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The real Tea Party is in Britain


In my column today, I argue that the Tea Party movement is not a generalized protest movement, but the old right wing in new clothes. My colleague Dan Balz made a related point yesterday, tracing the differences between the Tea Party and Ross Perot’s movement in 1992.

But there is an authentic movement against the two major parties -- and it’s happening in Britain, smack in the middle of its general election campaign. For the first time ever, the party leaders (essentially, the candidates for prime minister) joined in a television debate last Thursday. The big winner was neither Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the Labor Party nor David Cameron of the Conservative Party, but Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

To give you a sense of how heady this experience is for the Liberal Democrats, consider that in the last parliamentary elections in 2005, they won just 62 seats to 354 for Labor and 196 for the Conservatives. The Lib Dems, as they are often known, have not been formally part of a British government in more than 80 years. They trace their lineage to the old Liberal Party and took on their new name when they merged with the Social Democrats, a breakaway from the Labor Party, in 1988.

Clegg overwhelmed his two opponents in the debate by painting himself as the foe of politics as usual and responding to exhaustion with the two major parties, spurred in part by a scandal over fiddling expenses that hit many Labor and Conservative parliamentarians. According to a Guardian/ICM poll, 51 percent of debate watchers thought Clegg had won, to 20 percent for Cameron and 19 percent for Brown. Another poll showed Clegg an even bigger winner.

The debate result was filtered into the public opinion polls this weekend that showed big gains for the Liberal Democrats. Sir Robert Worcester, one of Britain’s most experienced pollsters, nicely summarized the effect of the debate in Sunday’s Observer: “Up to Thursday there had been 18 national opinion polls since the election was called and all had the Tories at 38%, plus or minus 2%. The debate has dropped them to 33% in the YouGov/Sun poll yesterday, Labour lost three points, from 31% to 28%, but the Lib Dems' share jumped from 20 to 30%.” (Disclosure: I worked part time for Worcester’s firm, MORI, while I was a graduate student in Britain in the mid-1970s.)

And today, Britain awoke to a shocking new reality: A YouGov opinion poll for The Sun showed Clegg’s Liberal Democrats leading with, as the newspaper put it, “a staggering 33 per cent.” The Conservatives were down to 32 percent, while Labor was taking just 26 per cent. “It is the first time the former Liberals have been in the lead in a general election race for 104 years,” the Sun noted. It must be said that there wasn’t reliable opinion polling 104 years ago, but the sentence accurately captured how astounding this result is.

Martin Kettle, a columnist for the Guardian, captured the essence of what has happened: Clegg did very well indeed in the debate, but he seized an opportunity that was there for the taking. Kettle wrote:

The Lib Dem surge owes much to Nick Clegg's performance on Thursday. That's clear. But it would not have happened if the British electorate was not already prepared, maybe only half consciously, for a larger change than the two main parties offer. The desire for change may not be all that coherent, and we need to be careful not to exaggerate the size of the part of the electorate that is up for it. But this is a mood looking for someone to speak for it. For the moment, it has found that in Clegg and the Lib Dems. . . . The Lib Dem surge has happened because a huge number of voters do not trust the Conservatives, even under Cameron, and no longer have confidence in Labour, especially under Brown. The conditions existed for a third party to tap into that feeling, and Clegg has made it happen.

Under the British system, whoever wins a majority of parliamentary seats gets to form the government, with its leader as prime minister. Britain has been speculating for months about the possibility of a hung parliament in which no party gets a majority. This has only happened twice in the last century. And since Britain has a first-past-the-post- system -- whoever comes in first in a district wins -- it is impossible to translate shares of the national vote directly into seats in Parliament. For many years, this has allowed Labor or the Conservatives to win a majority of seats with a minority of the vote. Because their vote is spread evenly across the country, the Lib Dems could break past one of the two major parties and still run third in seats. Even a first place finish might not net them the largest number of seats.

But there’s a lot of time left in the campaign -- the election is on May 6 -- and it’s too early to know either whether the Lib Dem surge will last or which party it will hurt most if it does. In the short term, Cameron and the Conservatives are most worried, since Clegg, for now, has robbed them of their central theme. The Lib Dems have become the more persuasive purveyors of the Conservatives’ core slogan, “Vote for Change.” Labor and Brown, once heavy favorites to lose, don’t mind seeing Clegg shake things up, though they will start to worry if the Lib Dems begin to cut into their core vote. The Liberal Democrats are a center party that tilts moderately left, so they have a natural appeal to many Labor supporters.

If there is a lesson here for the U.S., it’s that an extreme movement like the Tea Party is not the most likely vehicle for a mass protest party. A lot of voters are more grumpy than angry, searching for palatable and reasonable alternatives rather than an ideological adventure. Clegg and the Lib Dems definitely offer that in Britain. In our election, we will see normal mid-term shifting away from the party in power, even if we don’t yet know how big that shift will be. But there’s nothing on the horizon like the Lib Dems, who are creating the same kind of excitement in Britain that Barack Obama aroused here not so long ago.

By E.J. Dionne  | April 19, 2010; 8:16 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Next: The Tea Party's moment of truth

Comments

Mr. Dionne why don't you discuss what things the Tea Party stands for? You use words such as "extreme". How is it extreme for people to want our Government to follow the Constitution? How is it extreme for people to demand that our Government stop spending more money than it takes in? How is it extreme for people to expect personal responsibility to take precedent over Government intervention? Why is it extreme to want a limited Federal Government like our founding fathers envisioned? Why is it not extreme for the Democrats to expand the Federal Government reach into our lives? Instead of constantly commenting on whether or not the Tea Party is legitimate why don't you talk about policy?

Posted by: bobbo2 | April 19, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

For a generation we're heard the liberal establishment paint the Republican Party as controlled by social conservative extremists. These claims were often accompanied by the faux lament that if only the moderate fiscal conservatives had effective power the GOP might have policies worth considering.

But now the very fiscal conservatives liberals held out as powerless are taking control. So how does the liberal establishment react? Without batting an eye they completely reverse themselves and ask us to believe the fiscal conservatives are the real extremists.

