Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tea Party folk love big government when it makes war, wiretaps, and waterboards

So, the Tea Party folk are reported to be "wealthier and more educated than the general public," as opposed to that 1993 designation of this ilk as "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command" (famously misquoted as "easily led"). In Tea party activists: Do they hate liberals more than they love liberty?, Jim Bovard reflects on this group, based on the Partiers' claims to being patriotic constitutionalists and the policies they have supported over recent years. Following are excerpts:

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A recent "tea party" rally showed lots of anger toward President Obama, but little consistent support for liberty in America. Many “tea party” activists staunchly oppose big government, except when it is warring, wiretapping, or waterboarding. A movement that started out denouncing government power apparently has no beef with some of the worst abuses of modern times. Unfortunately, there is scant evidence that most tea partyers have studied the copies of the Constitution they generously hand out to bystanders.

Ken Timmerman, the author of Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America and other hawkish books, declaimed that the US government must take every step to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Mr. Timmerman denounced the Obama administration for being soft on Tehran and urged support for legislation to impose harsh sanctions on Iran. Timmerman previously advocated a US naval blockade of Iran, which he claimed was planning a nuclear attack on the United States. [Easily led?]

Running through a litany of President Obama’s greatest failings, Timmerman denounced him for forcing US agents to “stop using enhanced interrogation methods. Has that made us safer?” “No!” the crowd hollered indignantly. ...

The rally featured a string of Republican candidates praising fiscal responsibility and denouncing the national debt. One would have thought that it had been 50 years, rather than 15 months, since the Republicans controlled the White House.

There was almost no dissent from any of the 300 attendees. One 50-something man in a faded green T-shirt walked around with a handmade sign declaring, “Stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – Bring Our Troops Home Now!” He told me that almost no one he’d talked to agreed with his message. Much more in tune with the crowd was the 20-something woman carrying a sign: “PROUD to be the Military Super Power.”

The fact that the cost of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq thus far roughly equals the projected cost of the first decade of Obama’s health-care program is irrelevant. Military spending is viewed as holy water by many activists who otherwise despise Washington. While tea party activists rage over Obama’s alleged lies, they ignore the Bush administration’s deceptive justification to attack Iraq. ...

There are many decent Americans who understandably feel that the government has become too powerful and oppressive. Yet, seeking enlightenment from most tea party speakers is like searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn’t there.

Read complete article here.

See Jim Bovard's blog here.

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