Steve Benen at Washington Monthly writes a brilliant piece about the Tea Party gathering in DC yesterday. Just what is this Tea Party all about?
But that doesn’t actually tell us what these throngs of Americans are fighting for, exactly. I’m not oblivious to their cries; I’m at a loss to appreciate those cries on anything more than a superficial level.
This is about “freedom.”
Well, I’m certainly pro-freedom, and as far as I can tell, the anti-freedom crowd struggles to win votes on Election Day. But can they be a little more specific? How about the freedom for same-sex couples to get married? No, we’re told, not that kind of freedom.
This is about a fight for American “liberties.”
That sounds great, too. Who’s against American “liberties”? But I’m still looking for some details. Might this include law-abiding American Muslims exercising their liberties and converting a closed-down clothing store into a community center? No, we’re told, not those kinds of liberties.
This is about patriotic Americans willing to make sacrifices for the good of their country.
That sounds reasonable; sacrifices can be honorable. But if we’re talking about patriots willing to sacrifice, does that mean millionaires and billionaires can go back to paying ’90s-era tax rates (you know, when the economy was strong)? No, we’re told, not those kinds of sacrifices.
This is about a public that, at long last, wants to hear the truth from those who speak in their name.
What a great idea. Maybe that means we can hear the truth about global warming? About the fact that health care reform wasn’t a socialized government takeover? About Social Security not going bankrupt? About how every court ruling conservatives don’t like doesn’t necessarily constitute “liberal judicial activism”? No, we’re told, not those truths.
I think we’ve thought all along that the tea party had a big dose of sore loserdom. It’s helped along by the fact that the economy is terrible and it’s just easier to find a scapegoat than to take a long, hard look at how we got here.