Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tea Party terror

teapartyLast week, in the aftermath of the debt limit compromise, it became fashionable in liberal circles to label conservatives, Republicans, and Tea Party members as terrorists. A common theme among progressives refers to conservatives who are holding the country hostage in order to prevent Democrats from spending their way to an economic recovery.

Representative of many of the progressive musings was a blog on RealClearPolitics.com by Froma Harop. Harop wrote:

“Make no mistake: The tea party Republicans have engaged in economic terrorism against the United States -- threatening to blow up the economy if they don't get what they want. And like the al-Qaida bombers, what they want is delusional: the dream of restoring some fantasy caliphate in which no one pays taxes, while the country is magically protected from foreign attack and the elderly get government-paid hip replacements. Americans are not supposed to negotiate with terrorists, but that's what Obama has been doing.”

Even USA Today, a mainstream newspaper, ran an editorial cartoon in its Friday, August 5 edition which portrays the Tea Party as a Mad Hatter holding President Obama hostage. In the cartoon, President Obama laments that “We now negotiate with terrorists.” The cartoon, which first ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, can be viewed here.

The terrorist analogies were not limited to columnists and newspaper editorials. According to Politico.com, Vice President Joe Biden allegedly agreed with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) when Doyle said in a closed door meeting “this small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” According to the report, Biden responded, “They have acted like terrorists.”

Even President Obama, in his Twitter town hall on July 6, referred to the Republican tactic of linking spending cuts to an increase in the debt limit as “a gun against the heads of the American people.” A video of Obama’s comment is available on Youtube.teaparty3

The violent imagery, condemned by many of these same progressives as little as six months ago, belies the frustrations of the left in the wake of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010 and nearly three years of failed Democratic economic policies. Not only has President Obama and his economic team failed to lead the nation to an economic recovery, they have done so at the cost of increasing the national debt by a third in less than three years. Their failure is capped off by the recent downgrade of U.S. treasury bonds by Standard and Poors.

The terror comparisons also reveal that many progressives do not accept the fact that there are alternate viewpoints that can be held in good faith. In their world, an attempt to cut spending isn’t about reducing the deficit for the good of the country; it is an attempt to “blow up the economy.” On economic issues, much like climate change, once the consensus of liberal elites is reached, any departure from the progressive orthodoxy is to be scorned, ridiculed, and otherwise not taken seriously.

A recent Atlanta Conservative Examiner column that solicited answers from Democrats to a series of questions about Obama Administration policies did not receive a single serious response. Democratic policies are not working. The Democrats realize that they are not working, but they have no other ideas. This makes them angry and causes them to lash out.

In reality, of course, the Tea Party is not a group of terrorists. The Tea Party is made up of average Americans, like the thousands who gathered at the Georgia state capitol in Atlanta on April 15, 2009 to protest the $800 billion stimulus package and corporate bailouts (see a slideshow of this Tea Party here). Various attempts to paint the Tea Party as violent and racist in the past have failed for lack of evidence while tolerant progressives referred to the group’s members by a sexual slur.

The Tea Party is similar to a number of progressive activist groups, except that it is a true grass roots movement of real people who are concerned about the direction of the United States. It spontaneously arose to protest the bipartisan bailouts and out-of-control federal spending. The Republican Party listened to the people. The Democrats did not and they paid the price in the 2010 elections.

True terrorists, whom the progressives seem somewhat less concerned about than the Tea Party, don’t use filibusters and congressional votes to get their way. Their weapons of choice are IEDs, suicide vests, and hijacked airliners. A loss to the terrorists wouldn’t mean a budget compromise; it would mean thousands of dead and maimed victims. The Tea Party is a totally open and decentralized network of groups that even has multiple pages, like this one for the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots, on social networking sites like Facebook. Needless to say, there are no Facebook pages for the Taliban or al Qaeda.

To attempt to label the Tea Party as terrorists demeans the progressives who make the charge, much the same way as it demeans conservatives to call President Obama a socialist. It also detracts from the seriousness of the threat of the actual terrorists, people whose goal is to kill as many Americans as possible and to bring our country to its knees. True terrorism is a life and death matter, not a tempest in a tea pot.


Read this article on Examiner.com


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Photo credits:  David W. Thornton, All rights reserved

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