tea parties

The "tea party" movement: Page 5

See the summary for this topic on the main The "tea party" movement page.

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Tea parties not smart enough to oppose Sen. Robert Menendez in right way, choose pointless recall effort instead - 03/16/10

The latest cheap, ineffective stunt from the tea parties is a recall effort against New Jersey senator Bob Menendez. A state appeals court has ruled that the recall effort can proceed, but it will probably go to a higher court (link).

"People's Surge Against Obamacare 2.0": another ineffective Freedomworks scheme (Brendan Steinhauser) - 03/12/10

On Tuesday, March 16 FreedomWorks plans a "People's Surge Against Obamacare 2.0" in Washington DC at which they expect "1,000 if not more people" to be "bused in from various parts of the country" in order to protest Obama healthcare. They'll then be sent out on a fool's errand (link):

[FreedomWorks' director of federal and state campaigns, Brendan Steinhauser says:] "We're telling people to go right into the three House office buildings: Cannon, Longworth and Rayburn. Find your congressmen, whether they are in the cafeteria, their offices, in the halls or hiding under their desks, and tell them to vote no. It's very simple." ...He added, "We'll help direct traffic. Come and deliver your message to Congress."

I've already seen this movie, and it doesn't have a happy ending. The attached video is from the February 2009 post entitled Melanie Morgan "storms" Arlen Specter's office over stimulus bill, does nothing useful. This latest Freedomworks scheme will be just like that, but without the addition of a low-level radio personality.

The much smarter and much more effective thing to do would be for them to use the question authority plan. In this case, that would involve Freedomworks finding those who are experienced with "cross-examining" people and who are familiar with specific topics to question politicians on video. Presumably, Freedomworks has logical reasons why they oppose Obamacare. Thus, they should be able to make their case and try to show how they think those opposite them are wrong.

Instead of doing things the smart and effective way, Freedomworks is just using an angry mob. Ask them why they keep doing things in showy but stupid ways instead of doing things that are smart and effective.

Teaparty apparently denied access to location of Obama visit (Arcadia University) - 03/07/10

Barack Obama will be speaking at Arcadia University (Philadelphia) on Monday, March 8. And, it looks like he and his supporters are doing to the tea parties what George W Bush and Dick Cheney did to some of those supporters. From a press release from the "Independence Hall Tea Party Association" (independencehalltpa.com, in full here):

A least a few hundred Tea Partiers are expected to descend on the sidewalks surrounding Arcadia University, tomorrow, to voice their opposition to Obamacare after having been denied a request to hold a Press Conference/Rally on Campus.

An Arcadia University official, Laurie Bauer, denied the group access to the Campus after conferring with other University officials and, allegedly, the White House.

"We had hoped to be given space on campus so that we could better facilitate a Press Conference," said Organizer Don Adams. "We spoke with University Administrator, Laurie Bauer, around 3 PM on Friday. Ms. Bauer said she would check with unnamed University Officials and the White House. I was told to call her back in an hour.

"When I did so, she replied that the answer was "no." When I pressed her for permission to hold the conference on various campus parking lots, she again said, "no."

1. One wonders where the tea partier types were when Bush and Cheney were doing the exact same thing. I know where I was: complaining about such actions over five years ago. Can even a single tea partier provide evidence of them speaking out against "free speech zones" and the like during the eight glorious Bush years?

2. Obama's made dozens of appearances both before and after the election where he could be "cross-examined" over his policies. I tried to ask him a question at one such event over three years ago, I've spent countless hours promoting the question authority plan (such as trying to get people to attend his events and ask good questions instead of bad questions), and I've gotten almost zero help with it. The tea partiers are so incredibly stupid that they think waving loopy signs and acting like little kids is more effective than trying to engage Obama intellectually and show how he's wrong. It's still not a good thing that they'd be blocked from campus: let America see just how ineffective and foolish they are.

Three-quarters in Tea Party think immigration "very important"; their leaders think otherwise - 03/03/10

The Sam Adams Alliance conducted a survey of some in the tea parties, and the results are at samadamsalliance.org/learn/activist-insights.aspx

The study suffers from a very small sample size, and whatever their methodology that means that the study is just for entertainment purposes only. However, it does show that fully 3/4 of respondents think immigration is "very important".

Gerald Seib of WSJ misleads about Tea Partiers and immigration - 03/02/10

Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal offers the misleading "Tea Party Holds Risks for GOP" (link) in which he refers to the "close-the-borders rhetoric common within the Tea Party movement" [1].

In fact, the opposite of what Gerald Seib says is true: the tea parties have almost completely ignored immigration, and some of their leaders strongly support massive or illegal immigration. For instance, their leaders such as Dick Armey from FreedomWorks, Grover Norquist, and groups linked to the Koch family are about as far from "close-the-borders" types as you can get. The "Tea Party Declaration of Independence" completely ignored immigration, as did the "Tea Party Contract From America". And, by ignoring that issue, they're depriving themselves of a perfect way to oppose the corrupt DC establishment and in effect helping the Democrats costs them money and reduce their power. One of the dirty little secrets of the tea parties is how they're a Trojan Horse for libertarianism, an ideology that the vast majority of adherents think must involve a "free movement of people", i.e., open or loose borders. Certainly, some in the tea parties might support border enforcement, but they're very, very quiet about it; no actual leaders of the movement have highlighted that issue despite how fundamental it is. ALIPAC held some anti-illegal immigration "tea parties", but they were never supported by the leaders of the movement.

The only example of tea partiers supporting border enforcement that Gerry Sieb can provide comes from Tom Tancredo, someone who's not only not a leader of their movement, but who's been smeared by those in the tea parties orbit such as Reason Magazine. Tancredo spoke at the National Tea Party Convention, which was covered by PajamasMedia and others in the vanguard of the actual movement, but that doesn't make him a leader of the movement. About the speech, Gerald Sieb says:

Mr. Tancredo declared that if Republican nominee McCain had won last year's presidential election, he and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, "would have been posing in the Rose Garden with big smiles as they received accolades from (the National Council of La Raza) for having finally passed an amnesty" for illegal immigrants. Moreover, he added, Mr. McCain and Mexican President Felipe Calderon "would be toasting the elimination of those pesky things called borders and major steps taken toward creation of a North American Union." ...That is cringe-producing rhetoric for Republicans who are straining to show they are, simultaneously, tough on illegal immigration yet empathetic with the nation's growing bloc of Hispanic voters.

