StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

Tea Party Extremism

02 Jun 2010
Posted by Bruce Bartlett
One of the problems with analyzing the so-called tea party movement (TPM) is separating the views of its hard-core members, who go to demonstrations and are the voice of the movement, from those that may sympathize in a general sort of way and may identify themselves as TPM supporters to public opinion pollsters. Lumping the two groups together in polls does two things: it tends to overstate the political influence of the TPM and understate the extremism of its most fanatic members.
A new University of Washington poll sheds light on these observations by separating TPM agnostics, who may somewhat approve or disapprove of the TPM, from those that strongly approve of it. Released on Tuesday, it sampled 1,695 Washington State voters—a large sample—and asked them to define themselves as strong TPM supporters (19% of the sample), those that somewhat approve or disapprove of it (26% of the sample), and those that strongly disapprove (27% of the sample; not included below).
What I think this poll shows is that taxes and spending are not by any means the only issues that define TPM members; they are largely united in being unsympathetic to African Americans, militant in their hostility toward illegal immigrants, and very conservative socially. At a minimum, these data throw cold water on the view that the TPM is essentially libertarian. Based on these data, I would say that TPM members have much more in common with social conservatives that welcome government intervention as long as it’s in support of their agenda.
Poll of Washington State Voters, May 2010 (percent)
Hard Core Tea Party Supporters
Tea Party Agnostics
All Voters
While equal opportunity for blacks and minorities to succeed is important, it’s not really the government’s job to guarantee it (agree).
Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve (disagree).
If blacks would only try harder, they would be as well off as whites (agree).
Immigration is changing the culture in the US for the worse (agree).
The immigration law in Arizona which requires police to question people they suspect are illegal immigrants for proof of legal status (approve).
Welcoming immigrants to US society, even immigrants who entered illegally makes America better off in the long run (agree).
Barack Obama’s policy of engaging with Muslim countries (disapprove).
We should not single out Muslims or Middle Easterners for airport security stops (disagree).
Gay and lesbian couples should have the same legal right to marry as straight couples (agree).
Compared to the size of their group, lesbians and gays have too much political power (agree).
Michael Tomasky comments here. Some tea party clown responds here.

"these data throw cold water

"these data throw cold water on the view that the TPM is essentially libertarian"

indeed, but only if we're talking about the libertarianism that is in the books.
In the real world, real libertarianism is what's coming out of the R&R Paul duet
and it's not a pretty sight when looking at the kind of groups that have come out
of the woodwork to unite under the banner of these two.


My point is not that tea partiers consider themselves to be libertarians, but that libertarians are mistaken in thinking that tea partiers are also libertarians. I think this poll proves conclusively that they are not. 

Real Libertarians

I am not sure I agree with Hell's Kitchen. There are plenty of "book libertarians" in the blogosphere: Julian Sanchez, Radley Balko, the Unqualified Offerings crowd all come to mind immediately. Read 'em. They're pretty good. I don't always agree with them, but then again, nobody should always agree with anybody else.

On the other hand, a lot of stone reactionaries call themselves "libertarian" in an attempt to get some social respectability. The Paul crew might fit that description, although I think that the elder Paul is about half libertarian and half nutter. The younger Paul strikes me as all glibertarian, all the time.

Sure Ebenezer, but I was

Sure Ebenezer, but I was talking about the real world, i.e., the space-time
region that we directly experience with our own senses.

Tea Partiers and Right Libertarians

The extent to which fringe theories (e.g. the 14th amendment was never ratified) from the early 90s have become fairly mainstream withing these two groups is a little hard to understand, unless subscriptions to Chronicles have sky-rocketed. They haven't. I suspect it is more through christian peer groups (churches, whatever is the current Promisekeepers, Amway, etc.) that these "ideas" have spread.

Believe me, I have been trying to show some of my libertarian friends some light on civil rights, but they're not having it. Property rights, mostly defined as business rights, are more important than respecting citizenship, or for that matter anything to do with public life. For whatever reason, they are obsessed with narrow "principles" that are fairly repugnant when viewed in the light of actual history, instead of thought experiments concerning "what ifs" about market forces and discrimination.

