Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

scalesI’ve recently found myself having second thoughts about the Tea Party Movement. They are not the threat tof the Democratic Party like I first imagined, they are its savior.  Not only are they destined to fail by design, they are going to drag the GOP right into the black hole with them, until the GOP throws them under the bus that is.  But, if the tone-deaf strategy the Republicans have embraced going forward after getting shown the back of Obama’s hand on Health Care Reform is any indication, not only will they not see the bus coming, they won’t even know there was a bus until they read about it in their government-paid-for intensive care suite.
 
Now I must first admit, I hadn’t taken the time to look into the Official Site of the American Tea Party Movement  because the vile behavior I’ve seen on display at some of their rallies already made my mind up that I am not even remotely cut from the same cloth.  The fact that they tried, and are still trying, to adopt the wayward Sarah Palin as their matriarch was also a distress flare so bright that a welders mask should be required to look directly at it.  But, I finally succumbed to the same primal urges that somehow compel me to peek at the carnage of a car accident as I’m slowly being waved by.
 
 
When I arrived at the site, the first thing I noticed was post after post of user submitted content, with topics about things like Global Warming alarmists, Castro-Care, American ignorance, Satanic Obama defying God in Christian America and a slew of others topics that are just so bang-zoom-to-the-moon out there to me, I actually found myself feeling pity above all else. But maybe that was just the luck of the draw, maybe I happened to make my first visit when the lunatics were rioting for control of the asylum.  So I went straight to the horses mouth, the mission statement. 
 
Clocking it at just over 500 riveting words, the breadth of this glorious proclamation intended to define a movement can be further condensed to these three phrases, Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government, and Free Markets. In the name of fairness, you can read the whole thing yourself here .  It should take you all of three minutes to peruse the whole thing.  Personally I was hoping for more from a movement that claims to find its roots in the mold of our founding fathers, because those guys could really lay on the eloquence whenever their pen hit parchment. 
 
Here is the problem though.  Where do they stand collectively on the society-defining major issues? Will they paint over their Pro-Life posters when it’s time to discuss the death penalty?  Will they be able to put a straglehold on the White Supremacists and Anti-Semite groups  that are using their rallies as a recruitment smorgasbord when the time comes to air their views on immigration and civil liberties? Will they successfully toe the line between the “tyrants” of our freely elected democratic government and their contradictory position that it is not actually a government of the people, by the people and for the people?  Will they embrace the fringe of their movement that are forming militias and contemplating acts of domestic terrorism?
 
They don’t know, they don’t have an answer.  They don’t have a leader and therefore no singular place to direct these kinds of questions, no one voice we can be directed to that can stand up and say THIS is what we are all about on any given issue.  They are of course against such hideous and violent idealism when called to the mat, yet they are powerless to control its spread within even their own ranks without a hierarchy in place to condemn or support such actions. 
 
At this moment in time they are an exercise in irony.  Their biggest mouth-pieces right now are the bottom dwellers that are the poster children of hypocrisy.  People like Mike Vanderboegh, the guy who started the window breaking business at Democrat offices in the aftermath of the Health Care Reform vote, a guy that is living on the very government entitlements that he was forced to “fall back” on after a congenital heart problem made it impossible for him to work, all the while sticking the concept itself with a pitchfork every chance he gets, a guy whose brother is a US Army Lieutenant Colonel that calls the US government the enemy!   
 
And don’t even get me started on these fools painting Hitler moustaches on posters of President Obama and calling his an agenda of Nazism, standing and walking shoulder to shoulder with some of the same pathetic hate-peddlers that emblazon themselves with swastika tattoos from toes to forehead and consider Hitler’s birthday some kind of solemn holiday, talk about hypocrisy.  In a logical world, shouldn’t they instead be bowing before Obama if they idolize and bear the mark of the guy they are so desperately trying to make him out to be?   These are the nuts falling from the nut tree right now and the gathering nets are filling up fast, all the while suffocating any struggling saplings that may have had at least some kind of reasonable hope to grow into a stout, respected tree on the American political landscape.
 