That rhetoric is certainly hyperbolic, but one wonders why Gerrald Seibe would think that Hispanics would be in favor of a NAU or are fans of a foreign leader? They're Americans, right? If Hispanics respond negatively to criticisms of a far-left fringe character like Gutierrez, where does the problem lie? Clearly, Seibe isn't honest enough to consider whether him cringing is correct or not.

[1] Very few people want to "close the borders", which would involve blocking all traffic both legal and illegal; Seib is just trying to smear his opponents.

Tea Party "Declaration of Independence" ignores immigration (FreedomWorks) - 02/24/10

From this:

A network of Tea Party activists are circulating what they call the "Tea Party Declaration of Independence," a document meant to define the movement and establish its independence from Republicans.

“We reject the idea that the electoral goals of the Republican party are identical to the goals of the Tea Party Movement,” the document, released Tuesday, reads.

Activist Bob MacGuffie, involved in the drafting process and also known for authoring a memo last year on how to disrupt health-care town hall meetings, said activists, “got tired of being defined from the outside and decided to do some self-definition” themselves.

MacGuffie said the idea for the document came from a number of leaders who attended a summit hosted by conservative group FreedomWorks, which has been heavily involved in the movement but was not officially involved in the drafting. He wouldn’t say specifically who drafted the document, but said there are at least 60 groups nationally behind it.

“They would just end up being targets,” he said of the drafters. “We’ll remain nameless for now.”

If you need a laugh, you can download the document at the link above. However, what's completely unfunny about it is that, like the Contract from America, it does not say a single thing about immigration. The reason why that's an issue of vital importance to the tea parties types is described at the link; by ignoring that issue they're hurting themselves. At the same time, they aren't helping the hundreds of thousands of Americans who would benefit from a tighter labor supply. Instead of being concerned with the fate of the millions of unemployed Americans, the tea party "patriots" make absurd statements like:

We Declare ourselves INDEPENDENT of the Democrat Party and its power drunk junta in Washington DC, which is currently seeking to impose a Socialist agenda on our Republic.

That's one step down from something you'd find written on a napkin in the downtown L.A. public library. By falsely accusing the Democrats of trying to do something they aren't doing, they're helping the Democrats. The partiers are marginalizing themselves and ignoring what the Democrats are actually doing (such as supporting massive immigration in order to obtain power). Statements like that might please their base, but it doesn't serve as a serious opposition to what Obama and the Dems are doing.

And, of course, you've got hilarious posturing, like:

The Tea Party Movement will fight this danger to our Liberty as long as its members have breath in their bodies.

Yeah, right. The Bush administration was in many ways a "danger to [their] Liberty", but it's odd how only a tiny number of them could find their voice during those eight long years. They're sunshine patriots, and they're willing to turn their backs on their fellow citizens.

Mike Stopa's fantastical immigration plan (Massachusetts tea party candidate) - 02/24/10

The latest tea parties genious on the block is Mike Stopa, who's running as a Republican for the third district in Massachusetts. He has a plan to stop illegal immigration (stopaforusrep.com/Illegal_immigrants/Illegal_immigrants.html) that's unworkable, most likely leading to the opposite of what he claims to want in the unlikely event that it could ever be enacted. If others proposed this plan I'd suspect that they were just trying to put on a show of doing something, but in his case I somewhat suspect he might be for real. He also has no real plan as to how to push his idea forward despite the massive resistance that it would encounter. He also thinks the INS still exists; it was disbanded going on seven years ago.

Here's the plan:

Upon entering Congress I will press immediately for a bill which gradually, and with due humanity toward those affected, works to re-patriate illegal aliens currently in our country. I will work with fellow members of the House majority on a bill on temporary amnesty, which independently extends temporary working rights to foreign nationals illegally in our coutnry and simultaneously and independently extends freedom from future prosecution to employers, both in exchange for registration, within a fixed period of time, with the federal government. I propose that illegal aliens be required to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service within three months of the bill going into effect and that upon registration they be given the right to work in the United States for one year before returning to their home country. Failure to do so would subject them to immediate deportation. Similarly, the bill will give employers three months to inspect their payrolls and report any violations of immigration law in exchange for freedom from future prosecution.

1. The illegal immigration problem goes much deeper than any legislation can address; it's a "mind" issue that can't be solved with brawn alone. There's no longer child labor in the U.S. partly because of the laws against it but also because those in the establishment who could be enlisted to support it realize that such support would end their careers. We need to get to the same spot with illegal immigration, "training" those in the establishment that supporting or ignoring illegal immigration will have an impact on their careers. The tactics to get there are described here.

2. Stopa's plan isn't like that. His plan would be met with massive resistance from the far-left, the Democrats, business, labor, many top Republicans, the media: the entire establishment would be arrayed against him. His plan would deprive them of money and of power, and they aren't going to let that happen. There's nothing on his page even hinting at how much resistance his plan would meet or what he would do about it.

3. In the unlikely event that his plan passed, the aforementioned groups would work night and day to make permanent what his plan thinks would just be temporary. Newly-legalized illegal aliens who were supposed to leave wouldn't leave, and it would be very difficult to enforce his mandatory deportations provision. The American Civil Liberties Union would clog the courts with case after case. And, within that one-year period hundreds of thousands of those who were supposed to leave would have had U.S. citizen children, making deporting them even more difficult.

