Thursday, April 16, 2009

A movement or just BS

The progressives among us see the tea party as a manipulation by the rich to protect themselves against the Obama agenda. The theory goes that this grassroots movement is Astroturf, that corporate America has mobilized the minions in an effort to keep the left from taxing the rich.

Well, from where I sit the left is jealous and a bit frightened by what happened yesterday. Why, even celebrities were stepping up to the microphone to complain about government. And there was some media attention about it.

In contrast, let’s look at the May Day parades on immigration staged by the left. People are gathered from throughout Cook County at Catholic Churches mostly and bused in to Chicago. The bus is free. The food is free. There might even be a stipend of some sort.

When they arrive they are handed a preprinted sign, courtesy of the union. Clearly there is no permit problem or any effort to cancel the event due to security reasons. Why? Because Mayor Daley and Congressman Gutierrez and Cardinal George and Senators Obama and Durbin will be addressing the crowd.

But the tea party met with resistance from Chicago. Get your permits. Stay off the sidewalk. Let people pass. Move the van from the sound equipment company. Not quite as welcoming, was it?

And, by the way, you pay your own way. The bus was $16, bring a sack lunch, make your own sign. That was the order of the day at the tea party. (Gee, you would think something sponsored by corporate America would have had more perks.)

As for the idea that the tea party was a manipulation, I think not. For one thing, the crowd wasn’t exactly in agreement on what we were protesting. There were some Ron Paul folks there, some Libertarians, Repubicans, Democrats, some advocates of simplifying the tax code, some dismantle the Federal Reserve people, some anti-illegal alien groups, flat taxers, anti-stimulus protesters, gold standard advocates, transparency seekers…somehow this didn’t have the look of centralized organization.

The central message is that government is too big, too expensive, and too beholden to special interests.

Remember back in 2007 when they were trying to pass the immigration reform package? Remember the politicians who were complaining about talk radio. Here’s a refresher course: To The Washington Post, Lott had said, "I'm sure senators on both sides of the aisle are being pounded by these talk-radio people who don't even know what's in the bill." To the New York Times, he had offered: "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem."
-Washigton Post June 20, 2007

In the same article Senator Trent Lott was complaining about all the phone calls he was getting, some of them from other states. Maybe that’s why I was out there.

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