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Question of the Day: Take back America from whom?

By Mary Ann Akers


A common refrain heard from tea partiers - "take back America," the tea party movement's unofficial anthem - got us wondering. Take back America from whom exactly? And, who took it in the first place?

We put that question to House Republicans this week, as they unveiled their new Web-based policy initiative to, well, find new policy initiatives.

Their agenda-less modern version of the 1994 "Contract With America," which -- but don't dare tell certain rank-and-file members -- is not a political campaign effort, seems designed to co-opt an angry electorate fed up with Washington and its big-government, big-spending, big-taxing and otherwise big liberal ways -- without having to promise a thing. The online movement (as it were) hints at rhetoric often heard at tea party rallies.

Which is why we bring you our first installment of "Question of the Day" now, as House Republicans prepare to fan out across their districts over the Memorial Day recess and tap into that groundswell of voter discontent.

Here's a partial transcript of "Question of the Day." And please check out the video.

MAA: We've heard tea party members and some Republicans using the phrase 'take back America" And we're wondering what that means. Take back America from whom exactly?

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.): The American people believe their nation has been taken from them. So this 'Taking America Back' came from America. It didn't come from Washington.

MAA: But who took America in the first place? From whom are you taking back America?

Price: The nation believes that their government is no longer being responsive to them. And they want the government to be responsive to them...So they're saying, 'Give us our nation back.' Which means, 'listen to us, do what we believe ought to be done as opposed to what your leaders think out to be done.'

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.): Oh, that's an expression that's often used in campaigns. It's basically - take it away from liberals. Take government control away from liberals...Nothing conspiratorial about it."

Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.): It's not about taking back America. It's about restoring those fundamental principles that had built the most successful and prosperous republic in the history of civilization.

MAA: Is there anybody or anything that's the biggest danger?

McClintock: Boy, that's the candy store question. I think it comes down to a general philosophy that the government's choices are more important than the individual's choices.

MAA: Are you a tea party member?

McClintock: I'm certainly a supporter of the tea party...I don't know if there's such a thing as membership in the tea party. (laughter)

MAA: Do you support the tea party movement, are you part of the tea party movement?

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.): Well, I mean, I don't, uh, I am a... conservative and a proud conservative. And I support a lot of what the tea party movement has stood for in terms of the frustration with taking over health care, taking over finance, taking over business.

There certainly are people who have become associated with the tea party that I would disagree with...For example, the Senate nominee in Kentucky [Rand Paul], who rejects the Civil Rights Act. I'm not sure that I would agree with him. I certainly wouldn't agree with his position on that but I'm not sure many members of the tea party would either.

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.): I think there are millions of Americans who feel Washington, D.C., just hasn't been listening.

MA: But take back America from whom? Who took America exactly?

Pence: Well, I think, you know, the work that members of Congress are doing on 'America Speaking Out' is not really about elections, it's not really about winning back a Congress or winning back a majority.

MAA: Is it about taking back America in November?

Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC): Well we hope so. I'm a Republican, we certainly would like to see that.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 26, 2010; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

We need to send a message to Washington that politics as usual CANNOT be conducted in an Illegal manner...regardless of what party you are in. Go to http://www.kickhimout.com and sign the petition to Impeach President Barack Obama, as well as the one DEMANDING and independent investigation into this matter. Together, our voice will be heard. Together, we are UNITED. Together, we are the PEOPLE. Together, we HAVE THE POWER.

UNITED PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!
Go to http://www.kickhimout.com and sign the petition today!

Posted by: Kick-Him-Out | May 31, 2010 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Let's take America back from the corporations. They own the elected officials. They own the media. They took the money. They decide what you see, what you hear, and what gets talked about.

The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

Where did the money go?
To the people who have it...duh.

