The CNN/Tea Party Express Debate leaves liberals like myself in a precarious position: while many of us are upset with the Democratic Party up to and including President Obama and have not been shy in making that upset known, if that upset or criticism causes any one of the eight people onstage Monday, September 12, 2011 to be elected to the White House then we will have let despots win.
Each of the eight candidates on stage in Tampa, FL in an event sponsored by and filled with Tea Party loyalists, at some point or another in the evening made it clear that Poor America, Middle America, Thinking America was not welcomed at their table and must, in fact, be defeated. The audience had vitriolic members in it, people that would yell
"Yes!" when asked if a man that needs six months of intensive care to recover should have his bills covered or die... the answer was clearly heard in the crowd, yes, die. And no one denounced it. No one chastised the audience. Not any of the eight, or moderator Wolf Blitzer; no one.
Some of these people are truly evil or severely misguided and uneducated about America, how it works and what its core and real values actually are.
As I sat listening, I couldn't help but remember my interview with David Holthouse from MediaMatters.org, who went undercover with the skinhead movement. He told me about American Third Position, a3p, a white nationalist movement (read legitimized skinhead lobby) that is operating within the Tea Party and how no one has denounced them or refused to take their money, playing it off as the tea party is comprised of local groups and what those groups on their own do is their own business; plausible deniability at its best. Could some of that money have sponsored this debate? Or any of the groups that were in the audience? Who are these people? And why are Republicans pandering to them and CNN legitimizing them? In all fairness, the syndicator of my radio show takes ads from a3p, and should I ever hear one I use my freedom of speech to remind people who they are, what they stand for and how racism under any catchy title is still racism.
Perry, Bachmann, Romney, Paul, Cain, Santorum and Huntsman all made it clear that anything that protects the environment, like the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency (started by Republican Richard Nixon), or inhibits business, read regulation, was bad, that corporate taxes were too high and health care reform, dubbed Obamacare, was the cause of all the nation's woes. There should be no Dream Act or anything but deportation and fences to solve immigration and as for health care if you can't afford to buy it you simply shouldn't have any and yes, in the words of the audience, die.
And yet I have to be careful about what I say about them? I must not be too harsh, too divisive. As a non-conservative I must have productive rhetoric, non judgmental, no name calling. But they can say an American should die without health care and that's all right. America's, and especially liberal's outrage is so often misplaced.
The fact is that audience members and candidates alike repeatedly proved to be un-American in their views, their ideas, their plans and schemes and in their tone. Corporate America was and is the only America they seem to care about and the audience is too dense to know it. They use catch phrases like regulation reform, tort reform, personal responsibility... each meaning something totally different to the candidates than the audience.
Personal responsibility simply means it's your fault you are poor, uninsured, without food or a job or cash. As 15.1% of people live in poverty now, the largest number since 1983, each of them is responsible for getting themselves in the mess and should get themselves out without things like food stamps, Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance. You are responsible for your safety net, not government, so stop looking for help from it. It's annoying to the candidates, it takes the focus away from pleasing their corporate masters.
Smaller government? Only small minds preach for small government. A more streamlined, efficient government is one thing, but we're a big country with millions of people and that takes lots of government. And these decriers of big government don't really mean it. Republicans grew the government more than anyone with the Department of Homeland Security, and according to Professor John Mueller from Ohio State University when I spoke to him recently, it's a total waste of money. His new book Terror, Security and Money: Balancing the Risks Benefits and Costs of Homeland Security does cost analysis for the war on terror, particularly the DHS, and finds it's a total waste of money given the benefit. According to his book, we stand a one in 3.5 million chance of being attacked or killed by terrorists, and given the risk, the cost of protection is way out of line. The DHS cost us $t70 billion or more but no one talked of abolishing it. But the EPA, that must go, it's a job killer and too expensive.
Yes, government of a nation of 309 million should be grand in its scope. And they want it to be, but only for their almost villainous causes. It's fine to expand government to deport undocumented workers, to build huge fences, deploy national guard to the borders, to do whatever it takes to stop the Brown people from coming in and taking good American jobs and sucking off the American government nipple to bankrupt our medical services, social services, school districts and more. Naturally the corporations benefit ting from this cheap labor go unscathed. But oh yes, it's THEIR fault our economy is partly in the mess it is in, according to the eight candidates at this "debate." And while there is no truth to their claim, truth was not a factor in this arena. Only things that could get good applause lines and go unchallenged by the "moderator."
In fact, so many egregious things were said by each that all that can be concluded from the event is that these people really, truly do not like America as it is today, do not like Americans as they are today, do not understand the very documents they pro port to follow (Michelle Bachmann and the rest get the Declaration, the Constitution including the Bill of Rights so wrong so often they can't have actually ever read them) and really have nothing but contempt for anyone not like them, or attached to a LLC or corporation.
So when does the press treat them like the subversives they are? When does the press stop legitimizing these people and their views, and the hateful views of their acolytes? The Republican Party is no longer a credible political party, it is a party of war criminals, of corporatists, Evangelical zealots and oligarchs; at least at the top. It's the party of millionaires and do-not-cares; obstructionists to anything not of their own design. A party willing to take a country hostage and negotiate like terrorists: give us this or we'll end unemployment extensions at Christmas; give us that or we'll cause the United States to default for the first time in 235 years.
As for the Tea Party, it is a well-funded creation of the Right with members that are downright dangerous to America. They are fringe hate groups, both of them. And if anyone wants to take me task for writing it or saying it, I can back it up with countless hateful statements made by either party and its members, from the "Die!" heard during this particular debate, to statements from each and every person on that stage that evening. These people are blatant in their contempt and disregard for the rank in file Americans and their seditionist rhetoric is reaching a fever pitch.
Shame on CNN for legitimizing this bigotry, this hatred, this Anti-American movement in the name of free speech, and shame on America for living in the past. The Republican party once might have been a legitimate second party, but now it should be broken up like any mafia ring. And as for the Tea Party, it and its members should be seen in the same light as any other fringe element (insert your comparisons here) hell bent on promoting their extremist agenda. And if you aren't any of these things but find yourself in one of those organizations, get out. The Republican Party abandoned those in it that were true to the principles of its founder, Abraham Lincoln. And the Tea Party is staying true to its founder's principles (The Koch Brothers); protect the wealthy by manipulating the uneducated poor.
Yes, I am upset with Democrats and don't see that party or its members as beacons of hope living up to their mandate or charter, their core principles either. Obama is a disappointment along with Pelosi and the rest. I do wish Obama had a primary challenger so he would have to mix it up in a debate or two and we could hear more ideas from the progressive side.
But that being said, the upset with that party pales by comparison to the absolute need to keep any of the eight people on that stage and their followers far, far away from the White House and any kind of legislative power. The Democrats may be weak and spineless at times, but at least they don't want to give the country over to those that would truly harm it and aren't blatant in their contempt for many Americans not like them, Americans like you and I.
To hear Karel's daily radio show go to http://www.thekarelshow.com M-F 3pm to 6pm PST, weekends on KGO AM 810 San Francisco 7pm to 10pm and in iTunes. To read more columns get the book Shouting at Windmills: BS from Bush to Obama available at Amazon.com and CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/3512223