In politics, there is an old adage that if they are not shooting at you, you are irrelevant. If so, you may well be able to judge the relevancy of someone by the amount of fire they are drawing. A year ago, the “Tea Party” was merely “astro-turf” in the eyes of those on the Left. Today, they are more than extreme in the eyes of the Main Stream Media, the Democrats leadership and Left in general. But is that really the case?
Before we answer the question, keep in the mind the intensity of the attacks facing the Tea Party participants today. They are referred to as “earth-shatteringly stupid,”(Rolling Stone Oct. 14 edition) “racist,” “hard-right,” and, of course, “extreme” – the latter of which will produce over 2.7 million Google hits. It also was the recent subject of Obama’s characterization of “the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists.”
So how extreme are the Tea Party participants. Let’s take a look.
Among the Tea Party Groups, one of the most prominent is the Tea Party Express. I have attended a few of their rallies and found that they have championed the following slogans at one time or another on the side of their tour bus:
- Stop Out of Control Spending!
- No Government Run Healthcare!
- Reduce the Size & Intrusiveness of Government!
- End the Bailouts!
- Stop Raising our Taxes!
Do those slogans represent extreme views? Let’s see what a few people have to say about them.
On Out of Control Spending: “Ongoing deficits may severely and adversely affect expectations and confidence, which in turn can generate a self-reinforcing cycle among the underlying fiscal deficit, financial markets, and the real economy.”
On Government Run Healthcare: “What can we do about this? Well, you and I can do a great deal. We can write to our congressmen and our senators. We can say right now that we want no further encroachment on these individual liberties and freedoms. And at the moment, the key issue is, we do not want socialized medicine.”
On Reducing the Size and Intrusiveness of Government: In 2004, we had a Presidential candidate call the Patriot Act “an assault on our basic rights.”
On the Bail Out Bills: In 2008, one Senate candidate called the 2008 financial bailout bill a “sacrifice at the altar of financial mismanagement.”
On Stop Raising our Taxes: “Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance, than an increase, of balancing the budget.”
I suspect most Tea Partiers agree with some or all of those comments. The authors of those comments, however, in order: Democrat Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin on spending, Ronald Reagan on Healthcare, Presidential Candidate John Kerry on the Patriot Act, then Senate candidate now Senator Al Franken on the bailout and liberal lion economist John Maynard Keynes on taxes being too high.
It is always worthy, in any discussion – especially political – to put things in context. The fact that all of those quotes came from either current or former Democrats – some rather liberal Democrats – should give you that context.
Today, an enormous number of voters, exceeding 30% by some counts, support the Tea Party Movement. A majority of American voters want to repeal healthcare and cut taxes. Almost by definition therefore, the foregoing proves that the mantra’s of the Tea Party movement, which have also included requests to respect the Constitution and having legislators read the bills on which they vote, cannot be considered extreme.
All of which leaves one conclusion, the demonization of the Tea Party is all that is left for a Democrat Party whose policies have failed and are out of touch with the American electorate. Of course, on that point, John Kerry asserted recently that it is “out-of-touch” voters that are to blame for the Democrats woes. It is just that type of extreme arrogance that the Founders were against and, when coupled with bad policies, will result in a changing of the guard this Fall.