Might the confused “Tea Party” lot actually achieve something positive?

I wonder… say the American “Tea Party” movement did have some real numbers to it, and they’re telling the truth when they say they don’t support the Republican Party either, and if the voters they chip away from the Republicans were to give more and more elections to Democrats, then might their existence be enough to make the Republicans finally support preference voting? If the Republicans look at their base slipping away, and those votes going to “Tea Party” candidates and no further, and the Democrats benefiting from the division, might they finally be persuaded that preference voting is a good thing for democracy? Because it’s temporarily in their interests?

Do they love the cosy little duopoly they’ve got with the Democrats more than they love retaining their seats?

Remember, a situation like the above is why we introduced preference voting in Australia.

I suspect I’m being optimistic – the reality is that the “Tea Party” movement are sheep that’ll get angry about “big government” and the “corrupt big parties” one day and vote for the Republicans the next; and it would take a LOT of lost elections due to the split-off before the Republicans would consider anything that threatens their cosy arrangement. And in the meantime they’ve got lots of money to throw at convincing Tea Partiers to stop helping the hated Democrats.

But imagine if the US system wasn’t beyond repair. Citizens finally waking up to the bullsh!t they’re being forced to swallow from the establishment – and its corporate owners – might actually achieve something positive.

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44 responses to “Might the confused “Tea Party” lot actually achieve something positive?

  1. Every now and then popular movements arise because they are not happy with the direction the government is taking them in. what is refreshing about the Tea Party movement is that it is mostly a collection of ordinary decent citizens rather than the ragtag rent-a-crowd rabble that typifies, say, the anti-globalisation circus.

    The Tea Party movement is a case of buyers’ remorse at having elected a big government corruptocrat. Now their is less transparency, more pork-barrel spending and about the same level of incompetence as the Bush administration.

    Americans have form when it comes to falling for honeyed promises of salvation sold by golden voiced hucksters. Fortunately they are quick to realise when they have been had, which would explain why Obama’s ratings have plummeted in record time.

    Of course, Obama blames everyone else. He has a fragile ego and can’t handle criticism. This teleprompter president scours the world for tyrants to bow and scrape to and then wonders why the citizens he represents despise him.

    The Tea Party movement is a mass movement trying to rediscover what made their country great before it went down the shithole of big government.

  2. “The Tea Party movement is a case of buyers’ remorse at having elected a big government corruptocrat. “

    Well, “elected” is generous – it’s not like they actually get a real choice in that country. It’s bad vs slightly less bad. They’ve had big government corruptocrats forever – but they didn’t mind until he was black and tried to provide them with healthcare like we enjoy in Australia.

    The Republicans have the distinction of being even worse than the Democrats – but for some reason the “Tea Party” crowd didn’t rise up against them.

  3. Jeremy:

    but they didn’t mind until he was black

    This reflexive playing of the racist card does nothing other than disclose your own bigotry. The race issue would not occur to most people (other than Chris Matthews).

  4. Ah, yes, the “he’s a muslim named Hussein!” and “he’s not a real American” bullsh1t is something we’ve imagined.

  5. So now they’re anti big government?

    You can’t gloss over the secret muslim and birther nonsense. It’s not a ‘core’ component to the tea party – whatever those might actually be – but there is a strong crossover demographic.

    I doubt there is much buyers remorse either. These are mostly republican voters. I’m sure there are bugger all democrat voters among their number. As such they come across as an outlet for sour grapes. “We were OK with you dumping on the constitution and building an unprecedented level of executive power when you were our guy. Not any more.”

  6. Bullshit. The tea party movement is not grass roots. Its “astroturfed”, especially now, regardless of where it began.

    When Fox news supports it, Bab Bush’s toilet loves it, and its even got Sarah Palin on the bandwagon then its hard to claim its a mass “grassroots” movement.

