Angry Dependents: How a Liberal Describes the Tea Party

By | June 13, 2010

Many on the left have struggled with the identity of the Tea Party.  A New York Times columnist gives it a shot and gets some things right while missing the mark on some key points.

J.M. Biernstein penned an op-ed at the Times that starts by dissecting his view of the Tea Party platform.  The piece then descends into a rambling metaphysical attempt to weave the philosophies of Descartes and Hegel into a hypothesis on what the Tea Party wants.

Mr. Biernstein starts by making a weak pairing of absolute arguments to demonstrate contradictions within the Tea Party:

When it comes to the Tea Party’s concrete policy proposals, things get fuzzier and more contradictory: keep the government out of health care, but leave Medicare alone; balance the budget, but don’t raise taxes; let individuals take care of themselves, but leave Social Security alone; and, of course, the paradoxical demand not to support Wall Street, to let the hard-working producers of wealth get on with it without regulation and government stimulus, but also to make sure the banks can lend to small businesses and responsible homeowners in a stable but growing economy.

What this set of thoughts represents is an inability to understand degrees or levels of tolerance.  Tea Partier’s aren’t pushing for anarchy.  They aren’t concerned about the status quo – they are concerned about the growth of the size and scope of the government.  So let’s take each absolute pairing and analyze it:

  1. Keep the government out of health care, but leave Medicare alone
    • Tea Party Perspective: The government should not extend itself into more of our health care, nor remove freedom of choice, it should NOT make ALL of us MORE dependent on Uncle Sam
    • The difference between health care reform and Medicare – Medicare is a choice (currently).
  2. Balance the budget, but don’t raise taxes
    • Tea Party Perspective: The highly-progressive and overly-complex U.S. tax system is unfair.  Fix it instead of just continuing to over-burden working and productive Americans
    • Raising taxes takes the heat off of our leadership to control spending.  Get spending under control first, then figure out what your need to ask Americans to pay for
    • Congress pays for things that are not necessarily for the good of the nation (earmarks).  Preventing more money from flowing in, might make them more frugal.
  3. Let individuals take care of themselves, but leave Social Security alone
    • This is a dichotomy where one doesn’t exist.  Letting individuals take care of themselves is so broad it could mean anything.
    • Leaving Social Security alone is not a sign I’ve seen at a rally.  I believe responsible reforms of Social Security are necessary.
  4. Not to support Wall Street, but make sure banks can lend to small business and homeowners
    • These are two separate issues glued together to create a conflicting statement out of thin air.
      1. Not support Wall Street: No stimulus, let them fail – that’s correct.  Americans call that a “free-market”
      2. Make sure banks can lend to .. : Uh, that’s for the bank to do – Americans don’t want the government’s hands in that at all – in fact, Fanny and Freddie should have already failed

See, degrees, not this vs. that.  Reasoned objection to the government’s power-grab.

The author continues to take a stab at why the Tea Party is so “angry”.

My hypothesis is that what all the events precipitating the Tea Party movement share is that they demonstrated, emphatically and unconditionally, the depths of the absolute dependence of us all on government action, and in so doing they undermined the deeply held fiction of individual autonomy and self-sufficiency that are intrinsic parts of Americans’ collective self-understanding.

Surprise, another absolute.  So now we are absolutely dependent on the federal government?  No sir, to a degree we are dependent upon the government.  I do need the government for some things, but not for everything.  It is the current push to make all of us “absolute” dependents upon Uncle Sam that the Tea Party is opposed.  The largest difference between Mr. Biernstein’s view and a conservative’s view of what’s happening is that while he believes that we suddenly woke-up and realized we were slaves to the government, conservatives would say that the latest intentions to increase the power of the government are the straws that broke the camels back.

Next Biernstein describes Tea Party patriots as jilted lovers.

This is the rage and anger I hear in the Tea Party movement; it is the sound of jilted lovers furious that the other — the anonymous blob called simply “government” — has suddenly let them down, suddenly made clear that they are dependent and limited beings, suddenly revealed them as vulnerable.  And just as in love, the one-sided reminder of dependence is experienced as an injury.  All the rhetoric of self-sufficiency, all the grand talk of wanting to be left alone is just the hollow insistence of the bereft lover that she can and will survive without her beloved.

