I didn’t pay any attention to the anti-tax tea parties until today, even though I pay too much in taxes and resent the government for over spending.
And that is the point: I now resent my own American government. Once resentment turns to anger, “Houston, we have a problem.”
Many people are “Fed up with excessive spending, planned tax increases and a federal government that first caused the financial bubble through misregulation, and then grabbed power in order to ‘fix’ it,” Glen Reynolds writes in today’s New York Post.
So the left should watch and try to understand the ongoing tea party movement, even though they may think it is small and deserving of scorn and ridicule; which is what Paul Krugman dished up in the New York Times (see below).
Krugman’s having fun with people angry that they are paying too much to a government intent upon reckless overspending should worry the left because overspending isn’t good on the family or the national level. People like ACORN that will make money from this government overspending and generational theft are starting to stage counter protests to the tea party rallies, which is fine with me. We are now starting to uncover the real issue: will we spend money we don’t have on social programs we don’t need forever or what?
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the balcony of the White House before the start of the 2009 Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn in Washington, April 13, 2009. Reuters
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) said today, “Something is desperately wrong when the government spends more than it takes in.”
Seems clear as a bell to me….Clear as hell….The left should worry. Spending money we don’t have is unsustainable; and this recession proved that to a lot of people. We need no further proof…..
By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
This is a column about Republicans — and I’m not sure I should even be writing it.
Today’s G.O.P. is, after all, very much a minority party. It retains some limited ability to obstruct the Democrats, but has no ability to make or even significantly shape policy.
Beyond that, Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn’t feel right to make fun of crazy people. Better, perhaps, to focus on the real policy debates, which are all among Democrats.
But here’s the thing: the G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now. That didn’t stop Republicans from taking control of both Congress and the White House. And they could return to power if the Democrats stumble. So it behooves us to look closely at the state of what is, after all, one of our nation’s two great political parties.
One way to get a good sense of the current state of the G.O.P., and also to see how little has really changed, is to look at the “tea parties” that have been held in a number of places already, and will be held across the country on Wednesday. These parties — antitaxation demonstrations that are supposed to evoke the memory of the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution — have been the subject of considerable mockery, and rightly so.
But everything that critics mock about these parties has long been standard practice within the Republican Party.
Thus, President Obama is being called a “socialist” who seeks to destroy capitalism. Why? Because he wants to raise the tax rate on the highest-income Americans back to, um, about 10 percentage points less than it was for most of the Reagan administration. Bizarre.
But the charge of socialism is being thrown around only because “liberal” doesn’t seem to carry the punch it used to. And if you go back just a few years, you find top Republican figures making equally bizarre claims about what liberals were up to. Remember when Karl Rove declared that liberals wanted to offer “therapy and understanding” to the 9/11 terrorists?
Then there are the claims made at some recent tea-party events that Mr. Obama wasn’t born in America, which follow on earlier claims that he is a secret Muslim. Crazy stuff — but nowhere near as crazy as the claims, during the last Democratic administration, that the Clintons were murderers, claims that were supported by a campaign of innuendo on the part of big-league conservative media outlets and figures, especially Rush Limbaugh.
Speaking of Mr. Limbaugh: the most impressive thing about his role right now is the fealty he is able to demand from the rest of the right. The abject apologies he has extracted from Republican politicians who briefly dared to criticize him have been right out of Stalinist show trials. But while it’s new to have a talk-radio host in that role, ferocious party discipline has been the norm since the 1990s, when Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, became known as “The Hammer” in part because of the way he took political retribution on opponents.
Going back to those tea parties, Mr. DeLay, a fierce opponent of the theory of evolution — he famously suggested that the teaching of evolution led to the Columbine school massacre — also foreshadowed the denunciations of evolution that have emerged at some of the parties.
Last but not least: it turns out that the tea parties don’t represent a spontaneous outpouring of public sentiment. They’re AstroTurf (fake grass roots) events, manufactured by the usual suspects. In particular, a key role is being played by FreedomWorks, an organization run by Richard Armey, the former House majority leader, and supported by the usual group of right-wing billionaires. And the parties are, of course, being promoted heavily by Fox News.
