It’s As Obvious As A Hitler Mustache At A Tea Bagger’s Placard Painting Party

Naturally, some folks don’t want to hear that much of the Tea Party “movement” is not what it purports to be.  I understand that. Committed to the issues that allegedly animate the organizers, they don’t want to believe that the core of the movement is really about fear, fear of a strange black man from Kenya Hawaii, who now leads our country.  

Someone by the name of Captain Obvious, whom I have now officially busted to Lieutenant Oblivious, complained about my analysis of the Winston Group findings on the composition and motivation of the Teapartiers. He wrote,

I have never seen such a worthless string of simplistic speculation and voluminous bloviation based upon nothing more than a personal assumption of mala-fides.

At first I thought he was commenting on the Rush Limbaugh Show, but then he clarified:

Even if in bizarro world Democrats were noble saviours out to repel the Republican scourge, it isn’t sufficient for you that tea partiers could just be “wrong.” No, using your psychic “intention detector” you KNOW it’s all racism.

No, Lieutenant, it’s not all racism.  And, of course, no one has said such a thing.  We all understand that many people, in both parties, are concerned about the deficit and the national debt.  It’s just that most people don’t dust off their 18th-century Sunday best and hustle down to the town square and make fools of themselves degrading our democratically-elected leader, calling him silly names while holding grammatically-challenged signs.

So,while acknowledging that there is much public angst about our long-term fiscal health, some of us wonder just what the Tea Party movement is really about, since most of the worried public does not identify itself with it.  The reason we wonder is because of the dissonance between the alleged concerns of the movement and its rather selective timing of the expression, as well as the target,  of those concerns.

As fellow blogger Juan Don pointed out in a comment:

Squawking about President Obama’s reckless spending is much more fun when you’re not attached to the previous administration’s strange homage to “fiscal conservatism”. Of course, it’s purely coincidental that deficit hawks flex their feathery outrage only after their party is out of power.

And as Jim Stone, another blogger pointed out in his comment:

Leading up to the present, Democrats (every President) have IMPROVED our situation regarding this issue. Eisenhower’s administration is the ONLY Republican administration which reduced the debt.

Here are a couple of simple charts to illustrate Juan’s and Jim’s point (click on for a better view):

 

So, given the fact there is objective, historical evidence that under Republican governance the things that allegedly bother Teapartiers so much—worries about the size of government, deficit spending, mounting debt—have grown much worse under Republican control, we have a right to ask about the Teapartiers, Why? Why now? and, Why are they so angry at President Obama?

Why, beginning shortly after Obama was inaugurated (but with roots going back to before the election), did a group of almost exclusively white folks decide to get together with misspelled placards, misplaced rhetoric, disingenuous and anachronistic use of the Founder’s words—not to mention the caricatures of Obama that had racist overtones—and decide to start a “movement” whose alleged concerns were the size of government, its spending increases, and its debt, when Republicans have been the demonstrable cause of those concerns for years?

The truth is that at the core of the Tea Party movement is a group of disgruntled and fearful white conservatives and Republican sympathizers, whose fears are not as much about the deficit, debt, or the size of government as much as they are about Barack Hussein Obama, the “exotic” black man, who some on the right think is the anti-Christ, who many on the right think is a Muslim, and who most on the right think is a socialist—if not a Communist bent on destroying America.

That fact is as obvious as a Hitler mustache at a teabagger’s placard painting party.

15 Comments

  1. A Nonny Moose

     /  April 4, 2010

    Nice charts, Duane. Too bad they don’t reflect what you believe they reflect. You seem to be one of the many people who have a complete lack of understanding of civics, particularly when it comes to budgeting and spending. In the chart you borrowed to use as evidence above, the debt as a percentage of GDP has presidential administrations listed above it as a reference point. Too bad that presidents don’t actually have much to do with any appropriations, eh? Now using that same graph, let’s go back and see who controlled the House Of Representatives during those years, shall we? I mean, seeing as how it’s the House who controls the spending. Since your chart starts with 1981, apparently in an attempt to blame Reagan for the deficits, let’s start there.

