The corporate media we are unfortunately plagued with in this country has spent countless hours over the past 6-7 years covering "insurgency" - first in Iraq, and now in Afghanistan. They were quick to identify and report on those attacks from a virulent minority in other countries, but they have been very slow to recognize our own Tea Party phenomenon for what it really is, though: a radically destructive domestic insurgency which is more threatening to our existing institutions and way of life than the Taliban or Al Qaeda could ever hope to be.
Antidemocratic plutocrats like Dick Armey, David Koch, and Rick Scott have helped create this mythical grassroots movement called the Tea Party. They have cynically capitalized on widespread voter frustration with the Great Recession they themselves helped create, and have preyed on typically apolitical and elderly voters' ignorance of the way government actually works. They have fed the public a steady diet of fear through lies and propaganda. They have successfully vamped this anger and frustration into a force of hatred against President Obama, his majority Democratic Party, and even the government itself. This movement's aim is to render the federal government tiny, weak, and ineffective, completely powerless and unable to regulate or oversee corporations and banking. They are accomplishing this by hijacking the Republican Party and forcing out all of its remaining moderate members, replacing them with far, far right candidates who either agree with their ultra-conservatism or who will be compliant stooges in carrying out that agenda. They aim to politically destroy the President so that they may achieve a bloodless coup-d'etat to seize effective control of and rechannel the government into a subservient tool for big business and big money. If they succeed, oversight and regulation as we have known it will disappear. The ability of the individual to protect oneself from abuses and excesses of concentrated capital will vanish forever. Workers will lose even the limited leverage they have at the moment and will effectively become modern-day serfs of the corporate domain. Diversity and social freedom will be replaced by rigid conformity and oppressive social conservative dictates. The poor will grow in number and all vestiges of a safety net will vanish altogether.
This, voters, is an insurgency from within AND without our government. It must be defeated before it can fully implement its malevolent agenda!
Let's take a look at some of the principal players behind this insurgency and examine just why they are so potentially dangerous.
Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint is paid $174,000 per year in YOUR tax dollars for the privilege of serving as a U.S. Senator. WE are paying his salary. What are we getting for his "service"? Obstruction, lots of it, and a pledge to shut down the government which employs him, to paralyze it in gridlock if Congress fails to extend George W. Bush's massive tax breaks for the wealthy, due to expire in 2011. This is a direct quote from an interview he gave Bloomberg Businessweek: "“I’ve been told by businesses that if we would stop the tax increases the best thing that could happen for business after that is complete gridlock. At least gridlock is predictable,” he said. Like most conservatives and teabaggers, DeMint HATES taxes and wants those tax cuts to remain permanently, even as he declares himself in favor of a balanced budget and reducing our current deficit. He has actively supported insurgent Tea Party candidates in primaries where they have been facing moderate Republican officeholders. Mr. DeMint is under the mistaken notion that he represents only the wealthy and "business" sectors of the country, and not the majority of his constituents, who are poor, working, and middle-income citizens.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has actively encouraged citizens to revolt against the federal government, saying "I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of energy tax...", and "we have to rise up and say : 'No more! Not on my watch!'", and "Thomas Jefferson told us: 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing.'" Of her role in Washington, she has said "...now in Washington, I'm a foreign correspondent on enemy lines". Just like Jim DeMint, Michele Bachmann favors continuing tax cuts for the rich and hates government too. She has urged people to not fill out the Census (DEFINITELY an act of insurrection) and has no understanding of the needs of the poor and unemployed. She once said "Literally, if we took away the minimum wage—if conceivably it was gone—we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level." Ms. Bachmann obviously does not grasp that incomes below the current minimum wage would be below the poverty level. She, too, has supported far-right Tea Party types in their bid to take over the GOP. For all of this, she should be replaced by her district's voters, as she does not truly understand or represent them.
Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle defeated her Republican rival in the Nevada GOP's primary for U.S. Senator. I covered her extensively in my September 3 post "Why Sharron Angle Must NOT Be Elected Senator From Nevada". She wants to abolish the Department of Education, repeal the recently-passed health care reform bill and return us to the abominable system we had before, and has stated she can understand citizens "taking Second Amendment measures" against members of what she views as an oppressive government. Another of these far right types who want a weak federal government, she, too, wants the Bush tax cuts to stay in place. She also refuses to speak to the press unless she can be certain the interview will be a soft one which helps her further her views. This crazy woman doesn't understand that a free press is supposed to challenge and question those running for and those in office. Arrogance, perhaps?
Hoping to be Delaware's next Senator, Christine O'Donnell is, much like Michele Bachmann, a ocial and economic conservative who wants a weak government and takes extreme positions on many issues. With the backing of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, she bumped off long time moderately conservative Republican Mike Castle in that state's GOP Senate primary. And, like Sarah Palin, O'Donnell loves being in the spotlight and even sports Palinesque mannerisms. Also reminiscent of Palin, she has ethics violations swirling around her. Former aide David Keegan has put forth an affidavit alleging that O'Donnell used more than $20,000 in campaign funds for personal use (food, rent, and even a bowling outing), and watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the U.S. Attorney for Delaware to open a criminal investigation. CREW has also asked for the Federal Elections Commission to audit her campaign expenses. O'Donnell's financial disclosure form listed only $5,000 in earned income between March 2009-June 2010, an unbelievably low figure in a fairly expensive state like Delaware. Apparently O'Donnell believes as Palin did, that she can do whatever she damn well pleases and that rules and regulations are merely unnecessary inconveniences. Like both Bachmann and Palin, O'Donnell often shoots from the hip and offers shallow, absolutist, and poorly researched, poorly-thought-out opinions. Some of her gems include [distributing condoms is] "just going to further the spread of AIDS", "there is a gross disproportionate allocation of funds going to AIDS treatmentand prevention in relation to resources dedicated to combat heart disease", and "I just came back from the Middle East and it was refreshing...not to be bombarded with smut all the time." She has also stated that former President Bill Clinton hosting a daytime TV talk show would be a bad idea and "a threat to our national security." O'Donnell claims "American scientific communities are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully-finctioning human brains." She has advocated pre-emptive military action against Iran, saying "you can't negotiate with the devil." Like most religious right and "values voters" types, she wears her religion on her sleeve, but also admits to having "dabbled in witchcraft." Her obsession with sexuality and her moralistic stands have led this blogger to start referring to her as "Prisstine" O'Donnell. Her work history is sketchy (she has NEVER held a steady full time job), but she nonetheless thinks government should get off the back of business and is therefore an expert (she thinks) on what is best for working people and the economy in general. She has absolutely no plan for job creation. "Unqualified" is far too kind an adjective to describe her suitability for holding the office of U.S. Senator. One Palin and one Bachmann are two too many; this country does NOT need another flake in high public office like Prisstine O'Donnell!
Alaska Senate-hopeful Joe Miller is another Sarah Palin hand-picked Tea Party candidate who seemingly rose up out of nowhere to knock off two-term Republican incumbent Lisa Murkowski in Alaska's Senate primary. Miller has said that the federal government has acted unconstitutionally by passing unemployment compensation, Social Security, and Medicare programs that have supposedly bankrupted the nation. He believes that we have all been brainwashed into having an entitlement mentality by thinking "it's the federal government's role to get in there and provide for the general welfare, to basically provide for the solvency particularly of states and other entities -- what, auto companies, the banks -- everything else that fails, the government should be involved in bailing out." This is a typically simplistic and cold-hearted attitude which obviously comes from a guy who has never suffered unemployment or the collapse of a business himself. It is also evidence that he does not understand that it IS the government's responsibility to enact policies which protect its citizens from needless economic hardship.
