Of Tea Bags and Temper Tantrums: An Open Letter to Today's Tea Party Protestors

Dear Teabaggers,

You’re new here, aren’t you? I mean to the whole protesting thing. And the small government thing. Let’s have a talk before you embarrass yourselves any further.

First off, let’s talk about your message, or rather the lack of one. Just what are you protesting anyway? It doesn’t seem to be entirely clear. As a lot of people have pointed out, most of you have likely already gotten personal tax cuts, so are you really protesting your tax bill now after it’s been consistently lowered by both the current and prior administrations? Maybe you don’t like the tax policy that puts more taxes on fewer taxpayers? Help me out here. You guys seem to be rebels without a cause.

And is it really decifit spending and the national debt? Where the hell have you been for the last 8 years? Did you not notice that President Bush and the Republican Congress were spending money like drunken sailors? Did that $3T in new debt somehow escape your view? And before that, do you recall how his father dropped $1.4T in new debt in a single term? And Reagan racked up $1.69T? And even “check out my surpluses” Clinton charged up a good $1.54T in new debt? Debt spending isn’t some new problem. It’s been going on in disgusting amounts since before I was born. Why the outrage just now?

Some of us have actually been on the front lines for longer than you’ve given two hoots about anything. I spent a hot Las Vegas summer getting sunburned and dehydrated collecting petition signatures to overturn a record (and, it turned out, unnecessary) tax increase in Nevada. I ran for office three times. I was county chair of a political party in two different states. I run two blogs with a combined 5500 visits every month with most of the content geared towards politics. I go to legislative committee meetings, talk directly with my elected officials, get interviewed by newspapers… and you guys think you’re hot stuff because you took a half-day off of work to wave incendiary signs in front of public buildings for a couple of hours for some cause that’s ambiguous at best?

And to top it all off, a bunch of elected Republicans have gleefully hopped on board, seemingly unaware that they are protesting the very problem they helped create. And you guys are oblivious to the fact that you’re being used by a party that apparently has run out of ideas and respect for the voters. Remember, these are the guys who got us into the TARP mess to begin with, then kept on criticizing the president’s budget without one of their own. (Don’t be too smug, Democrats; you did the same thing for years.)

Are you starting to see why nobody is taking you seriously? Once you push away the puffery and sound bytes, you have all of the substance of a bunch of whiny Emo kids. Grow up and leave the small government message to those of us who know what the heck we’re talking about and, more importantly, have the street cred to be taken seriously.


The people who have ACTUALLY been supporting small government for the last three decades aka Not You

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12 Responses

  1. Bill says:

    To paraphrase Obama “Let me be perfectly clear” I didn’t go to a Tea party. I was against the increased spending under the Reagen administration, against the same of the man that asked us to “read my lips, with the same game different party under Clinton and finally the guy who lost his veto pen by the name of GWB. To me it is real simple. Unless we have a speaker that has a desire to control spending it won’t happen. Unfortunately the Senate is also the problem and their average ages are better suited for trying to control their bladder than spending. Hasertt & Frisk were Casper Milk Toast and basically let things run on their own. Pelosi is tough enough but has never met a liberal cause that she wouldn’t support and fund. I heard plenty of conservatives like myself thrash Bush during his tenure about not only spending, but also about borders. He didn’t listen. Unfortunately their were no valid alternatives.

    I welcome the increased exposure on the deficit even if it is years late in coming. Hopefully the Conservatives will be awakened and the Liberals tossed out in the next National Election. The long and the short of it is we cannot keep going on this path. Just maybe our next President can find an Econ. and Accounting book to study before taking office. Until then it is as my Dad stated to me many times ” you have a champagne appetite with a beer income. Even more important we have grown to feel ourselves entitled to champagne

  2. Tyler Riggs says:

    I understand where you’re coming from and it’s frustrating when you’ve been involved with something for so long and then everyone else jumps on the bandwagon but takes a few steps down on the ignorance scale…

    But it is true that many just don’t have the time and passion to get as involved as you’ve been. Maybe this is a start to inspire just one or two more people to get more involved? Every tree starts from a seed.

  3. Jesse says:

    I’d have less of a problem with it if it didn’t feel like cheap partisan hackery. I’m willing to bet that most of these same people will be silent once more should Republicans control either Congress or the White House. That makes me question just how genuine their anger is.

  4. Kristi says:

    You pretty much nailed all the reasons I didn’t go. It seemed more like a tax thing than a government spending one and since I make money on tax day, what do I have to complain about?
    I always like a good protest. They’re hard to resist. I think too many people take our first amendment for granted. So yay to all them for making signs. Now if they’ll stop voting for Hatch and Bennett, we might get somewhere.
    I agree, “most of these same people will be silent once more should Republicans control either Congress or the White House”. The best things Utahns can do isn’t making signs, it’s getting Hatch and Bennett out!

  5. bestsariah says:

    I don’t really have any idea what you’re talking about with this, but every time I see you’ve mentioned “teabagging”, I throw up a little. Is there a group that calls itself teabaggers? I’m so confused.

  6. Jesse says:

    Do a search on Google News for “tea party” and you’ll see some of what it is. Basically, a bunch of people are protesting… something (they aren’t entirely clear as to what) and decided to send tea bags (as in bags of tea, not what’s making you vomit) to elected officials as a symbol of protest. In theory, it’s supposed to be representing the Boston Tea Party. In practice, it’s dumb grandstanding and opens them up for all kinds of fun double entendre.