    “The Tea Party movement is a case of buyers’ remorse at having elected a big government corruptocrat. Now their is less transparency, more pork-barrel spending and about the same level of incompetence as the Bush administration. ”

    Are you serious?

    There is sweet FA difference between Bush and Obama on that front, so really nothing changed. The minor changes, like the recognition of AGW, the sell out on health care (these people were against health care reform remember) are about the only practical differences between them, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. Vidal called the US political system for what it was 30 or 40 years ago – two wings of “the American Property Party”.

    They don’t care about the direction their country is actually taking, they are just having a whinge that the guy in the white house isn’t white.

    The teabaggers were silent when the FISA thing happened, yet that was one of many cases where the Bush govt actually acted against the constitution that governs what they can and can’t do.

    They were silent on all the no bid contracts Halliburton scored regarding the Iraq war.

    They are a fake opposition.

  7. That was a response to SB’s comment about the tea parties having some legitimacy.

    I started typing it an hour ago.

  8. I’m sure all the witch doctor placards were nothing more than references to Reagan’s “voodoo economics”, and had nothing to do with the President’s race.

  9. “But imagine if the US system wasn’t beyond repair. Citizens finally waking up to the bullsh!t they’re being forced to swallow from the establishment – and its corporate owners – might actually achieve something positive.” – Jeremy

    The implications of that comment are staggering. (Its not the first time I have heard it either, in fact its something the militia and patriot movements have been saying since before Ruby Ridge happened. The people at Ruby Ridge were jerks, but what happened to them was 100 times worse than their pathetic world view.)

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure,” – Thomas Jefferson

    (Who also said: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever:”)

    The patriot movement is always invoking that jefferson quote.

    Their solution to the failure of the US experiment is to secede or start another revolution. But really they are stuck in the mentality that drove Jefferson to tremble for the future of his country.

    Things are grim in the states. The financial crisis has caused plenty of real pain, and the “recovery” (what recovery) is not actually trickling down to those that are really up the creek. So there is plenty of fuel for this movement, and plenty with aggravation that will gravitate toward it.

    But its already compromised and controlled by the people who cause the problems in the US – the kleptocracy, I mean corpratocracy.

    So the US is already damaged beyond repair and the only public movement that is reacting to this is so heavily sponsored by the people responsible for the damage.

    No wonder Jefferson trembled.

  10. preferential voting isnt worth getting excited about when all the major parties (tea party included) are abject servants of corporate control

    unless americans enjoy ranking their favorite tax-exempt (slush fund) foundation…

  11. It’d be nice for left-wing Americans to be able to vote for a party other than the Democrats without helping the Republicans, though.

  12. Stereotyping is wonderful thing in the hands of a leftist. It is, of course, quite wrong in their minds to point out that the most powerful leftists of last century were the biggest mass murders in history. Nor that leftist mass murderers are still in vogue, as the Che T-shirts worn be every wanking wannabe revolutionary disclose.

    It would, by their lights, also to make the point that it is no coincidence that the only former Ku Klux Klan leader in congress is a member of the Democrat Party, which the party of slavery in the civil war.

    But somehow, it is quite legitimate to take the actions of a few fringe dwellers to slander large groups of normal decent citizens, for example that Tea Party supporters are racists or that Christians murder abortionists.

    The Tea Party movement is a really interesting phenomenon. Instead of intellectual curiosity, and an attempt to understand what is driving this phenomenon all we get from the left is a slew of cheap shots and petty jibes which tell us far more about the intellectual decay and moral degeneration of the political hacks who spout this drivel.

  13. SB at 11.30:

    rather than the ragtag rent-a-crowd rabble that typifies, say, the anti-globalisation circus.

    SB at 4.48:

    Stereotyping is wonderful thing in the hands of a leftist.

    And a sentence later:

    Nor that leftist mass murderers are still in vogue, as the Che T-shirts worn be every wanking wannabe revolutionary disclose.

    You’re being a little ridiculous, SB.

