Saturday, April 24, 2010

conTEAmptuous!

Tea Party ProtestersNewt Gingrich see an evolving role for the Tea Party, as the " militant wing" of the Republican Party.

He makes that observation with a certitude befitting the groups recent activities.

The dominance of the two party system almost certainly puts the Tea Party in the Republican camp, given their conservative bent, and their obvious distaste for everything Obama.

A recent poll confirms Newt's prescience regarding the group:

"The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45."

Also, according to the same poll, these white males aren't hayseeds, poverty-stricken, or likely to be, and neither are they grade-school dropouts.

"Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class...."

Assuming the accuracy of the poll, these aren't the typical malcontents, the usual suspects we might find protesting the size of government, or its overreaching ambitions to usurp state powers.

These aren't your "bitter" white men clinging to their "guns or religion." Obama captures this group with deft words, but is later skewered for it:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

"And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."


We have a new breed: These are "bigoted" white men, clinging to their 401(K)'s and the religion of non-governmental interference in free-market activities.

It doesn't matter that this selfsame market and its unscrupulous adherents nearly brought our economy to near collapse. What's important is that it remains "free".

And this is the mantra that emanates from this movement.

Liberals, with their misguided efforts to address society's deficiencies, and ills, are perpetrating the greatest crime, the unforgivable offense: They're depriving Americans of their constitutionally protected freedom.

The freedom to participate, or not to participate.

It doesn't matter that that freedom was a myth, almost from the inception of this Republic, Tea Partiers are intent on resurrecting that myth, and expanding the mythology.

They distance themselves from regular, run-of-the-mill Republicans by holding "more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as 'very conservative' and President Obama as 'very liberal.'"

And Tea Partiers are "angry," more angry than their fellow conservatives:

"And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as 'angry.'"

Given the movement's emphasis on a "smaller government," you wouldn't expect it to give thumbs up to Social Security and Medicare. Yet, it does.

Even more telling is the group seeming antipathy for the poor:

"Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich."

I suppose Tea Partiers see Obama as some modern-day Robin Hood, who takes from the rich and gives to the poor.

Were that the case! For decades we've seen just the opposite: The rich get richer, and the poor, poorer.

Take a look at what has happened to our automotive industry, and the once proud City of Detroit, and why a bailout of General Motors (condemned by Tea Partiers) may have kept the city from becoming as bankrupt as the car manufacturer itself.

Investment bankers have rigged the game to favor themselves, even if it means the collapse of our economy in their pursuit of more and more wealth, and the means of maintaining that wealth, using "too big to fail" as their edge in the game, all but insuring their survival while their less-powerful competition falls by the wayside.

And the most telling aspect of the poll is this revelation:

"They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people."

At the risk of painting this group with a broad brush, they have shown themselves to be ultra-conservative to the point of dismissing the poor, and the concerns of blacks, regardless of their merit.

The Tea Party folks are showing what may be the true face of America, a face that I'm all too familiar with.

How do we measure our greatness as a nation? Do we measure it by how many of our people have health care, or by the exceptional quality of our health care system; by the quality education extended to all, or by the state of our educational system for those who can afford it; by the number of people on welfare, or the number who don't require it at all; by the opportunities afforded to all regardless of social status, or race, or the number who are privileged with it from birth by virtue of color?

We're only as great as the number of us who have access to that greatness, the number of us who can rise as high as our talent, skills, and intellect will carry us, without, first, having to throw off the weight of social stigma, and racial inequalities.

12 comments:

msladydeborah said...

Newt's come under fire for this statement with the Tea Party. They don't like the term militant. Nor do they want to be attached to the GOP. Which makes no sense to me because the demographics indicate that they have been long term GOP supporters.

I find this era of GOP politics to be more interesting than any other that I've lived through. For the first time in a long time they are struggling with the brand and it has created a real messy internal situation. Newt is obviously trying to make a bid for office again but in his quest to do so he may actually do more harm than good.

But the Tea Party bears close watching because of the potential it has to be a spoiler on different levels of government. I am concerned about my 401k too, but I also believe that the banking system in America is totally corrupt and needs to be reeled back in.

Black Diaspora said...

As usual, msladydeborah, you're on target.

Newt, calling the group "militant" was a bit risky. Also, assigning to them a future role in the Republican Party without asking them first, was also risky.

The GOP is a fragmented party, evidenced by the number of disaffected members who call themselves Tea Partiers.

Yet, for the movement to have a lasting impact, to be movers and shakers in politics, they'll have to be more than "spoilers," and will have to, soon or late, fulfill Newt's vision for the group.

And Michael Steele's recent revelation that the Republican Party has nothing to offer blacks, and that the Southern Strategy may have permanently damaged any possible relationship the party may have forged with blacks (although an accurate assessment of how dismissive of blacks the party has been over the years), his assessment is not going to win him any friends, now that there's talk of replacing him as GOP chair.

You're right about Newt's political ambitions. I think he saw how far John McCain was able to go in a presidential bid (as a Republican maverick) and feel he can do better as a "true conservative."

I would have visited you more often, and have tried several times, but my browser gets stuck when I try to download your blog.

I'm going to try another browser. My computer has a real difficult time handling more than one.

I'll work it out.

Greg L said...

BD,

Just dropping by here and checking you out.