    In 1981, it was the Democrats who controlled the House, and therefore the spending. Why, by golly, those same Democrats controlled the House all the way through that first denoted time period, the “Reagan/Bush” period. Lo and behold, they controlled the House up through the beginning of the Clinton era too. Whodathunkit? And whew, look at that debt as percentage of GDP grow! Why, from 1981 to 1994, it grows from roughly 40% to just around 62%! Amazing! But wait, along about 1994 it starts to level out and then drop! What happened? Did Bill Clinton suddenly become a fiscal conservative? Hmmm… no, that can’t be it, as we’ve already established that presidents have little say over the actual budgets that get passed and the spending of our tax dollars. So what happened? Oh that’s right, in 1994, the Republicans took over the House. And not the “let’s spend like Democrats!” moderates that try to call themselves Republicans today. Nope, honest to goodness fiscal conservatives. And lookie! Lookie! Look what happened to that debt as percentage of GDP! It went down!

    Now along about 2001 there was this little event that occurred in New York. You know, the one your party’s conspiracy theorists love to claim was an inside job by the Bush administration. Not that we would ever want to admit that Birthers weren’t the first crazies out there, or that your party has its share of lunatics. Can’t have that, so let’s just move on, shall we? That kicked off a couple wars, which tends to make spending go up. And it did. Far too much, in fact, as the Republicans — who were still in control of the House at this point — became overrun with the above mentioned moderates. This led in a big way to what happened in 2006, when disgusted conservatives refused to vote for them, and the Democrats once again took over the House. In a classic case of “be careful what you wish for lest you get it”, the conservatives helped to remove the moderate Republicans who were spending like Democrats, apparently not thinking about how that meant they’d be replaced by actual Democrats, who spend… wait for it… like Democrats. And sure enough, the debt spending goes right along unabated once the Democrats retake the House in 2006. In fact, it increases at an astronomical rate. Along those lines, it’s interesting your borrowed chart there doesn’t include the first Obama year. Perhaps it’s simply because the large upward spike wouldn’t fit on the screen? After all, since we’ve seen Nancy Pelosi in place, debt has skyrocketed. At the end of 2009, the percentage of debt to GDP stood at 83.4% of GDP, a spike over the previous year the likes of which haven’t been seen since World War II. I can’t imagine why your friend would leave that off his chart, can you?

    So the point is that in your rush to try to prove “Republicans have been the demonstrable cause of those concerns for years”, you forgot elementary level civics. Well, forgot or possibly willfully ignored since it didn’t fit your argument, in the same way you willfully ignored all the Democrats wanting to “take their country back” a few posts ago, and the same way Chris Matthews willfully ignored his own use of the term “regime” in his fake outrage over Rush Limbaugh’s use of that same term. Maybe doing that research would have taken away from the time you felt you had to devote to yet another “Tea Partiers are racists and fear a black man” claptrap post. Whatever the cause or motive, you didn’t prove what you thought you proved about deficit spending. Quite the opposite, in fact. There are enough ignorant people out there who many will believe your post here to be dead on the money. Those of us who understand civics will call you on it every time you try this, however. It’s okay to be ignorant about this. Lots of people are. You probably shouldn’t brag about it like this, though.

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  2. Duane Graham

     /  April 5, 2010

    Nonny Moose,

    Before I get started on your main point, I do want to congratulate you on one thing: For recognizing that birthers are “crazies” and “lunatics,” which condemns a substantial number of professing Republicans, since only about 42% think our president is a citizen.

    You may believe this equalizes the fact that some Democrats suspected Bush knew in advance about 9/11, but not as much as you think. As Nate Silver has pointed out, there are both quantitative and qualitative differences between the two things. A substantial number of Republicans (26%) also suspect Bush may have known about 9/11 in advance, compared with only 7% of Democrats suspecting Obama is not a citizen. Also, elected Republicans, including U.S. Senators (Inhofe and Shelby) and Representatives (Blunt among several) have either legitimated the birther claims, or at least expressed publicly Obama’s need to produce more evidence.

    So, while no one doubts that nuts occupy ground on both sides, your side wins this particular battle by more than a nose.