Rand Paul's statement on Maddow was a classic failure of imagination, at best. It wasn't a set-up, but rather a softball. Private discrimination isn't just merely wrong as a private choice. It has huge public consequences, particularly as it affects people's livelihoods, and interestingly enough, real interstate commerce. When citizens cannot travel or do business, that as interstate commerce as it gets. As practiced under Jim Crow it was ethnic cleansing, plain and simple. If ever there were a case where public trumped private, it was here. This should not be a hard statement for a real libertarian to make.

I used to be a Republican, but I don't see many there anymore who reflect my values. Maybe they never did.

I agree

Minnitman I am in the same position as you, and feel that the Republican party is leaving me. I am involved in local politics where I live including with the Republicans, and the Tea Party people have taken over and they are very conservative in every sense of the word. The Tea Party is the right wing of the Republican party. And most of them are conservative christians--if not all.

not an ideology, but a tribe

All fiscal conservatives, like Bruce Bartlett, had left the GOP by 2004, in the wake of the unaffordable tax policies, Medicare Part D, and two unfunded wars. All the small government conservatives had left the party by then, due to No Child Left Behind, AG Ashcroft's peculiar War on Porn, the government's asserted power to detain citizens indefinitely without trial, and the anti-federalist prosecutions of sick, marijuana-possessing California citizens who complied with state law. All foreign policy conservatives left the party by 2006, as it became clear that we had been misled into an incompetently prosecuted, catastrophic war.

There's nothing left in the GOP except tribalism and fury. There are no principles, only a few stray bromides (ie, taxes must be cut at all times regardless of context) that even Ronald Reagan himself didn't govern by.

Lord knows not everyone should just go be a Democrat-- no party can, or should, include all ideologies. So if you really don't like what the Democrats are doing, by all means go vote Republican. But identifying as a Republican is an open admission that you don't care about policy as much as you do about your irrational emotions.

The Tea Party people, who as you point out have their natural, longtime home in the GOP, didn't protest any of the policies I mentioned above; they are simply tribalists who are very sad that their side lost the last election.

Ethnic Cleansing, Libertarians and Tea Partiers

Quote: was ethnic cleansing...

Go ahead and use the real word: genocide. If you don't mean it, then don't bother.

"Ethnic cleansing" is how our gutless, politically-correct media avoid the ugly truth. After all, it's the phrase used by a Balkan homicidal maniac, so it's just dandy.

Why the Libertarians should believe that the tea party folks are Libertarians is rather mystifying; their agenda is nothing like that of the Libertarians. Self-delusion or not paying attention -- you choose.


My impression is that TPM members don't tend to refer to themselves as libertarians. Rather, it is libertarians who tend to view TPM members as kindred spirits. My view is that  TPM members are essentially right-wing populists with little in common with true libertarians except superficially. Basically, both groups hate paying taxes. Beyond that I didn't see much in common.

Libertarians and TPM

I do have some died-in-the-wool libertarian aquaintances, and their views of TPM - and ofe Republican Party, for that matter - always seems to be related to the extent to which either group is accomodating of Ron Paul and inversely prortional to the prominence of Sarah Palin within either organization, on any given day.

They badmouth Republicans and Tea Partiers with utmost scorn, especially RINO's, yet run as Republicans and attend TPM rallies. It's all kind of a mess, is the best you can really say about it all.

Libertarians and Kindred Spirits

Libertarians are constantly identifying kindred spirits using the loosest possible common ground. It's easier than accepting that there is no constituency for the non-reality based ideology they cling to.


I agree that while there is some overlap in ideology they are separate groups.

Here in St. Louis I've become acquainted with several Libertarian groups and have several good friends who are active in these groups. They attend TPM events to promote their groups and office-seekers.

The Libertarians do consider themselves separate from the TPM. I would use the term "fellow travellers" but that may be too strong for the relationship even though there certainly is some crossover in politics and a little in people. Both TPM members and Libertarians share some goals in common such as lower taxes and less government regulation but beyond that I really don't see a common ground. I certainly see a more stark divide coming if the TPM starts actively pushing specific positions requiring bigger or more intrusive government.

