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

“My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.”     Adlai E. Stevenson

April 17, 2009

Weekend Open Thread: Tea Parties As Pent-Up Hostility?

by Brad Warbiany

As said before, much “ink” has been spilled on these “pages” to discuss the libertarian response to the tea parties. Several of us have suggested that while we’re happy the partiers have regained their allegiance to small government and fiscal conservatives, we’ve thought it a bit strange that these folks seem to come out of the woodwork once they lose power.

But I’m struck by the thought that these people may have been just as fed up with the behavior of elected Republicans as we libertarians, and although they weren’t very vocal about it, they largely laid down at the polls due to that disgust.

Why weren’t they vocal? Well, as former CA state Republican chairman Gaylord Parkinson once called The Eleventh Commandment (as recalled by Ronald Reagan):

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

Given that one of the biggest problems in the libertarian movement is constant infighting and purity battles, I can understand the desire to hold your ammunition for the enemy, not expend it on friendly fire.

So here’s my thesis. Republicans, getting disgusted by the behavior of Bush and his spendthrift Congress, but conflicted about in-party fighting opening the door to the Democrats (particularly during wartime), acquiesced at the spending as the “cost of remaining in power”. Then, when finally Bush was gone and the Republicans lost control of Congress, the built-up rage at the spending immediately erupted into an onslaught of protest. This sudden protest seems like a change of position, but it was a position that already existed under the surface and the acceleration of spending was the catalyst to open it up.

Two things must, of course, be said:

1) Republicans remaining silent during the Bush administration was wrong. Not only did they not get small government, they ended up losing control of Congress and the White House. Had they enforced spending discipline and acted like Republicans, they might have gotten small government and kept control. At worst, they would have slowed the rate of government growth before losing, instead of dramatically increasing the growth of government.
2) Obama’s spending levels are far beyond those Bush envisioned. Even if Bush’s wish list came to fruition, Obama’s intended spending is a whole new level.

So what do you folks think? Is the tea party protest an eruption of latent hostility that was masked during the last 8 years, or is it simply an about-face of our partisan American polity?

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49 Comments

  1. Interesting. I had already started researching for an article on Reagan’s 11 Commandment and how much it might be to blame for the last 8 years.

    I’m curious about feedback, too.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 18, 2009 @ 5:49 am
  2. “So what do you folks think? Is the tea party protest an eruption of latent hostility that was masked during the last 8 years, or is it simply an about-face of our partisan American polity?”

    Why does it have to be one or the other?

    I made a lengthy comment to a April 16th Stephen Gordon post. It reflects my mindset as well as I believe a huge percentage of others which I won’t rehash here. How does that fit into your either-or scenario?

    Have you SEEN the CBO deficit chart? The one showing black lines for the deficit in the years pre-2009; and the projections for the subsequent years shown in red?

    Speaking for myself, there has been no 8 full years of “latent hostility” nor have I made an “about face,” in terms of going from a “go along get along” mentality to deficit spending to suddenly saying “oooh, now that OBAMA is in office, deficit spending is BAD; why?, because my Masters at Fox News told me so!” (leftist and possibly libertarian assumptions to the contrary).

    Call me crazy, but as bad as taking 8 years to grow a $400 billion deficit is, I THINK there can at least be an argument made that increasing it to a Trillion within a matter of months might be worse.

    The ever-GROWING unease and dismay with the national GOP politicians, led by W and the other “moderates”, over the abandonment of ANY notion of fiscal responsibility…..I believe reached the tipping point, and became transformed into a clarion call for actual action – by the first 30, then 60, then 90 days of this new administration.

    Virtually each new day dawns with some new jaw dropping announcement or action. Starting with a pork-laden trillion dollar bill which get rammed through WITHOUT it even being read or first vetted (from an administration which made transparency a cornerstone if its campaign.). The overt hostility trumpeted from day one by the Washington establishment and its propaganda media arm, toward capitalists, free enterprise, business….Acorn buses protesters to evil capitalists houses – when it is Frank and Dodd who should be resigning in disgrace. And on and on and on and on.

    Virtually every day, it is something new. This week alone we have the DHS report which has the left experiencing orgasms (“in your FACE, wingnut SUCKERS!!” — and it appears you Libertarian here are like – gosh, let’s all use this moment to come TOGETHER under the warm and friendly big tent of the Libertarians? Yeah. Right.)- coming virtually concurrently with the warm and hearty handshake with totalitarian Che Chavez; Dem politicians going to Cuba to cuddle with totalitarian murderer Fidel; EPA’s planned end run around any resistance to the “cap and trade” insanity….and on and on and on. And that is just this week.

    What dodge or side distraction to shift attention away from Cap and Trade or whatever the real agenda item is, will be coming up THIS week? A new “open borders” agreement with the Anarchy to the south of us – floated as yet another test balloon, to see how badly the masses scream about it – before they quietly, for the moment, back off? But in the mean time, get some good “conservatives are dangerous racists who need to be restrained” talking points out there? Or flat-out lying about Mexican drug cartels getting “90%” of their guns from America, in order to soften up the public for gun control legislation?

    “Never waste a good crisis,” says O’s right hand man. Obviously. But perhaps, contrary to your two either-or choices, the O is overplaying his hand SO intently, it has finally made some of us sheep come out of our stupor and wake up.

    The world seems like it is plunging into unrestrained insanity. Virtually the ENTIRE DC establishment has now finally, and with crystal clear clarity for those of us who have been in denial or blind, shown its hand as being intractably, utterly, completely and hopelessly corrupt; and where not corrupt, incompetant.

