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Readers Rain on Tax Protest Story

Dana Milbank, the Post reporter/columnist who likes to find the amusing in the nation's political theater, has generated an extraordinary number of comments this morning for his review of the rain-soaked tax protest in front of the White House yesterday.

Not surprisingly, those who support the Obama administration seem to enjoy the story; those who don't seem to dislike it. The White House protest was one of many around the nation, a fact reported by the Post in a separate story by Lori Montgomery that also said "the federal income tax burden is already hovering near its lowest level in three decades for all but the wealthiest Americans."

You wouldn't know that from the tone of those comments that express great dislike for the Obama administration's policies. Democratic-sounding readers argue back. Sounds sort of like the comment strings we had before the election.

We'll start with marknelso, who wrote, "This is a total hatchet job by a liberal columnist masquerading as a reporter. I went down to the tea party for a short spell and the majority of the plackets were about bailouts and taxes with very few focused on Obama... Also, is this an article about the tea party or is it just an opportunity for WaPo to rant against Fox News? Sounds like sour grapes to me."

fgshul said, "Here in my small town, 1200 people showed up. The fact that a sales tax has been imposed by the county commissioners on the people was the main motivating force...Those who have legitimate concerns get ignored because the political game is all, the good of the country is nothing..."

woody2471 wrote, "What a pathetic bunch of losers. They just can't accept the election, can they?"

stmain said, "The real story here is about a Republican party that's totally run out of ideas. I'm betting this stuff is going to look a little silly one day."

rdancer42 wrote, "What is wrong with this bunch of crack pots. MSNBC, CNN, New York Times, Wall Street Journal among others elected us a president. What is wrong with Fox News getting involved. There are many of us that thought the times of reckless spending by our government went out of office when Bush left. We were promised change. We have change alright, but not what we were promised or expected. Can this country stand another eight years of spend, spend, spend?"

INDEPENDENTVOTER8 said, "I respect our president. I do. I was at the tax day protest. This article is a distortion. I'm not the right wing. I didn't bring a sign. I didn't chant. I'm just concerned about our present path. Is that crazy?"

chrisw21 wrote, "The original Boston Tea Party was about taxation without representation. You ARE represented tea-baggers...Taxes do suck. But other than the tobacco tax increase for the children's health care package, I believe most of these protesters will actually be getting a tax cut this year. Sorry if you earn more than $250K, you'll have to pay a bit more, but still less than what you did under Reagan..."

clandestinetomcat said, "The media can paint Tea Parties as anti-tax protests, but the truth is much more ominous...Obama is confiscating The People's hard-earned wealth and spreading it around hidden in social programs which makes the irresponsible beholden to The Government - a subtle attempt to buy future votes with The People's money... One must be wearing blinders not to notice the clowns in power destroying America."

alanlockett wrote, "What an appalling column! What a smug, out-of-touch elitist Milibank is! Over a million Americans show up to protest Obama's (and Bush's) absurd spending policies, and Milibank considers it plausible that all of this was organized by Fox News for their own benefit! I am disgusted and repelled by this shocking lack of even a shred of logical consistency... Milibank, you are a shill."

muslit said, "...we should not be bailing out the very institutions that were responsible for the economic mess we're in. But I wouldn't have been protesting in Lafayette Square to show my anger, because the majority there would have gladly and ignorantly paid the same taxes under Bush without protest. There's the double standard."

hit4cycle wrote, "I'm always surprised when posters on this site always set things up as a clash of parties. When the campaign's over there's just not much difference between the two parties!...[Politicians] divide us with demogoguery and probably laugh at us...It's a chess game to them and we're the pawns."

To which jayjay9 added, "Hopefully, you're joining me and (I suspect) the too-often silent majority of Americans in yearning for a third party dedicated to moderation and common sense. Ten years of these wing-nuts on the radical right and loony left have left us depleted economically and militarily, not to mention reeling from social experimentation which makes any sane person wonder what is left of The American Dream."

drzimmern said, "Fox news did not orchestrate the tea parties, and they are not astroturf,they are real grassroots. Obama's policies are not acceptable to the 48% who voted against him..."