  14. Criticising Che T-shirt wearers for being Che T-shirt wearers is hardly stereotyping.

    Also, ‘ragtag’and ‘rabble’are obviously accurate for the anti-globalisation crew. Maybe ‘rent-a-crowd’ was a little harsh. What do you call being bussed in by your left-wing union anyway?

  15. “worn be (sic) every wanking wannabe revolutionary “

    Sweet, sweet stereotyping.

  16. Spelling adn absic grammar not may strng points.

  17. Sb are you serious …….
    tea party astroturfing……….
    as mentioned by Jules….ahem am waiting for your rebuttal……but hey straight to next talking point for you…..carrying on like the term Astroturf is a left wing conspiracy therefore doesn’t need addressing?

  18. I like arguments. Sadly ‘Astroturf’ is a mere epithet. If either of you want to present an analysis, prefereably logical, which clearly proves that the Tea Party movement is some form of sham, go right ahead. Maybe you will come up with more than a few anecdotes and over-generalisations, in which case a reply will be warranted.

  19. Here’s a specific, SB: the keynote speech by the Republican VP candidate from the last election kind of undermines their claims of independence, doesn’t it?

  20. as i thought ……..next talking point….
    like none of this matters

    http://firedoglake.com/2009/04/11/what-part-of-fnc-tax-day-tea-parties-dont-you-understand/……

    could go on sb …..however ill just stop with a
    front called freedworks…
    its in their mission statement

    grass roots pigs arse

  21. SB
    The fact that the tea-baggers are supported by right-wingers gives the game away doesn’t it?
    If you like arguments perhaps you could get the ball rolling. You sound like a young liberal.

  22. Jeremy, this is an interesting article on the Tea Party.

    Your problem is that you want to simplistically define it as vile so you can bash it. At the moment it is a group of people with nothing much in common except a fear of big government. I expect it will flame for a while and then fade.

    More interesting is what is it that gets the people out, especially the middle aged middle class demographic that doesn’t usually go in for public demonstrations. Surely Glen Beck is not that powerful?

    Duufus, your link took me to ”page not found”, which is better than what one would usually expect from FDL.

    It is funny that this genuinely grass roots movement, this expression of pent up frustration with big government is causing so much fear among the left, probably because they realise it as a genuine popular movement and not another Acorn, SIEU or Soros funded paper tiger. But they needn’t worry. It is likely to be fairly fractured because of the genuine diversity within it.

  23. Norman, I’m not young and I’m not a Liberal. Can’t you do better than name calling – ”is right-wing…is bad”?

  24. How is a movement created, incited, promoted, advertised, encouraged, and in all other ways supported by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News “grass roots”?

  25. I’m sure you’ll love the source SB:

    http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/chuck-todd-admits-fox-news-created-and

    “The Tea Party movement is a really interesting phenomenon. Instead of intellectual curiosity, and an attempt to understand what is driving this phenomenon all we get from the left is a slew of cheap shots and petty jibes which tell us far more about the intellectual decay and moral degeneration of the political hacks who spout this drivel.”

    I might do that properly on my blog this week, seeing as I have one now (but have’t actually written anything… :D). I think I know a bit more about whats going on than you might think. I probably have a slightly more nuanced view of it than you.

    The moment Sarah Palin associated herself with the movement tho it was all 0ver. (Thankfully.)

    http://www.infowars.com/republicans-and-democrats-determined-to-turn-tea-parties-into-circus-sideshow/

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/subverted-tea-party-movement-told-to-embrace-republican-platform.html

    Where would we be without Alex Jones. If only Bill Hicks were alive to hang shit on him. Sigh.

    Speaking of which …

    Its ridiculous to consider the tea party movement is being subverted by the republican party give it was this flush of Bab Bush’s Dunny that actually inspired it:

    “This ‘porkulus’ bill is designed to repair the Democratic Party’s power losses from the 1990s forward, and to cement the party’s majority power for decades.”

