President Obama could have proposed a tax rebate of $10,000 and the conservatives still would have gone stark raving mad. When the Health Care Bill passed Republicans and Tea Partiers turned into a raging sea of childishness, insanity, ugliness and stupidity.
Representative John Boehner went apoplectic chanting "Hell no, you can't." Frank Rich, in a New York Times Op-ed piece, The Rage Is Not About Health Care, suggests Boehner "had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons."
In a debate with David Ploffe on ABC's "This Week," Karl Rove frothed at the mouth and went on a non-stop tirade. Such antics have become less funny and less entertaining.
Republicans have shouted "you lie" and "baby killer" in House chambers, violating every rule of decency and decorum. To steal a phrase from Joe McCarthy, Republican Congressional representatives have become Tea Party "fellow travelers."
For over a year Tea Party protests have attracted increasingly large crowds. They have grown louder, uglier, more threatening and more violent as time has passed. They have shouted racial and homophobic slurs at respected members of Congress and have thrown bricks through their offices - similar to a mini-Kristallnacht in 1938 Germany.
According to Rich, there was heated reaction when Social Security was passed in 1935 and Medicare thirty years later. "When L.B.J. scored his Medicare coup, there were the inevitable cries of “socialism” along with ultimately empty rumblings of a boycott from the American Medical Association."
But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill...you have to look to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.... it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.
In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer...
The election of a black president and a female House speaker, the appointment of a Latino to the Supreme Court, and a gay Congressional committee chairman "would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play."
In this writer's opinion, the Tea Partiers - just like the Birchers, the patriot groups, and other right-wing groups - have a serious case of paranoia. And racism - despite social scientists' claims to the contrary. Maybe they should have read the liberal blogs in the early days - especially those written by southerners.
The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935.
By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. Their anxieties about a rapidly changing America are well-grounded.
After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist (Richard) Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.
Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.
In my very humble opinion the Tea Partiers and Beck and Co. are one thin hair away from being sedicious. If we lived in a police state, as that monumental wonder Beck proclaims, everyone of those thugs would be in jail.