When I've attended TPM events I've been struck by how odd the statements of individuals I conversed with were. I actually had one guy tell me that corporations were the future of all socio-economic organization and eventually government would/should go away to be replaced by corporations. I tried to point out that a good number of corporations are just as disfunctional and corrupt as any government, but he would have none of it and gave me some angry reply that I can't quite recall. He said all this in rather wild-eyed and menacing tones to the point where I was thinking that any attempt at debate would end in a fist fight. I've gotten similarly bizarre statements from other TPM event attendees, but without the menace and anger.

From my own experiences and my reading, I've come to the conclusion most solid TPM members are just a bunch of dangerous, ignorant nuts who are easily led if you just spout the right kind of nonsense. Libertarians on the other hand seem to me to be generally hardheaded but polite in debate, hold some extreme opinions, but are usually not cranks or delusional.

Your eyes are wide shut, you

Your eyes are wide shut, you are the liberal media using all of the props that the Left is promoting:

"Hostility towards "ILLEGAL" Immigrants"

"unsympathetic to African-Americans"

Just stop it


Please make sense next time.

Neither group likes paying

Neither group likes paying taxes, but also neither seems to send back their Social Security or Medicare disbursements. A very principled bunch (or rather, two bunches) indeed.

Tea Party Extremism

The poll would be a lot more useful and informative if it also broke things down by income level, gender, and particularly age groups.

Ron Paul meetups

Based on the above, it would seem that the more radical voices that I encountered during Ron Paul meetups have joined the Tea Party, whereas the more sensible ones make up the TP agnostics.

Bruce is correct. I think

Bruce is correct. I think Libertarians were reading more into the Tea Parties than was actually there. The Tea Party is basically angry, socially conservative Republicans.

This list of Libertarian stances would make most Tea Party Members head spin:

- Removal of government sanction of marriage of any type.

- Legalization of recreational drugs.

- Abortion unregulated by the government

- Ending foreign intervention and foreign aid.

There is nothing Libertarian about the Tea Party. They just "want their country back". Whatever that means.

My limited interactions with

My limited interactions with Colorado "Don't Tread on Me" adherents have left me no doubt that the "libertarian" label is a non-starter. Most of these people are not newly-minted politically aware citizens called to action by government expansion. The vast majority are the same activist-minded people that have been whooping it up for years over gays, guns and gov't. Though the social issues are no longer the primary cohesive element, they certainly aren't far from the surface.

Most Tea Partiers seem to have their hands full being po'd at the "Lamestream Media", predicting the date when Obama initiates Sharia Law and praying for the bloody demise of all liberals. They don't seem to want to actually make the hard decisions or to reconcile the issues they are protesting or even provide a sniff of a solution to the nation's woes for that matter.

The few close people in my life that have gone full Tea (my union member father included), by their own admission, all seem to find the movement more of a convenient emotional support group for their sudden onset of white knuckle outrage. For all the costumes and flags and bullhorns, the movement really just boils down to a big group-hug for a buncha of scared people and less about actual governance.

Finally, to Bruce's point, I would wager that the vast majority of these people were cheering on the Republican led congress during the Terri Schiavo incident.

Tea Party Libertarianism

"Libertarian" is an awfully big word -- it has 11 letters! From what we've seen of these people at their mob rallies, they not only have no idea what libertarianism is -- it's not in the Glenn Beck lexicon -- they could not spell it.

Fact Check

Glenn Beck *is* a Libertarian and has mentioned this many times on his show.

He has also had Libertarian guests including, but not limited to, Penn Gillette and John Stossel on his show to discuss the tenants of the party.

You would be surprised at the scope of suggested readings that come from Glenn Beck weekly and that many of those books go straight to the top of Amazon rankings immediately thereafter.

I agree that some of the self-proclaimed leaders of the tea party movement don't see all that bright but that is mainly because they are opportunists who are trying to cash in on the movement while it is popular.

Logically, as long as you have an extreme far left, you are going to have an extreme far right. Eventually, the two will fade back into the woodwork as the center balances.