    The last time I experienced anything close to this was in 92 – which you are probably too young to remember Brad. I personally knew literally DOZENS of people who were firmly intent on voting for Ross Perot – fed up with Bush Sr., and they could not stand 1992′s version of slickster John Edwards. But they either sat it out or reluctantly changed back to Bush when Perot got wacky right near the end combined with him choosing that 100 year old Admiral as his VP. Yet Perot STILL got a whopping (if I am recalling correctly) 17% of the vote. But for his own misteps it might have been 20%+. Just imagine.

    And that ’92 phenom is nothing like this. Will this get legs and grow and not just fade away? One can only hope.

    Comment by southernjames — April 18, 2009 @ 6:03 am
  3. james,

    FYI welcome, I saw that you came over from BoilerD’s place, hope you’re enjoying it over here :-)

    For the last 8 years, though, the increase in spending was not small. Check out the chart at my coblogger Jason’s post here.

    Bush was the biggest spender since LBJ. He was the first president to preside over a $2T budget, and his proposed budgets as he was leaving office were right about $3T. He gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and bloat and increases all over the rest of the system, and that’s not counting all the war spending.

    Do I think Obama’s spending is a jump even from the Bush days? Yes. But you cannot claim that it’s a change in principle, only in scale. Bush directed the bus squarely towards the edge of the cliff, Obama’s just hitting the gas pedal.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 18, 2009 @ 8:12 am
  4. [...] STEPHEN LENDMAN created an interesting post today on Comment on Weekend Open Thread: Tea Parties As Pent-Up Hostility? by…Here’s a short outlineInteresting. I had already started researching for an article on Reagan’s 11 Commandment and how much it might be to blame for the last 8 years. I’m curious about feedback, too. [...]

    Pingback by Topics about Stephen-smith » Comment on Weekend Open Thread: Tea Parties As Pent-Up Hostility? by… — April 18, 2009 @ 9:09 am
  5. These folks are American citizens working class, businesspeople, Democrats, Republicans, firemen, policemen, lawyers, military vets ,Doctors, bankers, mechanics, children , black, red, yellow , and white races who are standing up to protect their country, as their forefathers did when they observed the USA’s freedoms being attacked by conspirators in government, who would be Indited for crimes against the constitution!
    People who say no to bailouts and the disappearance of tax money!
    Say no to government bankrupting the USA!
    Saying no to government representatives endeavoring to take citizens God given Amendment’s away, ie; First and Second Ammendments !
    They are saying no to Homeland Security suggesting that military vets may be terrorists! They are saying no to Homeland deceiving them into believing that their purpose was to keep foreign terrorists out of the USA, who have now turned on America and treat law abiding citizens as terrorists, did you know you maybe considered a terrorist threat if you plant a garden? Do your homework folks, you could be standing in line at the soup kitchens, you, your family just praying to get a bowl of soup!
    The people are saying no centralized world banks who with little steps one by one, will march folks off to their demise under control of “One World Government”!
    Say no more leaders that belong to extremely wealty Elitist organizations wherby, the leaders we end up having, whether Democrat or Republican are manipulated like puppets in favor of policies that are benefical to the elitists only!
    But are policies of absolutely no benefit to the USA and the citizens of the United States of America!
    Don’t believe it? Do your homework!
    Posted by Paul Revere on 04/17 at 10:05 PM | #

    Comment by Paul Revere — April 18, 2009 @ 9:45 am
  6. Obama has made it clear that he couldn’t care less what the TEA Party demonstrators were trying to get through his head- so will now enact his radical agenda regardless of the costs, and is willing to pull us into the abyss to do it.
    -
    In Barack’s world, even if impeached tomorrow, he could always brag that he fired the CEO of GM- the ultimate class-enemy. And spending trillions of dollars’ worth of your and the next 2-3 generations’ money doesn’t seem to bother him one bit- he acts like it doesn’t even merit discussion. We hear plenty about his neckties, lengthy puppy-vetting process, and how Barack likes to play “hoops”, though.
    -
    It’s hard to imagine a worse combination in a leader than managerially-inexperienced narcissist with Bolshevik mentors and weird grudges.
    This guy thinks he’s king of the universe, when his resume doesn’t qualify him to run a muffler shop. And the only apparent “qualities” besides soaring rhetoric are towering arrogance and a black-hole where his conscience was supposed to be… explains how he did so well in the mafia-like Chicago Machine.
    -
    http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Reaganite Republican Resistance — April 18, 2009 @ 11:28 am
  7. Obama has made it clear that he couldn’t care less what the TEA Party demonstrators were trying to get through his head- so will now enact his radical agenda regardless of the costs, and is willing to pull us into the abyss to do it.
    -
    In Barack’s world, even if impeached tomorrow, he could always brag that he fired the CEO of GM- the ultimate class-enemy. And spending trillions of dollars’ worth of your and the next 2-3 generations’ money doesn’t seem to bother him one bit- he acts like it doesn’t even merit discussion. We hear plenty about his neckties, lengthy puppy-vetting process, and how Barack likes to play “hoops”, though.
    -
    It’s hard to imagine a worse combination in a leader than managerially-inexperienced narcissist with Bolshevik mentors and weird grudges.
    This guy thinks he’s king of the universe, when his resume doesn’t qualify him to run a muffler shop. And the only apparent “qualities” besides soaring rhetoric are towering arrogance and a black-hole where his conscience was supposed to be… explains how he did so well in the mafia-like Chicago Machine.

