The Tea Party: Not Quite Dead

From the Daily Beast:

“The Tea Party movement is dead. It’s gone,” says Chris Littleton, the cofounder of the Ohio Liberty Council, a statewide coalition of Tea Party groups in Ohio. “I think largely the Tea Party is irrelevant in the primaries. They aren’t passionate about any of the candidates, and if they are passionate, they’re for Ron Paul.”

I wouldn’t say the Tea Party is dead. As far as it being a popular political movement, sparking protests, rallies, and changing the political game–yes. That game is up for the Tea Party.

As it is right now, the Tea Party is a Republican Party boogeyman. It’s a demographic within the GOP to be feared and pandered to. It shapes the message of Republican candidates and office-holders.

However, the problem is, the Republican Party already has a boogeyman to be feared: the Religious Right. The RR has had a stronghold in the party for years now, and it’s not going to relinquish its status as the Demographic That Must Be Pleased, or else it is the end of your legislation, your message, and your political career.

The Republican Party is struggling right now. It’s doing this awkward shuffle-dance to try to appeal to both demographics at once, with embarrassing results. Both demographics are competing for supremacy within the GOP, and the results are yet to be seen–hence, Republican candidates are playing to both sides, waiting to see which demographic will come out on top, and subsequently appearing lukewarm and somewhat repellant to both sides.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t conservatives and Republicans that identify with both the Religious Right and the Tea Party–there certainly are. This also alters the appearance of both groups, to a certain extent.

Until this power struggle has come to an end, the GOP isn’t going to be able to fully unite and face off against the Democrats. Republicans are fighting a war on two fronts–and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be any agreement in time for the Presidential election later this year.

Weinergate? Please.

If you want to know why Breitbart and his cronies set their sights on Congressman Anthony Weiner, check out this excellent piece by Allan at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

Seriously, click it.

If you need another reason to discredit the Congressman’s detractors (other than the victim’s statement saying she doesn’t believe for a minute Weiner sent her the photo, Weiner’s denials, the demonstrations of the ease of hacking Yfrog, the mismatch between “the photo” and other photos the Congressman has uploaded, the fact that the only person who saw the tweet was harassing both Weiner and Cordova, et cetera and so on.) this piece is the golden nail in the coffin.

 

 

Election 2012: The Issue

Robert Creamer of the Huffington Post posits in an editorial that Republicans, in voting to end Medicare, have committed political suicide, and handed the Democrats an easy victory in 2012.

It’s an interesting article. But I’m a bit skeptical.

If only elections were so easy.

No election, especially not one as huge as a presidential race, hinges on any one issue. Even among a single demographic.

But it’s interesting. Of all of the possible issues that are being pegged as the issue for the 2012 election: the one that effects the old, white demographic.

Not DOMA. Not immigration. Not the economy, the budget cuts that would affect the millions of struggling Americans.

Hmm.

Taxes: I Still Don’t Mind Paying Them

Last year, I wrote this post, explaining why I don’t mind paying taxes. A year later, I’m employed full-time, thereby paying taxes full-time. My stance hasn’t changed. Taxes are the price I pay to participate in an advanced society. I may not agree with every way taxes are used, but looking at the big picture, we are better off as a society.

A year later, I’m still grateful for federal student loans–I wouldn’t have been able to attend university without them. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have met, befriended, and loved the many people I met during my time at WKU. I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to study abroad and see a good chunk of Central Europe. And of course, I wouldn’t have learned everything that I did.

A year later, I’m still grateful for police, fire, and especially EMS–my mother might not be alive if these services didn’t exist–and I would be very lost indeed without Momma Beemer. I’d give more than the paltry amount I pay in taxes for my mother’s life. This reason alone makes paying taxes more than worth it. But there’s much more.

Taxes pay the salaries for many, many of my dear friends who serve in the Armed Services–and I’m more than glad that every one of them is employed doing something that they love–flying, missile maintenance, infantry, and more. Not to mention, I wouldn’t be employed without the federal contracts that the government has with my employers.  Nor would my sister.

Civil Air Patrol, an amazing organization in which I was an active member for more than five years, would also not be able to exist on the level that it does without taxes. Its thousands of volunteers across the country better their communities, while at the same time giving its teenaged members leadership training and fostering a love for aviation that will endure for a lifetime. I love CAP, the people within its ranks, and the experiences that it gave me more than I can say. Without CAP, I’m not sure where I’d be right now.