    Astroturfed = fake “Grassroots” or corporate/institution sponsored movement designed to look grass roots. Its actually a not that different from the term “rent a crowd”.

    Loook at the orgs behind it … FreedomWorks, Americans for Prosperity and the people that are involved in those organisations. Not alot of grass roots in there. They are some of the real Elite in the US. Powerful people with money.

    Kind of the antithesis of “grassroots”.

    their connections to the “birther” movement are a little sus too.

    Anyway there’s a Playboy Article from February 2009 by Mark Ames that goes into the details of the tea parties movements elite progenitors.

  26. The straw poles at the CPAC convention actually gave the largest support to Ron Paul (shudder). I think Palin got about 7% support. But am not sure.

    If it came to a choice between Palin and Paul, or any republican and Paul, or a shitload of Democrats and Paul, I’d rather pick Paul.

    I’d rather lose one finger than my whole hand as well, so thats not saying much.

  27. If it came to a choice between Palin and Paul, or any republican and Paul, or a shitload of Democrats and Paul, I’d rather pick Paul.

    Me too, possibly with the exception of Democrat support though. Did you watch the youtubes of his speech? Vastly superior to the anti-gay fuckwits and other whingeing hypocrites they had on.

  28. No. I don’t like him very much and can’t stand hearing him talk.

    I have a few net mates from Austin. They are left leaning libertarians, and its often interesting hearing their perspective. They kind of inspired me to check him out.

    Paul has too much racist baggage for my liking, and I think his investment portfolio is appalling, considering the spin thats placed on him. At least wrt mining outside the US. He’s against imperialism, yet he holds shares in Barrick mining, and some other unsavory exploitative imperialist pricks.

    However his political platform is about as healthy as any in the US. Its hardly “progressive” tho. I think the implications of his states rights push would be very interesting. It would suit mull smokers and pro lifers in many instances.

    If I was gonna vote for a US president tho I’d vote for Dennis Kucinich.

  29. thevoiceofreason

    The tea-party seem to generally arguing for less govenance. The free – market cannot self regulate as self interest will always overpower working in the best interest of an empolying organisation. Tighter and more robust frameworks and regulation, although have some short term efficentcy constraints, are the only way a properly regulated free market can provide long term finacial stability. Those who continue to argue for loose and free markets like SB and the tea party need to take into account the cost of the collateral damage they seek to produce, which they never propery cost until the in impossible in their limited minds actually happens and the costs are real and countries go broke with broken peoples.
    What the tea patry needs to convey is some clear frameworks they see themselves operating within, so the actuaries can go to work on the facts and see if there is some credit, in there proposals. At the moment they just seem an angry mob letting off stem. More details required with some real figures as there is always some good, no matter how limited, within any revolutionaries.
    If SB want to come to their defence he needs to provide at least some real data in amongst his simple poo jokes.

  30. “It is funny that this genuinely grass roots movement, this expression of pent up frustration with big government is causing so much fear among the left, probably because they realise it as a genuine popular movement and not another Acorn, SIEU or Soros funded paper tiger.” Yeah SB – suuuure. A conservative grassroots movement invented by the Republican party and its media ally (Rupert Murdoch in the form of Fox News). One that constantly blames the current administration for every damn thing that its own leaders foisted on both the US and the rest of the world. It’s rather amusing watching you pose as some sort of independent thinker when all you actually do is spout ultra-conservative talking points.

  31. “It is funny that this genuinely grass roots movement, this expression of pent up frustration with big government is causing so much fear among the left, probably because they realise it as a genuine popular movement and not another Acorn, SIEU or Soros funded paper tiger.”

    – SB

    Ha good on Michelle…

    If the Tea Party movement wants to show itself to be a genuine grass roots movement concerned with holding government to account it will pressure the Obama administration to investigate Sibel Edmonds claim that Mark Grossman attempted or succeeded in selling nuclear technology to the Turkish and Israeli govt and then on to who knows … Abdul Qadeer Khan?

