Archive for Tea Party

The Tea Party Revisited

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , on November 12, 2013 by Kyle Fleming

I went on an unintentional hiatus back in May 2012. Things came up in college, I got busy, was updating the blog less and less, so I decided to give it a rest for a while. I had full intentions of returning to regular updates, but then I got a job and wasn’t able to get back into the swing of things.

Then in late October 2013, something strange happened. One of my old posts, Why The Tea Party Is Ruining America, started getting a lot of comments.

Keep in mind, I was doing nothing to promote the blog. My political opinions were slowly making their way back to Facebook, going against why I had created this blog in the first place. And suddenly, there were five comments in one day, with two more comments coming later in the week, most in favor of the Tea Party.

Because of this newfound popularity, I thought it would be nice to read some of these comments and look back on the positive influence the Tea Party has had on American politics.

I recently had a political debate on a friend’s Facebook wall after she had posted this story on how Schroedinger’s Presidential Candidate Chris Christie is being heavily scrutinized by “hyper-conservative,” Tea Party-affiliated critics who say the Republican Governor isn’t “conservative enough” to be President.

The crux of the argument at the point I jumped into it was, “Sure, you can go online, and you can find people who claim to be affiliated with the Tea Party who say truly awful things about black people and wanting to kill members of Congress, but they’re just a few bad apples. If you ignore them, then you see that the Tea Party is just as civilized as anyone else.”

But a lot of what I’ve seen online and in the news about is nothing BUT hatred and vitriol. Comments sections on news organization websites are not bound by the same poo-pooing as commercial media coverage. People I meet in reality on the streets in Florida are not bound by media spin, though they are very good at parroting.

Take this gentleman I saw driving ahead of me a couple of weeks ago:

This is an actual person. In reality. Driving a windowless white van. Covered in anti-Obama, anti-Socialist propaganda. It’s the kind of intimidation that one can’t help but be very aware of, and one that seems to permeate every political discussion I have with someone who claims to be affiliated with the Tea Party (and, occasionally, people who claim to be “a registered Independent” while spitting out conservative talking points).

When I first wrote about the Tea Party movement back in 2010, all we saw were old angry white men. Fox News would promote Tea Party rallies across the nation, sending media personalities and news anchors to these different events. They owned it for a long time. In recent years, we’ve seen Fox News back away from actively promoting Tea Party activities, while still not being overly critical of conservative politicians and events. As a whole, members of the movement have appeared to settle down.

And yet, as I saw in my Facebook debate, and as I saw on this creepy duct taped van, and as we see in the media, there are still some people affiliated with the Tea Party that are so mindless that they still believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Obama is a socialist dictator, a Muslim, who’s trying to destroy the American way of life.

In my mind, the Tea Party — which has branched out from simply a movement to a full-fledged political party in some states — is still dangerous. In my experience, there is no attempt at discourse, and there appears to be no willingness to compromise. The dangerous few are willing to shut down the government and waste $24 BILLION in taxpayer money, all in the name of fiscal conservatism. They are the ones that want to destroy America.

Claim your few bad apples all you want, Tea Partiers. Make your false equivalencies with the Occupy movement, or mainstream political parties. But your barrel is definitely rotten.

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Election Night 2010: Results and Analysis

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , , on November 3, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

I will preface this blog by saying that the analysis you will see is not a professional, and probably not even an accurate analysis. My political science experience is one semester at Wartburg College back in the fall of 2008. But even though I’m inexperienced, that doesn’t mean that I can’t have my say.

That being said, let’s look at some of the most spectacular results:

DELAWARE
The results of the Senate race between Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons was kind of a shocker. Despite O’Donnell’s many mistakes, from her “I’m Not A Witch” TV ad, to her “separation of church and state” blooper during one of the final debates, I honestly thought that she was still going to win. She had kind of a rabid fan base, and that alone, I was sure, was going to get her in. And yet, she loses, and quite considerably: Chris Coons with 54% of the vote, compared to O’Donnell’s 39%.

