March 15, 2010

Teabaggers want doddering white guy

The Tea Party Is All About Race

By Bob CescaFrom the outset, the tea party was based on a contradictory premise (the original tea party was a protest against a corporate tax cut). And when you throw out all of the nonsense and contradictions, there's nothing left except race. There's no other way to explain why these people were silent and compliant for so long, and only decided to collectively freak out when this "foreign" and "exotic" president came along and, right out of the chute, passed the largest middle class tax cut in American history--something they would otherwise support, for goodness sake, it was $288 billion in tax cuts!--we're left to deduce no other motive but the ugly one that lurks just beneath the pale flesh, the tri-corner hats and the dangly tea bag ornamentation.

Irrespective of whether the president passed a huge tax cut or went out of his way to bring Republicans into the health care process, the seeds of racial animosity from the far-right were sown during the campaign. In those lines waiting for then-vice presidential candidate and current tea party heroine Sarah Palin, their loud noises spread the pre-scripted lies, lies that entirely hinged on the president's African heritage. A white candidate would never be accused of being a secret Muslim. A white candidate would never be accused of being a foreign usurper. Only a black candidate with a foreign name would be accused of "palling around with domestic terrorists."

In the final analysis, when you boil away all of the weirdness, it becomes clear that the teabaggers are pissed because there isn't yet another doddering old white guy in the White House--like they're used to. That's what this is all about.
Comment:  The teabaggers have never presented a rational, fact-based case for their anger. You'll never hear them say anything like the following:

  • "Yes, Obama gave us massive tax cuts, but we still don't trust him."

  • "Yes, millions of people are suffering without health insurance, but we oppose government interference in the market."

  • "Yes, Bush is responsible for 80% (or whatever) of the national debt, but we blame Obama for not reducing it despite the worst recession since the Depression."

  • In other words, these people refuse to blame Bush or give Obama credit for anything. They refuse to acknowledge Bush's money-gobbling wars, tax cuts for the wealthy, and deregulation of the financial industry. They aren't presenting a rational critique at all.

    One conservative gets it

    Even conservative columnist David Brooks is willing to acknowledge that Obama isn't some Muslim socialist terrorist:

    Getting Obama RightConservatives are wrong to call him a big-government liberal. That’s just not a fair reading of his agenda.

    Take health care. He has pushed a program that expands coverage, creates exchanges and moderately tinkers with the status quo—too moderately to restrain costs. To call this an orthodox liberal plan is an absurdity. It more closely resembles the center-left deals cut by Tom Daschle and Bob Dole, or Ted Kennedy and Mitt Romney. Obama has pushed this program with a tenacity unmatched in modern political history; with more tenacity than Bill Clinton pushed his health care plan or George W. Bush pushed Social Security reform.

    Take education. Obama has taken on a Democratic constituency, the teachers’ unions, with a courage not seen since George W. Bush took on the anti-immigration forces in his own party. In a remarkable speech on March 1, he went straight at the guardians of the status quo by calling for the removal of failing teachers in failing schools. Obama has been the most determined education reformer in the modern presidency.

    Take foreign policy. To the consternation of many on the left, Obama has continued about 80 percent of the policies of the second Bush term. Obama conducted a long review of the Afghan policy and was genuinely moved by the evidence. He has emerged as a liberal hawk, pursuing victory in Iraq and adopting an Afghan surge that has already utterly transformed the momentum in that war. The Taliban is now in retreat and its leaders are being assassinated or captured at a steady rate.

    Take finance. Obama and Tim Geithner are vilified on the left as craven to Wall Street and on the right as clueless bureaucrats who know nothing about how markets function. But they have tried with halting success to find a center-left set of restraints to provide some stability to market operations.

    In a sensible country, people would see Obama as a president trying to define a modern brand of moderate progressivism. In a sensible country, Obama would be able to clearly define this project without fear of offending the people he needs to get legislation passed. But we don’t live in that country. We live in a country in which many people live in information cocoons in which they only talk to members of their own party and read blogs of their own sect. They come away with perceptions fundamentally at odds with reality, fundamentally misunderstanding the man in the Oval Office.
    As I've said before, I'm still waiting for the first teabagger to send me evidence of his criticism of Bush's big-spending, power-grabbing administration. Make it during Bush's first six years, when he was still popular, to prove the critic's sincerity. Until I see it, I'll conclude that the teabaggers' irrational rants are code-words for their racism.

    For more on the subject, see Buchanan Sums Up Teabaggers and The Evidence for Teabagger Racism.