    (One thing that can be said for Obama is that he hasn’t used state secrets privilege to gag her.)

    Not to mention all the other corruption she seems to have uncovered, on both sides of the American Property party.

  32. strongconservativeblog

    Preferential voting is already expanding across the U.S., mainly in big cities. I know Minneapolis, MN just had their first go at it this past year.

    The real benefit of the “Tea Party” is to get conservatives to look at the Constitution again, specifically the 10th Amendment. For once, something influencing a political party is sincere people rather than special interests. Whether you agree with the Tea Party supporters policy views, it is a sincere uproar against the establishment that is getting noticed!

  33. “I like arguments.”

    Of course, SB! You’re a Catholic!

  34. Jeremy: Have you read this article by John Quiggin on idealogy? Seems relevant here. ;)

    http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2010/02/22/ideology-and-agnotology/#more-8340

  35. Agnotology … its a good concept.

    Science may have its limitations but they are way beyond those of the particular tribalism, and it is the correct word of certain aspects of the us right, and to a less extent of the Australian one.

    Robert Anton Wilson wrote a trilogy called Schrodinger’s Cat, in an attempt to clarify his understanding of quantum physics, and in it he posited many “alternate realities” over much of the last half of last century.

    Regardless of the rest of it, there was one section about on of the wlternate “realities” that seems strangely prescient wrt the right in the US today. It was after Furbish Lousewort published his book “unsafe wherever you go”. he started a luddite ecological greenie movement that denounced science and technology and ended up in the whitehouse. I forgot what happened next, but cos so much of actually running the us is based on science, I can imagine the problems.

    Admittedly that was fundamentalist green luddite movement, but the key similarity is fundamentalism. Christian and economic and political in our case today.

    And fear.

    Since sept 11 the fear has been tangible, but its probably been growing quietly in the conservative movement since the beatniks or the yippies. And probably in everyone since the first atomic bomb.

    Couple that with the way tribalism uses forms of irrationality, usually mystical, linked to nationalistic/patriotic or land based mysticism in the case of actual tribal peoples, to define themselves in relation to “other” groups.

    And you have the right in the US, well a fair bit of it anyway, a vocal bit of it certainly.

    So I spose it was kind of predictable.

    I dunno if that reflects the whole of the tea baggers movement tho.

  36. You can’t resist an argument either BadBob, no matter how trivial. Sadly you can’t escape from the clutches of you favourite fallacy, the ad hominem argument, can you?

    And if you think Catholics like an argument, you should see Jews in action. They are worse than economists. Jews even had the temerity to argue with God.

  37. “Jews even had the temerity to argue with God.”

    Catholics do a bit of that too SB. God made us in his own image, then the church went and told us we were all born with Original Sin and had to be saved by getting water poured over our heads. Do you reckon God was pissed off, or what?

    “You can’t resist an argument either BadBob…”

    I can resist anything except temptation.

  38. God made man in his own image, and the Adam & Eve went and screwed up, so we got original sin through the improper exercise of free will. In those days it took a serpent to get people to sin. Now they go about sinning willy-nilly at the drop of a hat.

    The two great concepts of Christianity are original sin, which explains why we and others can be right bastards sometimes, and redemption, which means that we can always get back to rights no matter how low we go. The greatest movies are about redemption.

    The problem with Marx is that he didn’t get the original sin thing, and thought all the badness had to do with ownership of the means of production. In fact ‘socialist man’ is as nasty as the rest of us are.

    The good thing about markets is that they wring some good out of greed. The problem with welfare is that it creates greed (and sloth) out of good intentions. Worse yet it creates massive hubris in the hearts of would be do-gooders.

  39. The problem with markets is the cost/benefit of wringing some good out of greed isn’t always there.

    Welfare doesn’t create sloth and greed out of good intentions. When public welfare for the poor is associated with opportunity then it works.