    Now to the substance of your claim. Out of time constraints, I will address only briefly the claims you made first about Ronald Reagan, my obvious hero when I was a conservative, and then Clinton:

    1. Nice try to blame Congressional Democrats for all of the bad stuff that happened during the Reagan years, like increasingly large deficits and debt, while the last 20 years of typical conservative analysis has given Reagan all of the credit for the substantial economic growth of the 1980s. Let me get this straight: Reagan’s policies were responsible for all of the good, and Democrats were responsible for all of those nasty deficits, right? You either believe that or you believe, as you hinted, that presidents are essentially irrelevant to the process altogether, isn’t that correct?

    But let’s consider the following:

    2. Assuming arguendo your position, I ask: Who signed those crazy, out-of-control spending bills during the Reagan years? Did Tip O’Neil sneak into the White House and forge Reagan’s name? Nope. Reagan signed his name to the documents, so you can’t relieve him of the responsibility even under your own analysis. He could have said “no way, ” and forced the issue. So, why didn’t he? Let’s continue.

    3. Now, we will look at a few facts, as opposed to your speculation.

    Here is a something written in 1982 by David Boaz from Cato, a think tank on your side:

    Liberal Democrats who scoffed at deficits for decades, blandly reassuring us that “we owe it to ourselves,” have suddenly discovered the virtues of a balanced budget. Every night they appear on the network news to denounce the Reagan deficits. However much we may speculate on the political motivation behind their newfound concerns, there is at least the possibility that they have gotten older and wiser. Unfortunately, we can’t say that for the conservatives who have suddenly lost their concern over deficit spending. Some of the most respected conservative economists in America, who happily went to work for the most conservative president in many years, have found themselves repudiating their lifelong positions. William Niskanen, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, told a December 1981 conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute that “in general, concern about the deficit has been misplaced….There is no direct or indirect connection between deficits and inflation.” The Council’s chairman, Murray Weidenbaum, said that the real concern was not the size of the deficit but its gradual reduction.

    […] With all the heated arguments about Reaganomics in the last year and a half, the following may seem a startling assertion, but it is true: There is no Reaganomics. There is a new style of rhetoric in Washington, a lot of talk about tax cuts, getting the government off our backs, reducing the size of government. But it is all talk. Taxes and spending are going to be higher every year. The rhetoric is different. The policies are the same.

    As just one example to dispel the myth you perpetuate that a Democratic Congress, during the Reagan years, approved much more in spending than Reagan proposed (an enduring lie about the Reagan years), here are the numbers from 1982:

    Reagan “proposed” a budget of $695.3 billion.

    Congress approved a budget of $696 billion.

    Wow! What a difference. (The actual amount of money eventually spent that year was more than both sides proposed or approved because of factors partly out of their control.)

    As for the entire Reagan years, here are the numbers:

    Total of Reagan Budget Proposals from 1982 through 1989: $7.314 trillion.

    Total of Congressionally Approved Budgets, same period: $7.361 trillion.

    Not exactly a vast difference there, Nonny Moose. Again, actual spending was more than either side proposed or approved.

    So, briefly, there is some evidence as to why you can’t relieve Ronald Reagan of his responsibility for the enormous deficits under his administration.

    4. On Clinton: You want to give Republicans credit for Clinton’s success in reducing the deficit and ending his term with surpluses, which Bush then spent on tax cuts, wars, and Medicare Part D. Okay, let’s have a look:

    In 1993, Clinton signed into law his own plan to deal with the economy, his Deficit Reduction Plan (officially, Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993). The economic plan included approximately $250 billion in tax increases (on the top 1.2%) and $250 billion in spending cuts. It would be unkind to point out, but I will do so anyway, that every bleeping Republican voted against his plan.

    Okay, so then what happened? You are right, Nonny Man, Republicans took control of the Congress in 1995 (largely because of health care and NAFTA issues, in my opinion, as well as the fact that Republican redistricting efforts were quite successful) and naturally Republicans repealed those tax increases, right? Wrongo, Moose. They didn’t. Why not? Because they were working to put us on track to reduce the deficit. You know, it was part of the “Deficit Reduction Plan” Clinton had proposed in 1993.

    It wasn’t until Bush took office in 2001 that Republicans, in complete control of the government, felt comfortable in cutting taxes for the rich, thus repealing Clinton’s tax increases and using up the surplus and setting us on the course we are on today.

    5. Finally, again assuming arguendo that everything you say about the Republicans vis a vis Clinton is true, it still remains that Clinton signed his name to all of the policies that transpired, thereby giving himself either partial blame or partial credit for the results.

