What’s Left: Not Just Hot Water



Julian Ramis

It would be easy to spend the next 500 or so words telling you why the Tea Party is doomed to fail and why they are nothing more than a group of angry middle class whites who suffered during the recession and are now being manipulated by some super rich Lib­ertarian brothers to make sure they don’t have to pay the estate tax. I could have focused this entire column on the literature that serves as the basis for the Tea Party’s ideology. (There’s one that needs mentioning, it is called The 5000 Year Leap and it was written by an anti-communist named Cleon Skousen in 1981. In the words of the New York Times Clousen was, “shunned by his fellow Mormons for his more controversial positions, in­cluding a hearty defense of the John Birch Society.” This comes as no surprise when con­sidering his assertion that the Founding Fathers never intended for Church and State to be separate and, even better, that they would have deemed any taxes that provide for the welfare of others sinful.)

I also could have focused on the actions of Tea Party candi­dates who are currently run­ning for office like Ken Buck, Republican candidate for Sena­tor in Colorado who has advo­cated cutting off funding to the departments of energy, educa­tion and the national endow­ment for the arts or prospective senator from Kentucky Rand Paul, who has advocated deep cuts in spending but wants to increase Medicare and Med­icaid payments to physicians (little known fact: he’s an eye surgeon).

The Tea Party is so rife with hypocrisy and ignorance and plain old stupidity that it is easy to write them off as a fringe group of radical conservatives largely created by the relentless coverage they receive on Fox News, but to do so would be to ignore the reality of what is hap­pening in congressional races all across the country. According to a New York Times analysis, there are 33 Tea Party backed candidates in toss up races or in House districts that generally go Republican as well as eight that stand a solid chance of winning seats in the Senate. In short, the Tea Party has a good chance of securing a sizeable caucus to push their agenda in congress. If the Democrats, along with any other Americans who are troubled by the prospect of giving people who idolize Glen Beck votes in Congress, want to curb this divisive political force they are going to have to seriously up their game, to stop mak­ing arguments like the ones outlined above which only feed the fire of the Tea Party’s anti-liberal rage.

Here are a few bullet points that summarize the liberal anti-Tea Party narrative, as well as the reasons why this narrative carries such little weight among those it is supposed to be convincing.

Tea Partiers are hypocritical: Yes, that may be true in some ways, but it is also im­portant to remember that these hypocritical bastards are the only ones giving voice to a large number of Americans who feel completely abandoned by their government. As long as liberals fail to acknowledge this sense of abandonment people like Rand Paul will continue to thrive in politics.

The Tea Party is just a modern day version of the John Birch Society (a paranoid radical right wing anti-communist movement from the Cold War era) and is doomed to a similar fate: Granted the two groups have a lot in common in terms of ideology, but the John Birch Society never gained the political momentum that is currently driving the Tea Party into Congress. What’s more, the Tea Party has a timely economic platform to go along with their nutty ideas about the role of government and Barack Obama’s secret socialist agenda.

Tea Partiers are puppets of the super rich: This might also be true, but what does it matter at this point? Nobody seems to care, and the fact is that the vast sums of money being funneled into the Tea Party are yielding positive results. Once the Tea Party secures seats in Congress their votes won’t count any less because the Koch brothers helped put them there.

The Tea Party will ultimately end up hurting the GOP: We’ll find out November 2.