The liberal establishment's only concern is politics. Before the Tea Party the goal was to scare Democratic supporting moderates who know Republicans who do not fit the extremist profile. They were given an answer that reconciled the fact of moderates' existence with the allegation that voting GOP was risky. Once the Tea Party shows that narrative doesn't fit the facts, miraculously it disappears. I guess we'll see who is willing to pretend to see the emperor's new clothes.

Posted by: mj13 | April 19, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

to all,

inasmuch as E J Dionne, is DEAD WRONG about who/what the National Tea Party Movement IS, i would suggest that you DISREGARD all of his nonsensical comments.

actually, as a "county coordinator" (the nearest thing that the TPP have to a "leader", unless EVERY TPP is a leader of the movement) i can tell you without any chance of being wrong that we are composed of about 40% GOP, 35% Democrats & the rest Independents or "no answer".

the "right wing extremist" label is WISHFUL THINKING and/or KNOWING DISHONESTY, spewed out constantly, by the extremists/"progressives"/haters of the National DIMocRATS Party to try to marginalize/silence this gressroots movement for CHANGE!

to the "party pros" of the DIMocRATS National Committee, it's OK to hate us.
it is NOT OK to LIE about us, as LYING is IMMORAL!

btw, DIMocRATS, the November election will be a BLOODBATH for your party. you will LOSE both houses of Congress by a landslide MUCH worse (for you) than the 1994 "sea change". = FACT!
the 2012 election will UNSEAT "the Chicago mob"/BHO & "finish the DIMocRATS" as a "mainstream party".

we members of the Tea Party will remind every voter, at every election season, that your party cannot be TRUSTED with the fate of this FREE Republic.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 19, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The most likely outcome appears to be a minority Labour Government.

Your readers might be interested in the following discussion of the alternatives.

http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/pdfs/making-minority-gov-work.pdf

The US has a great deal of experience in divided government but in recent times It hasn't been able to make such a government work.

To do so requires a level of political maturity in leaders and ordinary citizens which simply isn't there.

Posted by: mwnl | April 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne suggests that the TEA Party activism is the "Populism of the Privileged."

Given that Washington, Jefferson, Mason, Morris and many of the early leaders of the U.S. were fairly well off, King George III may have also viewed the American Revolution as the "Populism of the Privileged."

Such populism can bring about lasting change.

Posted by: MKS1 | April 19, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

EJ, a lot of this has to do with the structure of the Westminster parliamentary system used in countries like the UK and Canada. My significant other is Canadian, and we compare and contrast a lot. Like Britain, Canadian government tends to go back and forth between the center-left party (Liberal, who includes Chretien and the late Trudeau) and center-right party (Conservative, currently in power with Harper and formerly Mulroney--the forgotten apex in the Reagan-Thatcher-Mulroney triangle). The remainder typically votes New Democratic Party (NDP, the social democrats) or in Quebec, for the Bloc Quebecois (aside from Quebecois independence, a relatively left-wing party). This more or less guarantees a split of the "pox on both your houses" vote and the string of minority governments led by either Liberal or Conservative.

In the s/o's home province of British Columbia, however, the BC Liberals are actually conservatives with no tie to the federal Liberal party, and the NDP is the other party. NDP was the majority in the 90s, and the buzz is that the post-Olympic hangover (when the bills come due) will cause the NDP to win the next BC elections.

I think it'd be an interesting study to see how the devolution of local authority to the Scottish Parliament and Nat'l Assembly of Wales has weakened the direct influence of nationalist parties (SNP, Plaid Cymru, etc) as spoilers in Westminster electoral politics.

Posted by: JamesK1 | April 19, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@MKS1, assuming you're not advocating armed insurrection against the American Government those men fought to establish, I think a big difference between the modern Tea Party movement and Washington/Jefferson/Adams/Hamilton et al. is that the latter had a coherent vision.

You capitalize TEA--you do realize it stands for "Taxed Enough Already", yet they were out in force on April 15 protesting the tax cut that 95% of us just got. The truly bizarre thing about the Tea Partiers is how they are the first "populist" movement that is advocating on behalf of big health insurance, big pharma, and big banks. I have yet to hear a coherent point of view from the Tea Party other than unfocused rage. Don't tell me it's "about the Constitution" because very few Tea Partiers I've encountered even understand what the Constitution actually says. That they were either nowhere to be found or actually arguing in favor of the stripping of real Constitutional protections by the PATRIOT Act and warrantless wiretapping tells me all I need to know in that regard.

Posted by: JamesK1 | April 19, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The truly bizarre thing is how many different accusations Tea Party critics can have without a single one being accurate.

Tea Partiers are against this medical plan. Since this medical plan represents corporatism (the fusion of big business and government interests to the detriment of everyone else) opposition to this plan is standing against big insurance companies and big pharma.

We don't see rage from Tea Partiers. We see political engagement. We hear it (inaccurately) described as rage because it delegitimizes their opinions.

One thing we don't hear from critics is reasoned argument consistent with the facts. Instead we see blind repetition of liberal scare tactics, as usual.

Posted by: mj13 | April 19, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Poor E J Dionne, you and your fellow press must really be concerned about the traction that the TEA Party is gaining. All I've seen today is editorials attempting to diminish the appeal of this movement by linking it to domestic terrorism. Is trotting out the same stale analogies and peddling more dull rhetoric really the best you can do?

Posted by: Katzenjammer1 | April 19, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Here's the problem I have with the whole Tea Party. It's one of their underlying assumptions: "We are not following the Constitution". I consider it utter BS based on the document itself, Supreme Court opinions, and the history of this country. Yet these "Constitutionalists" just keep talking...and nobody is taking them on and calling them on their stupid arguments. Maybe they won't listen, but it's worth a shot!

Posted by: boglesby | April 19, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

boglesby,

and your CREDENTIALS as a Constitutional EXPERT are?

you know those, that i suspect, that you do NOT have?

fwiw, the SCOTUS has been DEAD WRONG over the time that they've made decisions, as to almost be a BAD JOKE - like this latest "corporation is a citizen, with rights to free speech" NONSENSE, for example!

the TRUTH is that we Tea Party Patriots believe in the Constitution as WRITTEN, rather than as it as been IGNORED/modified by lesser men than those founders, who created it.

let me give you yet another EXCELLENT example: Plessy VS Ferguson, which created "separate but equal" as a HERESY of what the creators of the Constitution intended on "equality under law"! = fwiw, i have NO problem whatever with the AMENDMENTS (in fact i know of NO person who objects to the numerous Amendments!) but i have "a real problem with" judges "making laws", based on STUPID opinions & "wishful thinking" of the individual judge(s).

just my opinion.

yours, TN46
(i call Plessy, "separate but UNEQUAL".)