KENTUCKY
Honestly? Not a surprise. Even after the incident when a Rand Paul supporter stomped on the head of a MoveOn activist, Rand Paul wins the Kentucky Senate seat. Though his victory speech seemed a little off: “There is no rich, there is no poor. They’re all interconnected.” Rand Paul won with 51% of the vote.

NEW YORK
Another race in which I was almost certain that the Tea Party candidate was going to win. Carl Paladino, a beastly looking creep with a penchant for bestiality videos and racism, lost. By a landslide. In a world where it seems like only the slimiest, most evil people make it to Washington, Andrew Cuomo soundly defeats Paladino, 57% to 32%.

ARIZONA
John McCain easily wins his Senate seat, but the real focus of this election was for Governor. Jan Brewer made an absolute fool of herself during a live, televised debate, stumbling over her words, stuttering, and not making any sense. And that was just her prepared remarks. And somehow, despite an awful performance and falsely claiming that there were “headless bodies” in the Arizona desert, she manages to win the Governorship with 51% of the vote.

CALIFORNIA
eBay entrepreneur Meg Whitman is defeated in the Governor race against Jerry Brown, with Brown getting 50% of the vote to Whitman’s 41%. Shocking, in that Whitman somehow managed to spend $142 million in campaigning and advertising. If anything, this race proves that name recognition doesn’t mean anything when you don’t have anything to back it up.

Also on the ballot: Proposition 19, which would regulate and tax marijuana, and allow people over 21 to grow or carry a certain amount of marijuana. Supporters of Prop 19 pushed the idea that this would get California out of debt. But it wasn’t enough: Prop 19 was defeated with 57% of the vote against it.

SOUTH DAKOTA
I mention this one, in part because I love talking about it: John Thune wins the South Dakota Senate race. His opponent? No one. He ran uncontested.

South Dakota also comes up because, as I’ve mentioned a couple of times before, the ballot included Referred Law 12, which would institute a state wide smoking ban. Despite all of the financial reasons for this to fail, it somehow still passed with 65% of the vote.

IOWA
In 2009, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a proposed marriage ban was unconstitutional, becoming the first Midwestern state to allow marriage benefits for same-sex couples. While there was no incredible races to be watching last night, there was one important issue with unfortunate results: three of the Iowa Supreme Court judges that voted against the marriage ban have been voted out. Justice David Baker is out with a 54% “No” vote, Justice Michael Streit is out with a 54% “No” vote, and Chief Justice Marsha Ternus is out with a 55% “No” vote.

NEVADA
One of the most tightly-contested races in recent history, the Senate race between Harry Reid and Sharron Angle is exciting to watch. The race has literally been neck-and-neck the entire race, with each week having the other in the lead. This was one of the few races that everyone was talking about, and everyone was speculating exactly what was going to happen in this race. The results are stunning: Harry Reid squeaks a victory over Sharron Angle, with Reid receiving 51% of the votes.

ALASKA
The Alaska Senate race has been outstanding: Scott McAdams is the Democratic candidate. In a tight race, Joe Miller beats out Lisa Murkowski for the GOP nomination. But instead of accepting defeat, Murkowski, probably after a few snaps and an “Oh no you di’int,” announced she would be running as a write-in candidate.

So how is that race going? Murkowski is in the lead. Well, technically, “write-ins” is in the lead, with 41% of the vote. Joe Miller is in second place with 34% of the vote, and McAdams is in third with 24% of the vote with 76% of precincts reporting as of 7:22 am.

ANALYSIS
So what does this mean? The GOP has control of the House of Representatives, the Democrats have control of the Senate. With my non-knowledge of politics, I can honestly say I have no idea. The results clearly show that the American people are either truly upset with the way things were going and needed a change, or they are easily swept up into anti-establishment rhetoric. A lot of lies were shouted, and a lot of mud was slung in this election cycle, and discerning the truth from the baloney can be a tough thing to do.

