Is the Tea Party phenomenon good for (American) Democracy?
April 5, 2010 12:45 PM   Subscribe

Naomi Wolf (previously) in her essay "Tea Time in America", wrote: "...concentration of executive power has threatened America’s system of checks and balances and given the Federal government the authority to spy on citizens, withhold information, and aggressively arrest and even Taser protesters – or to hire private contractors to do so. In these circumstances, the Tea Party activists’ focus on supporting states’ autonomy – and even on property rights and the right to bear arms – can seem like a prescient effort to constrain overweening corporate and military power in national government."

In a recent interview on Alternet, Wolf states:
"Even though I’m appalled when racism surfaces, and I personally don’t agree with certain policy solutions and a lot of what they believe in, as someone who is very concerned about reinvigorating democracy the Tea Parties are an answer to what I asked for." In the same interview she addresses the Partiers' comparisons of Obama with Hitler - conceding they do have some merit.

Others, too, think the Tea Partiers could be good for Democracy - including some in possibly unexpected quarters.

(Lots of) Previouslys
posted by blue funk (136 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Ann Coulter : right :: Naomi Wolf : left
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:50 PM on April 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


In the same interview she addresses the Partiers' comparisons of Obama with Hitler - conceding they do have some merit.

You know, except for the systematic slaughter of 12 million human beings, yeah, Obama is *exactly* like Hitler. But you know, po-tah-to - po-tay-to.
posted by NoMich at 12:55 PM on April 5, 2010 [18 favorites]


Every time I use those analogies, I am doing it with a concrete footnoted historical context. When people like Glenn Beck throw around the word Nazi without taking that kind of care, they are engaging in demagoguery. There’s an important difference.

When I compare someone to Hitler it's OK.

Sure thing Naomi.
posted by GuyZero at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


I prefer to think that democracy isn't based on benighted outrage, funded by a right wing that (temporarily) benefits from obstruction and disruption, but instead based on consensus building, reason, education about issues, and enlightened self-interest.

And state's rights are worth discussing, but the Tea Party wields the phrase in the same way that segregationists did -- not as a mechanism of democracy, but instead of subverting democracy, a machine of interpreting the Constitution narrowly in order to promote a flawed, hostile, aggressive, deeply selfish ideology -- or a semblance of one, anyway, which mostly breaks down to "I don't want to pay taxes" and "I don't like having a black president."

It's worth celebrating political courage. Anti-intellectuals with a grudge against the federal government ain't it. Ignorance is never good for democracy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2010 [43 favorites]


Ann Coulter : right :: Naomi Wolf : left

Actually, Naomi Wolf seems more a darling of the Ron Paul and paleo-conservative crowd to me, like Pat Buchanan. Here's The American Conservative's admiring take on her.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2010


It's fairly revisionist and tone deaf to ignore the fact that the examples of "concentration of executive power" cited by the author all happened under the previous administration, and yet the Tea Party movement mushroomed only after Obama took office. Without substantial further explanation, this correlation calls for an explanation in terms of something other than "a prescient effort", to put it rather blandly. To put it less blandly, the focus on "states' autonomy [ed: substitute 'rights']" is not, historically speaking, separable from the ugly sides of the movement so quickly dismissed.
posted by mister-o at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2010 [36 favorites]


But I thought Naomi Wolf was a Feminazi...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:58 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's fairly revisionist and tone deaf to ignore the fact that the examples of "concentration of executive power" cited by the author all happened under the previous administration, and yet the Tea Party movement mushroomed only after Obama took office.

Pretty much what I was going to say, but better than I would have said it.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:00 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've been defending the Tea Party for a while now, but now that Naomi Wolf is on the case I might have to rethink my position.

(Damn it! That's what she wants!)

Still, this seems right:
That is why the elites in general are so quick to ridicule this movement. A movement that is genuinely populist in origin poses a threat to their own position in the power structure. For once, a grassroots movement has arisen that is composed of people – some with Ivy League degrees, but many without – who are taking seriously the Internet-age promise that you don’t have to yield leadership to an established class of politicians and pundits.

This is also why the Republicans are seeking to capture the Tea Party movement’s energy for partisan purposes, overrunning it with well-paid operatives, particularly from former Representative Dick Armey’s fundraising and advocacy organization. Moreover, Tea Party gatherings have increasingly become a platform for Republican candidates seeking the support of a highly mobilized electoral base.
Many TPers seem a bit disgusted with the Republican Party's attempts to inflitrate and co-opt them, and there's a really active dialog going on among them about how exactly to navigate party politics. Interesting times, indeed.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:01 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Beauty Myth was pretty influential when I was in university and I think it had a positive effect on the Gen X worldview. Not sure why everything she says (like the subject of this post) is relevant, though.

Like Coulter, Wolf needs the spotlight to earn a living.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:03 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here's more from Reason (of all places) on how Naomi Wolf has more in common with the Truthers and Ron Paul crowd than with any sensible leftists:
Here is another similarity between the two; a topic about they are both "just asking questions": When asked about the hysterical rumors of "FEMA camps," Wolf tells Alternet that she "can't speak of it yet," as though she isn't entirely convinced the story is untrue. "With the FEMA rumor, I have heard some suggestive first-person accounts that some good reporters should follow up on."

At Ron Paul rally in Washington, D.C., Wolf met "a lot of 'ordinary' people, as in not privileged" and advises her fellow leftists to communicate with limited government plebs "by using language that anyone can understand even if you majored in semiotics at Yale."
posted by saulgoodman at 1:05 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The sick thing is that she's (pardon the pun) right. There's a lot of corporate crap that is getting a free ride because "Hey, it's Dems pushing it. They're my team. I must support my team!"

And yeah, the Tea Party stuff should have shown up around '94. Problem is, they're, for the most part, just as much 'sports fans as politically informed citizens' as anyone else.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:05 PM on April 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


The party out of power typically gains a newfound appreciation for the doctrines of states' rights and fiscal conservatism by the federal government, just as the party loses this appreciation upon entering the majority position.

As for the Tea Partiers: they are an irrational, internally contradictory mishmosh of anger and confusion against the current administration. The positions which are ultimately correct, let alone simpatico with Wolf's worldview, are merely a jumble of stopped clocks which she finds, twice a day, to be accurate.

That said, the individual Tea Partiers are probably no more crazy than any other protestor loon. Even the ones with completely daffy worldviews are probably also educated people with jobs, hopes, dreams, families whom they love, etc.

I remember taking lots of pictures of the protestors in the lead up to the Iraq War. I'm certainly opposed to the Iraq War as well, but I saw some tone-deaf and nutty people in those parades, let me tell you. I'm sure I would have agreed with many of their positions, just as I'm sure that the Maoist International Movement was a collection of doltish weirdos, their admirable opposition to imperialism notwithstanding.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:06 PM on April 5, 2010 [11 favorites]


Hey, yeah! Separation of powers is totally unnecessary-- the president should have all the authority he needs to instigate broad and unchecked surveillance efforts, unlimited authority to deploy troops as occupational forces, the ability to craft an entire new and ad hoc branch of government under the guise of 'security measures,' and..

What's that you say? He wants to use that executive clout to pay for poor people to have health care, and he's black? OBAMAHITLERNAZIS, WHERE'S HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE?
posted by Mayor West at 1:07 PM on April 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


Ann Coulter : right :: Naomi Wolf : left

These days, Cool Papa Bell, that's right in some respects-- they both draw attention to themselves through outlandish, exaggerated claims.

Big differences: Wolf at least tries, before failing, to construct rational arguments rather than a blizzard of insulting talking points. Second, Coulter has written for all the big right-wing publications, spoken at their conferences, and been praised by GOP leaders; whereas Wolf writes for something called Project Syndicate, and has about zero chance of getting a meeting with any Democratic elected official.

On Wolf's point, the fact that elites have failed doesn't mean that any old anti-elitist has a point. There's no good reason to make common cause with the John Birch Society.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:09 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ignorance is never good for democracy.

Nailed it on the head. No further discussion is really necessary.
posted by schmod at 1:12 PM on April 5, 2010


Many TPers seem a bit disgusted with the Republican Party's attempts to inflitrate and co-opt them, and there's a really active dialog going on among them about how exactly to navigate party politics. Interesting times, indeed.