 
The GOP knows it too, they see in vivid color the backlash winding up.  They are very worried about the Tea Party fracturing the purity of their far-right-from-center conservative base as they watch them lock horns with the same, albeit loosely defined at the moment, conservative idealism of the Tea Party Movement.  To even loosen that once immovable cornerstone of the Republican party would be a harbinger of disaster.  But, at the same time, they are attracted to the fiery activism of a somewhat-allied grassroots movement like a moth is to a flame.  They saw firsthand the awesome force of the grassroots movement Obama started during his historic election and he’s been kicking their collective backsides with it ever since, and they are now desperately seeking their own foil to his power.  In the back of their minds though, they keep seeing what happened to the curious moth, so they have mostly kept the Tea Party at arms distance as best as they could so far, but the day is quickly coming when they are going to have to finally squeeze, or get off the pot. 
 
If the Tea Party movement doesn’t swallow its own tail and finish the meal itself before November arrives, the Republican party is going to have to swallow whatever portion is left, and that will spell heart burn and upset stomach.  It will also cause those moderate and independent voters of a more delicate palate to be forced to find sustenance elsewhere. After all, it wasn’t spicy or novelty foods that made McDonalds number one in the world, it was the food that goes down easy, standard menu items that a great majority can bring themselves to swallow.  Our democracy bends to the same rule.
 
When Sean Hannity calls those at a Tea Party rally ”a bunch of Tim McVeigh wannabes,” and they CHEER?!!?, most of the center lane starts reaching for the left blinker, the images of dead and anguished Americans doesn’t sit very well with true patriots and they don’t want anything to do with it, no matter how much they may have embraced some of the Tea Party’s basic principles and idealism concerning what the role of government should be in our lives.
 
Sarah Palin, and the Tea Party’s infatuation with her, is another wild card that I don’t think bodes well for the GOP.  If there is one thing time has testified to when it comes to Sarah Palin, she loves to follow the spotlight around and the almighty dollar has no truer servant.  When the flame of fame starts to dim, and by extension the money quits rolling in, she will more than likely reach for the kerosene bottle to get things going again, Palin-style. 
 
I think that time will come when she inevitably finds it aligns with her best hopes for staying nationally relevant to finally step up and wholly take the reins of the Tea Party, and she will be taking a good portion of that conflicted conservative Republican base right along with her.  If they make her an actual candidate next year to run for the presidency on a third-party ticket, I assure you the scales of Demos vs the GOP stand no chance of tipping in the GOP’s favor. Even though the plurality of Americans from both parties think Captain Crunch is more than on par with Sarah Palin when it comes to taking the wheel of our nation to navigate the swirling, reef-laden waters of Washington, she will still tug at the heartstrings of the Tea Party faithful and siphon votes from the GOP. 
 
So, to tie everything together, if the Tea Party can keep themselves relevant, and that will require naming some kind of leader eventually, the GOP is going to lose a good chunk of their most stalwart conservative supporters, and that’s bad news in political contests that are often won and lost by a razor’s edge. 
 
If, on the other hand, the Tea Party consumes itself, most of the now vocal and FOX recognized “Tim McVeigh wannabes” are going to be forced to pick sides, and they are going to naturally gravitate to the same place they have always been, locked and loaded for the GOP, which means no net gain at all.  They will simply have managed to take the long scenic route, paying high tolls for using the road in the process, only to end this journey at the same starting line they have always just walked up to for free in the past. 
 
But, do you think the worst and loudest elements of the Tea Party are going to ever magically close their mouths now that they’ve tasted the national spotlight of recognition? I don’t think so. And this will end up costing the GOP, in a guilt by association scenario,  the centrists needed to win big elections, a crucial group that they’ve had moderate-to-good success wooing in the past.
 
So what do you think?  Is the Tea Party movement really a threat to President Obama and the Democratic Party? To borrow a line from the queen bee Sarah Palin herself, I’m now thinking, “Hell No!” But it is one heck of a torpedo aimed at the USS Republican and it looks like sink or swim time is quickly approaching.  If they choose to swim, it is going to have to come in the form of participating in actual governing for progress instead of blind, status-quo obstructionism, it will be the only way they can hope to stay afloat, and that in itself would be good news for all of us looking to move forever forward.
 