    Comment by Reaganite Republican Resistance — April 18, 2009 @ 11:28 am
  8. Obama has made it clear that he couldn’t care less what the TEA Party demonstrators were trying to get through his head- so will now enact his radical agenda regardless of the costs, and is willing to pull us into the abyss to do it.
    -
    In Barack’s world, even if impeached tomorrow, he could always brag that he fired the CEO of GM- the ultimate class-enemy. And spending trillions of dollars’ worth of your and the next 2-3 generations’ money doesn’t seem to bother him one bit- he acts like it doesn’t even merit discussion. We hear plenty about his neckties, lengthy puppy-vetting process, and how Barack likes to play “hoops”, though.
    -
    It’s hard to imagine a worse combination in a leader than managerially-inexperienced narcissist with Bolshevik mentors and weird grudges.
    -
    This guy thinks he’s king of the universe, when his resume doesn’t qualify him to run a muffler shop. And the only apparent “qualities” besides soaring rhetoric are towering arrogance and a black-hole where his conscience was supposed to be… explains how he did so well in the mafia-like Chicago Machine.
    -
    http://reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Reaganite Republican Resistance — April 18, 2009 @ 11:45 am
  9. Brad,

    It’s good to be here. Where I don’t have the burden of pretending to be a Doctor. :)

    I don’t disagree with your points. It may be more of a change in “scale” rather than a change in “principle,” but the speed in which the change in scale occurred, combined with the breakneck pace of the onslaught of hyperactive hopeychangitude initiatives (a couple of which I gave examples of) I think finally not only woke up a lot of people who were sleeping, but also energized a lot of people who were ALREADY very fed up with W and his moderate big spender pals in Congress.

    I think you have to admit that the change in scale has been so sudden and so immense it ALMOST represents a change in principle.

    But in any event, I think it is a mistake to assume that the registered Republican “base” was (aside from supporting the surge and the war effort in general) remotely satisfied with W and the DC Republican establishment the past 2+ years.

    I think the Reagan commandment phenom had a dampening impact on voices being raised, due mostly to the war. Bush was already being branded as a war criminal who needed to be put on trial and hopefully publicly executed, by those on the other side of the aisle. I think that kind of had an impact on rank and file Repubs who might otherwise have gotten a lot more vocal, a lot sooner, on the domestic big spending irresponsibility.

    We should have not gone into Iraq in the first place. Conceded. But five years in, with progress finally being made, the “General Betrayus” and other similar stuff was deeply and profoundly offensive to a lot of people who might otherwise have started kicking up a fuss over the culture of hyper-spending W had signed on to.

    For all of her faults, including what MAY well be an insufficient education, intellect or IQ for the presidency, (I don’t know one way or another) Sarah Palin energized a whole lot of people because of what they perceived she represents, and I’m not just talking about the “social” conservative issues. To the people who attended her rallies she represented a return the concept of seeking smaller rather than larger government, lower taxes, and fiscal responsibility.

    These people are now also I would assert, albeit without any statistical data to back up my assertion, a core and very large component of the Tea Party movement.

    A test of my theory would be if she showed up at one of the tea parties. It has been well documented that, in spite of the leftist MSM propaganda lies that these are simply all “sore loser GOP rallies” lots if not MOST Republican pols who showed up to speak were booed or not allowed to speak at all.

    In contrast, I think she would be allowed to speak, and would also be welcomed.

    This means, and as I pointed out in a prior comment to another thread, your (by your I mean the Libertarians) recruiting ground for converts or allies to your ideological cause lies within THAT demographic – - for better or for worse, and as hard to swallow as that may be for many Libertarians.

    Comment by southernjames — April 18, 2009 @ 12:05 pm
  10. The Tea Party’s are ENVY.

    Comment by VRB — April 18, 2009 @ 6:32 pm
  11. If someone steals my wallet and charges my credit cards past their limit on purchases he thinks are necessary, the last word that comes to my mind for him is “envy”.

    Comment by Akston — April 18, 2009 @ 8:12 pm
  12. Akston,

    It is an emotion like anger.

    Comment by VRB — April 18, 2009 @ 8:33 pm
  13. Sorry to be opaque, but I’m still not tracking with you. What are Tea Parties envious of?

    Comment by Akston — April 18, 2009 @ 9:38 pm
  14. The national debt is skyrocketing at a historic rate in the Bush-Obama Stimul-out era. Over a trillion borrowed since last September for bailouts and stimulus packages alone. Who’s going to pay off this spending when the Uncle Sam can’t raid the Social Security surplus any more? When foreign lenders stop lending to a government laden with mountains of debt? WE WILL.

    Put simply, it’s not envy at all. Envy involves coveting someone else’s fortune. The tea party movement is about the fortunes of the people protesting. The taxpayers are the source of everything in the government, from Obama’s salary to the pencil sitting on the desk of an IRS intern.

    The money to pay for it all either has come from us or it will come from us. Borrowing is only a mechanism for the government to determine *when* it comes from us, and it’s a mechanism that’s close to breaking down. When it does, all the obligations the politicians have made will come due, and it’s the taxpayers that will get the bill.

    The tea partiers get this. That’s why they’re angry; and that’s why I’m angry. Envy has *nothing* to do with it.

    Comment by Quincy — April 18, 2009 @ 11:41 pm
  15. Geez, Liberal VRB – project much?

    The emotion of “envy” has for years, been a key and essential cornerstone of the……DEMOCRATIC party’s campaign strategy. Resentment of the rich, who don’t “pay their fair share.” Class envy. “Hey, I just want to spread the wealth around.”