Glenn Beck

I don't care what he calls himself. Beck is not even as libertarian as Rand Paul, who denies that label.

Also, my respect for Penn Jillette just went down a notch. Really, Penn? Glenn Beck?

Logic: You're Doing It Wrong

"Logically, as long as you have an extreme far left, you are going to have an extreme far right."

Um, no. This does not logically follow in any way whatsoever. Also, what, exactly, is "extreme far left"? Care to give an example? And maybe compare frequency/volume of public statements/acts? Visibility? IMO, as far as the "right" is concerned, so long as there *ever* was an "extreme far left" they are justified in moving as far to the right as the world will allow. Doesn't matter that the "extreme far left" hasn't been around for 50 years, just the fact that they *once* existed is enough.

Reply to Rudy's incredible insight about the Tea Party Movement

Rudy seems to be a mindless...well I'll keep it civil here. But the problem I always see from the left is that YOU PEOPLE are only concerned with ridiculing anyone that is not like you or doesn't think (I use the term very loosely) like you. My case in point is his attempt to say the Tea Party Movement rallies are akin to mob rallies, without really defining exactly what that means. My guess is here that Trudy wants to get a response and pose a false idea about Tea "Baggers" to his liberal sympathizers in an effort to make himself seem like he actually knows what he's talking about. He doesn't.

The issue that people should be talking about (And I mean liberals, conservatives, independents, or whatever you want to call yourselves) is what happens when you allow a government the unprecedented power that it has over the populace, far outstretching the original mandates put in place by a rather unwary and untrusting bunch in order to secure freedom for us all in the future? What happens when you no longer have the rule of law in place, as we know it CONSTITUTIONAL LAW? I've had so many conversations about this i'm not even going to ramble on about this. There's no point anyway, things being so polarized as they are between left & right I'm betting on odds that this post even makes it onto the page past the "moderators" (pronounced: censors).

But, just consider, from whatever viewpoint you come from, Rudy, Bruce, and everyone reading this...consider that right now, in 2010, we still have technically a constitutional republic, that is governed by rule of law, and with supporting documentation in place to provide safeguards from tyranny and abuse of power from the top. We still have this in place because good men fight to keep this in place. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and by vigilance is meant an eternal, watchful, careful eye on those who will undoubtedly continue to chip away at the foundations until the walls fall and the real mob, totalitarianism, comes climbing through the rubble to do us all in. I know if you're sympathetic to the left side of the aisle, it's all but understood that big O is "your guy", and if you're gonna stand by him, then so be it. It's your right to do so. As much as I despise the man, I will tell you that I feel not much different toward the last 3 presidents before him. I feel these men have only been doing what they are instructed to do. The real meat of this subject, the real answers, lie beyond the borders of party. The real answers of who, what, where, when and why...these lie safely behind the scenes, my dears.

So, if you want to ridicule those who are fighting to protect YOU, and me, and everyone else, from total tyrannical control, go ahead. It doesn't hurt that much, only so because we cry to see that you just dont get it yet. You will have to have your freedoms completely stripped away and laid barren in the desert of Marxism before you wake up, then it will be too late.

Re-distribution is wrong, and enslaving. Teaching and enabling people to handle their own affairs with high morals and refined abilites is refreshing and essential.

No amount of entitlements will ever teach a man how to fish, guys.

Don't be a part of the real mob, help us all keep them in check, for as surely as we will have victories between now and 2012, there will be new pressures after that election, and continued vigilance will still be necessary, forever. Get it? Forever, regardless of who's in power. Yes, that goes for republicans, too.


OMG!! You are adorable.

I could just eat you all up. You sound just like my preschool kids when they make Lego guns and play make-believe. Do you also make the "pew! pew! pew!" sound like they do? So cute.

I would like to see Bruce's

I would like to see Bruce's responses to those questions.

You are completely missing

You are completely missing the point of the tea Party phenomenon if you are relying on some damn top-down poll.

What is being protested is EVERYTHING that is top-down centralized elitist we-know-what-you-want-because-we-can-poll-you-so-sit-down-and-stfu-and-we-will-run-the-world-the-way-it-should-be-run.

