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The Hateful Tea Party, Its True Origins, and President Obama’s Accomplishments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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