To be a jilted lover, we have to have once been in-love.  Conservatives love their country, that is not the same as loving the elitist morons on Capitol Hill and within the White House.  We love what those institutions stand for, but not necessarily the elitist jerks that fill them.  I do not feel injured.  I feel like re-defining the boundaries and modifying the population within those institutions – remember in November.

As if to put a progressive exclamation point on his article, the author make the now oft claim that Tea Partiers are on the verge of an armed revolt.

In truth, there is nothing that the Tea Party movement wants; terrifyingly, it wants nothing.  Lilla calls the Tea Party “Jacobins”; I would urge that they are nihilists.  To date, the Tea Party has committed only the minor, almost atmospheric violences of propagating falsehoods, calumny and the disruption of the occasions for political speech — the last already to great and distorting effect.  But if their nihilistic rage is deprived of interrupting political meetings as an outlet, where might it now go? With such rage driving the Tea Party, might we anticipate this atmospheric violence becoming actual violence, becoming what Hegel called, referring to the original Jacobins’ fantasy of total freedom, “a fury of destruction”?

Well, close.  There is nothing MORE that conservatives want.  We want less, much less of everything the government is trying to take over from us.  And to answer where our “nihilistic rage” is going since there aren’t any more town halls to interrupt… November sir, November.

The one thing that J.M. Biernstein got absolutely right in his article is when he exclaimed, “There is indeed something not just disturbing, but  frightening, in the anger of the Tea Party.”.  If you support a bigger government, continued reduction of individual freedoms, the D.C. power-grab and you have an elected seat in Government.. I understand why you hold that concern.

Follow Rich Mitchell on Twitter

Conservative Daily News allows a great deal of latitude in the topics contributors choose and their approaches to the content. We believe that citizens have a voice - one that should be heard above the mass media. Readers will likely not agree with every contributor or every post, but find reasons to think about the topic and respond with comments. We value differing opinions as well as those that agree. Opinions of contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of CDN, Anomalous Media or staff. Click here if you'd like to write for CDN.
Put This Story in your Circles and Share with your Friends

7 thoughts on “Angry Dependents: How a Liberal Describes the Tea Party

  1. Tyrone

    PRESIDENT CLINTON SURPLUS

    Former Democrat President Clinton left office with a 800 billion dollar surplus! Republican President G.W. Bush receive that surplus and turn it into a 13 trillion dollar debt! During the time Bush was in office destroying America. With his horrible decisions. NEVER did you hear from Hannity, Palin, Beck and Rush. Claims of run away spending against the Bush‘s administration! NEVER!!!! Republicans pass a prescription plan NOT PAID FOR! Started a war in Iraq for NOTHING ( 4,400 and counting military dead for NOTHING)….. NOT PAID FOR! Started another war in Afghanistan with no plan….NOT PAID FOR! There was over a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to date under Bush! Not accounted for in Iraq! Republican today continue to charge President Obama’s administration with spending out of control! To date President Obama’s administration spend 1.5 Trillion dollars in two and a half years! The different between Bush and Obama most of that money was to stop the financial downfall Bush and the Republicans create! (1.) Stimulus Package 750 billion (2.) Unemployment 10 billion (3.) Military 300 billion! All necessary to keep America running! Unlike the Bush administration President Obama is spending money on the American people! To date 500 billion has been paid back from the stimulus package. In the end the stimulus package will earn America 300 billion in profit! To date know one ever talks about the 350 billion dollar stimulus package Bush spent. Nor how did it help or where did it go! Yet President Obama (who is clearly for all Americans) is criticize and called names! For doing the right thing for America! The last time a Republican President had a balance budget was under former President Eisenhower ! The last time the government was shut down was under Republican controlled house! There is so much evident to show how irresponsible and unprofessional Republicans are! Republican model is to take from the poor and the middleclass and give to the rich and super rich! There other model is when you have nothing to say resort to hate and dividing the country!

