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iamthemob's avatar

Do those categorized as "liberal" actually disagree with Tea Party principles?

Asked by iamthemob (17137points) January 8th, 2011

Some of the basic principles of the Tea Party movement can be found here. When I go through them, I can find very, very few that I fundamentally disagree with as government principles. I also see a lot of Tea Party representatives as shown in media declaring things that I do fundamentally disagree with.

At its essence, the Tea Party movement may be the closest thing to a political revolution that we may witness in a two-party system. I find people reacting against it are mostly, to be simple myself, liberal. But although I am classified as liberal politically, it is because of mostly conservative principles (personal liberty, personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, small government (or rather, a right-sized government), etc.).

Are there principles that make it impossible for liberals to support the Tea Party movement? Are liberals doing themselves a disservice by not supporting the Tea Party movement? Are liberals missing out on an opportunity for real government reform by not establishing a voice for themselves in the Tea Party movement?


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48 Answers

jerv's avatar

Some have accused me of being a Liberal, yet I agree with some of the ideas of the Tea Party. In fact, I agree with most of the original Tea Party platform.

However, the bat-shit insane have taken over the Tea Party movement, so I am totally against them now since they are not what they were.

syz's avatar

I can’t speak for any liberal but myself, and I actually don’t have a problem with some of the tenets of the tea party. I do have an issue with the bizarre, uneducated, extremist, fringe element that seems to represent the tea party, however.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Principle 2: “I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
God “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.” from George Washington’s first Inaugural address.”

I will not follow any large organization that uses religion as a major basis for their ideals.

iamthemob's avatar

@DrasticDreamer – That’s the only one I was like “Oh, HELL no.” BUT, let’s emphasize that was Glenn Beck’s statement of the principles. He’s one of those few people who, if he told me that the sun was definitely going to come up tomorrow, I’d begin stocking up on candles, bottling water, collecting firewood, and generally preparing for a long, cold night.

@jerv – I think you’re right. But, if this is a fairly nascent movement, shouldn’t liberals (I use the term loosely) get involved? I think that if they don’t, it’s going to be their fault partially that the batshit crazy took it over.

TexasDude's avatar

I liked the Tea Party a lot more before the religious folks and Sarah Palin decided to declare themselves the unofficial spokespeople of the movement.

Pretty much the only stuff in the Tea Party manifesto I disagree with is all of the religious rhetoric. I don’t have a problem with Christianity or any religion, really, but I believe that the Bible thumping is in direct opposition to the idea of a limited government. One cannot be a libertarian and a theocrat simultaneously.

For the record, and also in answering the other half of your question, I’m a liberal, but not in the sense it is used in modern politics. I can’t stand the Democratic Party, and I don’t find Republicans to be much more palatable either. Both parties are by and large in opposition to the ideas of Classical Liberalism that I adhere to. I’m a Liberal in the Enlightenment sense of the term, which is quite different from the modern connotation.

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wilma's avatar

Good question@iamthemob.
@jerv I agree with you about the original ideas of the Tea Party.
I also agree that some radicals have aligned themselves with the Tea Party.
Where I think we might disagree is that I think it is the liberals who have spotlighted the wing-nuts as what the Tea Party is all about.
I believe that most of the Tea party people do not want to be linked with religious zealots, wing-nuts, and “entertainers”.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard always says what I am thinking better than I do.

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DrasticDreamer's avatar

@iamthemob True about it being Glenn Beck’s statement. However, they’re more than okay using his statements as a set of their Principles, which is telling in and of itself.

I consider myself to be liberal, I suppose. But now, it really depends on who you’re talking to, since so many people have varying definitions of what one is. Technically, I’m Independent since I refuse to associate with the Democratic or Republican parties. I don’t like the idea of affiliation, in general, actually. I don’t think it’s necessary. The only thing people need is common sense – which is severely lacking in this country.

ratboy's avatar

Fiscal responsibility just rubs me the wrong way.

iamthemob's avatar

@DrasticDreamer – The thing is, if we pretty much agree on the cast majority of the principles, it really depends on what you mean by “they.” The idea of affiliation is distasteful, but it’s a necessary evil for political action. And I think the message of those principles, when taken together, is essentially “Hey, our government…you’re fucking it up. We need to get back to basics…here are the basics.”