That includes polls; pollsters; political consultants who mass market politics like cornflakes; media consultants/pundits who babble on endlessly about polls/horseraces/etc and pretend they are insightful; media outlets that rely on that mass advertising/electioneering $ and thus poodle for the establishment; thinktankers/technocrats and the other beltway boobs and careerists who have proven themselves completely incompetent and yet who continue to suck at the public teat and can't be fired; the big money contributors who fund all of that stuff and get their kleptocratic quid-pro-quo from the banana republic called DC; and the pols and their minions who keep the whole game going/legal.

You might actually understand what you're talking about if you get out of DC and actually talk to people who don't spend their whole freaking lives doing gummint crap.

And if you do -- you might find it advisable not to treat people like they are some lab rat who can only say "agree" or "disagree" to some crappy poll.

Yes, this is the core mantra

Yes, this is the core mantra echoed ad nauseum by the movement types. Never takes long for the word "elitist" to slip past their lips. To be accepted by this group a person must eschew the suit and tie, go clear some brush, wear a cowboy hat or something bright orange out in the woods to prove their authenticity. Once they are safe from being considered "elitist" then they can go about "top-downin" all they want a la Frank Luntz, W and Sarah Palin.

Government grew and spending exploded under W. Homeland Security, Medicare, wiretaps, unfunded wars and on and on. Additionally, they irresponsibly cut taxes without cutting expenditures. Where was the Tea Party Outrage(tm)when they had the chance to hold accountable the people responsible for this mess?

The Tea Partiers CRAVE respect, but nothing they do or say gives a sane person reason to extend much more than contempt. If the movement arose within the first year of W's second term, TPM credibility would be far greater. If they had asked for Karl Rove's head on a platter or would tell Sarah Palin she is a vapid nuisance, more people would take note and treat them as a serious political force. But none of that has happened. It doesn't take much of a prognosticator to predict that the moment the same ol' - same ol' Republicans regain majorities in congress and/or some old white guy Republican wins the White House this whole TPM thing will evaporate right on cue.

Wake up patriots! Your being pwned!

Tea-Party BS

Bruce hits the ball out of the park on this one. The attention given to the Tea Party over the last year, treating it as if it's a new movement, has been ridiculous.

These are the same people who backed Goldwater in '64, who backed Nixon in '68 and '72, and who have always been ready to assert that US government was controlled by secret Communists (including Dwight Eisenhower, in the first batch) ready to sell the country out to foreign and native ethnic interests, all evidence to the side.

They don't really have an economic ideology. They've never read Smith or Hume or any of the great economic writers. But they're sure that others, unlike them in skin color, and probably earning far less, are taking unfair advantage of the system. And they think that taxes and spending should be cut, but have no desire to cut Social Security or Medicare, and believe irrationally that other payouts available in the US offer much more money than they actually do.

These people generally do not merit being taken seriously. They don't know what they're talking about, and are proud of it. Let's expend fewer words about them.

truer words, not fewer.

For I rather liked your words on the topic.

I am very curious

How in the world do you come to the conclusion that TPM members are "Militant towards Immigrants", and "Unsympathetic to African-Americans"? Which of the questions answered proved either? Did they all tell you this from their own mouths? Well you must be right, because you said so. And I guess I might as well label myself racist, and militant because your "data" says so. How disadvantaged were you growing up? What do you know of true sacrifice, and hard labor to feed your family? You conclude that because a person believes that we are responsible for ourselves, that we are hateful. You are so far from the truth.

"How in the world do you come

"How in the world do you come to the conclusion that TPM members are "Militant towards Immigrants", and "Unsympathetic to African-Americans"? Which of the questions answered proved either?"

Maybe because they overwhelmingly support a law that profiles anyone who might be an immigrant from Mexico or Latin America?

That's pretty militant to me.

The law doesn't cause

The law doesn't cause profiling of Latinos. If you bothered to read the thing, you'd know officers are forbidden to use race as their justification for reasonable suspicion. And even if the law did allow racial profiling, supporting it could only be viewed as military action by the paranoid. They're supporting the police, not trying to drive all the illegals back across the border themselves.

This is how.