If I had to speculate, I would say this could mean either one of two things. Ideally, this would be a step in a bipartisan direction. With one party in power on one side, and the other party on the other side, this is a perfect moment for everyone to sit down and listen to one another. Conversation is the key to making great progress in America.

However, this could also mean that absolutely nothing will get done. The House is full of Tea Party candidates, with platforms that really only included “repeal Obamacare” and “return to Christian values” without really saying how or why. The focus may only be on those two things, and then running for re-election. If this track happens, things will only get worse, and then we will have to wait and see if anything will happen in the election of 2012.

All election results came from a multitude of sources, including: Huffington Post Politics Twitter feed, MSNBC Election Center, and Fox News political coverage.

Your Civic Duty

Posted in current events with tags , , , , , on November 1, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

In case you haven’t been able to tell by the influx of political ads and media coverage, tomorrow is Election Day. Seats for the House and the Senate, as well as many local and state seats, are up for grabs. Tea Party candidates have completely shaken up the election scene, and for some seats, the only way to predict who will win is to wait for all of the votes to be counted.

It is your civic duty to vote tomorrow. While, ideally, I would have the readership to encourage everyone to vote Democrat, the main idea here is to just vote. But don’t vote for just anyone. Take the time to read the issues, examine the candidates, and vote for common sense.

There are plenty of crazy politicians out there (and Keith Olbermann in his Special Comment on Wednesday [two links] exposes the crazies in the Tea Party), and they come from all over. They are running simply because they want to oust the incumbents, but they don’t exactly have the best interests of the people in mind. Many times the stances they take have no ideological support; they are simply taking those stances because they think that’s what the people want.

It’s frustrating, especially in these last few months, to watch these ads and to listen to the debates and wonder why people this stupid are running for Congress. This frustration is a main reason why updates have been spotty at best–I would love to comment on everything stupid and inane that’s been going on in this election cycle, but there is so much going on that it’s hard to know where to start.

And sometimes, the stupidity is just so obvious that all I would need to do is post what was said, possibly with a string of personal attacks and curse words. As fun as that would be, I’m above that, and choose not to comment rather than get myself in trouble.

It is always important to vote, but never has it been more important than this cycle. President Obama, the Senate, the House, and all politicians should be working for the people, but it seems that when the politicians aren’t fighting with each other and filibustering and never getting anything done, they are campaigning.

Politicians say that they have your best interests in mind, but really, seriously, take a look at it. If your incumbent doesn’t appear to have your interests in mind, take them out. But replace them with someone who DOES have your best interests in mind. Look at the issues, look at the voting records, look at everything you can about the candidate. If you like what you see, get out and vote.

If you don’t like what you see, still vote. Other than candidates, there are plenty of things to vote on. In California, Proposition 19 will decide whether or not marijuana will be legalized. Referred Law 12 in South Dakota is the smoking ban law. Vote, and have your voice heard.

P.J. O’Rourke, Libertarian and political satirist, said Saturday on NPR, “The Government represents the will of the People, not the whim of the People.” If these Tea Party candidates get into office, what will they do once they accomplish their single issue? What is left for the Tea Party once they repeal “Obamacare” (a term that I’d be more than happy to have removed from our lexicon)?

Nothing. There will be two years of people with little to no political experience doing whatever they can to keep things moving in Washington.

Get out and vote on Tuesday. Vote for common sense. Vote for what you feel is the best option for your state and for your nation. Just don’t vote out of frustration. Vote for the betterment of all.

NAACP, Tea Party, and Racism

Posted in opinion with tags , , , , , on July 23, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

The biggest news among politically-minded blogs and websites is the NAACP’s charge for the Tea Party to remove and punish members of the party who use racist or vulgar language. It’s a harmless charge, one that should easily be implemented by the Tea Party, and anyone else who observes racism in speeches or signs by Tea Party protesters.

Harmless, that is, unless you work for a conservative news network.