And jhoward343 wrote, "Although the protesters weren't smart enough to know it, they were protesting the 2008 tax rates from the Bush administration."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  April 16, 2009; 7:06 AM ET
Categories:  Democrats , Obama , Republicans , Taxes  | Tags: Democrats, Obama, Republicans, Taxes  
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Next: Sarah Palin and Choice


As I have previously pointed out, if you put all possible issues into a hat, and pull one out at random, you can muster a thousand people to demonstrate about whatever the issue may be. Some of them may actually understand the issue. Many will just join the crowd to have a good time waving banners and tooting on horns. If you don't believe this, pick an issue and give it a try. People protesting taxes would be the first ones to complain if you cut services supported by the taxes, and have no real proposals about what should be cut. Washington State has problems, not because of the legislature, but because citizen initiatives (which have the force of law) sponsored by one group or another required public expenditures on various programs. So, don't cut you, don't cut me, cut the program behind the tree. In the meantime, wave banners, toot your horns, whoop and holler, and have a grand time disturbing the peace.

Posted by: FredinVicksburg | April 23, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I went to the Medford, Oregon tea party. It was the first time ever that I attended any public rally. The reason is simple. Too much govt and for the past 25 years. The solution is term limits for congress. When the president signs the omnibus bill behind closed doors because of 9,000 earmarks, the citizens need to respond. They did on tea party daya and had the event fallen on a weekend, the numbers would have been huge. I would call it a revolt...short of a revolution. But make no mistake..the country won't tolerate trillions in spending.

Posted by: danshanteal | April 20, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

A lot of "protesters"--"teabaggers"---whatever like to quote the Bible to support their causes. I wonder if they pondered Romans 13:1-7 on the subject of "Submission to Authorities".

In verses 6 and 7 he addresses the subject of taxes, respect, and honor. Many of the signs I saw from around the country were far from respectful or honorable.

Paul goes on to say in verse 8, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law."

Posted by: gwh2phjames | April 18, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I am writing after reading Milbank's piece today.

I'll suggest that readers comments get extreme because they've been pathologically abused by the dishonesty of the Cheney/Bush minions and then spun into a frenzy by the pugilistic Rushbo/Oberman faction.

It's all politically useful, and entertaining, but tends to make people wildly emotive.

Posted by: mustard_oil | April 18, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Dana Milbank mailed in a pseudo-column. Fitting, because a pseudo-journalist wrote it. And will the commenters who are stuck on the term "teabagging" just go ahead and finish their homework because otherwise they are never going to make it out of middle school.

Posted by: ThisIsReality | April 17, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

The sad truth is, the average American doesn't grasp fundamental economic concepts. It's why we have so many people looking at mortages and credit card bills they can't pay.

I live in Texas, which just about always votes Republican. Most of the same people here who are complaining about Obama's budget/tax policies are the same ones who will never be affected. If you make under $20,000 a year, you barely get taxed. It's astounding how most people seem to think that if taxes are raised, they're somehow raised on *everyone*. And these are the same people who dance for joy when we get free stimulus in the form of checks. Who's footing the bill?

No real point in pegging this to politics alone. I peg most of it to the lack of good education. I homeschooled myself after having teachers that either couldn't teach (because of student disruption) or wouldn't (because they didn't care, sometimes for pretty good reasons). Want to fix politics? Make sure Americans are well-informed. TV news will never be able to replace good education, even if they were willing to try.

Posted by: overquoted | April 17, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Wrong, America does toture !

Posted by: samalread423 | April 17, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Wrong. America does torture !

Posted by: samalread423 | April 17, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

What I find most amusing is that I have been a single-issue voter for nearly 30 years, always voting against budget deficits. As a result, I voted against Carter, Reagan (after giving the Laffer curve one misbegotten chance) and the Bushes, and I voted for Clinton twice, all as logical and facts would compel. I should be one of the founding members of any genuine anti-deficit movement; and any genuine anti-deficit advocate should either share my voting record or pine for it in hindsight. So all I can say to the current tea-bag crowd is WHERE WERE YOU ALL THOSE YEARS? Apparently Republican deficits - by far the bulk the existing debt - don't count or something?

Nah, the truth is much easier. You're knuckleheads.

Here's the deal. You can't support tax cuts and oppose deficit spending at the same time. Until we cut spending, tax cuts are just wishful thinking at best and a form of pointless welfare, charged to our kids, at worst. History proves that permitting deficit spending just encourages the spenders. High taxes are the only thing that will efficiently drive us to spend less. If you are against deficits, you have to be against tax cuts until we run a surplus - including, as Clinton correctly pointed out, a surplus over enough in the bank to cover known future costs. History shows no other option.

So, bottom line, teabaggers, you have no idea what you are doing. You are actually supporting ideas that have led to higher deficits in the past and will continue to do so in the future. Ultimately, higher taxes keep the pain and pressure on us so that we will quit asking for all that spending. Get serious or get lost. And I'll know you are serious when your hand-made signs start saying "Clinton was right."