    You simply cannot make our presidents irrelevant to the budgetary process, no matter what party is in power, and it is true that both the legislative and executive branches are responsible for what happens to our country.

    6. As for Obama’s “spike” in spending, you are, of course, correct. The alternative to what Obama did when he took over was to let the country go completely to hell. But being a responsible American citizen, who loves his country, he was much too patriotic to do that. Cleaning up Republican messes is a costly affair, but hopefully Obama, apparently without any Republican help, will eventually be able to address the long-term debt problems we have.

    Duane

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  3. ansonburlingame

     /  April 5, 2010

    duane and Nonny,

    Good exchange with both making good points. I would only point out that the ordinate (vertical scale) in Duane’s last graph has gone or will very shortly gone “way the hell over” the 75% limit. Add Obama in for his two years and see what it looks like then.

    But more important and even agreeing to some degree that Obama has to “clean up” the fiscal mess left behind I must ask the following.

    Duane says Obama “…will eventually be able to address the long-term debt problems we have.”

    I then aske, “how long oh Lord, how long”?

    How about this as a campaign 2012 slogan for candidate Obama, “I AM COMMITTED TO ACHIEVING A BALANCED BUDGET AS A PRESSING NATIONAL CONCERN AND WILL DO SO IN THE NEXT…. YEARS.”

    Anson

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    • Duane Graham

       /  April 5, 2010

      Anson,

      2012 is a long time down the road. But the deficit commission will report after this year’s election, and Obama will be forced to do something. Whether Republicans will act, is a different matter. In the mean time, the Recovery Act money is still being spent this year, and hopefully the economy will start creating more jobs. Then, maybe, the Teapartiers can relax. Right now, they have too much time on their hands.

      Duane

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  April 6, 2010

    Duane,

    First, why I ask does an appointed commission have to make the tough choices. Why not the politicians elected to do so. The same could be said of the sometimes maligned 9/11 commission.

    But that is not my point here.

    I went back to Nov 2009 to one of Jessica’s blogs identifying a racist encounter/remarks she heard as a waitress. I responded as follows”

    We can all pick and choose comments made by others to make our points. Here are a few I have “picked”

    “Them Jews aren’t going to let him talk to me.”

    “Folks, I have been taught to hate since I was in the cradle.”

    “Hillary Clinton is not as qualified as Obama because of her race.”

    “The government created the AIDS virus to kill blacks.”

    All of course are from Rev. Wright. Now pick between Jessica’s customer and the above and tell us which is worse.

    THEN LAST NIGHT, on the much disliked (herein) O’Reilly Factor I saw an add from 2003 broadcast by MoveOn.org. It depicted (all in red and black colors) a sequence of Hitler and his regime. The last view was a picture of Bush (again in red and black) with words comparing his foreign policy to that of Hitler.

    I knew for a long time I saw (repeatedly) such crap during the Bush years. Neither you and I were writing at the time so neither “jumped” on such propoganda, in this case from the “left”.

    I “know” that crap from the left is out there just as I know the similar crap from the right is today as well. You now bludgeon your readers with the “right” (politically) crap all the time now, with particular anger or angst at the Tea Party movement.

    Anyone that chooses to, in my view, waste their time could come up with all sorts of stuff said publicly by many of the left. I just don’t try to keep score of such.

    They are all “kooks” with neither side having a corner on the market. You of course think not and continue to bludgeon us with your views. Fine.

    But in the end, what’s the point I ask other than making very one-sided arguments that do little to improve at least the “political condition” of our country.

    Might I suggest that you increasing sound and write like one in the Tea Party movement other than with a polar opposite opinion on the fate of the nation.

    Anson

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  5. Jane Reaction

     /  April 6, 2010

    Anson, Jane never understands a damned thing you talk about. Today is no different.

    Rev. Wright has absolutely NOTHING to do with the HUGE pile of DEBT that George Bush and the Havemores loaded us up with. The two are Not Connected in any way Anson.

    YOU brought up racism by the way. It would seem you are exposing your true colors.

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    • Jane,

      Thank you for a moment of Zen. Although I occasional dress like the Lone Ranger, it’s nice to know I don’t have to feel like him.