Posted by: rooster54 | May 29, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The hack writer talked to politicians -- the cause of the problem -- and not to people on Main Street. Of course, hack writers could not understand that we are saying that we believe in the U.S. Constitution.......... We are going to take America back from the liberal "elite" who think they are the only smart people left....... We are going to take our country back from the idiots in D.C. -- led by the Democrats -- who are quickly running up deficits which, if continued, will bankrupt the U.S., like Greece.....We are going to make Congress and the Executive branch live within their means so we don't have deficits that Obama, his henchmen and his 40 "czars" have pushed on us.........We are going to take Chicago "job trading" politics out of D.C. and send Blago-style bribery back to Chicago along with Obama (in 2012). Bye, bye writers with weak brains and egomania. Bye, bye WaPo.

Posted by: RonKH | May 28, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The ambiguous Tea Bag war cry, “Take Back America,” is putrid political flatulence, the output of ingesting a bad diet of racism, deceit, distortion and delusion from a perversely delectable Republican cafeteria.

A hollow ad hominem shibboleth, “Take Back America,” provides the disenchanted with only simple words to shout. Those fiery words quickly disintegrate from a fresh breeze of simple scrutiny.

Bellowing, “Take Back America,” is fury signifying little and constituting a demonstrable admission that the unregenerate Tea Bag brigade are frightened of progressive action to Take America Forward.

Posted by: Newsworth | May 28, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The ambiguous Tea Bag war cry, “Take Back America,” is putrid political flatulence, the output of ingesting a bad diet of deceit, distortion and delusion from the Republican cafeteria.

A hollow, ad hominem shibboleth, “Take Back America,” provides the disenchanted with feel good fury signifying little that disintegrates under the sensible breeze simple scrutiny.

Bellowing, “Take Back America,” constitutes a demonstrable admission that the unregenerate Tea Bag brigade are frightened of progressive action to Take America Forward.

Posted by: Newsworth | May 28, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

1) From the history revisionists who no longer teach our children the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution, the truth about the years leading up to the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers.

2) From a Senate, House of Representatives and a President who pass laws despite the will of the people - i.e. TARP, Stimulus, Health Care Reform; and from those same people who pass laws that require American Citizens show more documentation to get their drivers licenses then they require illegal immigrants to show when they get a speeding ticket.

3) From the intellectual elite who spend their lives in the education system philosophizing about how the rest of us should live our lives - i.e. those who say that militarizing the Mexican border won't solve the problem of the cash and weapons crossing the border but offer no real solution to the terrorizing of the American Citizens who live on the border.

4) From a progressive tax system that has failed because 50% of our citizens get more back in income tax refunds then they pay into income tax - their share is picked up by the rest of us and the country is going bankrupt.

5)From corrupt politicians who segway into lobbyist groups and show corporations and special interest groups how to milk the system.

6) From career politicians who spend so much time in DC that they forget the people who sent them there - except when they themselves milk the system and bring home the "pork" in order to get re-elected.

7) From an ever expanding government employment system that is over taking the private sector employment system not only in employment rates but in rates of pay and in retirement pensions and benefits.

That specific enough for you?

Posted by: LMW6 | May 28, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Take back America from the radical liberal elites who have distorted our moral values and Constitution. Over many years culminating now with with the Congress and Executive offices occupied by radical liberal elites along with the media and press our individual freedoms have been significantly eroded.
All this is done with the governments arrogant justification that they know what is best for US citizens because we are too dumb to think for ourselves.
TAKE BACK AMERICA from this!

Posted by: rteske | May 28, 2010 6:44 AM | Report abuse

Hey tea-baggers!! Forget Sarah Palin, now you REALLY have a fool to rally around: Rand Paul. By parsing the 1964 Civil Rights Act we can see what he and the tea-baggers stand for: discrimination based on race and physical ability. But then the tea-baggers are just a sad group of old, white, rich, malcontent republicans who hate blacks, hispanics, asians, the middle class and the poor and can't stand the fact that we have a black president. When they howl "TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!" they mean to take it back from the minorities. Luckily the middle class and the poor far outnumber the tea-baggers so they will have little effect in November and Rand Paul will fade away. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY 10036 boboberg@nyc.rr.com

Posted by: boboberg | May 28, 2010 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Republican or Democrat, you can see that they won't answer a question directly and in this case there is a strong reason why they won't answer.