I never thought I’d say it, especially without wincing, but here goes … ”Gooo Tea Party!” 
 
 
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Eric CantorMr. Cantor, you owe me a watch.  At first I thought I would be able to hold it high enough to spare it from its eventual fate, but today you had a little help from your party cohorts to fill the room with just too much of the brown stuff for me to save it, a chair to stand on wasn’t enough and I couldn’t get to the ladder in time.  Feel free to divide the bill among yourselves, because you are not alone in causing the damage, but you sir decided to be the mouthpiece of this new,  ludicrous Republican spin, so I guess that puts you front and center.

 
I listened in amazement to your address on Thursday, March 25th  as you filled the airwaves with the same ridiculous Republican hypocrisy that has nearly brought any hope of real progress for our nation to a grinding halt.   So let me take this opportunity to say…”ENOUGH!”
 
Let’s forget for a moment that you got on your belly and decided to slither beneath even the lowest lying branches of decency, as you tried to cleverly wrap yourself around the Pandora’s Box of religious fear-mongering that so conveniently can always be found in the low-lying places you like to inhabit of late. 
 
Let’s forget for now that you gingerly tried to constrict it just enough to crack the lid, so you could release a much needed distraction from the very real, hateful behavior we can all plainly see inching along to a destination of unthinkable atrocities. 
 
Let’s also forget that the Richmond Police told you before you spoke that the fearsome imagery you invoked of a bullet targeted at you because you are a Jewish-American, was actually from a random act of gunfire into the air that may just as easily have come from one of the nut-jobs that Sarah Palin so thoughtfully implored to “reload.” 
 
Let’s even try to forget the juvenile behavior your “distinguished” colleagues shamefully displayed on a day all eyes were closely watching American history unfold.
 
And finally, let’s throw every shred of dignity under the bus and forget the lessons of good sportsmanship we’ve all been taught in America as far back as our fist days on a recess field playing a game of kickball.
 
But, we can only forget and forgive so much!  A mere 48 hours after you took the podium to direct harsh critisism at the victims of such vile hatred, the very same two individuals that were chosen to carry the Republican banner to the highest office in the land during the last presidential election, spoke volumes about the wretched, instigating behavior you and your party either can’t, or won’t see.  A voice of dissent exercised his right to speak up while the enigma that is Sarah Palin was speaking at a rally for John McCain.  Instead of rationally addressing his concerns, she told him to “stick around…and learn somethin’.” 
 
Now I’ll concede that Sarah Palin is not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to discussing actual policy, and that droppin’ a “g” here and there is the way she weaves her connective tissue to “Joe Sixpack,” but that’s not the problem I’m admonishing you and your party for Mr. Cantor, it’s the 90 seconds that followed that threw the coal into my now stoked fireplace.  I have no idea where security was at an event of that size, but the crowd decided to take matters into their own hands.  The Wrestle-Mania matinee went from the very top of the bleachers all the way down to the exit door, with spectators, not security, putting their hands all over this young man like self-declared bouncers.  See the video yourself here.
 
What did the woman that almost got within a heartbeat from the presidency do from the podium while this unacceptable episode played out right in front of her?  Absolutely nothing.
 
What did the man that almost became our President do from his perch right behind her? Absolutely nothing.
 
It was a sickening display of leadership.  It was another couple of nails added to the coffin of Republican dignity and earned respect you seem so determined to bury.  It is this very kind of spinelessness that I would call fanning the flames of reprehensible behavior Mr. Cantor.  It is high time you and yours quit kicking the can down the road and stand up to the problem instead of making excuses for it. It is time you start setting an example by deed and word that your countrymen should aspire to follow, instead of constantly acquiescing to the lowest common denominator.  It is time you quit the misdirection game of playing spin-doctor and start exemplifying honor instead.
 
