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Tea Party Critics Don't Get It


Critics of the Tea Party movement suffer from the delusion that the lack of specific complaints means there isn't really anything wrong.

Have you ever had a craving for something, but couldn't decide exactly what you wanted to eat? Perhaps you remember the Star Trek episode in which Mr. Spock was temporarily in command and Scotty was complaining that the ship "didn't feel right" even though he couldn't say what specifically was wrong.

Do you sometimes feel sick, but have trouble describing exactly what is wrong with your body?

Many of the Tea Party participants are in such a situation. They believe something is wrong with the country, but aren't sure what it is.

We shouldn't expect them to have analyzed our society and government to determine what is actually wrong. Most are average citizens rather than political scientists or sociologists who devote their time to studying government and society.

Political scientists often use the term "alienated" to describe a situation in which average voters aren't connected to government officials or government in general.

Some may be reacting to the way government or politicians have treated them or just concerned about government becoming too intrusive. Perhaps they know someone whom government has mistreated. They may feel that government services aren't worth what it is costing them in taxes, particularly local taxes such as sales taxes and property taxes.

Some may be upset by overly aggressive government efforts to control personal behavior such as seat belt laws or excessive taxes on tobacco. Even many of us who have never smoked recognize that smokers don't threaten our safety the way drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs do.

Elected officials are often isolated from voters. The media encourages this isolation by hiring reporters, editors and news anchors who act as if they have a duty to serve politicians rather than the general public.

Many journalists are like the emperor's supporters in the story of the Emperor's New Clothes who refuse to consider that the reason they can't see his new clothes is because he doesn't have any. Instead of trying to keep their party "honest": by looking for flaws in its policies, they blindly support those policies. Journalists refuse to consider the possibility that "Emperor" Obama has no clothes on.

For example, Obama and his media slaves continue to ignore the obvious con involved in claims about global warming. Even those who don't know enough science to know that the theory behind greenhouse gases was disproved a century ago, recognize that claims that humans can control the temperature of the air isn't believable.

Investment cons are often recognizable because they sound too good to be true. Political cons sound too bad to be true like the claim that the polar ice caps will all melt or Saddam Hussein was about to give Weapons of Mass Destruction to al Qaeda.

Media critics complain about Tea Party supporters turning to Republicans like Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck. What choice do people have? The only choices provided by the media are the Democrats and the people at Fox.

If alternative views exist, the media are ignoring them. If media critics don't like the choice Tea Party members are making, they should look for other alternatives to the rejected ideas of the Democrats.


beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Another non-scientist bashing science (and Democrats).

Nothing to see here. Move along, move along.

Gene Wallace 4 years, 2 months ago

Glad to see you are moving on down the road. When you get to the Emerald City of Obama, remember to look behind that curtain.

BTW: The "new" boy isn't new. If you aren't a hermit, you have seen me. You have shopped in the same store I was in. (WalMart, Target, Dillons, HiVee, any of the Mickey D's, (were you at the opening Thursday?) IHOP, Wendy's the Antique Mart, Aldi's the Merc... If you ever were in a "T" bus, a taxi, a "Party Bus" or School Bus" you may have had me for your driver. Or you may have rode in a "T" bus with me as a fellow passenger. If you were driving, you may have tail-gated me or cut me off or just made ugly faces at me. Now the "new boy" can come out of the Broomcloset. You see, I'm RETIRED now and can be fired from a job. So, look to be seeing more of me, Beatrice.


beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

um, ... new to these boards you are. However, welcome.

uncleandyt 4 years, 2 months ago

Critics of the TeaParty have heard and read, and thought about the beefs. Some of the beef is actually chicken. Some of the beef is tainted with additives. Some of the beef is fake soy protein, mislabled as real beef. Some of the beef went rotten a long time ago, if we should eat the bad beef, we will get very sick. If we will eat a small amount to begin with, maybe we can teach our bodies to accept the poison and eventually we might be able to consume mass quantities. Mehps!

uncleandyt 4 years, 2 months ago

If only there were some books written about and by him, we could get to the bottom of this mystery.

uncleandyt 4 years, 2 months ago

He's just bad. Good enough !! He keeps doing all these things. And if he's bad, then we're bad. I'm starting to get it. I hope god will give us some more good gifts, and soon. It seems like He's holding back a little. Let us pray.

