Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

April 1, 2009

On Tea Parties and Republican hypocrisy

by Jason Pye

As you may already know, there will be nationwide protests on April 15th, Tax Day, to protest spending and tax hikes by the Obama Administration. These protests, referred to as Tea Parties, have taken place nearly every week since Friday, February 27th (yours truly attended the Atlanta Tea Party and was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News about the events) and have been gaining notoriety and slowly more people are attending. The protest here in Atlanta had around 300 people, not bad for a cold, rainy day. Other cities have seen as many as a few thousand people show up.

These protests serve do a purpose, despite what pseudo-libertarian talk show host, Neal Boortz, says or believes. They show that everyday Americans want less spending, less government and personal responsibility. However, they are at risk of being co-opted by Republicans who either stood silently or only gave passive criticism to the spending spree of George W. Bush.

Republicans do not realize the serious credibility problems they have when it comes to criticizing the economic policies of Barck Obama. According to a recent study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, George W. Bush was the biggest spender in the last 30 years. The table to the right shows the massive increases in non-defense discretionary spending.

Sean Hannity, who will be attending the Atlanta Tea Party on April 15th, says he has criticized Republicans on spending. He has been more vocal of late about Republicans getting back to the supposed small government roots, but even he was only passive while the gross expansion of government was taking place.

Newt Gingrich and his group, American Solutions, recently announced that they were endorsing and supporting the protests. Gingrich has supported and lobbied for a $9 trillion expansion of Medicare and more recently, the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP or Wall Street bailout), which has resulted in trillions of taxpayers dollar being put at risk by a completely incompetent government. This is exactly the sort of spending that these protests are against. An argument can also be made, after reading Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, that Republicans began to lose whatever principles they claimed to have while Gingrich was Speaker of the House, something can be verified by the table above by looking at the growth in spending in the second term of Bill Clinton.

The involvement of politically polarizing figures will ruin and destroy the credibility of a good movement. Accusations of astroturfing surfaced immediately after the events on February 27th. This makes those accusations have substance.

Despite all this, concerned taxpayers should show up to these events to voice their disapproval at these economic policies that have lead us down an unsustainable path. There are several of these protests lined up on April 15th across Georgia. You can find a list here.

C/P: Atlanta Examiner

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  • http://gordonunleashed.com/blog/ Stephen Gordon

    Thanks, Jason. Well worded and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Sam Adams

    Boston Tea Party was a great day in American history and should not be commercialized for the purpose of high ratings and book sales.
    Hannity you belong at the bottom of the Boston Harbour. You fat communist.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Bush was the “biggest spender” only when it’s taken into consideration that he had to deal with a heavily Democrat-controlled Congress from 2006 on. Even early on in his administration, thanks to “Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords” he didn’t have a full majority in the US Senate.

    It’s funny how Libertarian Party partisans seem to ignore that fact, when they engage in their tiring Bush-bashing tirades.

    Yup, Bush sucked alright. That’s why he gave us the very first Libertarian Party State Chairman ever appointed to a Cabinet level position in a US Presidential administration.

  • http://jasonpye.com/ Jason Pye

    Bush was the “biggest spender” only when it’s taken into consideration that he had to deal with a heavily Democrat-controlled Congress from 2006 on.

    Actually, that’s not true. In fact, it’s an outright lie. Look at the chart in the post and see for yourself. Also, Bush was complicit in much of the spending that took place in his final two years.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    Eric,

    Bush had a moderately friendly congress for 6 years of his term. Reagan had a moderately unfriendly congress for 6 years of his term, and a decidedly unfriendly congress for the final 2 years.

    So why did Bush run up spending so much faster than Reagan?

  • Merf

    48.6% increase in output?

  • NH Sovereign

    Useless eaters like this blogger are too busy fingerpointing when we are at a crossroads and ready to go under … you are part of the problem.

    Obama has spent 10X as much as Bush and is bankrupting us on behalf of his banker elite friends ON PURPOSE. If you can’t see that you are part of the problem.

  • Norm

    Wow that didn’t take long for the name calling to begin.

