Tea Party Leader Tries to Explain Position on Debt Ceiling

He doesn't do a very good job.

Tea Party leader Judson Phillips takes to the pages ofWaPo to explainWhy the Tea Party is unyielding on the debt ceiling

In all honesty, he doesn’t explain much, but rather presents what sounds like a series of talk radio segments (which is not a surprise, as I called the Tea Party movement “talk radio made manifest” a couple of years ago).

Mostly it is a combo of “we don’t want to be Greece” and paeans to the wonders of cutting waste/silly sounding programs.

In re: Greece, he writes:

We understand that we must stop the spending. Where this country is headed under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis of fiscal evil is not uncharted territory. Greece has been there and done that. The Greeks borrowed too much and spent too much, and they cannot tax their way out of their problems. Greece has created such an entitlement class that its politicians cannot cut spending without being voted out of office. The Greek economy is going the way of the Death Star in “Star Wars,” and the final explosion should be just as spectacular.

[…]

We can see Greece’s economy in its death spiral. That is our future if we do not stop out-of-control government spending and the borrowing to cover it.

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I don’t see an actual argument there. Rather, it is a simplistic comparison that is supposed to be a cautionary tale without establishing why it is applicable.

Indeed, the Greek case makes for a lousy comparison for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that the US is the source of the world’s main reserve currency while the Greeks don’t even have their own. Further, the Greeks already had serious problems going into the financial crisis, including over borrowing to pay for the Olympics and lying about their fiscal situation so as to get admitted to the Eurozone. In other words: they had serious fiscal issues before the financial crisis hit and were ill-equipped to handle it.

A grand irony of a Tea Party leader using Greece as an example is that part of Greece’s problems has been a severe reduction in their bond ratings and yet the goals of the Tea Party (i.e., not raising the debt ceiling) are the most proximate threat to the US’s bond rating (not that the US face anything like the downgrade the Greeks have suffered).

Look, I agree that we don’t want to be Greece. The thing is: we aren’t Greece and we aren’t going to be. Our relative levels of development and economic power are different, as is our place in the global economy. Further, the nature of our problems are different.

Indeed, this is a key point: Greece has an immediate deficit and debt crisis. We do not. We have a short term spike in the deficits and we do have long term debt issues. However, our long term problems are about health care costs. The only immediate crisis is the debt ceiling issue, which Phillps’ Tea Party allies are helping to create.

Beyond Greece, he attacks waste and such:

The GAO found in 2008 that more than 40 percent of the purchases made with government cards were improper, fraudulent or constituted embezzlement. These credit cards are being used to purchase Xboxes, lingerie and more.

Americans rightly think there is something wrong when our government has spent $2.6 million to teach Chinese prostitutes how to drink responsibly. Americans are tired of “bridges to nowhere,” ferries to nowhere, neon light museums, cowboy poetry readings and cow flatulence studies — all of which are being paid for with our tax dollars.

Now, I agree the fraudulent government credit card use is bad and should be stopped and, certainly on the face of it, programs aimed at the alcohol consumption rate of Chinese ladies of the night strikes me as rather questionable. However, as I pointed out yesterday, that’s not how we hit our current deficits and, as noted above, our long term issues are more profound than pointing out waste.

As a side notes, my reading of the cited GAO report was that ~41% of credit card purchases were improperly reported, which includes the theft in question. Phillips’ characterization is, therefore, a bit exaggerated.

A concluding point, in regards to another of Phillips’ points:

Average Americans understand that the federal government is bloated. The government funds too many wasteful programs. There are too many programs and spending bills that exist only to help get senators or representatives reelected.

Who does Phillips think politicians appeal to for reelection? I am pretty sure it would be those selfsame “Average Americans” that Phillips claims his Tea Party allies represent (you know, the ones who want government to keep it’s hands off of Medicare).

Basically, his column states that we don’t want to be Greece, that waste is bad, and that politicians often seek to be reelected by engaging in spending that their constituents want. None of which explains why we should create an unnecessary financial crisis by failing to engage in a basic procedural operation.

FILED UNDER: Deficit and Debt, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    Welcome to 2012.

  2. Falze says:

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but I don’t see an actual argument there.

    I don’t see an actual “Tea Party Leader” there, actually. A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to call themselves and others “Tea Party Leaders” so they can either engage in self-aggrandizement or attack them and those that tend to side with the principles espoused in the first T.E.A. parties a couple of years ago, but honestly I’ve never heard of this guy before.

