Tea Party

Stop Scapegoating the "Extremists"

The establishment is a much bigger problem.

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Earlier this week David Welch, a former research director for the Republican National Committee, had an op-ed in The New York Times that looked back with nostalgia to the days when William Buckley purportedly purged the John Birch Society from the conservative movement (*). Welch declared that the "modern-day Birchers are the Tea Party" and called on a new "Buckley-esque gatekeeper" to expel Tea Partiers from polite society. To do this, he added, "We need 'the Establishment.' We need officials like former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, operatives like Karl Rove and Republican Party institutions." There's more, but if you've read any of the other seven trillion articles (**) making the same basic argument you know pretty much everything Welch has to say.

Conor Friedersdorf, no apologist for the Tea Partiers, responds ably in The Atlantic:

None Dare Call It Scapegoating

[T]he notion that the Tea Party is responsible for the right's woes is perilously wrongheaded, for it ignores the ruinous role the GOP establishment has played in recent years….

The GOP establishment made George W. Bush's nomination a fait accompli in the runnup to the 2000 primaries. The Bush Administration's ruinous foreign policy was presided over by longtime members of the GOP establishment. In Congress, it was establishment Republicans who pushed the Iraq War, gave us the K Street project, and signed off on a fiscal course that combined two costly wars, the budget busting Medicare Part D, and tax cuts paid for with borrowed money. The Tea Party arose in part as a response to some of those failures, along with the giveaway of taxpayer money to many of the people most culpable for causing the financial crisis….

There's an unhealthy habit in American politics to lay blame on perceived or actual "extremists"—libertarians and Randians are attacked today in sorta the same way anti-war protesters and "the angry left" were attacked during the Bush Administration—even though they've literally never wielded power. Meanwhile, moderates and centrists brought us the policies responsible for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the financial crisis, every giveaway to lobbyists ever passed, and most recently a multi-country spree of extrajudicial assassinations carried out in secret with hundreds of civilian casualties. It's lucky for the centrists and moderates that they have oh so frightening "extremists" to distract us from their sometimes criminal misgovernance.

One problem with the Tea Party movement, Friedersdorf notes, is that "many of its members are too slavishly loyal in their partisan attachments." In other words, the party regulars have too much influence over their activism. That suggests that Welch has it exactly backwards: We'd be better off if the gatekeepers had less power, not more.

* A decade after the alleged excommunication of the Birchers, a third-party presidential candidate running on a basically Birchite platform got over a million votes. That's a lot of conservatives who don't take their marching orders from Bill Buckley.

** This is an exaggeration, of course. The actual number of articles making this argument is 4.2 trillion.

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  1. Speaking of principled “extremists”:

    Jim DeMint Leaves Senate

    I blame cosmotarians.

    1. Lobbying pays well. DeMint has a net worth of only $40,000.

      1. I prefer “first amendment specialist” to lobbying

      2. If the Heritage Foundation is a lobby, so is Daily Kos.

    2. This sucks. DeMint is one of the few good guys in there.

    3. We all have a price. His is $1M per year.

  2. “Meanwhile, moderates and centrists brought us the policies responsible for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the financial crisis, every giveaway to lobbyists ever passed, and most recently a multi-country spree of extrajudicial assassinations carried out in secret with hundreds of civilian casualties. It’s lucky for the centrists and moderates that they have oh so frightening “extremists” to distract us from their sometimes criminal misgovernance.”

    A-fuckin’-men

    1. Absolutely. I also liked the next paragraph:

      One problem with the Tea Party movement, Friedersdorf notes, is that “many of its members are too slavishly loyal in their partisan attachments.” In other words, the party regulars have too much influence over their activism. That suggests that Welch has it exactly backwards: We’d be better off if the gatekeepers had less power, not more.

      It’s almost too much win for one article.

      The day Rush Limbaugh and Fox started claiming the Tea Party is the day I stopped paying attention to it. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

      1. “The day Rush Limbaugh and Fox started claiming the Tea Party is the day I stopped paying attention to it. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.”

        No, you are not.

        1. You base your judgement on Fox’s/Limbaugh’s claims?!?!

          1. When he claims something is great, chances are it’s probably not.

      2. They can claim it all they want, they arent part of it.

        Hence, no reason to stop paying attention to it.