  2. Tyrone

    WHERE ARE THE AMERICANS THAT VOTED FOR CHANGE
    Bush turn a surplus into a debt! Bush was a proven idiot elected two times! The healthcare plan President Obama past whether you like it in it’s final writing, it is a historical change! THAT WILL BENEFIT ALL AMERICANS!!!!! Something never done by a sitting President. President Obama receive the country with a higher debt then the former President receive losing nearly 750,000 jobs a month under President Bush and Republican rule! President Obama increase the stimulus package from 350 billion under Bush/Cheney to 850 billion which stop the recession and stabilize the country! Two wars started by Bush/Cheney ( Afghan. and Iraq) one the Iraq war for NOTHING causing the needless death of 4,400 plus Americans lives for NOTHING! There was no WOMD….Weapon of Mass Destruction ….NONE.. Yet Bush/Cheney continue the war allowing Americans to put their life on the line for NOTHING! Today Republicans want to be rewarded for their part in the needless murder of American soldiers! To think there are American that will vote Republicans back into office in direct disrespect of American troops that fought and died for their lives. In a war the Republican knew where WRONG! This notion that President Obama must create jobs that Republicans allowed to be sent oversea! President Obama has been in office nearly two years and is expected to turn the country around from 8 years of destroying the country under Republican and Bush/Cheney! President Obama is redirecting the country re-tooling the country and turning the country around! Republican have been the party on NO not allowing the change to take place. So if Americans where smart they would vote Republicans out of office and give President Obama the power he needs for CHANGE! White Americans are misguided and uninformed. They are fed lies and because of the lies they believe in the wrong thing to change America for the better! White Americans should no that 43 white President did NOTHING to correct white poverty! 61% of Americans receiving food stamps and welfare are WHITE! Newt Gingrich’is now attacking WHITE PEOPLE for receiving food stamps! Blaming them for the downfall of America after his party REPUBLICANS) are responsible for the horrible condition of TODAY! Republicans have a proven record of failure and given America jobs to oversea counties! Turning the country backward is the agenda of the Republican Party! Hate and divide is the agenda of the Republican Party! Promoting anger is the agenda of the Republican Party! Pledge to America is nothing but a waste of paper and Republicans are beting on white that HEAR IT! BELIEVE IT! and REPEAT IT! and don’t investigate past the idiot the fool the racist that informed them!

  3. Tyrone

    To think a war was started in Iraq and the Republican President and Republican Congress voted for it! Turns out their was NO ( WOMD) Weapon of Mass Destruction the lie that President G. W. Bush gave reason to attacking Iraq! As a result 4,400 plus American troops lost their lives for NOTHING! Today President Obama has begin to end that needless war only to be criticize for voting against the surge that Republican claim helped to secure the Iraq country. Which also turns out to be another LIE! The truth is the idiot Republican don’t understand! That had Republican had just one working brain they would understood that there was NO need to attack Iraq so there would had not been a need for a surge! Today President Obama because of his stimulus package he has STOP the recession and stabilize the country! And now started to rebuild the great American country by re-tooling and reconstructing finance and creating a plan for two wars! All the while being attack by Republican on his birth Certificate where he was born . President Obama been called a Socialist” a Muslim” a Racist” Weak” Stupid” Unattached” Unprofessional etc.. He NEVER attack Republican BUT on the issue and their uncaring behavior and the fact they have no plan to clean up the mess they create! The Republican plan is to criticize President Obama and vote NO ( Without Reason) and demonize anything and everything President Obama attempts to correct! Today white Tea Party member and white Republican are rewarding Republicans with their votes! After witnessing the Republican turn a surplus into debt and causing the needless deaths of American troops in IRAQ!

