Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tea Party vs. Gov't, Garofalo, and Andrew Sullivan (plus: Bruno vs. Ron Paul)


There’s another Tea Party occurring, in western New York State, today at 1pm, so I say go be part of history if you’re in that area.  Regardless of what your ostensible political philosophy is, it probably rests upon some vision of the world as it ought to be — and in the meantime, in the real world, government is an engine of predation and reckless wealth reallocation, and you should encourage the rebellious new effort to say no to it.

That’s true whether you called yourself conservative, liberal, green, communitarian, or something else as recently as last year, before the elite-aiding, deadbeat-encouraging pilfering became quite as obvious to one and all as it is now.  Stop this crazy thing, please.  It no more instantiates your vision of an ideal world (poverty-free? Christian? animal-friendly? what have you) than a corrupt church demanding tithes rids the world of sin, much as both institutions might point to the continued existence of problems in the world as reason you must submit.


Of course, as you might have seen among the Drudge-linked stories on the Tea Parties, Janeane Garofalo has determined that the whole ostensible protest against taxing and spending is just “straight-up racism” — a mere pretext for objecting to a black president.

Well, two black men were among the half-dozen or so conservatives co-hosting the reportedly 12,000-strong Tea Party gathering I attended Wednesday night in downtown Manhattan (mentioned only in passing in two sentences in the Times, which implied turnout was light and disappointing across the country, without noting the immense roaring throng in their own strongly-Democrat hometown).  And I don’t recall the crowd cheering for the black co-hosts with any less enthusiasm than for the white ones.

I think it’s very, very important to remember (with help from comments like Garofalo’s) just how stupid the media really are the next time they criticize capitalism or conservatism.  Circumstances will no doubt afford them many opportunities to do so — but the right’s screw-ups do not somehow vindicate the left’s and the media’s own vapid views.

Saying “Bush is an idiot” in 2006 did not make you intelligent — even if you spoke the truth.  Mocking us Tea Party protesters doesn’t make you smart (or tolerant) either — nor does it make ex-comediennes funny again, which is the real tragedy.  If people sound like idiots when they disagree with you, it’s very important — albeit sometimes difficult — to keep in mind that they’re still idiots when they say things you agree with.


On a closely related note, Andrew Sullivan — long a bizarre and embarrassing study in arrogantly condemning one’s own former positions (and those who hold them) as moronic without, somehow, developing a hint of humility about one’s own fallibility — has to my mind finally, conclusively proven that libertarians ought to consider him an asshole.

Enraptured by Obama, Sullivan dismissed the Tea Parties as “tantrums” — despite the version of Sullivan from the day before yesterday supposedly thinking (as I do) that a turn toward economics and away from religious and military causes is just what the right needs.

Sullivan asks where these protesters were in 2003 when Bush was big-spending and flouting the Constitution.  I’m going to guess many of the well-meaning folk were reading Andrew Sullivan’s radically pro-Bush blog back then.  What a fucking moron.  And I don’t care how widely-read or famous he is — so’s Shirley MacLaine.

As it happens, Sullivan also decided yesterday to start attacking Abe Greenwald, occasional attender of our Manhattan Project gatherings and past debater at Lolita Bar.  But you see, so cold-bloodedly objective am I, that I am bothered more by Sullivan’s betrayal of the Tea Parties than by his horror at Abe’s pro-torture jokes.  That’s why you can trust me.  And Abe can take care of himself.  He’s a lot funnier than Sullivan, for starters.


I know we can’t trust Sullivan, but like a lot of people, I can’t quite decide whether to trust Sullivan’s Atlantic colleague turned Times columnist Ross Douthat.  In any case, despite him also sounding a bit condescending toward the Tea Parties, he makes up for it with a striking final paragraph and graph that remind us government is far more insane than anything the Tea Party zealots can dish out.

Speaking of trust, Ron Paul should not have trusted Sacha Baron Cohen in his “Bruno” prankster-interviewer guise.  But then, proving Paul doesn’t recognize Bruno is not all that impressive, given that the seventy-four year-old Paul admits to not being in touch with pop culture — and probably hadn’t even heard of the Sex Pistols before appearing on Leno with them.

By the way, Jen Dziura, who pointed out the Ron Paul/Bruno conflict to me, also recently noted a baffling example of New York’s purportedly cash-strapped transportation system seeming to waste money on a sign that serves no easily-comprehensible purpose.  (And still they call people who don’t want government to get our money the crazy ones?)


This article on CBS News’s site does a far better job than the Times of capturing the tone — and even the transpartisan nature — of the New York City Tea Party.  On a more anecdotal level, I keep hearing New York liberal/media types saying encouraging things like, “I’ve always supported the Democrats, but I’m really worried about what they’re doing now” — and that’s step one on the road to a clue.

This, at long last, is the beginning of focused ire against government spending, I think — the beginning that should have happened in 1964, 1980, 1989, and 1994.

If Establishment-flattering, servile people like Andrew Sullivan want to stand on the sidelines, assuring us they’re superior and repelled by the grubby masses, they’re welcome to do so.  Speaking as part of those grubby masses, I think there’s something more positive going on here than I’ve seen in American politics in my lifetime.

And before the media begin their no doubt anti-gun reminiscences about the Columbine massacre on Monday’s tenth anniversary, do take a moment to remember that tomorrow is the 234th anniversary of the Shot Heard Round the World that started the American Revolution, which I hope we still consider an even more important event.  Right?


Clay Waters said...

The initial online version of the Times’ lame tea party story dismissed the whole thing as a temper tantrum:

“All of these tax day parties seemed less about revolution and more about group therapy. At least with the more widely known protest against government spending, people attending the rallies were dressed patriotically and held signs expressing their anger, but offering no solutions.”

As if your garden variety left-wing protest, with its papier-mâché puppets, inflatable rats, and every interest group under the sun, is some kind of organically conceived masterpiece of coherence.

And my late edition print version of the Times didn’t have a single word about the NYC tea party (only the online mentioned it). Meanwhile, an ACORN-astroturfed left-wing bus tour of 40 people in Connecticut (the Times backyard for news purposes) last month got a full story. Pretty pathetic, not just liberal bias but unprofessional.

Mitch Golden said...

I saw plenty of coverage on Fox (and the runup too) and they really seemed like temper tantrums to me. But here’s my question to y’all: Here’s Obama’s weekly video address. Isn’t what he’s talking about what you *want* him to do? Wouldn’t it be better for intelligent conservatives to take serious actions hold his feet to the fire about doing it, rather than standing around with a bunch of Dittoheads and Beckians calling Obama a fascist/socialist or whatever?

P.S. Even the Murdoch-owned NY Post only thought there were 5000 at the NY tea party. Pretty small beans. Maybe that explains why the Times didn’t see fit to give it the prominence you would have liked.

Todd Seavey said...

I’d say thousands of people calling politicians socialists _is_ an important means of holding their feet to the fire.

Mitch Golden said...

The problem, from your point of view, is that it isn’t serious. Being at a protest with non-serious people like those will render your movement non-serious. And Obama clearly is not a socialist (nor a Nazi) in any meaningful sense, so people who don’t already agree with you are likely to dismiss anything else being said.

Sean Dougherty said...

Michael Moore attended a democratic party convention – the official nomination of the most powerful political party in America – as the guest of a former President. Granted, it was Jimmy Carter, but still. Does that mean the Democrats didn’t achieve all that success they have achieved in the last 2-3 years?

Clearly associating with unserious people doesn’t stop you from achieving your policy goals – it must be something else.