I think the issue, though, is even when the TPers espouse coherent, libertarian, anti-corporatist statements, where are these statements coming from? Just like in a high school physics class, I don't just want your answers, I want to see your homework.

Has it come to them as a revelation that the US government is in the pocket of so many thieving corporations, or is this just the side effect of some other mass feeling? Had McCain been elected instead of Obama and done most of the same things, would they be in the streets then? If Republicans take back the Presidency in 2012, will their numbers dwindle dramatically, even before they find out how similar or not the new President is to the old one? What if 95% of the movers and shakers in the political world are motivated far less by weighing various political theories and studies of history and figuring out how to progress than they are by their individual psychology and some outside social pressures?

I feel like one day I figured out the 'sports fans as politically informed citizens' analogy ChurchHatesTucker references, and ever since then I've been locked in some sort of Brechtian silent scream, gawping at talking heads and parading protestors and not really knowing what to do anymore.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:13 PM on April 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's fairly revisionist and tone deaf to ignore the fact that the examples of "concentration of executive power" cited by the author all happened under the previous administration, and yet the Tea Party movement mushroomed only after Obama took office.

Well put.
posted by zarq at 1:14 PM on April 5, 2010


It's fairly revisionist and tone deaf to ignore the fact that the examples of "concentration of executive power" cited by the author all happened under the previous administration, and yet the Tea Party movement mushroomed only after Obama took office.

The concentration of power in the executive really starts with FDR, and was codified into law under Truman with the formal creation formation of the "national security state."

This has more to do with the cold war and the growth of the U.S. military, which had never before been a large component in U.S. society or government than either of the two parties. There have been left and right critics of this but the growth of the national security state has proceeded under both parties and past the end of the Soviet Union.

Someone else can make a cancer analogy, but I think this 'growth' is pathological. I think Clinton had the opportunity to reverse things, well realistically G. H. W. Bush, could have had a Nixon goes the China moment with the Pentagon. But, i think it's way too late now. The resources that desperately need to be invested in the U.S. society and economy have been put into weapons whose only productive use is aggresive war to prop up American power and wealth on a foundation of pure power... and you know who else tried to build a society based on aggressive war?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:15 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


That is why the elites in general are so quick to ridicule this movement.


I'm an elite? Actually after the last election "elite" has kind of lost all cachet with me, it is an empty word right now.

A movement that is genuinely populist in origin...

Yeah, populist. Except for it's funding sources and promoters.

"...you don’t have to yield leadership to an established class of politicians..."

We don't live in a direct democracy, mob rule, by and large is discouraged. As someone else said recently these folks seem to think it's only democracy when they win.



When they can dump the majority of out-in-front racists and homophobic and isolationists dickheads I'll listen to them. Until then I tend to think of them as manipulated Paulists.
posted by edgeways at 1:15 PM on April 5, 2010 [9 favorites]


and you know who else tried to build a society based on aggressive war?

Ghengis Khan?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:16 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is why the elites in general are so quick to ridicule this movement.

Except that they're generally happy with kneeling to the elites when those "elites" are members of the Republican Party. This shit blossomed during the Clinton years, hibernated during the Bush years, and re-emerged with a vengeance the night Obama was elected. Pretending that there's any genuine populism or anti-elitism or love of freedom in these pieces of shit is massively, insultingly dishonest.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:19 PM on April 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


That is why the elites in general are so quick to ridicule this movement.

God, this rankles me. I am lower middle class, a product of public education, and never even finished my college degree. I have been homeless. I went without taking care of a freaking abscessed tooth for two years because I didn't have insurance. And yet I have no doubt that I would be lumped in with the elites.

It's like the whole world is now made up of that one drunk in the bar who wants to beat you up for having a semester of business school, and insists on calling you "college boy."
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:23 PM on April 5, 2010 [58 favorites]


But I thought Naomi Wolf was a Feminazi...

Yeah, she's such a powerful, progressive feminist voice; here's a random sampling of some of her feminist positions:

Wolf finishes her article [on the pro-choice movement] by speculating that in a world of "real gender equality," passionate feminists "might well hold candlelight vigils at abortion clinics, standing shoulder to shoulder with the doctors who work there, commemorating and saying goodbye to the dead."

Wolf has spoken favorably about the dress required of women living in Muslim countries. She observed "The West interprets veiling as repression of women and suppression of their sexuality. But when I travelled in Muslim countries and was invited to join a discussion in women-only settings within Muslim homes, I learned that Muslim attitudes toward women's appearance and sexuality are not rooted in repression, but in a strong sense of public versus private, of what is due to God and what is due to one's husband. "
posted by saulgoodman at 1:23 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


"...concentration of executive power has threatened America’s system of checks and balances and given the Federal government the authority to spy on citizens, withhold information, and aggressively arrest and even Taser protesters – or to hire private contractors to do so. In these circumstances, the Tea Party activists’ focus on supporting states’ autonomy – and even on property rights and the right to bear arms – can seem like a prescient effort to constrain overweening corporate and military power in national government."

Yeah sure the government can do whatever it wants only liberals and queers care about civil rights and all that bull don't be an America-hater HOLY SHIT BLACK PRESIDENT INCOMIN' THE TREE OF LIBERDY MUST WATERED WITH THE BLOOD OF TYRANTS WHERE'S MY GUN AND WORDPRESS BLOG
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:24 PM on April 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


and you know who else tried to build a society based on aggressive war?

The Romans?
posted by daniel_charms at 1:25 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, this is so stupid it makes you wonder where Wolf got her education in history. Here's some other idiotic third party movements from not so recent past that challenged the existing government and were still composed of (often racist) nuts:

America First Party

America's Independent Party
American Patriot Party
The American Party
Independent American Party

A little further back, there's folks like the State's Rights Democratic Party, running Presidential candidate Strom Thurmond.

Or for another historic parallel, how about the well named Know Nothing party, vigorously opposed by the Obama-esque Abraham Lincoln?

Wing nuts and their third parties are as American as apple pie and long predate the imperial executive.
posted by bearwife at 1:26 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's fairly revisionist and tone deaf to ignore the fact that the examples of "concentration of executive power" cited by the author all happened under the previous administration, and yet the Tea Party movement mushroomed only after Obama took office.

It's sort of an interesting exercise in taking them purely at face value, whilst ignoring everything else.
posted by Artw at 1:28 PM on April 5, 2010


This has more to do with the cold war and the growth of the U.S. military....

Something Eisenhower (a former General, and a Republican!) alerted us to.

Not that anyone really paid attention.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:31 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The main gist of her "Obama acts like Hitler" statement seems to be: "The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has."
Spied on citizens is correct - but then it is such a general phrasing that it could be anyone down to neighborhood watch. I'll accept that Obama has continued practices which Bush put in place. Since the technology is so different, it is hard to compare these acts.
"Rounded up people and held them without trial." - Has Obama rounded up people and held them without trial? Those in Guantanamo weren't rounded up by Obama. If she is only referring to those in Guantanamo (or similar settings) for whom Obama has extended the legal limbo, I don't think the distinction is minor.
"Signed legislation that gave torture impunity." Again, my understanding is this is for past acts. Is she suggesting that torture is continuing or that it is currently allowed? These are huge distinctions.
Obama has taken two tracks as president. While there are the classically Democratic issues (health care, social issues), he has treated two stereotypically Republican issues in a Republican manner: the military and the economy. For the military, he kept Gates, supported expanding in Afghanistan, took hawkish lines on military trials and prisoners, and has continued a hawkish stand on security versus privacy. For the economy he hired the head of the Fed, threw money at Wall Street, and has been tepid in regards to reforms. In the matters of defense and the economy, he has embraced the classic standard of Republicanism: the status quo.
But holding on to the status quo is nowhere near the same as "rounding up people and holding them without trials" or continuing torture, or spying on citizens in some Hitler-like regime. The extension of the analogy is sick, twisted and counterproductive.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:34 PM on April 5, 2010


The positions which are ultimately correct, let alone simpatico with Wolf's worldview, are merely a jumble of stopped clocks which she finds, twice a day, to be accurate.

I wish Wolf had stopped after the Beauty Myth, which meant so much to me as a confused conservtive woman trying to figure out why I was supposed to spend all my time looking pretty for the boys.

