Tea Party Movement Shattering?


The Politico digs up enough stories of internecine fighting amongst the loose bunch of organizations supposedly responsible for, or furthering in specific locations, the Tea Party movement to generate a semi-convincing trend story that argues the movement may be "losing momentum."

While the sort of petty conflict the story highlights between your Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Express and Tea Party Nation, (your People's Judean Front and People's Front of Judea…), are worth noting (and unavoidable in politics), I'd say that an idea (which I think is a more accurate description of the whole orbit of actions and groups lumped in as the "tea party movement") that can still gather 4,000 people to a Texas rally, as the story notes, isn't worth writing off yet.

More important than which particular organization involved in the movement grows or triumphs is what this newly energized mass movement pissed off at D.C. will end up standing for. Alas, that a planned February National Tea Party convention will have bailout-supporting warmonger Sarah Palin as a star is an alarming sign that what had promise as a mass anti-state movement will descend into personality cult anti-Democratic party populism.

Matt Welch's excellent first person account on the varied and interesting promise of the Tea Party movement as shown at its huge September rally in D.C.

NEXT: DEA Still Erroneously Citing the AMA on Medical Marijuana

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  1. that should be the Judean Peoples’ Front. SPLITTERS!

  2. Has Weigel heard about this?

    1. Guess the “astroturfers” angle didn’t pan out.

      1. Kinda fizzled like the “tenthers” tag, didn’t it?

        1. A “movement” without a coherent, consistent philosophical base is doomed. That it would have Sarah Palin as its messiah is both tragic and uproariously funny.

          1. “I don’t want the government to dictate every single aspect of my life” isn’t a coherent philosophy?

            1. Not to the far-right/far-left power base. Both sides want to control us 24/7.

              AND tax us for the privilege of being treated like three-year-olds.

            2. No, it’s a tantrum. Try again later.

              1. So you do want the government to dictate every single aspect of your life. Good for you.

                1. Hyperbole is silly and ineffectual.

  3. May I suggest that somebody with the common touch organize a “Let’s Boo Sarah” movement, dedicated to bringing together libertarians from around the South to drown out Palin’s speech with boos and hisses?

    That would make a tv moment the MSM would really puzzle over: Why are these wingnuts turning out by the thousands to boo the reigning Queen of Wingnuts? It would also be better than letting one of the dumbest goats in the history of sacrificial major-party candidates become the figurehead of the first popular libertarian movement since the short-lived Kelo uprising.

    And anyway, this is how political gatherings are supposed to work: Views get expressed with extreme prejudice and a good time is had by all who enjoy politics. (Alas, there I cannot follow.)

    And if they were serious about getting rid of the teabagging stigma, would they really have booked at the Gaylord Hotels?

    1. “libertarians from around the South”

      ?? I recognize each of those words, but when you string them together like that… what do it mean?

      1. He just means that’s he’s on drugs.

        I lived in Tennessee and Georgia, and I wasn’t even on drugs. That’s why I know he is.

    2. May I suggest that somebody with the common touch organize a “Let’s Boo Sarah” movement, dedicated to bringing together libertarians from around the South to drown out Palin’s speech with boos and hisses?

      Yeah cuz that is what we need…a bunch of people booing someone who lost the election and holds no office or power in the government. That is a fucking brilliant plan. Hey Tim i got an even better one, how about you get a dead horse and wipe it. That will show em!!!

    3. I do like the idea of showing dissent and the “what would the MSM do” with a story that doesn’t fit the narrative. Booing may be a bit much, but if half the room got up and left for the key note speech to go drink at the bar would work.

      1. Agreed. Something has to be done to show others that she is not the embodiment of the movement, but at the same time it must not come across as childish. I like the leaving, or even just turning away from her when she speaks, no applause or something.

  4. I’ve been following this for a while; say what you want, but I think that whatever split that is occurring is a good thing. Ever since the crisis, libertarians have been unfairly associated with conservatives; thus, libertarians suffer from something worse than obscurity; guilt-by-association.

    The only thing that ties us to conservatives is economics, and even that thread is weakening. We’re going to have to stand on our own on this. As for organizing anyone from the South, I’m generally opposed to a Southern strategy of any sort; far better it would be for libertarians to boo her.

    We need to cut ourselves off from the Republicans; truth be told, they need us more than we need them.

    This is what I am talking about: http://progressivenation.us/20…..publicans/

    1. A progressive website?

      My God, if I had a dime for every liberal who has spouted hate for libertarianism, I’d have a shitload of dimes.

      To be fair, the Freepers hate us, too. Guess both the far-left and far-right hate liberty.

      1. I read the article, and while it makes some generalizations that don’t apply to all libertarians, the policy positions they ascribe certainly apply to many libertarians (and in general, they focus on aspects that would be viewed positively by their audience).

    2. Hey Commie:
      What’s with this “we” shit ?

      1. No collectivism intended, my good sir. I’m as much a libertarian as you are; the actual article was pretty friendly to libertarians. Actually bothered to investigate the differences between libertarians and conservatives.

        Or, did either of you read the article? As for whether or not there is a split, I wouldn’t rule it out; consider the crackup between Rads and Trads during the YAF days.

        1. My compliments on actually giving something of a fair anlaysis to libertarian principles. The Libertarian party and small “l” libertarians alike have been marginalized if not demonized by massive segments of both the right and left for longer than is even possible for me to understand.