4. Note also that Stopa is promoted by Glenn Reynolds at pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/94517

5. Please see #1 for how to actually resolve this issue.

Snow for brains: Teaparty shows again why they aren't fit to govern - 02/23/10

The attached photo shows the latest example of tea parties intellectualism: anti-tax snowmen that one of their groups created on the lawn of the Michigan state Capitol (link; promoted of course by Glenn Reynolds, instapundit.com/94447).

"I Am The Tea Party Leader" videos: the latest bogus grassroots effort - 02/20/10

The latest bogus grassroots effort from the tea parties is the site iamtheteapartyleader.com (NOTE: see update 2 below before visiting it now) at which the Tea Party "Patriots" encourage their followers to upload videos of them saying "I am the Tea Party Leader". This is a take-off on the "I am Spartacus" line from that movie and a reference to a Democratic Party attempt to do opposition research on their (real) leaders.

Dick Armey + PJTV + Glenn Reynolds + Dana Loesch + CPAC = just how dumb are tea partiers? - 02/19/10

Earlier today, Glenn Reynolds posted what might be the shortest summary of just how incredibly dumb and gullible those involved with the tea parties are (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/94212). Savor it:

THE CONTRACT FROM AMERICA: Dana Loesch Interviews Dick Armey at CPAC.

That links to a video at Pajamas Media. So, we've got:

* Reynolds, someone who among other things has encouraged his followers to swarm politicians, hold up bunny ears behind their heads, and throw tantrums like little children...

* PJTV, which converted Joe the Plumber into a war correspondent then an echo chamber talk show host rather than sending him out to do what he got famous for: asking politicians questions...

* Dick Armey, someone who not only supports illegal immigration but who did stimulus-bill related lobbying even as his group opposed the stimulus...

* Dana Loesch, a low-class, low-wattage, truth-challenged radio host who claimed that being opposed to the tea partiers goals' was "an accidental admission of socialism"...

* And, they're discussing the Contract from America, something so obviously bogus that even some tea partiers should be able to see through it.

If anyone can find an even shorter summary of the useful idiot nature of the tea partiers, leave a comment.

Teaparty fooled again: "Contract from America" has nothing about immigration - 02/18/10

Earlier this month I discussed the ineffective, immigration suggestions that had been submitted for the Contract from America. Now, those behind the effort have narrowed down the list of suggestions to 21 and want their visitors to choose their top ten. And, there's not a single choice about immigration: thecontractfromamerica.org/default.aspx

Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Grover Norquist, Scott Brown support John McCain; what J.D. Hayworth supporters can do - 02/15/10

Sarah Palin, Dick Armey of Freedomworks (see the update), Grover Norquist, and newly-elected senator Scott Brown are all supporting John McCain in his Senate re-election bid. Meanwhile, Chris Simcox dropped out of the GOP nomination earlier today, and has endorsed McCain's strongest rival, JD Hayworth. The last is running as the True Conservative against the RINO McCain.

1. This is yet another example of how the tea parties types are useful idiots; all four of those first listed above are associated with that movement: Armey helped organize the major Washington DC protest, Norquist has helped organize other protests, Palin recently spoke at their convention, and Brown was elected in part due to their efforts. Yet, they're supporting a RINO whose loose border policies will lead to more spending and less power for those in the tea party base.

2. McCain is - as always - very vulnerable on the immigration issue. The problem is that few want to challenge him to his face and show how he's wrong, and those who do ask bad questions. If you'd like to reduce McCain's chances, follow the question authority plan and find a smart, experienced questioner who's familiar with immigration to really press him on immigration, then upload videos of the exchanges to video sharing sites. You have to follow the plan to the letter: the person who asks the questions has to be smart, experienced with "cross-examining" people, familiar with immigration matters, and has to ask the right questions.

For starting points, see our immigration questions for Republicans and our coverage of his former (?) advisor Juan Hernandez. I'm willing to help craft questions specific for McCain if anyone is willing to follow the plan above. If you are, leave comments here and on the front page until I notice you; I don't review every comment on this site so you'll need to leave a few.

UPDATE: In comments, Steve points out that Armey has released the following statement (freedomworks.org/blog/bstein80/dick-armey-did-not-endorse-john-mccain):

The New York Times reported recently that FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey has endorsed Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary in Arizona. This is not the case, although this story has been picked up and repeated by countless media personalities and reporters around the country.

This seems to be a good case study in how false information can make its way around the internet and the airwaves before it can be corrected. But we wanted to post a quick statement for all of you who have asked us about this.

A clarification of his position would be appreciated; if he's not endorsing McCain does he still support him, or will he support the pro-borders Hayworth, or will not support anyone?

Offensive Tea Party logo implies only they believe in the Constitution - 02/14/10

Glenn Reynolds promotes (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/93823) a new logo for the tea parties at classicalvalues.com/archives/2010/02/post_979.html, pictured. It says "The Tea Party Difference... The Constitution!" That implies that those not in the tea party don't support the Constitution, something that's not only patently false but highly offensive.

Glenn Reynolds' opinions aren't trustworthy, especially of the Tea Parties - 02/13/10

Glenn Reynolds' opinion of most things isn't trustworthy, with the latest example provided by his Wall Street Journal guest editorial "What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention" (link):

1. He says that Obama's actions have "brought millions of Americans to [take to] the streets over the past year". That number is at the least open to debate; Eric Boehlert questions that number and challenges Reynolds to provide an estimate here.

2. He says:

There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs... These weren't the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.

It should be obvious to all that there's a huge gulf between the policies of Obama and those of the tea partiers. The first is a liberal Democrat, the latter stresses fiscal conservatism with some being extreme fiscal conservatives. Obviously, any cuts that Obama would make would be far less than any cuts that libertarians would want made; no one ever thought Obama would eliminate the Department of Education or the like. So, why is Reynolds pretending there's an overlap between their positions?

3. He says:

[Obama's ideas were so] popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention.

That is, like the quote above, highly misleading. They aren't organizing themselves in pursuit of an objectively-defined version of "good government", but of a fiscal conservative version of government. They think that would be "good government", even if the vast majority of Americans - once acquainted with what their ideology would lead to - would not consider it good government at all.

