The View From the Couch: 16 Tons and What Do You Get? Twenty Nine Dead


Let us now contemplate the Tea Party.Why?Everyone seems to be doing it.The movement is getting a lot of ink and tape, or digital

attention.In that way, the TP is

the most successful astro-turf operation ever run, in terms of publicity, far

more successful than the actual grassroots Reform Party (which Pat Buchanan

destroyed), which launched Bill Clinton into the White House because of its

enthusiastic support of Ross Perot.Perot was an anti-taxer, too, full of sucking sounds of deficits taking

us all under, rather than the sucking sounds of Wall Street taking us all


As everyone points out, the Tea Partiers are very white, the

same way the Republican Party is white, even though it has its token black as

head of its fund-raising arm, the Republican National Committee chairman.So, doubtless, there's an

African-American or two in the Tea Party (or not), though there certainly is a

large percentage of birthers, those who don't believe Barack Obama was born in

the US of A.Again, though one

hears Obama was born in a Kenyan hut often, what one doesn't hear, except from

me, is that he's the only American president I know whose father wasn't an

American citizen, born in the USA.That alone, to me, is an extraordinary fact no one ever seems to

mention. It makes him, indeed, one of a kind.

But the Tea Party has been organized, or beefed up,

promoted, by not only Republican consultants, but also Fox News.And though Tea Partiers blame the

fringe for the most broadcasted excesses (Obama as Hitler, etc.) the movement

is already a fringe movement, so those folks are the fringe of the fringe.And all the Take Our Country Back

talk is more stark, given that they want to take it back from the black people

in the White House.Obama's

national career, as many others before him, has been made possible by luck and

circumstance.On the Republican

side, Obama's Senate race imploded and he walked into Congress after Alan Keyes

was carpet-baggered in to Illinois by the GOP to run against Obama.And, in retrospect, how could he have

lost to John McCain?He

couldn't.That race was as easy as

Clinton's '96 race against Bob Dole, the other wounded war vet.

The media likes dog fights as much as Michael Vick.So, it laps up the Tea Party, the loose

group only united and ignited by hatred of Obama and taxes.The Republican anti-tax machine has

done such a good job over the decades that one can't even suggest banks and

bankers and hedge fund managers and corporations pay more taxes without the

feral anti-tax commercials hitting the tube.Public option health care could have been funded by a small

rise in the Medicare withholding tax, say, point five percent, half of one

percent. That would be a progressive tax: the more you're paid, the more you're

taxed. But the anti-tax folk have been so effective in their campaign, all

taxes are denounced, regardless of their effectiveness.Again, this fervor is meant to save the

very very rich from paying more taxes, not to save the dollars of the working

poor. They're out of work in any case.

Tax Wall Street bonuses as windfall profits; tax banks,

corporations.As it's been pointed

out, Bill Gates stops paying Social Security FICA taxes before the first day of

the year is out.Raise the cap on

Social Security.It remains a

depressing, permanent phenomena that so many Americans continue to vote against

their own self interest.People

should emulate those in Congress, the folks who only vote for their own self

interest, placating the lobbyists and other interests who fork over the "contributions"

they so richly deserve.


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