December 17, 2009

Tea Party Beats Democratic-Republican Parties

Our colleagues on the Third Party blog should rejoice. According to a recent ABC/WSJ poll, the Democrats have a 35% favorable rating; the Republicans score only 28%; but the Tea Party beats them both with 41% favorable. Maybe a third party can finally vote out the inept incumbents. If Democrats run on their job creation record, this may well come to pass.

The Tea Party isn’t even a party, so obviously they will not be able to field many (or any) real candidates. Clearly, however, lots of Americans are mad as hell when a movement beats the major parties. C&J attended a Tea Party rally in Washington. There was a big crowd, but we never thought it was going to be such a big deal. You can see a picture we took nearby.

tea party

BTW – down on the Mall at the same time was a festival called the “Black Family Reunion” featuring lots of booths selling traditional African-American dishes and soul foods. The mostly white tea partiers mixed easily with the black family reunion folks and the soul food booths did a bigger than expected business.

Meanwhile the left wing is attacking President Obama and the President is kicking back. Howard Dean has strayed off the Democratic plantation as have many others in the far left such as Kos and There is little joy among those who thought they could.

May you live in interesting times

Nobody is getting what they want. Maybe they will vote out the incumbents, as David Remer advocates. More likely most will just stay home and not vote at all, leaving the election to the committed partisans.

The only thing you can say with some conviction is that all politics is up in the air and almost anything could happen. There is a Chinese curse that says, “May you live in interesting times.” We do.

Posted by Christine & John at December 17, 2009 08:44 PM
Comment #292798

40% of the country self-identifies themselves as a conservative so its no surprise that the abstract entity known as the “tea party” garners an approval rating of about 40%.

Regarding interesting times, you are correct to point out that no one has any idea what will happen politically in the next year; everyone is upset about what’s going on in Congress right now. The GOP could be blamed by the electorate for being obstructionist and face further losses. The Democrats could be criticized for being to weak to pass much of their agenda and face electoral consequences. Or voters will place blame on both and just vote out incumbents. I have a feeling the latter case is the most likely, but it is really impossible to predict anything right now.

Posted by: Warped Reality at December 17, 2009 10:33 PM
Comment #292804

The problem with the poll is that many respondents in those polls do not know what tea baggers are about.

The problem with tea baggers is the schism that exists between their leadership and so many of the followers. The leadership of the tea partyer’s have a singular focus and intent: To enforce fiscal discipline upon the federal government. And I will be the first to say their focus and intent are laudable, if impractical at times in its directives.

Many of the following in the tea partyers demonstrations however, have other extremist agendas and use the tea partyer demonstrations as a means of bringing media attention to these other agendas, like racism against a Blacks in government, anti-liberals and anti-Democrats, and anti-multiple party political system advocates, as well as anti-abortion choice advocates, and some even hoist secessionist signs.

The problem with the Tea Party movement is the same problem Democrats now have. Too big a tent to accommodate consensus amongst themselves, with the notable exception of course, of calling for an end to deficits and growth of the national debt.

If the Tea Party leadership can somehow manage to keep these other conservative extremists from marring the intended objectives of the leadership and the public image of the Tea Party or, “baggers”, their organization might actually accomplish some positive influence over law makers in both parties. But, don’t hold your breath.

The problem is the tea baggers will vote Republican by a great majority, and the GOP and incumbent Republicans in the Congress know full well, they have no other viable choice on election day. Which in turn means, Republicans are free to do what they have always done, speak of lofty conservative principles on the campaign trail and govern with an aim toward garnering more power away from the people, and in support of the wealthy special interests and lobbyists who will champion their reelection bids.

In the end, the Tea Partyers may prove to have had more influence over the Democrats in Congress toward fiscal discipline in action, than on Republicans, even if Republicans were to reacquire power in D.C. either through majority in a House of Congress or winning the White House, if the last 8 years of Republican power are any indication. They kept talking fiscal discipline when in power but, kept doubling that national debt over the 8 years as well.

Know them by what they do, not what they say.

Here are some of the Non-Sensical slogans on Tea Partyer Signs, as well as here.

Zero Taxes
(which advocates anarchy as zero taxes would result in NO government).

Cut Taxes Not Defense
(As if Defense spending had not accounted for huge portions of the deficit and national debt growth in the last 8 years.)

Taxation Without Representation Ain’t So Hot Either
(This one is pure stupidity and ignorance. This tea bagger is completely unaware of the purpose of the elections every two years conducted for Congress, who are the elected representatives who legislate taxes.)

Environmentalism is recycled Communism
(This is another idiotic, ignorant, and thoughtless Tea Bagger, who apparently doesn’t mind of Dow Chemical gives them cancer by contaminating their drinking water, for example. Advocating for protection of the human environment has absolutely nothing to do with Communism. )

Tea Party Today, Tar and Feathers Tomorrow
(This one advocates violence against fellow Americans who don’t share the same lock step views. These kinds of Tea Baggers are potentially dangerous to innocent persons going about their daily lives.)

