Friday, April 08, 2011

My Thoughts on the Tea Party by Lefty

My latest assignment for the Otter Limits was to write up my thoughts on the Tea Party movement.

Well, what exactly is the Tea Party movement?

According to Wikipedia, it is:
" American populist political movement, which is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009. It endorses reduced government spending, opposition to taxation in varying degrees, reduction of the national debt and federal budget deficit, and adherence to an originalist interpretation of the United States Constitution."

The movement sprung up within months of President Obama taking office and has often been criticized as a racist movement. While I have no doubt that there are racist individuals in the movement, I don't think that the movement as a whole can be called racist. That's like calling the entire environmental movement communists. Sure there are pinkos in there but that doesn't mean they all are.

Since I listen to quite a lot of conservative talk radio, I've been able to follow the Tea Part movement from the beginning and the one thing that I know is that it is a bit of a cluster-you-know-what. The Tea Party movement isn't as much a coherent whole as much as it is a lot of people who, for a variety of different reasons, are really pissed off at the government. What that has translated into is a number of protests around the country (some being quite large) and a group of freshman (mostly) members of Congress who have dubbed themselves the Tea Party Caucus.

So far, this group seems extremely determined to stand their ground on cutting spending, no matter the cost (see the current government shutdown debate fiasco). While I admire that these folks are determined to stick to their guns and are more than willing to take on the Washington establishment, I have to wonder if they aren't a bit misguided in how they are doing it.

But when I think about the movement as a whole I must admit that I'm pretty ambivalent. I don't have strong feelings about the Tea Party one way or the other. I am glad that people have gotten involved in our system because of the Tea Party movement. That is a mark on the plus column for them. One the flip side, I am opposed to many of the policies they they promote so that is a mark in the minus column.

Will this movement eventually fizzle out? Probably. Things will, hopefully, settle down and, once the economy gets back on its feet, people will go back to not caring and the movement will dwindle and die (or at the very least it will become a shadow of its former self). I would actually prefer to see it continue and spark a counter movement but even if that did happen it would probably amount to a whole lot of screaming and nothing actually getting accomplished.

- - Lefty


  1. Just out of curiosity, specifically which policies of theirs do you oppose?

  2. Defunding of public broadcasting and gay marriage are two specifics that pop right into my head. I disagree with them on most social issues and think that they are looking to cut the wrong things from the budget. The Tea Party folks in Congress seem to be making cuts only on things that they don’t like (public broadcasting, Planned Parenthood, busting unions – on state and local levels, etc.). I suspect that they will try to go after every program that they dislike and never really look into the waste in the Department of Defense.