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Tea Parties and their critics

I didn't go to a tea party on April 15th. I was busy, and I also have a natural aversion to bandwagons, even ones I'm sympathetic to, like the tea party movement.

Like I said, I am sympathetic. Somebody needs to protest against government spending, if only to counteract the natural and much more common tendency to advocate FOR government spending.

There may have been valid criticisms, but dismissing them as "teabaggers" is juvenile. I can understand it in the blogosphere (hell, I'm not always the picture of maturity and propriety myself.) But for Anderson Cooper to use that term,in his capacity as a news anchor,  is completely unprofessional.

Even worse is Janeane Garafolo's remarks on the Keith Olbermann show about "teabagging rednecks" who are "hating a black man in the White House". Keith Olbermann agreed and described the tea partiers as "a bunch of guys looking who are just looking for a reason to yell at the black president".

So there you have it. Any criticism of government while a black man is in the White House is racism. Such a belief can't be helpful to civil political discourse or to race relations in America.

Another wrongheaded criticism of the tea parties came from libertarian Ryan McMaken at lewrockwell.com. Admittedly, he is not as mindless as Garofolo and Olbermann. But he lets his dislike of conservatives blind him to anything the tea parties are trying to accomplish. He describes the tea partiers as former "cheerleaders for one of the most profligate administrations in American history."
I won't argue with his characterization of the Bush administration...it's pretty much spot on.
But his description of conservatives is simplistic. Did he not hear any of the conservatives railing against Bush's prescription drug benefit or (my fave) no child left behind? It almost makes me wonder if the tea parties were the first time he had ever been around conservatives.

Maybe somebody should have organized protests against Bush's spending. But would McMaken honestly prefer that because there were no such protests, conservatives remain silent about Obama's spending?


To steal a comment from a (liberal) friend: Meh, I always knew Janeane Garafolo was an idiot.

I actually had a smug moment of satisfaction when she was parodied on Team America, thinking of things she's said about conservatives in general...

Ryan McMaken seems to be making the "where were they back then when this wrong thing was done" fallacy.

Edited at 2009-04-21 01:27 am (UTC)