Tea Party thoughts

Faith Middleton, NPR

I didn’t sleep well last night (probably because of the excitement of Obama visiting town) so I ended up listening to NPR. Pretty funny. First up was the Faith Middleton show. I’m sure Ms. Middleton is a fine woman but she was absolutely hysterical on the subject of the tea party, repeatedly referring to them as “ultra-conservative”  “ultra, ultra-conservative”, and pressing her guest on how on earth they could possibly stop them. She then took a call from another woman, someone disappointed in Obama, and immediately the two ladies were in firm agreement that the tea “party” formed only, and solely because a black man had been elected president. Racists! Racists! They’re all racists!!!  They were foaming at the mouth by the time the clock ran out.

Middleton’s show was followed by another one in which a Republican strategerest was interviewed, and that was even more amusing. The Republican establishment, this guy said, is completely baffled by the tea party – how to appeal to them? Who’s their leader? Where’s their leader? Will they vote for Mitt Romney and if not, who should the Republicans run for president in two years?

The biggest fear of Middleton, her caller and the Republican was that Sarah Palin was somehow going to end up as our next president. I’m not a particular fan of Palin but to witness brains exploding on the left and in the Republican party is just plain fun.


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25 responses to “Tea Party thoughts

  1. Pesky Truth

    At some point, the Tea Party and its supporters are going to have to move beyond the “just plain fun” of pissing off others and actually propose some serious governing proposals. You can’t run the country off Glen Beck’s chalkboard…

  2. Inagua

    Next time you have insomnia, consider turning to the web, where you would have learned about the bill to bring back the regular lightbulb. Not as amusing as listening to bewildered liberals, but good to know about.


  3. Cos Cobber

    Why do you listen to that malarky?

    TV and radio have little to offer for news. Stick with the net.

  4. Moe Bedik

    I’m with you. I love the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It is hysterical!

  5. Pesky Truth

    Chris, when I see a party whose leader is a know-nothing quitter who is essentially inarticulate and unintelligible without a teleprompter or notes scribbled on her palm…yes, there is the potential for “worse.”

    Fact: Sarah Palin’s entire political identity is the result of a single teleprompter-read speech that she had no part in writing (the convention speech). THAT’S scary.

    Until it proves otherwise (which it may do at some point — this is a political movement that’s only about a year old) the Tea Party is deeply unserious.

  6. Kidding??

    I’m not fan of Palin and I am a Republican. I see the GOP and Tea Party united soon.

    If Middleton wanted to fear something real – she’d fear Obama and his policies.

  7. Pingback: what if?

  8. Jimbo

    “Pesky, could we do worse than the past 10 years?”

    That’s exactly right. People want change. Not faux change (like the reversion to liberalism, on steroids, that Barry O represented.)

    Remember the old PacMan machine they used to have at tracks? When the munchy guy got trapped and was about to be crushed, you could hit the “hyperspace” button that saved him by instantly relocating him to a random place elsewhere on the board. That’s what people feel compelled to do now policitically: hit the hyperspace button.

  9. FlyAngler


    That decentralized aspect of the TP is what is vexing all of the professional pols. The Left is going nuts because they can’t use Alinsky’s rule of focusing public attention and demonizing to discredit a movement by discrediting the visible leader (though they try with Palin). The Right is going nuts because they can’t control what they see as a movement sypathetic to their views but disenfranchised at the same time. That the TP is taking down GOP fossils only vexes the leadership more.

    What will be interesting is whether we see the rise of a centrist movement that brings together what the Media calls “moderates” from both sides. While the Media spends much time talking about the sorry state of the Republican “brand” (correctly btw) the Democrat brand is almost in as bad shape.

    What if a group of powerful people got together to form a Centrist Party that is neither Coke nor Pepsi? Could it work? What would it stand for other than being the non-GOP and non-Dem? What if folks like Evan Bayh, Bloomberg, Rudy and other non-idealogues got together to form something to give the vast political middle another choice? Could they compete on the national stage? In time for 2012? And what would the reaction be from the professional Dems and GOP? How would those in or sympathetic to the Tea Party react?

    It would make for an interesting discussion. I would think the “centrists” would have to tac just a bit to the right of center on fiscal and personal responsibility matters. The justification for this would be the item linked below which is a great discussion of the trend of Americans feeling a bit more conservative over recent years. Also discussed is the dire condition of the Republican brand and the concept of “debranded Republicans”. I really like that term as it accurately describes many folks I know – fiscal and economic conservatives who are tiring of the GOP establishment and the by-the-book, capital C Conservatives ideological approach to everything, including social issues.