Mondale tried this and got creamed for it; but until we can have an election where two candidates contend that they have the best tax increase plan, we will not get out from under ruinous deficits. We had little choice this time, but at least Obama was going to spend his deficit on infrastructure. Plus, a true deficit hawk could not endure rewarding the party of W, by far the greatest culprit in this whole mess. But I pin the reason we had no choice directly on the people most likely to be tea-baggers.

Posted by: NomoStew | April 17, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The quoted comment from Lori Montgomery about current tax rates misses the point. Federal spending substantially exceeded Federal tax revenue during the Bush years, even before the bailout binge, and Obama's proposed multiyear budget jacks up longrun baseline spending even higher. Eventually, all that jacked-up spending, plus interest on the accumlating deficits, will have to be paid for with taxpayers' dollars.

Posted by: wumhenry | April 17, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Teabaggers: please understand it's not liberal media bias that caused the hostile reaction to you. There are other reasons why people mock and insult the Teabaggers.

Partly, it's because you're offensive. For one thing, the election only just happened and you lost badly. So you look like bad losers for whining.

Also, the new president only just got here. You haven't given his policies -- which have a clear voters' mandate -- a chance to succeed or fail. You're just piling on because he's a Democrat ... and in some cases because he's black. And you're blaming him for problems you caused.

You walk with white supremacists and Timothy McVeigh clones. You question Obama's citizenship and call him a Kenyan while referring to yourselves as "real Americans". So really, whether you know it or not, everything about you is pretty offensive.

Your planned anti-government rally in DC consisted of dumping a million teabags in a park for govt workers to pick up at taxpayers' expense. What isn't offensive about this? The gratuitous dumping of trash? The waste of food?

Luckily, you were too dumb to get the right permit. Which brings me to your collective stupidity. There must be over 100,000 of you -- despite your dismal turnout, it's a very big country. Yet no-one among you realized that your focus on "teabagging" politicians had homoerotic connotations that would be seen as comical. News anchors wouldn't be doing their job if they let that slip by unremarked. So you shot yourselves in the foot, you know, just like you did all the time when in government.

Which brings us to your record. And this, really, is your Achilles heel. For years now, more than two-thirds of Americans have dispproved of Bush. But always there was this stubborn, fanatical 30 percent who adored him to the bitter end. "Who are these fools?" people would ask each other when the polls came out. "What are they smoking?" "Beats me." After 2006, it became hard to find people who'd admit to ever voting for Bush.

So naturally, when we see you gathered together in groups, the Bush base flaunting its legendary stupidity like it was 2003 again, there's a certain curiosity mixed with a little ribbing.

And of course it's not entirely friendly attention because people blame you for inflicting Bush on the world.

I know you can understand this sentiment. You prove you're aware of your GOP shame by your ludicrous attempts to pose as a movement containing Democrats and Independents. Your unconvincing efforts to hide the fact that you're 100% hardcore Republicans speak volumes.

I hope I've helped to clarify why you're so unloveable and so unloved. And why no-one takes you seriously.

Posted by: Bud0 | April 17, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

The quoted comment from Lori Montgomery misses the point. Bush jacked up Federal spending astronomically last fall, and Obama is jacking it up even more. All that spending, plus interest on the rapidly accumulating deficit, will eventually have to be paid off with taxpayers' dollars.

Posted by: wumhenry | April 17, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Doug never quotes me.

I'm honored by that...

Posted by: svreader | April 16, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The really sad thing is that most of these drooling Limbots who are chanting, zombie-like, all this "socialist" stuff about Obama are actually getting a tax cut. And the ones who aren't, are complaining about a tax rate on the wealthy that is lower than it was on those Che Guevara wannabee presidents Reagan, Nixon and Eisenhower. I'm sure they are cursing the names of those socialist presidents even more loudly than they do Obama's (NOT).

It is just sad how confused and ignorant the FauxNews captives are. I would say that they can be retrained to do simple tasks in the information economy, but since they cannot even get their information straight, I'm afraid one can't even give them that.

Posted by: B2O2 | April 16, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

The Tea Party....a FOX News publicity stunt attended by unemployed miscreants with nothing better to do.

Posted by: rrowleyarizona | April 16, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

here is a change I can get behind...
those that post can not hide behind the user name...
only those with courage will post showing their true names and town they live in verified before being allowed to post...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 16, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

WP follows the route of NYT. To oblivion. And the articles like the on discussed are the primary reason for that. Maybe WP will be reborn as a pinko colored wipe of the American Left paid by Soros. And you, intellectual, pygmies, arrogant milbanks really believe you could tell people what to think.

Posted by: pihto999 | April 16, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

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