Then of course there are all those signs seen by Tea Baggers on TV with Obama in White Face, and dressed in Native African tribal attire. Pure bald faced racism there.

So, whether or not the Tea Party movement actually achieves anything, will depend directly upon whether the leadership can cull these extremists from their ranks or at least prevent them from being so vocal and visible as representatives of the Tea Bagger ideology.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2009 04:37 AM
Comment #292809

I went to a tea party to see what the joke was, then Sarah Palin showed up.

Posted by: gergle at December 18, 2009 09:55 AM
Comment #292811

Tea Partisans are Republicans that don’t have to produce results, and who don’t have to answer for their extremism with the possible loss of power.

The moment you do see them elected, you will see one of two outcomes: 1)They get results, which makes them unpopular, and 2) They get none, which makes them no different from any Republican.

Their appeal, at best, is a countercultural appeal. Their supposed populism makes them seem like enemies of the old order. But any sustained critique of their policies will demonstrate that their own policies are the same elitist economics that we saw out of Republicans for the last century, and their differences from the other Republicans only lies in the brazenness with which they speak and act.

I am old enough to remember how Republicans talked in the days of the Contract with America, and aware enough to have heard this same stuff out of Republican’s mouths all throughout their terms.

The fraud of the Tea Party movement is that it’s a populist movement. Instead, it’s a partisan movement dressed up in populist rhetoric. It’s backers are rich, it’s policies, the policies that benefit those rich folks.

I mean think about it, folks: this whole thing got started on CNBC with a business reporter rousing agreement out of BOND TRADERS. IE, the folks who got us into our current economic mess, who benefited from the bailouts.

The folks out there in the Tea Parties are either deceiving people or being deceived themselves if they say their movement is grassroots or of the people. It’s an astroturf movement, and its politicians are just ambitious figures on the far right using the rage of the public as a cover to go into Congress and fight for the same policies that have the public in such profound anger.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 18, 2009 10:52 AM
Comment #292815

”” You mention that a person with one income around the median level could buy a house in the 1950s. As a matter of fact, with a single income you still can buy the kind of house you had in the 1950s. It would be small, with one bathroom, maybe no shower. Five or seven people would share that small space. You would furnish it with a television that got a few channels (no cable or TViO.) Our material expectations have risen. We have become more materialistic. Someone living under those middle class conditions of 1950 today would be considered poor.”” Said Christine, Yes real tough back then having a 85$ dollar house payment and a three bedroom 1.5 bath 1400 sq ft house for $11,000 a brand new Oldsmobile for Mom and a washer and dryer and saving money in a stable bank account, When 20 years before that she lived in a 100 year old farm house with 14 brothers and sisters with an outhouse and no electric or hot water, And Dad owning a Union shop paying the new guy and family across the street $ 5.00 an hour with benefits before that he was a milkman making$ 2.25 an hour and living in an apartment with no benefits those were real tough times..

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 18, 2009 12:24 PM
Comment #292817

From Friedman’s WSJ interview back in 2003

Under those circumstances, how can we ever cut government down to size? I believe there is one and only one way: the way parents control spendthrift children, cutting their allowance. For government, that means cutting taxes. Resulting deficits will be an effective—I would go so far as to say, the only effective—restraint on the spending propensities of the executive branch and the legislature. The public reaction will make that restraint effective.

The Tea Party movement is a vital clog in our political process; a part of the public reaction that restrains the growth and span of government.

Post Reagan there is now a huge political penalty to be paid by raising taxes. Bush the Senior learned that one back in 92 and the Democrats a year later. That’s why the Democrats insisted on negotiating expiration dates on the Bush W tax cuts. That way they didn’t have to face the pain of raising taxes.

And now the other political restraint, the outcry against deficit spending, is increasingly becoming louder. We are close to the point where Cheney’s “deficits don’t matter” position can’t be sustained. It’s the point of borrowing where Deficit Hawk Republicans, Pay Go Democrats, and Tea Baggers converge and say enough is enough.

Friedman and other free market types always wanted to cut government, but I’ve never been that ambitious. I’ve only wanted government to be contained, to be limited, such that it is politically painful add new programs, to start new wars, and to introduce new regulations. That way we only let government provide what we really need from it. States once had established boundaries of the Federal government, but they sold their rights for the lure of free grant money. So now it’s left to us.

We’re obviously not there yet, as Congress just raised the debt ceiling without any riots in the streets. But the polling suggests that the political tide is coming soon to a voting booth near you. Let’s hope so.

Posted by: George at December 18, 2009 12:35 PM
Comment #292819

That is why I won’t do two shows a night anymore,:)

Posted by: Rodney Brown at December 18, 2009 01:02 PM
Comment #292827


You can find weirdoes in any large group. Our own experience in actually attending some of these things is that the Tea Party people are generally moderate-middle class folks who are worried about run-away debt and bloating government. They are worried about politicians being “generous” with their money, i.e. money they will get stuck paying later.