Until we all walk around with signs on our back that say "Illegal Immigrant" or "terrorist" or "game show host" (sorry, Bob) we have to have laws that address hard truths.

Let me ask you...what part of "ILLEGAL" do you not understand? Is it merely a question of unethical upbringing, or have you honed the talent for spouting "Someone-else-take-responsibility-for-my-actions" ideals? If its illegal, its illegal. And without signs, how do the police go about finding out who's who?

Well, I dont want to see people rounded up and bright-light tortured at every turn, either, so there has to be some way to do it that doesnt violate peoples rights. We can go on about all the other ways we are as a people offended by the governments actions, but frankly im tired of it. Just suffice that I will say the words "driverse license" and "passport" and "property title" and you can imagine that we just had a 34 hour conversation about each topic until we all get sick.

I feel that all the talk about this is only a distraction, and people siezing the opportunity to sound important and further their own agendas, whatever they may be. I'm even tiring of hearing about it on my favorite conservative talk shows, why arent they talking about the banks, or other issues?

Why so much talk about immigration law? Because, my dear, this is an issue that is easily devisive and very emotionally charged. There is no real substance to it, its a simple law that says that something is illegal, having already been defined as illegal, and that if youre caught doing this illegal thing you will pay the price. That's all of it. Come on. The use of the words "profiling" and "militant", well they are just completely overused, and the more I hear people say these things, the more I just want to tune them out.

Come to think of it, I believe I'll do exactly that, right now. So, go ahead and boycott Arizona, if it makes you feel any better having knee-JERK reactions like that. Stop drinking Arizona Tea (which is made somewhere else) and stop using words that start with "Ariz", whatever you want to do. And if YOU, the person reading this, are an illegal immigrant, from Mexico, Honduras, or wherever else...please, do us all a favor and move to California.

Apparently, they want you there, and that state is all but lost already. Have fun.

Republicans just re-branded themselves

During the run-up to the 2008 election it was said that "if Republicans were dog food they would be taken off the shelf." The Republican Party, as a brand, was no longer profitable, so instead of modernizing they just re-branded as the Tea Party Movement.

Notice the first item - The GOP Brand

A. The GOP Brand

Members instinctively understand that the Republican brand is in the trash can. I've often observed that if we were a dog food, they would take us off the shelf. But just how bad is it?

1. Polling

The most recent CBS/New York Times poll (April 25-29) laid it out. The Democratic Party has a 52% Favorable, 41% unfavorable rating. The Republican Party has a 33% Favorable and 58% unfavorable rating. Translating the data into Congressional elections, voters were asked which party they intend to vote for in November's House elections. The results:

Now% October 06%

Democratic 50 52
Republican 32 34

Moreover, among Independents, the GOP favorable is 25% and unfavorable is 60%. Indies rate the Democratic Party at 45% favorable and 43% unfavorable.

The "Good News", if you can call it that, is that Independents choose Democratic Congressional candidates by a margin of only 38-27%.

If vote for U.S. House:

Republican Democrat Independent Total

Republican 78 1 27 32
Democrat 8 91 38 50

The latest Washington Post/ABC poll (May 12, 2008) asks, "which party do you trust to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years?" Democrats are chosen by a 53-32% margin.

Democrats are winning by default. They have not made the sale to swing voters but independents know they do not want us!"

The dog food is still tainted.

Were you absent the day they taught journalism at journalism sch

To the writer of this piece,
I must ask, how can you get a feel for what the TPP is about based on a poll at a university located in one of the more liberal leaning states in the Nation? To characterize the Tea Party movement as militant, racist or radical requires you to give credence to lies that have been proven to be lies told by you and other members of the media. You need to go back and get some factual information before you write your trash.


is an idiot.

Thank you for your creative,

Thank you for your creative, intelligent and well thought out response. Any other lifted pearls of wisdom you would care to share?

Tea Party Patriots

Go back to the Tea Party Patriots forums Macon. Try reading some of the posts. You'll see that the TPP is made up of very few libertarians, and many more conservative nuts, which is what the author said.