@ratboy – I agree. But, again – the principle is, I believe, unassailable. A principle that we all agree on can be used to justify action that we find deplorable – and that’s why I find this issue intriguing.

funkdaddy's avatar

For me it’s the choice of words and connotation more than what’s actually said. Also, the founding of the Tea Party seems to be more about rallying against what is rather than moving towards something better. Only recently have I seen a platform beyond “Don’t tax me, bro” and “if those yahoos in Washington don’t straighten up, we’re gonna get em!”... which are pretty easy to get behind. I think when they actually have to expand on that and make real solutions that will work is when things get tricky.

I have no problem with fiscal or personal responsibility, but haven’t seen any proposals to actually implement those things yet, maybe I’m looking in the wrong place.

Specifically I have trouble with “The 9 Principles” from the link you posted and their wording.

1. America Is Good. – ~ Well hell yeah! I can get behind that. ~

Wait, what? The unspoken side of this would seem to be “______ is bad”? From another list there they show this as ”5. National Sovereignty” which is a similar idea. Separate the US from the rest of the world, do not allow for intruders and do not tolerate threats.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life. – doesn’t sound like the separation of church and state, which is also a founding principal of the country. Somehow that’s glossed over and doesn’t seem well thought out. Or is simply there to solidify support from religious groups. Both are troublesome to me from a political party.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable. – implying you’re forced to be charitable now, which could certainly be argued, but what are you considering “charity” here? Is welfare charity? Is disaster relief charity? How about Social Security? Roads? Schools? Funding for scientific study and the people who are paid by grants? Funding for college? It’s worded like a political ad that of course you agree with but doesn’t actually mean anything.

You could argue my expansions on the points above would be harsh and normally I’d say if something is worded ambiguously then you need to give the party the benefit of the doubt. But based on the other positions supported by the people who are authoring those lists I’d say a kinder reading would be off base.

To me the platform so far seems impractical, scattered, and unfocused, which is to be expected from a movement that’s just trying to get started. It seems like more of a rejection of what’s available now and I hope it evolves into something more complete and inspires other groups to create viable political parties beyond the two party system we have now.

More options would be a wonderful and welcome change, even if I don’t agree with this one in particular.

bkcunningham's avatar

I think what people miss is there is no party. The whole premise is a movement of individual people from a community wanting to take back control of their government. Of course RINOs and dems and others have hoped on the bandwagon and formed all sorts of versions.

funkdaddy's avatar

@bkcunningham – I get what you’re saying, but isn’t a group of people with similar ideas on politics and policy who support candidates that share those ideas essentially the definition of a political party?

If not, what needs to be added for them to be a “party”?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@funkdaddy GA. Said everything I was thinking, but probably never could have articulated.

bkcunningham's avatar

@funkdaddy alcohol and recreational drugs? JK

TexasDude's avatar

@funkdaddy, I think the “America is good” thing doesn’t necessarily imply that any other country is “bad” or anything like that, but serves as a response to the rather common, and more often than not left-wing meme that America is an evil, baby killing, oil guzzling empire that subjugates tribal people for fun and profit.

Because something is “good” does not necessarily imply that other things must be bad.

Qingu's avatar

The reason liberals might agree with the tea party platform is because their platform is vague and insipid.

I mean, they’re in favor of “fiscal responsibility” and “honesty”, etc. Is anyone actually against those things?

That said, I am against the explicit theocracy of their platform. You know who might have even more in common with the tea party? The mullahs in Iran.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard – I think it does have to be a comparison of some sort, whether it’s

American is good. _______ is bad.


American is good. Meaning above average.

The second seems too wishy washy to be a cornerstone of a political movement, no? It’s #1 on that list.

