The state of the economy and unemployment are the fertilizer for the seeds of extremism that are increasingly being sewn…
After emerging like hibernating cicadas on the American political landscape during the health care debate, the Tea Party has quickly convinced us they are for real and they plan to stick around for a while. They’ve been able to quickly take control of a Republican Party in disarray and with the midterm elections just around the corner, the pundits have all but declared victory for the Party of No. So just who’s coming to the Tea Party and what’s on the menu?
The truth is, the movement is not new at all but is just the latest manifestation of an extremist right wing political life cycle that has emerged periodically throughout our history. All of the progressive aspects of American government and society that we take for granted from the American Revolution itself, abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, recognition of worker rights and labor unions, social security, civil rights, etc. were hard fought battles opposed by a vocal extremist right wing minority. In this incarnation, the Tea Baggers have campaigned on numerous populist-sounding slogans including, Cut Deficit Spending, Stop Big Government, Get Government Out of Health Care, Create More Jobs and on and on. But as Rachel Maddow, Politico and others have been pointing out, Tea Party candidates don’t exactly practice what they preach.
While campaigning against government spending, Tea Party candidates Michelle Bachman (U.S. Representative from MN) and Stephen Fincher (candidate for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee), have each received huge sums from the federal government in the form of farm subsidies ($250,000 and $3 million, respectively). Kristi Noem, a Republican and Tea Party candidate for the House in South Dakota is campaigning that government spending is a “direct threat to our liberty” while her congressional district received more than $4 billion over the past 15 years in farm subsidies and her family personally received more than $3 million in corn, soybean and wheat subsidies since 1995. Rand Paul, Tea Bag Republican candidate for Senate in Kentucky is an ophthalmologist and receives about 50% of his business from patients receiving “government run” Medicare.
The Tea Party Republicans are exploiting the issue of unemployment and claim we need to cut corporate taxes to stimulate more jobs. Yet they consistently side with greedy corporations that outsource jobs to increase profits rather than grow new jobs for U.S. workers. This year Republican candidates like Carly Fiorina (Senate, CA) and Randy Altschuler (House, NY 1st Distict) are just a few who have personally benefitted from outsourcing jobs. As a former Hewlett Packard executive Fiorina helped outsource 30,000 jobs. Altschuler co-founded Office Tiger which created over 4,000 office jobs in India for international clients and sold the company for $250 million.
To help fuel their movement they have revived the culture wars to appeal to anti-abortion, homophobic, racist sentiments that have been dormant just below the surface for decades. Many have taken the extreme position of opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest – Nevada’s Sharron Angle summed it up by coldly stating, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” In response to NY’s annual Gay Pride parade, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino proclaimed, ”I just think my children, and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn’t.” And the relentless and absurd accusations that President Obama is a foreigner, Muslim, Nazi and Marxist are thinly veiled racist attacks made all the more ironic by revelations that Tea Bag Republican congressional candidate Rich Iott dresses up in Nazi uniforms for fun.
From the many concessions on health care to his continuation of the morass in Afghanistan to his feet dragging on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, there are plenty of issues President Obama’s progressive base has to complain about. But whether we like it or not, none of that matters. One iota. The state of the economy and unemployment are the fertilizer for the seeds of extremism that are increasingly being sewn. Let’s face it – the fact that crackpots like Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Carl Paladino, Carly Fiorina, Joe Miller, etc. are even being taken seriously let alone stand a reasonable chance to be elected is scary shit.
So get out to vote and bring five friends.