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Mark Olmsted Headshot

Just Say Nostalgia: Back to the Future with the Tea Party

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Of all the Tea Party slogans, none is more opaque than "We want our country back." Back to when?

I'm assuming no date prior to 1920 is up for consideration, because women didn't have the vote before then, and that wouldn't bode to well for the likes of Sarah Palin, Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell. The 1920s look promising, as taxes rates were low, but it was also the era of Prohibition. Not very libertarian that. Not to mention, by all accounts, the Southern White Male who constitutes the typical Tea Partier generally likes his bourbon and branch water. No, the '20s won't do at all.

Let's move on to the 30s. Definitely a simpler time, when you could pay your doctor with a couple of chickens and an apple pie. But there was that nasty depression, when even the most willing and industrious could not find work. Not to mention that dust bowl. The '30s were icky.

Ah, the '40s. When American exceptionalism reigned supreme and everyone who had a job wanted one. But government spending to finance the war jumped to dizzying heights, and all those people did die. Let's move on.

The '50s! That's the ticket! Eisenhower and a huge middle class. "Good" wars, like Korea. Calm schools with well-behaved kids. What a great decade. What's that you say? A top tax rate of 91 percent? De facto redistribution of wealth? Oh that won't do. Not at all.

The '60s started out well enough -- just watch "Mad Men." But then came pot, and the hippies. Vietnam. All those protests. (As for Martin Luther King, he's just plain confusing. Glenn Beck says he was a hero, but blacks were pretty happy before King told them they weren't -- weren't they?)

The '70s could have been an excellent decade if they hadn't hounded Nixon out of office. Stupid Democrats. They brought us inflation, Jimmy Carter and the hostage crisis. And that's when the gays and the women's libbers started with all their bullshit. No wonder suddenly everyone got divorced.

Finally, the '80s! Ronald Reagan, now that was a President. Morning in America. Family values. Low taxes. Are you sure deficits tripled? Well what did you expect with that damn crack epidemic and all those illegal immigrants who started coming over. But there were some pretty good years there, fashion aside.

The '90s. Bill Clinton. Enough said.

If September 11 hadn't happened, the first decade of the new century would have been just fine. It wasn't Dubya's fault Muslims hated our freedom. Iraq and Afghanistan were expensive, and of course we had big deficits. That's what happens when liberal courts make you give every illegal alien welfare. Except for the ones who took all the jobs. Especially one foreigner who took the biggest job of them all. It's been downhill ever since. November 8, 2010 can't come soon enough.

Well, as far as I can tell, out of the past 90 years, there is but one year the Tea Partiers would like to go back to. A year taxes were low and deficits were merely big, not apocalyptic. When jobs were fairly plentiful and America was feared in the world, and a conservative hero was re-elected in a landslide. And probably around the last year most Tea-Partiers could still see their shoes.

The year? 1984.

An irony that will, of course, completely escape those who need most to understand it.