As for me, I say: Take back government from the corporate lobbyists who are corrupting our Democracy.

When our representatives who we pay to represent US, pay more attention to the corporations who only want more profit often at our expense (Moving offshore, faulty products, poor service, raised prices, questionable operations, etc)then it corrupts our nation's values and a corrupt nation won't stand for long.

Toss these bums who don't know what the people are talking about OUT!

Posted by: thestoryplease | May 27, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Of course, they won't say it in so many words, but the Tea Party wants to take the country back to when only White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants were important and ran everything.

Posted by: janye1 | May 27, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course, they won't say it in so many words, but the Tea Party wants to take the country back to when only White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants were important and ran everything.

Posted by: janye1 | May 27, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Apparently a lot of people long to return to the day when life was hell for all but a wealthy white few. Pain is pleasure, eh? And they think we're Orwellian. Well, read your history. The America you pine for was called the Gilded Age, and it was so awful for so many that multiple movements (labor, progressive) rose up to change it.

And what is all this nonsense about Obama'a alleged socialist/Marxist/I-obviously-flunked-political-scientist "agenda"? I don't know where you people are getting your information, but I do know it's a work of fiction. You righties cheered as Bush implemented your bonehead, deregulatory, hands-and-heads-off philosophy to the point that they nearly destroyed the world economy. Excellent work! It must be nice to have strong opinions with no need for facts to back them up.

"The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected." - G. K. Chesterton

Posted by: idealist61 | May 27, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Take it back?
Take it back to the mess that the previous administration left us?

Posted by: RenoSage | May 27, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Sorry about that. The site is very slow. I guess I clicked a bit too.

Posted by: ElectricBill | May 27, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Is it take back America or take America back..., back to a black and white 1950s sitcom in a land where blacks, Hispanics, women, and other minorities had very few rights, an America where black people could be legally disenfranchised in the American south, women had back alley abortions, and take America back to a place where uneducated white men could go to work in a factory in the mid-west with no competition from working class minorities. That's what they mean when they say take America back, and of course, take it back from a black president and give it to the very party and (lily white and old ) people who screwed it up in the first place.

Posted by: ElectricBill | May 27, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Is it take back America or take America back..., back to a black and white 1950s sitcom in a land where blacks, Hispanics, women, and other minorities had very few rights, an America where black people could be legally disenfranchised in the American south, women had back alley abortions, and take America back to a place where uneducated white men could go to work in a factory in the mid-west with no competition from working class minorities. That's what they mean when they say take America back, and of course, take it back from a black president and give it to the very party and (lily white old ) people who screwed it up in the first place.

Posted by: ElectricBill | May 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Is it take back America or take America back..., back to a black and white 1950s sitcom in a land where blacks, Hispanics, women, and other minorities had very few rights, an America where black people could be legally disenfranchised in the American south, women had back alley abortions, and take America back to a place where uneducated white men could go to work in a factory in the mid-west with no competition from working class minorities. That's what they mean when they say take America back, and of course, take it back from a black president and give it to the very party and (lily white old ) people who screwed it up in the first place.

Posted by: ElectricBill | May 27, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Is it take back America or take America back..., back to a black and white 1950s sitcom in a land where blacks, Hispanics, women, and other minorities had very few rights, an America where black people could be legally disenfranchised in the American south, women had back alley abortions, and take America back to a place where uneducated white men could go to work in a factory in the mid-west with no competition from working class minorities. That's what they mean when they say take America back, and of course, take it back from a black president and give it to the very party and (lily white old ) people who screwed it up in the first place.

