What the Left Can Learn From the Tea Party

Independence, not loyalty, is the way to push Democratic politicians on drug policy, civil liberties, and war.


When, after two excruciating months of headline-making negotiations, congressional Democrats and Republicans agreed to reduce projected increases in federal spending somewhat in return for a $2.1 trillion extension of the nation's credit line, a broad swath of the professional left knew whom to blame: the Tea Party movement.

"Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people," wailed New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. "This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money," complained Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.). Salon's Michael Lind warned that "neo-Confederate" Tea Party "fanatics" were threatening to "destroy America's credit rating unless the federal government agrees to enact Dixie's economic agenda." Not to be outdone, former Vice President Al Gore called on Americans to emulate revolutionary freedom fighters in the Arab world.

"We need to have an American Spring," Gore said on Current TV, "a kind of an American nonviolent change where people on the grassroots get involved again. Not the, you know, not in the Tea Party style."

It takes a special kind of brain to advocate regime change against a force that controls neither the White House nor the Senate, let alone to react to a grassroots movement by lamenting the lack of a grassroots movement. Still, Gore was almost onto something: The Tea Parties hold an important lesson for left-of-center grassroots political activists. But to learn it, they have to get past their hatred of the Tea Parties.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who  successfully steered Republican negotiations so that no taxes were raised in the debt-limit deal, is anything but a fiscally responsible, government-limiting public servant. He championed such Bush-era white elephants as No Child Left Behind, the single biggest increase in federal education spending in history, and Medicare Part D, which gave heavily subsidized prescription drugs to seniors. He supported George W. Bush's $100 million stimulus plan in 2008, his $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) later that year, and his $1 trillion-plus war expenditures. As recently as last fall's congressional campaign, Boehner was explicitly refusing to contemplate cuts in military and entitlement spending—the two biggest growth engines in government.

What changed Boehner's tune? The Tea Parties.

In the run-up to the November 2010 elections, Boehner, along with his Senate counterpart, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), refused to include a Tea Party–backed ban on earmarks in his flaccid "Pledge to America" manifesto. Hours after the Republicans took over the House of Representatives, both men reiterated their opposition to a ban on legislative pork.

Not satisfied with merely winning elections, Tea Party activists flooded congressional phone lines and prodded the 90 new Republicans on Capitol Hill to face down a GOP leadership more concerned with appearances than reform. Amazingly, by February 2011, Boehner had caved under the pressure.

Even elected politicians are finally realizing what has been increasingly obvious since public opinion rose up in revulsion against the panicky TARP spending in the fall of 2008: The American public in general, and Tea Party activists in particular, are allergic to Washington's perennial prescription of increased spending and centralization for every real and imagined economic ill.

On nearly every occasion during Barack Obama's presidency when voters have had a chance to vent at their elected representatives on the issue, they have. In May 2009, Californians overwhelmingly rejected the elite consensus's tax-increasing package of ballot initiatives to fix the state's dire budget crisis. That summer, voters literally screamed at their congressmen about what would eventually become ObamaCare. In January 2010, a relatively unknown Republican won Teddy Kennedy's old Senate seat in Massachusetts, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1. And in November 2010, Tea Party activists not only helped Republicans recover control of the House but did so in many cases by backing candidates more radical than the ones favored by the GOP establishment.

Mitch McConnell may still lead Republicans in the Senate, but it's politicians like Rand Paul (R-Ky.)—elected with Tea Party backing over McConnell's hand-picked candidate in his home state—who represent the future. Clearly aware of this, Boehner and McConnell have been frantically remaking themselves as champions of limited government.

The success of the Tea Party movement offers the left a blueprint for change. For decades politicians like Boehner trampled on the conservative tradition of limited government. Obama and the Democratic establishment likewise have disrespected several core traditions of the American left. The best way to reassert those values is not by staying on the Democratic reservation but by refusing to be taken for granted.

In this month's cover story, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum provides a detailed explanation of how Barack Obama, whose pre-election signals on drug policy seemed promising, has turned out to be just as bad on this issue as George W. Bush. Obama's record has been particularly egregious with respect to medical marijuana, which he promised to tolerate but has instead tried to suppress at least as aggressively as his predecessor did.

The continued crackdown demonstrates the futility of elevating political parties and their candidates over single issues. Consider that three of the biggest supporters of the Democratic Party since the end of Bush's first term have been George Soros, Peter Lewis, and John Sperling—who also happen to be three of the country's most generous supporters of drug policy reform. 