          1. I did read the article, and while it was indeed somewhat fair, it’s just one opinion from the progressive aisle.

            And, given the general tendencies of progressives, I’m surprised the article was fair at all.

  5. …that can still gather 4,000 people to a Texas rally

    What’s the reference point here? Does the event draw more or fewer people than a BBQ competition?

    1. If it’s Austin, and a gay BBQ competition, then definitely fewer. By an order of magnitude. I’ve heard.

      1. Beers, steers & queers? I’m confused, and not just sexually. This comment has a weird dovetail with the “I like to watch Glen cry from the butthurtz” post.

        1. Maybe you’re not aware of the large gay community in Austin, TX.

  6. People are looking for answers right now and neither party has been answering very well. I don’t think the Tea Parties are a passing fad. Sooner or later someone is going to start giving solutions that work and they will be able to seize a large chunk of the force behind these crowds. Clearly people at these rallies all agree on one main point: less government. This is the core principle behind our Constitution so it’s a positive sign that the drift is towards these principles.

    1. Hope springs eternal.

  7. The reference point is every other more or less explicitly libertarianoid public political gathering/protest I’ve ever been to, which tend to attract about 1 percent of that amount, if lucky. It goes without saying that sports, food, anything people actually LIKE TO DO is going to draw WAY more Americans that political gatherings/rallies (that aren’t about celeb-sighting b.s. like seeing the President.)

  8. Support for the bailouts should obviously make one question Palin’s suitability as a Tea Party figure.

    However, what does her status as a “warmonger” have to do with anything?

    1. Wars are expensive, and paid for with tax money.

      1. So is the Interstate Highway System, but I doubt Mr. Doherty is suggesting highway-mongers should be eschewed by the Tea Parties.

        1. Dude, it’s the other side that’s supposed to go right to roads.

        2. Fuck the Interstate Highway System. Fuck ’em.

      2. And people get killed.

        1. And people get killed.

          There’s that small matter, too.

          I have no problem with the US handing the Taliban its ass in 2002; that also when we should have left, with a note that we’d be back if they let the scum back into power.

          As for the Interstates, it’s:
          1) debatable that they should have ever been built with public funds in the first place;
          2) currently do serve a constructive purpose;
          3) have controlled access / entry points making them easy to privatize into user toll roads.

          But let’s not go there now, ‘kay?

          1. I’m fairly certain Palin thinks the wars in AFG and IRQ serve a constructive purpose, too. I think she’s mistaken, but to suggest that one must become a complete non-interventionist to be consistent with the Tea Party ideals makes Mr Doherty guilty of the very divisiveness that he worries will destroy the movement.

            1. Most libertarians understand that war is the health of the state. It is the biggest program of them all.

              1. War is also one of the basic legitimate functions of the state. It’s up to the citizenry to make sure this function isn’t abused.

                An appeal to absolutes such as Doherty’s above is an abdication of the basic maxim that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

                1. I am not sure why it’s smart move to intellectually align yourself with folks that believe that the Iraq war was a defensive and just war. Or to align yourselves with folks that want to spend more money on the military and overall defense.

                  Nevermind the average movement conservative fetish for torture and a strong executive branch ( when a republican is in office).

          2. more people get killed on the highways.

            No real point to that comment.

      3. Talking about wars and legalizing marijuana is counter-productive. Many people join our little movement on these themes and their shrill cries totally drown out the portion of the platform that the general populace cares about. It isn’t that the majority of Americans want the war on drugs/terror, it’s that their priorities are elsewhere. When faced with economic policy that hurts them financially and intrudes MUCH more heavily into their lives than war or pot bans do, it just doesn’t make sense to place those as high on the platform. Social issues are important, and there is human misery created by government meddling, but the threat to foundation of the republic does not start with hate-crime legislation or even to some degree the patriot act. The threat to the republic lies more heavily on the income tax, social security, and medicare/caid.

    2. It’s a code word. You’d understand it if you have a proper “libertarian” decoder ring.

  9. With all due respect, this is a ludicrous narrative. Could Palin’s support of the bailout have anything to do with her being a running mate of the mush-minded John McCain? Was she supposed to oppose the bailouts while McCain supported them? C’mon.

    Sarah Palin is merely a guest of tea party activists at the forthcoming convention in Nashville, and she will not usurp the movement with her populist lingo. The party is principled and will not fall for GOP maneuvering.

    I am one of the most active participants of Tea Party Nation, and there is nothing Judean about the tone of that website. Please do your homework before smearing an organization, if you would be so kind.

    I am a libertarian objectivist and there is nothing irrational about opposing the government’s out-of-control spending and obscene taxation policies. Showing up at town hall meetings and political places of business, civilly, and calling politicians out for their corruption and abuse of power is not a motiff for mockery. The Tea Party movement will continue to be the foremost opposition to the government and it is not necessary to smear it while it works to oppose big government.

    1. That depends entirely on what your real purpose is.

      Do you want to restrain the government, or do you want to eliminate it entirely?

      If you’re an objectivist, you may have a hard time coming to grips with that.

    2. “Was she supposed to oppose the bailouts while McCain supported them?”

      Why didn’t she just go rogue on the issue?

      Or at least maverick.