    And since the election, consistent with campaign narrative – and always staying on message – who has been demonized and who has received not 50%, not 75%, but 100% of the blame for our economic crisis by the white house and its propaganda media arm? Answer: The “greedy” wall street capitalists, the greedy bankers. And I guess I must have missed it when the President also demanded that UAW heads roll, and that Union bosses also be held to accountability for their back-breaking contracts, when he fired the GM Chairman. Nope, it is the capitalist robber barons who are all to blame. (I’m sure he found common ground with his new pal Chavez on that one, this week).

    Outside of “right-wing” websites, a.m. radio commentators, and possibly Fox News (I say possibly since I don’t watch Fox) has ANY blame been assessed to the politicians like Frank and Dodd for contributing to the cause of this mess? Is Acorn busing any protesters for a staged media photo-op out to any politician or Fannie Mae chairman’s house?

    The plebeians, the peasantry, are patted on their heads and told “don’t worry, we’re just going to increase taxes on the “rich” people who make more than $250,000.” Some of the ignorant plebeians are calling bullshit. Better keep an eye on them, and write up a DHS report to that effect – after all, a lot of them own guns, and some of them are probably anti-abortion.

    Comment by southernjames — April 19, 2009 @ 4:55 am
  16. Akston,
    I wrote a post.
    ENVY

    Quincy and southernjeans

    Envy is about motive.

    I would hardly call your protest having any coherent message, from looking at the signs from the tea parties. Your two comments are an example of that. I think the founders would roll over in their graves knowing that you all have compared yourselves to those at the Boston Tea Party.

    Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965 was a tea party event.

    Speaking of ACORN you should envy them because they know how to organize.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 6:24 am
  17. VRB -

    DON’T PISS AWAY THE FUTURE OF THE TAXPAYERS WITH WASTEFUL SPENDING. That’s the message.

    There’s one group that has no goddamn say in Washington these days, and it’s the same group who’s paying for the entire bloody thing. Washington is beholden to tax consumers like ACORN, Social Security recipients, corporations taking corporate welfare, the politically-connected rich who can evade their taxes. The middle and upper classes who make too much to be tax consumers but make to little to evade their taxes with financial machinations are the one’s who make the whole goddamn misadventure that is the modern federal government possible.

    Yet when this group gets angry about what’s being done in OUR name, arrogant fools like you and Jan Schakowsky call us envious and despicable. Damn you, all of you, who think the duty of the American taxpayer is to bend over and take it with a smile while the government spends their future.

    We’re taking back the voice that’s been taken from us. We’re mad as fucking hell and we’re not going to get walked on any more. Calling us despicable, envious, or any other epithet simply for wanting a place at the table of the government WE fund is nothing but pure, concentrated bullshit. Got that?

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 7:31 am
  18. Okay, VRB, we, here on the site, envy ACORN because they know how to organize.

    But what, exactly, do all the protesters at the Tea Parties envy?

    Comment by Merf — April 19, 2009 @ 8:10 am
  19. VRB, I clicked on your link to read your post:

    “What do you do, when you don’t have a grass roots movement or a young charismatic leader and your persons of color have failed you?”

    Oh, so that’s your theory? You just don’t get it, do you. That’s a shame. And your loss.

    1. It’s not a grass roots movement? Make up your mind – it is either Acorn-like – a faked, phony, funded and staged event – “astroturfing” by the Evil Right Wing Overlords at Fox – in which case why should we be envious of Acorn? Kind of out-Acorned Acorn at their own game, in a pretty damn short period of time, right?

    Or, what is happening truly is the start of a “grass roots” movement. If so, pretty impressive wouldn’t you say? No Obama white house Acorn funded, or DNC funded, or Soros funded, outfits had to round up people and bus them to these rallies. They showed up all by themselves.

    2. “Our” persons of color have “failed us.”? Thanks but no thanks. I’ll decline to play the racial identity politics game of exclusion and balkanization. I prefer to believe that ALL politicians of ALL colors have failed ALL of us – at least those of us of all colors who are producers and contributors to the public treasury.

    3. So the tea party people are upset that we don’t have our very own 44 year-old Marxist community organizer who gives great speeches when in front of a teleprompter, and makes the young female reporters swoon? Uh, no. Not even close. But nice try and thanks for playing.

    Finally, speaking for myself only, I’ll take a pass on being envious of Acorn. Perhaps observe and learn from them? Maybe. But envy is an emotion. An ugly and unhealthy emotion. I’m sorry if you suffer from it.

    Comment by southernjames — April 19, 2009 @ 8:45 am
  20. Quincy,

    If that the only sign you saw at the various tea parties around the country, you must be blind.

    southernjames,
    Did you read the dialog from “A Mad Hatters Tea Party?”
    I am not playing any games. I am stating it as I see it. the President’s policies didn’t start this, only his presence, which seem to be stated on many of those signs. Looks to me, more anti-Obama than anti-tax.

    The hostility about taxes is feigned. If you haven’t lost your job or house, you are probably struggling as you did the previous years. I also think many at those rallies are probably already suffering from this economic downturn and which if they paid no taxes at all would not correct their problems.

    People want to feel that they matter and can control their destiny, that’s why many are at those rallies. Will they go all the way with you?

    The libertarians should have been at this for many years past. To change a system without violent revolution requires a long term effort.
    A grass roots movement cannot be as hap hazard as yours is now. It takes strategies, organization, building coalitions and willingness to not fight everyone who disagrees with you.

    What envy do I suffer? As Geraldine would say “You don’t know me that well.”