Soros in particular is a case study in how giving blanket support to a political party can undermine your favorite causes. According to a 2004 New Yorker article about anti-Bush billionaires by Jane Mayer, Soros' bill of particulars against Obama's predecessor included Bush's attempts to spread democracy at gunpoint, his expansions of presidential power, and his prison camp in Guantanamo Bay. In every one of those areas, as in the drug war, Obama has not been significantly better than Bush.

Politicians who can take supporters for granted will do precisely that, particularly when taking supporters' issues seriously would require upending the status quo. Although last July's debt deal did not cut a single dime from the federal budget, it did hold the line on taxes and reduce projected growth in spending. Even those modest accomplishments would have been impossible without the Tea Party's influence. Yet in the heat of the battle that preceded the deal, both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Wall Street Journal editorial page mocked Tea Party activists as "hobbits" oblivious to the real-world consequences of their actions.

The Tea Party movement was able to grind the gears of politics as usual by demonstrating to the McCains of the world that single issues matter more than whether the opposing party might win this or that congressional seat. As Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, told Sullum, Obama has been able to pursue the war on drugs as usual partly because "those who care have not made him pay a political price yet."

Full marijuana legalization is likely to be on the ballot of at least a couple of Western states in 2012. An open question to drug policy reformers contemplating independence from the Democratic establishment at this moment of truth: If not now, when? 

Matt Welch (matt.welch@reason.com) is editor in chief of reason and co-author of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America (PublicAffairs).

NEXT: Whoops! ObamaCare Backers in Wisconsin Produce Report Showing That the Health Care Overhaul Will Make Health Insurance More Expensive

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  1. Reason, why are you helping the left? They are the enemy!

    1. Libertarians can never find their perfect candidate. Ron Paul is as as close as they will get, yet many reject him. It is confusing.

      1. I don't like Ron Paul, he's the Ralph Nader of the right, always running, never winning, oh, and he hates Israel. So sorry Cabrito, I ain't voting for Ron Paul. I'll take Perry or Romney, they may be a little prudish when it comes to social issues, but CAPITALISM is more important than legalizing pot or same-sex marriage and it's about time libertarians started voting with their wallets!

        1. He "hates" Israel? Really?

          No, don't start. You lost all credibility on anything you could possibly say.

        2. too bad neither of them has a clue about free market capitalism... and how many times have Rick Perry or Romney been elected president?

      2. I don't like Ron Paul, he's the Ralph Nader of the right, always running, never winning, oh, and he hates Israel. So sorry Cabrito, I ain't voting for Ron Paul. I'll take Perry or Romney, they may be a little prudish when it comes to social issues, but CAPITALISM is more important than legalizing pot or same-sex marriage and it's about time libertarians started voting with their wallets!


        2. Hint: Posting your comment two times did not make it double-plus good. Sorry I fed a troll......twice!

          1. Hey, I clicked submit twice by mistake. Besides, it's not my fault that Reason.com doesn't allow me to remove a post. That's their fault, so go blame Reason for their technological errors.

            1. Which makes you double-plus stupid, comrade. Dammit, that makes 3 times!

          2. I approve this message

        3. "CAPITALISM"

          LOL Romney and Perry.

    2. The left cannot be helped. They are the political side of the aisle which never questions their beliefs nor accepts responsibility for past mistakes.

  2. The Democratic party base should rename itself, push for radicalization of the party, and continue to vote Democratic?

    1. Why are the dems complaining about the teaparty? If they're mad at moronic Americans who dress in stupid get ups and show up at events for message politics why don't they start with the SEIU?

      1. Dems are afraid of the Tea Party because it is the real thing - a real grassroots movement - focused on a narrow agenda and not encumbered with social baggage. (just because so-cons are trying to jump in front of the parade, they don't control it) It is more like the Anti-war movement of the 60's, but more mature and affluent with, regrettably, fewer bra-less girls.

        1. What happened to that "Coffee Party" bullshit? Damn, they couldn't even do THAT right.

        2. All polling data suggests that the Tea Party is the same ultraconservative, ultrareligious Republican base that was always there.

          1. Many of those folks identify with the Tea Party because they hold the same economic views, but the Tea Party is strictly focused on economics and NOT on social issues that the socons treasure. It remains to be seen if the socons can steer the Tea Party to their social agenda.