QuinnSutore 4 years, 2 months ago

Dear America,

We love being free from oppression, both the socialist kind and the financial kind, so we started this party that keeps those "special interests" in mind.

Love, The Tea Party

(PS - You're welcome.)

Grundoon Luna 4 years, 2 months ago

And how exactly are you being oppressed. Be specfic. What liberty and happiness are you being prevented from persuing? Who is it that is making sure you are not free to enjoy said happiness and liberty?

You don't get to bring up health care either - and if you seriously think that is preventing your persuit of liberty and happiness you are a truly sorry and sad individual regardless. Those of us who wanted real healthcare reform didn't get it. What we have now is the Republican plan from 1993.

Grundoon Luna 4 years, 2 months ago

I think I missed your satire . . . my bad

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Quinn, while I might appreciate the Tea Party if it was just about financial and government control, that doesn't reflect what I have seen of the Party. At Glenn Beck's mass worship meeting, his claims of taking back America for God proved to be downright scary. Lose the social dogma, an the Party might get more followers.

Gene Wallace 4 years, 2 months ago

Yes, I find the emphasis on God and Country to be disturbing since I am a Patriotic American who happens to have a different spiritual reality. But, I'm much more alarmed by our government attempting to take control of our lives, to redistribute what I have worked for and earned to those who didn't and to change the basic reasons for which this country was founded. As I have said before, I do not wish to live in a Christian Theocracy or in a Socialist Utopia. I prefer to live in our Constitutional Republic as it was originally conceived.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Well, as long as you aren't using hyperbole.

"Socialist Utopia." My eyes just rolled so hard in my head at that one that it hurt. As far as redistributing wealth, do you mean giving more money to the wealthy through tax cuts and tax breaks? That is what we have happening now ... under Obama! At what point will you realize we actually have to pay for wars we fight? Where will that money come from, by cutting after school programs, or eliminating welfare? Sorry, but the money isn't going to come from the poor -- because they don't have it! This isn't about class envy or anything, but a reality of where the money is. Under Reagan, the top bracket was at 50%. Now, we are talking about eliminating temporary (as in not permanent) tax cuts and bring the top rate back up to 39% and suddenly we heading toward a Socialist Utopia? So then Reagan must have been a much larger Socialist than Obama, correct?

The hyperbole of the Tea Party is staggering.

Truthspeaker 4 years, 2 months ago

"As far as redistributing wealth, do you mean giving more money to the wealthy through tax cuts and tax breaks?"

See, you show the giant flaw in your concept right there.

The government isn't "giving" the walthy money. It's letting them KEEP THEIR OWN money. Which is what they should be doing for EVERYONE.

Grundoon Luna 4 years, 2 months ago

This is nothing but sore loserism dressed up as a grassroots revolution and the Tea Party is nothing but the GOP in disguise. A bunch of hypocrites who receive entitlement benefits yet scream about people who received entitlement benefits. They cry about the deficit yet remained silent for years while the deficit skyrocketed under their golden boy, Bush the younger. A L L Tea Party candidates are republicans and will fall right in line with their party if sent to WDC. And the writer? This fool is going to go with 100 year old science he got from who knows where versus techonology we have availble today that is supported by 95% of the scientific community - the other 5% likely employed by petrolem companies. People, our current situation may not be perfect but it is getting better and I don't want to imagine what it it would be like today if the GOP had retained power in 2008. This is no time to turn back and give the helm to the people who nearly destroyed our country while they ensured their own enrichment and that of thier cooporate sponsors.

QuinnSutore 4 years, 2 months ago

Ah, the old 2010 slogan.

"Democrats: Hey, at least we aren't REPUBLICANS!"

There's effective advertising for you!

"Cigarettes: Hey, at least they aren't made of mercury!"

Grundoon Luna 4 years, 2 months ago

How about: We didn't wreck this train but we are doing our damnest to fix it and it is working so please be patient.

I voted for change. I didn't expect miracles. It' is the right that pulled the whole "messiah" crap out of thei arse and expect express improvement.

independant1 4 years, 2 months ago

GOP lost the House (where all spending bills come from) in 2004 to the Democrats.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

But deficits didn't first appear in 2004.