Kentucky's Rand Paul is one more ultra-conservative candidate running for a Senate seat. He is yet another of those who believes the government is too big and too controlling and wants to see its scope and power tremendously curtailed. He has stated that he believes private businesses and organizations should not have to conform to civil rights laws. He, too, opposes the recently-passed health care reform bill and also greater regulation on business, especially those in the field of energy. This stance, coming from a man who resides in a state where hundreds of coal miners have lost their lives due to less-than safe coal mines, and after we have all witnessed the BP oil drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Sorry, Mr. Paul: at NO time should a greedy business' pursuit of profits trump worker and public safety!
The Queen Bee of them all is Sarah Palin, the former and half-term governor of Alaska who abandoned her responsibilities of office to make herself more money on book promotion and speaking engagements. It is no small coincidence she fled office at a time when she was coming under increasing attack and scrutiny for numerous alleged ethics violations while in office. Ever the opportunist, she has been riding this manufactured Tea Party wave for all it is worth, staying in the spotlight and sneakily trying to not only capitalize on this phenomenon but also attempting to position herself as one of its prominent leaders. By doing so, she will be putting her own personal stamp on the Republican Party, exercising power and influence she doesn't deserve. She is likely also cementing relationships and creating IOUs that may propel her to the GOP nomination for President in 2012. At the very least, she will remain in the spotlight and enable herself to make more money. For, to Sarah Palin, this is only about her. She cares nothing about the unemployed, jobs programs, rising poverty, or decaying infrastructure. SHE HAS NO PLANS OR SOLUTIONS FOR ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS, NOR DO ANY OF HER TEA PARTY INSURGENTS. That neither she nor her like-minded followers know next to nothing about history, geography, world poltics, international relations, economics, or even our fedral government and how it actually works won't matter at all to these fired-up and ill-informed Tea Party reactionaries. They have bought into the fallacy that she is full of common sense just like them and therefore knows what is best for the country. If she and they are successful and can achieve the type of power and influence they crave, it will be a case of the ignorant blind leading the ignorant blind, and its consequences will be disastrous.
Republicans: you have been blindsided by a destructive far-out-of-the-mainstream aberration of your party. Like killer bees, they want to eradicate all in the hive who are not exactly like them. Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle know precisely what I am talking about, and so should you. This Tea Party movement is an insurgency that will destroy your party, and our democracy along with it, once and for all. Destroy IT instead, before it devours you! Moderate Republicans, do NOT vote for these Tea Party types! TAKE YOUR PARTY BACK by pushing THEM out and reaching toward the CENTER of the electorate!
Independents: Do NOT be fooled by these Tea Party types! Their idea of good governance is to turn this country back to the 1890s, the time of the robber barons, when government was weak and totally handicapped by banks and dominant industries. They will accelerate the unhealthy trend toward the eradication of the middle class and the re-establishment of a nation of only two classes: haves, and have-nots. They claim to be dedicated to restoring freedom by destroying the government, but their "freedom" will mean freedom ONLY FOR THE WEALTHY AND PRIVILEGED. The middle class, poor, and elderly will suffer immeasurably if they gain power and their agenda is adopted!
Democrats and Progressives: You must NOT sit this election out! The Tea Party-dominated Republicans must NOT capture control of Congress in November and must NOT take the presidency in 2012! A mediocre, blue dog Democratic Congress and President is VASTLY better than a Tea Party government implementing its 1890s agenda and rolling back all the gains that have been attained through progressive blood, sweat, and tears since the 1930s! Do NOT aid and abet this Tea Party/conservative Republican enemy through apathy and inaction! You DON'T want privatized Social Security and Medicare! You DON'T want unemployment benefits taken away! You DON'T want a return to insurance companies being able to exclude you for pre-existing conditions or cancel your coverage when you get very sick. But that is exactly what you'll get if you stay home, don't vote, and allow these killer bee Tea Party conservatives to grab power!
DEFEAT THIS INSURGENCY, BEFORE IT DESTROYS THIS COUNTRY!