  3. The left is gonna what? Look back to the glory days of the depression and FDR?

    1. Of course! The 30s and 40s were the heyday of liberalism. Progress was on the march! Bread lines, double digit umemployment for a decade and a half, government growing without bounds! FDR calling Stalin "Uncle Joe"! What's there not to be proud of?

      1. so lub-rahls caused black tuesday?

        1. No - they leveraged a market correction into more than a decade of deep recessions and weak recoveries that we now call the Great Depression.

          1. so the response TO the market crash caused the depression, not what proceeded the crash or the actual crash itself ?

              1. interesting temporal causality. and a very unique intertretation. may i ask the source?

                1. "I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your life, as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service... us."

                2. No one said that there wasn't a financial crisis in 1933, only that FDR and the New Deal made it worse and longer than it had to be.

                3. Has any economic policy ever prevented a recession? They happen.

                  After 1929, we had a Progressive Republican then a Leftist Democrat reacting to crises (or using them as an excuse) with ever larger government intervention, high taxes, and more spending. The result was over a decade of Depression.

                  The same happen in Japan in the 90's and the U.S. two years ago. The results were predictable.

                4. "A Monetary History of the United States" by Friedman and Schwartz

                  Fits the historical facts better than the standard progressive line.

            1. From what I've read, unemployment was heading down when FDR took office. He soon had it above 20%.

            2. "so the response TO the market crash caused the depression, not what proceeded the crash or the actual crash itself ?"

              So it was a misjudgement on the part of investors as to the future earnings of the vacuum tube radio industry that caused the great depression?

              Your argument is not self-consistent. If the period preceding black tuesday was bad because of a lack of wisdom on the part of investors, then the crash was good because it corrected for it. Spectacularly.

  4. Deregulate privation property land title, the biggest government entitlement.

    Officer, am I free to gambol across plain and forest now like people did on this land for 17,000 years until 300 years ago?

    Non-State sociopolitical typology is the only real free society.

    Privation property is heavy regulation of the Land and contradictory to the Non-Aggression Principle. In invasion then. In occupation now.

    Fibertarians, keep barking like huffpo progressivist, City-STATIST poodles!

    1. "Officer, am I free to gambol across plain and forest now like people did on this land for 17,000 years until 300 years ago?"

      This statement is total bullshit. No one has EVER been free to gambol across plain and forest. Not today, not 300 years ago and not 17,000 years ago.

      Total. Fantasy. Bullshit.

      1. You are the only white man I have ever known. I have thought about you a lot. More than you think. And I understand your concern. But I think you are wrong. The white man the soldiers are looking for no longer exists. Now there is only a Sioux named Dances With Wolves....err....White Indian.

        1. I just get this image of a pasty, cheeto stained blob in a three wolves t-shirt that was purchased fifty pounds ago sitting glaring into a 17 inch monitor furiously typing on the orange crusted keyboard as dreamcatchers and windchimes dance in the breeze from the air conditioner. Outside, the nearest 'plain' or 'forest' is a city park that is too far away to merit the walk(hence the lack of gamboling). But no matter--forest scenes are tacked to the walls. Death to the Agri[CULT]ural Ci[TY-STA]te!

          1. Quit looking in the mirror

          2. This guy? (Although I prefer your description of our Faux Rousseau to the image at the link.


      2. Why agriculture? In retrospect, it seems odd that it has taken archaeologists and paleontologists so long to begin answering this essential question of human history. What we are today?civilized, city-bound, overpopulated, literate, organized, wealthy, poor, diseased, conquered, and conquerors?is all rooted in the domestication of plants and animals. The advent of farming re-formed humanity.

        In fact, the question "Why agriculture?" is so vital, lies so close to the core of our being that it probably cannot be asked or answered with complete honesty. Better to settle for calming explanations of the sort Stephen Jay Gould calls "just-so stories."

        In this case, the core of such stories is the assumption that agriculture was better for us. Its surplus of food allowed the leisure and specialization that made civilization. Its bounty settled, refined, and educated us, freed us from the nasty, mean, brutish, and short existence that was the state of nature, freed us from hunting and gathering. Yet when we think about agriculture, and some people have thought intently about it, the pat story glosses over a fundamental point. This just-so story had to have sprung from the imagination of someone who never hoed a row of corn or rose with the sun for a lifetime of milking cows.

        Gamboling about plain and forest, hunting and living off the land is fun. Farming is not. That's all one needs to know to begin a rethinking of the issue. The fundamental question was properly phrased by Colin Tudge of the London School of Economics: "The real problem, then, is not to explain why some people were slow to adopt agriculture hut why anybody took it up at all."

