The Tea Party’s (and the media’s) Inconvenient Truths
Pssst….don’t look now but the Administration’s policies are working
[VULGAR LANGUAGE & PROFANITY ADVISORY: Profanity and vulgar references have been allowed in comments to illustrate the tone of discourse that too often comes from Tea Party supporters. For more on comments to this post see ‘Tea Party Commentary: The Good, the Bad, and the HUH!?’
(Update: Stocks surge on US jobs data)
We all know the genesis of the current Tea Party Movement and how it came to be, or at least the version they would have you believe to be true.
According to the Tea Party crowd, after watching the Federal Government abuse the poor helpless taxpayer, true American Patriots decided enough is enough and organized a grassroots movement to stand up to a government that had run roughshod for far too long. Their mantra became ‘take our country’ back from a socialist administration and a Democrat-controlled congress that were leading this country to ruin.
Now of course, their version of the movement’s start ignores some very fundamental and troubling realities, such as:
- Out of control federal spending and growing budget deficits had been going on for eight years under a Republican congress and President (who was also white), and these Bush deficits will account for most of the projected deficits going forward. So where was the Tea Party then, when the real problem started?
- The administration to blame for the endless abuse of the long-suffering taxpayers, and that was running the country into the ground, had been in power a mere six weeks when the Tea Party rose up in self-righteous indignation. How the hell did Obama accomplish so much in such a short time?
- The spark that ignited the movement, Rick Santelli, was a paid shill for the same Wall St. fat cats that the Bush administration bailed-out in November 2008 with TARP. After being saved by government largess, these same fat cats used Santelli to deliver a scripted rant on CNBC railing against the government bailout of homeowners, which was followed by a campaign that created Tea Party chapters and websites overnight, much of it apparently coordinated and funded by major corporations, Fox News and interest groups like the Heritage Foundation and Freedom Works. So how does a movement created and led by the rich and powerful from Wall St., Dick Armey, Roger Ailes, and Rush Limbaugh get to be called grassroots?
- Supposedly a broad-based movement of average Americans taking a stand, the Tea Party turns out to represent only 18 percent of Americans, and they are overwhelmingly Republican, white, male, and older than 45. Sounds more like a movement of 1950’s America if you ask me.
Now these, and many other inconsistencies and contrary facts would normally be enough to raise all kinds of questions about the authenticity and validity of a so-called ‘grassroots’ political movement. However, the mainstream media was obviously faced with a conundrum when it came to reporting on the nascent Tea Party movement in early 2009, specifically…
Should they report the facts honestly, thereby quickly derailing and likely ending a disingenuous and dishonest movement that held the potential to damage the country in significant and meaningful ways,
Conveniently ignore these facts in pursuit of a more compelling narrative that would undoubtedly result in an endless stream of sound bites, viral videos, demonstrations, extreme rhetoric, outlandish images, and ratings grabbing stories?
Gee, when you look at it that way, I guess their choice was pretty easy.
But now, continuing to ignore reality and the truth about the movement is becoming difficult.
First there was the sad display in Nashville earlier this year, where the Tea Party Convention put the racist elements of the movement on prominent display for all to see.
Then there was the Healthcare Reform debate that revealed the Tea Party to be a puppet of big insurance interested only in protecting their profits, and that also showed their ugly side as they attacked a man with Parkinson’s disease that dared support reform, and shouted down a woman sharing a tragic story of loss resulting from lack of health insurance.
And on top of these ugly realities about the movement’s character, it is also getting harder and harder to ignore the mounting evidence that the administration policies that the movement so opposes because they will ruin our country are, in fact, doing the opposite. They are actually working and starting to pull the country out of the death spiral the Bush Administration plunged us into. As proof, look at these recent, and very under reported, events and news stories:
And updated June 1st is a report out that construction spending jumped 2.7 percent in April, the largest amount in nearly a decade, which likely means the hardest-hit sector of the economy is starting to recover as well!
So, what about these claims of irresponsible spending when the government bailed out the automakers? Well, it seems to have worked to some extent in terms of GM’s survival in the near term, not to mention the thousands of jobs that were saved, so it seems pretty responsible now.
Or how about the government takeover of the banks being the first step in a massive, dictatorial movement by Obama to commandeer the country and steer it towards socialism? Seems to me that the U.S. government is behaving very much like a free market investor and making a killing!
Oh yeah, then there was the GOP’s argument that passing healthcare would be the death of small business in America? It appears that those dire predictions were just a wee bit off the mark.
Now by no means does this mean that all is milk and honey (or if you prefer, tea and crumpets). Unemployment continues to drag down the economy and the lives of millions of Americans, and issues around BP’s disastrous oil spill and the government response to it are troubling indeed, so to say that the administration or congress are above criticism, or that they couldn’t be doing a much better job would be foolish.
But of course, the mainstream media in the form of the 24/7 talking heads and empty suits on cable, network TV, print media and radio continue to underplay or ignore that which is counter to their preferred storylines of populist outrage and voter anger. And the Tea Party Movement continues to try and trot out the same old objections despite overwhelming evidence that they are pretty much wrong about everything.
But then again, consider the ‘spark’ for the movement. When an intellectual light weight AND non-talent like Rick Santelli is your defacto spiritual leader, its no surprise that as a political or social movement, the Tea Party looks more like a gathering of petulant third-graders bent on holding their breaths till they turn blue to get their way, then a source of intelligent discourse to drive meaningful change. And of course, this also says a lot about the journalistic integrity of most of the mainstream media who prefer to give voice to the childish rantings of Teabaggers as they chase ratings and profits, rather than providing meaningful insights and serious reporting on the things that really make a difference and impact all of our lives.