Maybe someone can expand on “America is good” as it’s intended?

Qingu's avatar

I also think it’s sad that people continue to characterize the Tea Party as anything other than a sect of the Republican Party.

Right, it’s a grass roots apolitical movement… that is funded by the Koch brothers, whose rallies are promoted relentlessly on Fox News, and whose members are entirely Republican.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Any extremely broad generalization about what a person or movement stands for is likely to be so vague as to apply almost universally. The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. That said, I think @iamthemob raises an issue related to a point that I like to make about politics and political philosophy. Two people can be for exactly the same policy for very different reasons, and those reasons are what determine whether one is conservative or liberal regarding a particular issue—not the positions themselves.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I also have a problem with this “America is good” thing. How about “America is”, instead? Patriotism, in my opinion, ruins the world. Doesn’t matter what country someone is from, patriotism tends to do nothing but separate people.

jaytkay's avatar

America is good
Except the colored people, unions, uppity women, Muslims, East Coasters, West Coasters, poor people, city-dwellers, government employees, atheists…

I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday
lol Glen Beck your pants are on fire lol

The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government
Your family, however…

I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
If I don’t get what I want you are stomping on my Constitutional rights

I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Keep government hands off my Medicare

It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
I will shout down anyone who says different

The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me
Me me me. They work for me. Not you. Understand?

crisw's avatar

OK, my take on this, as I think it was the discussion here that prompted this:

As others have looked at the “9 Principles,” let’s examine those,

1. America Is Good.
Meaningless jingoism, and dangerous. America is sometimes very, very wrong, and this must be admitted and dealt with.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
Utter and complete BS. Absolutely irrelevant to politics, being a good person, etc.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
I don’t think they try very hard…nice, in principle but missing in the breach. This definitely isn’t a “real” value for them as they spout the same oft-refuted nonsense over and over again (Obamacare, birthers, etc.)

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Nope. Sorry, but if you want to kill your kid by withholding medical care, beat your kid to death, etc., I don’t agree.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Again, their actions belie their words, as they are so proud of getting the Iowa judges who were brave enough to sanction gay marriage in the state voted out of office.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
This is just sneaky weasel-wording to say “I oppose any kind of affirmative action programs.”

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
More weasel-wording for “I oppose my taxes being used for any social-service program.”

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
OK, some agreement here- but doesn’t this conflict with principle 1?

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
OK- so police must answer to the criminals, firemen to the arsonists, terrorits to Homeland Security?

Not impressed.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I think it is also worth making an explicit note that there are three separate versions of the Tea Party platform on the linked page. Beck’s seems to be rather unpopular so far, but the question applies equally to the others.

funkdaddy's avatar

More on “America is good” from the source

and another interpretation from the same person,2933,488205,00.html

Not sure which is intended or if the flexibility is part of the beauty.

More on the quote it’s based on

America is great because she is good

(which may not be correctly attributed)

Just some sources since it’s getting so much discussion, I wasn’t familiar with this before hand so perhaps there are others in the same situation.

iamthemob's avatar

@SavoirFaireIMPORTANT NOTE. ;-)

marinelife's avatar

It is the unspoken part of the platform that is the problem:

“We know the Tea Party hates taxes, health care reform, and immigrants. Turns out you can add gay marriage to the list as well. Survey says…

According to the New York Times and CBS, only about 16 percent of Tea Party activists support same-sex marriage, with a whopping 40 percent saying gays and lesbians should not have the right to marry. ”


Not_the_CIA's avatar

@funkdaddy – They all ran as Republicans. At least liberals have the balls to form real parties. Like the Greens, and Socialist.

These dickwads ran as Tea Party but they were Republicans on the ballot.

iamthemob's avatar


And if more liberally minded folks backed Tea Party candidates, wouldn’t those percentages shift?

jaytkay's avatar

Liberals backing anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-health care candidates are called, ummmm, conservatives.

iamthemob's avatar

@jaytkay – And would those be platforms of the candidates backed by the liberals? No. And few of those are necessary platforms of the principles. If we insert liberal backing into the current state of the movement, you get ridiculous results.