4. He says:

A year ago, many told me, they were depressed about the future of America. Watching television pundits talk about President Obama's transformative plans for big government, they felt alone, isolated and helpless. That changed when protests, organized by bloggers, met Mr. Obama a year ago in Denver, Colo., Mesa, Ariz., and Seattle, Wash. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli's famous on-air rant on Feb. 19, 2009, which gave the tea-party movement its name.

Once again, no one in their right mind thought Obama was anything but a big government liberal. As for the protests, they almost assuredly consisted simply of people waving loopy signs; they were almost assuredly completely anti-intellectual and ineffective protests that didn't attempt to intellectually engage Obama or one of his leading supporters. I tried to encourage people to intellectually engage Obama in March of last year; where was Reynolds?

5. He says "The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack." For an example of what that means in practice, see this. The tea partiers picking up the slack involves them promoting plans that would make their situation even worse.

Tea party "Contract with America" considers highly impractical immigration ideas - 02/04/10

[UPDATE: They've narrowed down the choices to 21, from which tea partiers have to choose 10. None of them have anything to do with immigration.]

The group "Tea Party Patriots" is crowd-sourcing an agenda for their movement called the "Contract From America" (contractfromamerica.com): users can submit proposed planks and others can vote them up or down. In other words, this is a perfect storm of the issues that the tea parties have, combined with the issues inherent in popular voting systems. Please see both links for a discussion of those issues.

The current top five proposals in the immigration category are impractical, and supporting them would not only not solve issues with massive/illegal immigration but would give their opponents yet more ammunition to use against them. These are drunk-in-a-bar ideas, not serious proposals. And, none of them provide a step-by-step implementation plan or even hint at how they could be implemented. Saying "wouldn't it be great if..." is one thing, actually figuring out how to make it happen and what to do as things go wrong is almost always much more complex. Serious proposals would address that; because these aren't serious they don't:

1. "An Official Language of the United States" (616 Votes. Rating: 2888) could be a satire, considering the errors made in the proposal:

The official Language of the United States ought to be English. in the early 1900s, my great-grandparents had to have learned the English Language within 4 years. Today, us giving this amnesty has disrespected my ancestors and everybody else that came here the right way, and worked for their citizenship. Every immigrant should do the same. This would also slow-down immigration, which what both parties wanted to enact immigration reform.

English-only is a very popular position, much more popular than concerns over the massive political corruption associated with illegal immigration. However, it's also a very contentious area and not one that could be easily addressed in the current situation.

2. "Birth-Right Citizenship" (393 Votes. Rating: 1823). The only way this would succeed was after a decade or two of highly contentious court challenges. That doesn't mean that ending it for the children of two illegal aliens wouldn't be a bad thing, it just means that proposing this would be almost meaningless.

3. "Enforce Existing Immigration Law" (290 Votes. Rating: 1414). This is all it says:

Immigration law doesn't need costly reform, it just needs enforcement!!

That's true, but the poster forgot the important part about how to actually do that. Implementation is not exactly their forte.

4. "Immigration Reform" (102 Votes. Rating: 477):

We call for several areas of reform:

1) A national fence to protect the US borders with a fence or other barrier, and to guard and defend with deadly force that barrier against illegal entry.

2) Establish a national and reliable card check system to confirm citizenship prior to offering a job to an individual. Failure to comply will result in stiff fines and jail time to the owners or officers of those companies who knowingly hire non-citizens. Individuals and their families will not be extradited from this Country – they simply will not be able to earn a living and will hopefully leave on their own.

3) If an illegal immigrant commits a crime of any type in the US, they are to be kicked out of this Country after serving jail time.

4) Make so-called sanctuary cities illegal.

This too could be a satire, with the "zinger" hidden in the first. The idea that we'd shoot non-violent crossers is morally reprehensible and would cause international outcry. The second proposes a national ID card. Those two together are a bit North Korean. The third is what we already do. The fourth is something that could be done, but once again no details are provided on how to do things like, for instance, overcoming the power that illegal immigration-supporting mayors have.

5. "CIVIL RIGHTS RESERVED TO CITIZENS AND LEGAL RESIDENTS" (87 Votes. Rating: 414): "No person who is not a natural born or naturalized citizen of the United States of America or a legal resident alien shall be entitled to any civil rights afforded by the U.S. Constitution and shall be subject to immediate deportation with no right to a hearing." The problem, of course, is that even illegal aliens are granted rights under the Constitution, and changing that would require a multi-year, highly contentious process.

All of these seem almost like they were designed to keep American Civil Liberties Union lawyers employed. Around here, we do things differently from the tea parties: rather than trying to give the ACLU more ammunition and more work, we try to discredit them in order to reduce their power.

The way to resolve these issues is to discredit political and media sources who mislead about these issues and to question authority. Obviously, actually doing work and doing it in a smart and effective way is too difficult for the tea partiers.

Feingold constituents falsely think they're holding him accountable, when they're helping him - 01/12/10

The video at peekURL.com/vle9byx (note: loud profanity) is entitled "Feingold Called Out" and features a recent townhall appearance by Sen. Russ Feingold. In fact, it's yet another example of failure by those in the tea parties sphere:

Tea Party Nation cheap publicity stunt? Say they banned Rachel Maddow, but she never joined - 01/07/10

[UPDATE: I changed the title of this post from "Tea Party Nation bans Rachel Maddow seven minutes after she joined; no dissent will be tolerated!" to the present because Maddow says the person who they banned wasn't her: link. I assumed that Teaparty Nation had verified it was her either by doing a reverse DNS or through direct communication. Either they didn't do that, or - as Maddow says - this is just an attempt to get publicity. In either case they don't look too good and me either for not confirming it.]

Tea Party Nation sent out the following email today. They're the group that will be holding their first national convention in February featuring Sarah Palin. The email is entitled "Liberal Troll Alert!"