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 19, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Dionne DOES discuss what the tea baggers stand for. They don't really stand for anything. Nothing but a gobbledy goop of half baked and fictional bumper stickers thrown together with no coherent concept of what society is, what government does, or what the Constitution says.

They are madder than heck that one of "them" has taken away "their" country. They are generally, though, angry at things that don't exist (new gun restrictions, higher taxes) and fearful of kook fantasies like FEMA concentration camps or the NWO and ZOG. They do no homework on their positions, do not know the meaning of words they should have learned in 9th grade (socialism, Marxism, communism, fascism, totalitarian) and don't remember that it was conservative presidents who wracked up 8/10 of all the national debt that does threaten the nation, but that the conservtives ran it up for no discernable rational reason other than to run up debt to cripple the government and buy votes.

In other words, they are the same right wing kooks who we have had running around for years, but now they havecome out of the woodwork, guns and all, because they feel entitled to attack a colored feller, and they are being egged on by people in positions of authority who are playing with fire. When one or more of these nut cases does something even more drastic than the one who flew his plane into IRS building act, the blood of the innocent will be on the nahds of beck and hanity and palin and huckleberry and mcconnell.

Posted by: John1263 | April 20, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

Gordon Brown is a very smart man.

He is ALLOWING Clegg to split the conservative votes. Tories lose.

I really enjoyed his " I agree with Nick"

Clegg cannot be compared to tea partiers. Clegg is even further left than Gordon Brown and Labour.

Posted by: RavenGodiva | April 20, 2010 5:23 AM | Report abuse

most races are decided on less than a 10% difference...
if the dems lose voters, they won't be reelected...
and I don't think many of them will...
you can't talk to them and if you do, you get no good answers...
better to replace them...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 20, 2010 5:26 AM | Report abuse

November getting a little to close for you Mr. Donnie?

Hears a good one for you let's see how you explain this.

http://images.opensecrets.org/obama_top_contribs.htm?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/indus.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00009638

See you at the voting booth in November.

Posted by: jace1 | April 20, 2010 5:34 AM | Report abuse

EJ i s so transparent - the third party in UK is a socialist movement.....therefore it is "REAL" to the liberal-socialist that support Obama, while the Tea party is not.....becuase the leftist Democrats and much of the media do not support them. That said it is clear America is behind the Tea Party, as polls show and the results in the Virginia, New Jersey & Massachusetts proves.

The Democrats will be slaughtered in the upcoming midterm elections, and hoepfully then they will start addressing the real problem which isn't the Tea Party, it is themselves and their socialist agenda.

Posted by: Realist20 | April 20, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

The Tea Party is the tip of the iceberg. I can't believe that people like Dionne are ignoring Obama's record low approval ratings, the Scott Brown victory, the resounding victories in Va and NJ Governorships, the Tea Party movement not to mention the polls-- all showing voters fleeing from the liberal, tax-and-spend, big government, radical Federalism of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 20, 2010 7:25 AM | Report abuse

My British husband is stunned by how quickly the Lib Dems, always seen as too far to the left to rule, have made this into a real race for the first time since 1998. He is taking heart that whether it is a hung parliament or still in the hands of either party there will now be enough room for real change!
The TP has no sense of the work it has taken for the Lib Dems to become a viable party in the UK. There really are no short cuts to having a message and continually working towards making it more understandable to people.

Posted by: Thinking4 | April 20, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

Brits and Americans are VERY different. The two political scenarios do not compare.

Posted by: hz9604 | April 20, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Must be fun in your little world dionne!
We LEFT England! We wanted FREEDOM!

Posted by: thornegp2626 | April 20, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

The two major parties in Britain gave the Lib Dems an opportunity to appear on an equal stage with them i.e. a Debate of Presidential style, and are now suffering the consequences. Clegg is a fresh alternative in a country where the electorate is ready for change, and lost no time in taking his opportunity in a situation where the Tories are as tainted with Member of Parliament expense abuses as is Labour. To be sure, Clegg had an easy ride in the first debate as both Brown and Cameron deferred to him in their attempts to play towards the center. What happened, however, was that not a glove was laid on him. In the next debate it will be different. And surprisingly Cameron has more to lose from a Lib-Dem resurgence than Labor (for reasons well noted by E.J. Dionne). Altogether a fascinating situation. watch this space!

Posted by: paulgroom | April 20, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

The Tea Party folks writing here are a gas. Upset at EJ because he doesn't focus on their policy, but what is their policy? Less, less, less. And, go back to the Constitution, as if we'd left. Their rhetoric is pitiful, give me back my country. Huh? It's probably wedged in the cushions along with the remote, your keys and a quarter....

Posted by: 44fx290 | April 20, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Must be fun in your little world dionne!
We LEFT England! We wanted FREEDOM!

--------------------------------

But kept Africans in bondage while the English ended slavery. Nice one.

Posted by: 44fx290 | April 20, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

The one important point EJ fails to make is that there is now very little difference ideologically between the three major parties in Britain. The Tories, seeing the success Tony Blair had with his "Third Way" approach that pulled Labour back from its 1970s era radicalism, have greatly softened their positions on a number of social issues, especially since Cameron took over as party leader. The Liberal Democrats, while accurately described as center/left, are no more left than Labour and the Tories are now a sort of squishy Center/Right.

The true political alternatives are the British National Party, which is anti-immigrant and proto-fascist, and the less well known UKIP--United Kingdom Independence Party, which would delink the UK from the European bureaucracy in Brussels. The BNP may, in fact, win some seats in this election in northern constituencies that are former Labour strongholds, but have seen a huge influx of immigrants and the loss of industrial jobs, resulting in great disaffection by the white working class.

Posted by: jhpurdy | April 20, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm just curious why every tea party-ite comes across like a stark raving mad lunatic, obsessed with birther conspiracy, bizzaro religious interpretations of the Constitution, and just a nastiness when describing their perceived political foes.