    When there is generational disadvantage welfare can help maintain a situation where there’s no incentive to be “productive’.

    Of course we aren’t even talking about corporate welfare at this point, and its a totally different thing. Its wrong to think welfare only exists for the poor tho.

    Not all forms of productivity are market based either.

    I dunno if I’d call “original sin” a great achievement.

    Redemption certainly. Tho I’m not a Christian, there were and are some powerful forces motivating Christianity. The actual history of it has been a history of humans and institutions trying to hinder those forces.

    (By “forces” I mean something that could be supernatural, but it could just be a powerful subconscious drive. Its probably not helpful to get caught up arguing about what those forces are.)

    Its worth recognising tho that those “forces” – the ones that inspire the idea of redemption – have had a powerful effect on humanity.

    And in some ways you could put the failure of Christianity down to the human factor, or “original sin”.

    But its not an idea thats exclusive to Christianity. There are plenty of spiritual or religious systems around the world that evolved separately to Christianity that recognise the dangerous side of human nature as well as the unselfish, openhearted side. They recognise what SB calls “original sin” tho they may use different names and have different opinions on how to deal with it. Not that different tho.

    Part of the problems with groups like the tea baggers is a big chunk of their ideology doesn’t recognise this. They use their understanding of religion to build walls, not bridges between people. Reinforcing their tribalism.

    And thats something positive that can be said for the Catholic church over the last generation or two. There has been a strong, real “grass roots” movement thats focused on inclusion and recognising what people share in common, not what divides them. The interfaith movement and the engagement with other faiths has come about as a direct result of this.

    If you compare that to the church of centuries ago thats an amazing change, and in some ways its a case of the heart of the message being stronger than the flaws of the people and the institutions.

    At the moment that seems directly at odds with the Warrior Jezus bullshit emerges from the Christian mainstream in the US. It also inspires criticism from those groups, many of whom feel Catholics are in league with the devil.

    Instead of just the Mafia and the CIA.
    :D

  40. “God made man in his own image, and the Adam & Eve went and screwed up, so we got original sin through the improper exercise of free will.”

    Yeah, but we were created in Gods image, so “He” has the potential to screw up just as much as we do.

    The more we indulge our “dark side”, or engage in “original sin” but not controlling and channeling or transmuting the ” energy” the “dark side” of our nature releases (things like rage/anger, greed or lust,) the more violent and nasty god becomes.

    Thats the true meaning of the Sodom and Gomorrah episode, or the flood or the problems the Jews had whenever they would break the covenant and its the real reason Jesus came to save mankind, and by extension himself, and God.

    If there’s a god.

    Ultimately too, God (if there is one) won’t be “happy’, satisfied or at peace till even Satan is redeemed. No doubt saying all this would have got burnt at the stake 500 years ago, but now catholics engage with that sort of discussion. Well some.

    Ultimately too its this process of redemption that inspires the left.

    Cos it recognises the fundamental justice of the ideas and actions of the man (/god if he existed, tho really thats irrelevent. Jesus is an egregore now, and one of the most powerful and important in human history,) that inspired Christianity.

    And it recognises that whether religious or secular, as people those ideas benefit us and the example of the man is one worth following.

    Ultimately without Jesus and Christianity we might not have a “left”.

    Anyway that may be drifting a bit too far off topic so back to it.

  41. The argument is not between Catholicism and Marx, SB. Catholicism died centuries ago, and Marx never really got off the ground in any profound sense. Haven’t you noticed that that dead horse is still not moving despite the vigorous flogging you’ve been giving it for years?

    The real question is what is the difference between authentic and inauthentic spirituality. Neither Marx nor Catholicism have anything much to offer in that regard. The Catholic Church did once, just before St Paul fucked it up with his Son of God fantasies, but Marx never did.

  42. Sb is complaining about ad hominems? sheesh!

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