      1. I LOLed. She needs to grow a spine before asserting that she has one already.

        1. If she did come out strongly on anything, it would make it easier to support (or oppose her).

          I wish she would come out strongly on any of the following:
          Gun Control
          Income Tax
          Patriot Act
          The Fed

          If she came out strong on any of those she would distinguish herself from the other R’s, and she would give us a reason to hate or love her. I mean a reason other than the thousand post threads she commands.

  10. For a jester, you might want to work on your sense of humor. This might not only help, it should explain at least one of your questions.

    1. Fair enough. I am usually not so hostile, but I don’t like being labeled a nut. I am not even a Palin fan, I just don’t like the haughty condescension of people who are just inviting her to speak. The organizer of the conference in Nashville made it clear that she will not be co-opting the tea party movement.

      You can read the comments of TPN members and see that they are quite normal and simply exciting to have a national figure at the convention (you may need to sign up to read comments):


      For those who don’t want to sign up, here is the text:

      Tea Party Nation is pleased to announce the First National Tea Party Convention. The convention is aimed at bringing the Tea Party Movement leaders together from around the nation for the purpose of networking and supporting the movements’ multiple organizations principle goals. This event will be co-sponsored by other national groups that believe in a responsible and limited federal government that is responsive to all the people. National Taxpayers Union, American Majority, Smart Girl Politics, and SurgeUSA are just a few of the organizations contributing their talents and time to this convention.

      Special Keynote Speaker for the event will be Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska (2006-2009) and 2008 Republican Vice Presidential Nominee.

      The convention will feature well known speakers, workshops, seminars, information centers, and organizational tools for leaders to take back to their respective local Tea Party organizations.

      We are giving Tea Party leaders the first opportunity to purchase convention tickets before opening registration up to the general public.

      * A portion of the Convention ticket price will go to form the TPN PAC which will be dedicated to finding and supporting Traditional American candidates in the future.

      Website information coming soon! Attendance is limited, so make your reservations early!

      1. There’s some bad grammar there, but it was just an oversight. Sorry about that.

  11. The trouble is the tea party is big tent. VERY big tent. Big enough to encompass Code Pink groupies, the occasional racist, Sarah Palin, Sarah Palin’s absurd followers, and other factions that most libertarians find repulsive.

    The task however, is neither to sit outside it in pristine isolation, nor to welcome the filth, but to hold our noses and try to clean it up. In the process we’ll expose a lot of people to libertarianism, real libertarianism that is, instead of allowing a bunch of idiots to coopt the word, the way the socialists stole “liberal” 60 years ago.

    1. Libertarians are in no position to be cleaning up anybody else’s house at this point.

      1. Care to elaborate?

        1. Because libertarians so consistently put up candidates that are so incredibly popular. I mean libertarians just know what the formula for success is, right, and everybody listened to them it would surely usher in a new era in politics. The D’s and R’s don’t even stand a chance.

          Anybody in the Tea Party movement with 1/8 of a brain will know the above is pure BS.

          The Libertarian Party can’t take over itself well enough to field a candidate who isn’t either a lunatic or a used car salesman. In what way does anyone expect them to “take over” anything else?

        2. Okay, I’ll spell it out a little more clearly. If the Libertarian Party, movement, or what have you, wants to matter, there are several things that have to happen (which aren’t going to happen).

          1) If the Libertarians want to be taken seriously on the national stage, then Step 1 is to send the anarchists packing. Let them go have their own little party somewhere else. Or leave this one to them, and go start anew. Anarchism is a no-starter on the national stage.

          2) Get real about priorities. Ending the drug war and pushing gay rights are not top priorities. Those who insist they are, are insisting on their own continued irrelevance at the national level.

          3) Get a real foreign policy instead of the standard Libertarian abdication on foreign policy. The stock Libertarian positions on foreign policy are a) a non-starter at the national level, and b) incredibly naive in this day and age. Yet another recipe for continued irrelevance.

          Irrelevance = impotence.

          That’s far from a complete list, but if you want a principled movement that simultaneously has a ghost of chance of taking the stage, this is necessarily part of the beginning.

          1. How to make the libertarian party bigger: become conservative Republicans.

            1. Not really. Conservative republicans are moralists as a general rule, they’re also corporatists, and, most significantly, 2001-2006 showed us, they ARE NOT fiscally conservative.

              Personally, I think the libertarian party could capitalize on the tea party movement by simply concentrating on fiscal policy that cuts spending and doesn’t involve excessive borrowing or taxation. It’ll never happen, though. The perfect will always be the enemy of the good with libertarians.

              “Let’s see candidate A is a socialist in progressive clothing, candidate B is a social conservative who wants to bomb Iran and North Korea, and candidate C is a social liberal, has an excellent record as a fiscal conservative, and favors a non-interventionist foreign policy, but he once said something positive about the WOD, so I’m not voting again this year.”

            2. As NAL said, I don’t mean “become conservative Republicans”.

          2. Eb, people don’t get (and sometimes do, but feign knowing the difference) between isolationism and non-interventionism.

            People didn’t get that about Ron Paul, and they don’t get it about us. They conflate (or are told to do so) being isolationist as being exactly the same as being non-interventionist.

            The LP could clarify this in their platform, but some people would STILL get it wrong.

            1. I agree.

              OTOH, “non-interventionist” does not mean the US won’t have military bases anywhere except on US soil. That’s something a lot of libertarians are going to have a hard time getting their arms around.

