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Karl Rove and I -- GULP! -- agree

Would someone call the paramedics? What I'm about to say shocks even me. Karl Rove is right. Not about everything. Well, not about a lot of things. But when it comes to schooling the earnest followers of the Tea Party movement, the man President Bush called "the architect" is spot on.

"But Tea Partyers will have to do more than surf discontent with the Obama administration's policies. They will also have to coalesce around a positive agenda," Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal. He calls on them to get away from the "birthers," those who still don't think President Obama was born in the United States, and the 9/11 truthers, those who think the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were an inside job. Rove went on to say, "Politicians who hope to appeal to Tea Partyers must offer solutions that are heartfelt and well thought out. Tea Party members may be new to politics, but they have a keen instinct for what's authentic. Attempts to pander will fall flat." Rove mentions my poster boy for Republican leadership, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), as someone who has put forth ideas that Tea Partyers should examine. His "Road Map for America's Future" and his ideas for "repeal and replace" of the health-care law are a little scary. But, dangit, at least he has ideas that he is willing and eager to put up to public scrutiny.

Unfortunately, Tea Partyers will go wanting for a positive agenda, and Rove's wise counsel to his fellow Republicans won't catch on anytime soon. As I wrote yesterday, "The "Party of No" can't seem to get to yes." And that would appear to be just fine by the GOP.

By Jonathan Capehart  | April 2, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

I don't know why the paper keeps on calling these people "the tea party".

Everybody knows their real name is the "National Socialist White Peoples Party".

Posted by: seattle_wa | April 2, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I dunno - these angry white folks with their cause de jour have worn out their welcome.

They have nothing to say to any Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, so they're only peddlin racist slurs..

Coalesce around something positive... Republicans don't even have a positive agenda.. so the groups they own lock stock and barrel won't either?

Posted by: dutchess2 | April 2, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I don't know why the paper keeps on calling these people "the tea party".

Everybody knows their real name is the "National Socialist White Peoples Party".

This 'opinion' is just plain wrong. I am sick of liberals and other extreme left-wingers misrepresenting the Tea Party movement. The heart of the Tea Party movement is and always has been about smaller, less expensive, less intrusive government with lower taxes. It is NOT about playing the "race card", which is something that liberals constantly pull out everytime that it appears that the American people start moving back towards practical, conservative ideals. I know that the truth hurts for the liberals out there....but you are just going to have to get over it and stop telling the lies claiming that the Tea Party movement is all about racism and fascism....because it most certainly is not. In the long run, the ideals of the Tea Party movement benefit all Americans, regardless of race.

Posted by: honorswar26 | April 2, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The expressed goal of the TPM is to "be in a country that is truly free." What this means is to be in a country with low taxes. They self-identify as "taxpayers," which ironically means that they do not like to pay taxes. Contrary to their myths, nobody has ever been reduced from wealth and means to poverty by taxation.

While TPers speak at length about the dangers of tyranny, they miss the point that the opposite of tyranny--anarchy--is no better. Thomas Hobbes noted three and a half centuries ago that life in an anarchy is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." Except for the tyrant, it's pretty much the same in a tyranny. To do better than either requires social organization, where we each surrender our individual rights to gain common social protection. But this comes at a maintenance cost, which bears the label “taxation.” As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, taxes are, "dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society."

I do share a common ground with the TPers when they oppose extortion of the people by corporations. However, their anti-government rhetoric plays right into the hands of corporations, who gleefully agree about getting regulatory government off of their backs. The TPM seem to be unaware that they further the very corporate interests they decry.

It is also noteworthy the government interference that most bothers TPers is social welfare. They do not appear to have any qualms about government interference in a woman's right to choose whether or not to bear a child, or in the right two people who may happen to be of the same gender to marry, or the right of people to be free of unwarranted invasion of their homes by the police. This belies the validity of their general complaint. Given that social welfare disproportionally (but appropriately) goes to the underclass, and that our legacy of racism means that the underclass is more diverse than our society in general, this puts the onus on the TP to prove that it is not racist.

For those of us concerned about the TPM, what can be done? I think of TPM people as falling into three groups: (1) people reacting to fears without considering alternatives (e.g., worrying about the cost of it all without considering the cost of not taking action), (2) people out of touch with reality (e.g., “get your government hands off of my Medicare”), and (3) selfish manipulators of the first two groups (e.g., “death panel” demagogues). The first group should be our primary focus—we should understand their fears and frame progressive solutions in terms of resolving those fears. The second group cannot be approached by reason, but they might well follow the lead of the first group. The third group is hopeless—we must try to isolate them so that their influence is minimal.