Bill O’Reilly’s blog from 15 July, along with many other conservative news sources, seems to report that the NAACP has called the entire Tea Party racist. From his blog: According to the president of the NAACP, Ben Jealous, the Tea Party is chock full of racist people bent on harming African-Americans…. The NAACP picked a bad time to brand the Tea Party with the racist label…. By saying the Tea Party followers are sympathetic to racism when proof of that is scant, the organization has defined itself as irresponsible.

However, from the NAACP website: NAACP delegates passed a resolution to condemn extremist elements within the Tea Party, calling on Tea Party leaders to repudiate those in their ranks who use racist language in their signs and speeches.

There seems to be a huge difference between those two reports. And besides, I’m more apt to believe the report from the organization the report is about, rather than someone trying to defend the “attacked” organization.

In Bill’s blog, he also mentions Mr. Jealous talking about protesters holding signs that say “Lynch Barack Hussein Obama,” and that, after an “exhaustive search of media reportage about the Tea Party,” he could find no such signs. Even Sean Hannity is in on the talking points, saying that he can’t find any evidence of racism in the Tea Party.

Which is hilarious, because a quick Google search brought up some of these racist and otherwise inappropriate gems, all from one website:

From Huffington Post

A sign calling for several Congresspeople to be hung


From Huffington Post

A sign comparing American taxpayers to Holocaust Jews


From Huffington Post

A sign stating that Obama is the new Hitler


From Huffington Post

Obama loves taxes, bankrupting America, and killing babies


From Huffington Post

"Freeloading Illegals are Raping U.S. Tax Payers"

I wish I could post all of the signs I’ve found. I really do. But between the Huffington Post, Blue Ridge Muse, and several other websites posting pictures of these racist signs, and YouTube having several videos of racism within the Tea Party, it’s hard to believe that the movement is being marginalized and lied about.

Granted, the NAACP has looked away on several forms of racism from minorities. In glancing through the NAACP blog, there is nothing about racism caused by black people or Hispanic people. But at the same time, the Tea Party denying racism in their ranks is simply foolish. As hard as it is to say, racism is still in America today. It’s not as blatant today as it was in the 50s, but it still exists, now in code or cute little euphemisms.

In order to make even more progress with this whole race issue, we need to acknowledge it, and get rid of it. The moment the Tea Party acknowledges and rids itself of the blatantly racist, maybe more people would take it seriously as a movement.

Obama’s Not Evil, Stop Marketing Him As Such

Posted in current events, politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

I was wondering to myself today why I continue to watch Fox News when I know it upsets me. For everything else I’ve experienced in life, when I’m upset or frustrated with something, I remove myself from the equation. But for some reason, the torture I subject myself to when I watch Fox News makes me want to watch more. Secretly, I think it’s because I’m finally proud to be smarter or have more common sense than someone, but really, I’m not exactly sure what it is.

This was blatantly obvious when I was watching Fox last week, and the ticker across the bottom mentioned that Obama’s BP speech was the first time he addressed the nation from the Oval Office. It read, “Obama is the first President to not address the nation from the Oval Office within his first year.” W. Bush did it twice in his first year, including after 9/11. Clinton had also done it a couple of times in his first year.

Maybe it was because I was completely ready to be offended by something, or maybe it was because I was absolutely wiped from six hours of working with day camp kids, but to me, that read like Obama was a terrible President by not addressing the nation from the Oval Office. I mean, seriously, Bush did it twice. Why couldn’t Obama even do it once?

Probably because it doesn’t really matter where the President addresses the nation? The Oval Office is just as good of a backdrop as the Lincoln Memorial, or the Washington Monument, or the Gulf Coast. In fact, any backdrop that is at least relevant to the subject matter of the speech is a good back drop. Sarah Palin announced her resignation outside, next to a hydroplane, and not in her governor’s office. But no problem with that, because Palin is an outdoorsy sort of gal, so it made sense.

But it wasn’t just the location of the speech that got Fox News uptight, but the language used. Obama mentioned that we are “waging a battle” on containing the oil spill, and introduced a “battle plan” to fight it. “We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got,” said Obama. “And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done.”

