I’m inclined to agree with this:
During a presidential visit, if the Secret Service orders the police to move, they move. If what both Loesch and Moore are saying is true about the Secret Service telling local police to move the protestors – and then failing to do so – it would be a serious breach of protocol. All the more reason to think that both women were repeating rumors, or more likely, exaggerating their paranoid fears for effect.No SWAT team. No threats to protestors. No phalanx of menacing riot police bearing down on tea partiers with billy clubs – the kind of police threat I experienced several times in my youth. Simple, routine security that you will see the world over when a national leader pays a visit.
But damn, that’s just not good enough. We need drama! We need to be seen as being oppressed! We need to wave the bloody shirt from the battlements! We’re Patriots ready to spill our blood in defense of …something!
I don’t like President Obama. He is a liar, a bully, a radical who sneers at our traditions and history while seeking to fundamentally alter the relationship between the citizen and the government in Washington, D.C. He is the antithesis of everything I believe about the United States, and whose presidency is an anathema to prudent government, presidential decorum, and wise policy making. He is a nightmare from which I sincerely hope we awake in 2012.
But lying, exaggerating, getting hysterical – real or feigned – about stuff like this tea party protest makes me ashamed to be a conservative. We can strenuously oppose this president without descending into the muck of idiocy and quicksand of hyperbole. Nothing happened at that tea party protest that threatened anyone’s liberty or constitutional rights.
Making it seem otherwise only makes these bloggers look ridiculous.
When I saw the links and headlines proclaiming that the SWAT team had been called out on TP protesters, I was immediately concerned. When I followed the links to the actual videos and stories, I felt very much that there had been a major case of crying “Wolf!”, and the credibility of the bloggers who spread the story was damaged. If and when there is ever a case of actual government action against a Tea Party (and I don’t rule it out from the current regime, which is why I was willing to consider that there might be a good reason to check out this story), then we need to make sure that the conservative blogosphere’s credibility is strong, and we cannot be dismissed as alarmist.
The Progressives were the opposite of what we need today. They believed that centralization of power and professionalization of government service were the most important items on the reform agenda. To some degree, today’s reformers will need to undo the work the Progressives did. The original Progressives harnessed new techniques of management and information control to create large, professionally-administered government bureaucracies. Today we need to use new techniques and technologies to break those bureaucracies down, to make small units of government more powerful, and to make government at all levels more responsive and more user-friendly. In virtually every case this will involve taking on government employees, reducing their numbers, eliminating their job security and cutting back on unsustainable retirement and other benefit levels.
Many intellectuals today, hypnotized by the Progressive state and the blue social model, look at Tea Partiers and anti-government protesters as enemies of all that is holy and good. I think not; I think they embody a spirit of populist revolt against centralized power that on balance makes sense.
I believe that the time has come when we urgently need to move power and policy from the federal level back to the states and localities — not to weaken or undermine the strong federal government that we need, but to improve and defend it. Vermont and Utah are very different places with very different ideas about social, educational and economic policy. They have different needs and different priorities. Only rarely can the federal government make the people in both states happy; more usually, the compromises built into federal policy and programs will irritate the residents of both states. Left to themselves, the people in Utah and Vermont would develop very different policies on matters ranging from drug use to abortion to gay rights to education. Within some very broad limits (and with special attention to race given its special constitutional status) I don’t see why, they shouldn’t be free to do so.
It’s vital to the continuing health of American democracy that Mae West goes home, that power drifts back to the state and local level. The federal electorate is so large, and the ability of voters and communities to affect federal election outcomes is so small, that individual citizens will inevitably feel frustrated and powerless before it. To preserve both the reality and the appearance of self-governance, to give individuals the experience, maturity and sense of participation that comes from playing a serious part in serious political events, it is necessary that some important issues be decided closer to home.
Read the whole thing. An excellent essay.
Even if this guy was not a plant, but a bona fide white supremacist, this was still the way to deal with him.
Inspired by the 1994 Contract with America that was part of the Republican takeover of Congress that year, Tea Partiers from around the nation have voted online to provide input for a new “Contract from America” as a platform for reform and a positive program for Congress to adopt. Over 450,000 votes were cast, and now the organizers and supporters of this effort are calling on candidates for office to sign on to their agenda. They have ten agenda items, listed in order of support. Here they are, with some comments from myself:
1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)
While I appreciate the thought, this is a hollow agenda item. As Stephen Spruiell points out, “Committee chairmen would simply stamp any iffy provision with the words “Commerce Clause” and head to lunch.”
2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)
Hell yes. Complete agreement out of me.
3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)
Wasn’t feasible after 1994, and isn’t going to happen now. What does need to happen is a plan to restore financial sanity, such as the one put forth by Representative Paul Ryan.
4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)
Tax reform is definitely needed. The Alternative Minimum Tax needs scrapped. The Code needs simplified and made reasonable. I’m not yet sold on the “Fair Tax” that is popular among many on the Right, but that and other options need to be considered. And the government needs to learn to live within the limits of the revenue it brings in.
5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)
I’m currently reading “National Suicide, How Washington is Killing the American Dream from A to Z” by Martin Gross. Much of that book covers this topic, and I plan on blogging more about it in the near future. Suffice it to say that I absolutely agree with this agenda item. It just needs the addition that the findings of the commission would be implemented.
6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)
Will this include entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security? Without covering those, such a cap would be meaningless. And those entitlements would need a great deal of reform before they are ready for the shock of such a spending cap. That the proposed Contract does not mention the entitlement issue is a major point of weakness, in my opinion. The American people have to find the courage to face the coming collapse of the entitlement programs.
7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)
This is an easy one to agree with, though again the distortions in the system from Medicare/Medicaid need to be addressed, and there are other needed reforms besides the ones prescribed here.
8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)
Another item I support. Drop the barriers to drilling in the West, in Alaska, and on the Continental Shelf. Allow the construction of more refineries. Drop regulatory barriers to nuclear plant construction.
9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)
10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)
Excellent. The last thing the economy needs is the huge tax hike set to hit when the Bush cuts expire in the coming year. This is a short term fix, which should be followed by general tax reform as mentioned in item #4.
Overall, pretty good, though I see the lack of entitlement reform as a weakness, and though I agree with the aims of some of the items, I disagree with the action prescribed. If I was running for Congress this November, I’m not sure I would sign on to this Contract unequivocally, but I would state that I support its aims and would incorporate some of these concerns into my message.
“These are my people…Americans!”
If you had to choose, smaller government or larger?
50% of Americans said smaller — 37% said bigger (92%/4% among Tea Partiers)
How much have you read or heard about the government’s budget deficit?
30% of Americans said a lot, 40% said some, 21% said not much (62%/29%/8% among Tea Partiers)
35% weekly or almost weekly (50% among Tea Partiers).
54% work; 18% are retired (56%/32% among Tea Partiers).
52% (70% among Tea Partiers).
50% are 45 or older (75% among Tea Partiers).
25% have a college diploma (37% among Tea Partiers).
44% earn $50,000 or more (56% among Tea Partiers).
11% earn $250,000 or more (12% among Tea Partiers).
So, let’s summarize: Tea Partiers are more likely than the average American to be married and church-going, and they are also generally older, more prosperous, more likely to be registered to vote, and more educated. They overwhelmingly favor smaller government, and they are more informed than the population at large about the Federal deficit. Sound like decent, normal American citizens to me.
And this one is for my wife:
Does Sarah Palin have the ability to be an effective President?
Tea Partiers: 40% yes, 47% no
Other interesting findings: Tea Partiers are more likely to get their news from Fox News and more likely to own a gun.