    I just don’t trust anyone that sees a parade and jumps in front so that they can claim to be a leader. But politicians are great at claiming credit and better at denying blame.

  • Peter

    My wife and I are going to several tea parties. We are life-long democrats, agree with your criticism of Bush, but think Obama is far worse. When did deficit spending become a Republican or right-wing concern. Obama’s plans are highly immoral and fly in the face of any household trying to balance a check book.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Eric,

    Bush was the “biggest spender” only when it’s taken into consideration that he had to deal with a heavily Democrat-controlled Congress from 2006 on. Even early on in his administration, thanks to “Jumpin’ Jim Jeffords” he didn’t have a full majority in the US Senate.

    Take a look at the chart. During Bush’s first term he increased discretionary non-defense spending at a rate unseen since the Nixon Administration.

    During that time Bush had a GOP majority in the House and, despite the defection of Jeffords, a working majority in the Senate. Also, by 2002, the impact of Jeffords’ defection was nullified when the Republicans picked up two Senate seats.

    So, you know, try again.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Obama has spent 10X as much as Bush and is bankrupting us on behalf of his banker elite friends ON PURPOSE. If you can’t see that you are part of the problem.

    If given the chance, Bush (and McCain) would’ve done much of the same things Obama is doing.

    Remember that it was GWB who decided to go against the expressed will of Congress and give GM and Chrysler $ 14 billion back in December.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Hmmn, so your idea of a “working majority” includes Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins? Oh, and let’s not forget that illustrious “gentleman” from Virginia John Warner. Added to Jim Jeffords, that makes something like 48 real Republicans in the Senate and 52 Democrats. Hardly what you would call a “majority.”

  • David

    I came to this page expecting that I would be disagreeing with you on the grounds that you were linking republicans to the tea party movement. However I find that I agree most definitely. The sure death of this movement would be to allow it to be run or even influenced by the republican party. I think anyone should be allowed to lend their support, even politicians, and that anyone should be allowed to speak, even politicians, but the tea parties should not become about a person or a faction.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    It continually amazes me how every hardcore Libertarian Party partisan completely and utterly ignores the fact that George W. Bush appointed former Colorado State Libertarian Party Chair Gayle Norton as his Interior Secretary.

    Can anyone PLEASE! name me another US President, who has ever appointed an LP member, let alone a State LP Chair, to such a high position?

    Only Reagan, came close with Dana Rohrabacher as his Speechwriter. Besides Rohrabacher, there’s NOBODY!!

    But do you EVER! hear any single Libertarian Party partisan ANYWHERES!!! even in the State of Colorado, giving Bush credit for this?

    Amazingly, Norton even got hammered as Interior Secretary for being an “extremist libertarian government slasher,” by the Left.

    Did you see any LP Libertarians coming to her defense?

    Politics is a two-way street. You can’t just bash your allies, and never give them any credit, even when they do something spectacularly wonderful, and then expect them to turn around and toe the line on your issues.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Sorry Mataconis, McCain would not be doing “pretty much the same things Obama is doing.” Let’s not forget, McCain was squishy on a few issues, but his Lifetime ACU is a solid 82. And his NRA standing is near 100%. Obama’s lifetime ACU and NRA scores are a big fat 0.

    And let’s not forget McCain chose an explicit libertarian as his running mate. There’s little doubt that Sarah would’ve had a fit if McCain strayed a bit into the big government camp. Hell, she raised bloody hell with him during the campaign even, when he strayed here and there.

  • Mikey

    question: when will we stop fighting each other and turn our wrath on capitol hill?

    whosoever sits upon the throne is just a puppet…try listening to the old king krimson song, court of the crimson king, and find out who makes the puppets dance.

  • Persnickety Curmudgeon

    to stop all this non-sense there is but one answer – the government may not borrow any money – period – ever –

    This means no borrowing or euphemisms thereof – laons gurantees, ious, social securit, lock boxes, trust funds, unfunded mandates etc.

    make an exception for wartime and we will always have “wars” shooting wars, peacekeeping actions, wars on terror, wars on poverty…

    forget tax rates and forget spending caps for now they are meaningless if the govt has an eternal never ending credit line to tap….