    The Tea Party Paradox:


  10. Peg

    I’m with Christopher – not Palin’s biggest fan. Still, Pesky has to be kidding. Didn’t this woman knock off another Republican in her state to become governor? Didn’t she battle other establishment figures to promote her philosophical beliefs about leaner, more responsible government there?

    And teleprompters?!? Don’t we have the Teleprompter in Chief in the White House right now?

    Feel free to be critical of Palin (I am). But if you think that she’s simply the creation of one speech – then you are deeply fooling yourself – and believing way too much of her detractors’ BS.

  11. Commuter

    Unrelated question (although I share your sentiments on the NPRers and can’t stomach that we have to pay for their propaganda) but thought you may have an answer.

    Do you know why the lights in the parking lot at the OG train station have been dark for the last few months? Creating a pretty dangerous situation at night.

    Hope the situation isn’t driven by economics – especially since the town is wasting a couple hundred grand a year on it’s feel good purchase of “green” electricity- or the hypothetical nonsense about global warming, er..”climate change”, er..”global climate disruption”.

    Who is in charge of the lots – town / Metro North ?
    Anyone with a brain at either?

  12. Jimbo

    Hey FlyAngler: You asked “What if folks like Evan Bayh, Bloomberg, Rudy and other non-idealogues (?) got together to form something to give the vast political middle another choice? Could they compete on the national stage?”

    The answers are: They have, in the form of RINO, non-teaparty Republicans. And no, they can’t compete on the national stage; they’re getting crushed.

  13. FlyAngler

    Commuter – via Google:

    Send your complaint in writing to:

    Customer Service
    420 Lexington Ave 9th Fl
    New York NY 10017

    Concerns regarding the maintenance and cleaning of Metro-North Railroad property should be reported to our Customer Service Center at 212-672-1290, Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM – 5 PM. Please provide the address or location and a brief description of the problem as well as your name and daytime telephone number.

    There’s also a commuter council:



  14. FlyAngler


    You are looking at this from the wrong perspective – yours and many others that float through Chris’ site. The issue is not RINOs. Forget the word Republican for a moment.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was on to the Tea Parties back when they were just loud voices at townhall gatherings (before Santelli’s rant). Back then I saw that as a canary in the politcal coal mine. I attended the Greenwich Tea Party gathering with Chris. My wife and I took our kids to DC for Glenn Beck’s rally. Believe me, I hear you.

    However, the TP has 50% negative ratings nationally. Strip out the 25% of Dems who are progressives and there is 25% who does not agree with TP. Of the 45% that do “sympathize” with TP, how strident is that affinity? Would a more “moderate” stance pull some of that cohort?

    I am wondering out loud if there are tens of millions of voters who would be drawn to that moderate centrist discussion?

    I ask because I am worried that there would be. That the politicians who would be drawn to that are a bit too centrist for my tastes. I am even more worried that those who are really left of center (not extreme) could pose as being more centrist than they are.

    Look at Obama – he was a cipher upon whom people superimposed what they wanted to see. Moderates saw a pragmatic moderate and are now shocked by what has come to pass. I worry that an ideal-less centrist party might snooker less thoughtful folks seeking some alternative to the political Coke or Pepsi.

  15. atticus

    The infuriating thing about Middleton is that she essentially is on welfare, the taxpayers are paying to broadcast her nonsense.

    Let some leftist pay to put Middleton on the air, not the people she’s defrauding. Kooks like Middleton should have a voice, but not paid by the public.

    Isn’t “Air America” a great success?

  16. Georgie in Greenwich

    Can we just get past the “labels” (Republicans, TeaParty, Blue dog Dems) and do what every American in this country is working on which is to restore its fiscal house—-live within your means before bankruptcy and insolvency is the result.

    Chris Christie….just moving ahead and getting it done. Check it out CF—he may give CT residents a nice place to seek tax relief if our leaders don’t get their act together..


  17. Boomer

    Great comments everyone. I am a libertarian (but I don’t smoke dope) and I try to get back to what the tea party stood for FIRST. Namely- fiscal responsibility in government and the tax rates of US citizens.
    There were not 79 different planks in the platform from everything on where Obama was born to healthcare to gays in the military and abstinence training.

    So it was a pretty big tent since it only had one plank. And it scared the bejeezus out of everyone in organized politics. Why? because it cut to the heart of the matter: money. Money makes the world go round. Money and taxes are the rallying point of the left AND the right.
    We can talk about pro life or pro choice, President Obama’s birthplace, whether healthcare is a right or not and keep on going down the list. The truth is that once you get the spending under control and a balanced budget (or controls to prevent you from being stupid with money) lots of other policies fall out as a natural result (Healthcare, military spending, aid to foreign countries, social programs, etc).