              Not messing with other people’s countries (so long as they aren’t messing with ours) is a good idea. But it must also be understood that if we don’t have a serious blue water navy, our trade routes will be wide open to attack — and anybody who thinks it’ll never happen, just because we don’t mess with anybody else, is naive at best.

              The bigger your trading empire is, the more you need military power to stand guard around the edges of it. Otherwise you’re quite vulnerable to even a third rate power, who could block your trade routes and start sabotaging and pirating your shipping — which then slams your economy.

              The standard libertarian take on the military is that all we need, is just enough to keep invaders out of US territory. Most intelligent people outside the libertarian movement are going to understand that it won’t work this way.

              Libertarians must come to grips with the fact that the world is not a nice place, and people won’t always play nice with us even if we do so with them.

              The R’s and D’s are as screwed up on foreign policy as libertarians. But isn’t that just typical?

              And don’t you see that this is precisely the opening to get on stage? If you want to displace bad answers then you need to provide better answers.

              Libertarians either don’t articulate better answers (because they waste too much time on things that are not high priority), or else (this will sting a bit) they simply don’t have a better answer to offer.

              1. Agreed, that’s why I make the distinction between sticking our noses everywhere and not doing so.

            2. btw, Ron Paul comitted political suicide coming right out of the starting gate.

              It was pure foolishness to walk into the RNC and declare his opposition to everything the party was doing. You can say he was right and I won’t argue. But it doesn’t change the fact that he choose the path of irrelevance once again. As libertarians so consistently do.

              The next thing he does is start babbling about gold standards…..hello??????

              You know the gold standard is going to come across as lunacy to the mainstream. You can’t take them there in one big step. There are lots of ways he could have done much better. Talk “fiscally sound policy” and he got attention. Talk “gold standard now!” and everybody (predictably) writes him off as a lunatic.

              So he shot himself in the right foot on foreign policy, and shot himself in the left foot on fiscal issues (which is where he should have been kicking ass all over the stage!!!!).

              As I said above, Libertarians can’t field a rational candidate. I rest my case.

  12. I thought we were the Popular Front!

    1. Sure. In our very own minds.

  13. “Tea party” has largely become synonymous with “Republican”–fairly or not. Some of my liberal friends are still getting mileage out of teabag jokes. And these are smart people who largely recognize the failure of the current Democrat/Republican stranglehold on American politics, and even express libertarian sympathies on occasion. Hazel up there is right. The “tent” is very large, and it isn’t very good at getting whatever its message is across.

    1. Large… if you’re old, white, and male.

      1. Tired commentary, Tony. Fail.

        1. Maybe, but there is no escaping the fact that the teabag brigade is nearly 100% white and disproportionally old and male. It’s just a curious demographic fact.

          1. I really don’t see that as accurate at all.

            White, maybe. If by “white” you mean “not black”. But consider the fact that we have the first black president in the white house.

            Old? Er, I don’t see it. Unless by “old” you mean “over 30”. Cause the kiddies are all obama fanatics, it seems.

            Anyway, age and race are rather tired categories by which to define people.
            By big tent, I’m meaning it brings in a large number of factions across the political spectrum that are opposed to government spending. From fiscal conservatives, to constitutionalists, to libertarians, traditional Republicans, and paleoconservatives.

            1. And what does the fact of a black president have to do with anything?

              If there was a political movement that consisted entirely of black people, would you consider that merely a coincidence?

              1. Tony, are you retarded or something?
                Black people are going to be inclined to support Obama, or at least not openly oppose him for BLATANTLY OBVIOUS REASONS. Because, get this: OBAMA IS BLACK.

                yeah, I know that’s a fuckin shocker.

          2. Yeah, women and minorities were forbidden to attend tea parties. Armed goons were on standby at all events.

            Jesus, you probably believe that, don’t you?

            The only recent instance of people wielding weapons and preventing people from entering, was when the New Black Panthers did it. But they got off the hook for that crime.

          3. Hmmm… What reason could older white productive males possibly have for opposing policy that hurts older white productive males? It boggles the mind…

        2. There’s also no doubt that Tony is 100% troll…

          1. Boo, Tony. Trollfail.

      2. Large… if you’re old, white, and male.

        This isn’t Craigslist.

        1. Tony still thinks it’s the late 1950s, and blacks are having to use separate water fountains. IOW, we’ve made no progress on racial issues.

          Then again, Tony just likes to slam white people. We’re all just Klan wannabes, in TonyLand.

        2. lulz… it’s no wonder you always get tweet of the week…

          1. Who’s getting Tweeted?

            1. no one. meant Jim’s witty remarks/tweets. sorry i wasn’t clear.

              1. It all be good.

    2. And these are smart people who largely recognize the failure of the current Democrat/Republican stranglehold on American politics, and even express libertarian sympathies on occasion obnoxious fuckbag assholes who think their understanding of politics is more sophisticated than their understanding of “Project Runway”.


    3. Because the movement has no leader.

      If there is power in spontaneous combustion, it is nonetheless a mindless power.

      History tells us the story of centuries on end, where the people pined for something new but there was no leader who could bring them to the promised land.