If these folks want "smaller" government, then put your money where your mouth is and come up with a set of political goals other than "we will make DiMoCrAtS PAY!!!" (seriously? you think the minorty in Congress has any idea how to govern the country? Seriously??). When the tea party-ites start demanding means testing for social security and medicare then maybe they could be taken seriously. But wandering around with guns on your hips on April 19th claiming your country has been taken from you does not inspire.

Posted by: megman | April 20, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Hey Dionne, you need to stop "shilling" the DNC's talking points. Until lately I had ignored the Tea Party but you and yours have put so much attention on them that I started to pay attention and I like what I hear. Keep it up. At this rate your proselytizing the DNC points seems to be helping them.

Posted by: fcrucian | April 20, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't think I have yet seen the following notion:

Why shouldn't this year play out more like the 1972 presidential race. The Democratic left drove the party and its choice of nominee so far out of the center that they lost the centrist vote, and subsequently lost every state but Massachusetts.

If the right wing succeeds in defeating candidates like McCain and Crist, substituting people who will play hard enough to the right, perhaps we'll see a repeat.

Posted by: Pete11 | April 20, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

EJ sound like he's wistling past the grave yard of the liberals.

Posted by: carlbatey | April 20, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Pete11,

regardless of your opinion, we Tea Party folks are going to HUMILIATE & DEFEAT at least 8-10 DIMocRATS in the US Senate & take the HoR back this November & then we will also clean out another group of DIMocRATS in 2012, along with turning BHO & his thugs OUT.

the plain TRUTH is that the DIMocRATS are about to become a PERMANENT minority in the USA & it won't make any difference what they carp/moan/complain/whine about, as they will be doing those things from OUTSIDE the government.

so say what you will, as it will make NO difference whatever to the outcome of the coming elections. the DIMocRATS are LOSERS & will remain LOSERS.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the Tea Party really is the tip of the iceberg. If said iceberg was the size of the ice cube in my water bottle.

Posted by: DontWannaMyPostID | April 20, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"I'm just curious why every tea party-ite comes across like a stark raving mad lunatic, obsessed with birther conspiracy, bizzaro religious interpretations of the Constitution, and just a nastiness when describing their perceived political foes."

Bizarre. Tea Partiers can't understand why their desire for less spending and more economic freedom are met with denunciations of racism, accusations of birtherism, and other general nastiness. In fact, the accusations seem to include just about anything any liberal can think of other than the Tea Parties actual concerns. They are further confounded and amused by the idea that those with these bizarre and irrational reactions seem to believe they are the adults in the room.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dear EJ,

I don't especially care for the Tea Party either. But "extreme"? These things are "extreme":

*) We have an "extreme(ly)" massive annual federal budget
*) An "extreme(ly)" bloated federal bureaucracy
*) An "extreme(ly)" massive annual budget deficit
*) An "extreme(ly)" massive federal debt
*) An "extreme(ly)" corrupted two-party political system which has been controlled by Corporate America, Wall Street and lobbyists for that certain Middle Eastern country (Is) who shall remain nameless (ra) because God knows it would be a sin to mention them by name (el)
*) We're entangled in two "extreme(ly)" expensive wars with no rational exit strategy (remember that phrase?) for either
*) An "extreme(ly)" tanked economy which needs to resucitate itself ASAP
*) Our borders are "extreme(ly)" vulnerable and have been for many, many years
*) We're still creating "extreme(ly)" violent drug warlords with our counter-productive laws regarding recreational drugs

...I'll stop there. Dems and Pubs are offering SOS to resolve these issues: Same Old Ship.

Is the Tea Party "extreme"? Let's say they aren't my "cup of tea"... but at this point something "extreme" is what is necessary. SOS ain't cuttin' it anymore...

Posted by: srb2 | April 20, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

This article is misleading - Liberal Dems in England are not the same as Liberal Dems in the US.

The Liberal Dems in England stand for policies such as free trade, low budgets, and religious liberty. That sounds like our Tea Party a bit doesn't it?

Liberal Dems in England believe that labor unions are a threat to job creation. Again, this is more along the lines of our Tea Party belief that the SEIU and their pensions are destroying employment opportunities in this country.

More media attempts to fool the American voters............

Posted by: LMW6 | April 20, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

texasnative: are you asserting a right to interpret the Constitution personally, instead of respecting the Supreme Court? that would be treason.

bobbo: who, exactly, are you mad at? the tea party is incoherent. Obama has cut taxes, imposed more fiscal restraint than Bush, and the health reform bill is a Nixon/McCain/Heritage Foundation private enterprise, personal responsibility model that doesn't expand government one iota. We already pay for the uninsured on the back end. The bill makes people take personal responsibility for their own private market insurance. It does not expand government. Our government does follow the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, which is what the Constitution provides. what are you advocating, treason?

smaller government? Clinton was the last president to actually cut spending, and Obama has frozen discretionary spending and imposed pay as you go.

coherent policy proposals, coherent suggestions as to court nominees (don't give me the activist b.s., Will has demonstrated that you need activists half the time when the legislature is ignoring constitutional liberties) - that's what we are looking for. you give us slogans of no particular meaning.

I'm for the constitution, limited government, fiscal responsibility, just like you. but I probably disagree with everything you actually stand for. Obama is doing a better job than any republican or tea party candidate that I can see.

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 20, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

question for the "return to the Constitution" crowd. check out the just-announced decision on the animal cruelty video case. Roberts says the First Amendment protects citizens against the government overreaching, and the statute in question was overbroad, and can't be rescued with a promise by the government to only prosecute really horrible videos. Alito dissents (a minority of one), carving out an exception to the first amendment. Two Bush conservatives, two different opinions. which side are you tea party types on? not so simple is it?

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 20, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

EJ,

You seem, talk and act like a very gay man.

Posted by: c_e_daniel | April 20, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

mj13: the reason for the reaction you describe is that's what we are seeing in the tea party - the birthers, conspiracy nuts, armed militia freaks who jump at internet rumors that the feds are coming for their ammo, constitutional claims of rights to ignore the constitution if they disagree with the supreme court, stuff like that.

and we see nothing particularly coherent in your slogans. smaller government - what would you cut? Obama has frozen discretionary spending for the first time since Clinton, who was the last president to cut spending. more freedoms. what freedoms have you lost, exactly? the economy and the treasury bonds themselves would have imploded in a handful of years without health reform, which is individual responsibility personified (and a conservative proposal that no one thought was unconstitutional when republicans were touting it). you want less government, but Palin is for reigning in Wall Street. which is it? what does populism mean?

give me a coherent, concrete policy proposal instead of silly slogans and I will listen.