President Obama had his own heckler in Iowa recently.  A young man was vocally angry about a component he felt was missing from the Health Care Reform bill that just became law in America. What did the President do?  He acted like a statesman.  He told that young man that there’s no need to shout, then he addressed his concerns, not once, but multiple times throughout the rest of his speech, not with vitriol and a snarky attitude, but with decency and respect for his opinion.  That is how you lead Mr. Cantor, that is how you capture the hearts and minds of those listening and put them right beside you on the high ground we should all try to inhabit.
 
While I am certainly not a Republican, I don’t wish for your party to implode, my America would only suffer if that happened. I know you’ve all been doing your best lately to keep America lashed to a 19th century steam-powered locomotive, but most of us are ready to board a Maglev-bullet-train into the future.  So what I do wish for, is an end to the ridiculous game-playing, an end to the daily finger-pointing, and an end to the utter hypocrisy you seem to have embraced. Only then can the real work of governing, the work you were all privileged enough to be chosen by your constituents to do, finally become realized.  Only then will you be helping move our nation forward.
 
Just in case my effort to get through to you is on a frequency you just can’t hear, let me put it in self-serving language you may understand.   Who do you honestly think America will gravitate to in November?  The party of “No?”  The party of “Hell No?” Or the party of “Yes We Can,” more recently know as the party of “Yes We Did!”   We can do great things working together for common causes Mr. Cantor, and the day I see that finally sink in, I’ll start addressing you by your full and proper title, but not one day before.
 
 
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Enterprise damagedThis week, Health Care Reform was, at long last, signed into to law in America.  While this particular episode of tomorrow’s History Channel took over a year to film, the final cut is going to play like a great Star Trek episode.  
 
Fan or not, we all know the characters and we all know the situation will eventually be desperately grim, and the chances of survival will be infinitesimal at best.  This moment comes when a Klingon Bird of Prey suddenly de-cloaks and sends a Scott Brown proton torpedo, along with some well placed laser fire, right into the unshielded hull of a caught-off-guard Enterprise. 
 
Federation President Obama himself happens to be on board and as a Commander-in-Chief that had proven himself worthy of battle in the past, he takes charge from the Captain.  He immediately calls for “shields up” but the damage is already done and it is immense. With the red alert now blaring on all decks, panic breaks out among some of the crew.  But the President remains unfazed, he has his Vulcan half to thank for his temperament, and his logic. The damage report reveals breaches on many decks. 
 
They had started this mission with a skeleton crew and already had barely enough bodies to man the 216 stations it would take to arrive at their planned destination.  The first crew count was sketchy, roughly 200, it was impossible to tell how many were lost for good and how many simply lost their way in the smoke-filled chaos.  Warp drive was lost and there was heavy damage to the weapons stations.  The crew was losing hope, they started to give up.  But with his uncanny ability to feel their pulse , President Obama’s very human core takes over and he opens the comm channel to all decks. He talks with passion, his words bring about a calm amidst the turmoil, he reminds every soul on board of their mission, he reminds them all why they signed up and how each of them promised themselves they would act in the face of insurmountable odds, he reminds them of pride, honor, dignity … and sacrifice. Always a student of history, he invokes Lincoln to paint the strongest stroke,  ”we are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.” 
 
The comm starts crackling with chatter, the voices of the crew thought lost to the carnage start checking in. Engineering reports they will have warp drive up shortly, the weapons systems start coming online, and all stations are now manned, with three souls to spare.  The Enterprise is back in the fight! 
 
You know the rest, President Barack Obama makes his rendezvous with history.  He and his crew are granted a brief reprieve to reconstitute themselves in a fragile sanctuary. He and his crew boldly go where no president has gone before… 
 
But just as the climactic ending starts to wear off and our pulse returns to normal, we hear that oh-so-familiar refrain, “Stay tuned for clips from next week’s episode.”  And I must say, it looks like one heck of a scary ride.
 
