Friday, April 16, 2010

Where was the Mad Hatter?

Yesterday I went to a tea party.
It was honestly a little disappointing. I was hoping for a little more drama, a little pulpit-pounding and people getting red in the face, shouting epithets at President Obama, a bunch of Christians invoking God's name, convinced that he is a Republican. Instead, there were a bunch of old people in lawn chairs who clapped sometimes, several young men who probably envision themselves the movers and shakers of the generation, or perhaps they're in a political science class , and number of young mothers. There were red faces, but that's because organizers had been moving from tea party to tea party and were sunburned. No pounding. No pulpit. One guy with a guitar. I think a large minority of the people in attendance volunteered on somebody's campaign.
There were some signs: "I'll take my faith, freedom and money and you can take your change," "Socialism is against the Constitution," "Don't make my children, my children's children and their children's children pay for" something, and of course the "Don't Tread on Me" flag. There was a mention of Glenn Beck and Cleon Skousen, who I think is some conservative soul. He wrote a book, "The Five Thousand Year Leap," which is what Cherilyn Eagar's campaign espouses. The newest edition of this book contains a list of questions to ask a candidate to know if that candidate follows the appropriate conservative principles.
I left after only 20 minutes, right in the middle of a song called "President Obama, you're not my mama." I listened to Cherilyn Eagar's rep, who loves America. Really? I should vote for this woman because she knows someone who loves America?!? There must be a better argument than that, and that she's Utah's Sarah Palin ain't it. Maybe it's that he could conduct a quiz on the Constitution while looking at a piece of paper. Did you know she loves the Constitution?
I'm pretty sure Mike Lee's going to get the nom, or at least going to go up against Bennett in a primary. He counted up the number of senators who would stand with him to protect the Constitution and kind of whipped the crowd into the closest thing to a frenzy I saw. He suggested we stop working the federal government. (Are they anti-taxes? I'm not sure.) Then I listened to Merrill Cook, who had the audacity to say he's only lived in Washington, he's not of Washington. He's really a man of the people. He knows the people, so he says, which is why he suggested getting rid of the IRS. Yet, the people voted him out. The people already told him no once. A few times, actually. We're not talking about forgive and forget people here, we're talking about conservatives who still hate FDR and Teddy R. and King George.
Interestingly, most of the anger wasn't directed at Obama, although the signs were. More people were angry at incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett, who people feel is no longer representing them as they want. Never mind that he was the only Republican who tried to participate in health care reform. That's probably a big reason why they want him gone in the first place, which is unfortunate. I'm not standing up for Bennett, but I think it's unfortunate for Republicans/conservatives/Tea Partiers to turn on someone who is willing to work on an issue with Democrats. It has a similar feel to eating one's own out of spite.
The announcer also pointed out that the organization's focus was on fiscal conservatism. I'm sure they're looking for a candidate who believes in limited government. Does a person who wants to be in government believe in limited government? I think not. Let's call a spade a spade here.
They also like guns and announced an NRA fund-raiser. I have no response to that.
I'll close with a thought that's not from last night's tea party but relevant all the same. Sarah Palin, in her wisdom, has said the Republicans are not going to just be the party of no, they're going to be the party of "hell no." A query to the estimable Mrs. Palin and her kind: What makes you think the voters aren't going to tell you "hell no" in November?


  1. I can't tell from your posting if you were at the DC rally. There was a Mad Hatter there, though his issue was a bit unique. The link below is a confused lady yelling at him.

    In replying to your thought. I think the republican part is mostly assuming the tea party is just going to go with w/e candidate they pick. I've heard numerous speaches where the politicians say the tea party needs to rally behind the republicans or else they will split the vote. And its better to have a republican in the office than for the tea party to stick to their ideals and lose, at least from the position of the republicans it is.

  2. I'm sorry that the rally did not live up to your expectations. Most tea party rallies seem to be a big disappointment for media representative expecting to find what their politicians tell them will be there.

    As someone who is also outside the tea party movement, but looking at it from the right instead of the left, I think it is a subset of people speaking on behalf of a larger group that is frustrated that nobody is listening to them.

    We don't want a party of No just for the sake of saying no, but we do want the people who were elected to represent our views to represent our views. If a bill is being debated that I would not support and no real effort is being made by the bill's sponsors to even consider my views, then I expect my representative to say No in my place (i.e. to represent me). In extreme cases, a hearty Hell No would probably be a fair representation of my views.

    Conservatives are upset with Sen. Bennett because he represents where the Republican party went wrong and lost their base. We can't stand on a platform of conservative values and have one of the biggest pork-barrel spenders in Congress representing our state. (And I use the term "our" loosely.) He represents the break between the terms "Conservative" and "Republican" and people are becoming more and more sensitive to the rift between those two terms these days.

    I'm sorry you missed out on the drama you expected. Please remember, the right doesn't have the long legacy of political protest that the left has in this country, so we're just not that good at it yet.

  3. Hahah. I think it's hysterical that this commenter thinks you're so far to the left. I guess it's all relative.