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 20, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Joet believes both "Our government does follow the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, which is what the Constitution provides. what are you advocating, treason?", and

"when the legislature is ignoring constitutional liberties".

So liberals can claim the constitution is not followed, but everyone else is a traitor for doing so. Unsurprising that liberals claiming incoherence on the part of others cannot even write a coherent comment themselves.

Everything else he alleges is similarly confused and unfounded. Obama cut taxes? No, he reduced taxes a small amount for 2009. But he's already increased taxes for 2010 and beyond even more than the miniscule 2009 reduction. And he will do so even more in the future to pay for his reckless spending. But since Joe's mission is parroting this week's talking points I suppose we shouldn't expect any actual thought.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Everything else he alleges is similarly confused and unfounded. Obama cut taxes? No, he reduced taxes a small amount for 2009. But he's already increased taxes for 2010 and beyond even more than the miniscule 2009 reduction. And he will do so even more in the future to pay for his reckless spending. But since Joe's mission is parroting this week's talking points I suppose we shouldn't expect any actual thought.

Posted by: mj13

-------------------------------

Now, now, mj13, follow the constitution. The president doesn't have the power to tax or raise funds, that's the purview of the congress. Follow that constitution....

Posted by: 44fx290 | April 20, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

RE:we members of the Tea Party will remind every voter, at every election season, that your party cannot be TRUSTED with the fate of this FREE Republic.
***
you can't be trusted to write a coherent paragraph much like the guy who ran our country into the ground from oh, say, 2000- 2008. No thank you, been there,done that, still suffering from it. Have a nice day.

Posted by: bproulx45 | April 20, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

mj13: Will notes that it is the job of the supreme court to throw out unconstitutional acts of the legislature. that was my point. that carping about activists is absurd. we needed more activists in the Kelo case, not less. the point is that the supreme court is there, and does it's job, like it or not. anyone can seek redress in the court when they believe the legislature has gone too far, liberal or conservative - the point is that you are to respect the court ruling, either way. what do you think about the animal cruelty video decision, by the way? Roberts defends the first amendment, and Alito thinks it has room for a bit of an exception. I'm with Roberts. where's the tea party on this one? not so simple.

reckless spending? on what? health reform is paid for, and reduces the deficit. not reforming health care would cripple the economy and bankrupt Medicare. he cut Medicare spending by 500 billion. Obama would have preferred the Cadillac tax that McCain proposed, as the Senate Bill contained, rather than the tax on high incomes that the reconciliation uses. neither is significant. And he doesn't support even returning to pre Bush cut tax levels. how is that radical? and he's imposed a pay go rule and frozen discretionary spending. Bush did neither.

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 20, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure there any lessons you can apply from Britain really. The systems are so different, the national values are so different. There's a strain of egalitarianism that runs much stronger in Britain than in the U.S.

The Tea Party folks are so extreme -- wanting to abolish 80% of the federal government and all -- that any concept of moderation to win elections is meaningless to them.

A more centrist Republican Party might win elections but how would someone as thoughtful as Clegg have any real appeal to the Tea Party/Fox News crowd? And without them, how could a Clegg win a national election, let alone a Republican Nomination? It's the same problem McCain had and it will be a problem for Republicans for a long time. That extremist Fox News/fundamentalist Christian bloc is tired of helping the GOP win elections and then not getting to run the show.

Posted by: tboyer33 | April 20, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

and TN46 makes clear that if the tea party prevails, it will reclaim the majority for REPUBLICANS. how exactly is that a victory for the tea party? what have republicans been doing lately?

you can't even decide who you are for or against. Palin can't decide whether she wants less government, or to go after Wall Street with more regulation (more government) slogans are easy. actual policy proposals require thought. try it.

Posted by: JoeT1 | April 20, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Dionne,

Your constant liberal whining makes my day!!

Posted by: cschotta1 | April 20, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

texasnative46 - What ya smokin', Dude? You gotta share some of that stuff!!!

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

texasnative46 - just want to check....

You do know Brown v. Board nullified Plessy, right?

Plessy exists now as something to torture history and law students who need to memorize it but it has no bearing in law.

Not sure you know that from what you wrote...

PS - I am glad you have no problem with all those amendment things, especially since they were ratified by at least TWO THIRD of the country and all.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Joe: So when the Supreme Court upheld that homosexual sex was illegal the protesters were traitors? Get real. You're grasping at straws. Your only point, or perhaps the point of the person whose ideas you parrotted without thinking, was to delegitimize views you don't agree with instead of debating them on the merits.

Obama's reckless spending includes the trillion dollar handout package supporters like to refer to as a stimulus. It also includes the trillion dollar health care "reform". In both cases our government managed to enact plans which create vastly greater negative economic impact than alternatives. Our economy will suffer massively both from the direct impacts and from the inevitable tax increases to pay for these plans.

Health reform is not paid for, nor does it reduce the deficit. Your assertions are false even if you accept the government's projections which are a roughly 900 billion cost over 10 years. The real cost is closer to 1.6 trillion once you eliminate the timing differences specifically designed to obscure the truth. Once the inevitable government program deficit escalations set in we'll be lucky if our final bill is less than 3.5 trillion for full ten years.

Not sure why you keep referring to Bush. You may think Bush's overspending magically makes others' overspending acceptable. I'd just say it shows the folly of trying to compromise with anyone whose goal is to funnel money to their voters.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"The Tea Party folks are so extreme -- wanting to abolish 80% of the federal government and all -- that any concept of moderation to win elections is meaningless to them."

Actually, what's extreme are the charaterizations of the Tea Party by those who clearly have no idea what they are talking about. The Tea Party does not want vast new entitlements and spending. So this assertion cannot be true unless liberals are now claiming that they intend to increase government spending by 400%. If they are, shouldn't we be discussing that?

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Joe: Prior comment responding to 11:47
This one to 11:19

Birthers aren't the Tea Party. What you're seeing is a coordinated effort on the part of the Democratic Party and their supporters (like Dionne) to take the most extreme elements they can find or invent and paint the entire movement with those views.