The Klingons are mad as hell, turmoil and dissent are spreading on the home-world. The escape of the Enterprise from their clutches has damaged the very essence of the Klingon empire, their pride. They have broken into family factions, and while they have all been part of the Federation of Planets for some time now, they have always loathed the weakness of the Federation’s current leadership and their constant strive to pursue social justice and equality.  In a Klingon mind, war is always the right answer, sheer brawn triumphs all, compromise is forbidden, and the weakness exemplified by mercy and compassion is a plague that must be contained at all costs. 
 
From the hallowed high council floor, a bellicose Brigadier Boehner incites his home-world, vowing to fight the Federation’s agenda tooth and nail in the halls of power, every step of the way.  He calls them liars, he calls them corrupters, he calls them thieves of Klingon treasure, he admonishes them on every front imaginable. 
 
But one of the families that make up the empire, a family that has been slowly growing in strength, doesn’t think words are enough.  This family had tried to organize around a matriarch in the beginning, a simpleton from the northern lands named Commander Palin, she was launched to prominence when Admiral McCain surprised everyone by announcing her as his second-in-command during his failed bid to become President of the Federation, but she had thus far refused to completely take the reins, although she did leave the door open in case future events would dictate such a move could serve her own self interests.  So instead of a tight knit family with purpose and direction, it was more like a headless monster, wobbling along, with family members of lower standing and recognition trying their best to seize control through tactics of fear and terror.  
 
Fanatical nobodies start crawling out of the woodwork in the vacuum of power, riling up the mob mentality with talk of militia, revolution and weaponry.  The sting of defeat started to allow the tone of defiance to evolve into the actions of treachery. The division of idealism saw the chasm grow wider. 
 
How will things turn out?   Will the President and his crew be able to withstand the confrontations they are sure to face on their perilous trek back home though hostile territory?  Will their precious cargo survive the trip?  Will the Federation stand?  Will the Klingons acknowledge the possibility of an alternate path to a better mutual future?
 
Stay tuned to find out!
 
Now that I’ve had some fun taking creative license to blur the lines of fiction and fact, and I got to have a little chuckle inside from the images in my mind of Rep. John Boehner with tussled hair and crooked teeth, launching spittle as he rants , or Sen. McCain with long flowing hair and a moustache, or Sarah Palin (sorry,  I don’t know what title to give her these days, adventurer, author, huntress, commentator, wilderness girl, almost-full-term-governor, Tea Partier?) with protruding skeletal features on her forehead, and of course the hint of those points on our President’s formidable ears,  I do want to make sure that the message itself  is not taken lightly.
 
The sad truth is, there really are misguided fanatics out there like Mike Vanderboegh, a self-proclaimed revolutionary militia leader, part of a small group of lunatics that seem to be gathering on the fringe of the Tea Party movement.  It’s not a rumor mind you, I heard his words myself in this interview
 
Somewhere along the line, these geniuses jumped the tracks from the righteous fight of our Revolution for Independence from a real tyrant, and landed on another track of our history, the Civil War.  You know, only one of the darkest pages of our past that saw American brothers dying at the hands of one another.  
 
He actually said their ranks comprise of 3% of America’s gun owners, 3 million muzzles that can be pointed at the hearts of tyrants, and he actually advocates getting good and prepared to do just that! 
 
Well, I’ve got news for Mr. Vanderboegh, 3% is not a very mighty number when your talking about a slice of pie.  When a person threatens to take aim at the heart of another citizen because they failed to have the majority voice in a civilized democracy, it is not tyrant-hunting, it’s treason, and I know how America will respond.  I just hope they skip a few chapters to the back of the book on the Civil War and see how it ends before they go and do something stupid. 
 
Just to help them along, America has fought on this ground before.  The Union, the banner under which the federal government fought, was led by a noble man by the name of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican I might add, and they fought for the ideals of equality and social justice that still define our nation today.  The Confederacy, a band of 11 Southern states that declared secession from the Union, was the enemy of that government, but their undoing proved to be numbers, Southern “Unionist” armies formed in every Confederate state, sapping the strength of the Confederacy from within.  So if you and your cohorts really want to tread this dangerous ground Mr. Vanderboegh, I advise you to take a good look at the size of the piece of pie in your hand, because I assure you, I’m not the only one that would stand in opposition with the ability to  snuff out a candle at 100 yards. 
 