    Despite the best efforts to Alinsky the ‘tea party’ types, there simply is no “leader” to isolate and attack. In other words, yeah, the guy might be an idiot, but he’s just some idiot, not ‘The TEA PARTY LEADER is an idiot’.

    And, really, at the end of the day, the ‘tea party types’ mostly don’t understand or really care about the mechanics of government debt payments and bond issues and the rest…they just know that the economy sucks, it’s gotten worse in the past couple of years, and the Democrats took the ~$150 billion dollar deficit they inherited from the last GOP Congress and turned it into ~$1.5 TRILLION dollar deficits stretching into the horizon as they’re told that we have to spend money to save money, spend more because we’re not taking enough in, and 9% unemployment is the ‘new normal’ even as Bush was attacked for no jobs when we were at ‘full employment’ and while they can see, but are not being reminded that food stamp usage under Obama has, as he would say, “necessarily skyrocketed” and that cutting budgets simply back to the levels before the Democrats took back Congress would be a return to the dark ages, slavery, and children starving in the streets.

  3. Jonathan says:

    “We understand that we must stop the spending.” What a novel premise. For a nation to simply stop spending is not at all impossible! Everyone should try that to balance personal budgets! Just stop spending! How brilliant!!

  4. Rick Almeida says:

    the Democrats took the ~$150 billion dollar deficit they inherited from the last GOP Congress

    Evidence the 2007 deficit was $150 billion?

  5. john personna says:

    @Falze:

    they just know that the economy sucks, it’s gotten worse in the past couple of years, and the Democrats took the ~$150 billion dollar deficit they inherited from the last GOP Congress and turned it into ~$1.5 TRILLION dollar deficits stretching into the horizon

    In other words, functional illiterates.

  6. ratufa says:

    I think Falze represented the Tea Party pretty well: They are a bunch of people who are p*ssed off, don’t understand and don’t care to understand much about the mechanics of government (debt payments or otherwise), and blame Obama and the Democrats for deficits and the bad economy because that is what they are constantly told.

  7. hey norm says:

    “… the economy sucks, it’s gotten worse in the past couple of years…”

    evidence the economy has gotten worse in the last couple years?

  8. michael reynolds says:

    It’s nice to see all sides — even the Tea Party — coming together around the understanding that the Tea Party is a bunch of idiots.

  9. Rob in CT says:

    @Falze:

    Ah, no true scotsman.

    the Democrats took the ~$150 billion dollar deficit they inherited from the last GOP Congress and turned it into ~$1.5 TRILLION dollar deficits

    I see that you are also suffering from amnesia. There was a massive financial panic in 2008. Perhaps you remember it. Revenue dropped, safety net spending increased. The stimulus bill that the Right is so angry about was $787 billion, and part of that was a tax cut (which the TPers think is magic, when proposed by a Republican).

    but are not being reminded that food stamp usage under Obama has, as he would say, “necessarily skyrocketed” and that cutting budgets simply back to the levels before the Democrats took back Congress would be a return to the dark ages, slavery, and children starving in the streets.

    Food stamps = safety net spending that has increased because of the recession and its aftermath. This is elementary. And yes, cutting food stamps would result in some kids going hungry. The “dark ages” and “slavery” stuff you made up.

    Cutting budgets back to 2006 spending levels is problematic because inbetween we suffered a major financial panic that resulted in the worst recession we’ve had for 80 years. That happened and we can’t wish it away. Those extra people on food stamps, unemployment benefits, etc., are there because they lost their friggin’ jobs and can’t find new ones.

    Pulling back on government spending right now would be a bad idea, because the economy is already very fragile. Lower gov’t spending means more job losses, which in turn means lower demand, which could lead to more job losses, lower demand. We’ve seen this before (1937-8).

    Actually, that brings up an interesting question. Has the US federal government, at any time SINCE 1937, pulled back hard on spending in the wake of a recession (meaning just after the recession is “officially” over, but with unemployment levels still up)? I very much doubt it. I’m thinking that what we’re seeing here is that it takes about 70 years to forget a lesson learnt the hard way.

  10. hey norm says:

    But Rob…keep in mind that when we go into a double-dip it will be Obama’s fault.