      By the way, Glenn Beck thinks he’s Gandhi. Maybe he’ll march his corporate-subsidized patriots down to the Gulf of Mexico. What better way to teach the Raj a lesson than making your own tax-free salt. In lieu of wearing traditional Hindu garb, Glenn will probably opt for the plaid Bermuda shorts and white barber shirt look — you know, the outfit George Washington would wear.

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    • A Nonny Moose

       /  April 6, 2010

      Jane, Nonny Moose never understands why you think referring to yourself in the third person is somehow cute, but never mind that. To quote from the end of Duane’s post:

      *******************

      The truth is that at the core of the Tea Party movement is a group of disgruntled and fearful white conservatives and Republican sympathizers, whose fears are not as much about the deficit, debt, or the size of government as much as they are about Barack Hussein Obama, the “exotic” black man, who some on the right think is the anti-Christ, who many on the right think is a Muslim, and who most on the right think is a socialist—if not a Communist bent on destroying America.

      *******************

      (emphasis mine, to help out Jane)

      Regardless of the silliness of the claim that statement is somehow “the truth”, does that not have a tone of accusations of racism to you? Can you not see where Anson might get the idea that there is a racial overtone to Duane’s post? Or are you simply being intentionally obtuse?

      Like

  6. Duane Graham

     /  April 7, 2010

    I think it would be helpful, for those who disagree with my statements about the Teapartiers, for me to stipulate to a few facts:

    1. There are nuts on the left every bit as condemnable as those on the right, a point I usually consider too axiomatic to have to state.

    2. Not everyone who worries about the deficits and debt are racists or nuts, another point I usually consider too axiomatic to have to state.

    3. I assume a certain threshold of intelligence on the part of my readers, so that (1) and (2) above are not normally necessary.

    4. There are racists in the Tea Party movement, although not all teapartiers are racists. See (2) above.

    5. The core motivation, in my view, for many [caution: don’t read “all” here] in the Tea Party movement is white cultural angst, brought on by the election of a black man with a strange name whose mostly centrist policies have been deliberately transformed into socialist schemes designed to reinvent America. This is not the same as “racism,” although it is related to race. But, see (4) above again.

    6. I am prone to overestimate my ability to communicate.

    Duane

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    • A Nonny Moose

       /  April 7, 2010

      Fair enough, Duane, and thank you for the clarification. And thank you (if that was you) for fixing my idiotic error in forgetting to put the lovely little slash in front of the “b” to close my boldface HTML.

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      • Duane Graham

         /  April 8, 2010

        I couldn’t tell you how many times I did the same thing with the HTML tags on the old platform the Globe used. It was a nightmare, especially posting photographs. Glad we’re not using it anymore.

        Duane

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  7. ansonburlingame

     /  April 7, 2010

    Duane and others,

    Ah, now Duane the peacemaker, which I admire and support. Well said. For sure all of us are at fault for point six.

    I will say that “white cultural angst” may well have a little to do with the Tea Party movement, for some, but not me. I believe that the Tea Party movement is fundamentally a call for limited government which is me in spades (if I may use that word)

    I would also suggest that the manner in which the Tea Party expresses those sentiments is similar to the methods employed to some degree by the Sons of Liberty long ago. We all know who many of the Founding Fathers were and thought. But who I asked backed them up in the streets and towns of America. Tories by the way hated those “mobs”.

    for Jane, I must admit that you are closing in on my very private and personal list of those to be ignored. If you THINK or believe that I am a racist I wonder what a real racist, complete with hood, noose and signs with the N.. word must look like or write accordingly.

    I would further add that if you are confused about my views you may well be too dumb to matter much. Now add arrogant to your list of Anson shortcomings. Directed towards you it is intended for sure.

    Anson

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    • Reelyanoob

       /  December 23, 2010

      For a grass-roots organisation, tea-party candidates certainly seems tightly linked to FOX News, which is owned by the very modest, and not at all megalomaniacal Rupert Murdoch.

      Like

      • Not to mention this little factoid about Fox “News” and its parent corporation (from Wikipedia):

        Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, through his Kingdom Holding Company, owns 7% of News Corp.’s shares, making Kingdom Holdings the second largest shareholder. Bin Talal is the main contributor to the efforts to construct the Park51 Islamic center near ground zero

        Allahu Akbar, Tea Party Patriots!

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