Leave it to Fox News to call out Obama on his choice of words. “It’s too militaristic,” said Glenn Beck. All of the war metaphors were upsetting him. We’re declaring war on an Oil Spill? Isn’t that a little bit silly?

I’ve got three words for Glenn Beck: “Don’t Retreat, Reload.”

The “battle plan” from Obama is nowhere near the literal call to arms that was given to the Tea Party. Don’t retreat, reload. As in, don’t give up when people call you crazy; in fact, counter it with more crazy and violence. Bricks through windows not working? Try death threats and profanity. Not being noticed with your misspelled and grammatically incorrect (and factually untrue) picket signs? Feel free to spit on anyone you disagree with. And throw in a racial epithet while you’re at it.

Obama is not evil. He’s not trying to destroy America. That was Dubya’s job. Whatever crazy pills people at Fox News are inhaling, we better take them away, and hopefully the withdrawal symptoms are enough to knock some sense into them.

Rand Paul: Tea Partier, but no Libertarian

Posted in politics with tags , , , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by Kyle Fleming

The midterm elections are the big thing to watch for in November. Many are predicting that the frustration and the hatred of the Democrats will be the driving force for people voting Republican in the polls. And what’s even more interesting is that many Tea Party people are backing certain candidates for Senate seats. The atmosphere is as exciting as it was prior to the 2008 election: people who aren’t normally involved in politics are now rallying behind their favorite candidate that they hope will make the world a better place.

One of these Tea Party candidates is one Dr. Rand Paul from Kentucky. Dr. Paul recently won the Kentucky primaries and has a real shot at winning a Senate seat. He’s being vehemently backed by the Tea Party, even when he mentions things about the Civil Rights Movement that could possibly be considered racist. (Keith Olbermann flipped out on Twitter about the quote: “I think at one time, people used to think of golf and golf clubs and golf courses as being exclusive…. I think Tiger Woods has helped to broaden that… and so now I don’t think it’s nearly as exclusive as people once considered it to be.”)

But I recently found an open letter to Rand Paul, asking him questions that a true Libertarian would have no problem answering. But before that can make any sense, the question becomes: what exactly is a Libertarian? Libertarianism is a political theory that basically says that government needs to remain small, and that we should practice individual liberty. Libertarians believe that the people are more than perfectly able to manage themselves, and it is not the government’s place to intervene at all.

That being said, Rand Paul isn’t really a Libertarian, according to Mel M., writing to the Baltimore Sun. The most pivotal part of the letter follows:

If he is such a supporter of private rights, does he support the private right of a woman to get an abortion? Additionally, did he support the private right of Terry Schiavo’s husband to make the gut wrenching private decision on whether to pull the plug on his brain dead wife? Does he oppose the recently enacted Arizona law requiring papers of people in Arizona if the officer has merely a “reasonable suspicion” the person is here illegally?

Looking at how he stands on the issues, it is obvious that he feels the opposite. “Life,” he says under the Abortion heading, “begins at conception,” and interestingly enough, claims that “the most basic function of government is to protect life.” Being for smaller government, to me, doesn’t mean that you sic the government into the private lives of its citizens.

And while he doesn’t mention anything about the right to die on his website, under the Illegal Immigration heading, he says, “I support local solutions to illegal immigration as protected by the 10th amendment.” This apparently includes what many people claim to be one of the most racist piece of legislation since the Jim Crowe Laws.

Many are glad that Rand Paul is the Tea Party nominee, because he will be easy to tear down, with his many “gaffes,” the fact that the GOP isn’t supporting him, and the fact that he is proud to say that he’s not a politician. The Tea Party people are excited that one of their own, someone beyond sound bites and party politics, has a real chance of winning. But given the atmosphere, and the great amount of people that are against him, I wouldn’t hold your breath.

One final note: Doesn’t it seem odd that someone that is so against President Obama would take the layout of the President’s website?:

Rand Paul website
Obama website

Strange, isn’t it?