        ~Richard Manning
        Against the Grain
        page 23

        1. [White Indian]: Get down from that bookshelf, please. Most of those books haven't been discredited yet!

    2. And here I thought that granting legal title to land helped prevent aggression, by allowing ownership claims to be reached peacefully. The legal owners can then gambol all they want, or not.

      1. Why do I imagine White Indian gamboling across plain and forest until, bam, he suddenly takes up Timothy Treadwell reenactment as a career? I can't imagine a guy so clueless faring well in the wilderness.

        1. T, you're a halfwit. Timothy Treadwell tried to go in the wilderness all by himself.

          No Indian is that stupid.

          Humans are best adapted for band life.

          A band of brothers.

          They did it for 17,000 years here on Turtle Island. 2 million years here on earth.

          But keep comforting yourself with so-so stories that comfort you in your velvet chains, poodle boy.

          1. They did it for 17,000 years here on Turtle Island

            What about Monster Island?

            1. It doesn't count because it's really more of a peninsula.

          2. One: Treadwell was not alone?he had his girlfriend with him [for all the good it did].

            Two: He spent the summer with bears, meaning he probably lived elsewhere during the off-season. Because you can't go on TV and give interviews when you live with bears full-time. [Most people are not stupid enough to get too close to wild bears for good reason.] Or other stuff.

            Three: Are you sure it's not Snapping Turtle Island? Them things do bite.

            1. actually it was the summer that he brought his clueless girlfriend with him that they were both eaten.

    3. Hey Mayo...good on ya if you can pull it off! The back to nature bit I mean...otherwise up the meds and stop boring me.

      1. Did you get that meds thing from HuffPo?

        Fibertarians can't accept simple anthropological fact. Kinda like leftists.

        1. Gee I don't know? I don't frequent HuffPo. Are you as silly over there?

        2. Fibertarians can't accept simple anthropological fact.

          Petitio principii

          1. Geez ya let a halfwit read one book and you can't get him to shut up.

            1. Bet he's a real hit at parties.

    4. Tell me again about how much better my life is going to be when I'm digging for tubers all the time.

      1. Tell me again about how much better my life is going to be when I'm digging for a red stapler on my desk all the time.

        Keep trying, domesticated poodle boy. No stapler for you.

        1. Poodle Boy?

          Did you get that over at HuffPo? Keep trying Ishii! No gamboling for you!

        2. Have you seen my stapler?

  5. "Obama and the Democratic establishment likewise have disrespected several core traditions of the American left. The best way to reassert those values is not by staying on the Democratic reservation but by refusing to be taken for granted."

    I note that Welch does not reallly define what values have been betrayed, or that there is much feeling on the Left that they ahve evem been betrayed. The Right had been unhappy with Bush's policies on Education and Medicare as conceding to the Left's point on those issues. Where is the similar frustration on the Left? Do they really dislike the policies Obama continues or did they not who was implementing them?

    1. Most of the poeple I talk with who voted for Obama are completely unaware of the fact that he has betrayed them. One of them recently told me that she voted for Obama becuase he was in favor of "gay marriage, ending the wars, and legalizing marijuana," and that she thought he was "doing a pretty good job, but the Republicans control congress, so he can't do everything he promised."

      When I explained to her that reality was actually the opposite of all her perceptions, she said, "I don't believe that. I watch MSNBC all the time, and I've never heard any of that."

      1. While I believe this story generally, you know you completely fabricated that last sentence.

        1. "... you completely fabricated that last sentence.

          Unfortunately, I didn't. That comment led to a whole argument over whether or not MSNBC is biased, and to her delusional declaration that Olbermann is a genius.

          1. I dated a girl who could not bear to watch Stossel or Napolitano with me, but thought it was crazy that I would say Olbermann was the O'Reilly of the left.

            It didn't work out.

            1. Crazy chicks are fun for a while.

              1. Not crazy, just dogmatic progressive. So there was an obvious tension there from the get-go...but we had really good chemistry, so we both tried way harder than was rational to make it work.

                1. Since when the fuck are "crazy" and "dogmatic progressive" not the same thing?

                  1. Exactly. And why bring up positions?

          2. She knows that they purged him, right?

      2. Better luck than I've had. The worst I've met was convinced that Medicare had been privatized (!!!) and that Obama had set a hard deadline for withdrawal from Iraq.