  11. TURN says:

    Either this article is intentionally deceptive or poorly researched. This is a man who tried to exploit the Tea Party movement for personal and professional gain. http://www.aolnews.com/2010/02/05/judson-phillips-threw-a-tea-party-and-trouble-showed-up/

  12. WR says:

    @TURN: Which is the dictionary definition of a “Tea Party leader.” For “Tea Party follower,” see definition under “moron.”

  13. Rob in CT says:

    What’s that, this “leader” is actually a snake oil salesman!? Well golly gee, I guess that explains the snake oil he was selling…

  14. hey norm says:

    @ Turn…

    “…This is a man who tried to exploit the Tea Party movement for personal and professional gain…”

    Well yeah…but that describes plenty of people. The entire astroturf movement, that is referred to as the Tea Party, is just a front for big money establishment types out to advance their own interests. Judson Phillips is a really sleazy guy, but so is Dick Armey and so are the Koch Brothers. The unfortunate thing is that the folks who want the government out of their Medicare and Social Security and Farm Subsidies are too simple and too unaware to know that they are being used by these sleazeballs.

  15. mantis says:

    I don’t see an actual “Tea Party Leader” there, actually. A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to call themselves and others “Tea Party Leaders” so they can either engage in self-aggrandizement or attack them and those that tend to side with the principles espoused in the first T.E.A. parties a couple of years ago, but honestly I’ve never heard of this guy before.

    Your ignorance means nothing. Judson Phillips is a former Tennessee Asst. DA, he started Tea Party Nation. He organized the National Tea Party Convention last year, at which Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker. Maybe you haven’t heard of him, but that doesn’t mean he is not well known.

    Despite the best efforts to Alinsky the ‘tea party’ types

    How pavlovian.

    And, really, at the end of the day, the ‘tea party types’ mostly don’t understand or really care about the mechanics of government debt payments and bond issues

    Then maybe you all should shut the hell up, since you admit you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    Democrats took the ~$150 billion dollar deficit they inherited from the last GOP Congress and turned it into ~$1.5 TRILLION dollar deficits

    You forgot some details. You know…all of them.

    as they’re told that we have to spend money to save money, spend more because we’re not taking enough in, and 9% unemployment is the ‘new normal’ even as Bush was attacked for no jobs when we were at ‘full employment’ and while they can see

    Keep rewriting that history, False.

  16. Pug says:

    @Falze:

    You’re a Glenn Beck Tea Party guy, I presume? The Alinsky reference gives it away every time. Nobody ever heard of Saul Alinksy until the right-wingers went all “Alinsky! Alinsky! Chomsky! ..” on us. Lord knows you didn’t find out who Saul Alinsky was on your own.

    Bush’s last deficit in the budget passed in the first months of Obama’s term exceeded $1 trillion. Bush also left two hot wars, a collapsing financial system, a collapsing economy and skyrocketing unemployment. Other than that, his two terms were really awesome.

    Let me guess. You voted for him twice, right?

  17. James in LA says:

    “Where this country is headed under the Obama-Pelosi-Reid axis of fiscal evil…”

    The tell in this language pretty much invalidates everything that comes after. My conservative friends have not stopped campaigning since they lost the 2006 elections, and have proven that governance is beyond them, and deliberately so. How many bills have come out of the House since January? How many of those were jobs bills?

    The kiddies who like to have fun are still in charge. Politics, some have reflected, is one of the very few jobs that is considered at all times a game to be played, and never, ever held to account. Otherwise, the former head of the previous criminal enterprise posing as a presidency who admitted on national television he gave the order to torture would have been indicted for war crimes. Just one example.

    The ultimate goal is to disassemble our democratic institutions, by bathtub drowning among other means, so that the waiting theocratic oligarchy can be ushered in. A lot of time and energy and money is invested in making this come to pass.

  18. anjin-san says:

    it’s gotten worse in the past couple of years…”

    Worse than what? Certainly not worse than it was in the waning days of the Bush administration. Bush himself said at the time “our entire economy is in danger”.

  19. RW Rogers says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Michael, want to thank you for continuing to post comments here. What with the new “Like/Dislike” feature, you’ve spared me taking the time to post the same basic thought. Far easier to click “Like!” *LOL* (FWIW, that incudes the observations about the apparent descent into madness by one party 😉

    BTW, know any cancer researchers? Just my luck to get a rare one with a long, fancy name: cholangiocarcinoma. Had idly hoped we could actually meet in 3D some day, perhaps when Annie passes through on her way to Australia. Keep fighting the good fight and I’ll keep clicking “Like” on those occasions I drop in.