Posted by: ElectricBill | May 27, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Good comments above. Pelosi,Reid, Obama, the progressives in the congress, the Czars in the admin are all part of this "Change" transforming America. We, the people do not suscribe to their vision. We do not need to have our minds and vision of America "changed" to some secular progressive/socialist mind set. We believe in the vision of the Founding Fathers. Take care of closing the border and defending the United States. Leave the rest to the people and the States. The last 18 months have shown that a big federal government is incompent, corrupt and unable to fix problems that are best left to the States.

Posted by: awunsch | May 27, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

If you have to ask the question, then you're probably part of the problem. And the mainstream media is certainly part of the problem. If the media did their job and investigated/reported as they should, the politicians would know they'll be held accountable.

The criminal liberals know the media will give them a pass, so they continue stealing from the taxpayers. This article is a good example of a silly twit with her head up her @ss being allowed to "report". What a joke.

Posted by: larry51 | May 27, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Typical liberal ... take a simple question and turn it into a bug-a-boo. Absolute answer = Take the country back from marxist communists - who have held it since 11/2007. Can you grasp ANY truth that you can't cloak under "racism."

Posted by: IQ168 | May 27, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Rand Paul has made it perfectly clear from whom he wants to take the country back. Those uppity Blacks, Hispanics and women. After all, it should be legal to discriminate against them, right?

Save that there's that pesky Constitution thing. But then, the Second Amendment is the only one that counts, anyway.

Posted by: lurkittyfb | May 27, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This is pretty straight forward in a complicated twist. "Take Back America" means back to its original roots! (and no, not to "slavery"). It's where people earned what they got; it's where initiative meant reward; it's where laziness meant you reaped no harvest. It's where the Government (Federal) only job was to provide the security of the states. For those that do not understand this question (please, no opinions), I'd ask you all to go out and get a copy of the "5,000 Year Leap" and truly discover what the founders were like and how this great country was formed. We are very close to being Greece (and it's not pretty). We reward laziness, infidelity, minorities, promiscuity, lack of ambition. We have completely forgotten the history of what brought us together. We are Americans. Who cares if you're white, black, mexican, asian, indian (etc...) we share a common bond; we are Americans! That means (meant) we strive to do better. We work for what we get. If we fail, we pick ourselves up and try again. It begins from the heart.
We have lost our heart. Unfortunately, laws have tried to "correct" that, and it's made matters all the worse. Our politiicans have breeded laziness, lack of innovation, rights to entitlement, and a down right dumbed down nation. YOU (and me) are NOT entitled to anything. You want it? Work for it! Whether that be experience or education or just plain visions. Work for it!
THAT is what "taking back our country" means. Anyone that needs to ask themselves that truly knows their history. For that I blame 1) Parents 2) Educational System
Quit your damn pandering.

Posted by: shmedley1 | May 27, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about Tea Partiers, but let's by all means be specific:

a) When 80 percent of Americans are happy with their health care, and when a distinct majority opposes the Democrat's health care bill, the Democrats tell the American public, especially the few remaining taxpayers who will pay for it: Read it after we pass it. That's a spendid -- Jeffersonian example of a representative democracy, isn't it? It's called faction rule.

2. When upwards of 65 percent of Americans want strict controls on our non-existent borders, and when 70 percent of Arizonans support Arizona's efforts to protect U.S. sovereignty - you know, that old-fashioned notion that our citizens control who comes, when, in how many numbers -- the Democrats stand up and applaud when Mexico's president slams Arizona and the American majority who want to protect their country's borders. A disgrace. Which brings us to

3. An increasingly insufferable news media whose smug insularity not only ignores the public will, but righteously if dully forces the above issues to the point where no one watces, or reads them, anymore.

What do YOU mean, who took it in the first place? Ah, we see. Have you asked the same question of those who want to "transform" America? Change America? Transform it to what, precisely? Change it, how, exactly? Will you ask certain interests about rallies in which revolution is urged? Revolution against whom, and for what? Will we see those questions soon, in the Washington Post? Fat chance

I also wanted my country back when Dick Cheney met in private with oil barons and let them write their own laws.