Please be advised that over the coming weeks, as the National Tea Party Convention draws near, we will in all likelihood be invaded by liberal trolls looking to disrupt the site.

Rachel Maddow joined this morning and we banned her 7 minutes after she joined. I have little doubt she will mention this on her show.

Per our FAQ's:

Note to Prospective Liberal Trolls: TPN does not tolerate liberal trolls. If your sole purpose is to join this site in order to disrupt the flow of constructive dialogue against liberalism, you will find your time here very short. You can and will be banned for being a liberal. If you wish to debate the virtues of liberalism (as though there were such a thing), there are many other sites on the web who will tolerate you. TPN is not one of those sites.

One possibility they aren't allowing for is "trolls" who would do things in a smarter, subtler way: nudging them just slightly even more to the fringe. Or, encouraging them to do things in an even dumber way than they're doing already. Those would be almost impossible to detect.

David Brooks: this is the Tea Party Decade (the Idiocracy is nigh) - 01/05/10

David Brooks has an extremely fantastic view of the tea party movement (link):

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy - with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation...

Over the course of this year, the tea party movement will probably be transformed. Right now, it is an amateurish movement with mediocre leadership. But several bright and polished politicians, like Marco Rubio of Florida and Gary Johnson of New Mexico, are unofficially competing to become its de facto leader. If they succeed, their movement is likely to outgrow its crude beginnings and become a major force in American politics. After all, it represents arguments that are deeply rooted in American history.

Please compare that with our tea parties summary. While the "partiers" might be popular in polls, that's only because most people aren't familiar with what they're really about and because they're an alternative to the two major parties. In a poll someone might support the tea parties, but tell them what would happen to them if libertarianism is imposed on them and they'll realize just how much the "partiers" are not on their side.

What we need is a smarter, more American, more mainstream group that would come up with pro-American solutions to the problems we face. The solutions offered by the "partiers" only serve the interests of the partiers themselves and those who are pulling their strings. They have little or no concern for the majority of Americans. That same group could oppose the corrupt elites, but would do so in smart and effective ways.

UPDATE: I'm aware that not all the "partiers" are libertarians. However, all or almost all of their leaders either lean in that direction, are outright big or small-"l" libertarians, are former Ron Paul supporters or activists, or - even worse - are Randroids. And, the entire tea party movement is steeped in libertarianism and strong fiscal conservatism to the exclusion of other topics. And, some of the string-pullers - such as Grover Norquist or Freedomworks support amnesty, illegal immigration, or just plain massive immigration. I'll support the tea parties when they expel the libertarians and the corrupt DC hacks and when they realize that there are people besides themselves in the U.S. and when they realize that not everyone who disagrees with them is a traitor and a Communist and when they realize that their flamboyant techniques aren't effective. And, yes, that means I'll never support them.

Tea party National Strike Day in January 20, 2010; plan to be complete "nonentities" that day - 01/04/10

The latest sad and hilarious plan from the tea parties is to hold a national strike on January 20, 2010. On that day, several of their groups plan to go Galt, if only for a day (link):

"What's proposed is a nationwide strike by all Tea Party members, no matter where they are," said Lloyd Rekstad, an organizer of the Yucaipa Tea Party. "The idea is to strike where we are, in our communities, at our employment, to make an impact that will be diverse and spread out."

That would mean, Rekstad said, not going to work, not buying groceries, not going to restaurants or movie theaters.

"You just stay home," he said, "so that the person participating would become, for that one day, a nonentity - that they would give no support to the economy."

1. They're already nonentities. The first link in this post explains all the reasons why that is, but the primary one is because they just aren't that smart. The latest manifestation of that is this effort.
2. As pointed out at the second link above, strikes like this are ineffective since what the partiers won't buy on that Wednesday they'll simply buy another day that week. And, of course, they aren't going to get enough help that anyone will notice their absence.
3. And, of course, they're symbolically withdrawing from the economy at the same time as millions of Americans are out of work. Consumers spending money could help get some Americans get employed; the tea partiers are trying to go the other way.

If you want to laugh at them, visit strike120.ning.com for more sadness mixed with hilarity.

Tea party intellectual Dana Loesch: if you disagree with the tea parties, you're a socialist - 01/02/10

Over at Big Government, tea parties organizer Dana Loesch offers "Its a Wrap: The Most Underreported Stories of 2009" [sic; URL at 1] which, among others, contains this jaw-droppingly stupid paragraph:

The most misreported and misunderstood thing about the tea party is its political leanings. The tea party has no political leaning. It stands straight for limited government, low taxes, and liberty for all. Disagreement with those tenets is an accidental admission of socialism on the part of the antagonist. The beauty of the tea party movement is that it is independent and thus a true check and balance of the Republican and Democrat parties. It’s not a pawn of the GOP, thus untouchable in criticism of the Democrats – I view it as an unattached conscience of the Republican party.

Obviously, the second sentence is false, whether she means "political" in the sense of ideology or in the sense of party. The parties don't stand straight: they lean towards the right and towards the GOP (or libertarianism). That's akin to liberals who refuse to see liberal bias in the media. If she does in fact believe what she's saying it's yet another example of tea party solipsism. Their far-right ideology (at least on economic matters) isn't far right because they're at the center of the universe.

Then, of course, it's her "you're either with us or you're against us" moment, where she says that anyone who doesn't support her far-right economic policy is a socialist. Michael Bloomberg? Socialist! Mike Huckabee? Socialist! George W Bush? Socialist!

There are plenty of Reds under the GOP bed, but also across America. Dozens of millions of Americans, when informed of the tea party ideology and what it would result in would oppose them. And, they're all socialists.

The bottom line is that the tea parties are a loud fringe group of low-wattage loons. Andrew Breitbart is smart enough that he's probably laughing at them behind their back even as he prints their unhinged screeds.

10/11/10 UPDATE: Dana Loesch is the new editor at Breitbart's Big Journalism, so I guess I'll have to retract the sentence directly above.

