admin ship billions in cash, some of it mine, off to Iraq where a great deal of it simply vanished into thin air? Or build infrastructure that in Iraq that Iraq did not even appear to want?

    Bisty you missed this. Try to move beyond the cookie cutter talking points. Really. Just try.

  73. john personna says:

    Tango, it’s not a “slanted comparison,” it is more a corner case. But then health care is all about the corner cases. The average kid, and the average worker, is healthy. You’ve got to go to the unusual to find the unhealthy, and the very unusual to find those requiring very expensive treatments.

    I know that you don’t want us to worry about the “unusual” case of someone left without a parent or a job or insurance and with a dread disease.

    You’ve made that very clear.

  74. Eric Florack says:

    Bisty you missed this. Try to move beyond the cookie cutter talking points. Really. Just try.

    Actually, no, I didn’t miss it. Though, I do see that the response that I thought had gotten posted from my phone, apparently didn’t, for whatever reason.

    At the risk of repeating myself, then, the answer is actually quite simple. Yet, still apparently above you. The defense of this nation and its interests, are constitutionally mandated. Government health care, is not. I recognize, of course, that you seldom reckon with the constitution. That’s probably your difficulty here. But I would strongly advise you to add value self of the many different copies of said constitution which are online, so that you may have some idea of what it is you’re dealing with. You may even find a certain wisdom in it. I doubt it, but I’m forever hopeful.