Posted by: SueR1 | May 27, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Take it back from "them." Whoever "they" are. As long as they are "they" and not "us," then "they are evil, wicked and bad. Of course "we" are the embodiment of everything righteous in the world. It doesn't matter what the topic is -- if it is "our" position, then it is good. Even if "they" are continuing "our" policy from before. It was good then because it was "our" position. It is bad now because it is "their" position.

Come on. You aren't fooling anyone. Bunch of hypocrites.

Posted by: Northstar1 | May 27, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@epforrester Missed a few old worn out left wing talking point cliches did ya?

We don't want global utopian socialism under the UN and its corporate rich banker elitists who are running the show now, stealing from us to as Clinton said 'equalize' the world at our expense. The heck with that!!!!!!!! We want the free republic under the constitution and our sovereignty which some are determined to take from us. By the time puppet Obama gets done with us, the gov't will own 60% of the economy and we'll end up like Argentina or Venezuela.. Do you really want the FCC to take over the internet and airwaves? Just wait until it's YOUR free speech they want to stop.

Get a clue liberals, you are not special to these criminals and you won't be spared from their Orwellian policies.

Posted by: username | May 26, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

__________________________________________

and so you decided the best reply was worn out John Birch society xenophobic fantasies?

Posted by: kchses1 | May 27, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

At least Rep. King is honest. The rest must drill fresh holes in their heads every morning and pour manure in to get through the day with the cr*p that comes out of their mouths.

Posted by: kchses1 | May 27, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

hared wrote:
Take back America from these fifth columnus latino/hispanic traitors, from these illegal aliens, from these homosexuals, from the socialists-communists-marxists, from these blood sucking government dependents, from the corrupt corporate media. Take America back to a time of personal, parental and organizational accountability, national cohesion - one language - one identity and national pride and sovereignty. America for America and Americans first
___________________________________________

You show your ignorance, how the hell do you think an American Indian feels. We are all immigrants. A large part of this movement is founded on bigotry and if you let people like Rand Paul talk long enough they will reveal this. How come you never heard about a Tea Party movement when George Bush took a surplus and turned it to a deficit. How come Dick Cheney is revered by these people even though he stated in 2001, when rejecting a Democratic Proposal to use the Surplus to pay down the long term debt rather than have, "Deficits Don't Matter". They are basically white people who are sincing the changing demographics and attitudes of younger white voters and they are making their last grasp for power.

Posted by: impartial1 | May 27, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Take back America from a far, far left President who is destroying it. As well as all the far left dangerous crony's in his administration, and the far left Congress and Senate.
The Dems always try to make the Republicans sound like they don't have any idea's. It is getting old and it not true. They are smeared and degraded just because they disagree with Obama's agenda.

Posted by: joanz3 | May 27, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

The obvious answer is to take it back from idiots like you. November is coming then you will see you and bho are in for a rude awakening. This is OUR COUNTRY not yours.

Posted by: MATNJ | May 27, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

In other words, they don't have a clue. The Tea Party crowd doesn't and neither do those in Congress who cheer them on.
Yes, take it back to the good old days, when Blacks and women knew their place, when there were no taxes but also very little the government did for people, like building roads, providing security, retirement pay and where everything was paid for by the resources we took away from the original inhabitants of a pristine land.

Posted by: schumann-bonn | May 27, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The entire take back my government is nothing more than another slogan to get power into hands other than where it now resides. It has nothing to do with the needs of the country. The entire Republican party wants power back unashamed of what George Bush and Cheney has done.

The tea party tells us all we need to know as they embrace Palin.

I can only hope November brings us 61 Senate seats and a majority in the House.

