Monday, October 18, 2010


Ross Douthat, one of the two conservative columnists that write regularly for the New York Times - interesting The Times has two conservatives while it seems that papers like the Washington Times have no Liberal columnists, but that's another article - apologized, as in the ancient Greek use of the word, for The Tea Party in a column he wrote on October 17th. He began his column with a supposed survey by a former CATO Institute intern that shows that only 5% of the signs she saw were about race or religion, and only 1% about the President's birth certificate. Considering the fact that our surveyor surveyed only 250 signs at a Tea Party Rally on the Washington Mall, one has to wonder from the beginning just how serious a survey we are talking about here. Nor do we have any survey at all as to what those not carrying signs thought. But to Douthat, this is evidence that Tea Baggers aren't racists and bigots, because, really, only 5% of their signs out of 250 made those kinds of statements and so Liberals are just being mean to these poor Tea Baggers. So Douthat sets up his little strawman and knocks it down handily.

But let's take his other points one at a time - The Tea Party isn't really driving the Republican Party over the political cliff. Douthat's argument here is that there are just so many great Tea Party candidates who aren't Christine O'Donnell and Carl Paladino. Why, you have such stalwart examples of conservative rectitude as Marco Rubio - who has no problem using the corporate credit card to pay his personal bills - Ken Buck - who believes if you are a woman who was raped, it was probably your fault and you should be forced to live with the consequences, and Pat Toomey - who admittedly isn't as extreme as the other two, he just wishes to do away with most social programs and believes shipping jobs overseas is really a very good idea. So Douthat's reasonable Tea Baggers are only reasonable in regards to their completely insane counterparts.

The Tea Partiers are not puppets of the Sinister Rich - Really? Let's think about this for a minute. Because the movement began as a possible grassroots movement, it cannot possibly be a puppet now? He's right about the Koch brothers funding every single conservative movement since the dawn of time, but just because they haven't been as effective up til now doesn't change the fact that they finally hit on a winning formula. Keep throwing shit against the wall long enough, sooner or later some of it is going to stick. Douthat's defense is that they started out as a grassroots movement even though every single Tea Bagger candidate is a Republican. Are we to believe that only Republicans care about the deficit? Because if he does expect that, how does he explain that the largest defeicits have been created by Republicans? Nor does he explain Dick Armey or the Koch brothers and the money they are pouring into the Tea Bagger movement. Again, we are simply to take his word.

The Tea Parties are not just the John Birch Society all over again - This is a throwback to the first point Douthat makes: that because there just aren't enough signs, they can't be racist, bigoted bastards. Of course, he does nothing to try to explain the hatred against muslims and the hatred against the Islamic Community Center in New York. Of course this doesn't come from people looking for a scapegoat just like the Red Scare of the '50's. No, Tea Baggers would never do such a thing. Why, they're saints and would never behave in any way that is opposite to The Constitution of the United States. Douthat seems to forget the First Amendment.

And, finally, The Tea Party are not hypocrites because there are two candidates who have statements that could be construed as possibly, actually presenting their true position. But that's the point, isn't it? There are 138 Tea Bagger candidates - every single one of them is running as a Republican. Every single one of them - to get elected - have disavowed their statesments concerning privatization of Social Security and the dissolution of Medicare. The great mass of the Tea Baggers - the rank and file, if you will - may believe that their candidates will not privatize Social Secuirty and dissolve Medicare, but that is the position all of their candidates have expressed at one time or another. And while they have disavowed their past statements, none of them have unequivically stated that they will not do what they have professed in the past.

Some may believe Douthat has admirably defended the Tea Baggers, but, really, all he has done is shown that he's somewhat adept at twisting arguments so he can defend the position that he wants to defend and not the actualy facts. Just like most Tea Baggers.



Anonymous Rayfield Waller said...

great entry. You use simple logic (and memory--something Americans are increasingly unable to muster any longer--to expose the fallacies regarding Tea Bagger insanity). George you keep demonstrating how yes, everybody CAN do this at home; think, that is.

Indeed, the Tea Baggers are insane (from a right perspective and from a left perspective, either way, as you point out in another of your posts, they cannot explain how, logically, sanely, they could propose trillion dollar tax cuts for the wealthy AND balance the budget/eliminate the deficit)

It just doesn't add up. You sound a lot like Ben Franklin and John Adams: neither man had much patience with people trying to convince them that shit was shinola.

2:31 AM  

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