Finally, A Tea Party Debate Worth Having

06/15/2010 05:12 am 05:12:01 | Updated May 25, 2011

Today's New York Times/CBS poll of Tea Party supporters found that Tea Party supporters are mostly white men who are wealthier and better educated than the general public, and they are convinced that the economic stimulus package and the health care reform helps the poor more than the rich.

Well now, isn't that refreshing? Fact is: they are right! Suddenly we can have a real debate based in the real world.

We can stop talking about the President's birth certificate, a United Nations takeover of the United States, changes in the design of coins, and all that other nonsense. What we are really dealing with is remarkably straightforward: a sizable group of wealthy white men who think that the government should help them and no one else.


And government policies actually did help them instead of everyone else for so long that they came to feel entitled to such things. And now they are mad.

It's so simple. The poll shows that most Tea Party supporters send their children to public schools, don't think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, return their census forms at a higher rate than the general public, and like Social Security and Medicare. What they don't like is government policies that help those less fortunate than themselves.

Thus, they fiercely oppose the economic stimulus package and the health care reform but they didn't really mind the bank bailout. They hate the the health care reform in particular, because it actually does redistribute wealth downward more than the stimulus package.

May I suggest that we actually engage in this debate? That we say, loudly and proudly, yes, that is what these programs do, and that is why we support them. The gap between those at the top and everyone else has been steadily growing for decades, and we think that is bad.

This is a debate we will win, hands down. Let's stop talking about whether Sarah Palin is in her right mind, or what her speaking fees are, or uneducated Tea Party dimwits (which is in any case untrue), and say plainly it is a good thing for the government to redistribute wealth downward in a time of multimillion dollar bonuses on Wall Street and high long term unemployment on Main Street.

This is gonna be like shooting fish in a barrel.