        The True Scotsman isnt always a fallacy.

      3. So if Rush Limbaugh said he was a libertarian, you would stop paying attention to libertarianism?

        1. Rush praises reason magazine and I don’t give them any money.

        2. I didn’t say Rush said he was a Tea Partier, I said he *claimed* the Tea Party. As in, nominated himself to be Big Man in the party. And I didn’t hear any objections. I think that if he made the same statement about the LP, there would be more than crickets in response.

  3. There’s an unhealthy habit in American politics to lay blame on perceived or actual “extremists”

    I suspect it’s more of a tactic of blaming someone who can’t fight back. Currently it’s fashionable to do this by labeling such persons “extremist” but that hasn’t always been the case, and it’s hardly an American phenomenon only (not to Godwin or anything).

    1. Would that be anything like you blaming us for the current weakness of the GOP?

      1. That’s cute. On this blog it’s me who’s in the semi-oppressed minority.

        1. This whole post was written about people like you, Tulpa.

          1. You said “you”, not “people like you”. Your mendacity would work better on a blog where they allow you to edit your posts after the fact.

  4. The status quo is unsustainable. So whether its Tea Partiers, libertarians, others, or some combination of the above, the only way out of this mess without jettisoning the whole system is real change. Either by breaking the duopoly or by changing the nature of one or more of the parties.

    1. The only way to break the duopoly is for one of the two parties to collapse.

      1. I don’t think that’s likely. In the past, they seem to have just shifted to whatever is popular at the time, when they’ve felt threatened.

    2. The Republicans are about one bad midterm election away from Senatorial irrelevance. I don’t know who will fill the vacuum, but there are too many people whose interests don’t lie in the Dem/DemLite coalition for them to continue this massive spendocracy without a counterforce arising.

      1. Despite the 2012 election, I still think the continued economic trouble will eventually get the Republicans back in power. I’ll be surprised if they don’t make gains in Congress in 2014.

        1. I think you underestimate their ability to pick the worst possible candidates for Senate races. Nobody in the GOP is having a serious discussion about how on God’s green Earth Akin, Mourdock, and Mack were ever seen as viable candidates — or how their recruiting is so bad that those three were the most viable candidates. Until that changes — and it won’t until the GOP bands together and tells the anti-abortion and fundie crowd to get fucked — they are on their way to a permanent 42 seat minority.

          1. It depends on the economy. We’re apparently willing to go along with low growth for a bit. But another downturn? I just don’t see the Democrats escaping blame for that. . .again.

            There is, of course, an excellent opportunity right now for the libertarian and mostly limited government conservatives to take a bigger piece of the GOP pie. They might as well go for it, as the leadership will try to purge them either way.

          2. Here’s the rub: the abortion fundie crowd is larger than the fiscal hawk crowd, so they’re not going to tell one group to get fucked in exchange for a smaller number of votes.

            I don’t think people around here in general realize just how unusual a trait true fiscal conservatism (as opposed to the “fiscal conservatism” practiced by the GOP) is. A lot of the fundies would vote dem based on economics (see our own resident Rick Santorum and his “living wage” bullshit), but vote rep solely based on culture war issues.

            You think there’s not enough difference between the parties now? Take away the culture war shit, and there would truly only be one party. The vote totals for president would break down something like, “Candidate X of the Democratic Republican Party received 85% of the vote, and Candidate Y of the Fuck You, Cut Spending party received 15%”. That’s the state of things with the public as regards economics right now.

            1. It would be nice if the two parties broke along these lines–statists vs. nonstatists.

            2. Yeah, but what is it getting us so far, Jimbo? A bunch of semi-electable dipshits mouthing off about abortion that still don’t do anything about spending even if they manage to get elected. All the current model encourages is more of the shitty same. At least the FYCS party would have clean hands and some credibility after the bubble pops.

              1. Abortion is legal and has been for a while, without much significant change. But there are people who vote on that issue and that issue alone.