    No Govt borrowing…

  • http://www.beyondpinkblog.com BeyondPinkBlog

    It’s all about getting re-elected. That’s the 1st selfish priority of these folks who would normally support less government spending.

    We need to elect people who don’t care about reelection as much as they care about taking the right steps even for a brief 4 years…. Turnover would be good to some extent.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    You mean the same John McCain who suspended his campaign to go back to Washington and campaign in favor of TARP a/k/a the crap sandwich bailout ?

    And if you think that Sarah Palin would have had any real power in a McCain Administration, you’re kidding yourself. She would have spent four years riding the dead foreign dignitaries funeral tours and cutting ribbons at supermarkets.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Dondero you keep bringing up Gail Norton.

    Tell me one thing she did to stop the big-spending, big-government, big-deficit George W. Bush from trashing the economy and ruining the reputation of the GOP.

    I’ve asked you that many times in the past, and you’ve never come up with an answer.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    Well, maybe things would have been different if we had a real Republican in the White House,

    Instead, we had George W. Bush the “compassionate conservative” whose definition of compassion involves spending other people’s money.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/tarran/ tarran

    Sarah “I’ll jack up taxes and spending” Palin a libertarian?

    What sort of imbecile is so ignorant of what libertarianism is that he would call Palin a libertarian?

    Oh look, it’s Eric “don’t give me any of that boring philosophy stuff” Dondero. If Raoul Castro suddenly announced that he was a libertarian, and continued running Cuba with the same policies that are now in place, no doubt Eric would be on the first plane to Cuba and write breathless blog-posts from there about the paradisaical experience of living in the only libertarian country on Earth.

  • Jim Fink

    Folks, this is the type of argument that derails the underlying issues. Did W. spend a lot? Yes he did. So, that said, does it make it OK with the public for Obama to spend 3 times what W. spent? No. I am tired of hearing the Obama supporters defend his spending spree by referring back to Bush and his open-wallet policies. That is an irrelevant response to a very relevant issue with the sole purpose of attempting to take the questioner’s eye and the unfocused listener’s ear off the topic. Questioners of these spending policies need to be persistant in their questioning and not fall into the trap of going on the defensive with regard to previous administrations’ spending habits. While I agree Republicans went relatively silent during W’s spending, the questions/concerns they raise today are relevant and right. The bottom line is, if you or eye ran our businesses or households with the same spending habits as Obama (or Bush), we’d be out of business very quickly. Fiscal responsibility is simple, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Afterall, isn’t this how so many Americans got into credit trouble in the first place?

    Stop trying to cloud our eyes with irrelevant distracting responses and articles. It doesn’t matter if the one concerned has clean hands or not. What matters is the concern, and these concerns are completely valid.

  • Factor

    “question: when will we stop fighting each other and turn our wrath on capitol hill?

    whosoever sits upon the throne is just a puppet…try listening to the old king krimson song, court of the crimson king, and find out who makes the puppets dance.
    Comment by Mikey”

    That’s a damned good point, and from what I’ve seen, this blog does not recognize that top power wielding politicians are not decision makers in any respect. The average blogger here believes that, e.g., McCain would actually at any point make a self-sovereign decision on an important piece of legislation without following the orders of his handlers. This blog draws the line there with a “conspiracy kook” barricade, and that is why I’ve always seen the blog as being pretty limited in its prescience.

  • http://www.belowthebeltway.com Doug Mataconis

    tarran,

    Eric’s been singing the “Palin is a libertarian” song since September. Before that he was saying that Rudy Giuliani is a libertarian.

    So, you know…..

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Funny, even LP Chair Bill Redpath put out a statement today bashing Obama for increasing spending “three times” over Bush.

    And still you Lefty so-called Libertarians are stuck with bashing Bush and the Republicans.

    Get over it.

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    Mataconis, Giuliani is the Hero of 9/11. He stood up to the Islamo-Fascists, in fact was the first one to do so. That alone qualifies him as a Libertarian in the highest order.

    It’s a simple equation:

    Oppose Islamo-Fascism your libertarian credentials are pretty damned solid.