But that’s nothing new, and AstroTurf has worked well for Republicans in the past. The most notable example was the “spontaneous” riot back in 2000 — actually orchestrated by G.O.P. strategists — that shut down the presidential vote recount in Florida’s Miami-Dade County.
So what’s the implication of the fact that Republicans are refusing to grow up, the fact that they are still behaving the same way they did when history seemed to be on their side? I’d say that it’s good for Democrats, at least in the short run — but it’s bad for the country.
For now, the Obama administration gains a substantial advantage from the fact that it has no credible opposition, especially on economic policy, where the Republicans seem particularly clueless.
But as I said, the G.O.P. remains one of America’s great parties, and events could still put that party back in power. We can only hope that Republicans have moved on by the time that happens.
Read Michelle Malkin:
Political Energy We Haven’t Seen For A While
By Glenn H. Reynolds
The New York Post
AROUND America, taxpayers have had enough. Fed up with excessive spending, planned tax increases and a federal government that first caused the financial bubble through misregulation, and then grabbed power in order to “fix” it, they’re hitting the streets to protest.
The first march came in Seattle, where a couple of mom-bloggers organized a rally on Feb. 16. Rallies followed in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., on the 17th. Then CNBC talker Rick Santelli delivered his “rant heard ’round the world,” calling for a “tea party” protest in Chicago on July 4. The name stuck, and further Tea Parties began popping up around the nation.
Some — like those in Cincinnati, St. Louis, Orlando and Fullerton, Calif. — drew thousands; others, more modest, saw hundreds. But new rallies popped up every week.
Then organizers — really, just people discussing things on Twitter, blogs and chatboards — decided that Tax Day, April 15, would be the perfect day for a coordinated national day of protest. Online lists of protests (such as taxdayteaparty.com) predict 300 to 500 marches on Wednesday all across the country.
Now that the movement looks likely to be big and successful, various established groups (mostly on the right, though a lefty counterpart will march this weekend) are getting involved. But its genesis and enthusiasm are pure grassroots: a lot of people who’ve had enough, brought together by the power of the Web.
No doubt they’ll be dismissed by chin-pullers in the Big Media (the same folks who sent more reporters than there were protesters to a staged ACORN protest over AIG bonuses), but these Tea Party protests aren’t the same old rituals with the same old marchers.
These aren’t the usual semiprofessional protesters who attend antiwar and pro-union marches. These are people with real jobs; most have never attended a protest march before. They represent a kind of energy that our politics hasn’t seen lately, and an influx of new activists.
Many in the punditocracy will ignore this week’s protests, to the extent possible, this week. But, thanks to alternative media and talk radio, they’ll still get noticed — in particular, by the members of Congress in whose districts they take place.
In the short run, this is likely to provide at least a bit of resistance to the borrow-and-spend-like-there’s-no-tomorrow approach that now governs Washington. In the longer run, they’re likely to be a source of new energy and enthusiasm in politics — bringing in a lot of voters, organizers and even candidates from among those who were previously on the sidelines.
Instead of the “astroturf” that has marked the ACORN-organized AIG protests, this movement is real grassroots. So if you’ve had enough, consider visiting a Tea Party protest in your area — there’s bound to be one.
It’s your chance to be part of an authentic popular protest movement, one that just might save America from the greed and ineptitude of the folks who have been running it into the ground.
Glenn H. Reynolds blogs at InstaPundit.com. He’ll be covering the Tea Party protests on Wednesday for PJTV.com.http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/
Where Will Yor Tax Refund Go?From AP
Most people say they plan to use this year’s tax refund to pay bills, deciding in this sour economy to be more frugal with their annual windfall.
Fifty-four percent of those receiving refunds said they intend to pay off credit card, utility, housing and other bills, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Monday. That compares with 35 percent who said the same thing a year ago.
Only 5 percent, about the same as a year ago, said they planned to go on a shopping spree.
The survey found that 38 percent of those receiving a refund said they plan to spend at least part of it. But the spending appears to be mostly on basic needs: 17 percent said they would use the money for everyday needs such as food and clothing. It was 7 percent a year ago.