Maybe that was her stopped-clock moment, and she's been striking 13:00 ever since.
posted by emjaybee at 1:34 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Something Eisenhower (a former General, and a Republican!) alerted us to.

Not that anyone really paid attention.


What's that line about how it's impossible to get a person to understand something that their livelihood depends on their ignorance of?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:36 PM on April 5, 2010


Naomi Wolf is the one who reads the movement superficially. But still, she's right, but for all the wrong reasons. Kansas once had strong Socialist leanings, now it's practically Tea Party headquarters because they've been misled about the cause of their grievances. But this is because of a failure of the left--as Walter Benjamin said, "Every fascism is an index of a failed revolution." That's the sense in which liberals are too hasty in dismissing them, when we could be making them into good socialists.
posted by AlsoMike at 1:37 PM on April 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


If we were using nazi analogies I'd probably consider the TPers your brownshirts- sort of your rowdy shocktroopers who are to be swept aside in a casually ruthless manner once they have outlived their usefulness. And the role of the SS would have to go to Blackwater/Xe. That's if we were making nazi analogies.
posted by jake1 at 1:39 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


As little as I like Sarah Palin, the fact is that entrenched lobbying and other special interests mean that a “changing of the guard” in Washington is too often only a change in branding.

"As little as I like Sarah Palin, I still can't control my urge to pointlessly toss her name into this mix to prove my ideological point."

And I hope that the movement captures the imagination of progressives, who are equally disgusted with the corruption of the status quo, and who can agree on many thematic goals, even if their policy proposals might be different.

"Thematic" goals? On what possible "thematic" goals would progressives and Tea Partiers be able to find common ground? The Tea Party Express was here in Nashville on a whistle-stop yesterday. The newscast showed footage of a couple of the people attending. One was holding up a sign that read "IMPEACH OBAMA GO BACK TO KENYA." The other said, "Our finances would be set all straight if we would just stop killin' so many babies." Is that the common ground you're thinking about, Ms. Wolf?
posted by blucevalo at 1:41 PM on April 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


What's that line about how it's impossible to get a person to understand something that their livelihood depends on their ignorance of?

I wish I could remember! But that's probably good enough.

And yeah, the congress has been captured by special interests. (It's most noticeable with recent electees that have had grass roots support, only to abandon them.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:48 PM on April 5, 2010


Jesus Christ. You'd expect a bunch of desperate, out-of-touch right-wing idiots like the Tories to latch on to the Tea Party (the irony potentially lost on them), particularly with their new far-right partners in the EU. But taking place in Brighton? Am I missing something? That's like the Tea Partisans starting out in San Francisco.
posted by davemee at 2:06 PM on April 5, 2010


That is why the elites in general are so quick to ridicule this movement. A movement that is genuinely populist in origin poses a threat to their own position in the power structure. For once, a grassroots movement has arisen that is composed of people – some with Ivy League degrees, but many without – who are taking seriously the Internet-age promise that you don’t have to yield leadership to an established class of politicians and pundits.

Oh nonsense. Look, I am hardly a member of any elite (insert sexual performance joke here), and I ridicule them, not because they threaten my position in the power structure but because they so seldom have any idea what in the living fuck they are talking about.

Similarly, while there may be some benefit to a grassroots movement whose aim is to constrain the power of an overreaching executive branch, I sincerely doubt that function will be performed in any meaningful fashion by a bunch of loons, with little to no understanding of just what that overreaching actually involves, muddying the already murky waters by raving about imaginary nutbag conspiracies and regurgitating talking points fed to them by one component of that very elite for purposes of their own.
posted by Naberius at 2:13 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually a member of an elite, along with knife guy, sniper chick and the explosives expert. We kick ass.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on April 5, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party. Anytime someone levels a charge of racism at any Tea Party activity or event, they lose complete credibility with me.
posted by davidmsc at 2:21 PM on April 5, 2010


The elephant in the room, and what negates all these wonderfully optimistic theses, is that the Teabag Party is a brand that is funded and promoted heavily by Rupert Murdoch, his media properties, and his allies in the GOP and in other extremist right-wing organizations. There's not really any coherent message or political direction coming out of this "party" other than racist, ignorant noise that keeps the ratings high and the ad revenue pouring in.

There's not really any push towards putting a check on government coming from this rabble, no real push for reestablishing the "ideals of democracy", or any such nonsense. It's just that, like Nature, power abhors a vacuum, and when the Republican Party collapsed, FOX News' bosses stepped in with a plan to line their pockets by playing on Real America's ugly racist fears. And here we are.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:21 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party. Anytime someone levels a charge of racism at any Tea Party activity or event, they lose complete credibility with me.

Any particular reason? Because there is an awful lot of racism surfacing at those rallies, you know.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:26 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party. Anytime someone levels a charge of racism at any Tea Party activity or event, they lose complete credibility with me.
posted by davidmsc at 2:21 PM on April 5


hahaha whatever you say
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:27 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party.

Risking all credibility, obviously, have you been blind to the number of people who march on Tea Party rallies holding overtly racist signs? Or do you have another take on things like the doctored photo of Obama dressed as an african witch doctor? (one of several examples I could dig up, but don't feel the need, as this illustrates my question fairly well)
posted by hippybear at 2:30 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know how accurate her telling of this story is, and neither do I know how accurate my recollection of her telling is, but Camille Paglia wrote of a time she appeared on a talk show with Naomi Wolf.

They were there to debate the influence of the media on fashion and female self-image; Wolf was arguing that the modern female's attention to beauty was largely a product of relentless advertising and the images of femininity promulgated by movies and television.

[During a break]

Camille: You know that women used kohl around their eyes in ancient Egypt, right?

Naomi: (Pause) Really?

[Wolf bats her large, dark eyes]

***
Now, maybe Paglia's telling of this was dishonest-- I wouldn't put that past Camille Paglia; or maybe Wolf was playing her for a fool. Still... on the question of whether someone could be that superficial and naive... well, I wouldn't that past Naomi Wolf.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:31 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually a member of an elite, along with knife guy, sniper chick and the explosives expert. We kick ass.
Do you have to tell the corny joke at the end?
posted by Electric Dragon at 2:33 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party. Anytime someone levels a charge of racism at any Tea Party activity or event, they lose complete credibility with me.

i suppose these are all photoshops then
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:33 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm actually a member of an elite, along with knife guy, sniper chick and the explosives expert.

Which one has the specialty in sex?
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:33 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Damn you, Electric Dragon.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:33 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I thought Naomi Wolf was a Feminazi...

I just thought she was an idiot. My belief seems confirmed...
posted by Skeptic at 2:38 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party.

People who deny the inherent racism in the Tea Party "message", such as it is, are denying reality. This group's hate is on full display at every march and rally, and it is so well-documented and corroborated that to deny it is ridiculous at this point. I get disgusted every time I hear a Teabagger say he's not really racist, frankly, and get more disgusted at every attempt to portray them as something they are not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:38 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


That would be an interesting idea if the tea baggers weren't full of shit. They don't hate big government because they never talk about our disgusting military budget. They don't like Obama and liberals having power in our currently very big government.
posted by zzazazz at 2:44 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wolf has actually circled around. She's gone so far left she's come out on the other side. In one article, she discussed how taking the veil was a form of empowerment. Your face, as a wife, might be the only woman's face your husband would see, and that would automatically make you desirable and beautiful to him, as opposed to Western societies with easily available pornography, where you were competing against all of those other women, in print or in person.
posted by adipocere at 2:44 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oops, there I go. I was following tea party crazy talk. Obama is not a liberal.
posted by zzazazz at 2:44 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


you know who else tried to build a society based on aggressive war?

I'll take blending state and corporate power for $500 and answer
Who was Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini?

What's that line about how it's impossible to get a person to understand something that their livelihood depends on their ignorance of?

That'd have been Upton Sinclair of EPIC and UXA fame. He also write a book or 2.