  20. ponce says:

    It’s unfair to interview rank and file Tea Party members about their movement’s goals.

  21. hey norm says:

    @ Ponce…
    See Mantis comment above at 13:37…

  22. This Guy says:

    @Rick Almeida:
    Dems had control since 2006, so it would be the 2005 GOP Cong.

  23. Jay Tea says:

    @hey norm:

    Well yeah…but that describes plenty of people. The entire astroturf movement, that is referred to as the Tea Party, is just a front for big money establishment types out to advance their own interests. Judson Phillips is a really sleazy guy, but so is Dick Armey and so are the Koch Brothers.

    Put up or shut up, moron. The hallmark of the Tea Party is that it is entirely grassroots, and has not a single indicator of any central organizing force or any kind of big money behind it.

    Go to any liberal-organized rally, and you’ll see the hallmarks of astroturfing. Large factions with mass-produced T-Shirts and signs and literature. Chartered buses. Slates of professional speakers. Security details, in some kind of uniform. Designated spokespeople who give the approved message to the press.

    Tea party rallies? Handmade signs. People wearing whatever they feel like. (And yes, some with silly historic costumes.) Self-designated “security” people, usually armed with “WE’RE NOT WITH STUPID” signs to indicate the Mobys. Very few buses, most often chartered by talk radio stations who then re-sell or give away seats to listeners. No designated press spokespeople, no press releases, no talking points. People taking the time off work to attend, or arranging it for weekends.

    You talk about how it’s all astroturfed by the big money interests. Where the hell is that money going? How is it being spent?

    You just can’t conceive of people organizing themselves without an official “community organizer” to rile them up and pull it all together. Guess what, Norm? The Tea Party folks are getting by just fine without professional rabble-rousers and agitators and parasites.

    And I don’t know if you’re too stupid to understand that, too frightened to understand that, or too stubborn to understand that. Or some combination of all three.

    And I don’t really care.

    J.

  24. Jay Tea says:

    @This Guy: Actually, gotta nitpick you there. The Democrats won both Houses of Congress in 2006, and officially took the reins in 2007.

    J.

  25. jan says:

    @Pug:

    Bush’s last deficit in the budget passed in the first months of Obama’s term exceeded $1 trillion. Bush also left two hot wars, a collapsing financial system, a collapsing economy and skyrocketing unemployment. Other than that, his two terms were really awesome.

    Consider that we have had both the House and Senate under democratic leadership from 2007-2010.. They were then joined by a democratic WH for 2 years, 2009-2010 — those last two years having almost unprecedented one-party numbers in their power. It has only been the last 7 mos that republicans steamed into the House, essentially taking that over. But, still only having a third of the power in government. And all you want to do is do the Bush Scapegoating dance — otherwise known as, BS . Get real!

    Yes, Bush racked up debt under his leadership, and by in large was an unpopular president. However, Obama has done little to nothing in leveling out the mess he “inherited.” After all, didn’t he campaign and come in on the grand carpet of “Hope and Change.” However, his ultimate leadership style has evolved into that of being ‘Unpresidential,’ ‘Petulant’ ‘Dividing Us’,as described by Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and former Wall Street biggie.

    Also, presuming it only would have gotten worse if Obama’s bailouts hadn’t been implemented is pure speculation, as it would be to say things would have gotten better had McCain been elected president. What we do know, factually, is that the deficit has radically climbed during Obama’s stint in power, that DC is more partisan than ever, that distortion on what will happen should this debt limit not be met is over-the top rhetoric, especially in Obama’s scaring of the seniors, speeches and ploys. We do know, though, that there has been more overseas combat, unilaterally sanctioned in Libya, that the housing market still hasn’t reached it’s bottom, and that unemployment, instead of decreasing, as Obama unconditionally stated it would if we passed a big stimulus, went up and is stuck in the 9% brackets.

    Obama’s own two-year record, along with the democratic Congress’s 4 year record, has been abysmal, plain and simple. Neither party has been wise or productive in their economic policies or their abilities to bring people and government together. So, I see all this partisan fuming as being nothing but egotistic bench presses, with the well being of the people as being the last consideration of those who rule in Washington during these turbulent days. BTW, how can you say No or Yes to a bill you haven’t even read yet, like Reid’s side of the aisle apparently is doing?

