Staying with the Through the Looking Glass theme of my last post, it’s time to move on to the (Mad Hatter’s) Tea Party, with a little bit of Humpty Dumpty thrown in for good measure.
What's in a word?
I generally think that # 1a is the most commonly used, as in “my favorite book/movie/song.” Even for banal choices such as “favorite flavor of ice cream” it usually comes down to one that your prefer above all others.
It was “My Favorite Martian,” not my favorite hundreds of Martians. “My Favorite Year” was about a single year, not a compilation of many years in which something mildly amusing happened.
Even Julie Andrews narrowed her favorite “things” down to a few.
When it comes to the Tea Party, anyone who has ever spewed a loony rightwing word or two is considered a favorite—for example, the following have been described as “Tea Party Favorite”
Some unknown guy who’s going to run against Mitch McConnell
And that’s just from the first 3 pages out of 3,150,000 hits for “Tea Party favorite” on Google.
In the words of Inigo Montoya
Or, in more Tea Party-type lingo:
"When I use a word,"
said, in rather a
scornful tone, "it means
just what I choose
it to mean—
neither more nor less."
Who ARE You People?
So who really IS the Tea Party Favorite? Who’s their BFF? Let’s rate them by the definitions of the Tea Party, shall we?
The Tea Party has been defined as partly conservative, partly libertarian and partly populist. (Oops—I’m sensing we’re going to have a problem here, as many of the teabaggers would probably have a hard time even defining those terms, but I digress…)
A Bloomberg National Poll of adults 18 and over showed that 40% of Tea Party supporters are 55 or older, compared with 32% of all poll respondents; 79% are white, 61% are men and 44% identify as "born-again Christians" compared with 75%, 48.5%, and 34% for the general population, respectively.
WELL, THAT WASN’T VERY HELPFUL.
So let’s rate them by what they’re for and against. I guess we’ll start with AGAINST, as there seems to be more of a pattern there.
Taxes—well, that’s a 9 bazillion way tie—they’re all against taxes of pretty much any kind
Amnesty for any immigrants—I’ll have to give this one to Steve King for his latest comment on Dreamers. (This guy's photo should be in the dictionary next to "repulsive" for many reasons.)
"For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’ve been hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”
Healthcare reform—another multi-favorite tie (Palin gets an extra point for that old “death panels” chestnut.)
Climate change action—they pretty much all deny it, And I was going to give this one to “one-el” Michele Bachmann who argued that man-made global warming doesn’t make sense because carbon dioxide is found in nature, but I think Rubio edged her out with “The government can’t change the weather” quote, indicating that he doesn’t even understand the difference between climate and weather. (GO MARCO)
Agenda 21, gays, “creeping” Sharia—gotta give a hat trick here to Ted Cruz, who is nuttier than a fruitcake and pretty much shows it every day.
“Entitlement” spending (or really, any spending that doesn’t put money directly into their or their corporate overlords’ pockets.)—Hmm, not really that close. I’ll give this one to Steve Fincher (R-TN) who, when talking about food stamps in the Ag Bill (oh, he’s against them) managed to combine Jesus AND hypocrisy in one fell swoop when he said,
"The role of citizens, of Christians, of humanity is to take care of each other," the congressman concedes, but quickly adds "not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country."
Fincher and his family have received about $8.9 million in cotton subsidies over the last 10 years, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The average monthly Food stamp benefit, by contrast, is $287. He’s the second largest recipient of farm subsidies in Congress and wants to increase federal crop insurance by $9 billion over the next 10 years.
Oh good grief—they even hate manatees! (can’t award points on this one—it’s a bunch of Florida crazies who say things like "We cannot elevate nature above people," explained Edna Mattos, 63, leader of the Citrus County Tea Party Patriots, in an interview. "That's against the Bible and the Bill of Rights." (huh? where the hell is that in the Bill of Rights? And the Sierra club has page after page about how God was a big fan of nature and stewardship and all, Ms. Mattos!)
She ties it all neatly back to AGENDA 21!!!!, so on second thought, I’ll give some points to Ted Cruz and hey, Rick Scott—why not, it’s Floriduh, right?