(and the original bit was a warning about the military-industrial-congressional complex)
posted by rough ashlar at 2:53 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


What an incredibly facile reading, but I wouldn't expect less from Wolf nowadays. The parallels that draw sympathy from her are the same issues that drew Wolf to the anti-WTO movement in the '90s, where a bunch of liberals decried anti-democratic institutions, with similar ignorance of political context (not a big Breton Woods fan, but most of the anti-WTO shit was dumber than a paper bag full of farts). The difference is the incoherence of political remedy here and, frankly, the insane levels of ignorance and, yes David, racism. Where the WTO protesters wanted to replace globalism with the failed notions of protectionism, these Tea Baggers want to dismantle the federal government—good and bad—and replace it with nothing save nostalgia and naivete.
posted by klangklangston at 2:55 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party.

As the first person in this thread to actual use this word to describe members of the Tea Party, here are a few rejoinders: I do not think all Tea Partyers are racist. I do think (as my comment alluded to) many of the most vocal and visible TPers are racists, as well as other pejorative "-ists".

Any noble ideas the TPs may have had in the inception have been largely drowned out by these idiots, coupled with the active encouragement for the GOP to leech on. Add to that the TP has no viable leader, so there is no effective way for TP rank and file to actual distance themselves from the borderline (and sometimes not so borderline) violent, regressive rhetoric. At some point no amount of "But I'm not racist" cease to hold water as an argument against a racist movement. It becomes the exception to the rule.

Sort of like... well, take Olympia Snowe for example. She is not my ideal of a Senator, she is not my senator, but if I had my choice I'd be pretty happy to party swap her for Ben Nelson. I respect her a hell of a lot more than Nelson. Now, just because I think Snowe is better than Nelson doesn't mean I like the GOP better than the Democrats. I still view the GOP as a bunch of pasty assed social wankers. Just because you may not be racist, doesn't mean the thrust of the Tea Party is not.

my 5 cent prediction. Sarah Palin: Tea Party candidate 2010
posted by edgeways at 2:59 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


I keep thinking I ought to read more Naomi Wolf (I loved The Beauty Myth) but then I read her short works like this and decide against. Sadly for Naomi Klein, that means I also keep putting off The Shock Doctrine because my memory for names sucks.
posted by immlass at 3:08 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party.

You are wasting you breath trying to convince members of the blue to not tie 'em together. Because, well, it is a part of the 'tea party movement' - enough that you can find signs/language supporting it. Of course you could find such before the tea party label was a news topic at various protests just like you can find legalize pot messages at other rallies.

And slapping a 'racist' label lets you avoid then having to deal with 'em cuz' they are now racists.

So it doesn't matter if there are concerns over States VS FedGov rights exist - because States rights was the way states treated people with different skin color in the past *BAM!* racist label. And now the discussion is over.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:16 PM on April 5, 2010


You know, except for the systematic slaughter of 12 million human beings, yeah, Obama is *exactly* like Hitler.

Well, they're both excellent dancers.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:16 PM on April 5, 2010


She's slumming.
posted by No Robots at 3:18 PM on April 5, 2010


So it doesn't matter if there are concerns over States VS FedGov rights exist - because States rights was the way states treated people with different skin color in the past *BAM!* racist label.

Yes. It has nothing at all to do with the actual racist rhetoric, or the fact that what's left is so much inane, unreasoning wharbargl. You know, like the fact that a lot of the state's right stuff that's coming out of the movement is not significantly different from what the Posse Comitatus was arguing.

You want a seat at the table with adults, you learn to talk like adults. OMG OBAMA KENYAN SOCIALISM 10TH AMENDMENT doesn't present itself as reasoned rhetoric that anybody should take seriously, and you're in no position to lecture us about not listening to it.

And, just to be clear, I spent an entire day today reading the actual words of Tea Party people on the endless number of near-lunatic blogs they throw up on an hourly basis. I've tried to listen, and now my ears are bleeding.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:23 PM on April 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think the issue, though, is even when the TPers espouse coherent, libertarian, anti-corporatist statements, where are these statements coming from? Just like in a high school physics class, I don't just want your answers, I want to see your homework.

Agreed, and nicely put. I actually agree with a lot of the TP sentiment. But I also agreed with it 5 years ago. And 10 years ago. And 15. It didn't just suddenly occur to me when a black man took office.

Additionally, they've let Palin become their standard bearer, despite the fact that Alaska is fiscally among the least conservative states in the Union. In fact, wealth distribution was her primary claim to fame there.

There is no evidence that any of the teabaggers actually believe what they claim to believe, or that they are interested in educating themselves about the topics they choose to rail against. And finally, when will they release some actual proposals, with numbers backing them? Or is the whole "protest" thing the beginning and end of their statement?
posted by coolguymichael at 3:24 PM on April 5, 2010


Any noble ideas the TPs may have had in the inception have been largely drowned out by these idiots,

The original pitch as I 'member had talking points about states rights, balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility and a smattering of putting an end to the corporate welfare state as the topic of the bank bailout was hot. Standard libertarian/Ron Paul talking points.


Sarah Palin: Tea Party candidate 2010

Only if she's being paid. And doesn't have to work at it.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:25 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Standard libertarian/Ron Paul talking points.

If your presenting that as "noble ideas," hoo boy have you got the wrong crowd.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:27 PM on April 5, 2010


you're
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:28 PM on April 5, 2010


States rights, balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility and a smattering of putting an end to the corporate welfare state as the topic of the bank bailout was hot

Well, as fiscally "liberal" as I am, fiscal responsibility, balanced budgets and putting an end to the corporate welfare state, seem like decent ideas to at least have a good debate about. Those ideas deserve a place at the table weather or not they survive into specific implementation. A 3rd party that was about that? Yeah, I could at least respect that. What they have become instead is a focusing point for angry white rage, dressed up in rhetoric of "personal responsibility" and other Horatio Alger claptrap.

I mistyped. Sarah Palin: Tea Party 2012 candidate
posted by edgeways at 3:38 PM on April 5, 2010


saulgoodman, that's a flagrant oversimplification/lack of understanding of feminism. Feminism is supporting the right of women to have their own views about all the different stuff that exists in the world, not forcing them to be pro-choice or anti-burqa.
posted by so_gracefully at 3:41 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The original pitch as I 'member had talking points about states rights, balanced budgets, fiscal responsibility and a smattering of putting an end to the corporate welfare state as the topic of the bank bailout was hot.

Well, that and "Go back to Kenya". Well, mostly "Go back to Kenya," really.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:42 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is no evidence that any of the teabaggers actually believe what they claim to believe

There is no evidence that the Libertarians would act what they claim they would act. Nor do they wanna work for it by having court watchers to make sure that a system of checks would exist in their libertarian paradise. If they want to be a party they have to show they can deliver on something. At least the greens have some deliverables.

The tea party label lets someone claim to be a part of a "big" movement - and with no structure everyone can take the label and no one can say "no they don't speak for us". Would any of the people with the racist signs be willing to stand outside by themselves? The big group gives them cover.

But here's a different question I've not seen discussed (and that may be because I've not cared to track down the places where it would be talked about)

In the long run the "tea party" is gonna have to deliver goods to citizens just as the 'democratic' and 'republican' machine politics delivers the goods.

So - exactly what "goods" are they gonna deliver? What are they gonna do that other parties don't already have on their list of deliverables? The racist and 'this guy can't be in charge' rhetoric isn't a deliverable.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:42 PM on April 5, 2010


Nothing new here, just the historical context evolves: Right Woos Left

Ooh, Ron Paul was against invading Iraq, I must agree with his entire program.... sheesh.

Sort of like all the dopers that got sucked into FIJA.

States rights and interposition, hmmmm, no racists here.

Well, there's always Johnny Liberty.

Fascinating as this discussion is, I've got to go finish my tax return....
posted by warbaby at 3:43 PM on April 5, 2010


I'm so tired of seeing the word "racist" associated with the Tea Party.

To add to everyone else's point about the racist signs there-- there is no coherent reason for these protests.

If they were upset about government spending that added to the deficit... well, they wouldn't be out protesting at all right now. "[T]he [Bush-era] totally unfunded Medicare Part D program ... will cost taxpayers roughly $1 trillion over the next decade--that's $1 trillion more than Obama's plan, which is fully paid for according to the Congressional Budget Office."

If they were upset about federal government power, they would have been out there protesting the Patriot Act, and the Bush administration's assertion that it could detain US citizens indefinitely without trial, or the fact that, as everyone now admits, we invaded another country for no reason.

But they weren't.