                1. I am pro-life and I look for candidates who are also pro-life. But I also realize that if abortion were to cease to exist it wouldn’t matter one tiny bit in the grand scheme of things if spending remains out of control. I don’t know that I could bring myself to vote for a fiscal conservative who supports abortion right up to the moment of birth but I’m sure not looking for a pro-lifer who throws money around like there is no tomorrow.

              2. The Descendants of American Slaves Party had two candidates on the ballot in KY this year.

                I wonder how hard it would be to get the Fuck You, Cut Spending Party on the ballot.

                I didnt have a DAS candidate on my ballot, but it was still an option for straight-party voting. It would be awesome to see “Fuck You, Cut Spending Party” as an option too.

              3. Well since I don’t believe the current system is viable or salvagable in any way, I’m not really concerned about what it’s getting “us”.

                What I am saying, is that the vast, vast, vast majority of people do not want actual fiscal conservatism. And I’m talking 80%+.

                What the vast, vast, vast majority of people do want, and desperately, at that, is redistribution. It’s obvious for Blues, but Reds are just as bad, and may even be worse because they can’t recognize it (you can’t cut military spending, there are contractors who will lose their jobs! Our entire community is dependent on Ft. Random! Keep your gov’t hands off my Medicare, because I paid into it! No cuts for senior services!).

                So the FYCS party still has no viability, because people simply don’t want what it’s selling. And I think you have a long, long time to go before any kind of collapse happens (look at how long the Roman Empire lasted, and we’re not even half way as bad as they were yet). So we look like the boy who cried wolf; shouting about fiscal end-times that may not happen for another 100 years. And people simply do not pay attention to things on that long a time horizon.

                tl;dr version: it’s hopeless.

                1. It pains me to say that JJ is right, but man is he ever right.

                  1. I don’t disagree with Jimbo, I just plain don’t like him.

                    1. Your hatred fuels me.

                      And then gives me a little indigestion, and some heartburn.

                      And then fuels me again.

                    2. Our hatred is a raging burrito.

            3. It’s the little things that allow the TEAMs to pretend they’re different. Thus, we have a huge fight over providing contraception for free, and no movement whatsoever on cutting spending. Yay for TEAM BE RULED!

              1. How about using the acronym FUCS? If I’m going to vote for one of these fucks, it’s going to be one of these FUCS.

              2. Sing the praisea of TEAMosil!

            4. So long as Republicans vote for federal funding for Planned Parenthood in the name of budgetary compromise, I will remain skeptical about talk of the prolifers dominating the party.

            5. The true fiscal hawks are the “abortion-fundie crowd”.

              1. The true fiscal hawks are the “abortion-fundie crowd”

                I have seen absolutely no evidence of this. Rick Santorum is not. Mike Huckabee is not.

                1. Neither of them is in office are they?

                  Try Rand Paul and Mike Lee in the senate.

                  Justin Amash and Paul Broun in the House.

            6. Just thinking about the throw down between the Rent’s Too Damn High party and the Fuck you, Cut Spending party.

  5. Somebody should add that if the Republicans on the right are economic libertarians and the Democrats on the left are civil libertarians, then libertarians aren’t extremists–they’re the center.

    What they mean when they call us “extremists” is that the Republicans aren’t really economic libertarians–and they think of anyone who is as an extremist. Meanwhile, the Democrats aren’t really civil libertarians either–and they think of anyone who is as an extremist.

    They don’t hate us for what we think. They hate us because we’re their conscience. Our real economic libertarianism exposes them as phonies. Our real civil libertarianism exposes them as hypocrites. That’s why they hate us.

    They hate us because they’re imposters, and we’re the real thing.

    1. This.

      This is also why I hate the description of libertarians as economically conservative and socially liberal. This is false. We are economically libertarian and socially libertarian.

      1. this is true, it’s also true that “Socially liberal” has certain implications.

        socially liberal implies approval of X. libertarians don’t necessarily approve of x, they merely don’t think govt. should be able to regulate it. BIG BIG Difference.

        for example, a libertarian could be fiercely anti-drugs. he just doesn’t belive in GOVT. restrictions vis a vis drugs. it doesn’t follow that he supports or likes drugs necessarily. he may oppose them.

        1. socially liberal implies approval of X. libertarians don’t necessarily approve of x, they merely don’t think govt. should be able to regulate it. BIG BIG Difference.