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 11:01 am
  21. Quincy,

    I have a right to be as arrogant as you. It is also not a bad word. As for fool, see what I said to southernjames.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 11:04 am
  22. VRB,

    I know everyone wants to make this into some sort of racist anti-Obama deal. But do you really feel that the protests would be any different if it were Hillary? Gore? Kerry?

    While I criticize Republicans for holding their tongues as Bush spent like crazy, this is partisan, not racial.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 19, 2009 @ 11:07 am
  23. Envy is indeed an emotion, like anger. I cannot accurately classify the emotions of every Tea Party attendee. I can tell you about mine.

    When a government (led by Bush or Obama or anyone else) asserts what I see as an unconstitutional claim on the present and future fruits of my life’s labor (and my life itself, by proxy), I instinctively resist. I can become angry, resentful, defiant, or intractable, but not envious.

    What would I envy? That some group is successful in achieving political goals? For me, it depends on the goal. When I see the goal as unethical – like theft (no matter how well intentioned the thieves are) – I don’t envy the thief’s skill at theft. I resent and defy it.

    Comment by Akston — April 19, 2009 @ 11:10 am
  24. VRB,

    I did indeed read your post and the Carroll excerpt. I’m curious, what sections do you see as germane? Is it that the table is laid out for more than are present? If so, how big does it have to be before its owners no longer own it?

    Is it that saying what you mean is not the same as meaning what you say? If so, then who do you see as missing that point?

    Comment by Akston — April 19, 2009 @ 11:14 am
  25. VRB –

    I’m not responsible for what you did and didn’t see at the tea parties.

    The fact is that we have republicans trying to astroturf a primarily anti-Obama message onto a movement that’s got little to do with being anti-Obama and a lot to do with being in favor of fiscal responsibility.

    The core message from the people who started it, and the ordinary, hard-working Americans who attended of their own free will, was the one I stated above. That’s also the message that the media is trying to squash. If you’re getting your info about the tea parties from any of the major news organizations, you’re reading a frame job designed to make anti-debt activists look like racist nutjobs. It’s simply not the truth on the ground. If you want that, look at the photos on Instapundit.com. They’re far more representative of the heart of the movement.

    The hostility about taxes is feigned. If you haven’t lost your job or house, you are probably struggling as you did the previous years. I also think many at those rallies are probably already suffering from this economic downturn and which if they paid no taxes at all would not correct their problems.

    You’re wrong. The folks I talk to are angry about taxes. Not the taxes of today, but the taxes of tomorrow. They see that the government can’t keep borrowing to pay of its borrowing and some day the bill will come due. Every bit of opposition I hear is that taxes aren’t bad *now*. Well, it’s never been about now. That’s an attempt to misdirect those observing the debate.

    A grass roots movement cannot be as hap hazard as yours is now. It takes strategies, organization, building coalitions and willingness to not fight everyone who disagrees with you.

    A true grassroots movement is, by definition, disorganized in its early stages. It’s forming from the bottom up, and it takes time to take shape. The movement has already fended off attempts by Republicans to take over and move off-message. No other protest movement of recent memory has told an organizing campaign, a political party, or an elected politician “no”. We have. Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican Party, was told he would not be given a time to speak on April 15 in Chicago. He was invited to the protest to listen. If this is some astroturf job by the Republican machine, how would this be allowed to happen?

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 11:28 am
  26. How can one be angry about taxes they haven’t paid and if they get a tax cut this year, how will they be paying more taxes next year? I just don’t get it. As of yet the 22 trillion dollars of national debt doesn’t exist?

    I guess I think one should be upset of present injustices. Why one has no job and may never have a prospect of one? Why is America’s economy not based on production, but consumerism and creative manipulation of money, which is not sustainable unless the population declines drastically. Why many people will be marginalized, with hopes they will drop off the face of the earth? I am surprised that there is no uprising now, since downsizing has gotten to the maximum level. To pay taxes, one has to have an income.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 12:16 pm
  27. Akston,

    Is it that saying what you mean is not the same as meaning what you say? If so, then who do you see as missing that point?

    You all are. See my previous post.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 12:20 pm
  28. VRB -

    You just don’t get it, do you? This is about taxpayers having a voice in the debate of the direction of the borrowing and spending that we’re on the hook for. We’ve lost our voice in Washington. We’ve had bailouts and stimulus packages rammed down our throats despite our vocal objections. The media won’t listen when we speak, so we’re protesting.

    Why do you argue so hard against the people paying for the government having a voice in it?

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 12:51 pm
  29. And to add to what Quincy just posted – the dismay over bailouts and stimulus packages being rammed down our throats did not just start when Obama came into office – Bush stated something like (from memory – I may not have the quote precisely correct) “I had to sacrifice the free market to save the free market,” before getting this whole bailout train rolling…

    Yeah, maybe those of us who voted for him in 2004 as representing the lessor of two evils between Bush and Kerry should have seen what he was back then; and maybe, as Brad seems to keep wanting to imply, we were just flat out stupid. And maybe, since it appears that there continues to be a resistance on this site in distinguishing between 2004 Bush voters who have been incensed with the Fed Govt. bailout bullcrap since BEFORE the election, let alone since Obama took office, versus “moderate” republican POLITICIANS, perhaps anyone other than card carrying, ideologically “pure” libertarians should just stay away from “their” exclusive tea party movement.

    Is that what you are saying Brad? Was I and the hundreds of people around me, Republican “astroturfers” by attending the Tea Party?