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Angry Dependents: How a Liberal Describes the Tea Party - - Conservative Daily News -- Topsy.com

  5. Tyrone

    ANGRY ANGRY ANGRY

    The Tea Party is being reported on everyday 24/7 about their anger! They are mad as HELL and they want their country back! My question and the question that should be asked by the white control media IS: Who took your country and where did it go! Or what are you mad about? But that is not happening from Anderson Cooper to John King to Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly and the idiot Glenn Beck. No all the public hears is NO NEW TAXES” ( 90% of Americans got a tax cut)! But you will never hear that from the people I mention! Like John King that interview Ben Quayle who made the stupid statement “that President Obama was the worst President in history! John King never asked Mr. Quayle to give ONE example JUST ONE! Any first day interviewer would have asked! President Bush sent American soldier to Iraq to fight and die for NOTHING!4,400 dead for NOTHING! President Obama never was that STUPID! Angry attacks against President Obama and the Democrats are allow by the white control media! Hate and divide is helped by the white control media! They perpetuate hatred by these so-call white angry grass route groups reporting on their so-call angry 24/7! The lack of white leadership is to blame and the people that voted for change are to blame! There should be more people speaking up for America and President Obama! The President that is cleaning up Republican mess the President that got healthcare past for 40 million Americans. A President that stop the financial downfall of the country with the stimulus package started by the Republican President and increase by President Obama!

    1. Rich Mitchell Post author

      Wow, did you even read the article? Nothing like proving the point the author (me) was making AND making yourself look ignorant all in one fell swoop.

      On top of that, TWO less-than-thoughtful responses. I wrote this in June .. not sure why it suddenly got your goat, but thanks for the Thursday night entertainment.

  6. Tyrone

    THE PRESIDENT RECOVERY PLAN!
    NOTE: If you believe the Republican Party and the white control media President Obama has done NOTHING in the two years he has been President! LIE LIE LIE!!! There plan is to lie to the public and demonize President Obama effort for recovery! Like the stimulus package that they voted for under Bush/Cheney and President Obama increase! Or immigration a plan was wrote up by Senator John Mc Cain and Senator Teddy Kennedy! Now Mc Cain is against a plan for immigration under President Obama!Republican hold up unemployment benefits for American citizen JUST BECAUSE! President Obama put together a plan for small businesses and Republican that said all along we need a plan for small businesses vote against President Obama’s plan!
    1. President Obama change healthcare better then any of the 43 pass Presidents!Got a bill past that seven decade of politician could not do! Healthcare benefits cover adult children under their parent policy until 26 years of age! Before you where cut off at 22years old!
    2. President Obama is closing the prison in Cuba prosecuting inmates that former President Bush claim where trying to kill Americans!
    3. President Obama is closing down the needless war in Iraq bringing American troops home!A war started for NOTHING causing over 4,400 Americans troops deaths for NOTHING!
    4. President Obama is investing billions into sending Americans to college thought taxes cut and funding
    5. President Obama has successfully negotiate with Russia reducing arms for a better America and a better world for the future.
    6. President Obama has started talk with other country on Global warming for a better America!
    7 President Obama sign a stimulus package that kept millions American from losing their job kept police and firefighter employed company in businesses and stabilize the country headed for a recession!
    8. President Obama gave $4,000 deduction if you purchase a new energy efficient new car !
    9. President Obama gave tax deduction to American citizen that purchase energy efficient applicants.
    10. President Obama sign a bill to start off shore drilling that will bring jobs to Americans! And reduce dependents on oversea oil! Because of BP oil spill President Obama secure 20 billion…when the cap was 75 million!
    11. President Obama approve 30,0000 more troops in Afghanistan and smartly put a time table on their return home. Even after the idiot Republican called him stupid for setting a deadline! SHOWING TRUE LEADERSHIP! He has a plan Bush &Cheney DID NOT!
    12. President Obama pass the best credit card reform bill in America history!
    13. President Obama put more regulation on the banking industry then any other President before him!
    14.President Obama put together a plan for small businesses and Republican that said all along we need a plan for small businesses vote against President Obama’s plan!
    15. Under President Obama fraud in healthcare has been expose and many people prosecute and the Buddy System under past Presidents crush!
    REMEMBER PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME INTO OFFICER AFTER 8 YEARS OF THE WORSE PRESIDENT IN AMERICA HISTORY. IN LESS THAN 22 MONTH THIS PRESIDENT HAS DONE MORE THEN ANY OTHER PRESIDENT GIVEN THE CONDITION THIS COUNTRY WAS IN!

Comments are closed.