If you want to argue that the nation's ignorant whites would have been just as out of sorts if Hillary Clinton had been elected, you might have a point. But there is simply no ideological or principled defense of the Tea Partiers. It is 100% tribalism, which just so happens to come from the exact same people who argued that desegregation was tyranny.

Hell, I'd love to see the argument that there isn't racism behind these white people's snits.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:44 PM on April 5, 2010 [30 favorites]


Standard libertarian/Ron Paul talking points.
If your presenting that as "noble ideas," hoo boy have you got the wrong crowd.


'Round these parts - hell yea its the wrong crowd.

But I don't post on the blue to get agreement, now do I?

Perhaps you'll comment with something on the 'deliver the goods' section.


Well, that and "Go back to Kenya". Well, mostly "Go back to Kenya," really.

Well, the google leads to this claim:
The Libertarian Party of Illinois got the idea to hold an April 15, 2009 anti-tax “Boston Tea Party” in Chicago way back in December of 2008. On February 10, 2009 they started a Facebook page and began promoting the website throughout the Illinois media.

Do feel free to show your data backing up your claim.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:51 PM on April 5, 2010


One of the greatest victories of the modern conservative movement is changing the definition of "elite" to mean, "thoughtful enough to mount reasoned criticisms of us."
posted by Navelgazer at 3:53 PM on April 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


Wasn't FOX News basically busing them from place to place at one point?
posted by Artw at 3:55 PM on April 5, 2010


there is no coherent reason for these protests.

The only tie is 'we don't like whats going on'.

BFD. If they wanna be a "party" - what is going to be their deliverable.

[list deleted] But they weren't.

Damn straight skippy. But that applies in part to any "political party" - what the planks say doesn't agree with the actions.

I'm sure if one dug around you could find some who now wear the 'tea party' label were living the protest list, but it'd be a VERY short list. (I can think of one person only and I'm not sure he's adopted the tea party label)

Hell, I'd love to see the argument that there isn't racism behind these white people's snits.

The closest may be the marketing slogan from a libertarian party - but that isn't what it is anymore.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:59 PM on April 5, 2010


So it doesn't matter if there are concerns over States VS FedGov rights exist - because States rights was the way states treated people with different skin color in the past *BAM!* racist label. And now the discussion is over.

It would help a lot of the movement were more coherent and organized around a leader and platform. As it is, the racist stuff stands out pretty strongly - as a feature not a bug, if you understand what I'm saying. I'm not saying racism is the goal, but a lot of the impetus for the group has been fear, and mostly incoherent, vague fear about the government and power. Racism ties in very neatly, as the Birch/libertarian movement has a strong racist streak going way, way back. This is part of the culture, and certain politicians are trying to exploit it. If they wish to be heard above that, they need to get organized and stop complaining that people are making fun of them or can't debate the subject at hand. I have a hard time taking them seriously, honestly, except that they can be exploited and they have a propensity for violence and xenophobia.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:59 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no evidence that any of the teabaggers actually believe what they claim to believe, or that they are interested in educating themselves about the topics they choose to rail against.

What would constitute evidence of belief? Or lack of it, for that matter?
posted by IndigoJones at 4:01 PM on April 5, 2010


Damn straight skippy. But that applies in part to any "political party" - what the planks say doesn't agree with the actions.

It's not my fault that nobody takes them seriously. If they're serious, they'll start taking responsibility for their message and goals, but they aren't, so no need to defend them.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:02 PM on April 5, 2010


The Libertarian Party of Illinois got the idea to hold an April 15, 2009 anti-tax “Boston Tea Party” in Chicago way back in December of 2008. On February 10, 2009 they started a Facebook page and began promoting the website throughout the Illinois media.

That's not the Tea Party that is showing up to marches and rallies. That's the Libertarian Party, unless it decided to change its branding on April 15, 2009.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:07 PM on April 5, 2010


Racism ties in very neatly, as the Birch/libertarian movement has a strong racist streak going way, way back. This is part of the culture, and certain politicians are trying to exploit it.

By the way, the Republican Party itself shamelessly exploited racism since the '60s. They're still working that through, and they haven't come around to reject it as a party, which is the only way they can purge it. This is part of the same continuum, and it's their own fault for stirring it up in the first place. But it's dangerous and evil, which is why it needs to be pointed out and roundly rejected whenever encountered.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:07 PM on April 5, 2010


I'm not saying racism is the goal

Part of it may be "what is the most hurtful thing I can say" lashing out.

Not exactly a deliverable either. In fact its another reason NOT to be embracing 'em.

Birch/libertarian movement has a strong racist streak going way, way back.

*sings Everyone's a little bit racist from Avenue Q*

Is that streak becoming less over time as the old men who grew up and accepted such are dying? Racism and Classism are 2 isms that are hot buttons and hard to measure. At one time the Democratic party did things that we now call racist. And planned parenthood has eugenic sounding themes in some of its founding documentation.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:11 PM on April 5, 2010


What would constitute evidence of belief? Or lack of it, for that matter?

Evidence of belief:
1) A workable alternative to anything they pretend to be against.
2) A history of voting for people who demonstrably shrunk the government, or who possessed a demonstrable interest in doing so.


Evidence of lack of belief is actually easier:
1) "I don't like government expansion but worshiped Bush for 8 years" == lack of belief in supposed core values.
2) "I don't like government expansion but think Palin is okey-dokey" == lack of belief in supposed core values.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:17 PM on April 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


*sings Everyone's a little bit racist from Avenue Q*

I think you just completely and entirely missed the point of that song.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:45 PM on April 5, 2010


Problem is the teabaggers actually support people who want to make it even worse. But they're fine with it whenever their "team" is in charge.
posted by delmoi at 4:48 PM on April 5, 2010


I think arguing that there's nothing inherently racist about the mob with the racists signs tells you everything you you need to know about credibility, TBH.
posted by Artw at 4:49 PM on April 5, 2010


I thought it was uncool to bring in comments from other threads to prove a point about an individual.

Eh, there's a difference between bringing up old arguments, and simply pointing out where they were wrong in the past.
posted by delmoi at 4:50 PM on April 5, 2010


Evidence of lack of belief: Total inability to answer any questions about taxes! 98% thought taxes under Obama are the same or higher as taxes under Bush. And they also thought ANWR would supply the USA with oil for 70 years.
posted by mek at 4:51 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


For example, Tea Party activists, using a group called End the Fed, were among the first to focus critical attention on the unelected and unaccountable US Federal Reserve Board. Now legislation is being put forward to establish greater transparency at the Fed – surely a laudable outcome.

I believe post hoc, ergo propter hoc is actually a logical fallacy, not a logical tool. I pretty much dismissed the rest of the article based on this bit of reaching.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:55 PM on April 5, 2010


using a group called End the Fed, were among the first to focus critical attention

End the fed as a 'group' seems to be AFTER the 2009 Ron Paul book.

NORFED was before that. And Ron Paul has pitched Fed audit/Fed end in most if not all of his terms. G Edward Griffin was making anti-fed noises in the creature from jekyll island back in 1998 Griffin's freedom force international was in 2002. Anti-fed may go back to part of John Birch - I believe there was a plank in a political party I've forgotten going back to the early 1900's.

No "first deliverable" here for the Tea Partiers either - in fact the claim just isn't true.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:14 PM on April 5, 2010


The Beauty Myth was pretty influential when I was in university and I think it had a positive effect on the Gen X worldview. Not sure why everything she says (like the subject of this post) is relevant, though.
posted by KokuRyu


To be honest, the point of this post wasn't anything to do with Naomi Wolf specifically. I've been thinking about making this post for about a week because I've noticed the same sentiment expressed a few times - that the whole Tea Party thing is "Democracy In Action" or at least the first glimmerings of it.

Trouble is, comments in passing across the web (even here I think) / on the radio, aren't solid foundations for a MetaFilter FPP so I waited. The interview on Alternet popped up so I thought I'd try the post today. The thing which I found post-worthy was that by anyone's standards Wolf doesn't seem a natural ally for the TPs and it was that same sentiment again, that the TP is somehow a sign of sloughing off the stagnation Western politics seems to have been decaying in for years. This is something I have a strong interest in globally but particularly in my own country, England.