      1. Therein lies the conundrum. The libertarian and limited government movement specifically attracts people that otherwise have more productive endeavors than politics (namely, making money and supporting a family). Its hard for a leader to arise organically from the movement because most of those who would have the charisma and ability to become such have their own lives to live and responsibilities to tend to. Thus, the movement either remains leaderless or attracts an opportunist and professional politico to seize it. Furthermore, the very concept of limited government tends to de-emphasize that sort of leadership ethos. Libertarianism is, at its very core, about minimizing the effects of leadership. Its hard for us to find that so-called leader because our entire worldview is premised on the notion that every man is his own leader and should bow to no other.

        1. I agree completely. I’ve long thought, the problem is much like the Deists had 200 years ago. Their very MO is almost self defeating.

        2. Bullshit. “We can’t win because we’re too cool for this game!” Yeah, right.

          1. The grand liberal movements of the past did not lack for leaders: Jefferson, Madison, Lafayette, and Gladstone are but a few. If modern libertarianism has mutated to the point where it can no longer produce men such as these, then it has reached an evolutionary dead end and is no longer viable. But maybe instead of asserting that our virtues are to blame for our political insignificance, we can examine the manner in which our collective vices have tripped us up, time and again.

            1. right…because the world hasn’t changed at all since the 1700s.

              This isn’t the Enlightenment, bub. The antibodies against classical liberalism have been flowing through the world’s bloodstream for centuries.

              And those are some pretty lousy examples, anyway. Jefferson and Madison were slaveholders, and for that fact alone must be accounted far, far below Sarah Palin on any scale of libertarian purity.

              1. (300 years from now) Tulpa ate other sentient beings. Even Hitler knew better than that. The guy had no redeeming values based on that alone.

                Could you maybe cut the greatest American a little slack for not being 150 years ahead of the evolving moral compass on one (1) issue?

  14. Any potentially succesful political movement is going to attract Politicians. This is not an indication of its emminent failure. The question is if the libertarians can play the role of thought leaders the way the religious right has in the recent past. This of course is still an open question.

    I think it is relatively likely the Republicans will start supporting a more reasonable economic position. As ever, the problem will be that once they return to power they will take a few steps in the right direction and then discover another war, drugs, muslims, too many polar bears, who knows what, that they claim takes precedence.

    Optimistically, I think there is some chance the law of unintended consequences will turn things around. There is some chance that a complete collapse of the U.S. currency will actually usher in a defacto gold standard.

    The collapse of the dollar would eliminate the governments ability to inflate and borrow to a very large degree. In turn, the government would have to either reduce spending (and therefore size) or raise taxes. Taxes are one issue the Tea Baggers can agree on I think. We may be better off 20 years from now because of reckless government spending today.

    Ideally, the collapse would come on the Democrats watch after they have passed some massive banking regulation bill and loudly declared that they have fixed the problem. Perhaps we can even get them to declare the triumph of Socialism shortly before it happens just so everyone understands which ism to blame.

    Wishful thinking horribly risky and entirely unpredictable I know. But, hey I can dream can’t I.

  15. Many Republicans I’ve jousted with, think the LP is a) just a wing of the Dems and b) we “steal” votes when we run LP candidates.

    Many Dems I’ve argued with, think we’re a wing of the GOP because we’re capitalists and pro-individuality, but also think we “steal” votes from Repubs, so they don’t hate us for that – fallacious reasoning though it may be, as nobody owns a vote. (Though they do get upset when Ralph Nader “steals” votes from their pitiful presidential candidates.

    I went to ONE tea party this year, and a local Dem asked me how long I’d been an inbred racist. They get a LOT of mileage out of that, and using the teabagger phrase – which is odd, because that’s a smear against gay men, but liberals are two-faced when it comes to politically-incorrect insults.

    No-win situation, no matter how you slice it. If we sound like Democrats, we might win a few hearts and minds from the left, but would turn off anyone who might be willing to at least rethink their right-wingedness. And vice-versa – if we espouse capitalism and the importance of the individual, we risk turning off Dems who might have otherwise come out of the Lenin closet.

    So, maybe we should adopt a fuck-’em-all strategy, and scoop up the ones who get it.

    1. My thoughts exactly. If libertarianism continues associating itself with the Teabaggers, it could spell doom for American libertarianism.

      The “Screw them” strategy has worked for us in the past. Libertarianism keeps it soul, distinguishing itself from the left and right.

      1. Not being the Left or Right is about all the soul libertarianism has.

        1. Ha ha, good one. Political parties don’t have souls.

          1. True….

      2. What about libertarian counter-protests to the tea-parties? Signs like, “I hated the government for the last 100 years, you just started in January.” The coiled snake on yellow background with the caption “Don’t Steal MY Flag” Just a thought….

  16. The Republicans have seemed to latch onto this movement in order to raise opposition to Obama’s policies, without understanding the core beliefs that drew these people together. And believe me, the Democrats have made the most of the fringe elements within the movement.

  17. The tea party movement is a movement not a party or an organization. My guess is KENNETH P. VOGEL finally got around to actually looking at what it was and discovered it was disjointed and unorganized….and not knowing this was how it has been from the beginning thinks its current state is something new.

    1. I don’t buy that anybody at Politico doesn’t know that Pelosi et al. have tried to paint the Tea Party movement as a bunch of astroturfers.

    2. Wait, that’s what you’re saying isn’t it? Never mind, sorry.

  18. I went to a tea party meeting this week (only as a favor to a friend) and found that, at least in NE Ohio, the Republicans are pretty much taking them over and making them Republican clubs. There was some opposition but the GOP lovers were adamant and are clearly setting them up to help elect GOP candidates in 2010. It’s a sign of a sad end to a promising movement.