[1] biggovernment.com/2010/01/01/

Westwood Tea Party no longer recognizes U.S. government as legitimate, others call for revolution - 12/24/09

The Westwood Tea Party (out of the upscale Los Angeles neighborhood that's home to UCLA) has a protest planned for January 20, 2010 in Washington DC. Their event listing titled "It's Time For a Second Declaration of Independence!" (facebook.com/event.php?eid=218493179090) includes the following at the end (full text below):

It’s time for us to tell these Marxist bastards that we don’t consent to what they’re doing, and we therefore no longer recognize them as the legitimate government of We the People!

From their main page, we see that they've at least appeared at the same protest as GOP groups ("NO on PROP 1A / TEA PARTY RALLY @ the Federal Building at 11000 WILSHIRE in WESTWOOD!3:00-6:00 PM. Sponsered by Westside Republicans. / We are working with several ANTI-TAX groups and are expecting significant, exciting speakers.") One can only imagine what the national GOP leadership would think of this.

And, one can only imagine what the GOP would think of the Freerepublic thread that links to the event listing (freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2414518/posts) which includes a few people calling for revolution (how many of those are FBI agents isn't known).

I can't explain to the tea parties how lunatic this is, so I won't try. But, it's not like I didn't expect them to go off the deep end one day or other. Now we know the date.

The full text follows:

Tea party intellectual argument against Claire McCaskill: lumps of coal, Joker image, carolling... - 12/24/09

The tea parties braintrust (Missouri division) turned out in full force yesterday in front of a Claire McCaskill office and - despite their best efforts - she still supports Obama healthcare.

"American Thinker" edits comment on sad and delusional tea party screed (Thomas Lifson, Ed Lasky) (UPDATE: bans me too) - 12/23/09

Glenn Reynolds linked (pajamasmedia. com/instapundit/90431) to "Why the 'Angry Mob' Is Angry" from the website "American Thinker" (americanthinker. com/2009/12/why_the_angry_mob_is_angry.html) so I went there to find out. It's a cri de coeur (from "Wendi Lynn G", rightmakesmight4all.blogspot.com) that's as hilarious as it as sad, and I left the following comment:

Airborne stupidity: tea party plane flies anti-Obama banner; not smart enough to challenge politicians - 12/17/09

Supporters of Ron Paul had their blimp, and now their successors in the tea parties have their own anti-intellectual airborne effort (link). This from the Danville Tea Party "Patriots" - the same group that wanted to burn a Rep. in effigy -

The group’s project coordinator, Susan Lee, raised funds during the last two months to fly a plane over Washington, D.C. morning traffic today with a nearly 100-foot-long banner reading “OBAMA STOP DESTROYING OUR COUNTRY” in five-foot-tall letters.

..."It was just something that I had this inspiration for and I started looking into it,” Lee said. “It was a lot cheaper than (other options) and it’s much more exciting and novel. We’re excited.”

While they were spending two months planning their latest cheap stunt and collecting over $1300 for it, I wanted people to hold politicians accountable and help undercut the mainstream media.

The reader is urged to compare their effort to what I was suggesting during that same two month period. For instance, I wanted people to "cross-examine" Janet Napolitano about immigration enforcement in mid-November. The "patriots" could have easily found someone - even if they'd had to pay them the $1300 - to go to her event and try to ask her the question at the link.

What I wanted could have had a major impact on the Obama administration's policies. What the tea party did was just yet another in their long line of cheap, ineffective, anti-intellectual stunts.

Take Back America PAC from stimulus lobbyist, illegal immigration supporter Dick Armey - 12/15/09

The Take Back America PAC is a new organization from Dick Armey's FreedomWorks; if you're considering sending them any money please read the following links first:

* Dick Armey did stimulus bill-related lobbying for a couple companies around the same time as Freedomworks was incompetently opposing the bill. It's unknown what his lobbying consisted of, but there's a more than fair chance that his actions didn't result in the stimulus being less than it was.

* See this 2007 video of Dick Armey supporting those who come here illegally. He's been a supporter of massive immigration for several years, and the massive immigration that he supports leads to more spending, higher taxes, and increased power for the Democrats and the far-left.

See their name's link above for more on that organization.

As for the PAC, it will be seeking small donations from those in the tea parties sphere and then supporting fiscal conservatives. Per this, Armey said the goal is:

"to show that if Republicans pick their candidates with a message of restraint of big government and respect for individual liberty, it will translate into electoral success. If they don’t do that, they will probably get what I will call ‘gentle reminders’ from all of the grassroots activists in their districts that they need to be a lot more like Reagan Republicans or they can expect that they might lose their own primary."

If you didn't see those links above, please take a look now.

Dana Loesch, Glenn Reynolds: Great Moments in Tea Party, Army of Davids "Reporting" - 12/14/09

Glenn Reynolds and his Army of Davids are at it again, and I don't mean that in a good way. He says (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/90008) "IT’S USUALLY A BAD IDEA to threaten the blogosphere".

Example: how to make a question for a politician better (Obama healthcare) - 12/10/09

The page mentioned in the previous post (toptenhealthcarequestions.com) contains this question for Barack Obama:

The Administration has repeatedly claimed that its health care reform plan will not cover illegal aliens. The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report contradicting the Administration's position, stating "H.R. 3200 does not contain any restrictions on non-citizens whether legally or illegally present, or in the United States temporarily or permanently participating in the Exchange." Is the Congressional Research Service in error? If so, where is the error?

The problem with that question - as with the other questions on their page and as with most of the other questions that people ask politicians - is that whoever wrote it didn't think through what would happen after it was asked.

In this case, they're asking Obama to comment on something he most likely hasn't read. All he would have to do is (probably truthfully) say that he hasn't read the CRS report, and then say that he'll look into it and reference other language preventing them from getting coverage and then seque into a stock speech. In other words, Obama would be able to easily deflect questions like that.

Now, compare that with the question in the second update here; the original post was in mid-August and the update was sometime around the end of August, meaning that either question could have been asked at one of the townhalls that were occurring at that time.