          Well said.

          1. For instance, I’m personally pretty conservative when it comes to ethics, morality, etc. But I generally don’t want to force other people to behave the way I think they should.

      2. Many interpret “socially liberal” to mean supporting wealth redistribution.

        1. Indeed. Whenever someone claims to be “socially liberal, fiscally conservative”, that always plays out as being pro-tax and pro-spending.

          1. On the Dem side, a “fiscally conservative” candidate says “I want to tax more to try to pay for massive spending”, rather than just “massive spending”

          2. Socially liberal also means supporting the HHS mandate, bans on large sodas, or, more generally, Bloombergism.

    2. They don’t hate us for what we think. They hate us because we’re their conscience.

      We remind them of what it means to have actual ideals and principles. And they hate that, so they brand anyone who actually has principles is an extremist.

      1. Is this also why libertarians hate to talk about abortion?

        1. Libertarians hate to talk about abortion? You’re so fucking stupid it’s amazing, joe. You’re also so fucking short it’s amazing.

        2. Yes. Crickets and tumble weeds are the only things present when we have a thread on abortion.

          At least be creative in your craven little lies, joe.

          1. It’s little things like this that show the TEAMS can only survive if they fool the rest of us into arguing about their inconsequential false dichotomies. Joe needs us to be distracted.

        3. What’s the over/under on this being the dumbest comment Lowell’s Finest has to offer today?

    3. if the Republicans on the right are economic libertarians and the Democrats on the left are civil libertarians

      This is demonstrably untrue at the Federal level of the parties. We are extremists because we believe the principles they give lip-service to, when convenient.

    4. I admit that from 30,000 feet Libertarians have exactly the right message. But talk to one of the dedicated and you find an anarchist in fact.

      1. We only find lies when we talk to you.

      2. You’re not bad from 30,000 feet away either. Don’t come any closer.

        1. Bazinga!

    5. “They hate us because we’re their conscience. Our real economic libertarianism exposes them as phonies. Our real civil libertarianism exposes them as hypocrites. That’s why they hate us.
      They hate us because they’re imposters, and we’re the real thing.”

      Ken for the win.
      +100 there brother.

      1. Yes, serious *applause* for Ken on this one.

    6. They hate us because they’re imposters, and we’re the real thing.

      I think you’re flattering “us” a bit here. They called Mitt Romney an extremist too, and he’s certainly not the real thing.

      They hate us because we’re not going along with them on anything. Nothing more.

      1. Exactly. “They” don’t even know what extremist means – they just use it to throw at anyone who steps out of line.

    7. Great post Ken

  6. Yes, let’s blame the populist grassroots organizations composed of actual voters. We’ve got to make our establishments less sensitive to what the peasants are demanding. If only the GOP could just purge itself of all representatives of the rabble. I’m sure it will be easier to win that way.

    1. Doug Wead, who worked on Ron Paul’s campaign, summed this up nicely. Are the ten fat men who rigged the GOP nomination process going to go door to door hanging flyers all over the country? If not, they better make peace with passionate activists who are willing to do so.

    2. Yes, let’s blame the populist grassroots organizations composed of actual voters.

      Just because a “populist grassroots organization composed of actual voters” wants something doesn’t make it right.

      1. Well, let’s see. If a populist grassroots organization is out there demanding lower spending and fiscal responsibility, we should ignore them, because everyone knows that crazy shit is for extremists.

  7. hey, if you are in WA and you are so inclined, TOKE UP. entirely legal to do so as long as you are in a private residence, etc. FREEDOM!

    police officers cannot, but of course negative police double standards don’t exist. it’s unpossible. except here and in many other circ’s. either way, it’s a great day for freedom for washingtonians and visitors.

    light it up!!!!!!

    i am referring to MJ, btw. 🙂

    1. No double standard. There are plenty of privsec jobs that dont allow toking up either.

      And, dont forget, anyone who does light up is committing a federal crime.