If there is a liberal influence that develops in the movement, you may (not will) see emergence of practical candidates that are actually embodying those principles in their platforms.

jaytkay's avatar

Those aren’t principles. They are vague platitudes.

In practice, the teabaggers are the far, far right of the GOP. There will be no liberal influence. Anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-health care – those are core principles of the Tea Partiers.

iamthemob's avatar


And that’s rhetoric. Particularly as a civic art, and an example of how it produces negative results.

A principle in terms of a political ideology is, I believe, a starting point. It is, therefore, by necessity a platitude at the same time – but whether it is one or the other depends on how it’s used.

So to declare that an idea is a platitude because it is not fully fleshed out doesn’t reveal anything about the potential to use the principles as a base for a unified movement.

Therefore, when you say that it’s a platitude, you’re basing it on an assumption that the way that the right has adopted the principles as the reason for particular policies that it backs, you’re not talking about the principles but the current state of partisanship.

You’re saying “There will be no influence because there is no influence.” Again, you don’t seem to disagree with principles, but with the way they’ve been used to one side’s gain.

I ask, and @SavoirFaire has pointed out, aren’t these interests shared generally? Why then are we allowing the right and the left to characterize this movement as a “crazy rightist” one when, in essence, it’s an inherently American one.

SavoirFaire's avatar

I suppose here is a test for the Tea Party: find some people who could reasonably be called a liberal Tea Partiers—people who agreed with what are stated to be the core values, but for liberal reasons—and see what happens. If it’s really a conservative front group, the Tea Party will wholly and routinely reject each candidate. If not, the Tea Party will either embrace some of them as a whole, or split up along the lines of who does and does not support such candidates.

It would be a very interesting experiment, I think.

ETpro's avatar

The manifesto reads like a pure piece of propaganda. It says essentially nothing except that “We’re for everything good and holy.” We like motherhood and apple pie. We believe in freedom. Right. Well, who doesn’t in America?

Listen to what Adolph Hitler said about propaganda. ”“Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (...) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (...) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (...) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.”

The Tea Party may claim to be apolitical but its members self identify as extreme conservatives. Some claim to be independent, but almost all vote exclusively Republican. They claim to want fiscal responsibility, yet lobby for tax cuts when the national debt is soaring. They speak of spending cuts to balance the budget, but balk at virtually all cuts except those for the poor. Balance the budget on the backs of the poor so billionaires can get tax cuts. If that’s a liberal initiative, I am the world’s most conservative right winger.

laureth's avatar

I was invited here to answer, but I find that others have already shared similar things to what I would write, most especially @funkdaddy, @jaytkay, and @crisw.

Their platform (such as it is) speaks in very vague terms. Who wouldn’t be against things like fiscal responsibility, limited government, and the rule of law? The difference with me is how these are interpreted by people who side with the Tea Party.

To them, fiscal responsibility calls for such things as austerity measures, because “common sense” tells us that you can’t “spend your way out of a recession.” But how does austerity work? It leads, as we see, to a lot of suffering. To me, fiscal responsibility would mean something closer to “making sure the stimulus had been big enough to insure recovery.” It means keeping the banks open and solvent, and printing enough money (now, when every market signal is calling for an influx of cash) so that we don’t go into a deflationary depression. The Tea Party’s version of “fiscal responsibility” would strangle the economy and put us intoan Ireland-like death spiral.

I’m all for limited government, but the way that the Tea Party would limit it disagrees with what I think should be limited. They want it out of the way of the rich to get richer, but favor a redistribution of wealth upwards by way of tax cuts to the very rich, causing what I think is not “freedom” but a kind of modern feudalism – and staying out of the way as it happens. They don’t seem to favor a limitation on government when it comes to enforcing their social view on the rest of us, though, as Tea Partier Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association advocates here.

I’m all for the rule of law – but which laws? Tricky question, eh?