I don’t think you could categorize them as extremists, since 41% of the population just cannot be characterized as extremists. What they want seems fairly mainstream. The U.S. has not really been governed by liberals since the time of Lyndon Johnson. People had forgotten or never knew what that could be like and actually seeing it is scary.

A point of order, you mention the eight years of Republican rule. You may recall that Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress only from 2003-7. I know that Democrats shift the blame very well, but they were certainly complicit during four of those eight years you mention. Interestingly enough, those were the four worst years. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have been in charge since 2007. I know that correlation is not casualty, but when the Democrats were in power, things went down hill.

As I wrote above, it is too soon to tell, but I think Democrats may have to start thinking of excuses to explain why the people aren’t voting for them.

One more thing, I would think you would be happy with the prospects of a third party.


You mention remembering the Contract with America. Read it again. All ten of their promises were brought to a vote in the first 100 days. Nine out of the ten big parts of the contract with America were fulfilled.

Among the big things we got were a budget surplus, welfare reform and a fairer tax code, including things like a child tax credit.

Republicans strayed a little from 2001-2007, when they started to spend like Democrats, but now that we see what kind of deficits Democrats can create, we will soon long for those good old days when a big deficit was only around $200 billion.

Democrats have controlled both the House and the Senate for almost THREE years. Can you point to even one really great accomplishment from their first 100 days, or from the three years for that matter?

The deficit was $187 billion the year Harry and Nancy took over with the Democratic crew. It is $1.4 trillion now (i.e. 1400 billion). I guess that is a monumental achievement. Three years after the Republicans took over, we had a budget surplus for the first time in many years.

Just a few differences.

Posted by: Christine at December 18, 2009 08:21 PM
Comment #292873

Christine said: “I don’t think you could categorize them as extremists,”

I do, those carrying those signs I see regularly at their demonstrations, and the many not carrying signs and agree with them.

Its not just a few, Christine. The Tea Party is attracting a disproportionate number of wierdos and extremists for any kind of demonstration, EXCEPT a Green Demonstration or G8 Demonstration, which also display a disproportionate number of nuts with extremist signs.

But, you know, the GOP began attracting these nuts back during the Contract For America, and when they made abortion rights their central core constituents issue. It brought out the undereducated, the underintelligent, and the extremists on the conservative end of the spectrum and has even elected some of these extremists to office like Gov. Perry of Texas pandering to separatists and secessionists for votes. That is nuts.

You see white, middle aged, and apparently pre-judge that as mainstream. The signs and chants coming from them tell a very different story about more of them than you obviously care to admit in your comments or fail to recognize.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2009 01:28 PM
Comment #292874

Christine said: “A point of order, you mention the eight years of Republican rule. You may recall that Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress only from 2003-7. I know that Democrats shift the blame very well,”

Screw your point of order. Bush carried on two wars OFF BUDGET all the while talking fiscal responsibility. Bush never vetoed a spending bill that would abet doubling the national debt in his terms of office. Yes, 4 of those 8 years were controlled by Republicans, but, then, Democrats have never campaigned on fiscal responsibility, duping the public, as Republicans did and continue to do.

Republicans were successful in duping the public precisely because they pandered to the undereducated, under-rational, as their base, like the Mountain Top Removal coal corporation supporters in W. Virginia, who can’t make the connection between Coal Operations and the poorest local economies in the nation, despite Coal Co’.s scaring them into believing if Coal mining goes, so will their economy, while non-coal mining counties in W. Virgina have many times better and more robust economies based on tourism and other industries.

It’s all connnected, Christine. The GOP base is far more easily duped and made fearful of the educated so-called “elite of the Left”, which includes the scientific community and rational empirically based population, which includes people of other faiths and no faith. Prejudice and racism are associated with under-educated and under-intelligent as a sociological correlation, making the GOP base a magnet for racists in this country. Hence, the 99.9% Caucasion make-up of the Tea Party.

Nothing wrong with objecting to fiscal irresponsibility, but, the irony is, the Republicans oversaw the national debt rising from 5.65 trillion to over 11 trillion in an unprecedented 8 years, with 3 trillion of that debt having no relation to Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, or 9/11. The most fiscally irresponsible party in American history is NOW the GOP, as Democrats proffer Pay As You Go rules, and attempt to insure money borrowed is invested in revenue producing ventures down the road, a concept foreign to Republicans when in power, and only adopted with Democrats back in control.

I have no love of the Democratic Party. It is a self-serving political power structure like the GOP. But, objectively, if I have to choose between the GOP and Democratic Party for fiscal responsibility, the choice is the Democratic Party.

Fortunately, I have a bigger agenda which is to vote out the incumbents of both parties to insure future representatives from both are forced to appease the independent voters deciding elections based on a demand for more responsible government overall.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2009 01:45 PM
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