I may have missed it, but I haven't seen / heard anything about the UK Tea Party until today, when I actively searched for it. No MSM* coverage that I'm aware of. On the one hand this isn't surprising given that we're approaching a general election; on the other, frustration with the same-old Two Party System has been notable amongst (the few) politically engaged in the UK. So you'd think something "new" would be latched onto.

A thought I've not seen addressed: what if the TP "movement" comes from the Left, to benefit the Left? Heh. Semi-joking.

You know, except for the systematic slaughter of 12 million human beings, yeah, Obama is *exactly* like Hitler. But you know, po-tah-to - po-tay-to.
NoMich, the Tea Party is waaay to the right of my values, I think the Hitler/Obama placards would be laughable if they weren't so despicable. However, to be fair Wolf actually said,

Obama has done things like Hitler did. Let me be very careful here. The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has. It isn’t a question of what has been done that Hitler did. It’s what does every dictator do, on the left or the right, that is being done here and now. The real fight isn’t left or right but between forces of democracy across the spectrum and the forces of tyranny.

There are a few white-hot hot buttons there, but in context she isn't saying anything unreasonable. Whether what she said is productive or not is another matter. I wanted to point that out in my post but without editorialising it or making it OutrageFilter so I tried with "conceding they do have some merit" hoping that the context would be clearer to anyone who read the link.


*MainStream Media, though Men who have Sex with Men undoubtedly have views on this too. Hey I don't create the TLAs.
posted by blue funk at 6:16 PM on April 5, 2010


The tea party movement isn't 'about' anything. It's an incoherent mess of various ideologies and grievances and the only thing that they all agree on is that Obama is a bad man.
posted by empath at 6:32 PM on April 5, 2010


Libertarianism, and the connected ideas of protecting property and contractual rights about all else, is the ideology of corporate america. Any political movement calling itself a populist and libertarian is a walking oxymoron.
posted by afu at 7:05 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Libertarianism, and the connected ideas of protecting property and contractual rights about all else, is the ideology of corporate america.

Arguably. But find me a Libertarian who would be in favor of bailing out failing corporations, and I've got a shiny silver dollar for you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:09 PM on April 5, 2010


"I've been thinking about making this post for about a week because I've noticed the same sentiment expressed a few times - that the whole Tea Party thing is "Democracy In Action" or at least the first glimmerings of it."

Y'know, I think there's plenty to the idea of the Tea Parties as one form of democracy in action, it's just a democracy in which "majority" is measured by media share and not by vote. These folks are a pretty small minority population-wise, but have a disproportionate influence on the political narrative.

However, to really write that story, you need to step back from the idea that "democracy" is inherently good—if the Tea Party folks were the majority, it would be a pretty clear indictment of the idea of ruling a country based on what a majority want, as this "majority" is far from coherent, or positive or even possible. If they were the true majority, we'd essentially have mob rule—an ugly, racist, nativist, paranoid and ignorant mob.
posted by klangklangston at 7:13 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman, that's a flagrant oversimplification/lack of understanding of feminism. Feminism is supporting the right of women to have their own views about all the different stuff that exists in the world, not forcing them to be pro-choice or anti-burqa.

Okay. I'm all for not forcing people to be anything they don't want to be. And I certainly won't try to define what feminism should be for anyone. But my wife finds Naomi Wolf's take on feminism retrograde and slyly anti-feminist, and I tend to defer to her judgment on such matters (if only because she was a women's studies major in college). Either way, her views seem to align rather conveniently with those held by many social conservatives, so I'm just not particularly a fan.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:14 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama has done things like Hitler did. Let me be very careful here. The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has.

These are all Bush policies, which Obama has continued. They are still bad policies, but I do not see anyone comparing Bush to Hitler. Hell, even Hitler was elected.
posted by mek at 7:15 PM on April 5, 2010


They are still bad policies, but I do not see anyone comparing Bush to Hitler.

I dunno, the Bush-Hitler comparisons were pretty common during the worst years of the Bush administration. I indulged in it quite a bit myself, though I don't think I ever did the lazy Bush=Hitler equivalence.
posted by empath at 7:23 PM on April 5, 2010


I've got a shiny silver dollar for you.

Shouldn't it be an American Open Currency Standard medallion - the monetary system of a free market? Will you let 'em pick a John Gault? A 9-12 Live free or Die Glenn Beck? The George Bush? The Lakota nation medallion or perhaps a local community currency? Or does he get a Cheney? With over 20 to choose from - its a marketplace of ideas expressed in shiny silver!
posted by rough ashlar at 7:31 PM on April 5, 2010


There was a whiny Fox op/ed that I can't seem to find (it was on Google news earlier but seems to have been rotated out) complaining that everyone's worried about the right wing threats to government officials but that no one was concerned with the lefties putting up Bush=Hitler signs during the previous administration.
posted by klangklangston at 7:37 PM on April 5, 2010


Here we go.
posted by klangklangston at 7:38 PM on April 5, 2010


Libertarianism, and the connected ideas of protecting property and contractual rights about all else,

Which is why I ask about court watchers and a court watching program. Its fun to do that to LP "officials". Do actual work - naw. I've never gotten one of 'em to admit that such would be needed. (somehow human beings called Judges are beyond corruption it seems)

Any political movement calling itself a populist and libertarian

Libertarian National Socialist Green Party - no updates for over 6 months....
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 PM on April 5, 2010


Obama has done things like Hitler did. Let me be very careful here. The National Socialists rounded people up and held them without trial, signed legislation that gave torture impunity, and spied on their citizens, just as Obama has.

But none of these things actually is true, that's the problem.

President Obama did not round up any of the people that are being held without trial, and to my knowledge, since being elected, no new detainees have been added to the list of those marked for indefinite detention. Not only that, President Obama has pushed vigorously, against a congress that refuses to fully support him in his efforts, to close the camp at Guantanamo and to give civilian trials to the remaining detainees (those who have not already been tried and/or released). Only about thirty detainees are classified as eligible for indefinite detention and the administration has conceded this is an unprecedented and unconscionable state of affairs that came as a direct result of how completely the previous administration botched the job when it began rounding people up and torturing them. The administration has never said these 30 or so men should be detained indefinitely, only that will be held until a legal solution can be developed.

There have been a lot of vague insinuations coming from certain quarters about alleged "black detention sites" that are supposedly still in operation, but even those allegations generally concede the point that, in actual fact, President Obama has issued binding orders requiring that detainees in these undisclosed field detention centers (which are basically nothing more than battle-field facilities where enemy combatants are temporarily housed before being processed and placed in larger, publicly-known facilities) never be held in the undisclosed centers for more than two weeks before being processed.

As for torture, President Obama issued a binding Executive Order strictly banning it, including the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used under the Bush/Cheney regime, for all US personnel, military and civilian alike. And there is no evidence whatsoever that President Obama has continued the Bush domestic spying programs. In fact, much of what we've learned about those programs in the years since Bush left office comes directly as a result of disclosures the administration has made.

Fail. Complete and utter fail.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:39 PM on April 5, 2010


Hell, even Hitler was elected.

This is a myth. Hitler was appointed Chancellor on the promise that he would end the Brownshirt-perpetrated violence (which of course he could do because it was occurring at his behest) and was then re-elected due to massive voter fraud and voter intimidation. Hitler never won a legitimate election.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:41 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


but that no one was concerned with the lefties putting up Bush=Hitler signs during the previous administration.

Errrrrr......That's not the america I remember. In fact as I remember the holders of bush/hitler signs were called traitors among other things.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:42 PM on April 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Libertarianism, and the connected ideas of protecting property and contractual rights about all else, is the ideology of corporate america.

If the economic-political events of the past year in the United States have demonstrated anything, it's the opposite. Corporate America doesn't want libertarianism; it wants state capitalism.
posted by Makoto at 7:47 PM on April 5, 2010


These are all Bush policies, which Obama has continued. They are still bad policies, but I do not see anyone comparing Bush to Hitler. Hell, even Hitler was elected.

No, President Obama has not continued any of the Bush policies. This is a blatant misrepresentation or misunderstanding of fact. Nearly all of these claims are based on legal briefs filed by the DOJ.