I’m for national sovereignty – except the Tea Party seems to mean this as being anti-UN, and embraces a fear of the “one world government” and “North American Union” conspiracy theories.

I’m all for personal responsibility, but there also comes a time when the failure of a segment of society drags the rest of us down with it. That is why I favor there being something there to catch the people who have fallen through no fault of their own. From what I’ve seen, the Tea Party favors less, and more expensive, health care, and would like to see the 99ers rot.

America is good: except when they’re not.

God (and religion in general) is a personal thing and has no place extending beyond that into policy. I suspect that the Tea Partiers would like my religious views shoved upon them just as much as I would like theirs shoved upon me, but they are only willing to enforce the latter.

I tire of going through these. Let’s just say that while their words seem pretty and respectable, the way they show the meaning behind them is not, at least to me.

Rarebear's avatar

I was about to do exactly what @crisw did and answer more or less the same way. She’s a liberal, and I’m generally not, but she and I agree on 90% of issues. And we both agree that the Tea Party’s “principles” as established by “Glenn Beck on Fox News” is trite and jingoistic.

bkcunningham's avatar

The Tea Party movement is individual people who support people for elected office who they believe best represent their beliefs and values. They are normal everyday people like anyone of you. They got fed up with listening to lip service from elected officials and watching this country growing a bigger federal government with nothing to show from it except debt, despair and an erosion of individual freedoms.

They meet and discuss issues and do exactly what every person who votes can do in America. I don’t understand how anyone can disagree with this. It is a fundamental right in this country and one of the foundations that this country is built on. If you don’t like their beliefs or views or the fact that they got nearly 30 percent of their candidates elected in November, get off your computers, quit calling them names and reading bloggers and quit moaning about their platform or their “manifesto” or their “sneaky weasel-wording” and go do what they’ve done.

bkcunningham's avatar

And one more thing before I lay my head down and go to sleep in this great country I love and cherish. I wish you would do just that. Stand up for what you believe in whether I agree with you or not. I’m going to quote from an editorial about the subject that I believe expresses what I’d like to say to all of you who call people names just because you don’t agree with their beliefs or views: What is most important, though, is that Americans have taken their views to the public square peacefully. They have come together enthusiastically and hungrily, but always civilly, to debate matters of intense moral disagreement—something that would pull many other nations into the depths of civil war.

Nothing more candidly lays bare, in full bloom, the beauty of American democracy, the resilience of American public institutions and just how profoundly the spirit of public discourse has permeated the soul of American citizens. That is precisely what democracy is meant to be: a civil war of ideas, rhetoric and vision pitting passionate challengers versus equally passionate incumbents.

Democracy undermines its own ambitions if it takes the paternalistic posture that citizens need protection from nefarious groups whose members profess nefarious views on the role of government and the scope of rights. The Tea Party movement is proof positive that democracy means nothing if it divests citizens of the right to speak freely, even if they wish to speak for objectionable purposes. It demonstrates that democracy loses its force when it denies citizens the right to associate broadly, even if that association serves purposes some deem contemptible.

But the real virtue of the Tea Party movement is not necessarily who it roots for, nor what it roots for, but rather that it roots at all. In a liberal democracy founded on the three pillars of free expression, political participation and collective action, the Tea Party movement achieves the aspirations of the American vision for democracy. – RIchard Albert

crisw's avatar


“They are normal everyday people like anyone of you”

No, they aren’t. Not the ones I have met or heard or read. I don’t go out and blather about “death panels” or “show me the birth certificate.” I don’t call this a “Christian nation.” I don’t believe that gay marriage will undermine “traditional” marriage. I don’t think that Obama is evil. I don’t think that all immigrants are out to rape, rob and pillage. I think our country actually is wrong, sometimes, and isn’t the best in the world at a great many things. I actually bother to do factual research on controversial issues rather than slavishly following blowhard demagogues and biased news sources.