Posted by: jimkahan | April 2, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't that the first comment is completely wrong. And I'm not a liberal or a left winger, far from it in fact. Perhaps the ideals may be in the right place, but I would put forth that they weren't in the right time. My main source of skepticism that the Tea Party isn't at all racially motivated is that they were remarkably silent for the better part of this century ('01 - '08); despite all the flagrant violations of Constitutional rights and rampant, unfettered growth of the Federal government. But someone a little different looking takes office and suddenly the groups fall all over themselves to get to the protesting first? Seems a bit suspect to me. And until this little discrepancy is addressed clearly, I don't see the doubting of Tea Partiers' true intentions disappearing anytime soon.

Posted by: monkeynavigated | April 2, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Starting Jan 20, 2009 of course.

Posted by: fresno500 | April 2, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Mainstream Republicans are starting to realize that the tea baggers can hurt them as much as help them if their don't reign in some of the crazy, and if the movement continues to be relentlessly negative (thus far, it's all about what they don't like, with no realistic solutions to offer).

Rove's piece in the WSJ and Dan Quayle's piece in the Post today point to that realization. The problem for them is that once you let the crazy out of the bag and give it legitimacy -- as the Republicans and their proxies have been doing -- it's very difficult to reign the crazy back in. And the crazy won't be interested in half-measures or platitudes. If you don't give them everything they want, they'll turn on you, too.

Posted by: js_edit | April 2, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't that the first comment is completely wrong. And I'm not a liberal or a left winger, far from it in fact. Perhaps the ideals may be in the right place, but I would put forth that they weren't in the right time. My main source of skepticism that the Tea Party isn't at all racially motivated is that they were remarkably silent for the better part of this century ('01 - '08); despite all the flagrant violations of Constitutional rights and rampant, unfettered growth of the Federal government. But someone a little different looking takes office and suddenly the groups fall all over themselves to get to the protesting first? Seems a bit suspect to me. And until this little discrepancy is addressed clearly, I don't see the doubting of Tea Partiers' true intentions disappearing anytime soon.

Posted by: monkeynavigated | April 2, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Apologize for the double posting, my computer is being a bit quirky today. :-)

Posted by: monkeynavigated | April 2, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Karl Rove about the Tea Party: "they have a keen instinct for what's authentic."

Karl should be writing comedy bits for Colbert and Stewart.

Posted by: hlabadie | April 2, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

sorry seattle- wa is completely wrong, it's not the national socialist white peoples party, its the national socialist white peoples klan. please be more observant in the future.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | April 2, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

sorry seattle- wa is completely wrong, it's not the national socialist white peoples party, its the national socialist white peoples klan. please be more observant in the future.

Posted by: trjohnson8890122 | April 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The major problem with the GOP is that the main drivers of the party are cable news and talk radio personalities who have made their names and money by being malcontents and being the voice of what's wrong. They spread anger and fear (the easiest emotions to tap). They have no reason to stop. They've been successful doing it and now have power within the GOP and they're not giving it up. As long as the GOP has hitched it's wagon to these people the elephant isn't changing.

Posted by: kchses1 | April 2, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

jimkahan,

you finally said something I've been thinking about for a while. I am myself for small government and lower taxes. But if you take powers from the government who is it going to go to? Not the people but the corporations who are already way too powerful as it is. So until there is a way to give all that power to the people I'm not comfortable with our corporations getting even more powerful.

Posted by: thor2 | April 2, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Just one question to honorswar26, can you READ, have you ever been to a tea party rally, I have, and I have never seen so many racist signs in my life, my all time favorite is "That N***er is not my President" and that was not just one sign or one person either, there were many signs around him screaming the same thing. Bottom line is this, if you scream like a racist, talk like a racist, act like a racist; guess what, you're a racist. You can apologize for these crazies all you want Honorswar26, but when you see these kinds of hate signs being accompanied by people holding up and waving their guns that they brought to the rally, we are not talking about the women’s league of voters here, we are talking about racism rearing up it's ugly head and demanding to be heard. Remember it wasn't that long ago when a governor of a certain state stood in a school doorway barring black students from entering shouting "segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever". And of course people like you would say he's not really racist, he's just fighting for states rights. And what might that right be, oh yeah; the right to treat people unfairly, those states rights.

