Joe Scarborough is very wrong about the Tea Party

For an unknown reason, Joe Scarborough of MSNBC offers "The truth about the tea party" (link). Scarborough's version of the truth needs a lot of work. For my extensive coverage of their movement and why they should be vigorously opposed, see Tea Parties.

Scarborough lists various supposed successes that the Teapartiers supposedly assisted with, and to some extent some are right. Others have big asterisks. While they did help the GOP win big in 2010, a large part of that was due to low turnout in an off-year. Scarborough says "they grabbed six seats in the U.S. Senate that year", but they also lost at least three Senate seats for the GOP. He says, 'they led the resistance against "Obamacare"', which encapsulates why they should be opposed: their opposition consisted of ranting at townhalls rather than grown-up discussions of important issues. The Teapartiers could have had a much better chance at blocking Obamacare, if they were entirely different people.

Scarborough writes:

Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, the general theme that the tea party has been bad for the GOP is pure malarkey... CNBC anchor Rick Santelli's 2009 rant from the Chicago Mercantile Floor created a viral video that launched a national movement that created a new focus among conservatives. Before that, Republicans had little to rally around... Before their 2009 formation, their GOP president had just spent $700 billion baling out Wall Street. Their GOP Congress had spent the Bush years driving up the deficit to record levels. The national debt doubled during the Bush years, and their so-called conservative party had shoved through a $7 trillion Medicare drug plan without paying for a dime of it.

Of course, what that fails to note is that the supposed-patriots in the Teaparties were big supporters of George W Bush. While there was some grousing from some of them here and there, almost all of them fell in line. Even on FreeRepublic, for the most part you were either with Bush or you were against the GOP. In February 2008, the former Comptroller of the U.S.'s "Fiscal Wake-Up Tour" drew only small crowds. Two years ago I challenged Teapartiers to provide evidence of them opposing Bush at the time; those who replied dodged the question (my offer still stands).

What the Teapartiers are rallying around - debt and spending - are much less important and vital issues than others, such as immigration. Four years ago, obsessing over debt and spending was something very few people did; now it's the most important thing the political world to those in the Teaparties. Their rallying is artificial: a product of their leaders such as the Koch family, FreedomWorks, and Grover Norquist.

Then, Scarborough says:

Considering that Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid had decided to accelerate George W. Bush's reckless spending ways by passing a stimulus plan that was the largest spending bill in U.S. history, more should be thankful that a movement was launched that dared to stand athwart history and yell, "Stop!"

The Teapartiers aren't standing athwart history, yelling stop. While many in the Teaparty base might be also social conservatives, that's not a concern of their movement. Cultural conservatism is not in any way a concern of their movement. The Teaparties are the Mitch Daniels dream: a movement just concerned with mammon, not with culture. Not only isn't it a concern, they also coarsen the U.S. political culture with their Saul Alinksy-influenced ways: lying, smearing, red-baiting, ranting, raving, throwing tantrums, acting out, dressing up, engaging in logical fallacies such as tu quoque, and on and on. They help the far-left by mostly ignoring immigration and by validating far-left concepts. It's extremely unlikely that William F. Buckley would have appreciated their movement, and it's likely that he would publicly oppose them or at least seek to reform them.

Scarborough ends with:

No one knows what happens next. But we can at least start telling the truth about what happened over the past three years. Whether opinion leaders like it or not, the tea party helped engineer a Republican landslide, reframed the national debate and put the president so far back on his heels that even Mitt Romney has a chance to be president... And that in itself is pretty damn remarkable.

First, Mitt Romney is where he is by not acting like the Teaparties. Paul Ryan's thinking is more in line with the Teapartiers, but as Romney's running mate he's become little more than a "mini-Mitt". Teaparty ideas just aren't that popular; no major speaker at the GOP convention referenced that movement.

Second, the Teapartiers should have been less than a footnote to history, instead they're a major step on the Road to Idiocracy. The only reason they've been around over three years is because of the incompetence of the Democratic Party. For whatever reason, nearly the only opposition the Democrats (and their helpers) were able to present to the Teapartiers was to simply smear them. The Teapartiers have fringe ideas on spending and lean towards fringe libertarian ideas. Instead of taking the incredibly easy step of showing how those ideas are wrong, Democrats like Rachel Maddow just made "teabag" jokes. If Obama's on his heels, it's because of Democratic incompetence and Romney trying to act as mainstream as possible.

There are currently 221 other entries on the Tea Parties page going back to February 2009. See that page if you want to find out what they're really about and why they need to be opposed.