Grundoon Luna 4 years, 2 months ago

You say that like it means something. You say that as I F Bush would have signed anything the democrats presented to him. Since he surely would not have and the Democrats did not have enough seats to override a veto your comment is nothing but empty words

Reason McLucus 4 years, 2 months ago

The idea of CO2 controlling air temperature is a 180 year old belief developed by people who believed atoms were the smallest particles of matter. the idea is a variation of Ben Franklin's thesis that heat was some type of mysterious fluid instead of the kinetic energy of atoms. Global warming has been pushed by companies like Enron, which wrote the Kyoto agreement, that want to trade carbon credits along with other companies that want to discourage competition. For example, T. Boone Pickens supports it to make his investments in natural gas and wind energy more valuable.

Gene Wallace 4 years, 2 months ago

The phlogiston isn't real??? Please tell me it isn't so! You mean that the Phlo doesn't heat up the atmosphere? You mean we can never "Go with the Phlo", again? We have to start paying for CO2 emissions which are used by plants in Photosynthesis? Nuts!!!

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

Oh, I have a couple of specific complaints about the Tea Party.

First, how can they say they stand for Constitutionally-limited government when nearly two-thirds of them believe that the benefits of Medicare and Social Security, two programs that are not explicitly written in the Constitution as powers of government, are worth their costs and should be maintained in the future?

Second, why is the Tea Party's standard response to how we should reduce the federal deficit and debt simply cutting fraud, waste, and abuse? How much fraud, waste, and abuse do they think there is in the federal government? Why are they not serious about the ticking time bomb of debt that is health care inflation, especially when it comes to Medicare?

Until they have answers for why they support two programs that, based on an originalist view of the Constitution, are unconstitutional and why they have no real solution to cutting the federal deficit and debt, I will call them like I see them: useless hypocrites.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

Quoting from the link you sent to me:

"With this have come ideas like increasing the retirement age for younger citizens, suspending increases in benefits until other changes can be brought about to fix it, (let me be very clear this is suspending increases, not suspending benefits), or allowing younger workers to actually own and be able to direct part of their own Social Security payments into investments of their own choosing. This would include as an option the very same government bonds that social security currently goes into."

So their suggestions include:

  • Increasing the retirement age,
  • Changing or suspending the COLA, and
  • Allowing individuals to invest a portion of their own money.

Per the CBO's report on reforming Social Security which can be found at, increasing the full retirement age to either 68 or 70 would have basically no effect on the scheduled outlays of the program and would not change the trust fund exhaustion date. The CBO also concluded that lowering the COLA payments or completely changing the COLA formula would have virtually no effect on the scheduled outlays of the program and would only extend the trust fund exhaustion date by around 5 years. Actually suspending the increases is an option the CBO didn't review. I suspect it wouldn't have more than a marginal effect and extend exhaustion about ten years. Based on the rancor raised when seniors were told they were not getting an increase for 2010 (and the expected rancor from no increases in 2011), I doubt that solution would go over well anyways.

Per the GAO's report on lessons from other countries' Social Security reform efforts which can be found at, countries that created an individual account system had to figure out a way to finance the transition. Since the Tea Party page suggests we let people divert some of their own money to their accounts, we'll have to pay for the funding shortfall to the SS trust fund somehow. We don't have the option of building up a surplus in our federal budget obviously, so we're going to have to borrow more money to pay the existing benefits people are due under the program.

Quite a solution they have there. Don't do much of anything, or make the deficit problem much worse than it already is. And this is low-hanging fruit compared to stopping health care inflation.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Mike Wasikowski 4 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

mbulicz 4 years, 2 months ago

The paragraph you quoted is like a doctor saying, "I have a great interest in making you well, but you can't expect me to have analyzed your test results or past cases to determine what is actually wrong."

It's the biggest cognitive copout I've ever heard, not to mention the most pathetic and headache-inducing introduction to any persuasive argument I've ever read. The author concedes he and those he speak for aren't, and don't care to be, informed about their platform, their opposition, or their proposed solution.

booyalab 4 years, 2 months ago

I don't think the author is trying to say that no tea partier has any reason for what he or she thinks. He's saying- it's NOTt the responsibility of everyone who has a problem with the government to articulate and analyze their position to the satisfaction of everyone who doesn't have a problem. It's the responsibility of the government to represent and respect the beliefs of it's citizens. The fact that so many people are disenfranchised is reason enough to change something.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

"Many of the Tea Party participants are in such a situation. They believe something is wrong with the country, but aren't sure what it is."

