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The biggest cup of tea in history

Your Humble Blogger has surprised himself by having something to say about the Tea Parties. I haven’t been writing about politics much lately, largely because after reading the political blogs that I read, I generally don’t feel I have anything to left to add. Oh, I disagree, now and then, but for some reason Left Blogovia hasn’t been provoking me to write my own shit lately. Probably a good thing, in general.

I do feel, though, that a lot of Left Blogovia has got hold of the wrong end of the Tea Party stick. It seems to me that the general feeling has been amused contempt, along with a certain glee that the Right (if that’s what they are) is no better at holding protest rallies than the Left (if that’s what they were), with perhaps a dash of resentment that the protests came off a lot better on TV than they ought to have.

Oh, right, and the dick jokes. I liked the dick jokes. Well, technically I suppose they were scrotum jokes, but I think they fall into the same category, right?

Anyway, much of Left Blogovia has portrayed these protests, scheduled for April Fifteenth, the day taxes are due, as tax protests, and then mocked the protesters for protesting tax hikes when most of them are presumably getting tax cuts this year. I mean, statistically, it seems likely. The other aspect that has been repeated endlessly is that Boston Tea Party was protesting Taxation without Representation, while these Tea Parties were protesting Taxation with Representation. Before I begin griping, let me acknowledge that from a political or persuasive point of view, that is a good response. It emphasizes two important points: (1) The Democratic Congress and President have cut taxes on almost all taxpayers, and (b) the Republicans are so unpopular (because of all their failures) that they lost the elections, and now the Democratic Congress and President are substantially more popular, because of their successes. So that’s fine. The portions of Left Blogovia that consider themselves to be rhetorical support for the Party, in much the same way as Talk Radio considers itself to be rhetorical support for the Other Party, are pushing that frame, and that’s a good thing.

Since this Tohu Bohu is a nice boutique blog, meaning that YHB has no wider political influence, I can go back and forth between pushing the frames I think are politically useful and actual rhetorical analysis. And it seems to me that if Left Blogovia really thinks that the Tea Partiers are, well, like their caricatures of them, then they don’t really get America and American politics.

Back, oh, a long time ago, when the trope in the public media was all about how the crazy fringe who opposed the invasion of Iraq were proved wrong by how easy and quick it had gone, YHB wrote a post about the various reasons various people opposed the war. And I put myself in the category that I thought was probably the largest, the Bush-haters. This was the group who felt that whatever else was going on, simply the fact that the invasion would be headed by that group of crooks and incompetents was enough to be against it. I felt at the time, and still feel, that it was a perfectly reasonable position.

So a lot of the anti-war rallies and protests wound up muddling their messages, largely (looking back) because a fair amount of the Bush-haters felt that it was perfectly reasonable to bring up the fact that the administration were a bunch of crooks and incompetents, along with various other historical grievances. And the people who didn’t share those grievances were, unsurprisingly, not persuaded by giant puppets of Uncle Sam blowing the House of Saud. Just as tying a bunch of teabags to a tricorne hat didn’t strike Left Blogovia as particularly persuasive.

I’m getting to a point, now. In case you were wondering.

Here it is: A temporary and moderate tax cut or tax raise is irrelevant to people who think that the Federal Government as grown far outside its proper bounds. In fact, by fulfilling his campaign promise to cut taxes on 95% of the people who pay taxes while increasing the scope of the Federal Government to deal with our economic problems, Our Only President has set up enormous pressure to raise taxes (or at least revenues) when the immediate economic crisis is over in a few years (touch wood). If you feel very strongly that America pays too much in taxes and that our Federal Government is far too active in our economic life, now would be an excellent time to protest. And if your examples of why the Federal Government intrudes too much in our economic life are restrictions on firearms and a lack of restrictions on abortion, showing that They Cannot Be Trusted, then those would make excellent topics for signs.

Not persuasive signs, I’ll admit. But I can see why somebody would think they ought to be persuasive, just as I can see why somebody thinks the giant Uncle Sam puppet ought to be persuasive. And some of the stuff (like the NAFTA Superhighway and the re-education camps and the gummint going into people’s houses to take their guns and the one-world-currency and weather control) really isn’t happening, which, you know, makes the people at the protest look bad. There’s some of that, too, at the protests on the Left, although I have to say not as much. Or, rather, I would say not as much based on incredibly biased and limited reports of the protests, which isn’t fair, either.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


mmm, mmm, yes. adding:

* red-state america got hammered two years in a row by energy prices (anybody curious why "drill baby drill" had so much traction needs to look at things like this: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ohim/tvtw/08augtvt/index.cfm )

* the small net tax change (local, state, fed) hasn't brought them debt relief, and neither have the bailouts, and (obviously) neither has the general revenue shortfall

* the obama administration is WAY WAY WAY BEHIND on its estimates of real economy damage -- who, or what kind of groupthink, in january, couldn't have predicted 10% unemployment by mid-year? what justification was there for a quick end to the spiral? -- and LOTS of the canaries are (a) in the other party and (b) very dependent on federal spending

not that the balls-to-the-wall partiers are representative of RSA.

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