There is a half-baked poll over at CNN that reports there are OMG, some disgruntled Democrats in the tea nut movement. As the The Gun Toting Liberal notes there is a Democrat/Liberal version of the tea party called the Coffee Party -“his new report, courtesy of CNN, showing an incredible increase in the growing ranks of “Dem-Baggers” — now weighing in at a STAGGERING 4% of all Tea Baggers.” What CNN is trying to do and what right-wing conservative bloggers have been trying to do since the release of a survey from the Winston Group ( the pdfs contain a detailed analysis) is add some legitimacy to the tea nut movement by sighting the participation of a few Democrats. See the tea bags are not crazy because they are 4% Democrat. I’m getting a laugh out of it, but the right-wing bloggers are very serious. No More Mr. Nice Blog examines one “Democrat” and she does not seem to follow politics or public policy very closely, I Must Be Missing Something. Most of us grown-ups realize when we vote we’re not going to get everything we want and we complain – as many liberals have about the lack of a public option in HCR and about some of President Obama’s hold over national security policies from the Bush administration, but none of us think, gee, maybe I should have voted for Palin-McCain. To back up for a moment about that stat which shows 4% of tea bags are Democrats – in a poll taken in December 09 – 33% of Republicans supported a public option in HCR. If HCR reform is the dividing line between far right conservatives and liberals that 33% suggests that there are more moderate conservatives out there not attending rallies and calling Democrats communists and Nazis than there are Democratic tea bags, and of course the moderates do not have Fox and corporate sponsors on their side. There is always a certain mindset in political/cultural movements that finds common cause with the extreme. The Democratic Daily gets into the history of that phenomenon – The Easter Bigots. A recent ratings report showed that CNN is slipping in the ratings. I tend to think it is because they have tried to pander to the Right and fellow the Murdoching of news – where all news becomes a matter of opinion. Bring back straight up reporting and they might see an increase in ratings – CNN pimps Great American Tea Party Express PR and Propaganda Tour
Since the kickoff of the TeaParty Express Tour, CNN has embedded a small press corps in their custom-painted “CNN Express” press bus for the sole purpose of following teabaggers around the country , reporting 3-4 times daily on the activities of the corporate-funded, RNC-connected Tea Party Express.
This clip from Wednesday boggled my mind. You can see how few there are at this rally, but watch as Ali Velshi and Ed Lavandera turn it into a “movement”.
LAVANDERA: But these other rallies that have take been place in St. George, Utah, in Phoenix, and in Salt Lake City, now in Grand Junction, have had — one of the ones we went to had close to 2,000 people. The last couple that we’ve been to have been around 500, a couple hundred people or so. This one’s a little bit smaller.
They are packing up here shortly and headed to Denver tonight, so we’ll see how that works. Some of these other rallies have been held during the days, so obviously people have to work and that sort of thing. But in Denver, it will be an interesting one to check out. It will be after work, and see what kind of turnout that they draw there.
Will we be seeing CNN “reporters” waving pom poms made of tea bags soon. The speech heard and the signage at tea nut rallies is disturbing, but hopefully no one would argue these people do not have a right to exercise their freedom of speech and peaceful protests. Most tea nuts seem to be keeping their activities to just that, hateful ignorant speech and crazy signs. As a percentage of the people who identify themselves as tea bags they have been responsible for a disproportionate amount of violence and vandalism. Hate crimes started spiking in 2008 just with speculation that a very centrist mixed race Democrat might become the next president and Democrats might have a majority in Congress. One of the crazy things about the tea nuts according to the study by the Winston group is that most of them are white male with not more than a high school education and most (some are above) of them report their household incomes right at the national median of $50,000. These are the people who President Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave a tax cut as part of the stimulus (Recovery Act) and they are the ones that will benefit most from HCR – What’s the matter with white people? – Too many believe — incorrectly — that health care reform helps “other people,” not themselves. Some other snips from the W.G. survey
Some 56% of Tea Party members are male while 44% are female.
The Tea Party movement is also made up of a slightly older group of voters than the electorate as a whole. Only 14% of Tea Party members identify themselves as age 18-34 compared to 20% of the sample overall. Furthermore, the older age groups – 55-64 and 65+ are more represented in the Tea Party movement than in the electorate overall.
Tea Party members tend to get their news about national issues from Fox News – some 47% of Tea Party members in the December – February surveys list Fox News as one of their top one or two sources of news, compared to 19% of the sample overall.
They also identify a personal consequence: 82% say that when tax provisions
expire next year, taxes on people like them will increase, compared to 62% of overall respondents.
So we have mostly older white males seating around swallowing every last bit of swill that Fox spews. They have done no research on the actual numbers and the sky rocketing costs of health care without reform. They believe, thanks to the 24/7 right-wing noise machine their taxes will go up. Those tea bags making over $250,000 a year are correct as of today; there are plans to let the Bush tax cuts expire for that group and even then tax rates for that group will be no more than they were under Saint Ronnie. These tea bag folks were around for Saint Ronnie’s tax cuts and tax increases and we didn’t see them throwing bricks through any windows than. The total net sum of tea bag thinking is not about sensible well thought out policy prescriptions. It is not about returning to some set of polices that was affective in helping the working poor or the middle-class. The politics of tea nuttiness is all about beliefs. Beliefs that cannot be justified with facts. That is not populism, that’s an unthinking mob. What The Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes – How can it be that you pay more to the IRS than General Electric?
As you work on your taxes this month, here’s something to raise your hackles: Some of the world’s biggest, most profitable corporations enjoy a far lower tax rate than you do–that is, if they pay taxes at all.
The most egregious example is General Electric. Last year the conglomerate generated $10.3 billion in pretax income, but ended up owing nothing to Uncle Sam. In fact, it recorded a tax benefit of $1.1 billion.
Perrspective’s post on the rise of conservative violence and Republican Senators and House Representatives before passage of HCR – From Republican Rhetoric to Right-Wing Terror
The slaughter of three Pittsburgh policemen by an assailant who “didn’t like our [gun] rights being infringed upon” has again highlighted the growing danger from incendiary Republican rhetoric spawning right-wing terror. After all, just days ago, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced, “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous.” Fox News host Glenn Beck warned of a “Constitution under attack” and predicted a coming “civil war” while featuring guests like NRA chief Wayne Lapierre whose group spent millions in 2008 denouncing Barack Obama’s supposed “deep-rooted hatred of firearm freedoms.”
TPM has some – though not all of the major violent incidents involving anti-government zealots, Going To Extremes: The Obama Era’s Top Ten Anti-Government Flare-Ups . That list also includes Norman LeBoon who made threats against Republican Eric Cantor and who right-wing pundits tried to pass off as a liberal, but was in fact an anti-government loon that had also threatened several Democrats.
And some of the incidents that accompanied the passage of HCR. Vandals hit at least five Dem offices nationwide, threaten to ‘assassinate’ children of pro-reform lawmakers. And Right Wing Reacts With Rage: Health Care Will ‘Do More Damage Than 9/11,’ ‘Freedom Has Been Assaulted’. The rabid right’s analogies are so outrageous and hyperbolic they’re both farcical and disturbing. One assumes they really think HCR is worse than 9-11 and the Armageddon of U.S. democracy. So much for having a rational debate, much less a civil one with the far Right or their new brand the tea nuts.