I should add that you, yourself, have made mention on those forums of creating Concentration camps for illegal aliens to use as slave labor, their only crime being crossing a line into your country. This idea seems strangely familiar, minus the genocide. Granted, I bet if TP members were allowed to do this, their next step would probably be genocide based on the posts that go on there... what was that last one? "Fences won't work but bullets do." Or something along those lines, without anyone actually calling him out for suggesting the possibility of murder? Sad.

As a Washington Native and

As a Washington Native and Seattle expat out here in Colorado, I can tell you that it is only the Puget Sound region that is liberal. The rest of the state is ripe for Tea Party. Even down in Tacoma and Olympia where I came of age the populace is receptive to that message. My dad is outside Puyalup and you'd be hard pressed to find a hippie anywhere near his property. Most of his friends who, like himself, were union due paying working stiffs for years have globbed on to the Tea Party Express with verve. Spokane, where I met my wife, is just minutes from the Idaho border. Eastern Washington as a whole shares more with Idaho ideologically than with the Puget Sound. Even Bellevue/Redmond where I lived for a decade sports a funky moderate conservatism.

Don't be a fool. The PNW has more than enough space and people to draw a reasonable poll on this subject.

Give Me a Break

Why is it that every time someone in this country disagrees with the government, or Obama in particular, that it's an issue of race?

I could really care less what color anyone is whether they're American or not, illegal or not. What I do care about is things like border security and taking care of our own citizens first before we go and start blowing money on people who will never ever contribute anything to this country.

I guess if keeping the border secure makes me a racist, so be it. If I don't fell guilty over slavery because I never owned one and have no idea what race has to do with your ability to succeed in this country, I guess that makes me a racist too.

Grow up. We all struggle at one time in our lives or another. Everything Obama has ever had handed to him on a silver platter, and that's pretty much everything, I've had to work for, and frankly I am sick of hearing how great he is when he's never had a real job, never served in the military, and never had to struggle for anything in his life.

I joined the tea party movement because I don't believe in "no taxation without representation," and since I don't buy silly ideologies like black liberation theology and communism, I am not being represented in Washington.

I am a veteran. If Obama thinks he's man enough to tell me what to do, he can try. My guess is, he'll do like he usually does: cut and run or bow down.

A perfect example

I'm not going to unpack the entirety of the above comment because it's just not worth the time. Suffice it to say, intelligent people who are well informed laugh at the poor reasoning and false bravado. Then we weep at the fact people like this are an organized group that vote.

There are many reasonable ideas about how to run our country from across the political spectrum. However, you cannot have a reasonable discussion with someone that is ignorant and angry.

And Then There Were None.....

Of the foregoing comments those by mlloyd make the most sense, albeit he libels tribes, and those by minnitman are the most ridiculous.

The Tea Party types are the same types that came to tent revivals in the 19th Century or attended Mussolini's rallies in the 20th Century. They have no education in anything having to do with political or economic theory, they react at the most base level, and they are generally just plain stupid. In short, they are the Platonic form of the term "masses".

This increasing idiocy on the Right does not, however, excuse the equally ignorant and sloganistic "thinking" on the Left. Poor Rachael Maddow, who has every reason to be sophisticated and is undoubtedly well educated, is evolving before our eyes into a yellow journalist whose main technique is McCarthyism and bumpersticker thinking. It is a horror.

Talk about a civilization swirling down the commode.

Tea Parties

To the extent we learn more about them--and they learn about themselves--I think that's all to the good. I suspect there are a lot of good Americans who sympathize with the Tea Parties for the best of reasons. But I suspect that their enthusiasm for this movement will decline to the extent that those who lead it are exposed as quasi-racists, homophobes and  have an agenda that goes far beyond cutting taxes and spending.


I am against massive government spending. I always have been. But that's not important - even if someone was not critical of spending before, they have a right to be critical now.

I am against illegal immigration. For a liberal political culture obsessed with egalitarianism and "fairness," I certainly don't see any concern for how fair we are being to those who go through the motions to come here legally and gain citizenship. Indeed, the funniest argument I have heard so far is that we should allow unchecked immigration because "America was founded by immigrants."
Yes, it was - and just look what happened to the natives. I admit that I am worried about demographic shifts in America...but to call it racist is absurd. Skin color does not change America, politics and voting trends do. I'd be just as alarmed if we were suddenly letting in an influx of white, liberal voters.
The fact of the matter is that liberal policies toward immigration beget immigrants who are liberally oriented. That's basic economics.