What don't Tea Partiers want? A trillion dollar stimulus package that is essentially a wish list of Democratic Party spending priorites marketed as an economic recovery bill. They want an end to politics as usual, which essentially consists of various special interest groups conspiring with the goverment to see how much of our money they can get our representatives to give them. They want an end to the ever increasing amount of money the government takes from those who produce. A society cannot continue where those who don't produce decide how much they get to take from those who do.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the tea baggers is that they cannot tell the difference between a true moderate (Obama) and a liberal (for example, Tom Harken).

Or maybe they can, but just think they can score some points by calling names.

Throwing out the "socialist" label for everything makes the word meaningless. It is little more than a display of desperation to call everything you disagree with socialist.

Jesus said that the measure you use on others will be used to measure you. For all their claims of purity, the tea baggers are little more than self-righteous, selfish and self centered.

Other than screaming at Town Hall meetings, making things up and spitting on congressmen, what DOES the tea party stand for?

The party of tea is a minority within a minority. Nothing more.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

So being against massive new entitlements and government spending is "extreme", but being for them is "moderate".

When you're so far left this makes sense nothing else really matters.

Loved the juxtaposition of someone claiming Tea Partiers are just calling names while in the same comment calling them Tea Baggers, self-righteous, selfish and self centered, all unsupported.

Amusing.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

mj13 proves my point.

What is unsupported is the claim that the Tea Party "movement" is NOT "me first."

Name one tea bagger policy that helps the poor - other than screaming "get a job!!"

Forget that, name one tea bagger policy...

Paying your taxes allows everyone to benefit because it pays for schools, roads, police and fire protection. But the tea bagger position is "It's my money..."

That is also known as selfish.

Where were you when Bush was taking a surplus and turning it into the greatest deficit ever?

You had nothing to protest because your joyful tax status kept you fat and happy.

Where were you when the division between the richest 10 % of America and the other 90 % grew to the greatest amount since the early 1900's? What should you care? You got yours!

Now a Black man is in the White House and he is talking about going back to the socialist tax policy of the Ronald Reagan days and you are suddenly upset?

amusing, yes.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It's hard for people to take the TEA Party seriously for a whole bunch of reasons, but one is the utter silence during the previous Administration when we really did get massive new Federal bureaucracies (e.g., Dept of Homeland Security), unfunded mandates (e.g., No Child Left Behind), expensive entitlement programs (e.g., Medicare Part D Prescription Drugs), and uncontrolled, irresponsible spending. The single biggest driver of the budget deficit comes from a campaign promise that President Obama fulfilled: the Iraq and Afghanistan wars (which were kept off budget as "emergency expenditures", as if President Bush were shocked by the fact that we were still in Iraq in 2006) and the interest on the debt incurred to pay for them is NOW ON THE BUDGET.

Yet, silence from the TEA Party right during those years of actual abuses.

That leaves most Americans scratching their heads and wondering, "well, what has changed since November 2008? Well, the person who won the election was a black man and a Democrat." And right on cue, we get "DIMoRATS huh huh huh" and posters with the President dressed as a witch-doctor. Until the TEA Party right gets its act together and comes up with a consistent message, they are going to be painted with the hyperpartisan and racist brushes.

It's the old truism: "when someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE THEM."

Posted by: JamesK1 | April 20, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

So we know where Tommy stands: believing you have the right to spend your own money is selfish. Let's let that stand as a defining difference between us and see where most Americans fall.

What policy helps the poor? Economic grrowth. You know what kills economic growth? Gocernment spending and taxes. Economic growth means more jobs now, and it means many more (and higher paying) jobs 30 years from now. It's incredibly boring to listen to economic illiterates whine about "the poor" for not supporting policies which will greatly increase the number and misery of the poor 30 years from now. But the kicker is listening to those who believe we should screw future generations for our own benefit cry about the "selfishness" of those who don't agree. Comedy gold.

Then of course we see the baseless accusations of racism. Pathetic.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

JamesK1 - WELL SAID!!!!!!

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

JamesK1

The Tea Party would probably make more sense to you if you knew more facts. People who became Tea Partiers were unhappy with NCLB and Medicare Part D. They made these same arguments then and were ignored. So now when Obama tries to push through plans 20 times bigger than anything Bush did people are pushing back harder.

See it's not so tough to understand. You just have to have one ounce of goodwill and an open mind. Granted this eliminates most WAPO columnists including Dionne. So it probably helps if you don't rely solely on WAPO for your news since they cannot seem to report anything accurately.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

mj13 - You set up a strawman by pretending the result of our tax policy is to have all of your income taxed away. Even the dumbest tea party flunky knows this is false.

In fact, you set up a lot of straw men to make all of your arguments. You must live on a farm.

Meanwhile, I am talking about everyone who is able paying their fair share of taxes as a patriotic and civic duty. You are talking about keeping yours for yourself and everyone else can fend for themselves.

This is in your movement's constant rhetoric so you can't pretend it is not the case.

If the tea party was unhappy with all of Bush's excesses, why did you wait until a Democrat was elected? And why does your rhetoric not cover any of this?

The tea party pretends that all of our ills started the day Obama was inaugurated. Listen to your champions in congress - McConnell and Boehner - how did they suddenly become deficit hawks when they gladly handed Bush everything he asked for over 8 years?

If you really think the tea party cares a whit about what happened before Obama you are fooling yourself.

A couple facts you need to adjust your reality to: Every time taxes have been dramatically cut - in the name of economic expansion - we have seen a brief period of growth followed by extreme recession. Take a look at the Reagan years. Bush cut taxes more and look where we are. Oh, wait, I forgot, this is all Obama's fault. Sorry.

Menawhile, 'Ol Socialist Bill comes into office, returns some sense to the tax code, increases targeted government spending and what happens? Doom? Gloom?

No!!!! A budget surplus and a record expansion!!!!

Reagan created the homeless and recession. Bush created a record disparity between rich and MIDDLE INCOME families and a recession almost as severe as The Great Depression.

So tell me, mj13, how did Bill kill economic growth when his tax and investment policies raised all of the boats?

