Reform2 For Republicans

Thanks to a reader’s kind e-mail, I had a chuckle last week with this headline and subtitle:

Obamacare, the Day After
With repeal unlikely, reforms of the reform may be the Right’s best bet.

Link here.

Speaking of politics, if Tony wants to send me some evidence that Keith Olbermann was really behind that million-teabag mailing to Washington last year, I’ll put the whole thing behind us. Meanwhile, this protester doesn’t seem to be bothered by the association. Not this dude either.

Frankly, I would have thought the liberals had the market cornered on tea. I don’t drink a whole lot of it, but I do consume more of it than coffee.

If the tea party movement is serious about distancing themselves from the association, I think they need a reform2 effort on their signature image. Maybe there’s something to be picked up from the Stamp Act protests. However, given conservative luck these days, somebody will probably make a crude joke about … well, you know.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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6 Responses to Reform2 For Republicans

  1. R.C. says:

    I don’t get it. I guess I don’t “know.”

    I mean, I do know about the crass jokes which someone (Anderson Cooper?) started, referring to the Tea Party folks as “teabaggers.”

    Is there also some slang related to the word “stamp,” of which I am unaware?

    While plenty of the folks who’re in the Tea Party movement are irritated by the use of “teabagger” by their critics, my experience is that the association with the Boston Tea Party is enthusiastically embraced.

    Did “Tony” say otherwise, in some earlier thread I can’t find?

    The irritation at “teabagger” is, I suppose, because it’s such a disappointingly bratty rejoinder from the critics.

    A surprisingly broad swath of American citizenry, most of them novices to political involvement, begins agitating for fiscal responsibility, producing extraordinarily large crowds given the dryness of the topic…and in reply, their critics, instead of engaging in thoughtful debate, snigger like Beavis ‘n’ Butthead as they mumble schoolboy crudities…which then must be explained to sign-toting grannies in the Tea Party convention crowds, who apparently mostly don’t watch Sex and the City.

    So I get their irritation at the critics. (It’s a bit like me laying out, with effort to be thorough and charitable, all the historical and Scriptural reasons I became Catholic, and having my mother-in-law reply, “Well, if being a mackerel-snapper is really what’ll make you happy, have fun with it; fish is good for you.”)

    But on a couple of occasions, I’ve seen posts here which, without stating anything very clearly, suggested a belief that Tea Partiers don’t like being called Tea Partiers, quite apart from the sexual joke, and are trying to avoid tea party / teacup / tea bag associations.

    And I don’t see that at all. But perhaps I misunderstood?

  2. Michael says:

    Um, you’ll find that the Tea Partiers embraced “teabagger” before they googled the phrase. Tony went into high dudgeon because he didn’t know what he was talking about and chose to accuse Todd of something untoward.

  3. R.C. says:


    Well, good for them, I suppose, for not knowing what it meant.

  4. R.C. says:


    Sure, that’s another take, but not a very realistic take in that it doesn’t encompass much of the relevant data.

    I mean, one could call the losing party in any election “sore losers” — unless they respond to losing by actually joining the party that won! Any post-election resistance to the agenda of the victorious party could be cast that way. But how fair would that be?

    But with the Tea Party groups, there’s ample reason to question whether they can be identified with the losing party in the last election (the Republicans).

    The latest polling stats are that the independents nearly equal the Republicans in the Tea Party movement; there are about 8% registered Democrats; and 30% of Democrats have a favorable view of them.

    That’s Gallup talking. I’m not just pulling these numbers out of the air.

    I also notice that the linked piece describes the Tea Parties as “very white”: Okay fine, they’re predominantly white, but less so than the competing “Coffee Parties” which came and went, so isn’t that rather the pot calling the kettle…okay, wait, that colloquialism doesn’t work, does it? Maybe I should say, isn’t that rather the saucer calling the sugarbowl white? …or something.

    Anyhow, Alfonzo Rachel and Herman Cain are every bit as representative of the Tea Parties as Sarah Palin and Dana Loesch. After all, they’ve all been featured speakers.

    And it’s a fact that after Speaker Pelosi on one occasion and Andre Carson and John Lewis (who, given his history, should really have had better character than to try it) on another did their best to provoke racial epithets or discreditable behavior from Tea Partiers by going out of their way to conspicuously walk through Tea Party crowds in mid-protest, they got nothing. (Carson tried to claim someone used the N-word on him “fifteen times,” but this was promptly debunked by a total absence of corroboration on existing video clips of the incidents. I guess manufactured hate crimes just don’t have the propaganda value they used to.)

    This is unsurprising, because despite the occasional “birther” whack-job, the Tea Party groups are incredibly benign and constitute nearly the gold standard in creditable political dissent.

    Sure, tomorrow they may make the error of putting Michael Savage behind the mic, after which I’ll be less impressed. But up until now, a comment from a friend in law enforcement characterizes the movement: “They get in there, they hold up the signs, they cheer for some speakers, they make a family outing of it, and then when they leave, there’s less litter on the ground than when they arrived.”

    So I think the characterization of the Tea Partiers as a bunch of poor white trash “sore losers” ready to form militias and riot in the streets is way off mark. Some of them certainly voted for Obama; many don’t identify Republican; the vast majority aren’t violent or nasty in their political expression; they’re mostly novices getting politically involved for the first time; a majority of those involved are women, usually with children or grandchildren; they have all races among the speakers and the crowds are at least a little bit salt-n-pepper as well.

    Again, next week there could be a Heil Hitler march, for all I know. But up until now, I’d be far more comfortable taking my kids to a Tea Party Convention than, say, to any given DNC event. It’d be a great example to them: “This is a right in our country, kids. But with rights come responsibilities, which is why these people are doing this peacefully and lawfully.”

    And let’s face it: The U.S. is on the verge of losing its AAA credit rating. The currency is debased on account of bad monetary policy in the last three administrations. Iceland and Greece and Argentina a while back are apt comparisons to the current tottering state of U.S. public debt. We should be responding to this the way Lithuania is. But the current makeup of Congress and the White House is driving policy in exactly the opposite direction.

    Hence the Tea Party focus on fiscal irresponsibility. It isn’t as if the Bush/Republican Congress weren’t bad in this regard. They were. It’s just that the Obama/Democratic Congress is far, far worse, under more dire circumstances. Honestly, the deadlock between Clinton and a Republican Congress was the last time it was remotely good.

    Anyhow, I hope the Tea Partiers remain on track, remain civil, and can influence American politics sufficiently beneficially to avert the otherwise inevitable collapse of confidence.

    But it’s a fallen world and even well-behaved crowds can start acting like…well, like crowds. So, while the Tea Party behavior is 95% laudable thus far, I won’t lay any bets that it’ll stay that way forever. By next year, they may be as violent and ill-mannered and bigoted as…oh, I don’t know…as a normal leftist student protest at U. C. Berkeley.

    Time will tell.

    • Todd says:

      Good points, RC. I’m not inclined to drink the C&L koolaid that swiftly. But it’s a thought.

      The FBI would tell us there are at least five times as many soreheads today as there were in 2001, given the number of credible and dumb threats against the president.

      Unfortunately, I think American national politics is far more influenced by corporations than populist movements. That’s pretty much why I’m inclined to stay local. It’s the only place citizens can hope to make a difference.

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