6 myths about the Tea Party movement

Myth #1:  Tea Partiers are “anti-tax activists” who are opposed to paying taxes.

 This is a deliberate oversimplification and distortion of the facts.   Tea Partiers are NOT opposed to paying taxes. 

Tea Partiers recognize the distinction between LOCAL government, STATE government, and FEDERAL government. Each has their proper role and place, and we are willing to pay taxes for those things which are within those governments’ proper spheres.

For instance: roads, police, firefighting, libraries and the like are largely funded through local or state taxes, and nobody is opposed to paying these taxes when the money is used locally, we aren’t digging ourselves into unsustainable levels of debt, and we get our money’s worth.  Citizens can more easily hold their elected officials accountable for wasteful spending at the local level than they can at the national level, which is why centralizing more taxation and power at the federal level is a dangerous trend. 

The constitution grants the federal government 17 enumerated powers, such as establishing a common currency and national defense. THOSE are services we are willing to pay federal taxes for, because they are legitimate, constitutional roles of the federal government – not all the unconstitutional pork, entitlements and other things they waste our money on.

Myth #2: Tea Partiers are misplacing their anger about the economy onto Obama, who inherited this mess, when they REALLY should be mad at the Bush administration and the big spending GOP!

It’s fair to say that many Republicans weren’t very concerned about deficit spending during the Bush years (though Libertarians and fiscal conservatives certainly were).   That was a mistake, which many are coming to regret. 

However, they have Obama to thank for waking them up to the danger of runaway spending.  In 2004, Bush’s deficit was $413 billion, 3.5 percent of the gross domestic product.  Fast forward to fiscal year 2010 — the deficit is over $1.8 trillion, more than 10 percent of GDP. 

Although it’s fair to say that we should have started objecting the minute politicians from either party started speeding on the spending highway, it’s also highly appropriate to aim the current protests at a sitting president who has gone from mere speeding to flooring it at an unsustainable pace

Republicans aren’t off the hook, either.  Big spending GOP incumbents are on their way to losing their seats in November, right alongside their Democrat co-conspirators, and there’s no love lost to Bush for his decision to bail out Wall Street before leaving office. 

As Geoff Ludt, former Democrat and organizer of the Oregon Tea Party states:

“The question isn’t ‘where was the Tea Party when GWB was in office.’  The question now is, if you thought these these [policies] were wrong under GWB, where are you?  Do you agree with them now?  Why?”

Myth #3: The Tea Partiers are racists who just can’t accept the fact that there is a black man in the white house. 

This one is downright laughable! 

The Tea Parties first launched from Rick Santelli’s famous rant on CNBC about taxpayers being forced to pay for their neighbor’s mortgages (“the guy with the extra bathroom who can’t pay his bills?”). 

It continued to grow from the outrage over an ever-growing list of bailouts, takeovers and runaway government spending on pork, unsustainable entitlements, and pet (unconstitutional) government programs and projects. 

It is, and always has been, completely about POLICIES and the proper role of government (especially federal government) in our lives.  Race has nothing to do with it.

Myth #4: The Tea Party movement claims to be against Socialism, but they wouldn’t want to lose programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment benefits! 

There may be disagreement among some Tea Partiers about whether or not we should try to completely abolish and/or privatize these “Socialist Lite” programs (some suggest “phasing” them out), but one thing everyone seems to agree on: government entitlements are unsustainable.  

It is cruel, not compassionate, to encourage dependency on corrupt government programs that eventually leave the payees holding the bag with nothing to show for it.  If any private sector company had run such a ponzi scheme, their CEO’s would be in jail by now! 

Myth #5: The Tea Party is an astroturf fringe movement of radicals that doesn’t represent mainstream American voters. 

According to the latest Rasmussen poll:

48% of voters say that the average Tea Party member is closer to their views than President Barack Obama. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 44% hold the opposite view and believe the president’s views are closer to their own.

That’s about as mainstream as it gets in the world of politics.  If Liberals saw those kinds of numbers in their favor, they’d be whistling a different tune.   

Myth #6: The Tea Party movement is a front for the Republican party and/or corporate lobbyists like insurance companies.

If that were true, my check is long overdue!

While it’s true that 80% of Tea Partiers are Republicans, the other 20% are Democrats, Independents, and members of 3rd parties like the Constitution Party. 

The GOP had no part in the creation or organizing of the movement (though Lord knows they tried to tie themselves into it once they saw which way the wind was blowing), and certain Republican leaders were even surprised to find themselves rebuffed when they asked to speak at Tea Party rallies.   They were also strongly rebuked when they recently tried to co-op the Tea Party symbol on the official Republican Party website.

The great number of Republicans involved is a reflection of conservative discontent with a party which no longer represents them.  The GOP knows they can’t win without the Tea Partiers, but if they want the conservative vote, they’re going to have to go back to conservative principles.

 

Rachel blogs at www.ThoughtsFromAConservativeMom.com/

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