    1. Well, that is certainly what will happen is libertarians get all hoity-toity and refuse to have anything to do with it. Another missed opportunity.

      1. Exactly. That’s why my plan is the best: Don’t ignore the Nashville event; take over the Nashville event. (Unless there’s good reason to believe the Nashville event will be too pathetic to bother with, which is quite possible.)

        And to clarify: I said “libertarians from around the South” because Nashville is in the South, and Saying “libertarians from around the Tennessee Valley” or “libertarians from the Smokey Mountains” or “all the libertarians in Opryland” didn’t sound right.

        The trick is to maintain this most recent alliance with Republicans while making it clear that we’re not family, and that we expect to be paid. Every time libertarians team up with Republicans, it’s this Yalta-type thing, where they get everything they conquer and then some, and we get everything we conquer (which in truth is not much) minus what the Republicans take.

        1. Well, yeah, in principle I agree.

          But there’s not enough of “us”, and the few there are don’t carry uzis around.

          It’s really hard to demand payment under these conditions.

  19. Sorry to bah-humbug the whole parade here. I just can’t help myself.

  20. Here is a thought, “Get with the program.”

    While you sit around debating legalizing marijuana, gay rights, and worrying about the ideological purity of your “philosophy” your country is being stolen right from underneath you. And guess what, the only one’s doing a GD thing about it are those pesky Tea Baggers.

    Here are some interesting facts for you to ponder about your Party.

    Number of registered Libertarians as of early 2008: 225,529


    Number of Libertarians holding public office across the United States: 207


    In the 2008 Presidential election (L) candidate, Bob Barr received 523,686 votes across the United States. In contrast you were defeated by Ralph “Freaking” Nader who got 738,475. Meaning Libers finished fourth on the national scene behind the Greenies.

    Also in a head to head match up, Obama and the Progressives vaporized Libertarians by a margin of 68,933,211 votes. Lol, yeah you are right there nipping at his heels!


    Adding insult to injury Barr only raised $1,405,899. Obama raised $778,642,047 and McCain $383,913,824.


    Let me guess, this is all due to the fact that Barr was just a weak candidate and not that the Libertarian Party is abysmally ineffective?

    Your party has been around officially since 1971 and you haven’t garnered much ground since then. The Tea Baggers, in a little over 6 months, have exerted more political influence and brought more public attention to the political debate than you could ever hope to. Yet what you consider civic nationalism is bitching and judging these people, buying into the caricature painted by the media, rather than assisting.

    Remember one thing, you talk about the necessity to “maintain this most recent alliance with Republicans,” “making it clear that we’re not family,” and “expect to be paid.” Payment for what? The reality is Republicans don’t need you, your Party is hardly worth the trouble.

    So quite fucking worrying about the stupid shit and man-up. The coalition that bound Libertarians and Conservatives through out the Cold War was communism. Now it is an overreaching and expansive government which uses democratic socialist-lite and semi-Keynesian tenets to achieve its goals.

    You want a voice? Then start allying up in Anglo-American terms rather than Yalta terms with the GOP. Teach the upper echelon, or help get rid of them, about the sounder forms of Libertarianism: small gov, laissez-faire capitalism, individualism, dependency on common law, property rights, etc. Infiltrate their ranks and help push candidates whom espouse these beliefs and then you might be able to find your way to national prominence. Until then you amount to nothing more than a fart in a hurricane.

    Just for the record, I have no affiliation with the Tea Baggers or their movement since I have little use for populism. However, I do support what they are trying to do and give them props for having the guts to get out there.

    1. Am I the only one that finds this post interesting? “We don’t need you pathetic libertarians, but I need to convince you that the best thing you could do is to join us.”


      1. He sounded like The Borg or something.

        Look, I’m not much of a joiner in the first place (incidentally, I’m registered as an Independent, not a Libertarian), but the fact of the matter is that I have a ton of respect for ‘Classical’ Conservatives and Classical Liberals alike.
        It just seems to me that the ‘classical’ types are a definite minority in either major party. Neocon types already coopted the Republican Party, so you tell me, “Mike” about the ratio between slimy, populist fucks and people with genuine small-government principles in the Republican Party.

        1. ‘Infiltrate their ranks’. Well, at least there is Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, I guess.

      2. I think Mike and I are making pretty similar arguments.

    2. Good rant. You read my mind.

      1. While you sit around debating legalizing marijuana, gay rights, and worrying about the ideological purity of your “philosophy” your country is being stolen right from underneath you. And guess what, the only one’s doing a GD thing about it are those pesky Tea Baggers.

        This isn’t exactly accurate, but I do have to tip my hat to all the tea partiers who are more than partisan hacks.

  21. a local Dem [used] the teabagger phrase – which is odd, because that’s a smear against gay men, but liberals are two-faced when it comes to politically-incorrect insults.

    In college, I was a “modern” liberal (up until about my senior year). I was involved in a group that was trying to get the University to divest from South Africa. One of the members asked me about a candidate for Student President, who I’d gone to high school with. He was rumored to have had a gay affair with a science teacher there (which I suspect was true – but never cared to find out).