  7. Reach Upward says:

    I think you’re overly harsh on the tea party folks. While many will probably, as you say, be happy campers once the pendulum swings back to the GOP, we should be willing to welcome anyone that takes any steps at all down the path of limited government. Maybe a few will actually come to take it seriously.

    Some of these folks were opposed to the government expansions of the Bush II era, but felt constrained to support the GOP line, assuming that it was at least better than the Democrats. (Yeah, I know. Not necessarily a good assumption.) Those that were in this boat suddenly find themselves freed from the necessity of party loyalty and they’re finding it rather refreshing. I don’t begrudge them expressing themselves.

    Economist F.A. Hayek wrote in his book The Road to Serfdom that free thinkers will always be a minority in any society. To accomplish any of their desires, they must necessarily join forces (even if only temporarily) with groups with which they share some common cause but that disagree with them on most matters. We can’t afford to push away those that are insufficiently ideologically pure.

  8. Jesse says:

    My anger is not about ideological purity, but rather that too many members of this “movement” have done little to repudiate government spending by Republicans. By not being loud about all flavors of big government, they look like little more than Republican Party shills. Given the poor reputation of the Republican Party these days, it hurts the cause to have those kinds of associations.

  9. Bill says:

    Because the Republican Party has lost its soul we find ourselves in this current mess. Anything that will help a Senator get his(soul) back should be encouraged. If I had gone to the event, it would be to that end. Obama is doing what he said he would do all along. It is the horses backsides in the Republican Senate that should have everyone’s Ire raised

  10. numberless says:

    Las Vegas protests were hilarious. Those of us who have been involved with these protests for a long time were ready. I saw more anti Glenn Beck and other Republican hacks stuff than the Republicans themselves. Most of the third party types and the diehards were pretty pissed off about a bunch of insincere Republic stooges trying to hijack and even that they’re just as much a cause for as any Democrat.

    Republicans seem to think that this country’s biggest problem are the Democrats. The Democrats seem to think this country’s biggest problem is the Republicans. The funniest part is, there’s no reason they can’t both be right!

    “Some of these folks were opposed to the government expansions of the Bush II era, but felt constrained to support the GOP line, assuming that it was at least better than the Democrats.”

    Can someone please tell me how this thinking continues to prevail? What is it, exactly, that the Republicans have done in say… the last 50 years that would make anyone think they’re going to go “back to their roots”? It would be almost as moronic as having some Democrat holding out for, “Well, this was the party of Andrew Jackson, so…” See what I mean? The only president in the last century to really come out and fight the power was Kennedy—a Democrat! And while I don’t love his policies from top to bottom he was the only one to fight the FED.

    And don’t tell me Obama is doing what he said he’d do. So much for the new era of transparency and change. He’s just another shill. And I think that’s what bugs me so much. Both the major parties—and frankly, anyone who still lacks the spine and intellect to move on since, even without voting, your numbers still lend power to both wicked engines—are blights, liars, cheats and political machines with the goal of getting elected and consolidating wealth and power with no particular interest in ideals regardless of what they once were. Yet, it’s always the other guy’s fault.

    Democrats seem to be content to be merely disappointed with their candidates since the leftist nature of the party allows them to be more honest about their future plans.

    Republicans though, geez… I don’t know if it’s battered wives’ syndrome or Stockholm syndrome but seriously, how many times are going to come back to him after he cheats on you and then tells he’s sorry and how much he loves you and needs you when the Democrats kick him to the curb? Rinse and repeat for… 50 years? Are we going to try and make it a century?

    (And can someone tell my why Republicans suddenly become economic conservatives only when they’re the minority? Do none of these people know that we’ve had recording devices for several decades and when they suddenly jump on the bandwagon I can go to YouTube in this day and age and find a video clip of their other face talking?)

  11. Bill says:

    Was Newt Gingrich in the minority? Are you referring to him as a non economic conservative? If so please explain why.

  12. Your Favorite Brother-in-law says:

    Jesse. . .Although I certainly understand your disgust with the opportunism of SOME of the hacks that participated in the various tea parties across the country, I’m not sure the blanket condemnation/condescension is warranted (it rarely ever is). Many folks who call themselves Republicans have been furious with the party for the past 8 years. In fact, I came very close to saying “it doesn’t matter which party wins the elections, after all, how much worse could the democrats be?” In the first 100+ days of the new administration, I think we are finding out just how much worse it can be. For those protesters who are raising the limited Gov’t/limited spending flag now, when they seemed to be largely silent for the past 8 years, give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the source of their newfound outrage is the DEGREE of overspending witnessed with the Bush/Obama self-stimulation packages, and not simply the that they’re jabbing at the opposing party. Perhaps the ludicrous, almost surreal levels of current spending are finally waking people up who have been largely silent until now despite their ideological kinship to longtime small gov’t advocates such as yourself.

    So, by all means continue to deride those who pretend that the republican party has always been a bastion of fiscal responsibility. But It might not be fair to assume that all of the “tea baggers” fall into this category, nor is it fair to assume that everyone who associates with the republican party is complicit in its crimes against the financial health of the nation. After all, even if every Christian in the world renounced basic Christian principles, I would still call MYSELF Christian.

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