  26. mantis says:

    People taking the time off work

    Retired senior citizens on Medicare don’t need to take time off work.

  27. ponce says:

    See Mantis comment above at 13:37…

    The Tea Party’s structure is as unworkable as the idiotic policies they are trying to foist upon the timid Republican leadership.

  28. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Wow, Jay. Guess when someone attacks the rich folks who pay the bills, it’s time to amp up the volume. But shouting and waving your hands and repeating the same old nonsense isn’t going to convince anyone. Do the Armeys and Kochs hide themselves well? Sure they do — because that’s the game they’re playing. Do I think you actually believe this crap that you’re spouting — nope, I’ll leave that to the Jans of the world. You’re a shill, not a sucker, which is why you’re willing to say absolutely anything.

    Oh, but next time, don’t forget that Tea Party rallies are really neat and clean, because all the Tea Parties pick up their own trash, unlike those dirty hippies.

  29. JohnMcC says:

    Here’s how to tell someone is blindingly, earthshatteringly stupid: They compare Greece’s economic problem to the US’s.

    Here’s why: Greece does not have it’s own currency.

    If Greece still had it’s Drachma the solution to their problem would be obvious although painful. They would de-value the Drachma. Anything imported would be more expensive but everything Greek would be much cheaper for the Germans and Swiss and Englishmen who would enjoy vacations there, buy homes there, locate manufacturing and shipping and retail businesses there. Eventually, problem solved.

    Of course some Germans, Swiss and Englishmen might feel that the cheaper Drachma pulling Pounds, Francs and Marks out of their economies constitute unfair competition for German, Swiss or English businesses. They’d try to penalize transfers to and from Greece with tariffs and the like.

    So Europeans (having survived 2 world wars) have decided to pull their continent’s economies together, despite the problems this causes. You can like this or lump it — the English have their pound and the Swede’s their Kroner.

    But if you compare the Greek fiscal problems to the American’s, you simply reveal that you are totally ignorant of the facts and refuse to look at what you are talking about.

    In other words you are a conservative.

  30. michael reynolds says:

    @RW Rogers:
    Randy I saw your post at Ambiance and was horrified. You’re a good guy who just does not deserve this.

    I’m afraid the only doctor I know is a plastic surgeon – an academic who does very serious work not boob jobs. I’ll reach out to him and I’ll put it out on my Facebook. But you know my line of work so you know my contacts are either editors or kids. Still, who knows?

    I hope others on this thread will accept my assurance that you are a real person, a person deserving of any information they have.

    I can only hope this bullet misses you.

    Michael

  31. anjin-san says:

    RW

    I will make some inquires – there is a lot of top medical talent here in the bay area. Will keep a good thought for you.

  32. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: I’m trying to follow your logic. The Koch brothers are funding the Tea Party, but they’re so evil and devious that they’ve successfully hidden all the proof? The very lack of proof is proof of their guilt?

    Your key point is based on an utter falsehood. You say that there’s big money behind the Tea Party movement. But you can’t point to a single thing that shows what that money is buying. I gave examples of how liberal rallies show how they spent money, how the rallies were bought and paid for. But you can’t do anything besides rant and sputter how the EEEEEVIL Koch brothers (who give far more money to non-political causes and organizations than they dabble in politics; Google up the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT; Koch gave $140 million for that alone.) are behind everything, ‘cuz you NEED a boogeyman to demonize. Just when did they take over for Richard Mellon Scaife? (I can’t believe I just spent 20 minutes Googling to get that guy’s name.)

    Like I said, WR, put up or shut up. Show how the Tea Party is using all that money the Koch brothers they’re supposedly throwing at them.

    You can’t. But that won’t stop you from continuing to show off your idiocy.

    J.

  33. hey norm says:

    C’mon JTea…just google it…the proof you seek is everywhere.
    And by-the-way…calling me a moron from behind your keyboard tells me everything I need to know about you.

  34. ponce says:

    Wingnuts like Jay always feign an inability to Google when doing so would prove them wrong.

