Feb 07 2010

Tea Party Self Destructs With Conservative Fringes

Published by at 9:38 am under All General Discussions

When the Tea Parties were non political gatherings of Americans challenging the deficit spending, deficit in tax cuts and deficit in respecting the judgement and goodness of Americans to do the right thing I was a big fan. But as the movement gained followers, it also attracted the same political wannabes who have tried to turn it into a ‘true ‘conservative’ movement. Which has destroyed the movement’s attraction with independents and centrists.

When you have Birthers given center stage to promote absurd conspiracy theories based on ignorance of law and technical issues you have gone way out of the mainstream. When you have nativist Tom Tancredo as a major speaker you have sunk beyond the fringes.

The Tea Party had a chance to allow center-left, center-right and as much of the far right who could stomach the center of America to come together in a modern Reaganesque coalition to oppose the liberal madness gripping DC. That opportunity is now gone:

You see, the popular conservative meme right now is that Democrats are arrogant and condescending and think that voters are stupid.

Given Democrats’ condescension, I wanted to see how a real American conservative would relate to the average voter. How would the far right express its deep belief in the power of the people?

Here is Tancredo’s opening: First, we should have a “civics literacy test” before people are allowed to vote. Second, “People who could not even spell the word vote or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House whose name is Barack Hussein Obama.” Convention organizer Judson Phillips helpfully explained that “Tancredo doesn’t feel like a lot of people who supported Barack Obama understand the basics of this country.”

I am not wasting anymore time with the right-wing fringes. I and many others are fed up with both fringes and their condescending arrogance (usually as unfounded as their wild schemes and purity tests). And I feel for those who think this movement has any future, including one person I have supported recently with great hope:

During her speech at the National Tea Party Convention on Saturday night, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) ripped the Democratic Party and Obama administration, calling on them to “stop lecturing and start listening.”

That is a universally good idea. Stop lecturing and start listening. Start listening when it becomes clear there is no science behind global warming, nor is there any behind ntelligent design. Start listening when it becomes clear the science of biology proves human embryos are precious human beings with all the potential of anyone other human being, especially when that science is rooted in the real science of evolution and genetics.

Start listening when Americans want to be proud of their diversity, not see it as a wild eyed threat or constant handicap. Start listening when we make clear we are not interested in ignorance based conspiracy theories about the President not being a US Citizen or the President wasting time listening in on American telephone calls and not terrorists.

Over the years both fringes have more than demonstrated their inability to do more than tell everyone else what to do and screw up everything they touch. We have Democrat and Republican leaders in jail for bribery, destroying their families through the lust for power, talking out of multiple sides of their mouths and not doing what they preach.

Let me quote Palin again:

“Competition is good, it makes us work harder and produce more,” Palin said. “Despite what the pundits want you to think, contested primaries aren’t civil war, they are democracy at work and that’s beautiful.”

To a point. When you get to the Birthers and the immigrant haters it is not a beautiful thing. It is a train wreck. Count me out. As Palin said, there is a segment of the movement I am completely comfortable with:

Asked in a pre-screened questioned-and-answer session after the speech if the movement should become an independent party or join the GOP, Palin said, “The Republican Party would be very smart to absorb as much of the Tea Party movement as possible.”

But it is an ever shrinking segment it seems.

Update: See what I mean – NJ, VA and MA were won by winning over centrists, not repulsing them or rejecting them.

Update: For folks who think I am off base here, I suggest they stop by and see Ed Morrissey’s take on this incident. Others may waster their time with the fringe, but I won’t.

Update: Reader Aitch748 provides this good peak inside the Tennessee event and how it differs from the grass roots movement.

47 responses so far

47 Responses to “Tea Party Self Destructs With Conservative Fringes”

  1. Neo says:

    The real elephant in the room here is those folks who thought that the “Tea party” is an actual party and that Sarah Palin had joined (or taken it over).

    This is still a “movement”, not a party.

    Just look at the bumpy landscape that this weekend created. We had (former) Rep. Tom Tancredo’s speech that went into (paraphase) “can’t spell vote or say it”. Also, a taste of the “Birther” thing and Andrew Breitbart with the “press sucks” stuff. None of this gives any “warm and fuzzy” feelings to many who want fiscal responsibility in DC, which I thought was the focus of “Tea Parties”.