    Since the tea party is so decentralized and has no titular head its detractors can define it any way they want to. Throw Glen Beck in there? Fine. Sarah Palin is a nut? No disagreement from me; I think she’s a kook, too. Some don’t like Obamacare. Others don’t like education reform. Those are red herrings.

    None of the those are the tea party itself or its planks. All of those are attributes of different constituencies whom have also identified themselves as tea partiers.

    But it was, is, and should be (in my mind) about the money and the fact that public servants are not responsive to the citizenry. (I added that last bit at the end but it ties in with the control of the purse strings).

    So I think I’ll join the tea party, support the candidates I like and help them even though I am a registered indepentent. And that is why Democrats and Republicans alike are scared.

  18. Factcheck

    Commuter –

    OG parking lot is owned by the town of Greenwich. Contacting Metro North, as recommended by FlyAngler, would only have led to more frustration.

    Someone in town is responsible for the pitch black parking lot.

  19. FlyAngler

    Factcheck – When lights were out at the southeast stairs of Cos Cob Station, a call to that MN phone number resulted in new bulbs. I can not tell you whose truck got out there but it was addressed in 48 hours.

    Boomer: I really recommend the Noonan article today, even if you are not a fan. Her discussion of the TP is articulate and insightful and focuses on the role of money and control by the professional politicians. For example, she says:
    “Each party pulls in the direction it wants, and the dominant party moves the government a few inches in their direction.

    But if you look at the past half century or so you have to think: How come even when Republicans are in charge, even when they’re dominant, government has always gotten larger and more expensive? It’s always grown! It’s as if something inexorable in our political reality—with those who think in liberal terms dominating the establishment, the media, the academy—has always tilted the starting point in negotiations away from 18 inches, and always toward liberalism, toward the 36-inch point.

    Democrats on the Hill or in the White House try to pull it up to 30, Republicans try to pull it back to 25. A deal is struck at 28. Washington Republicans call it victory: “Hey, it coulda been 29!” But regular conservative-minded or Republican voters see yet another loss. They could live with 18. They’d like eight. Instead it’s 28.

    For conservatives on the ground, it has often felt as if Democrats (and moderate Republicans) were always saying, “We should spend a trillion dollars,” and the Republican Party would respond, “No, too costly. How about $700 billion?” Conservatives on the ground are thinking, “How about nothing? How about we don’t spend more money but finally start cutting.”

    What they want is representatives who’ll begin the negotiations at 18 inches and tug the final bill toward five inches. And they believe tea party candidates will do that.

    The second thing is the clock. Here is a great virtue of the tea party: They know what time it is. It’s getting late. If we don’t get the size and cost of government in line now, we won’t be able to. We’re teetering on the brink of some vast, dark new world—states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too. The issue isn’t “big spending” anymore. It’s ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.

    So there’s a sense that dramatic action is needed, and a sense of profound urgency. Add drama to urgency and you get the victory of a tea party-backed candidate.”

    Consider the end of the Wizard of Oz when the little old man, due to Toto’s intervention, can no longer operate his scary Avatar. That is what is currently happening to the political ruling class. They feel their control slipping away and they are acting like children by throwing tantrums, or dottering old fools by mumbling about the “good ole days”.

    Politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. The ruling class has created an environment where large swaths of the electorate are disenfranchised and believe there is a lack of principled and pragmatic leadership. The Tea Party candidates, both good and not so good, are being sucked in by the vacuum.

  20. Old School Grump

    Currently, approximately 2/3rds of the federal budget goes to “non-discretionary spending,” a fancy pants way of saying Social Security and Medicare, aka entitlements. You can get out the chainsaws and go to work on the remaining third, the “discretionary spending,” and take out everything from the Department of Education to the Department of Silly Walks, but that’s just pocket change. At $800 billion, the Defense Budget is the biggest item in the discretionary column, but good luck there, they’ve got chainsaws of their own. (There’s a reason why Defense Dept. contractors have jobs-providing operations in EVERY congressional district in the country.)

    Of course, neither the Ds nor the Rs will own up to this arithmetic. Alas, the Tea Partiers seem equally unlikely to do so. In fact, I’ve heard enough of them speak of MY Social Security and MY Medicare to conclude they don’t remotely understand that it is these very obligations that threaten to swamp our boat.

    I’m disgusted with both Rs and Ds. I’d like to hear a TP plan. I mean a PLAN, not speech. Still waiting.

  21. Boomer

    I liked the article. I don’t agree with everything in it but it has valid points, specifically: “In part it is a rising up of those who truly believe America is imperiled and truly mean to save her.” I still go back to what the genesis of the tea party was- and Peggy Noonan affirms that: it’s all money. Now whether an establishment has value because of knowing “how to get things done” I see the merits of it. But neither side REALLY cared about the financial health of the country until the tea party came on the scene.