    I remember the sneering, smarmy tone this guy used to ask about some stuff that was none of his (or my) business. Admittedly, this was about 20 years ago. But to this day and age, there are plenty of “progressives” who are friendly, slap-on-the-back types whenever gays are present, and rather different when they are not.

    It reminds me of the guys I used to know who would swivel their heads around, checking for blacks, before using the n-word

    1. Exactly. Liberals claim to be above name-calling and stereotyping, but engage in it with much piss and vinegar when it suits their needs.

      1. Sweet, blessed irony.

    2. The feminists were telling rape jokes about Sarah Palin during the last election.

      1. AND they defended Bill Clinton, who at least abused his power of office to get some sexual gratification from willing if stupid females.

        In some cases, he got what he wanted without full consent. Which should have made the feminists even angrier. But hell, one of ’em even joked she’d give him a blowjob just to keep abortion illegal.

  22. I think everyone that recognizes the problems with printing more money should forget about their differences and mount as big of a front as possible to stop it. I doubt Palin will take the thing religious. Anti-spenders must unite or our kids are royally fucked.

    1. You’re speaking my language. The biggest problem facing the nation right now is out-of-control spending (which, because of the nature of the spending, begets gov’t dependence, unnecessary wars, social engineering, nanny-statism, etc.)

      If Sarah Palin happens to be the candidate best espousing that view, I’ll vote for her. I don’t care about her religion, her kids’ weird names, her overly-quaint style of speaking, or anything else.

  23. Personally, I think people be takin this tea party nonsense WAY too seriously.


    1. What are you, black now?

      1. He’s whatever you want him to be, Art – he’s a spambot. 😉

  24. that’s a smear against gay men

    Sigh – not this again. It’s a sexual practice that requires one male. The sex of the “recipient” is irrelevant. Also, it’s not a “smear”, either. Except I guess among those who don’t know what the term actually means.

    1. it’s infantile homophobic badgering. like a god damn jr. high locker room, and the practitioners are showing their stripes.

      not that running around throwing teabags is all that mature either.

      1. I’ll accept it being gay related if it means it’s more insulting.

        Teabagger is now an official word. You can’t argue with the OED!

        1. i never gathered you took much offense to the gay crap slung at you ’round here anyway.

          at the risk of being seen being nice to a troll, i’ll say you actually have a good sense of humour from time to time.

          but none of that takes away from the hypocrisy of all the lefty PC/tolerance preaching shitbags who gleefully sling around the insult. personally, i don’t give a shit what people say or find offensive, but hypocrisy still stinks.

    2. That’s odd, most liberals I’ve talked to almost always use it in a homosexual sense.

      All the while claiming the high ground on gay issues, of course.

      1. I guess it’s a smear when it’s hurled by such folks and homosexuality is implied – but the practice itself is hardly confined to gays.

        My friends who still crack “teabag” jokes might be liberal but they’re pro-gay… given that I am gay I doubt I would hang out with them otherwise.

      2. Hell, they did the same thing with “chickenhawk.”

    3. Bear with me a bit and I will veer back onto this topic:

      A blog on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch site asks readers what the strangest thing that they have eaten is and somebody tried to post “Pussy” twice.

      The moderator of the newpaper’s comment section was so outraged he managed to track down the commenter by his IP to a local school. He then forwards all his info on to the school and they track the bad bad person down (who is a teacher) and get him to resign.

      The moderator then posts a self congratulatory story about the entire incident.

      The reason that this is relevant is because as many commenters note, the moderator has used the terms “teabagger” and “tea bagging” in his own posts several times without thinking they are offensive.

      So tea bagging is just reporting the facts. Pussy is so offensive that the perp must be hunted down and fired.

      At least according to “real” journalists.

  25. Teach the upper echelon, or help get rid of them, about the sounder forms of Libertarianism

    I would rather agitate for a system in which the two big parties are no longer allowed to legally crush any alternatives than associate myself with the GOP in any way, shape, or form.

    In countries with freer elections than ours, libertarianish parties enjoy quite a bit of success.

    1. And when you consider that libertarianism is probably more genuinely popular in this country given the unique nature of our political culture and development, the revolunary founding, and the generally anti-statist streak, I think in a genuine multiparty system, the libs would be a part of every governing coalition that emerged. Unfortunately, our two party mess gets the ‘pubs to pay lip service to libertarianism and thus attracts a good 1/4-1/2 of its votes on that basis, and then once in power, they hand the keys to the corporatists, imperialists, and moralist (and then subsequently wonder why they get hammered in the elections that follow).

    2. As evidenced by the vast quantities of nations on this earth that clearly have classical liberal policies?

      1. Well, in Germany, the centrist Christian Democrats routinely partner with the Free Democrats. Sure, they don’t win elections, but they pull around 10% and can’t be ignored.

  26. Mike: who cares where libertarians stand in presidential elections? the country does not need a “good president”. the man or woman is not the problem. the office is the problem.

  27. Libertarians must not work with Republicans in any meaningful way.Praise Science,we don’t want to end up with divided government after 2010.That would thwart Obama’s plan of Hope and Change progress on Gay Marriage and Medical Marijuana.

  28. anybody in the senate reading? please tell orin hatch to STFU please…

    1. ok, franken’s up. i take that back…

  29. These two people calling themselves the tea party really have nothing to do with the state groups. For example in NH we have a coalition of grassroots groups and we do not take money or directions from anyone in DC or anywhere else.