I think your comments are spot on with the tea party. At the root of the tea party is a strain of libertarian influence IMO that is going to butt heads with the Sarah Palin wing. That's the biggest threat for their viability. Secondly, as you point out, there's gotta be something more substantive than just "revolting". There's pragmatic aspect of going about things and rarely can philosophy alone overcome stark realities of governing except over time.

Anyone that took the presidency at this juncture would have done a stimulus. We might disagree over the best way, but anyone taking that office would have done the same. On healthcare, we were already paying for folks who were uninsured as they were in the hospitals getting their primary care which ultimately falls back to the rest of us. These are pragmatic things that would have been addressed in some form or other by whomever got elected, Tea Party notwithstanding.

Again, I think they're a well funded and publicized diversion

Ernesto said...

Free enterprise is a myth. If the government didn't prop up businesses in some form or another, they would not exist. That, much more than taking care of the least of us, is the real role of the U.S. government. So when these people shout about "get the government out of their lives, they are either advertising a vast ignorance, a disconnect from reality, or a load of B.S. Probably a combination of all of the above.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Hello Msdeborah and Ernest, I haven't seen both of yours fonts since Moby Dick was minnow.

Well, Diaspora, they think that they've caught the Time square failed bomber. We got so much crazy stuff going on around us including the Teabaggers, until you never know when you wake up tomorrow what is gonna happen next.

I agree with Msdeborah about the banking system, and I think they've been getting over on people for a long time. It is time to reform Wall Street and our Financial Institutions. That is way overdue.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

BTW, have you talked to IseeIsee? She has been on my mind lately, and I sent her two emails but got no response. That's not like her not to answer me back. I pray that all is well with her.

Black Diaspora said...

@Ernesto: "So when these people shout about "get the government out of their lives, they are either advertising a vast ignorance, a disconnect from reality, or a load of B.S."

As you say, government exists to further the interest of the business sector. The jobs that pay the taxes have to come from somewhere.

And we know that businesses pass on taxes to consumers.

You'd think with this arrangement, the people would get more consideration.

Although we're the ones who pay the taxes, businesses (those who hire) are the ones who make it all possible.

Which is why I'm surprised that the Federal government hasn't stepped in to force banks who took bailout money to lend more. " Small firms would hire you, if only they could get loans."

Further, the government also know that, "Over a recent 15-year period, small businesses created some 65 percent of the net new jobs in the private sector..."

We will know if a shift toward the people has taken place, if congress can clean up Wall Street, and BP is actually made to pay fully (without taxpayer dollars) for the clean up the oil spill, and make restitution to those who will lose their livelihood because of it.

Black Diaspora said...

@Greg L: "Anyone that took the presidency at this juncture would have done a stimulus. We might disagree over the best way, but anyone taking that office would have done the same."

True. Very true!

Although, they'd all deny it, McCain, and any of the several Republicans that ran for the presidency would have provided some form of a "stimulus program."

Bush was told a recession was coming, and enacted his own stimulus program in the form of government stimulus checks, months before leaving office, without a single whimper from those in his own party.

He was also first to approve a bailout of the financial sector.

We all know that stimulus checks, and bailouts are okay when Repubs do it, but an unforgivable sin when Dems do it.

Black Diaspora said...

@Granny: "We got so much crazy stuff going on around us including the Teabaggers, until you never know when you wake up tomorrow what is gonna happen next."

So true, Granny, we're living a cliffhanger existence.

After 9-11, we had the anthrax scare, and after that the shoe-bomber, and a great deal of hellacious weather wreaking havoc across our nation.

I heard that the Time Square bomber may have been in communication with someone outside the country.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see just how connected he was.

We do need financial reform, but I'm afraid it may not be as thoroughgoing as it should be to provide real consumer protection.

Congress will attempt something. But it may be as loopy as the health-care reform law recently passed.

Black Diaspora said...

GrannyStandingforTruth said...
"BTW, have you talked to IseeIsee? She has been on my mind lately, and I sent her two emails but got no response. That's not like her not to answer me back. I pray that all is well with her."

I haven't talked with her, but she recently posted over at Field.

She was her usual feisty self, and gave no indication of a problem of any kind.

I suspect she's doing fine. When she posts again, I'll pass on that you're enquiring.

Seda said...

Of course they're pissed. They thought they won, with the Reagan disaster and subsequent Republican and Republican Lite administrations. Oh, the horror! to have a black president, clearly elected by white people! and one who actually might understand directly and seek to affect social inequity! Disaster!

How nice, though, that they tend to be over 45. For kids growing up today, a black president is normal. And even if Obama doesn't start making more liberal policies that will really benefit society, they'll see he's better by far than the recent run of Republicans. :-)

Black Diaspora said...

@Seda: "For kids growing up today, a black president is normal. And even if Obama doesn't start making more liberal policies that will really benefit society, they'll see he's better by far than the recent run of Republicans."

Hi, Seda.

Good point. The future of a people have, throughout world history, turned on the character and personality of one person.

I've often said: There's no going back, a black man in the White House will shift the consciousness of white and black youth in this country to such a remarkable extent that it will create, for both, unlimited possibilities.

For a time, we may not see this seismic shift, this incredible release of pent-up creative energy, but it is occurring--and America is the better for it.