      3. The Democrats controlled Congress for the first two years of the Obama administration. They still control the Senate, though not so tightly as before. Obama really doesn't have any excuses for at least introducing legislation in those directions. He did nothing.

  6. I don't know, I'm not sure the American left really cares about this stuff much any more. Drugs? Not that big of a deal for them. Anti-war? Only as a club if their guy isn't in charge. Civil liberties? The same.

    You want to get the left worked up these days, start talking about [CORPORATIONZ] and [BANKZ] and [CAPITALIZM] and [MARKETZ] and [BILLIONAIRZ] and [TEABAGGERZ] and a bunch of other words you can throw a Z into. That will get the blood boiling.

    1. Like TAXEZ and REGULATIONZ and UNIONZ? That line of though sounds retarded no matter what ideology you are coming from.

    2. This is why I try to take a stand on issues you can't really pluralize, like marijuana and non-aggression and freedom of speech.


        Nope. It doesn't work.

        1. Marijuanaz totally works if you're baked, though.

          1. Or, alternatively, if you're packing a salad in the bowl.

    3. That's what I'm afraid of: that drugs, anti-war, civil liberties, etc. stuff was never a sincere priority of many, just that starting in the 1960s they were seized on as a club to bash the status quo to advance the anti-propertarian agenda of the "left".

  7. Neither TEAM RED nor TEAM BLUE has any principles. They are only about partisanship, which is why there's no "Tea Party" splinter group for TEAM BLUE, and why whatever the Tea Party started off as has been taken over by TEAM RED statists.

    GO TEAM GO is what they're about, and this current arrangement suits them just fine.

    1. You gotta make me feel bad about everything?

    2. Right to an extent, but there is no question that the Tea Party changed what TEAM RED looks like and says. See Rick Perry's pandering and Michelle Bachmann.

    3. Team Red is a lot more fun than Team Blue. I say it's time for an elephant stampede! Crush the donkey party! Go, Red, Go!

      1. You might be on too something. In the power rangers the red one was the cool one that got all the womens and the blue one was a nerd who probably didn't like girls but maybe ladyboys instead.

        1. actually the blue ranger turned out to be gay i think

  8. Sounds like a third party could camp in the middle and leave both the left and right extremists twisting in the wind. Where is John Galt?

    1. Yes, but our third parties decided to camp on the outskirts instead of the middle.

      1. Maybe because the centrists, moderates, and compromisers got us into the current mess? Extremists didn't fuck over the body politic for the past 50 years and then whine when somebody tries to fix it.

      2. What "middle?" What would this "middle" you imagine look like?

        1. I'm guessing the 1990s.

      3. Modern Whig Party. It exists. No one pays attention.

        I know more third-parties than probably every newscaster combined. And all it took was a few minutes on wikipedia. But the media doesn't care. They've a vested interest in politics as usual.

  9. Yeah, destrudo, this "madman" has taken Libertarian terms and paddled them with their own bullshit. Statist. Freedom. Deregulation.

    And he's got scholarly empirical evidence instead of a priori assumptions from the Holy Prophets.

    So if he's mad using your own favorite talking points, what's that make you?


  10. "Drug policy, civil liberties, and war??" The left has no interest in those boring topics. The "left" has come to stand for defending public employee pensions and government stimulus programs. That's it. Somebody talk me down!!

  11. There have got to be some individuals on both sides of the ideological spectrum who don't, outside the perhaps occasional lapse, focus on party over principle. That seems to be what we're seeing in some of the Tea Party. Whether you like their philosophy (purported or practiced), they have bucked establishment Republicans on several occasions. Welch appears to be addressing the Left's TPM counterpart.

    The question is, are there enough of those to change the direction establishment Democrats are taking their party?

  12. "We need to have an American Spring," Gore said on Current TV, "a kind of an American nonviolent change where people on the grassroots get involved again.

    I'm expecting just that to happen in the winter and spring of 2012, as Ron Paul racks up surprising wins in the Republican primaries and caucuses, as grassroots Americans decide they want to be free, too.

    1. I'm expecting race riots when Obama loses in 2012. For that reason, I continue to stock up on ammo.

      1. Sort of like the "race riot" that served as the basis for the Tea Party in the first place?

        1. I assume he meant riot in the more literal sense of widespread violence and property damage.

  13. Neither TEAM RED nor TEAM BLUE has any principles.


    Neither do Fibertarians, as the brilliant troll has so amply demonstrated. As he spanks them with their own talking points, their "principles" get cast aside as they howl like progressivist puppies.