Sorry, but stating that these people are “like me” is, frankly, insulting.

jaytkay's avatar

Just regular folks, expressing their love of America by voting and speaking their minds. How dare anybody tag them as extremists! Why aren’t liberals flocking to this movement of earnest patriots?

April 13, 2010—Reports surface that state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with Oklahoma Tea Party groups to discuss the formation of a new “volunteer militia” to defend against what they see as improprer federal infringements on state sovereignty…One Tea Party leader involved in these meetings, J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, has called for the Militia to “launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”

July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that’s the beauty of our Second Amendment right”

January 2, 2010—More than 300 people attend a rally in Alamogordo, New Mexico, organized by the local Otero Tea Party Patriots and Second Amendment Task Force. The purpose of the rally is to protest health care reform, and many of the rally’s participants openly carry handguns and/or rifles. One attendee states that his handgun is a “very open threat” to the “socialist communists” in the Obama Administration. “The government fears the people, and a disarmed people are slaves,” he says. “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun… They’re pushing us to our limits.”

January 12, 2010—Charles Allan Dyer, 29, a former Marine with ties to Tea Parties and far-right-wing organizations like Oath Keepers, is arrested at his home on charges of raping a 7 year old-girl. Dyer told one interviewer, “I’m going to use my training and become one of those domestic terrorists that you’re so afraid of from the [Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] reports.”

February 13, 2010—An unidentified speaker at an event organized by the Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots in Asotin County, Washington, tells the audience, “How many of you have watched the movie “Lonesome Dove”? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? He got hung. And that’s what I want to do with [Democratic U.S. Senator] Patty Murray.”

March 23, 2010—After Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party and Nigel Coleman of the Danville Tea Party post the home address of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and urge supporters to “drop by,” someone deliberately cuts a propane gas line at the house. Rep. Perriello is targeted by the Tea Party activists because of his vote in favor of health care reform.

April 13, 2010—Reports surface that state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with Oklahoma Tea Party groups to discuss the formation of a new “volunteer militia” to defend against what they see as improprer federal infringements on state sovereignty….One Tea Party leader involved in these meetings, J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, has called for the Militia to “launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country.”

July 3, 2010— Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio hosts on WFTL in Florida, tells a crowd of supporters at a Fort Lauderdale Tea Party event, “...if ballots don’t work, bullets will…”

November 9, 2010— U.S. Representative-Elect Allen West of Florida’s 22nd Congressional District hires conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman as his Chief of Staff.

Just a small sample of the links at

laureth's avatar

Frankly, I think the Left would have a hard time going to “do what the Tea Party has done,” because we have different standards.

For example, Conservatives are notably ruled by fear. Liberal folks have different motivations. Fear is a little deeper than reason, and most liberals I know think with the brain rather than the gut – even if they get a little more emotional on the far left, they still try to look up facts more often, in general.

We don’t have a “news outlet” serving as our mouthpiece the way FOX does for the conservatives’ tea party. The outlet most people compare to FOX, MSNBC, actively suspended Olbermann for donating to a political cause, while FOX held many,.many on-air fund raisers for the conservative side. We would need to lose some journalistic integrity for that.

The Right has their entire FOX channel, Rush, Beck, and friends. The only Leftie I can think of that would be easily compared to this onslaught of personality is Michael Moore, and what has he done for us lately? Again, the Left goes in for sometimes filtered but pretty truthful media, whereas the Right feels free to lie so often that there is at least one whole website devoted to debunking their “news.”

The Left has their hopes and dreams, and the last flower of those was the election of Barack Obama for President. This election is what drove the Right over the freakin’ edge.

Think about it this way: when we look at the fringey Left, we see people who think that food, shelter, and medical care are human rights. When we look at the fringey Right, we get people like Sharron Angle who want to start shooting people if they don’t get their way, people who wear guns to political rallies and want to start watering that tree of liberty. It starts to look a bit like life vs death, and I would prefer to be on the life side.

