The tea nuts are a tiresome bunch that represents fewer people than they and the media would have us believe. At the end of the day while some casual participants – as compared to the hardcore activists – may really believe they are part of something new and important – the tea bagger phenomenon is largely about an allegedly new and improved conservatism ( Newt Gingrich declares they will be the “militant” wing of the GOP). A way to deflect blame for the 10 years that Republicans ruled one to all three branches of government. As worthy of being completely ignored as they are, to do so would be the same mistake moderate Americans made when they ignored the growth of right-wing radio in the 80s. Rabid zealots like Limbaugh, the late Jerry Falwell and others were too extreme to take seriously or deserve a reply. There are not enough gullible Americans out there to believe the garbage, conspiracy theories, anti-Democracy vitriol and bizarre alternate reality they were selling? It turned out that if nothing else, the constant repetition of their message sunk in with enough of the electorate to get some razor thin victories. Enough to change the political landscape. So if the rebranded conservatives are going to use the same tactic of repeating the message over and over, then they must be answered over and over. The Tea Party’s Toxic Take on History – Ignore it at your peril.
The muddled Tea Party version of history is more than wrong and fraudulent. It’s offensive. Calling Obama a tyrant, a communist, or a fascist is deeply offensive to all the real victims of tyranny, the real victims of communism and fascism. The tens of millions murdered. It trivializes such suffering inexcusably for the T.P.ers to claim that they are suffering from similar oppression because they might have their taxes raised or be subject to demonic “federal regulation.”
Any readers remember 1993 when President Clinton was trying to pass health care reform. The demagoguery might sound familiar:
LIMBAUGH: “Most Canadian physicians who are themselves in need of surgery, for example, scurry across the border to get it done right: the American way. They have found, through experience, that state medical care is too expensive, too slow and inefficient, and, most important, it doesn’t provide adequate care for most people.” (Told You So, p. 153)
REALITY: “Mr. Limbaugh’s claim simply isn’t true,” says Dr. Hugh Scully, chair of the Canadian Medical Association’s Council on Healing and Finance. “The vast majority of Canadians, including physicians, receive their care here in Canada. Those few Canadians who receive health care in the U.S. most often do because they have winter homes in the States–like Arizona and Florida–and have emergent health problems there.” Medical care in Canada is hardly “too expensive”; it’s provided free and covered by taxes.
LIMBAUGH: “If you have any doubts about the status of American health care, just compare it with that in other industrialized nations.” (Told You So, p. 153)
REALITY: The United States ranks 19th in life expectancy and 20th in infant mortality among 23 industrialized nations, according to the CIA’s 1993 World Fact Book. The U.S. also has the lowest health care satisfaction rate (11 percent) of the 10 largest industrialized nations (Health Affairs, vol. 9, no. 2).
Another passage from The Tea Party’s Toxic Take on History,
Consider the role that fraudulent history played in Weimar Germany, where the “stab in the back” myth that the German Army had been cheated of victory in World War I by Jews and Socialists on the home front was used by the Nazis to justify their hatreds.
It’s a historical lie, but it caught on, and Hitler rose to power on it, asking Germans to avenge the (nonexistent) stab in the back! It may be true that the Tea Party will disintegrate before it acquires any real power, as more and more of its leaders are revealed to be fanciers of racist jokes and bestiality videos. But one can’t be assured of it. It’s important to expose the lies for what they are before they further debase the language with their false use of words.
Mr. Rosenbaum is not calling the tea baggers Nazis, but the analogy to the tea baggers/conservatives dangerous attempts to rewrite history could bring us an administration and Congress that is even further to the rabid Right than the Bush years. He cites Jonah Goldberg’s egregious attack on history and political science that is often found in the rants of Glenn Beck where fascism and communism are one and the same. We’re not arguing over who played first base in the World Series in 1959 ,we’re talking about the suffering and deaths of millions of people by butchers like Stalin and Hitler. In addition the soldiers that gave their lives and a large chunk of several nation’s wealth to defeat the very real tyranny of real tyrants. The tea baggers must be able to muster up some awful powers of denial to block out the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by Bush and the Right’s lies, distortions and hysteria. Something that we continue pay for. There is no logic to the Right’s attacks. These are grown adults that genuinely think passing a law that prevents insurance companies from suddenly canceling a child’s insurance coverage is the same thing as being a mass murdering communist or fascist. Recent surveys and media reports say the tea nuts are just average folks. That’s defining average way down.
The internet has a lot of crap to sift through, but Hitler and Stalin’s writings and speeches are on-line and neither of them had any love of liberalism:
Today Christians … stand at the head of [this country]… I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press – in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past … (few) years.
- Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1 (London, Oxford University Press, 1942), pg. 871-872
the liberal intelligentsia is persistently striving to kill the political independence of the proletariat and to impose its tutelage upon it — at such a time we must be extremely vigilant and never forget that our Party is di fortress the gates of which arc opened only to those who have been tested.
from LENINISM – Selected Writings – BY JOSEPH .STALIN