      1. police aren’t a private sector job. that’s a double standard. there is no federal crime against USING MJ. there is one against possessing it, btw.

        and of course they face ZERO likelihood of federal prosecution if they actually possess it.

        light up! we in WA encourage it!
        (i hate mj. lots of illegal drugs i’d use if they were legal to possess and authorized for law enforcement. mj is not one of them)

        1. Dunphy my boy! We missed you on this thread. We are eager to see your take on the fine officer’s reinstatement.

          1. im leaning against it, although i am a believer in PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE. iow, if he has a fine career with good service, a stiff (20 day suspension) for his first UOF offense is not WRONG imo vs. firing.

            1. So you approve of beating women if the officer has a good record?

              Do you let domestic violence go if the person has a good record?

              1. i don’t approve of it. i lean towards firing. i am saying IF he has a substantial work record with no prior offenses, i would not think it UNjust for him to receive the harshest suspension ( 20 days) short of firing.

                if the person has a good record, they get (usually) probation which gets wiped (the conviction) from their record upon completion. iow, no ultimate CRIMINAL punishment.

                and this isn’t domestic violence. the gender is irrelevant. domestic violence refers to relationships, not gender. if a brother beats another brother that’s domestic violence. if you beat a random woman, that’s not

                do you not understand the distinction?

                i am 100% for punishing him, and i lean towards firing him. that’s MY opinion

                1. i am saying IF he has a substantial work record with no prior offenses

                  A good record just means he hasn’t been caught. You know very well that when you catch someone engaging in criminal activity, that that’s just the time they got caught. They’ve likely done it plenty of times before. That or they’re a complete dumbass.

                  I doubt this guy is a complete dumbass.

                  That means, to me and any other honest person, that he routinely face bashes belligerents, even if they are cuffed.

                  IMO he should not only be fired, but be charged with assault. Not that that matters. Apparently he’s got a job for life, no matter what he does.

            2. How is this a simple “UOF offense” and not criminal assault and battery under color of authority? She was handcuffed in the back seat, for Christ sake.

              1. How is this a simple “UOF offense” and not criminal assault and battery under color of authority?

                There is no double standard. None at all.

        2. there is no federal crime against USING MJ. there is one against possessing it, btw.

          Its hard to use it without possessing it. Did WA have a law against use before legalization, or only against possession? I know here in Texas, there is no law against use, but that’s because you don’t need one if possession is illegal.

          police officers cannot, but of course negative police double standards don’t exist.

          Its not a double standard, because, as noted, lots of non-cop jobs (both in and out of pubsec) also ban use of pot.

          1. it’s hard, but not impossible to use w.o possessing, i’m just pointing out that the law is against POSSESSION not use

            that'[s why you can walk around high as a kite and not be breaking the law even before legalization.

            CA, rather uniquely, punishes USE of certain drugs. for example, it’s illegal to be UNDER THE INFLUENCE of heroin, not merely to possess it.

          2. Most jobs do pre-employment screenings, but don’t do any followup unless the person gives them good reason.

            So the test isn’t so much as to whether or not a person uses drugs, but whether or not they can quit for a few weeks during the hiring process long enough to pass the test.

            I smoke the wacky weed here and there, but I haven’t gone near it for a couple weeks because I’ve got a head hunter courting me for a new job that, I assume anyway, will require me to piss in a cup before giving me a job.

            1. Standard procedure anymore in our industry is if you are involved in an incident that damages property or causes personal injury, be prepared for drug & alcohol screen.

              My last job did monthly randoms, but that’s because after we fired one guy who was busted dealing and half of one department came up hot on the 100%, somebody decided we had a problem.

              1. I’m just a code-monkey. I have no worries.

                1. We had someone here who got in a minror parking lot accident… automatic drug test showed up positive and the employee – who had been with the company for over twenty-five years – was fired.

                2. Code monkey fucking off ftw!

                  Portal’s physics engine rebuilt in 25KB?on a graphing calculator

                  http://arstechnica.com/gadgets…..alculator/

                  1. It’s nice that someone cares about memory and code efficiency in this day and age of multi hectomegabyte applications.

                    1. Geez, I’m having flashbacks to my dad bitching about how nobody writes tight code anymore. I don’t suppose you think COBOL is a spiffy language despite all the whiners?

                    2. Whatever does the job, or makes the job an interesting challenge is my philosophy.

        3. police aren’t a private sector job

          Thats the fucking point!!!!