Tea Party: Rebels Without a Clue.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. And this guy is saying critics don't understand? Good god! No wonder these people support the likes of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.

anonmouse 4 years, 2 months ago

"... recognize that claims that humans can control the temperature of the air isn't believable."

Indeed. That is why I removed the thermostat from my wall about 4 months ago.

independant1 4 years, 2 months ago

The Tea Party folks? Just a whole lot of normal people (a whole lot of different type normal people.)

Jimo 4 years, 2 months ago

I didn't realize the Unibomber was allowed to blog.

jimmyjms 4 years, 2 months ago

Where were these concerned folks who don't know why they're concerned when the last president did stuff like attempting to repeal habeas corpus for American citizens (Military Commissions Act of 2006), ship billions upon billions of dollars to Iraq with zero oversight, etc?

Oh wait, that guy was white.

Carry on.

Mike Ford 4 years, 2 months ago

I get that the tea partiers are a bunch of misinformed elderly caucasian guys who ruin gun shows and totally get the whole history of the Boston tea party event wrong. They sound like they want the articles of confederation back but first they have to study the history of this country that they don't know and figure out what this was and play catch up intellectually while the dumblicans play on their anger and use them the same way they've used the churchlicans since Reagan. meanwhile the formal example of tea partyism that I have is my rascist ex-grandfather who went tea party three days after Obama was elected. He is a former dixiecrat fox watching iconoclast who referred to the NBA as nothing but africans. He is a rascist tea partier whom I no longer claim and whom I see as a face of the tea party. Good luck making people not see you for the acts of clowns like my ex grandfather....

independant1 4 years, 2 months ago

Like I said, despite the projections here, those Tea Party folks are pretty much normal people from all walks of life.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 2 months ago

It's really sort of cute how you assume cato's opinion to be revealed truth. If that eases your anxiety about the mid-terms, go for it.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Best political ad of all times!

When you have to actually tell people you aren't a witch, you know you have some public relations problems.

Jaminrawk 4 years, 2 months ago

The Tea Party is simply a bi-product of Fox News' fear mongering. They just don't realize it because they are too busy chasing Czars and misspelling words on their signs.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 2 months ago

The Fear Monger in Chief at 1600 Penn Ave. is trying to stir his minions out of their depression to get out and vote for the sorry lot of Democrats running for office in the mid-terms. He doesn't seem to be getting much traction.

independant1 4 years, 2 months ago

Those Tea Party folks are about as intelligent as the rest of us.

The American people are a very generous people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible exception of stupidity. (Will Rogers)

independant1 4 years, 2 months ago

GallupSept 24, 2010 A record-low 36% of Americans have a great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in the legislative branch of government, down sharply from the prior record low of 45% set last year.

In the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll, only 24 percent said the government in Washington could be trusted to do what was right just about always or most of the time; 75 percent said the government could be trusted only some of the time or never.

beatrice 4 years, 2 months ago

Since Nixon, would (should) anyone truly trust the government?

Chris Golledge 4 years, 2 months ago

Re: "For example, Obama and his media slaves continue to ignore the obvious con involved in claims about global warming. Even those who don't know enough science to know that the theory behind greenhouse gases was disproved a century ago, recognize that claims that humans can control the temperature of the air isn't believable."

This is so blatantly wrong that it basically means: Reasonmclucus has no knowledge of climate science, or even general science, or history of the subject, but global warming scares him. So, he and a bunch of others like him cluster together and tell each other that it just isn't so, it's just politics, and then they fell better and congratulate themselves on being smarter than everyone else. Great, unfortunately human emotions and politics don't appear in any physics equations.

A CO2 molecule will continue to absorb and emit infrared radiation regardless of political tides.

Scott Morgan 4 years, 2 months ago

So, if a voting age citizen is concerned over 14 months of 9.5 percent unemployment, a federal government which can't accurately mail out $250.00 welfare bonus checks , run a automobile exchange program, national health care (30 major corporations exempted Wed.) or seem to chew gum and walk at the same time wants "change" waz up?

So, I should vote dem? Obama/Biden are way way way over their pay scale.

Time to put grownups back in power. Tea Party grownups, Republican grownups, Independent grownups, and yes Democratic grownups too.

It's time for we citizens to vote with our heads, not our hearts.

This country is in harms way.

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