    I do know what were all are, in the eyes of Janine Garofalo — who on NBC – not MSNBC, but NBC – stated that this is just a bunch of racist white supremacists who can’t stand the thought of a black man in the White House. VRB must be a Garofalo fan.

    Comment by southernjames — April 19, 2009 @ 1:54 pm
  30. Quincy,

    DON’T PISS AWAY THE FUTURE OF THE TAXPAYERS WITH WASTEFUL SPENDING. That’s the message.

    A rhetorical question? Is this the same.
    This is about taxpayers having a voice in the debate of the direction of the borrowing and spending that we’re on the hook for. We’ve lost our voice in Washington.

    Brad,
    anti-Obama = racist
    You said it.

    southernjames,
    I only know Garofalo from 24. She’s no Chloe.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 3:29 pm
  31. VRB,

    anti-Obama = racist
    You said it.

    That’s the spin out of the media, yes. I presume you agree?

    You see, the media is trying to spin this a certain way. They think anti-tax and anti-spend must be anti-Democrat, which must be anti-Obama, and anything that’s not bowing in fealty to Obama must be racist.

    Personally, I think it’s primarily a bit of pent-up reaction to obscene levels of spending, and the resultant inflation or outright taxation that must logically follow. As I pointed out above, I think if it were Hillary, or Gore, or Kerry in the White House spending like this, the reaction would be the same.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 19, 2009 @ 3:57 pm
  32. VRB,

    Why is America’s economy not based on production, but consumerism and creative manipulation of money, which is not sustainable unless the population declines drastically.

    Really? So what is the intended result of all the stimulus packages and bailouts?

    Bernanke, Geithner, Obama and formerly Bush are terrified that consumerism and creative manipulation of money has come to an end. They’re following the approach of Keynes, which is simple: “FOR GOD’S SAKES GET EVERYONE SPENDING AND CONSUMING AGAIN OR IT’S ALL OVER!”

    The Republicans (and they did show this during the early days of TARP) and the libertarians (just look at our blog’s archives in Oct/Nov/Dec) savaged George W. Bush for his handling of the financial implosion. We know that all the stimuli and bailouts they throw at it won’t work. That’s why we’re arguing against them!

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 19, 2009 @ 4:03 pm
  33. james,

    And maybe, since it appears that there continues to be a resistance on this site in distinguishing between 2004 Bush voters who have been incensed with the Fed Govt. bailout bullcrap since BEFORE the election, let alone since Obama took office, versus “moderate” republican POLITICIANS, perhaps anyone other than card carrying, ideologically “pure” libertarians should just stay away from “their” exclusive tea party movement.

    Is that what you are saying Brad? Was I and the hundreds of people around me, Republican “astroturfers” by attending the Tea Party?

    No, we don’t think you’re astroturfers, and no, we don’t think you should be excluded.

    It’s just that when you actually regain power — and given the policies of the Democrats it’s inevitable that their failures will open the door for Republicans again — we hope that you don’t suddenly lose your commitment to fiscal responsibility like you did from 2000-2008.

    For libertarians, it’s not JUST about the bailouts; it’s about the wild spending of the entire Bush administration.

    Frankly, although I don’t speak for everyone, we libertarians are happy to have you guys back. We had a good coalition going in 1994. We’re just leery after being dumped in 2000 for Mr. “Compassionate Conservative”.

    I think as a libertarian, I know the old saying on this one… Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice — well you can’t fool me again! Heh heh.

    (Full disclosure — I voted for GWB in 2004. I regret it, and wasn’t going to make the same mistake by voting for McCain in 2008).

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 19, 2009 @ 4:12 pm
  34. VRB –

    It’s about establishing the voice we need to deliver the message. Taxpayers are persona non grata at the debate about the future of spending in this country, precisely because we’re saying no more.

    This isn’t about race or party. Both a white republican and a black democrat have told us that our message simply doesn’t count. So has the rest of the ruling class.

    And to answer your point directly, with your inane parroting of the MSM/government party line, you helped me realize that we were locked out of the debate.

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 5:42 pm
  35. Brad,
    I think the intended results is to create new industries and to reinforce our consumerism and credit system. I do not to pretend to know if any of this will work.

    Quincy,
    I really don’t think I am parroting anyone. It may be that I have similar thoughts or have come to the same conclusions. Parroting on most blogs seems to be a given. Occasionally there may be some original thought. When I started reading this blog it was quite different than it is now and I don’t know why it is still a habit.

    Comment by VRB — April 19, 2009 @ 7:08 pm
  36. VRB -

    The envy thing was original, I’ll grant you that. But equating reasoned criticism of Obama to racism and saying the tea parties have no point because the current rate of taxation hasn’t changed is straight out of the Democratic Party/MSM playbook. You might have arrived there through a different path, and I apologize for any insult if that’s the case.

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 8:37 pm
  37. southernjames –

    The whole astroturfing thing has more to do in my mind with the Republican political machine than with rank-and-file voters. The Republican machine is trying to get a handle on these things and take credit for them because the message of the grassroots in the movement is directed as much towards them as it is towards Democrats.

    When Republicans (or Democrats) come and protest because they agree that our future is being spent away by the ruling class in Washington, and that we should have a voice and a capacity to say “NO!”, that’s not astroturfing, it’s genuine participation. I welcome it.

    When Republicans (or Democrats) come and try to eclipse the message of the grassroots with the party line, that’s astroturfing. Michael Steele tried to do it in Chicago, and he was told “no”.

