Roger Baker : Should the Left Diss the Tea-Baggers?

Sign at Tea Party protest in Wichita, Feb. 27, 2009. Photo from Voice for Liberty in Wichita.

The tea baggers versus Obama formulation should be seen as opportunistic political theater that avoids a serious examination of the important issues.

By Roger Baker / The Rag Blog / April 25, 2009

Should we diss the tea-baggers?

Maybe in a thoughtful well-delineated sort of way, but not in a right-versus-left emotional way.

This is an interesting issue because it’s sort of like 1933 with severe economic crisis and a fearful angry populace looking for answers and scapegoats. The kind of situation that breeds extreme political movements and bad solutions.

I think the tea bag thing was a sort of Libertarian-initiated objection to Obama’s spending. The tea bags are a taxing rebellion by those who don’t expect to benefit much. It was opportunistically promoted by Fox news and right wing Republicans.

The left wants to interpret tea baggers as an early stage of Fascism, which it could indeed become. But, IMO, that is a simplistic interpretation that encourages needless class division for the following reason.

The Obama administration is so far siding with the banks; using taxpayer money to bail them out while the banks maintain financial control. Heads they win tails we lose. A situation so ovbiously unfair that EVERYONE should be holding tea bag-like demos opposing the vast majority of out tax obligation money so far going to prop up a sick and dysfunctional banker-ocracy.

The tea baggers are saying that the government is largely squandering our money as usual on future tax obligations where we take the hit without many results. Which seems legitimate to me.

The left should say, yes, that is true, but the proper solution is to form a united front, a broad reform coalition, against the banks and their army of lobbyists. Let the banks and their attached social class fail. They gambled and lost, so what now?

Now set up a parallel government financing system to do the things we really need to do like universal health care, local food production, restructuring society away from carbon fuel addiction, etc.

The tea baggers versus Obama formulation should be seen as opportunistic political theater that avoids a serious examination of the important issues.

A lot of this strong political energy should be harnessed into a broad political reform movement directed against the central issue of big banker-led corporate domination that leads to most of our other problems.

FDR sided with the people and against the banks. So why can’t Obama do that too?

The Rag Blog

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7 Responses to Roger Baker : Should the Left Diss the Tea-Baggers?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Tea-Baggers. NO FUCKING WAY. What a headline. Go go go Teabag these bitches all the way.

  2. Joe The Socialist says:

    The teabaggers said NOTHING while Bush doubled the national debt in 8 years, borrowing trillions for irresponsible tax cuts for the rich and a disastrous preemptive war. Where was this “grassroots movement’s” outrage when Chimpy the ass clown borrowed as much money as every previous president in American history COMBINED?

    And now with a Democrat in the White House they have suddenly rediscovered their desire for fiscal responsibilty? Stupefyingly hypocritical, even for Repugnantones.

    They are like a bunch of arsonists complaining about the fire department wasting water. They deserve every bit of the contempt and withering scorn that it is possible to muster. 30 years in the political wilderness is the least they deserve for the wreckage they inflicted on this country. Good riddance!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think it was Libertarian initiated. I think it was far
    right-initiated and I think those who fit your description are being used by those with other agendas. I think the events were to a great extent racist reactions to our black president.

    Your points are well-taken, Roger, but I think we must separate ourselves from this movement because of its overt message of hate and racism. And I don’t think it was all that successful, considering the incredible time and
    effort that Fox and the radio yahoos spent in promoting it. (And it should be clear: they didn’t just jump on a populist bandwagon; they conceived and initiated these events.) Despite their bravado, I think they expected much greater numbers; it certainly wasn’t the grassroots uprising they had hoped

    I think we face a serious threat from the far right, feeding off a faux populism. Which is not to say there isn’t a serious undercurrent of dissatisfaction, but the poll numbers don’t show it to be the dominant sentiment.

    How we address this phonemenon is, of course, a legitimate and important topic for discussion.


  4. Mariann says:

    Did anyyone else in Austin see yesterday’s American-Statesman story on the ammunition shortage? Apparently even some area police and sheriff’s departments are having trouble obtaining ammo for training exercises, etc., because it is being bought up as fast as manufacturers can make it. Ammo manufacturers are in fact ramping up production to meet increasing demand, dates specifically since the Nov. elections. Part of this is fueled by Obama’s electoral rhetoric (for such it now seems to be) about reinstituting the assault rifle ban; more comes from rumors of higher taxes and other limitations on ammo purchases.

    However, I am willing to bet that a good part of it is due to conscious, planned buy-ups of ammo by far-right groups, NOT because they have any real fears of infringements on their 2nd Amendment rights, but because they see that an ammunition shortage will help them spread fear and even panic among the right-leaning, particularly among urban and rural workers and farmers whose time for politics, and patience with its deceitful, labyrinthine ways, is quite limited.

    The folks I saw downtown on April 15, with their American flags and heartfelt, homemade signs, dragging their fussy little children along with them, MANY of them apparently infrequent visitors to the downtown rush hour habitat, have been deliberately frightened, in times that are economically frightening, by media figures ranging from the well known to the fly-by-night. I believe that the late-night radio hatemongers and misrepresenters of facts are paid for their services by those who see a potential for advantage. And it still would not suprise me to learn that the economic crisis itself has been deliberately worsened, and succeeding financial scandals “planted” to blow up along the way, in order to continue to undermine confidence not just in the Obama presidency, but in the processes of democracy.

    The media itself should be subjected to the same open-records scrutiny to which it occasionally subjects government agencies! Uncover who is buying Rush’s and his ilk’s suits, cigars, etc., and some far-right bedfellows are sure to be seen scurrying out of the light!

  5. You are so right. Another sign I saw on tv a few times during the teabag “protests” that mesh with progressive concerns: REPEAL NAFTA!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey, it’s only a real demonstration when it happens on the “Left”. Can’t you all see that the hypocrites and FAUX talking heads have hijacked legitimate concerns, like that’s never happened to the so called “Left”. Isn’t it time these useless parameters were dumped?
    Here is an interesting article about that “Left” leading light, George McGovern, which appeared in… gasp! The American Conservative.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The “first’ tea parties were organized by fans of Paul, they kicked off here in Austin in a large demo at UT in, I think 2007.
    I was a Kucinich delegate in 2004, a Paul delegate in 2008. Am I left or right? These red meat culture war “isms” are far more dangerous than dealing with uninformed people. I’ll quote from the German film series Heimat: I can see you were driven out… Was it the isms? Mammonism, Futurism, Communism, Symbolism, Expressionism, Nihilism… Skepticism, Socialism, Zionism. Or was it just egoism?
    — Heimat Disk 2

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