What worries me is this introduction of race-baiting politics.
When helped campaign against John Kerry, who I perceived as finger-in-the-air indecisive and lacking a stance on anything other than his own political well-being (a designation which Charlie Crist recently won handily), I wasn't accused of racism. When I decried the inflammatory and ignorant statements of Alan Grayson, I was not accused of racism. Likewise, when I rebuked the disgraceful actions of Joe Wilson, I was not accused of anything.

But when I state our president's foreign policy is dangerously naive, eyebrows are raised. I can go on all day about how we are insulting the Brits, alienating the Israeli's and leaving the Czech's out in the cold while pursuing relations with Iran (which has rejected 8 separate Obama-issued deadlines so far to cease enrichment); It won't make a difference. I detest what I perceive to be America bowing (and not only symbolically) to some of the largest human-rights violators in the world, giving legitimacy to UN "human rights" organizations with such paragons of dignity as the compassionate and humanitarian Libya. Some argue that, under Obama, America's status in the world has increased. If allowing Iran, (which whips and hangs women who run away from the husbands they are assigned to in their teens) to ascend to the U.N. council on women's rights is good deed, then the utopia the progressives are pursuing is more horror than farce.

But one has no need to weigh criticism if the critic can be dismissed as fringe, or racist.

If approve of a state law that is, in essence, mandating the enforcement of what is already a federal law (and has been for decades), I become a racist.

The funny thing is, I don't care about your skin or religion. I care about how you vote.

When blacks voted in droves for Obama, showing the highest turn-out numbers ever recorded, as well as the highest % block voting, why were they not accused of racism? advocated voting for Obama because he was black.
Joe Biden advocated a race-based vote, telling voters that it would be a "transformational event" to vote for a black man.

There seems to be this perception that, because you are using racial preferences to benefit who you consider to be an underdog, that it is OK. But underneath the warm and righteous exterior lies a smug and patronizing racism as real and scary as the racist boogieman of the right.
Racism (and racial-ism) are absolute-value equations. Reverse-racism does not exist. It's a term used to alleviate guilt and justify race-motivated practices by people who might otherwise feel like hypocrites.

Many Democrats and Liberals owe a great deal to the current racial narrative in American politics - without it, it would be much more difficult to hide a record of impractical and unsustainable policies.

The immigration position of libertarians, conservatives and TPPs in America today is about culture, not race. Why is this disctinction important? To borrow the phrase used regarding the massive immigration and non-integration of Islamic culture into Europe:

"It's not about race; it's about culture. If 100 percent of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy, it doesn't matter whether 70 percent of them are "white" or only 5 percent are. But if one part of your population believes in liberal pluralist democracy and the other doesn't, then it becomes a matter of great importance whether the part that does is 90 percent of the population or only 60 percent, or 50, or 45 percent."

We are not facing quite the same problem as Europe, as the majority of our (illegal) immigrant population still believes in the basic political system we have (We don't have majority-Hispanic neighborhoods seeking to impose Sharia law). These aren't bad people (and neither, by the way, are the Islamic immigrants in Europe). "Good" and "Evil" don't enter into this - it's merely about which culture you prefer. In Europe's case, there will soon be a dramatic demographic and cultural shift that will reshape their democracy. Their current birthrates all but assure that it will occur within the next generation. Ours will be less pronounced, but the voting trends of our fastest-growing populations should never be above scrutiny for fear of political anathema.

So don't call me racist or small-minded and don't dismiss me as uneducated or "fringe."

Our President was elected with a majority-white population. He's lost a significant amount of backing since then, and not because people suddenly became racist.

Part of standing for something is the ability to defend it. It would behoove you to respond to the concerns and criticism of libertarians, rather than casting aspersions on individuals and an entire group, in the hope that you can avoid a discussion on policy.

- M. Deering

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