The question in the update at the last link was designed to box in the person being asked the question, asking them to commit to something that they could promise without having to do research (such as reading the CRS' report) first. That promise could then be held against them if they didn't follow through and could have been, for instance, used in their opponents' advertising. If they didn't follow through, follow-ups could have been asked of them at future townhalls.

In order to hold politicians accountable, you have to think ahead, and the tea parties have shown they aren't capable of that.

Tea party "patriots" to storm U.S. Senate, engage in sit-in just like far-left SDS used to do - 12/10/09

From "Tea Party Patriots to Storm Senate Offices" (taxdayteaparty.com/2009/12/tea-party-patriots-to-storm-senate-offices):

It is time, once again, to flex our muscle and exert that influence to hold the line in our fight against the government takeover of healthcare... On Tuesday, December 15 at 8:45 AM thousands of us will meet in Washington, DC at the fountain in Upper Senate Park. From there we will march to the Senate offices, go inside, and demonstrate our opposition to the government takeover of health care. We call this plan "Government Waiting Rooms". The intention is to go inside the Senate offices and hallways, and play out the role of patients waiting for treatment in government controlled medical facilities. As the day goes on some of us will pretend to die from our untreated illnesses and collapse on the floor. Many of us plan to stay there until they force us to leave. A backup location for this demonstration will be announced if they block us from entering the offices.

1. This is yet another cheap stunt from the tea parties, and - like most of their other stunts - it's ripped off from the far-left. Why exactly they think the only way to get their point across is by using the methods that groups like Students for a Democratic Society and ANSWER use is unknown, but it definitely has something to do with their general intellectual and emotional failings.
2. The idea that the tea partiers are patriots is a bit questionable due to their support for extremist ideologies such as libertarianism and objectivism and their support and involvement with those who support massive immigration such as Doug Hoffman and Freedomworks. The idea that they're the only true patriots in the U.S. - an idea that they frequently present - is beyond offensive.
3. As always, the smart effective way to do things is described in the question authority summary. Instead, all the "partiers" can come up with is one cheap stunt after the other.
4. The "partiers" do have questions (toptenhealthcarequestions.com) but they're incredibly weak questions that Obama could handle with ease and that would just give him yet another opportunity to segue into a stock speech. And, of course, the tea parties aren't using about the only ability they have - community organizing - to get people to go ask those questions. See this for a discussion of one of their questions; the criticism at that link applies to the others.

Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman to appear at Tea Party Nation convention (Nashville, February 2010) - 11/25/09

In February 2010, Sarah Palin will be the keynote speaker for the "First National Tea Party Convention" to be held in Nashville, Tennessee (CNN writeup here; t

Liberals cheer racism, repudiation of U.S. sovereignty at tea party protest by Nick Espinosa (Daniel Tencer) - 11/16/09

Daniel Tencer of RawStory offers "Tea partiers punk’d into supporting removal of white people from US" (rawstory.com/2009/11/tea-partiers-punked-white-people video at peekURL.com/v5h3vrp). Both the underlying story and his treatment of it are explicitly anti-American:

Ironic: Dick Armey's support for massive immigration leads to more spending, bigger government - 11/12/09

Back in 1995, Tea Parties leader Dick Armey of FreedomWorks spoke at the Cato Institute about various topics including immigration (cato.org/pubs/policy_report/pr-ja-da.html), and his remarks are incredibly ironic: his immigration policies lead to the opposite of the other policies he claims to support.

How to make Michelle Bachmann's plan to block Obamacare work - 11/05/09

Earlier today, Rep. Michelle Bachmann and a group of hundreds or thousands from the tea parties and related groups "stormed" Capitol Hill in an attempt to block Obama healthcare. That follows a conference call yesterday (link). If they had listened to me, they would have already blocked the plan or at least have eliminated any possible debate over the immigration-related provisions.

Since February 2007 I've been promoting the question authority plan, and in this case I wanted people to go to townhalls and ask tough questions on video about the immigration-related issues of Obamacare. That post is from August 14, 2009 post, right in the middle of townhall season. If any of the tea partiers had asked one of those questions or had otherwise tried to follow my plan, they could have had a major impact on the debate. Instead, all they did - encouraged by their corrupt and/or incompetent leaders - was go to meetings and act like baboons. They ranted, they raved, they threw tantrums like little kids, and at the end of the day they had little impact. And, they're still doing it, thinking that waving loopy signs is a replacement for intellectual debate.

Bachmann appears to be catching on about how to do things, albeit too late. On the conference call she told her followers:

"Don’t bring your pitchforks... bring your video cameras.... I think that will absolutely scare these members of Congress so much that Pelosi will not get the votes and it will kill the bill. I think it could be dead for 10 years. Why won’t we? Why won't we go for broke?"

She appears to at least be grasping at an idea close to mine. The difference however is that I want people to form local groups and assign themselves roles. Some people are better at thinking up questions than others, some are better at publicity than others, some are better at asking questions, and so on. Simply telling people to go videotape, say, Barney Frank isn't going to be that effective because he's a skilled politician who can easily respond to those who aren't also skilled at what they do.

To have an impact, the partiers and others would have to first sit down and think this through; obviously that's difficult for them but they need to do it. Then, with their emotions in check and with their goal in mind, they can follow the plan at the link above and try and have an impact.

Lindsey Graham: GOP isn't going to be "party of angry white guys" (+more ineffective townhall ranting) - 10/13/09

From this:

An often clamorous crowd blasted, grilled and occasionally cheered Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in a town hall meeting Monday that centered on health care reform but returned repeatedly to his positions on climate change, judicial appointees and immigration.

Graham returned the fire with a grin, at times shouting over his most boisterous critics and telling some who questioned his Christianity and party loyalty that their minority conservative views wouldn't succeed without the political coalitions he said are necessary to serve the majority of Americans and attract enough votes in Congress.

"If you don't like it, you can leave," he said...