    The original Tea Party was when 10,000 Ron Paul supporters gathered in DC on the green.

  30. Hmmm…Matt Welch’s article that is linked here seems to portray them as hypocritical idiots….and he leaves a lot of questions….

  31. This sort of bullshit is why it’s dumb to associate yourself with anything other than small-l libertarianism. I’m very jaded about the prospect of limited government and individual liberty in the present system.

  32. Likely HR3962 will pass. McCain took it from the left and right on Campaign Finance Reform and Obama nearly tripled him on spending. McCain took it from the left and right on Immigration Reform with lie after lie and now we have defacto amnesty. McCain took it from the left and right in the 2008 Election and you got Obama Nation. Welcome to the real world, voters. Actions have consequences.

    1. Actions have consequences.

      In an Inland Empire sort of way?

  33. …what had promise as a mass anti-state movement will descend into personality cult anti-Democratic party populism.

    …which is really all it ever was…

  34. what had promise as a mass anti-state movement will descend into personality cult anti-Democratic party populism.

    The Tea Parties were never an “anti-state movement”. The vast majority of attendees support a robust state. Their problem is with profligate spending by the state.

    Maybe this is one of those Xeophanes moments, where we realize that an ox believes that the Tea Parties were attended solely by oxen.

  35. Furthermore, the very concept of limited government tends to de-emphasize that sort of leadership ethos. Libertarianism is, at its very core, about minimizing the effects of leadership. Its hard for us to find that so-called leader because our entire worldview is premised on the notion that every man is his own leader and should bow to no other.

    I agree to some extent, but I strongly disagree that the idea that “every man is his own leader” is essential to libertarianism. Clearly libertarians recognize that voluntary organizations may have leaders, whose members place their trust in him or her to make decisions which impact their own lives. It’s not much of a stretch to extend that to government.

    The idea that every man is his own leader is more of a statement of what I call “hyperindividualism”, which unfortunately these days is strongly correlated with libertarianism. It is this affliction of the political mind that leads libertarian individuals to hamstring potential libertarian politicians and leaders if they disagree on some minutia like gay marriage, ferret legalization, or road privatization.

    Oddly enough, to have a stable libertarian bodypolitic you have to have a great deal of cultural collectivism present in the society. Look at the societies with libertarian legal regimes that have enjoyed any modicum of success: they’ve all been culturally homogeneous or very sparsely populated. You can’t have a free society full of hyperindividualist artists living on top of each other. And if you try, you’re just going to give rise to the worst kind of statism after people demand law and order.

    1. you just don’t like ferrets.

      but, i do agree with you. many libertarians allow the the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

    2. I think libertarians tend to produce the normal amount of leaders as any other political demographic.

      Where libertarians suck is in developing followers.

      It is tough to be a leader of a group that doesn’t promote the values of conformity or solidarity.

      1. I don’t think that’s the problem. Look at the Ron Paul movement — if he had wanted to become supreme leader of the libertarian movement, it was there for the taking. True, some parts of the cosmotarian faction would not have gone along, but most libertarians would have followed him.

        1. I should add, the problem with Paul as a leader wasn’t just that he didn’t want to be a leader, but that the man has very poor political instincts. His much-ballyhooed “no” votes have accomplished zero, nothing, nada, to advance the cause of liberty in this country.

          Of course, then you get a guy in Bob Barr who has sharp political instincts, and wants to lead the libertarian movement — and the big fish in the little piss-puddle that is the LP (Nolan, Ruwart, Philles, the neopagans) stab him in the back at every opportunity because he cast a couple of votes they disagreed with way back when. So maybe you do have a point.

  36. This is one intolerant group here.
    Do not take my word for this observation, read the story, read the comments following it.
    I must be misinformed about the “live and let live” attitude supposed of Libertarianism.
    I won’t be visiting again.

    1. how productive. you’re like one of those teenagers who writes about killing themselves for attention.

      Pull the trigger. no one cares.

    2. It’s hard to “live and let live” when we have two major parties hell-bent on fucking the populace with a big piece of steel pipe coated in epoxy and broken glass… and WE get to foot the bill for the weapon in question.

  37. I won’t be visiting again.

    Not a problem, as I suspect no one but you knows what the fuck you’re talking about.

  38. I strongly disagree that the idea that “every man is his own leader” is essential to libertarianism

    Me too. Some people are “leaders”; some aren’t–it’s human nature. Unfortunately, the tendency of “leaders” to grab as much power for themselves is also a part of human nature.

    1. The very same forces within human nature that make civilization possible, are also the ones that destroy it.

      Let me know when somebody figures out how to handle that little problem.

      1. I like people in small groups, any more than that and they start wearing armbands and choosing side.

        -George Carlin

  39. Regarding Palin and TARP:

    On the TARP
    The woman who was John McCain’s running mate last year hails the tea party movement. She says that the McCain campaign was wrong to support the first bailout package.

    “That very first bailout, yes. Now we have learned, too, it didn’t fulfill the promises that were made by Congress, and by the White House, that bailing out these businesses that were ‘too big to fail,’ ” Palin said. “That did not put our economy back on the right track. So we learn from our mistakes. The tea party movement, beautiful. It energizes our country. More power to these people who are showing up there.”

  40. iran number 1, russia number 1, usa ha phooey

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