    You have to play along or they start to cry.

    here you go, little man:

    “But it has now come out how involved they have been in funding Tea Party groups, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and Citizens for a Sound Economy ($12 million). ”

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/Peter-Fenn/2011/02/02/tea-party-funding-koch-brothers-emerge-from-anonymity

  35. Jay Tea says:

    @hey norm: If it’s so easy to Google, Norm, go ahead and post a link or two to back it up. For example, would you like a link to the Koch Cancer Center? I read about it in the Boston Globe, from March 4, 2011. $140 million, cold hard cash. The monster.

    And sorry about calling you a moron. I’m sure you’re a fine, intelligent, decent human being who just has a tendency to say incredibly moronic things that you can’t back up.

    J.

  36. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Interesting how Dick Armey’s name kind of dropped out of your little rant there, Jay. Did you forget about that particular corporatist whore who leads the “grass roots” of the Tea Party?

    Huff and puff all you want. The Tea Party is led by corporate money, just like the bold new wave of Republican governors who are busily passing legislation written by corporate lobbyists. The movement depends on a bunch of people so scared and so ignorant they will fight against their own interests when they are manipulated into it.

    Wish I could believe you are stupid enough to be one of them, but I think you’re the next level down — one who knows the truth, but it hoping it will pay off for him.

  37. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Oh, yeah, Armey the carpetbagger. He’s the guy trying to run to the head of the crowd so he can claim leadership.

    Oh, and WR: constantly repeating “corporate money is funding the Tea Party” without ever offering the slightest bit of proof showing it doesn’t make it true. It just makes you look stupid.

    J.

  38. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: By the way, this was really hard to find: A Wikipedia article about Freedomworks, which is funded by the Kochs.

    Oh, those cunning and skillfull Kochs, who can hide every trace of themselves, except from anyone with access to a computer. And apparently, you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreedomWorks

  39. ratufa says:

    @Jay Tea:

    The hallmark of the Tea Party is that it is entirely grassroots, and has not a single indicator of any central organizing force or any kind of big money behind it.

    Some activities of the Tea Party are partially organized and funded by outside sources. For example, see:

    http://www.afphq.org/join-us-our-michigan-taxpayer-tea-party

    and that is just one event in one state. FYI: The chairman of the AFP Foundation is David Koch.

    I’m not making any claims here about whether the Koch brothers are good or bad, or how grassroots the Tea Party really is. But, it’s foolish to think that when a movement has goals that align with various interest groups, those groups won’t attempt to help the movement, both to further their own goals and to gain some amount of control over it.

  40. john personna says:

    @jan:

    Consider that we have had both the House and Senate under democratic leadership from 2007-2010.. They were then joined by a democratic WH for 2 years, 2009-2010 — those last two years having almost unprecedented one-party numbers in their power. It has only been the last 7 mos that republicans steamed into the House, essentially taking that over. But, still only having a third of the power in government. And all you want to do is do the Bush Scapegoating dance — otherwise known as, BS . Get real!

    Well, you have to do a little reading, don’t you? You have to read about the responses to the dot-com crash, the attempt to make a recovery with lower taxes, the addition of Medicare Part D, the addition of the two wars … and you haven’t even gotten to the housing crash yet.

    But if you look at those, if you actually read that history, you’ll see that it didn’t turn on who was elected when. It was about what tax reform and what new spending was enacted when.

    This is why I made the snipe above about functional illiteracy.

    Or, to make the snipe a different way, when you make a stupid claim, don’t be surprised if not everybody thinks you are brilliant. A few will of course … wherever functional illiterates gather and reinforce one another.

  41. Liberty60 says:

    @Jay Tea:
    This was even harder to find- it took Google all of 0.17 seconds to find “Tea Party Express, Sal Russo”
    Sample quote from the article:
    Sal Russo cut his first political ad in 1969 as a 23-year-old aide to then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, dispatched to California’s Salinas Valley to help a local apricot farmer win a state Assembly seat.
    Since then, he has been a mainstay in the state’s conservative political circles, consulting for the likes of Gov. George Deukmejian and presidential hopeful Jack Kemp. In the 2008 presidential campaign, he crafted a series of pungent commercials questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism in the hopes of bolstering John McCain.
    There’s no question that Tea Party Express, the political action committee Russo runs out of his Sacramento-based firm, is the advertising muscle behind the tea party insurgency. In Delaware, the group spent $236,000 on television and radio commercials on behalf of Christine O’Donnell
    …”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/18/nation/la-na-tea-party-ads-20100919

  42. Jay Tea says:

    WR, from your Wikipedia link: In 2009, FreedomWorks responded to the growing number of Tea party protests across the United States, and is currently one of several groups active in the “Tea Party” tax protests.

