Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tea Party Smoke and Mirrors

I have never bought into the genuineness of the tea party movement.  Yes, I know, I am an evil pinko leftist baby eater, so naturally my opinion does not count to either the current administration or those who think Muslims and Mexicans should be put in concentration camps.  The biggest problem of this media-inspired non-movement, movement is that what demonstrations they hold, which have been smaller than the anti-war demonstrations ignored by our mainstream media before/right after the Iraq War, is the obsession with race and religion over economics in the signs from these so-called fellow citizens that attend their rallies.  You know which ones I am talking about, of course.  These wonderful people.

The second problem I have always had with the teabaggers has been the substance of the alleged cause they claim to support.  If you believe what our friends at Fox "news" say, the tea partiers are concentrated on economic issues, opposing big government, taxes, socialism, etc.  This is in spite of the fact that the two most prominent tea party candidates, Sharon Angle and Christine O'Donnell, are religious dispensationalists who are much more concerned about making impregnated rape victims have their babies and banning masturbation, but for the purpose of this post I will relieve the reader from such obsessions.  Let us look at what the teabaggers  (i.e., Republican voters who are upset that a black man is in the White House and doing most of the same things their white conservative brethren were doing when they were in office) support.

Here are the "pledges" from our esteemed Republicans in its newest incarnation, the Pledge to America.

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans. In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many.

Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose. Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people with its own. The American people are speaking out, demanding that we realign our country’s compass with its founding principles and apply those principles to solve our common problems for the common good. The need for urgent action to repair our economy and reclaim our government for the people cannot be overstated. With this document, we pledge to dedicate ourselves to the task of reconnecting our highest aspirations to the permanent truths of our founding by keeping faith with the values our nation was founded on, the principles we stand for, and the priorities of our people. This is our Pledge to America.

We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored – particularly the Tenth Amendment, which grants that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity. We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.

We pledge to make government more transparent in its actions, careful in its stewardship, and honest in its dealings.

We pledge to uphold the purpose and promise of a better America, knowing that to whom much is given, much is expected and that the blessings of our liberty buoy the hopes of mankind.

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.
If by chance anyone is reading who supports this, I kindly ask you to answer the following.

1.  If our current executive branch is "arrogant" and "unaccountable,"  traits which you claim to oppose in government, what do you call supporting a president who unilaterally declares an American citizen a "detainee" in Cuba, and as such warranting a torture session?  What do you call lying this country into a war, a war that was (under our Constitution [the document you claim to support]) supposed to be declared and made by Congress, not the President?  What do you call a person who says that he has the right to sign executive orders that permit the suspension of habeas corpus?  Seem unaccountable and arrogant to you?  Well, dear tea partiers, I mean Republicans, you voted for and supported that government for eight long years.

2.  In your own pledge, you complain about federal spending.  Nowhere in your pledge do you ever list what spending you will cut.  Not one member of your party, since this is really just a get-out-the-vote for Republicans anyway, will list a single budget item that you will cut.  Instead, you say that you want to oversee Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  Nothing else.  Has it ever occurred to you when Mitch McConnell and John Boehner were in the majority, these same men (your leaders) supported and steered the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, infusing over $400 billion of pure deficit spending in Medicare?  That not once, in all the time the Republicans were in the majority, did your party (the one you vote for and support) ever submit a single balanced budget (when you had a Republican President and Congress)?

Tell me, and I ask this as a sincere question to the tea party folk reading this, how can you reduce our $13 trillion national debt and our $1.5-plus annual deficit without cutting our largest budget item, the military?  You know that this cannot be accomplished.  And you cannot do anything about the deficit, which in my view is of no consequence and a blessing in disguise, without cutting or eliminating Social Security and Medicare.  Why not propose these kinds of specific cuts?  Why not be principled von Hayekians and advocate what you know you need to do to reduce the deficit?  Has it not occurred to you (the supporters, not the leaders, naturally) that you are just being played for votes and that your party will actually not implement any of this, especially when they do not even bother to give you any specifics in the very document they are using to vie for power?  

It is easy enough for you to cut a state budget, but you know what will happen to you politically if you touch the military or Social Security.  Your party's leaders know it.  That is why in over 20 pages of their pledge, in all of the flowery language to cut spending, they refuse to list or illustrate what they will eliminate or drastically reduce.

3.  How can you claim to be "against deficits," while simultaneously supporting any cut in our tax rates for the wealthiest Americans?  The richest 400 people in this country have over 10% of this nation's GDP (over $1.4 trillion).  The Bush tax cuts, which you want to make permanent, has been by far the largest contributor to our budget deficits in the past decade.

Since 2001, those tax cuts that you want to make permanent have contributed over $1.6 trillion to our national debt.  How do you plan to pay for these trillions of new dollars on our deficits to make sure Paris Hilton can keep her coke stash replenished?  Nowhere in that document do you even try to mention what you would do.  

Please, by all means, enlighten me and say your peace.  I have been waiting for one of you to finally walk the walk and publicly, contractually forgo any and all future Social Security payments beyond your own tax contributions.  Not surprisingly, dear tea party enthusiasts, you have refused to practice what you generically preach for everyone else.

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