Read Harv: http://theHARVview.blogspot.com

Posted by: HarveyY | May 27, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Putnam: " For example, the Senate nominee in Kentucky [Rand Paul], who rejects the Civil Rights Act. I'm not sure that I would agree with him. "

Except he never said that, he said he would have voted for it but the issue of government intrusion was troubling.

Anyhow, on the topic of Rand Paul, he made it very clear in his victory speech who the country would be 'taken back from'. To paraphrase:

" We have come to take our country back. We have come to take it back from the special interests who think our government is their personal ATM. We have come to take our country back from the politicians who present you with oversized checks emblazoned with their signatures, as if it were THEIR money to give...."

But it isn't just words that make Rand Paul popular, it is credibility drawn both from his father's record and from the fact that as of last filing Rand Paul had received well over 99% of his contributions from small donors. He owes no special interests anything at all.

I guess media hates a wild card.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | May 27, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Take back America from these fifth columnus latino/hispanic traitors, from these illegal aliens, from these homosexuals, from the socialists-communists-marxists, from these blood sucking government dependents, from the corrupt corporate media. Take America back to a time of personal, parental and organizational accountability, national cohesion - one language - one identity and national pride and sovereignty. America for America and Americans first.

Posted by: hared | May 27, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Amen, username! While I CAN understand the rank-n-file demoncrat going along with the program because they are deluded enough to believe their party and their politicians actually give a ratt’s butt about them, I CANNOT understand supposedly educated journalists – reporters, writers, editors – like our Miiiizzzzz Mary Ann Akers here, giving their undying allegiance, support and traction to these bozo’s when they will eventually wind up in the Gulag like the rest of us...hell, they’ll be the first to go!!!

Wise the freak up, Mary Ann!

(epforrester – you’re free to return to HuffPo or DailyKos for your next round of indoctrination)

Posted by: sosueme1 | May 27, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Oh, you want specifics. Well here's the details:
http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html
And leave the devil out of it. Don't take a freakin' policy wonk, huh?

Posted by: sosueme1 | May 27, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@epforrester Missed a few old worn out left wing talking point cliches did ya?

We don't want global utopian socialism under the UN and its corporate rich banker elitists who are running the show now, stealing from us to as Clinton said 'equalize' the world at our expense. The heck with that!!!!!!!! We want the free republic under the constitution and our sovereignty which some are determined to take from us. By the time puppet Obama gets done with us, the gov't will own 60% of the economy and we'll end up like Argentina or Venezuela.. Do you really want the FCC to take over the internet and airwaves? Just wait until it's YOUR free speech they want to stop.

Get a clue liberals, you are not special to these criminals and you won't be spared from their Orwellian policies.

Posted by: username | May 26, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

The press prints a complete lie and dumb old Rep. Adam Putnam believes it. RAND PAUL NEVER SAID HE DID NOT SUPPORT THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!! He said, in a philosophical discussion which he now knows you cannot have with gotcha journalists, that once the gov't starts telling private businesses what to do, where do you draw the line? It's interesting that you never see the press repeat what he DID say... which was that he doesn't believe in discrimination, and would never belong to a private club that discriminated. The only reason the press asked him that was his GOP (loser) contender made the wild exaggerated assertion that he 'doesn't support the civil rights act' to smear him.

But this is an example of the press creating something that isn't there, then running with it as if it were the truth.

Journalism is DEAD!

Posted by: username | May 26, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Take it back? Take it back to what? Take it back to things that are partisan and not working. Take it back to corporations. Take it back to Jim Crow. Take it back to the white, male, Christian power structure that is compromised. Take it back to whatever keeps the average person in the dumps. It always "back"...back to some idyllic time that never really existed to promote the agenda of the rich. They got nothing. Suprise? They better find an "enemy", a cause, to scare people into voting for them. How much b.s. in recent history do we need to reinforce this concept?

Posted by: epforrester | May 26, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

.
The Devil is in the details. The Tea Party folk are great with the generalizations. The specifics get a bit hairy.
.

Posted by: transtique1 | May 26, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

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