    “Responded to” pretty much means did NOT create. And “one of several groups active in” is nowhere near “secretly pulling the strings.”

    ratufa, your link shows that on April 18, 2007, AFP held an event they called a “Tea Party.” (No year is listed, but 2007 was the last time that April 18 fell on a Wednesday, as the article indicates.) That was about 2 years before the “Tea Party movement” began.

    Remember, the initial charge isn’t these groups like the Tea Party, support it, or try to ally with it. It was that they created, control, and fund it. To repeat Hey Norm’s charges:

    The entire astroturf movement, that is referred to as the Tea Party, is just a front for big money establishment types out to advance their own interests. Judson Phillips is a really sleazy guy, but so is Dick Armey and so are the Koch Brothers.

    That’s the standard you have to meet if you want to back up Norm’s blathering.

    J.

  43. Jay Tea says:

    WR: Another quote from your source:

    The Tea Party movement has no central leadership but is composed of a loose affiliation of national and local groups that determine their own platforms and agendas.

    What was that you were saying?

    J.

  44. Ben Wolf says:

    RW,

    Where do you live?

  45. Ernieyeball says:

    …very serious work not boob jobs.

    I once heard Jesse Ventura say “Not everyone can be a Navy Seal. All the people in the military are doing their service, even the ones in the band.”

    …Not serious!?!…indeed!!!

  46. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Good try, little Jay. You remind me of that spokesman for Saddam, insisting there was no war when the bombs were falling. I hope you’re expecting a really big payout for embarassing yourself like this.

  47. Summary says:

    Jay Tea: actually, AFP paid for buses at at least one TP event. Without FW and their map of TP events and organizing skills, the TPers might not have got off the ground. R/w bloggers are also cozy with the Kochs (see RightOnline), and they’re also strong supporters of the TPers. The TPers also have mostly ignored immig., despite it being much more vital and fundamental than spending. That’s despite most of the TP base being somewhat on the right side of the issue; their leaders have been able to suppress that issue. By a complete coincidence, the Kochs also fund groups that support mass immig.

    See my name’s link for extensive coverage of the TPers going back to 2/09 (184 posts so far).

  48. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Shorter WR: I got nothin’, and Jay Tea’s a big ninny for calling me on my BS.

    Actually, I kinda have to cop to that last one. For taking you even remotely seriously, I do feel like a fool. And a little guilty — smacking you around is utterly without any challenge whatsoever. Kind of like bowling against Obama.

    J.

  49. An Interested Party says:

    …smacking you around is utterly without any challenge whatsoever. Kind of like bowling against Obama.

    Or telling people what newspapers you read, but hell, your heroine was challenged by that…

  50. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: It makes me look stupid to those so gullible they believe all the Tea Party nonsense. In other words, to no one whose opinion I could ever care about.

  51. WR says:

    @Jay Tea: Ooh, an Obama bowling joke. Apparently, that’s supposed to wound me. Sorry, JT, but adults don’t actually pretend we’re best friends with the politicians we support, so we don’t get our panties in a twist if someone makes jokes about them. You might try to remember this next time someone says something mean about Sarah or Michelle.

  52. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: Still got nothing, WR?

    Thanks for the confirmation.

    J.

  53. anjin-san says:

    calling me a moron from behind your keyboard tells me everything I need to know about you.

    Jay’s bravery-at-a-distance is the stuff of legend. He is Brave Sir Robin…

  54. Hey Norm says:

    @ Anjin…
    In Tights.

  55. WR says:

    @anjin-san: If we have to compare him to a character from fantasy, I vote for Wormtongue…

  56. Jay Tea says:

    @WR: You might try to remember this next time someone says something mean about Sarah or Michelle.

    Don’t be dissin’ my Sarah Michelle. She’ll ALWAYS be my Buffy!

    J.

  57. Jay Tea says:

    It’s always a huge ego boost when bashing me becomes the main focus of a thread. Thanks, WR, anjin, and Norm!

    J.

  58. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    Jay Tea:

    It’s always a huge ego boost when bashing me becomes the main focus of a thread. Thanks, WR, anjin, and Norm!