    These “little issues” do nothing except to push people away, but at the same time I’ve seen a number of “thin skinned” folks who preach about inclusiveness one day and stomp off after one of these “little issues” come up.

    The “Tea Party” movement shouldn’t be thought of as a banner of aparty, but rather a rallying call for a philosphy.

  2. momdear1 says:

    I have been a conservative Republican since Barry Goldwater inspired me to do the research necessary to vote intelligently for people who are motivated to abide by the rules and limitations laid out in the Constitution. I am offended by the “new wave” pseuo conservatives who have deserted their beloved liberal, progressive Democrat Party because it has been taken over by America haters and bashers who relish the thought of an American military defeat by the ever increasing number of lunatics espousing whatever cause just so it is anti American, and now want to transform the Republican Party into their old Democrat Party. What we do not need is for the Republican Party to turn into a Democrat Party Lite. I don’t buy into the oft repeated theory that as the “richest country in the world” we owe anything to anyone. If, as has happened under repeated Democrat, and Democrat Lite, administrations our government had not been transformed into a quasi religious institution which has taken on the functions once delegated to churches and other charitable institutions, we would not have an imigration problem. If the people who come here, legally and illegally, had to work to earn their keep, there would be a lot fewer of them beating on the gates to get here. If we had realistic, yet humane, abortion laws, we wouldnt’ have the wholesale slaughter of innocents that we have today. There are too many ways to prevent pregnancy for any woman to have to resort to abortion other than as a medical necessity. In every other area that the government has taken over the function of churches it has created worse proplems than those it was trying to solve. If someone wants to advocate separation of church and state, they need to challenge the government setting itself up to take over the functions of religions without the moral strings that churches attach. If this makes me a member of the lunatic fringe, so be it.

  3. Layman says:

    Wow! Didn’t read over the weekend and missed all the furballs flying.

    Wow AJ – talk about “condescending arrogance.”

    You put Tancedo down by linking to an opinion piece written by a left wing hack in the Washington Post and we’re supposed to be in agreement. I don’t know everything Tancredo has ever said but I do know that out here in Arizona illegal immigration is a huge problem, costing we the taxpayers millions of dollars a year that we can’t afford. It is (yes, really) a huge problem which is why it is a big issue. When I’ve heard Tancredo in the past he has advocated that we control our borders and stop providing incentives for people to break our laws and come here illegally. Does that make him a “nativist?

    I guess that makes my wife, who teaches third grade a nativist because she complains that she can’t spend enough time with her kids teaching them becaues she has to remediate the 1/3 of her class that barely speaks english.

    I guess that I am too because while I celebrate diversity I don’t see it as “a constant threat” but rather I’m sick of having political correctness hit me over the head everytime I dare to speak out against a protected class.

    You claim to be sick of all the fringes calling others names and not listening and then you proceed to do the same. Take a break, take a deep breath, and calm dowm. You do too much good work to get caught up in the same mudslinging that you so despise.

  4. owl says:

    I rest my case. Ya think the DIMS didn’t note it was a bomb?

  5. Terrye says:


    Reagan actually signed an honest to God amnesty bill. And Conservatives do not doubt he was a conservative. Sarah Palin supported a path to citizenship as well and somehow or other conservatives have no problem supporting her.

    The problem that people like Tancredo created was that they simply allowed for no debate. They laid the ground rules, agree with them or be a traitor. Plain and simple. And most people do not really go that far, after all, the American people voted for Barack Obama and he is to the left of AJ on immigration reform. It did not bother people enough to make them support Tancredo in the primary much less the national election.

    People do want the borders secure, but most people do not want law enforcement chasing down roofers and nannies and fruit pickers. I do think the recession has made a difference however, because a lot of these people have decided not to come here after all.

  6. Terrye says:


    Tancredo made a point of saying that he not only wanted to stop illegal immigration, he wanted to call a halt to immigration period. I remember hearing him say that at a debate in the Republican primaries, he was the only Republican who went that far.

  7. Terrye says:


    Tancredo actually said Thank God McCain lost the election. That was enough for me to say he is over the top. But you are right, the Tea Party movement, is a movement, not a party. Lots of people with different concerns coming together to voice their anger at government spending and growth.