    Now that they've proven life expectancy and antibiotics and comforts of life are worth more to them than freedom, one would assume they will drift to the political flavor of the City-State that provides best* in those aspects of life.

    Or Fibertarians can just live in their contradictions like Team Red and Team Blue do.

    * inequality-adjusted human development index


  14. The "American Left" is nothing more than a collection of special interest groups. They are unified under the banner of big government and handouts.

    There is no ideology or principles involved. Just keep the spending gravy train rolling and they are happy.

    What principle would they unite under? What would they fight for?

  15. The "Fibertarian Right" is nothing more than a collection of special interest groups. They are unified under the banner of sucking wealth into higher, righter, and tighter hands.

    There is no ideology or principles involved. Just keep the profits gravy train rolling and they are happy.

    What principle would they unite under? What would they fight for?

    1. There is no ideology or principles involved*

      Profound, man. I'm talking MATT DAMON profound. Wow. You really said something there, man. You really did.

      * (Ideology and principles are pretty much all libertarians have, dumbass.)

      1. MATT DAMON!

        1. RICK PERRY!!!!

          should be the new MATT DAMON!!!

  16. Aries Spears comments at Reason? Who knew?

    1. Why couldn't it have been Will Sasso?

  17. "...I had never really known who John Dunbar was. Perhaps because the name itself had no meaning. But as I heard my Sioux name being called over and over, I knew for the first time who I really was."

    (whispers) White Indian

  18. I don't know, I'm not sure the Fibertarian Right really cares about this stuff much any more. Non-State society? Not that big of a deal for them. Anti-Land-regulation? Only as a club if their guy isn't in charge. Freedom of Movement on the Land? The same.

    You want to get the Fibertarian Right worked up these days, start talking about [FORAGERZ] and [NON STATE SOCIOPOLITICAL TYPOLOGIEZ] and [PRIMITIVIZM] and [DISEASES OF CIVILIZATIONZ] and [AGRICULTURAL CITY STATEZ] and [MUD HUTZ] and a bunch of other words you can throw a Z into. That will get the blood boiling.

  19. [voice-over] It was hard to know how to feel. I had never been in a battle like this one. This had not been a fight for territory or riches or to make men free. This battle had no ego. It had been fought to preserve the food stores that would see us through winter, to protect the lives of women and children and loved ones only a few feet away. I felt a pride I had never felt before. I was...the Off White Indian......

  20. Ron Paul doesn't have a chance. Much as the voters may whine about the rank-and-file candidates from both teams Red and Blue, they still vote for the guy who isn't from the party that most recently pissed them off and who has the most charisma. When Carter pissed them off, we got Reagan; when Bush Sr. pissed them off, we got Clinton; when Bush Jr. pissed them off, we got Obama.

    One of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Or as George Carlin once noted, think about how dumb the average person is, then realize half of everyone is even dumber than that.

    Which is why Ron Paul won't win - he comes across as too much of a little troll. It's why Romney and Perry are duking it out. And it's why there possibly should be an IQ test included as part of the voter registration process.

    1. It's not about IQ, it's about interest in the subject.

    2. Paul just lacks the slickness and charisma that past successful candidates have had. So people assume he won't win the same way they assume they can predict the stock market by gazing deeply into the patterns of numbers, or predict someone's behavior based on talking to them and considering how it reminds them of that other dude they know and what he did.

      They might be more likely to be right then wrong because a lot of history does repeat, but the chances that something new could happen are not at all bad. Who would have predicted the current guy had a shot?

      And Zero job growth last month. Things can change very fast.

      1. Oh, I'm definitely expecting that Obama will be a one-term president. There aren't too many people happy with him with the economy the way it is. I'm just saying, there's a lot of people on this board talking up Ron Paul, and I expect that our next president will be named Mitt Romney or Rick Perry. That's not to say they'll be better choices than Paul, only that they've got the charisma to get elected.

  21. You guys should really think about banning it now, before it goes septic. It's sockpuppeting itself to build fake consensus; it's complete and utter bad faith has been proven. It's just a griefer.

    Let this go on is how we ended up with four years of Edward/Morris/Max/Lefiti.

    1. I was just thinking that of all the trails in this life there is one that matters most. It is the trail of a true human being. I think you are on this trail and it is good to see.

    2. THANK YOU.

  22. My name is White Indian. I have nothing to say to you. You are not worth talking to.

    But I can cut and paste things other people said all day long.