    WR, anjin, Norm, honest and intelligent argument is for those who want to challenge their own assumptions. Jay has no interest in doing that.

    I know it’s hard, but let’s not feed the troll.

  59. john personna says:

    @Jay Tea:

    I prefer to let you hang out there and be a placeholder … Jan and Jay, the new GOP.

  60. Rob in CT says:

    However, his ultimate leadership style has evolved into that of being ‘Unpresidential,’ ‘Petulant’ ‘Dividing Us’,as described by Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and former Wall Street biggie.

    Amazing how you always – without fail – lap this stuff up, Jan. The only one being fooled by this is you.

    By the way, it’s like totally impossible that Ken Langone would want to “divide us” isn’t it? I mean, I’m absolutely 100% certain that Ken has the best interests of all Americans foremost in his mind. There’s no way, none at all, that he could be a member of a tiny elite that wants to protect his wealth and power. Nah…

  61. john personna says:

    “Home Depot.”

    Think about that for a moment, in relation to the century’s worst housing crash.

  62. Jay Tea says:

    @Eric the OTB Lurker: Eric, I went straight to their quoted sources for my arguments. I gave my own sources, and challenged them to back up their own assertions. I wouldn’t have bothered to read their sources if I wasn’t interested in challenging my own beliefs, and their own sources backed up what I was saying.

    Ratufa’s AFP citation was for an event they called a “Tea Party” and held it 2 years before the “Tea Party Movement” got rolling.

    WR’s FreedomWorks citation clearly stated that they were looking to latch on to the Tea Party movement — making it clear that they did not create it and did not control it.

    Hey, I just noticed Liberty60’s comment — let’s see what the LA Times article has to say:

    As the only tea party group making significant advertising buys, Tea Party Express has become one of the most potent forces in the protest movement. The PAC raised $5.39 million through early August, all in single donations of $5,000 or less, by tapping into a database of supporters that now surpasses 400,000 people.

    Let’s see. They’re a part of the movement, and they’re spending a lot of money on traditional political means.

    Tea Party Express began as a PAC called Our Country Deserves Better that Russo and former state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian formed in 2008, frustrated that McCain wasn’t drawing a strong enough contrast with Obama.

    Russo said he had planned to shut down the Our Country Deserves Better PAC after the election, but donors urged him to continue his efforts. After CNBC’s Rick Santelli made his famous “tea party” remarks on the air in February 2009, spurring the protest movement, Russo said he decided to rebrand the PAC.

    “When Santelli did his rant, we said, ‘This is what we’re doing, so let’s call it that,’ ” he said.

    It appears that Russo’s firm also viewed the movement as an opportunity. Politico reported in April that as the insurgency took off, Russo associate Joe Wierzbicki proposed in an internal memo that the PAC launch a nationwide tea party bus tour because it would “position us as a growing force/leading force as the 2010 elections come into focus.” Russo said Wierzbicki was merely codifying what the PAC was already doing.

    The term “carpetbagger” comes to mind here, too — another traditional pol/hack looking to run to the front of the crowd and proclaim himself a leader. Moderately successful, at least financially, but still a soi-disant leader nonetheless.

    If Russo and Armey and the Koch brothers were to disappear of the face of the earth, the Tea Party movement would barely notice.

    J.

  63. ratufa says:

    @Jay Tea:

    Ratufa’s AFP citation was for an event they called a “Tea Party” and held it 2 years before the “Tea Party Movement” got rolling.

    There are other Tea Party events that Americans for Prosperity help organize. Here’s some from 2009, exactly when you say the Tea Party was starting to get rolling:

    http://www.afphq.org/031809-save-date-april-15th-tax-day-tea-party

    That the Tea Party movement was at least helped along during its formation by various interest groups is not unexpected — after all, it’s to the benefit of these interest groups to do so, and they have been involved in organizing anti-tax protests for years before the movement started. It’s also initially beneficial to the Tea Party (or any new movement) to get funding and experienced help with organization, making contacts with the media, etc. The danger of such help from the outside is that money is corrosive, and the preferences of an organization’s “leaders”, in this case the people who run the highest-profile Tea Party organizations, tend to increasing reflect the preferences of funders instead of the grass roots membership. My opinion is that you should be more worried about these corrosive effects than in preserving your illusion of virgin birth.

  64. John Weiss says:

    @anjin-san: More like the Python’s Daniel Moore.