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 20, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Tommy,

For someone who claims to know what a strawman is you sure seem to be struggling with them. Let me show you an example of one: "pretending the result of our tax policy is to have all of your income taxed away"

Whoops this one's yours. Maybe you need to think a little more about your own positions.

So it's a patriotic duty to pay one's fair share of taxes? Does having an opinion different from you or Obama about what level of tax is fair and what a fair share is make one unpatriotic? If so that's quite an interesting position. If not, what's your point?

I'm not sure there's anything worth responding to in the rest of your vomitus. I have no idea how you end up with Bill Clinton or why you think it's relevant to anything other than your own hangups.

As previously stated we were against overspending before Obama came into office. Our protests became louder because (a) the previous level proved insufficient, and (b) the newly proposed spending dwarfed previous proposals. These simple facts point quite clearly to rational action, and your simply ignoring them and asserting racism is baseless.

Posted by: mj13 | April 20, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

In his column "Populism of privelege" [April 19] Neo-Red E.J. Dionne Jr stated that the New York Times reported that the Tea Party supporters "tend to be Republican,white,male,married and older than 45." They are also better educated than Americans as a whole. This is the populism of the privileged.Now simply drop Repubican and insert non-partisan leftist and what you have is a typical Washington Post columnist that I call "Profiteering pundits."

Posted by: dru4819 | April 21, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

In his column "Populism of privelege" [April 19] Neo-Red E.J. Dionne Jr stated that the New York Times reported that the Tea Party supporters "tend to be Republican,white,male,married and older than 45." They are also better educated than Americans as a whole. This is the populism of the privileged.Now simply drop Repubican and insert non-partisan leftist and what you have is a typical Washington Post columnist that I call "Profiteering pundits."

Posted by: dru4819 | April 21, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

mj13 - When you say "Our protests became louder because (a) the previous level proved insufficient, and (b) the newly proposed spending dwarfed previous proposals..." you are telling a lie.

Your protests of any shape or ilk DID NOT EXIST before Obama was inaugurated. If I am wrong PROVE IT.

The tea party is entirely an anti-Obama phenomenon.

Also, when you say "the newly proposed spending dwarfed previous proposals" what are you talking about? This is another straw man. Any proposal from the Democrats is automatically labeled as both the biggest expenditure of its kind ever and socialist. How can you be taken seriously if this is your automatic response? What has Obama or any Democrat proposed that was more extreme than Bush? How do you think we got in this situation?

Oh, I'm sorry, I keep forgetting: "It's all Obama's fault."

Please.

Your response about my comments on taxes is, surprise, surprise, yet another straw man. Yes, of course you are entitled to a different opinion. Did I say you weren't?? This is an easy dodge. And amateurish. If you can't answer my point just say so.

The issue, which you still will not address is that your movement thinks ANY tax is evil and needs to be opposed while I believe that paying reasonable taxes is - yes, patriotic and morally responsible.

How do you think we get the roads you drive on, the water you drink, the police who protect your personal safety?

But I guess you are right, I should be more precise - what your movement believes is that I should pay taxes and toil for your benefit. The net result of the policies your friends prefer is all of the benefits of our great society reserved for those who can afford them and the rest of us - well, who the hell cares about the rest of us?

Prove me wrong. Show me anything substantial - not your spin on it but actual quotes - that show I am wrong.

My point on Clinton, which was probably too complex for you to grasp is this: ACTUAL EVENTS - not academic papers or political policy - have proved that cutting taxes leads directly to recession while reasonably raising taxes leads to expansion and REAL income growth.

As the man said - you can look it up....

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | April 21, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@mj13, the problem is that it's still nonsensical. You're seriously making the argument that the Tea Partiers were just as loud in 2003 as they are in 2010, but they just hadn't yet become media darlings. They were showing up with loaded weapons to events where President Bush was speaking, they were waving signs threatening President Bush and his family, and I just somehow missed it entirely?

When you make provably false statements like Obama trying to push through plans that increase the budget deficit 20 times more than Bush's, you take away your credibility. If these people weren't protesting the out of control spending and no-bid contracts and shrink-wrapped bricks of cash going missing in Iraq, then their current rage can't really be about budget deficits or wasteful spending.

Any reasonable minded person, particularly those without a political dog in the fight, will ask him/herself: "so what's changed between then and now?" The most obvious two things are (1) the party in power and (2) the skin color of the President. I'm willing to give the majority of Tea Partiers and say it's more of #1 (particularly considering who's funding and promoting it), but the signs at the rallies make me think a there's a fair portion of #2. There's also a lot of it being just simple frustration at fallout from the economic collapse, channeled by PR experts who give them someone convenient to blame.

Give us another reason the Tea Parties are so frothingly angry now when they weren't just a couple of years ago. It ain't deficit spending. It ain't massively expensive entitlements. It ain't the growth of government. It ain't bailouts. It ain't the Constitution.

What is it?

Posted by: JamesK1 | April 22, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"You're seriously making the argument that the Tea Partiers were just as loud in 2003 as they are in 2010"

Actually this is the exact opposite of what I said; I agreed we are louder now. I said we were against Bush's new spending on NCLB and Medicare Part D. Because those plans passed over our objections we decided we weren't loud enough. Hence we are louder now.

"When you make provably false statements like Obama trying to push through plans that increase the budget deficit 20 times more than Bush's,"

I didn't reference his deficit, I referenced the program costs. It is simply a fact that the Obama's programs are more costly than the Bush programs referenced. Obama's plans are priced in the trillions. After reducing the obvious gimmicks to game the CBO estimate roughly 2.5 - 3 trillion. Bush's programs were priced at ~200 billion or so. If you can't accept this fact you have no business commenting. Additionally you should recognize that your comments are not responsive when you have to change my claim before pretending to refute it.

If you're presenting yourself as someone without a dog in the fight I have to laugh. Someone without a dog in the fight would deal with my argument and accept facts generally agreed by everyone across the political spectrum. You may think of yourself as independent, but at the very least you are a cultural Democrat, which means you accept their arguments as valid and factual without the level of skepticism necessary to properly evaluate. You regurgitated Democratic Party propoganda without even noticing it doesn't touch on my assertions at all.

Since your analysis consists of ~A therfore B, and we know you have not actually shown ~A, you have not shown B. Your "it's not this, it's not that" is simply applying your own beliefs to others. All you prove is that you can't understand anyone else's positions.