    1. Let us smoke a while.

      1. With Off White Indian, it was always more than a while. There was purpose in everything he did, and I knew he wanted me to stay. But I was sure of myself. I didn't want to be here when White Indian found this place. I pushed him as far as I could to move the camp. But in the end, he only smiled and talked of simple pleasures. He reminded me that at his age, a good fire was better than anything, and that White Indian was just another prick among many.

        Off White Indian was an extraordinary man.

        1. Eggshell Indian! I am Off White Indian. Do you see that I am your friend? Can you see that you will always be my friend?

          1. We will shoot some arrows into White Indian. If he truly has medicine, he will not be hurt. If he has no medicine, he will be dead.

            Personally I'm rooting for dead.

            1. [watching White Indian dance around like a buffalo]

              His mind is gone!

            2. No. If he truly has medicine he will not only not be hurt, but will go on to live another 500 years.

              Because everyone knows that civilised people live nasty, brutish and short lives that end at 80...

  23. On one hand, the Tea Parties made me genuinely optimistic at the outset, because they were a truly grassroots movement that effected considerable electoral change in spite of a lack of formal organization. Then they made me pessimistic, because they were swiftly co-opted by the GOP. The lesson to be learned from them (and from things like the Egypt uprising) is that technology now enables the swift mobilization of otherwise disorganized individuals into powerful political movements. And I do think that the GOP establishment is still afraid of the people that brought the Tea Parties to life.

    Most on the left, though, don't seem to be disenchanted with the Dems the way many conservatives were with the Bush-era GOP. It's going to take those folks a while to talk themselves out of the notion that Obama is God's Only Begotten Son.

    1. That's because the current "left" in the USA is a collection of interest groups who are used to logrolling and therefore harder for a political party to disenchant.

  24. Economic studies have indicated that just as the downturn was spread worldwide by the rigidities of the Gold Standard, it was suspending gold convertibility (or devaluing the currency in gold terms) that did most to make recovery possible.[46][47][48] What policies countries followed after casting off the gold standard, and what results followed varied widely.
    Every major currency left the gold standard during the Great Depression. Great Britain was the first to do so. Facing speculative attacks on the pound and depleting gold reserves, in September 1931 the Bank of England ceased exchanging pound notes for gold and the pound was floated on foreign exchange markets.
    Great Britain, Japan, and the Scandinavian countries left the gold standard in 1931. Other countries, such as Italy and the U.S., remained on the gold standard into 1932 or 1933, while a few countries in the so-called "gold bloc", led by France and including Poland, Belgium and Switzerland, stayed on the standard until 1935?1936.
    According to later analysis, the earliness with which a country left the gold standard reliably predicted its economic recovery. For example, Great Britain and Scandinavia, which left the gold standard in 1931, recovered much earlier than France and Belgium, which remained on gold much longer. Countries such as China, which had a silver standard, almost avoided the depression entirely. The connection between leaving the gold standard as a strong predictor of that country's severity of its depression and the length of time of its recovery has been shown to be consistent for dozens of countries, including developing countries. This partly explains why the experience and length of the depression differed between national economies.[49]

    It's from Wikipedia -- what do you dudes think, since we're delving into the Depression?

    1. Not to mention the then new Federal Reserve slowing down the printing presses until they got that pesky gold in their vaults.


    2. Freedom of trade, government spending, regulations, and taxes all factored in too.

      That's how FDR managed to keep the U.S. in a deep depression after the mid-thirties when most of Europe was recovering.

  25. Forget WI, I prefer Neon Indian.

  26. Are you truly independent if all of your announced candidates are republicans?

    1. Or, has the Democratic Party become so hostile to freedom that it is impossible for a Libertarian to support any of them?

      1. Really? That's a bit of a fallacy. If the tea party was independent, they'd would have run more 3rd party general elections instead of running insurgency campaigns under the Republican party.

        1. As just about anybody involved with retail level 3rd party candidates can tell you, in just about every state, it's much easier to get on the ballot as a D or R. No reason not to co-opt the existing power structure for your ends. All it takes is a significantly large bloc that doesn't mind voting in the R primary.

          1. ^^THIS^^

            The (unfortunate) reality of politics in the US is that if you're not on the ballot under either Teams BLUE or RED, you can't even get your foot in the door, and you don't stand a chance.

        2. The Tea Party is Conservative with at least some Libertarian leanings. They have taken out some big Rinos in primaries and will be hinting more next spring.