          Both privsec and pubsec jobs ban pot use.

          No double standard. Hell, pubsec has to have a rationale to get away with banning a legal product, privsec employers dont even need that, at least in at-will states.

          1. you guys let dunphy shoehorn troll you again?

            Jesus.

  8. OT: Has anyone seen this #@%! bullcrap yet?

    1. they had an article about it, yesterday.

      1. Thanks! Must go read comments now to lower blood pressure.

  9. Their shit isn’t working, so they need an easy target to blame it on. As soon as the Tea Party came up, they were doing everything they could to demonize them… characterizing them as racists and nuts. Even the greats Olbermann and Maddow were falling all over themselves with using the term “teabaggers”

  10. Meanwhile, moderates and centrists brought us the policies responsible for the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, the financial crisis, every giveaway to lobbyists ever passed, and most recently a multi-country spree of extrajudicial assassinations carried out in secret with hundreds of civilian casualties.

    So, rule by Responsible Adults, then.

    David Brooks and Chris Matthews would approve.

    1. It would be so nice if they’d both drink Drano

  11. entirely legal to do so as long as you are in a private residence, etc. FREEDOM!

    Sure shithead. As long as you didn’t grow it, transport it, buy it, or sell it.

    Eat a bullet.

    1. yawn.

      1. oh, also note there is no law against BUYING IT. it;’s just that until the legal distributiion network gets set up, there’s no way to legally SELL it. there is no (state) penal jeapordy for BUYING it

        1. What happens after you buy it? You possess it. Derp.

          1. again POSSESSING IT is (state) legal

            buying it is NOT (state) illegal.

            but there is no legal way to sell it
            yet

            1. So what if someone is not selling the actual pot itself but giving the pot away free with a $10 purchase of a bag?

  12. Quick fix:

    Punt all Jesus freaks, anti-abortion radicals and other socons, and that’s a start.

    Combined with the punting of all MIC ass-kissing neocons, and we’re on the right track.

    1. Awww….someone hurt your widdle heart.

  13. It should be obvious but it needs to be emphasized how subjective and fluid the term “extremist” is. Often it exists to just shut down discussion. For all the charges that the modern GOP is “extremist,” it seems more true that the Obama Democrats would have been run out of JFK’s party as “extremists.” I mean, “free” birth control? Booing a mention of God in the party platform? Only the historically ignorant could fail to see these as extreme positions.

    When some people on Facebook have called the Tea Party extreme, my response is along the lines of: “Those dangerous nuts! They want the government to follow the Constitution and not spend more money than it has. Obviously the country would never survive such wacky ideas.”

  14. Punt all Jesus freaks, anti-abortion radicals and other socons, and that’s a start.

    You then remove every libertarian-leaning member of the GOP.

    1. Still no evidence for this.

      1. That’s because you’re an idiot.

        Pick the libertarian-leaners, constitutionalists and fiscal hawks in elected office. Now check their religious association and abortion position.

  15. You say outside the mainstream I say thinking outside of the box which mainstream thinking has apparently gotten us into.

  16. The TEA Party here in the Bronx is indistinguishable from the JBS. Yet it began as a Save Medicare organiz’n.

  17. Earlier this week David Welch, a former research director for the Republican National Committee, had an op-ed in The New York Times that looked back with nostalgia to the days when William Buckley purportedly purged the John Birch Society from the conservative movement[.]

    Which tells you a few things immediately:

    * Nostalgics are romantic imbeciles.
    * Imbeciles run the Republican National Committee, if they look at the Buckleyite “purge” with nostalgia. Especially considering that Buckley was a hawkish statist and a dyed-in-the-wool racist.

    1. Imbeciles run the Republican National Committee if they look at the Buckleyite “purge” with nostalgia.

      FTFY HTH KBAI.

      1. Imbeciles run the Republican National Committee if they look at the Buckleyite “purge” with nostalgia.

        I SF’d the tags.

  18. Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, operatives like Karl Rove

    *scratches head*

    Right, because the name Bush and Karl Rove ring positive with Democrats universally. They’re total crossovers!

  19. Sometimes dude you jsut gotta roll with it man.
    http://www.IP-Hidden.tk

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