Yes, the Obama DOJ has continued to defend legal positions that the DOJ staked out when Bush was in power, but as discussed here in this other thread, the positions that DOJ attorneys take when litigating are not an expression of the policy of the current administration. DOJ attorneys are the legal representation of the US government. Their only obligation in court is to win for their client, like any other lawyer. They are obligated to try to win cases pending before the courts on behalf of the US government.

DOJ attorneys don't get to set policy, or make law; they just file legal briefs that state their own legal opinions as attorneys. It's up to the court system (you know, that branch of the government with the authority to interprets laws) to rule on what the law actually is.

President Obama's policies are a major departure from Bush's. Anyone who says otherwise is either deliberately lying or just too stupid to bother with.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's a clearly false claim you've made there, saulgoodman. Obama himself has explicitly advocated for the right of "preventive detention"; perhaps you missed that speech? The DOJ actually wanted civilian trials for terrorists, and was overruled by the administration, who made a deal with Republican senator Lindsey Graham to revert to Bush-style miltary tribunals.
posted by mek at 8:10 PM on April 5, 2010


Where were the fucking tea partiers during the Bush years? Blissful and ignorant, that's where.
posted by telstar at 8:14 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


The DOJ actually wanted civilian trials for terrorists, and was overruled by the administration, who made a deal with Republican senator Lindsey Graham to revert to Bush-style miltary tribunals.

No, Rahm Emmanual allegedly tried to cut a deal with Lindsey Graham and it created a rift in the administration--and it wasn't the first time he's been at the center of controversy for trying to cut an unauthorized deal. The matter hasn't been settled yet, and there's still speculation about how the situation will play out.

Obama himself has explicitly advocated for the right of "preventive detention";

You still trust Greenwald, a guy on the take from the Cato Institute? I wouldn't.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:18 PM on April 5, 2010


i don't 'trust' Greenwald, and I think he writes things that he doesn't actually believe, but I think having him out there arguing the 'radical' position on this is useful.
posted by empath at 8:24 PM on April 5, 2010


So astroturfing, blatant lies, and racism are democracy now?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 8:27 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a little more on the Lindsey Graham deal. Emanual and Graham have been talking deal; Holder and President Obama have both explicitly backed civilian trials. The deal is not done yet, because there has been no official announcement of a policy change.

You'll notice, none of your links actually include an announcement of a policy reversal, and yet, you're taking it as a given.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:31 PM on April 5, 2010


Black Democrat Race Exploiters Trash Diverse Tea Party

I am utterly unable to figure out if this is a joke or not.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:31 PM on April 5, 2010


This:

If Obama accepts the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States.

In your mind, apparently reads like this:

If Obama accepts has accepted the likely recommendation of his advisers, the White House may be able to secure from Congress the funding and legal authority it needs to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and replace it with a facility within the United States.

Why is that exactly?
posted by saulgoodman at 8:36 PM on April 5, 2010


Sorry. That last bit came from here.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:37 PM on April 5, 2010


I am utterly unable to figure out if this is a joke or not.

No, it's not. It's pretty typical for either Malkin or Breitbart.
posted by empath at 8:40 PM on April 5, 2010


I am utterly unable to figure out if this is a joke or not.

Actual racists will avoid Lloyd Marcus thus the people saying thanks, hugging him and talking to him are self-selecting non racists.

Thus both sides have 'truth' and are 'correct' based on what they see.

Which is better than the people just making up a narrative they can't be bothered to support.
posted by rough ashlar at 9:12 PM on April 5, 2010


If the economic-political events of the past year in the United States have demonstrated anything, it's the opposite. Corporate America doesn't want libertarianism; it wants state capitalism.

ideology and practice are different things.
posted by afu at 9:18 PM on April 5, 2010


You still trust Greenwald, a guy on the take from the Cato Institute? I wouldn't.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:18 PM on April 5 [+] [!]

Please, do go on.
posted by mek at 9:21 PM on April 5, 2010


Greenwald is on the Cato Institute payroll. He's written articles for them, spoken at symposiums they host, etc. The Cato Institute was founded by Fred Koch, an oil magnate who funnels money by the metric ton into various right-wing front organizations like Cato that are dedicated to spreading the philosophy of Randian objectivism, ensuring that Koch's pet industries remain unregulated, keeping Koch's taxes as low as possible, and more recently, fostering doubts about the reality of climate change (as discussed just recently here on the blue), all under the guise of advancing the "libertarian" philosophy.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:46 PM on April 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is the Tea Party racist? Certainly a good number of it's members are, as judged by their signs. (My "favorite" has to be "We have an African Lion in the Zoo and a Lyin' African in the White House.") But I'll be charitable and assume that not all of them are.

There's still no cohesive platform aside from hatred, though. Maybe some general anti-taxation stuff, but even that is phenomenally ill-informed. It is not at all "grassroots," but was planned and executed by interests with well-placed sources in News Media outlets. It's talking points come straight from Murdoch's machine. And they don't make any sense. And no leader within the movement has tried to make any sense of them, because they are, in all reality, just a base-building wing of the GOP which doesn't need to be heeded once their real party is back in power.

The racism isn't my main concern, however, for two reasons. First, because it brings it out into the open. Secondly, because while the Tea Party may be exploiting latent racism for its purposes, it is actively creating another type of damaging division - that of conservative America being the "real" America, and liberal America being traitors, quislings, etc.

One of the most horrifying moments of '08 was when Nancy Pfotenhauer said that McCain was going to win Virgina because all of Obama's support was in NoVa, and that "real Virginans" were going to vote for her guy. Called on it, long after it had become a notable gaffe, she stuck by her statement. Those people in Arlington and Alexandria and McLean, the most diverse part of the nation, they were just ex-pats from D.C. they weren't "really" Virginians. Divide, divide, divide. And send the message that those different from you aren't really citizens, at least not in any meaningful way.

I know this isn't novel, but the Tea Party sprung up not directly through racism, but through the idea that to be American is to be right-wing - an idea that the left has internalized way too much for comfort. Racism has certainly been a valuable tool in this effort, but the end goal is a more generalized fear of "the other." In this way, the Tea Party marginalizes and discourages discourse, divides the citizenry based upon opinions, and uses rhetoric to promote hate and fear instead of solutions.

So no, it is not good for democracy. It is not.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:57 PM on April 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


"So astroturfing, blatant lies, and racism are democracy now?"

Never read The Assemblywomen, huh?
posted by klangklangston at 9:59 PM on April 5, 2010


Greenwald is on the Cato Institute payroll.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:46 PM on April 5 [+] [!]


He worked on one research project with them, which concluded that (drumroll please...) drugs should be legalized. Sounds like a right-wing nutjob to me! Do you have any evidence of anything that you are saying? I have found exactly one Greenwald quote relevant to climate change (the man is a lawyer, not a scientist), and I'd love to see you bring up anything he's published that shows even the slightest hint of climate change denial. Your statements are, once again, totally groundless.

I notice you tend to switch topics as frequently as you lose arguments - perhaps you'd like to stick to one long enough to offer a rebuttal?
posted by mek at 10:25 PM on April 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I thought Naomi Wolf was a Feminazi...

Yeah...a strong woman who believes that women shouldn't be subservient to men...definitely a Nazi. Awesome. Tell the boys down at your local drinkhole that I said 'sup.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:42 AM on April 6, 2010


My experience is that the majority of people are unhappy with the way things in our government are playing out and have some legitimate complaints.

I also think that any organization that forms to capitalize on this unrest is going to be the focus of psy-ops programs that are almost impossible to resist. Its pretty simple, just use the media control to inundate the organization with zealots and nut jobs and then make sure that they get the spotlight. There are unstable extremists on both sides to use to discredit an entire movement.

I would go further and say that most of the left vs. right animosity is no different than what goes on between fans of rival teams. And the purpose of giving certain irrational and violent people air time is to try to keep anything legitimate from forming and to keep reasonable people from wanting to participate.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:17 AM on April 6, 2010


And the purpose of giving certain irrational and violent people air time is to try to keep anything legitimate from forming and to keep reasonable people from wanting to participate.

Except that were it not for these irrational people being given so much airtime on the TV, my mother and her friends would have likely never heard any of the Tea Party talking points (or about the Tea Party at all) and would not now be trying to convince me that Obama is Hitler, that 51 votes has never been a majority of the Senate, that the government is going to take away their Medicare, and that any day now the USA is going to be a socialist-communist-terrorist-dictatorship. All arguments I had to contend with on Easter at a family gathering.

