Tea Party — haters or just disagreers?

President Obama last week finally stood up to the Tea Party and pointed out the obvious: Their rage is misdirected, and their “solutions” are short on specifics.
A letter writer this week is a case in point (see right), offering a few suggestions that would cut a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent off the federal budget.
If the Tea Partiers think eliminating highway signs and public TV, or cutting pay of elected officials and firing a few “czars” is going to make a dent in the federal budget, then they’ve been watching too many cartoons on Fox instead of the legitimate news on Comedy Central.
Fact is, the vast majority of the federal and state budgets go to things no one wants to cut: roads, schools, cops, defense, veterans, the elderly, Social Security, Medicare.
Sadly, the Tea Partiers, mostly poor and middle class schmucks like you and me, haven’t noticed that it’s right wing conservatism that’s been screwing them over for the last 30 years.
The satirist H. L. Mencken defined a demagogue as “one who will preach doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.” That’s exactly what the Republicans and Fox News (the funders and promoters of the Tea Party movement) have been doing: using hot-button issues like abortion, homosexuality, “fiscal responsibility” and immigration to get the poor people on their side, while picking our pockets with policies that enrich Wall Street and eviscerate Main Street.
The question I keep asking, and still haven’t received an answer to, is this: Where were all these deficit hawks when Bush was running up the debt by cutting taxes on the rich and borrowing money to fight two wars? Don’t they remember when Cheney said, “Reagan taught us that deficits don’t matter”?
If the Republicans had been minding the store, there would be no deficits and no recession — and Obama never would’ve been elected.
The anti-Obama Tea Partiers should recall that the economy grew and deficits shrank under the Democratic policies of Bill Clinton.
When Bush came into office in 2000, he responded to the surpluses of the 1990s with tax rebates, tax cuts and lavish spending on misguided wars, which led to the deficits we’re seeing now. He also let Wall Street regulate itself, which resulted in the housing bubble, the mortgage crisis, and the recession.
It’s one thing to disagree with Obama’s policies and plans for stimulating the economy through borrowing and investment in infrastructure.
It’s another to blame Obama’s policies for problems that he had nothing to do with.
In the first group are the well meaning and reasonable disagree-ers. In the second group are the haters, who are determined to find flaws in our current president, either because he’s a Democrat, a professor, or puts mustard on his hamburgers.
The disagreers have a different political philosophy than our current president; the haters think he’s a closet Muslim who was born in Africa and may be the Antichrist.
If the disagreers get their way this fall, so be it.
If the haters take over, God help us.

Brett Larson is the editor of the Messenger.

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