Posted by: kobeb | April 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I hear tea baggers yelling about alleged threats to their "freedoms" but I seldom hear any of them talking about personal responsibility or the responsibilities that we as Americans have to one another. Freedom without responsibility is anarchy.

After hearing this stuff and watching these people, I wonder when our national motto will be changed from E Pluribus Unum to "I want mine...to hell with you!"

Posted by: BrooklynDemocrat | April 2, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

So, Karl Rove & Dan Quayle have TEA Party-bashing Op-Eds in major East-Coast newspapers on the same day?

Obviously, just a coincidence!

It couldn't have anything to do with the RepublicRatic and DemoPublican elites in the DC-Wall Street Occupied Zone starting to feel a little threatened, right?

And all the saliva-spewing rage & contempt displayed by the Leftist, White-Hating posters on this thread couldn't have anything to do with their realizing that they turned the heat up a little too fast when they elected Barry and now the tax-paying frog has jumped out of their socialist pot, right?

I can hardly wait until November 2010 and then November 2012!

Posted by: pmendez | April 2, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

And the democrats are the party of positiveness? Let's see, republicans are evil, insurance companies are evil, wall street and bankers are evil, big pharma is evil, oil companies are evil, tea party members are evil, anyone who makes more than $250000 is somehow evil for not paying more in taxes, the list goes on... seems everyone who disagrees with liberal/progressive philosophy is evil. And the progressives use that as their wedge to cause anger and fear.

Posted by: ty02010 | April 2, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

TY02010: If you just think of "Progressivism" as an intolerant, fundamentalist religion like Islam, it will make more sense to you.

Progressives have been blessed with revealed knowledge of the One True Way. It is not enough that they rule over us: we must REJOICE that they rule over us. All who resist are not just wrong, but evil sinners who must be punished.

Posted by: pmendez | April 2, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

jimkahan - i think the question really isn't about what services the government should provide. the question is more about which government. our country was founded on a limited federal government concept. if you want government supported health care or other services, perhaps the states should do that, like massachusetts did. However, if people in Nevada don't want that, why should the people in Nevada be forced to support health care in Massachusetts, or vice versa? The most responsive government is the one that is closest to the people. do we want to head to the european system of big federal government controlling almost everything, or have our federal government stick to certain functions and rely on the individual states to address other issues?

Posted by: ty02010 | April 2, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Problem of fact here: the so-called Tea Partyers are 100% Republicans...max they are the 26% that still thought GW Bush was doing a great job when the economic world was collapsing and Bush was ending his term.

They are a Rove-like marketing invention of radical Conservatives. What is 26% compared to the 53% who voted for Obama? We won and a whole lot of that roughly 50% who voted for Gore and Kerry were pissed off for all 8 years of Bush's silliness, incompetence and destruction of good government. These minority radical Republicans would never see the news without the help of Republican leaders like Boehner, McConnell, and Cantor.

So if Rove, who really ran the show for 8 years with Bush, says Tea Partyers should get concrete and positive, I would say that has to come from the cowardly, extremist Republican leadership.

Posted by: walden1 | April 2, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

to ty02010

I agree with you that it is important that we find the right level of government to deal with the right issues. That said, I have no idea what the "big federal government controlling almost everything" is in Europe, and I lived there 12 years. What I have seen in Europe is a serious effort at devolution of government powers to the place where they are most effective, and neither a blind acceptance of "big is better" or "only local, thank you."

Let me use health care coverage as my example. Each of the national European governments, perceiving that universal health insurance is socially decent, has its own way of providing it. The European Parliament can set up goals that Member States need to reach, but don't say how to do it. Canada does the same thing with health insurance managed at the provincial level, but universally available. If we could have a requirement for universal coverage that each State would implement, that would be fine, but the truth is that national involvement in the US is required, just as it was in getting rid of segregation laws, poll taxes, and the like.

Using words like "forced" when something is voted by majority rule is disingenuous. After all, the United States is, as is stated in the Pledge of Allegiance, one nation. And freedom and justice for all must come from the national government.

Posted by: jimkahan | April 2, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

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