My mom and her friends are all people who, before this all started, seemed at least mostly rational (just average Americans) and not prone to sitting around trying to decide what guns to buy for the coming revolution while calling their college educated offspring elite-liberal-socialist-terrorist-supporters, but after hearing the same crap over and over on the TV being presented as valid arguments against the current administration, they've grabbed hold of it and plan to fight the good fight, where as had it not been on TV presented as valid arguments, they'd have just been mildly annoyed that a Democrat was in the White House (and a little bothered that he was black and young). Instead, they are holding protests and carrying ridiculous and obnoxious signs (just like the ones they see on TV) in front of the courthouse in their very small little town.
posted by Orb at 4:16 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


psy-ops programs ... left vs. right animosity is no different than what goes on between fans of rival teams

Hrmmm rival teams playing the same game?

the Tea Party talking points

Alas, we can't run this experiment - but if the "tea party" didn't exist - would these same talking points have come from "the GOP"? Perhaps not exactly the same, but really darn close.

Equating the other guy to Hitler (that was done to Bush II)
Charges that the government was going to take away X (under Bush II - "freedoms" as an example)
USA is going to be a dictatorship. (that was a popular trope under the last guy)

Classic rough and tumble political name calling - this time rather than the GOP catching the flack, a different branding called "tea party" gets to "test market" the messages and the ones that have legs get picked up by the GOP. And the rubes are falling for it.
(And I'm betting those with a historical bent could find racist statement in party-approved lit back in the day)

You complain about this now Orb - but did you complain when similar charges were leveled VS the last guy? Would these same people have complained if you made similar charges about the last guy?

But rather than discuss things - one gets hurf-durfing "go home kenyan" mythology.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:40 AM on April 6, 2010


Wolf is not wrong in that what we need is a movement designed to restore power to the citizens and not corporations. A political force protesting the distancing of elected officials from the electorate (except when money needs to be raised) would be a positive force in US politics.

Where she's wrong is, the Tea Party is not that force. They have demonstrated time and again that they are interested only in the right-wing version of progress, where they get everything they want and fuck everyone else. They have no problem with any excess the government wishes to carry on, so long as it's the government they voted for and not the other guy, and certainly not the other BLACK guy.

To put it bluntly, advocating the sharing of toys is a noble cause. But the Tea Party is simply advocating "Give me all the toys and I may let you have one if I don't want it anymore and you have to give it back immediately if I change my mind."
posted by Legomancer at 6:36 AM on April 6, 2010


I notice you tend to switch topics as frequently as you lose arguments - perhaps you'd like to stick to one long enough to offer a rebuttal?

mek, just forget it. In my mind, anyone who accepts money from the Cato Institute, regardless of the justification, instantly loses credibility. Cato exists as a mechanism for influencing opinion in favor of the business interests of Fred Koch and others like him; its libertarian commitments just happen to provide a useful political cover for pushing their anti-regulatory, low-tax agenda. Sure, they take on other issues--and use them to bludgeon political opponents on the pro-regulation side--but that's as deep as their commitments truly go.

It's not at all an uncommon practice in business/politics for outfits like Cato to shell out money to individuals they hope to influence in the form of consulting and speaking fees. Has Greenwald been corrupted by taking Cato money? I don't know, but I'm sure Greenwald is a much more sympathetic ear to the Objectivist cause now than he would have been had he never taken a dime from Cato (and there's little doubt he was paid for his contributions to the legalization project).

Finally, I wasn't changing the topic. You expressly asked me to elaborate on my point about why I don't trust the analysis in the Greenwald article you linked. Oftentimes, I'm willing to reconsider and even abandon a position when presented with a good argument. But not on this point. Greenwald's attacks have been just a little too timely--always cropping up just in time to undermine President Obama just as he begins to renew the push for cap and trade or for deep financial systems reforms like the Volcker rule. Luckily, there are lots of sources of information in the world other then Greenwald. So let's just skip to the part where I hold onto my position and you hold on to yours, and leave it at that.

I can't help notice, on the subject of changing subjects, that you didn't even acknowledge that there has been as of this writing no announced change in Holder's policy regarding trying the Guantanamo detainees who can be tried in civilian court. It's possible President Obama will take Emanual's advice and make the deal with Graham. But he didn't take Emanual's advice to settle for a much weaker version of the health care bill rather than pass it through reconciliation, so it's anything but a certainty at this point. President Obama has demonstrated that, while he allows his advisors to express their opinions freely, he doesn't simply defer to them. You're the one who made the false suggestion that the deal with Graham was done. (And FWIW, I'm really not all that into "winning" arguments; I generally prefer to use argumentation in the dialectic mode--i.e., as a method for figuring things out. So if you wanna chalk this one up as another "win" in your little score sheet, go right ahead.)
posted by saulgoodman at 6:52 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Equating the other guy to Hitler (that was done to Bush II)
Charges that the government was going to take away X (under Bush II - "freedoms" as an example)
USA is going to be a dictatorship. (that was a popular trope under the last guy)


To a not-insignificant degree, these concerns were based on real events, like Muslims being targeted, PATRIOT Act, hiring Blackwater/Xe to do security work in New Orleans, etc.

Of course, someone trolling the site will not acknowledge any of these facts, so that's a given, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:04 AM on April 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


My understanding is that when Greenwald entered the political stage he did so as an antiwar libertarian to begin with so knowing that he has done stuff for Cato doesn't shock me.

As for the tea party people, I think there are a lot of people desperate to see in them the protest movement they want to see. Libertarians want proof that they exist not just on the internet plane but on the physical plane, leftists want to see downtrodden people who would rise up and destroy the system if only they could just see it for what it is... but I've not seen much real evidence the tea party is anything but the far right, that and people who just listen to talk radio a lot.
posted by furiousthought at 8:40 AM on April 6, 2010


My mom and her friends are all people who, before this all started, seemed at least mostly rational (just average Americans) and not prone to sitting around trying to decide what guns to buy for the coming revolution while calling their college educated offspring elite-liberal-socialist-terrorist-supporters, but after hearing the same crap over and over on the TV being presented as valid arguments against the current administration, they've grabbed hold of it and plan to fight the good fight, where as had it not been on TV presented as valid arguments, they'd have just been mildly annoyed that a Democrat was in the White House (and a little bothered that he was black and young).

My mother had a close friend like this, a woman who'd lived abroad (not just Europe, either) for many years and been exposed to many different cultures and ways of thinking. She always seemed very open-minded, and it got to the point where my mother, who's not that liberal, couldn't even talk to her. Without meaning to be snarky or disrespectful of other people's politics it turned out that her sudden strange attraction to Fox News was a step in the onset of what the family and friends now think is Alzheimer's.

I don't think that's true of most tea-party types--as others have said, some pieces of the tea party aren't that strange or unattractive even to liberals--but sometimes you do wonder.
posted by immlass at 8:58 AM on April 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your mind can be so open that your brain falls out.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:29 AM on April 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Teabonics
posted by homunculus at 11:53 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


To my question above, what would constitute evidence of belief? Or lack of it, for that matter? we got:

Evidence of belief:
1) A workable alternative to anything they pretend to be against.
2) A history of voting for people who demonstrably shrunk the government, or who possessed a demonstrable interest in doing so.

Evidence of lack of belief is actually easier:
1) "I don't like government expansion but worshiped Bush for 8 years" == lack of belief in supposed core values.
2) "I don't like government expansion but think Palin is okey-dokey" == lack of belief in supposed core values.


I have to disagree, as follows:

1) One can criticize and strongly against Thing One without having come up with Thing Two. If nothing else, their default belief is, do nothing.
2) Perhaps they have. Certainly shrink the government got Reagan elected (even if it didn;t quite work out). And surely Ron Paul backers would count.

3) I see teabag posters that have no more use for Bush Two than for Clinton One.
4) To the extent that they believe she is a Reagan republican. Call it hope over experience.

Someone else wrote:
Evidence of lack of belief: Total inability to answer any questions about taxes!

That's lack of knowledge, not of belief.
posted by IndigoJones at 9:51 AM on April 14, 2010


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