    Support Islamo-Fascism, or appeas it, as do many on the Libertarian, you are essentially a defacto Fascist yourself, and not in any stretch of the imagination a “Libertarian.”

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    BTW, Giuliani was called a “libertarian” by over 50 mainstream media in the 2007 election primaries.

    Additionally, there was this choice quote from the NY Times from 1999, (paraphrased):

    “Giuliani is not even a real Republican, but rather an extremist Ayn Randian budget cutting, tax slashing, extremist.”

  • http://www.libertarianrepublican.blogspot.com Eric Dondero

    3,000 Lefty demonstrators protested against “Libertarian” Gov. Mark Sanford at the Capitol in Charleston the other day. They bashed him for being a “Libertarian” budget slasher.

    Not one god-damned Libertarian group came to his defense.

    Amazing, that when a Republican gets bashed for being a “Libertarian,” the so-called Libertarians are nowheres to be found to defend him or her.

  • Akston

    “Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.”

    Rudolph W. Giuliani, Sunday, March 20, 1994

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/author/tarran/ tarran

    The pathetic thing is that Eric promotes real fascism as being the only defense against the spread of Islamic fundamentalism, which has fewer fascist elements than the policies of the Eisenhower administration.

    This is what cowardice and a lack of principles will get you. Al Queda is less of a threat than the Nazis, the Marxists, yet because those older enemies had their heyday well in the past, guys like Eric underestimate how much of a threat they really were. So a gang that is about as destructive than Pancho Villa’s gang becomes active, and lacking a referrent, Eric panics.

  • Peter

    “to stop all this non-sense there is but one answer – the government may not borrow any money – period – ever – ”

    Persnickety:

    We may be moving in that direction, involuntarily. With the amount of debt the US government has, and with investors becoming wary of it, the endless supply of borrowed money may dry up. The government won’t let that stand in their way, they will just turn to methods that are more visibly deleterious to the people, like printing money causing hyperinflation. Hopefully the American People will wake up soon.

  • Peter

    Eric:

    Have you ever heard the expression “Two wrongs don’t make a right”?

    Imagine if you are pulled over by a cop, he says you were speeding and you say “But that guy in front on me was going faster!” Do you think that would keep you from getting a ticket?

    Obama is spending tons. Bush spent less than Obama. (well, maybe, Obama has not finished his term yet, so we do not know exactly what will happen). Obama’s wrongs do not excuse the poor management of the country by Bush and his Republican comrades.

  • tfr

    Ok, looks like it’s time for a definition:

    libertarian – socially liberal, fiscally conservative.

    I dunno what strange new definition some of y’all have come up with, but the above is it in a nutshell.

  • http://www.bigheadpress.com Scott Bieser

    “libertarian – socially liberal, fiscally conservative.”

    No. That was a campaign slogan used and then abandoned by the Libertarian Party back in the ’80s because it was inaccurate and misleading.

    Here’s the definition I have been using for 30 years:

    “Libertarianism is the idea that no one has the right to initiate force or the threat of force against any person, or to delegate or incite initiated force, for any reason or purpose.”

    Here’s another one I discovered recently that works about as well:

    “All ethical relationships among adult human beings are voluntary.”

  • John

    In general, I think libertarians view government as the problem and not the solution. I do wonder how we the people were able to delegate the right to initiate force to the government if we never had that right to begin with.

  • http://www.bigheadpress.com Scott Bieser

    The answer is that we can’t, either individually or collectively.

    I want to clarify a common misconception concerning what “initiate force” means. To “initiate” means to start something. If I walk up to someone who hasn’t harmed me and punch him in the face, I’m initiating force. If that guy then hits back at me, he is not initiating force — force has already been initiated by me. The other guy would be defending himself, or in other words employing defensive force, which he has every right to do.

    If I walk up to some guy and wind up my fist as if I’m about to punch him in the face, this is as good as initiating a threat of force, and he likewise has a right to defend himself, using defensive force as necessary.

    In the limited-government version of libertarianism, people can delegate to government their right to defend themselves, using defensive force as necessary. They cannot delegate the right to initiate force because that right does not exist to begin with.

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