Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Protests try to tea bag the nation, Obama

As you've heard by now, right-wing groups around the country are staging their own little "tea parties" as a protest against the Obama Administration's efforts to clean up the economic mistakes made by the now-gone, right-wing Bush Administration. Fox News has essentially been sponsoring them (and is rightly getting called out for it).

These groups essentially argue that the recent economic bailout is too large, and they've picked Tax Day 2009 as their day to protest what they see as irresponsible government spending. Check Freedom Works, one of the groups organizing these tea parties, for a list of grievances. As with any conservative "movement," this has its problems.

First, calling it a movement is probably too much. As Krugman noted Sunday in the NYT, these tea parties are "astroturf": fake grass roots events staged by powerful, wealthy interests who oppose the Obama Administration. These are just media events created by the wealthy and the powerful to try and frustrate the goals of our newly elected President and the Democratic Congress. In other words, the people who got us into this mess in the first place are trying to screw with the people who are trying to clean it up. Awesome.

Second, calling this a "tea party" is total horseshit. The Boston Tea Party was a protest against foreign governance in the colonies; our way of saying that we wanted to govern ourselves. It was about freedom, and later those same guys who threw tea into Boston Harbor also spoke in opposition of the British crown, which was punishible by death, and fought a war for their freedom. Today, the Hummer-driving, white-collar Reaganistas complain about paying taxes on their marginal income at a rate that is now lower than it has ever been. Please, Reagan-lovers, don't insult the Boston Tea Party by naming your self-aggrandizing right-wing love-ins after one of the most patriotic moments in our history. It's silly, and you make yourselves look stupid.

Last, and I can't stress this enough, these are the same ideas and people that got us into this mess in the first place. That they have the nerve to try and stage a "revolt" against the ideas and people who are trying to fix their mess is beyond absurd. Three months after Obama's inauguration, four months after their guy did the same thing, and six months after the nation told them where they can shove their destructive ideas. Words fail me.

So, if on April 15th you run into one of these groups tea-bagging their way through your town, give 'em hell. They deserve it!

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