Foreign policy? They’re all over the map (no pun intended.) Some are hawks, some are chickenhawks, some are for foreign intervention everywhere, some are isolationists. All are strong believers in “American Exceptionalism,” whatever the hell that is, and most oppose “liberal internationalism” (whatever the hell THAT is.) No points awarded, as I can't follow their arguments, such as they are.
On to the positive side of the equation
(He seems nice)
They’re FOR right to work (which is really against workers, but again, I digress…), they love them some free markets, and of course, the Constitution.
Right to work—LUAP NOR gets this one with his proud “I have a 100 percent right-to-work voting record” boast. But I have to give Nikki Haley a nod as runner-up for her ongoing effort to keep SC poor.
Free markets—This one goes to the men behind the curtains—those lovable Koch brothers, who never met a regulation they didn’t hate nor a way to exploit the country they didn’t love. (technically, the bros would win every category, but again, I digress...)
“In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States.…Indeed, the brothers have funded opposition campaigns against so many Obama Administration policies—from health-care reform to the economic-stimulus program—that, in political circles, their ideological network is known as the Kochtopus.” (NOTE: This whole article is fabulous. If you haven't read it, I recommend it.)
The Constitution—considering that not many of them have Clue #1 what’s actually IN the Constitution, this was a tough call, but I’ll give it to Rand Paul for this gem:
“Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so.”
This is serious business, folks
OK--can't narrow it down to a favorite by analyzing their likes and dislikes, so let's look at how the Tea Party legislators represent the Tea Party in Congress. There’s the Tea Party Caucus, which is as confusing as most everything else about this gang.
The Tea Party Caucus in Congress was originally Rand Paul’s idea, but “one el” Michele Bachmann became its leader—oy. Some TPers weren’t all that happy about it, because it sorta kinda went against the whole “grassroots” thing (which the aptly named Dick Armey and the Koch brothers kinda put the kibosh on anyway, but I digress…)
Here’s the irrepressible Michele’s description of the Caucus:
"We're not the mouthpiece. We are not taking the Tea Party and controlling it from Washington, D.C. We are also not here to vouch for the Tea Party or to vouch for any Tea Party organizations or to vouch for any individual people or actions, or billboards or signs or anything of the Tea Party. We are the receptacle."Now THAT’S clear as mud, isn’t it?
The Caucus was launched in July 2010, then sort of died out in 2012, and, as with everything else that symbolizes total confusion and an inability to form a coherent thought…
"From July 2012 to April 2013 the Tea Party Caucus neither met nor posted news on its webpage, leading observers to describe it as "dead," "inactive," and "defunct." In April 2013, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina filed paperwork to create a new Tea Party Caucus, but found that Michele Bachmann intended to continue the caucus, starting with an event on April 25."
At one time, there were 66 members—as of January 2013, there were 49 in the House plus these ignoble Senators
Mike Lee (Utah)
Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Tim Scott (South Carolina)
Ted Cruz (Texas)
Oh, and remember that the Tea Party is NON-partisan; it’s just that every member of the Caucus (and pretty much the Tea Party in general) is a Republican. But I digress…
But Wait, There's More
"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell played host to the Tea Party caucus on Tuesday, embracing a movement that for years the Washington Republican establishment was hesitant to warm up to. That seemed to change on Tuesday, as even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was dragged into the gathering by activists.
"Nearly a quarter of the Senate Republican caucus as well as a larger faction of House Republicans huddled in the Strom Thurmond room, located near the office space of McConnell.
“We’re all tea partiers now,” joked Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), who also attended Tuesday’s gathering."
I GIVE UP
So now what? Is Mitch McConnell going to be a new Tea Party Favorite? Or John McCain? Or has the word favorite simply lost all meaning and become mindless blather like the use of “common sense” (or the more rightwing version “commonsense”). Is it about to become extinct, like the dodo? (Or as CNN likes to call it “the dildo”)
As with all things Tea Party, it all makes
very little absolutely
no sense at all.
So again, we're having to "Go Ask Alice"
Who knew Alice was describing the Tea Party when she said:
"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?"