POLITICAL observations & opinions

* the divisive and counter-productive impact of the “know nothing” Tea Party

Posted by Lew Weinstein on June 30, 2011


the divisive impact on the "know-nothing" Tea Party


Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan write for Politico (6/30/11) …

  • After three straight lopsided elections, Congress still can’t — or won’t — function.
  • Congress can’t decide what to do on critical issues like Libya, spending or the nation’s debt limit, and no compromise is in sight on a host of other issues.
  • The back-and-forth between Obama and Boehner aptly demonstrates how the partisan gulf has only gotten worse since the GOP landslide in November, leaving Washington just as dysfunctional as before the election.
  • Approval ratings for Congress are at 17 percent
  • Most of the time, it seems Republicans and Democrats aren’t even speaking the same language.
  • “It’s a very fair question,” Capuano said when asked whether any leader from either party can control the House or Senate at this point. “Many of us are asking ourselves similar questions.”

read the entire article at … http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/58076.html



  • Much of the current Congressional gridlock, in my view, is caused by …
    • the new members elected with support of the Tea Party who know next to nothing but who think they know everything and who have adopted a radical “our way only” stance with respect to all issues, and
    • the fact more senior Republicans who might ordinarily be expected to show measured reason and moderation are terrified by the possibility of Tea Party opposition in their next primary elections
  • How does anyone get past this?
    • One solution is to elect a Democratic Congress in 2012, which I think might just happen, in no small measure because America can now see the consequences of Tea Party intransigence.
  • But what will happen between now and then?
  • What stance should President Obama take?
    • I think he gave us a clue where he is going in his latest comments.
    • He put the Republican Congress in the position of favoring tax breaks for billionaires at the expense of the middle class, seniors, and the most vulnerable among us.
    • That formulation is not only correct, it can, if repeated often and forcefully, make it clear to more moderate and sensible Republicans that “opposition to everything Obama” is a clear path to defeat.

5 Responses to “* the divisive and counter-productive impact of the “know nothing” Tea Party”

  1. Chris said

    Bush did not go to war alone and without support. All the good little demarcates lined up and went along too. Under regulated financial and mortgage markets also include under enforcement from agencies also. Post 2008 crash how many of these banksters’ have been charged with any crimes? JP Morgan and other wall street crooks where given jobs in the government by the Whitehouse. On the debt; the amount at held by the US government is unsustainable period. I condemn politicians for actions taken and not taken. My thoughtfulness ends when I see a country going down the tubes as people bicker on who to blame. I can guarantee the next twenty years are going to be nothing like the past twenty. Remember all the borrowed spending being done is going to be paid for by yours and mine grandchildren.

  2. Lew Weinstein said

    There is much that is wrong with our political system (including unfunded pension programs for state and local government employees and underfunded Social Security payments for retirees), but none of it will be resolved by a single-minded, uninformed, programs to reduce all government services with no understanding or concern for the consequences. I attack the Tea Party movement because I think it is uninformed, mostly wrong, and dangerous.

    There are now serious efforts underway (finally) to cut the federal deficit and debt created by (1) Bush’s two totally unnecessary wars, (2) Bush’s huge tax cuts to the very wealthy, and (3) under-regulated financial/mortgage markets (for which both parties are responsible). These efforts may or may not succeed. But complicated issues should not be resolved by arbitrary decisions, because somebody (some large group, in most cases) wants and often needs every government program and expenditure.

    This is the way of democracy. Inefficient and wasteful and messy, to be sure, but far better than the arbitrary exercise of power or the simplistic notions embodied in Tea Party slogans. Our system of government requires discussion and compromise, and is damaged by rigidly arbitrary policies that would make things worse, not better, and make “traitors” out of those who would compromise. On this point, I disagree also with the ultra-liberal left that arbitrarily refuses to see that modifications to Social Security and Medicare are as needed as part of a compromise approach as are higher taxes on the very wealthy (perhaps to the levels that prevailed in the Ronald Reagan era).

    I am also opposed to those in both parties who fail to see that government expenditures for infrastructure, climate control, alternative energy sources, education, and other programs, are absolutely essential to our future in a very rapidly changing world where we must compete against many intelligent players across the globe. Dealing with these matters requires study and understanding, resulting in programs based on facts rather than slogans.

    The Tea Party movement is being funded from undisclosed sources (a real problem), and frequently takes positions which are against the interests of its vocal members. Many Tea Party activists seem not to understand how much their lives benefit from the very programs they want to eliminate. While I agree that expenditures, debt and deficits need to be reduced, I think the approach of the Tea Party is a great danger to our country.

    • Chris said

      Unfunded pension programs (unfunded by politicians who made promises they never kept. on top of the housing and financial crises have created this problem)
      Social security was funded but its funds have been raided by guess who politicians.
      BUSH BUSH BUSH Yes the great evil satin who you hold responsible for all that is wrong.
      What about President Obama’s spending or war record I mean kinetic-military action? Note:
      This is a republic and we elect our officials democratically.
      One question goes unanswered “how as a country can we continue to spend more than we bring in?”
      Answer we cannot and anybody who continues believe this lives a lie.
      News flash – The Democrat Party is no better than the Republican Party they both want power and control.

      • Lew Weinstein said

        Unfunded pensions were created by politicians of both parties, in response to demands by public employees and their unions. It was a bad deal for all taxpayers who were not public employees. The public employee unions (probably including yours) are as much to blame as the politicians who pandered to them.

        There is a difference between the parties, although of course both do seek to be elected. The Democratic Party does work on behalf of the middle class (people like us) and the Republican Party is totally beholden to the wealthy. Neither is perfect, but they are different.

        We can spend more than we collect with reasonable levels of public debt. Did you not do the same thing by borrowing to buy your home. But deficit expenditures should be an investment in our future (education, infrastructure, job creation in sustainable industries, etc) and not simply consumption or payment for stupid wars. Obama has offered major compromises in this direction but the Tea Party beholden Republicans refuse to consider returning to pre-Bush levels of taxation of the wealthy.

        Obama inherited both of Bush’s expensive wars, and an economic collapse brought about by the Bush tax cuts and inadequate regulation of the financial/mortgage markets by both political parties. He did not create any of that and is doing the best that can be expected working with the hand he was dealt. The increase in Obama expenditures was mainly to prevent a total economic collapse, which he did accomplish. The U.S. auto industry has recovered. The TARP money will be repaid at a profit to the government. And health insurance for everyone is something every other civilized country in the world already has, and which we can afford if the wealthy are made to pay their fair share.

        To ignore these facts and simply condemn all politicians equally is not a thoughtful response.

  3. Chris said

    “Know nothing” Tea Party. This blog continues to attack and condemn Tea party people. Why?
    Your answer is more of the same. Explain to me how as a country we can continue to spend more than we bring in?
    You have said this voter’s expect their representatives’ to bring home pork to their districts. So how is this practice good for the whole country?
    Do you not see anything wrong with the current political system?
    Why is it always a simple a partisan issue?

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