Posted by: mj13 | April 23, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@mj13: Wow, projection much? I never said I was an independent. If I had to nail myself down with a label, I'd follow the lead of the late, great Franklin D. Roosevelt: "I'm a Christian and I'm a Democrat".

Now, if you choose to disregard everything else I have to say once I reveal my religious and political affiliation, that says a hell of a lot more about you than me.

Medicare Part D did not cost $200 billion. The wars certainly didn't cost $200 billion (they're well over a trillion and counting). The tax cuts for the top 1% cost at least $1.2 trillion.

You're excoriating President Obama for a budget deficit of $2 trillion, but over half of that is left over from the previous administration. President Bush kept budget deficits artificially low by treating the war spending as last-minute emergencies, years after Saddam was captured and executed. So should we assume that if President Obama decided to break his campaign promise and put the wars back into "emergency supplementals", the TEA Party would be satisfied? I doubt it.

The problem is that the TEA Party would still be angry no matter what the President did. The fact that the "Taxed Enough Already" Party is protesting their own tax cuts should say something. I'm at least trying to give them some credit by suggesting it's more to do with the President's party affiliation than his skin color, but with the bone-through-nose pictures, watermelon patch "jokes", and the like, they sure aren't making it easy.

Again, massive budget deficits under Bush. Check. Real stripping of individual liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights under Bush. Check. Massive expansion of government under Bush. Check. Taxpayer bailouts of big banks under Bush? Check. TEA Party? Nowhere to be found.

Posted by: JamesK1 | April 23, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Tommybaseball; kool_kat1960,

the two of you should meet & marry, as you are TWO of a REALLY ignorant, hate-FILLED & clue-LESS sort.= your shared prejudice should make you very happy together.

just don't have kids, as too many villages are looking for their IDIOTS.

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 23, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

James,

The comparable programs under discussion were Medicare Part D and NCLB. Wars and tax cuts have different points of evaluation and thus support for them cannot be judged on the same basis.

Again, it is not true we're against deficits of 2 trillion. We're against new spending of at least 2.5 and probably closer to 4 trillion. You keep comparing to Bush programs, while we see this spending on top of Bush's. We don't care who proposes the spending, we want it to stop. Only by holding us to your standard (spending by your own party is good) can you logically make the deficit comparison.

"If President Obama decided to break his campaign promise and put the wars back into "emergency supplementals", the TEA Party would be satisfied? I doubt it."

Since we're criticizing his new entitlement spending and not his spending on Iraq why would this satisfy us? It's neither new or an entitlement. I suspect the Tea Party is split on this issue (just like mainstream America), that's why it isn't part of the protests.

"The problem is that the TEA Party would still be angry no matter what the President did."

False. While Tea Party critics like to cast the Tea Parties as extreme in fact this is far more true of their critics. This assertion is based on nothing. Every single time you have addressed the matter you have misstated their concerns. And only by doing so can you possibly arrive at the sacred conclusion that we are against Obama because he's black. Logically if you have to assume something false in order to prove an assertion you haven't proven it.

Certainly there are racists in modern America, but I think you're confusing your news reports. The events you mention weren't related to Tea Parties. For every kook you can find at a Tea Party I'll find you ten from the leftists protests against Bush. These protests were far more violent and radical than any of the Tea Parties despite the media's attempts to normalize them.

Tea Parties started because we were hit with taxpayer bailouts of banks, the government handout plan misnamed a stimulus package, and then government control of healthcare back to back to back. As you note only this last was only Obama. So why don't you admit that this undermines your position that we're against solely Obama? This evidence fits with the current fact that Tea Parties are pushing for new candidates within the Republican Party rather than supporting Republicans generally. On the other hand, you can't find any evidence to support your conclusion without both misstating our goals and ignoring half the facts in front of you.

Posted by: mj13 | April 23, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I appears you are not very knowledgeable about the Tea Party's. Nor about the difference between the Liberals & the Conservatives here in America & the ones in Britain.

Posted by: egw7777 | April 24, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

egw7777,

well i don't know about "m13" but i DO know about the Tea party movement because i am IN it, and have been involved in the TPP, from when it first was "disorganized".
(one of the standing inside jokes among TP folks is that we are NOT an "organization", as HAVING an "organization" is TOO organized, for the huge bunch of "renegades" & "street activists", who compose the TP!) as a "coordinator" of our local county TP group.
(ONE of the reasons that we do NOT have county/state/national "officers" is the widespread DISTRUST of "would be leaders".)

the TP movement is "about":
1. returning this republic back to its roots of INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM,
2. REMOVING all of the LEFTISTS from "positions of power" & making the LEFTISTS inconsequential in American politics,
3. DUMPING the DIMocRAT elitists, who infest our government, OUT of office
AND
4. assuring that whoever replaces those LOSERS are:
a. BETTER,
b. more MORAL,
c. more HONEST
and
d. NOT "in the pocket of special interests", to include:
(1) the insurance companies,
(2) bankers & large investors,
(3) union bosses,
(4)"amnesty for ILLEGALS" groups
(5) large corporations, public utilities & other similar organizations
AND
(6) to cut out waste/fraud/abuse of power in government at every level.

what the Tea Party is NOT about include:
1. being "in the pocket of" EITHER political party,
(there IS "considerable interest in" TAKING OVER the GOP & running that party ourselves.)
2. becoming a "third party",
3. having anything whatever to do with "racist","racial, ethnic or religious supremecy groups"
and
4. becoming an adjunct to the AARP
(YES, a goodly percentage of our national membership is over 50YO & a significant number of our "activists" are over 65YO.)

the MAJOR GOAL of the Tea Party is to get the government at every level OUT of:
1. the personal affairs of individuals,
2. our local schools,
3. our churches,
4. our bedrooms,
5. our families AND generally just get OUT of OUR LIVES.
(fwiw, i know of NO Tea Party Patriot who wants more taxes, government intrusions, bureaucracts OR molre "social programs". - we want the government to GO AWAY & leave us ALONE!)

just my opinion
(i have NOT ask for an approval of our county TP group, so i do NOT speak for the whole, unless/until such a decision is made.)

yours, TN46

Posted by: texasnative46 | April 25, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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