After Viet Nam, the Left learned a lesson about how easy it is to rile up their base to the point where the crazy, hair-trigger ones tip over the edge into violence, and have generally learned to curb their enthusiasm so that this generally doesn’t happen. The Right, however, either hasn’t learned this lesson as well as the Left, or they actively encourage that tip over the edge.

@bkcunningham has two valid points, though – that the Left sure does need to make their voices heard (even if they’re not as crazy and shrill as the Right), and they need to get out the vote as religiously (pun intended) as the Right does. What you see in this particular discussion IS a goodly number of the Left speaking their minds – we’re the ones you’re implying should STFU. I desperately hope that we can manage to invade the polling places in the next election – but it’s sometimes harder to do when you’re poor, carless, possibly homeless, as a growing number of the left’s base seems to be, what with the current unpleasantness. Good luck with this, Left.

jerv's avatar

@laureth Considering the shooting that just happened in Arizona, I think the jury is out on whether the Right actively tips people over the edge. Sarah Palin posts pictures of Democrats with crosshairs on their head and,,, well….
I will grant that it’s possible that there was no malice there; merely Palin’s poor judgment combined with somebody else’s fervent insanity, but the Right does go for fervent and this along with the killing of Dr. Tiller. and other similar actions points out a pattern of wack-jobs; a pattern you don’t see on the Left.

To all of you who are wondering why people are nervous about the Tea Party, look at the violent history of the Right. And before anybody says that that is just a few nut-jobs acting without the consent and support of the Right, you might want to do a little more to stop this sort of thing, or at least be more sincere in your lip-service denouncements and make them a bit more often in order to convince us that you actually don’t support this kind of thing. I am all for free speech and the right to bear arms, but I am not a fan of those that speak with their guns; something the Right seems all too willing (and in some cases, eager) to do.

laureth's avatar

@jerv – re: ” I think the jury is out on whether the Right actively tips people over the edge”

I need point no higher than @jaytkay‘s response above mine to highlight examples of the Right actively courting the possibility of violence. Sure, they have the right to say these things, and they may all be utterly without malice or intent yeah right, but it’s easy to see how someone who soaks up the Right’s rhetoric and doesn’t look elsewhere for inspiration could interpret the violence-language as an excuse (or even a tacit request) to let the bullets fly.

The advantage to the Right? Well, they get their opponents knocked out, and then have plausible deniability later when people accuse the right of fomenting the violence at hand. “We never really meant it! We were speaking figuratively! They were just surveyors’ symbols! We would never condone violence!” they can say, “It must have been some crazy nutjob, as we would never do that!”

And that is exactly what we’re seeing here. Funny how the Right interprets things and then backs off when theirs are called into question, too.

mattbrowne's avatar

The Tea Party movement is inconsistent. Unlike health care, it doesn’t want the ammunition of American soldiers in Iraq depend on charity and continue to use taxes. It is pro unborn life, but isn’t worried about climate change with the potential to kill millions of people after 2050.

I disagree with them sending mixed messages. Fiscal responsibility sounds good in general, but when cutting spending means people can die it isn’t so honorable after all.

Ron_C's avatar

1. Just because you see a website describing the Tea Party principles, they are not universal to all of its branches.

2. When they say that they want a free market they mean that they want unregulated capitalism without realizing how detrimental and dangerous that would be. We already have had a glimpse, the first time long ago when the railroads were being built. Rail road companies wanted to be free to do what they wanted with highly subsidized land and privileges from the government. Banks want no regulation either so that they become casinos instead of places to invest in business.

3. Someone also mentioned that they wouldn’t support a political party at used religion as a base, I’ll second that. Examples of religious based countries include Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Iran, and Rome after Constantine. Noting good comes to a people when they are lead by shamans.

4. The tea-party has, from its inception been a P.R. arm of the biggest and most oppressive businesses in the world. I refuse to participate in a political organization that gets much of its money from international corporations.

5. Its claim to support the idea of the U.S. as a sovereign country is just false, see item 4 above. It’s ironic that a supposedly patriotic organization works to limit the voting rights of Americans while granting control of the process with money from partially or completely foreign owned companies.

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