But let’s be wise enough not to repeat that dark chapter of history, shall we?  Today’s America is better than that.
 
  
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Poll1The worm may be turning at long last.  President Obama finally found the conduit he has been lacking to have a conversation with a huge portion of the American public that has been rendered deaf and oblivious to his proposals and agenda ever since he won the White House on a wave of hope for change - the Super Bowl, and it paid off big.  The massive audience, the largest in television history, wasn’t tuned in to listen to him, they were ready for some football, and of course, the annual unveiling of the latest gems of advertising that have become just as much of a fun tradition as the game itself.  Tucked into the middle of a fantastic game, and coupled with the rare attention paid to the time slotted between the action, was an Obama sit down with Katie Couric.  What this ultimate bully pulpit afforded him was finally a chance to shine a huge spotlight on the crippling scourge of Washington politics, partisan gridlock.  He took the snap from Couric, slipped a few tackles and trotted the length of the field to score six.
 
Just one day before the game, the media’s attention had been focused farther north, on Nashville Tennessee, where Sarah Palin was keynote speaker at a Grand-Ol’-Opry-style convention of the Tea Party Movement, and let me tell you, it was not good news for the Grand Ol’ Party.  For almost an hour she took every imaginable opportunity to take shots at Barack Obama and she was all over the map in trying to do it.  She chided him for being a professor, not a Commander-in-Chief, she tried to reduce his eloquence and intelligence to some kind of a parlor trick that uses a teleprompter as the main prop.  She invoked the spirit of Ronald Reagan on what would have been his 99th birthday to rally the crowd and then she channeled Bill Clinton’s “there is nothing wrong in America that can’t be fixed by what is right in America” almost verbatim. She called Alaska, not America, the beacon of hope, then she continued down her erratic path and went on to channel Obama himself by rattling on about the ability of a grass roots movement to change the power structure of Washington. She talked about hope and change and then went on to ask, in folksy Palin’esque fashion, how that “hopey-changey” thing was working out for the millions that were moved by that very same notion just over a year ago.  The icing on the cake though, was the fact that she had crib notes written on her own hand to remind herself to talk about energy, the budget cuts… err, tax cuts and the cherry on top, a reminder to lift American spirits. Well Rush, Hannity and Sarah, start your engines because I am about to drop the R-word that sums that whole fiasco up, “Ridiculous!”  Her whole speech and Q&A session revealed not one single policy idea, no clear love for the Republican party and a call for Washington transparency that Obama would make the crux of his pitch to the American people the very next day.  No, I don’t think the GOP is going to enjoy the rants of Sarah Palin very much at all going forward, unless they are taking the whole “even bad publicity is good publicity” advertising mantra to a whole new level.
 
Thanks to the great American pastime that is the NFL, the gauntlet has been thrown.  Obama got his chance to give the American people a little professorial lesson on political obstructionism and pointed it right at the GOP with one of those big foam fingers.  And if you don’t think so, take these numbers from a Washington Post/ABC News poll done after what may just become known as the GOP’s Black Sunday.  The majority is now blaming the Republicans in congress as the problem by virtue of their unwillingness to compromise in order to move our country forward.  Even a whopping 42% of Republicans seem to want them to keep trying to pass a Health Care bill. 
 
President Barack Obama has shifted the conversation to American progress, not political gamesmanship, and put a bullet in the chamber to up the stakes considerably on the game the Republican party has been playing without the threat of consequence for over a year now.  All I can say is they better paint on their game faces and get themselves ready for one tough opponent.  On February 25th, they had better bring some real and tangible ideas to the table, because for a majority of Americans, at this defining moment, “just say no” simply won’t cut it anymore.
 
Barack Obama has put your tickets in the mail and you will all have sideline seats on the 50 yard line.  I hope I see you all there.  Bring on the Game!