          If the Republican establishment doesn't cooperate, they will be a third party eventually.

        3. I'm a libertarian and I supported Obama, mostly on his promise to end the Patriot Act and the drug war.

          Promises, promises.

          Still, I don't see anyone on the GOP side besides Gary Johnson, who has less of a chance than Ron Paul.

    2. This^

      I think the TP saw themselves initially as independent, but given that the Repubs are (loosely speaking) the party of 'small govt.' they quickly saw an opportunity to use the TP.

      Needless to say, I remain extremely skeptical about the TP's long-term ability to push a truly libertarian agenda that includes dramatically decreasing spending, decreasing the size and scope of govt., ending the WOD, and limiting (essentially ending) the use of our military abroad.

    3. A) Our?

      B) There's only one Team Blue candidate right now, and he blows.

    4. This is my concern also, but keep in mind that there are different kinds of Republicans, and at times the Tea Party has been a pain in the ass for veteran Pubs.

  27. The problem with this article is that it assumes that The Left really cares about limiting the size and scope of government in those areas, when they don't.

    I've met very few liberals who really want to end the drug war, because the fact is most of them don't want to end it just fight it differently. Such as changing the racial aspect, but actually ending the Drug War, they'll never fully support that not when they're waging a war against cigarettes.

    As for our constant interventions overseas, as long as they're "humanitarian" they don't give a damn. The only thing didn't like about the Iraq War was this: President George W. Bush (R). Civil Liberties? They only care about those when a Republican is in the White House, otherwise, they're just bad as conservatives.

    Gay Marriage? Liberal Response: Civil Unions. Presidential Power? Please! They thrive on that!

    The "civil libertarian/anti-war" agenda is only important to the left when Democrats are out of office. And when they're in office those issues hold about the same level of importance that Mike Gravel does.

    1. To understand the left you have to look at them not as followers of some ideology, but as an assortment of groups fighting for political power for themselves vs other groups in what they perceive as a zero-sum game. Then their bullshit makes sense. This is why for example they always leap to racism accusations, they actually see policies in this way. Which race gains and loses by your policy. Arguing individual liberty with a person who completely discounts the difference between an individual and a group is pointless.

      At least the right has some (if half-assed) attachment to an ideological underpinning that can be debated with, be it religion and/or the classic liberalism of the founders.

    2. Whenever people talk about the left actually being serious and sincere about ending the drug war, I remind people that democrats are the party that wants to ban salt.

      Look what they did to tobacco smokers. And fat people with fatty diets.

      Legalize drugs my ass, they will never do that of their own volition. They banned lightbulbs.

  28. "Yet in the heat of the battle that preceded the deal, both Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the Wall Street Journal editorial page mocked Tea Party activists as "hobbits" oblivious to the real-world consequences of their actions."

    oh I finally understand the point of the "hobbits" thing. Freaking geek references.

  29. The Left can learn from RON PAUL side of the Tea Party:
    1) free-market will benefit all in the long run (even the poor and disadvantaged) comparing to corporatism, fascism or socialism.
    2) freedom means tolerance - freedom of speech, freedom to use drugs, freedom to be rich and keep what you earn.
    3) neo-cons and socialists, monopolies and trade unions all love big government that protects them from competition and meritocracy. Trade unions at Boeing love those endless wars as much as white women love affirmative action entitlements.

    1. How long is the long run?

  30. Mike Gravel is still around??

  31. You lost them with "independence", Matt. Liberals (and Team Red) thrive on groupthink. Being a maverick gets you... well, John McCain and Zell Miller, though the latter is a far better human being - not by much, but better.

  32. As a registered libertarian for over 10 years, I have absolutely nothing positive to say about the Tea Party, its tactics, its beliefs, its members, its or ideology.

    Libertarian values and American values are both totally at odds, in every possible respect, with every last thing the Tea Party stands for.

    There is nothing good that we can learn from such a bunch of intellectually and morally bankrupt fools.

  33. In politics you need the right balance between loyalty and independence. Too much loyalty and you become a doormat with no influence. But too much independence and you lose influence too, because you become too expensive to buy and don't stay bought long enough to make it worth anyone's while to buy you.

  34. rk Times columnist Joe Nocera. "This small group of terr

  35. complained Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.). Salon's Michael L

  36. waged jihad on the American people," wailed New York Times columnist

  37. Thanks. Mantolama fiyatlar?, s?ve mantolama | | s?ve modelleri |

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