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 Post subject: EUGENE ROBINSON:DON'T UNDERESTIMATE THE TEA BAGGERS
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 10:11 am 
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The cool, cerebral White House might logically conclude that Wednesday’s decidedly uncool, uncerebral “tea bag” protests were intellectually and politically incoherent, and therefore not worth a second thought. That would be a dangerous mistake.

Don’t Underestimate the Tea-Baggers

The made-for-television demonstrations in cities across the country were generally small, and the only thing they proved conclusively is that—you might want to sit down to hear this—some Americans don’t much enjoy paying taxes. What the rallies suggested, however, is that opposition to the Obama administration is coalescing into what I would call a Howard Beale Faction, in honor of the choleric anchorman in the movie “Network” whose signature line now seems to have been elevated into philosophy: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”

Not going to take what anymore? Well, whatever. The occasion was Tax Day, April 15, and clearly there was a lot of anger about taxes. That can’t have been the only source of ire, however, since President Obama’s policies mean that the vast majority of Americans will be paying less in income taxes, not more. In terms of logical self-interest, only the wealthy should have come out to dump their tea bags and wave their pitchforks.

There was anger at hemorrhagic government spending, and this plotline in the mad-as-hell narrative at least made sense. A neutral observer might point out that the president who should have to answer for this year’s astronomical $1.7 trillion deficit is George W. Bush, since this is his budget—and since he’s the one who hid the costs of our two faraway wars and demanded a king’s ransom to bail out the banks. But it’s not as if Barack Obama is some kind of tightwad, given his decision—which I support—to push ahead with new spending on health care, education and energy. And anyway, in the worldview of the Howard Beale Faction, the important distinction isn’t between one president and the next. It’s between “us” and “them.”



More of Robinson's wisdom at the link

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