...One man told Graham he had "betrayed" conservatism and made a "pact with the devil" by working with Democrats, and asked when Graham would switch parties.

Graham said he's not going anywhere and instead would grow the party, defending his conservative credentials on such issues as abortion and guns, and calling the view of Libertarians who believe President Bush was a war criminal "nuts."

"We're not going to be the party of angry white guys," Graham said to more shouts.

You can see videos of it at peekURL.com/vg48dmi peekURL.com/vacmnj1

There are a couple components of this story:
1. Some of the people doing the heckling were apparently libertarians who support Ron Paul. I only watched the first part of the videos above, but based on that and the story above, I'm going to guess that Graham completely "p0wned" those in attendance. Instead of asking him questions designed to make him look bad, they just ranted, chanted, and in general threw a rolling tantrum. In other words, they were not effective. They just acted out, and Graham won. If any of them had found a couple smart people and had had those smart people ask tough questions, Graham would have ended up looking bad.
2. Someone has to represent non-rich southern whites and other "angry white guys", and obviously it's not going to be Graham. They shouldn't vote for him and they should try to take effective steps to oppose him (once again: throwing tantrums isn't effective). For a video example of Graham's alternative to representing "angry white guys", see peekURL.com/vbqpzid Make sure and stick with that at least until he starts discussing uniforms, even if your skin has already begun crawling long before that point. There's an alternative between Graham's "vision", or just becoming the White Party (link), or just becoming the Pure Conservative Party. That would involve becoming an American alternative to the far-left over-reach of the Democrats when it comes to supporting illegal activity, globalism, and Gramscian concepts.

And, for your dose of stupidity, Allahpundit of HotAir links to the videos (hotair.com/archives/2009/10/13/
video-lindsey-graham-heckled-at-south-carolina-town-hall) and says "So why am I on his side? Watch the first clip and see for yourself who it is that’s heckling him and what they think about, oh, say, George Bush. I’ll take Grahamnesty over these tools [Ron Paul fans] any day of the week." That's a false choice, and - while it's not clear that he means "Grahamnesty" in the amnesty sense - I wouldn't be surprised if Allahpundit now supports or would support in the future amnesty.

And, for even more stupidity, Glenn Reynolds links to the HotAir page (pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/86703) and just says it's "not a surprise" that Graham would be heckled. Yes, it's not a surprise. But, that doesn't make it effective. Both Instapundit and Allahpundit are great with the cutesy quips, but not so great with the thinking.

Tucson's Last Stand: tea party October 10 2009 (sadly, not at Galt's Gulch) - 10/09/09

On Saturday, October 10 2009, the Tucson Tea Party group will be holding "Tucson's Last Stand" at Electric Park where they will be offering nationally renowned speakers, local talk radio hosts, and political candidates who will engage the audience in order to galvanize them to political action and donate to win elections.

Jim Geraghty, Glenn Reynolds promote anti-intellectualism (10/7/09 edition; Steve Israel townhall) - 10/07/09

Last night, Rep. Steve Israel of New York held a townhall meeting that per this consisted mainly of shouting and other anti-intellectual behavior. One question that was asked of him is provided at the link, and it isn't a good question.

More people probably saw anti-Tea Party video than attended 9/12 DC march - 09/30/09

The number of people who attended the 9/12/09 tea parties march in Washington DC is still open to debate. Was it as high as 738,915? I ask because that's the current view count on this anti-Tea Party video.

Sleazy low-level elitist Arnold Kling has no clue about Tea Parties - 09/15/09

Arnold Kling of the Cato Institute - presumably speaking only for himself - recently smeared the tea parties and showed how clueless he is about who's attracted to their "movement" (econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/09/tea_and_sympath.html).

Do they fit the stereotype of being white, small-town, uneducated racists? Not much racism, but otherwise I would say they fit the stereotype enough to make me skeptical that this is an important political movement. This country is becoming more urban, less white, and more educated. At most, this movement could turn out to be the right-wing equivalent of MoveOn... ...In the 1960's, a Hubert Humphrey or Robert Kennedy could connect with uneducated white voters. The idea of blowing them off was unthinkable, if only because they were such a large majority of the voting population at the time. Now, the elitism of President Obama and his supporters has reached in-your-face levels. They have utter contempt for the Tea Party-ers, and the Tea-Party-ers know it. I wouldn't want the Tea Party-ers at the faculty picnic, either. But my sense of class solidarity with Obama and other educated progressives does not make me want to see them exercise power. If anything, being a member of the educated elite and knowing knowing them as well as I do makes me share the Tea Party-ers' fears.

We know Kling isn't a Marxist because a Marxist would have gotten their class correct. Leaving his low-class, race-card smear aside, those at the "parties" are a subsection of the "bourgeois"; only a small number of them are from the "proletariat". These are "Taxed Enough Already" parties, meaning that those attending are feeling the pinch of taxes. The people at the "parties" aren't uneducated - except in the sense that only a small number attended Ivy League schools.

They don't represent most of small town America, only a subset. They're small-time, non-elite (except in their towns) professionals, entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the like. In a small town, they'd be the accountants, the guy who owns a drugstore, and so on. They might be the richer people in town, but they won't be the poorer and they probably wouldn't be one of the town bosses. They don't represent a cross-section of middle America; not too many factory workers are going to be attending a protest against taxes. The people at the "parties" don't represent - for instance - the majority of Republicans who support FDR-style programs.

The "partiers" share Kling's extreme philosophy: some form of libertarianism, whether they know it or not. They're his country (to a good extent) cousins, whether he wants to acknowledge them or not.

Max Blumenthal smears tea parties in "Teabagger Tour" video - 09/15/09

Low-wattage smear artist Max Blumenthal offers what he calls "The Unauthorized 9.12 Teabagger Tour", video attached (note the nice Euro touch in the date). I haven't yet watched it, but I'm going to guess that he's cherry-picked the more extreme attendees of the 9/12 Washington DC rally rather than trying to offer some sort of counter-argument to their more valid points; that's what people like him do.