I was challenged in comments on a friend's Facebook wall yesterday "provide us with a specific example of Tea Party hate ful (sic) speach and some thing good that President Obama has done for our country." The commenters there also claimed that "THE TEA PARTY HAS NO REPRESENTATIVES IN CONGRESS" and seemed to be under the impression that it is a grass roots movement, which is a claim friends of mine have also made. Rather than post this information in more than one place, I decided to make one post in my blog and refer to it in the future.
First, President Obama has accomplished plenty of things during his term. I started to make my own list, then decided that it's foolish to reinvent the wheel. The most comprehensive list I've found is here: Accomplishments of President Obama. While some people may not think some of those things are accomplishments, I doubt there's anyone who can argue with all of them. I'd add to the list the fact that Osama bin Laden is dead. That happened during Obama's presidency. His people were able to keep a lid on the information about bin Laden's whereabouts and the operation long enough to get that bastard. The fact that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in the military is over is pretty damned important, too.
Those accomplishments look much better, too, when you realize two things:
- The IMF informed President Bush that they intended to audit the U.S. back in June 2008. Bush just put them off until the end of his term.
- While Obama is often blamed for the massive deficit, that's inaccurate. The 2009 fiscal year began before Obama even took office, and the budget for that year was almost entirely determined by the Bush administration. There was an 88% increase in spending during the years of the Bush administration, compared to only a 7.4% increase during the Obama administration. That's why Bush inherited a $128 billion surplus from Clinton's last budget, and bequeathed a $1.4 trillion deficit to Obama.
I know perfectly well that the tea party (no caps) was originally billed as a grass roots movement about fiscal issues and against big government. Yes, gatherings to support Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign were called "tea parties," and those issues were central to his campaign.
However, there was apparently no talk of a Tea Party (note the caps) during those gatherings, and after Obama was elected, the name was co-opted for anti-Obama rallies by Republican operatives, led by Dick Armey and mouthpiece Rick Santelli. Of course, if they'd said, "We're organized by lobbyists for big business, because guys like Steve Forbes and the Koch brothers don't want middle class people to have help paying their mortgages!" then middle class people wouldn't have been as likely to get involved. So the fiction of a "grassroots movement" was carefully maintained.
Even for those who might not believe that FreedomWorks, the Koch brothers, etc. have always behind the Tea Party, it must be difficult to deny that "grassroots" certainly isn't what the Tea Party is about now. Anyone who wants to argue about it has only to look at Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and and their Christian Dominionist views to know that. Of course, Perry also claimed in his book that Social Security is unconstitutional, despite the fact that the Supreme Court ruled otherwise in 1936, and Bachmann signed a pledge that claims that blacks were better off when they were slaves, so their credibility ratings are suffering, as far as I'm concerned. By the way - that pledge thing is pretty darned racist, to me, and the rest of Bachmann's well-known history gaffes aren't making things any better.
Michelle Bachmann (head of the Congressional Tea Party Caucus) worked for the IRS as a tax attorney before quitting to be a stay-at-home mom. So she's never had a job that doesn't come with a government paycheck, but she's supposedly against big government? How very hypocritical. Bachmann's husband runs a clinic that takes federal money to provide a form of therapy to "cure" homosexuality—therapy that isn't approved by the American Psychological Association or the American Medical Association or, actually, any accrediting board. If anybody wants to truly cut out government waste, then paying for that sort of thing should be stopped right away, and psychologists who file for reimbursement for it should lose their licenses and be arrested for fraud. (Homosexuality was initially suggested for removal from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a disorder in 1973, and completely removed by 1986. Dr. Bachmann, if he actually is a psychologist, should know that.) Michelle's remarks about homosexuality include such lovely bits as saying that it's "of Satan." Yes, that's bigotry.
Steve King (R-Iowa, member of the Tea Party Caucus) has demonstrated bigotry in his attacks against Barack Obama before his election because of his middle name (Hussein) and the fact that his father was Muslim. He has also shown himself to be a racist by making claims that Obama favors blacks—without providing any substantiation, of course. His misogynist voting record speaks for itself.
Louie Gohmert (R-Texas, member of the Tea Party Caucus), is a birther (crazy enough right there), who equated homosexuality with bestiality, necrophilia, and pedophilia during a debate on Don't Ask, Don't Tell (video clip). He also made a stupidly racist remark when complaining about one particular bit of funding - the infamous "moo goo cat pan" joke that fell flat. (He's got so much crazy that we could spend a lot of time talking about him. I imagine even the Tea Party would be happy to lose him altogether. Search on "terror babies" and you'll see what I mean.)
One of King's buddies in the Tea Party caucus, Phil Gingrey (R-Georgia), went to the Mexican border with King on a fact-finding mission, and put his racist foot in his mouth by claiming that his desire to end birthright citizenship isn't motivated by xenophobia because, "if I had to choose from immigrants across the globe, my favorite alien would be our Hispanic and Latino residents coming from across the Southern border. On June 22, 2011, Dr. Gingrey, an OB-GYN, said: "Democrats like to picture us as pushing grandmother over the cliff or throwing someone under the bus. In either one of those scenarios, at least the senior has a chance to survive. But under this IPAB [Independent Payment Advisory Board] we described that the Democrats put in ‘Obamacare,’ where a bunch of bureaucrats decide whether you get care, such as continuing on dialysis or cancer chemotherapy, I guarantee you when you withdraw that the patient is going to die. It's rationing." He knew perfectly well that he was lying, but Republicans want to control the way the money is spent, rather than to permit a non-partisan board to control it and achieve any cost savings. You would think a fiscal conservative would be in favor of cost savings, but it doesn't work that when political power is at stake.!
At the state level, we have Alabama state senator Scott Beason referring to blacks as "aborigines." After opening a speech by saying that "illegal immigration will destroy a community" he closed it by advising his listeners to "empty the clip, and do what has to be done".
David Barton hangs out with several Tea Party figures—Rick Perry is spending Labor Day weekend with the guy. He claims on his tax records that he is an expert on African-American history, but when questioned about the fact that he regularly addresses white supremacist groups (who adore him) he tried at one point to claim that he didn't understand their leanings. One of his main claims is that Martin Luther King, Jr. made no significant contribution to the civil rights movement and that he and Thurgood Marshall should be removed from our history books. Newt Gingrich's spokesman, Rick Tyler, said, "I think David Barton is one of the most knowledgeable teachers on American history." (Interesting, as Gingrich is a former history professor himself, and Barton is only an "amateur historian.") He's popular with Bachmann, Beck, and Mike Huckabee, too.
Then there's just about everything Glenn Beck says - the man is anti-semitic, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, you name it. He seems to adore comparing any little slight against himself or Fox News to the Holocaust. If his manicurist slips up an causes discomfort, she's probably accused of being Mengele in disguise, or at least a descendant of his. He has stooped so low as to attack the president's children and refer to the First Lady as the president's "Baby Mama." Anyone who cares to do so can find plenty of videos of him anywhere, but I refuse to link to them. I don't think there are any clips in which he opens his mouth that aren't offensive.
Matthew Vadum is a columnist who is extremely supportive of the Tea Party. He recently published an article claiming that "Registering the Poor to Vote is Un-American", equating voter registration to giving the poor "burglary tools."
By the way, if you haven't seen all the signs carried at Tea Party rallies depicting the President as a monkey, or a witch doctor, or Hitler, then you haven't been paying attention. There are plenty of places where I could find more, but I've had enough more than enough exposure to nastiness for one day.
Anyone who reads this post can no longer say that they've never heard of anyone associated with Tea Party saying hateful things, or that they're not aware of anything that President Obama has accomplished during his presidency.