So, um... tea parties, then

I haven't had a lot to say about the whole "tea party" phenomenon, largely because I don't really understand what point they're trying to make. From what I can tell, they don't like massive government spending for the stimulus, bailing out banks, etc. (I don't know what the people getting protesters all ginned up are suggesting as an alternative, but perhaps it's expecting too much to hope for that?) Also, they showed a charming naivety when choosing which appellation to go by. I know there was a protest here in lovely Augusta yesterday, though the article about it only adds to my confusion.

It all seems incoherent to me. Ross Douthat thinks there's an underlying unity of message, but I'm not so sure. Because I would rather pull out the little hairs on my knuckles one by one than watch Fox News, which apparently is the go-to source for up-to-the-minute Tea Party spin, maybe I'm missing something. But, from what I gather, it seems like a great deal of right-wing frothing, signifying nothing. Admittedly, Salon is a liberal source, so it's probably not inclined to be sympathetic, but this is hardly inspiring:
To find extreme sentiments in Lafayette Park, it wasn't necessary to look for the people with the most eccentric tea-bag-themed costumes. You could just pick a protester at random. "I think Obama's plan is to create a catastrophic failure in our economic system, because then people will get desperate, and then you have the ability for a totalitarian government to move in," said J'Neane Theus, 54, who retired from the Navy and now manages investments. She drove about an hour from Clarksville, Md., battling Washington's horrific rush hour traffic to be an official marshal of the tea party (she had a white hat with "marshal" hand-scrawled in red ink to prove it). Her son, a 19-year-old Marine named Galen, stood next to her in a red, white and blue tie-dyed shirt, holding a sign accusing Barney Frank and other Democrats of treason. "I think that sounds very wacko; Americans don't want to believe that. But we've seen this movie before," the elder Theus said. I asked her where. "How about, well, fascist Italy, under Mussolini -- and look at what happened to him, I would remind Obama of that," she said. "Hitler. Stalin. Socialism has been proven not to work."

Another seemingly sedate protester, Brian Smith, a marketer from Greenville, S.C., who was in Washington on business and came by the rally, wandered equally off message. "I love my country and I don't like what's going on," Smith said. "Government -- to be honest with you, and this will probably be misquoted, but on 9/11, I think they hit the wrong building. They should have gone into the Capitol building, hit out, knocked out both sides of the aisle, we'd start from scratch, we'd be better off today." I pointed out that "they" did try to hit the Capitol. "Yeah, I know, they missed," he said. "The wrong sequence. If someone had to go, it should have been the Capitol building. On that day I felt differently, but today that's the way I feel."
The whole article is full of stuff like this. And, while the spirit of fairness inclines me to hope that the people quoted aren't representative of the protest as a whole, the behavior of certain people who really should know better was less than reassuring.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry fired up an anti-tax "tea party" Wednesday with his stance against the federal government and for states' rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, "Secede!"


"There's a lot of different scenarios," Perry said. "We've got a great union. There's absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we're a pretty independent lot to boot."
I... see. I will overlook his use of one of my very least favorite phrases because there are other fish to fry. Secession, eh, Gov. Perry? How'd that work out the last time they tried it?

Am I wrong in thinking these people are bunch of crazies? Are there legitimate points I'm missing? Hello? Anyone?

Update: Oy, vey. Lovely synthesis with my earlier post from today. I suppose "kook" is relative.


  1. Here's an alternative: Nothing. Don't do anything special for screwed up big companies. Don't bail out Citi. Don't bail out GM. If Goldman Sachs turns casters up, well, the courts are there to divvy up the remains.

    I remain unconvinced that a Great Disaster would have happened if we had simply done nothing to bail out or protect large companies from bankruptcy. In fact, the US government would have saved hundreds of billions of dollars that went to pay off foreign financial institutions at 100 cents on the dollar.

  2. Can't we all just sit back and enjoy Cooper/Maddow/rest of the gay media posse's puerile snickering over the term "teabagging"?

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