    It’s time for the parties and the ruling class to listen to the ordinary, tax-paying citizens for a change. This is a movement where the message is coming from the people and going upward. The astroturfers want to turn that dynamic on its head.

    Comment by Quincy — April 19, 2009 @ 8:57 pm
  38. VRB. One other thing. Early on, you said you think the Founders would roll over in their graves if they saw what the Tea Party people are doing and calling a “Tea Party.” That’s your opinion which you are certainly entitled to.

    Here’s my opinion. I think the Founders would be absolutely shocked and horrified if they came back and saw what the Federal Government they envisioned and then created, upon kicking the monarchy out, has become. And I think they would go up to the Tea Partiers and say – what the hell took you so long? And why are you waiting until July 4 for your next one – get moving!

    Comment by southernjames — April 20, 2009 @ 7:41 am
  39. southernjames,
    I said that because calling what you are protesting doesn’t require the risk of starting a war or being arrested for crimes against the state. I am not sure that the protest against taxes at that time are the same as they are now. I thought it was more about their say in government, a government which way they were not in any way represented and much more oppressive than our’s.
    Sometimes it offends me, that many of you that have had freedom all of your lives, assume you know what it is to live oppressed. That is why I used an example of what event might actually be synonymous with The Boston Tea Party.

    Comment by VRB — April 20, 2009 @ 11:21 am
  40. VRB, please tell me, how have you been oppressed?

    I haven’t, really, except when I was in the Navy, and that was my fault, since I chose to join, I asked for it.

    But I don’t need to actually be oppressed, in what ever way you choose to define it, to know where our gov’t is heading, and that it will use taxes to get there and drag us along, too.

    Comment by Merf — April 20, 2009 @ 12:10 pm
  41. Other useful questions might be:

    What level of oppression is acceptable? How badly must the government break its constitutional contract with citizens before it’s unacceptable?

    Is there such a thing as financial oppression? Do the products of a citizen’s life’s work belong to the government and any other citizens who demand them? Is the fruit of future labor also forfeit? Is there any limit? Is that limit written down anywhere?

    What kind of oppression is good oppression? Which people are okay to oppress?

    Comment by Akston — April 20, 2009 @ 12:47 pm
  42. VRB. Come on. I mean, really. The “Tea Party” theme comparison is SYMBOLIC. It is just a catchy handle or name to use to describe a group of people who believe that the ruling class of incumbants in Washington have absolutely no intention of listening to the citizens they are supposed to be working for.

    And I didn’t even pick the “Tea Party” name, so “I’ll be grateful for you not blaming me for things that happened when I was 3 months old.” :) I love that quote. So I wanted to squeeze that in here, even if not applicable.

    Come on, nobody in the Tea Party movement is LITERALLY comparing themselves and their conditions to what the Sons of Liberty faced when they threw tea into Boston Harbour. Truly. VRB, we just LOOK stupider to you than we actually are. That vacant hillbilly stare and the toothpick hanging out of my mouth can be deceiving, I do realize.

    “Sometimes it offends me, that many of you that have had freedom all of your lives, assume you know what it is to live oppressed.”

    Some of us who have had freedom all our lives do have the insight and depth to not take it for granted – because there have always been and will always be those who will wish to reduce it, restrict it, or control it. Some of us HAVE traveled extensively to other countries and have SEEN how citizens who do NOT have our freedoms are forced to live. Must I become an actual Cuban or Chinese CITIZEN to understand and “know what it is like” to live under oppression?

    Do I think I am being “oppressed” right NOW? No, of course not. It’s called being proactive, and at least trying to be vigilant. Because…

    The largest spending bill in the history of the world was signed in Obama’s first 100 days in office. The democrats now in power passed the largest budget in history without a single GOP vote – this budget more than doubles the national debt in one fell swoop; and I have read that it supposedly adds more to the debt than all previous adminstrations — from George Washington to George W. Bush — combined.

    I’m sorry, but that concerns me. And I would like the brakes to be applied. Because I fear that this path we are on will be disastrous for my children and their future.

    Yeah, I understand the libertarian argument that because I didn’t (publicly, with a sign) bitch about a 300-400 billion dollar deficit, I must be an astroturfing republican leech, for having the gall to bitch about it now….even though it is now a projected two TRILLION dollar deficit.

    And the leftist, MSM (but I repeat myself) narrative is that because I didn’t (openly, with a sign) bitch about a 300-400 billion dollar deficit, I must be a Racist for speaking up now. Or at the very least, some selfish a-hole who wants Granny’s medicare cut off, and wants poor kids to starve.

    Maybe I’m all of the above. Or maybe I’m none of the above. Ah, the beauty of the internet.

    Comment by southernjames — April 20, 2009 @ 2:04 pm
  43. VRB,

    I’m with james on at least one point here — if the founding fathers saw what has become of the American government, they’d be calling for heads to roll. Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry were upset as soon as they saw the dreadful power grab that Hamilton and Madison were making with the Constitution, and Madison quickly turned on Hamilton once he saw how Hamilton intended to use the power of the central government as Washington’s Secretary of the Treasury.

    Were they oppressed by the British? Yes, in some ways. In other ways, they were largely left alone. They enjoyed more freedoms from British rule than we do from Washington’s rule by far. They didn’t have an income tax at all. In fact, one of the early fights between the colonists and the British was based on a simple $0.03 tax on paper goods (The Stamp Act). The Tea Party was a response to a tax on tea that hadn’t previously existed. They were incensed that the Crown would dare tax them on such a crucial part of their customs — makes you wonder what they’d think about taxing income, eh?