I cannot summarize my feelings better than I did last year, so I will simply restate my closing paragraph:

“As a community, we can’t decide who to help, who deserves to benefit from the things taxes give us, or who should pay more or less depending on some arbitrary judgment of “goodness” or “worthiness.” Our neighborhoods are communities which are part of the city’s community, which is part of the state’s community, which is part of the nation’s community. Each individual is one of many, and unless we pool our resources, very few of us will succeed. Very few. Those who currently do not need “help” cannot stand in judgment of those who do. We have pooled our resources for a reason–because we are all equal. We are all equal, we are different, but the same, and we are part of the same community.

We think a lot about how taxes hurt; but how do they help?”

A Heads Up to Republicans re: Election 2010

Congressman Phil Roe of Tennessee:

Look. Stop talking about the election last November as if it were a mandate to do whatever it is that Republicans are wanting to do this day, or that day. The FACT is, the Republicans that were elected ran on “jobs, jobs, jobs.” They didn’t run on “defund Planned Parenthood at all costs” or “shut down the government.” People are UNEMPLOYED, you PROMISED to get them jobs, and THAT’S what they elected you for.

Not to mention *puts on political scientist hat* that the first midterm has traditionally been unfavorable for the party in power. You understand tradition, don’t you? This was no overwhelming takeover. There were no landslides. November 2010 was a normal election.

Keep going right–and there will be a huge backlash. If there is anything to be learned from Wisconsin, it is that.

No Disablism After Yesterday’s Violence, Please.

Trigger warning for discussion of violence and disablism.

What Jared Loughner did is reprehensible. No one will dispute that. We struggle to understand why people do such things. We can’t. Taking someone’s life, the lives of several people, including a child, for no apparent reason is unfathomable. What we must not do is, in our attempt to explain and understand, dismiss Loughner as mentally ill. It serves no purpose. It is an (not-so) intellectual shortcut, one that only gets us lost, and harms millions of people and children that are differently abled.

I will not speculate on Loughner’s health. I will not dismiss his actions by calling him “crazy,” a “nutjob,” or “mentally ill.”

His actions, however, have reminded us of the consequences of hatred and bigotry. No matter what that hatred is based off of, it is dangerous to hate. Hatred kills. Yesterday, it killed several people, including a nine year old child. Let’s not channel that hatred to those who are differently abled. Making that assumption, that Loughner was differently-abled, and that his disability caused him to hate and to kill, does not satisfy our need to understand. It will not address the problems in our society; it only shifts that hate from one group to another.

I mourn for the loss of Christina Green, of Gabe Zimmerman, of Dorothy Morris, of Dorwin Stoddard, of Phyllis Schneck, and of John Roll. I mourn for their families, their friends, and their loved ones. I mourn for Gabrielle Giffords, and all of the other unnamed others who were injured. I mourn also for all those who are differently-abled, who will now be looked on with suspicion because of Jared Loughner’s actions. I hope that, by reading this post, you will now not be one of those.

I do not name the titles, stations, or ages of those killed yesterday, because I feel that, now as much as ever, we must remind ourselves that we are all people–all human beings deserving of respect, empathy, and love. We are who we are, and unfortunately our differences are more often degenerated and hated, rather than celebrated and loved. John, Christina, Gabe, Dorothy, Phyllis, and Dorwin are not faceless beings. These are people, and they are people that we lost to hatred yesterday. No more.

Crossposted at Local Voices.

Tea Party Unhappy With GOP, Congress, and Everything.

It’s already begun. The 112th Congress hasn’t even convened yet and the Tea Party is already unhappy with the GOP. Well, they’re unhappy with the 111th Congress as well, but that’s no surprise. After all, the 111th Congress dared to be productive during the lame duck session, disregarding a letter from incoming Senators asking to delay passing legislation until the new Congress convenes.

What did I say several months ago about the Tea Party fracturing the GOP? Oh yeah.

I’m not surprised that the Tea Party is shocked, shocked, that the 111th Congress, free from the 2010 elections, moved on important and controversial pieces of legislation. It’s not uncommon for incumbents to delay votes on controversial legislation until after elections, but, the Tea Party doesn’t care about that. I’m not surprised that they try to do the same, then throw fits when incumbents do what incumbents have always done.

I’m not surprised that the Tea Party is shocked that their brand-new, inexperienced candidates didn’t get leadership positions on important committees. They have much to learn, including that you cannot run a committee, much less a government, like you run a political rally. It will be interesting to see how these Tea Party politicians will develop as they learn the inner-workings of Congress.