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Monday, February 15, 2010

Tea Party Movement Hard to Swallow

George Wenschhof

The frustrations many Americans are feeling today as they suffer through a major recession while watching a dysfunctional Congress; mainly caused by the "Republican Party of No", is totally understandable.

Voters want to see their elected officials in Washington working together to build consensus for the solutions to the problems they are faced with today.

However, a movement that is based on on a premise of less cost in government is hard to support when they charged $600 to attend their recent conference in Nashville and have headline speakers who blemish their movement.

At the Nashville tea party convention; former Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Co.) spoke of how President Obama would have never been elected if there had been a literacy test for voters. Tancredo went on with his incendiary statements saying the ones who elected Obama could not even spell the word vote and that they had put a socialist ideologue in the White House.

These statements hearken us back to a unfortunate time in American history when racism led to literacy tests, polls taxes, and other methods to deny African Americans the right to vote. Actions which were unacceptable then and now.

Meghan McCain, the daughter of Senator John McCain (R-Az.) was quick to denounce the tea party movement and Tom Tancredo's speech at their convention. You can watch her denounce the tea party movement while appearing on "The View" here.

Spending a third of the proceeds from the recent Nashville convention to pay former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be their keynote speaker also flies in the face of the movement's premise of fiscal restraint.

A recent
Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted February 4 - 8 showed two-thirds of the respondents were unhappy with the way the federal government was working yet two-thirds of the respondents knew little of what the tea party movement stands for.

Unfortunately, for the tea party movement who just shelled out $100,000 for her to speak at their convention, 71% of the respondents of the poll felt Sarah Palin was unqualified to be President.

Thankfully, outside of the 500-600 who attended the recent tea party convention, voters see Ms. Palin for what she is, a former politician hoping to cash in from the heightened public exposure afforded her by Senator John McCain (R-Az.) when he picked her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential election.

A year ago when Barrack Obama took office, leading Republican and Democratic economists pushed for the federal government to spend big to avoid a catastrophic financial meltdown in the United States.

This advise coming on the heels of the federal bailout of financial firms on the precipice of collapse that occurred at the end of the George W. Bush administration.

This action followed eight years of the laizze faire practice by the George W. Bush administration and Congress when it came to reasonable controls on financial institutions.

Thankfully, even though some argued it was not big enough, the passage of the 800 billion Stimulus bill under the Obama administration averted a huge U.S. economic collapse. While unemployment exceeded the original 8% goal of the Stimulus bill, it has been kept at, or below ten per cent.

Interestingly, the tea party movement was silent as President George W. Bush doubled the national debt from the 5.4 trillion level when he took office to the 11.3 trillion when he left office. Bush also let lapse the "pay-as-you-go" legislation passed under the Bill Clinton administration which led to a 200 billion budget surplus.

Similar "pay-as-you-go" legislation was just signed into law by President Obama and he also just ordered a three year freeze on many Domestic programs as he realizes the importance of paying down the national debt.

Inheriting a national financial disaster and avoiding a complete economic meltdown is a difficult task for any incoming President.

What is needed now is people and political parties working together to develop solutions to move our country forward while reducing the budget and national debt.

Fortunately, a NY Times/CBS News poll conducted February 5-10 showed only 18% of the respondents were supportive of the tea party movement.

A movement that uses former politicians who spew racial epithets and who use the frustration facing many Americans today to cash in for their own reward, is not for me.


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