    I will grant VRB one point… The Tea Party protesters would have been hanged if they were caught. It was, at its heart, a treasonous and revolutionary act. Nothing that the modern day protesters have done has reached that level…

    But we’re not there yet. The modern day Tea Party protesters are about as ready for action as the Americans were in 1765 when the Stamp Act went into power.

    So you want to see the parallel? After the Stamp Act, rather than see the pulse of his subjects, King George went ahead trying to exert his agenda and influence on the colonies. Each new act slowly got more and more colonists ready for revolution. What’s happened here? Bush gave us the Patriot Act, and a few of us realized what was going on. Bush gave us detention centers, extraordinary rendition, and torture, and more of us realized what was going on. When the economy began to implode, Bush and Paulson put the American people on the hook for a $700B TARP proposal, and more of us realized what was going on. Now we have Obama, who is pressing forward at a faster rate than even Bush dared. More and more people are waking up and saying “NO, this is NOT the direction we want to go.” Obama (and Geithner & Summers & Bernanke) seem intent on pushing bailout after bailout, stimulus after stimulus, and government program after government program. The American economy was creaking under the weight of our government under Bush, and Obama is piling on the weight. It cannot continue indefinitely. We’re on the road to fiscal and societal disaster, and the endgame won’t be pretty. The Tea Party protesters aren’t yet seeing that far ahead, but another decade, maybe two, and the results of this ridiculous unsustainable government growth will reach a boiling point.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 20, 2009 @ 10:04 pm
  44. “….but another decade, maybe two, and the results of this ridiculous unsustainable government growth will reach a boiling point.”

    Brad, do you really think it is going to take a full decade or longer, for this to reach a boiling point?

    An aspect of this over-spending culture which has become transformed into a hyper-spending one, which bothers me and has even served as a ‘motivator’ of sorts in my becoming energized –is the apparent total lack of CONCERN over the projected massive (WAY bigger than Bush’s) size of the deficit coming our way.

    Why isn’t anybody in the new administration even addressing this as an issue? If they have been, perhaps I’ve just been missing it, and I would appreciate any links for news articles as to how the administration views its OWN C.B.O. projection chart.

    Comment by southernjames — April 21, 2009 @ 6:34 am
  45. Brad, do you really think it is going to take a full decade or longer, for this to reach a boiling point?

    Yes, and it may also never happen.

    Right now, we’re at a point where we are starting to see a turn in the level to which people trust their government. The last 8 years had the left mistrusting government completely, while the right kind of “went along”. Now, the change in control of Washington is causing the right to completely mistrust the government (not just spending, look at the reaction to the DHS “rightwing extremism” report), and the left is searching to figure out whether Obama is the messiah they expect him to be (hint, they’ll realize he’s not).

    This is intensified by two things:

    1) The generational change as the baby boomers phase out and are replaced by folks of Gen X and my generation.
    2) The transformative aspect of the internet as a communications medium, allowing people like those of us here at TLP to actually find other like-minded folks and advocate for change, instead of wallowing alone wondering if any other libertarians exist.

    But this is a slow process. I deliberately brought up the stamp act and the revolution because we’re at an analogous place to 1765, not 1776. Many had placed their hopes in government on getting GWB out of office and getting Hope & Change, and they’re starting to find out that Hope & Change were bullshit. But they still think protests will work.

    It is when they realize that the system is broken completely, the government acts for its own interests at the expense of its citizens, and that simple protests and going to the ballot box won’t change a damn thing that we’ll hit the boiling point. And that’s a ways away — but I’m working on it :-)

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 21, 2009 @ 8:01 am
  46. Merf,
    I will now play the race card. I grew up under Jim Crow for the first 20 years of my life. It is a shock to the system when you are a child and you find you are “cullud.” I grew up in an age of mass media, so I was aware of the rights, the limits of movement I didn’t have, and the dreams I shouldn’t dream. No I didn’t get beaten or live in constant fear, but I knew that was only at the whim of white folks. I never understood when one spoke of slavery, that some white person would always say, that there were good slave owners. One’s body and mind were being controlled and you still were property.

    There is a constant grinding down of spirit and many black people succumbed. Even when one is successful, there is always a memory and legacy of slavery and Jim Crow in the subconscious.

    Comment by VRB — April 21, 2009 @ 1:01 pm
  47. VRB, I have one question for you. Who was the party of Jim Crow?

    Comment by Merf — April 21, 2009 @ 2:30 pm
  48. Merf,
    The Republican gave up the radicals around the time Jim Crow laws were being passed. There was no party it was justified by the Supreme Court.

    There were no party distinctions in the south when it came to racism and when the Democrat began to liberalize on race, Strom Thurmond took his so-called conservatives to the Republicans. We all knew they were segregationist wearing states rights (second Pix) masks. If Goldwater hadn’t taken on that mantle with regard to segregation, the Republicans might have many more blacks in their party. Even after the radicals had been usurped, blacks stayed with the party out of loyalty. They were betrayed by their party. Tell me why Edward Brooke is not treated like an elder statesman.

    I know you want to blame the Democrats, but if you did have the right to vote, which many black folk didn’t, they voted their other interest. There were millions of black people who had no party because they could not vote. What in the hell did you think when I referenced Bloody Sunday?

    Comment by VRB — April 21, 2009 @ 3:55 pm
  49. Thank you for your concise answer, VRB.

    The Democrat Party was not the party of slavery, but they were the party who made most of the Jim Crow laws.

    You are as old as I am thin.

    Comment by Merf — April 21, 2009 @ 4:27 pm

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