Conservatives Hold a Tea Party

Today conservative groups held a tea party in protest of the federal economic stimulus package, among other things:

Taxpayers from across Connecticut gathered outside the Supreme Court and State Capitol Friday afternoon to protest spending in the federal stimulus package and a handful of other policies proposed in President Barack Obama’s budget.

The protest was billed as a “tea party,” similar to the Boston Tea Party[.]
[…]
“It’s time for taxpayers to get out and let the politicians know how angry we really are,” Rusty Haigh of Southington said while standing on the steps of the Supreme Court holding a sign that read: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

And where was this guy in 2003, when the Bush Administration started spending billions on an increasingly expensive war we didn’t need?

More to the point, where was he in October when President Bush bailed out/nationalized banks? This isn’t exactly a new and different thing.

But wait, there’s more:

That includes Lora Feld, a nurse from Simsbury, who sported a “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid” T-shirt.

“All the liberals drank the Kool-Aid,” Feld said. “They sold their souls and now have Obama on their hands.” (Stuart)

I… see.

It’s easy, and tempting, to dismiss these people as nothing but the fringe of a defeated and struggling conservative movement, at odds with the party in power in Washington, and angry at the way the country is moving away from them.

Still, I can’t stop thinking about the anti-war rallies I’d go to back in 2002 and 2003. I remember all the anger, and all the frustration, that Washington was not listening to us. It felt like we were adrift. I also remember that inevitably, the media would find the very craziest person at the rally and put him or her on TV. And yet, six years later, anti-war sentiment has helped to drive Republicans from both their Congressional majorities and the White House. Is anti-spending feeling anything like that? Could it come back to bite Democrats the way the war did for Republicans?

There are some interesting parallels. As the Iraq War approached in 2003, support among the public for the invasion reached 70% in some polls. Support for the stimulus has been hovering in the 60% range, and President Obama’s approval rating is only a little higher. Support for the war started to ebb the longer the conflict dragged on without tangible results, or any evidence of the WMDs the Bush Administration has assured the public existed. Support for President Obama’s economic policies could also melt away, should there be little evidence that they’re actually working.

And yet, there are also differences. Hundreds of thousands of people in cities all across the country attended anti-war rallies in the run-up to the conflict. While the rallies that were held today were in fact nationwide, attendance doesn’t seem to have been nearly as great. Also, at this point the president’s economic policies don’t seem to be nearly as polarizing an issue outside the nation’s capital as it is within the beltway, and the vast majority of people will not see tax increases as a result. Government spending and deficits are a much more abstract issue if people don’t see the money being taken out of their paychecks. Also, the war was promoted as a quick, relatively painless affair by the administration. Obama’s team, on the other hand, has been going to great lengths to suggest that all of the effects of the latest package will not be felt for some time, and that the economy isn’t going to improve overnight.

It is possible that the “tea parties” held around the country over the past few days will end up being the germ of a Republican resurgence in 2010, 2012 or 2014. But for that to happen, the economy and the deficit will have to take a turn for the worse, despite Democratic efforts to salvage the situation. For now, those who are frustrated with the way things are going are just shouting into the wind.

Source
Stuart, Christine and Kimberly Primicerio. “Taxpayers Organize ‘Tea Party’ Protests.” CT News Junkie 27 February, 2009.

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25 responses to “Conservatives Hold a Tea Party

  1. Get a job you teabagging hippies! (had to do it.)

    It is amazing though that a party looking towards the future is using a strategy (costumes and all) from 1773 and their new grand leader is a terrestrial AM radio talk show host. At least their new chair is hip on street lingo…(from 1996). Onwards and upwards.

  2. While Rick Santelli’s rant is credited with the idea, I’m uncertain who spearheaded it… and disagree that it’s a Republican thing.

    I’m sure there were a lot of Republicans there. But based on the emails I got, it’s more of a Ron Paul function (remember Dec 16 ’07 money bomb was on the BTP anniversary?)… that was probably used / overtaken by establishment Republicans.

    Ignoring any establishment Republicans who lack credibility (because they supported the bailout and were ok with Bush deficits)… there is a group of people (who probably jumpstarted this event) who are credible on opposing the stimulus, the bailout and the years of deficit spending. Though I’ll grant you… the vocal subset of that group is pretty small.

    As for going back to 02/03… the Ron Paul effect didn’t exist because meetups and blogging and social networking were not nearly as widespread back then. So while the same people probably had similar feelings… I say this function wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for The Rise of The Tubes. And with regard to me last fall… in late Sept, I got to the New Haven Green about 6pm and a reporter there told me that the “stop the bailout” rally had already ended. So I missed it, but I tried to attend.

    About where the Paul movement is going… I’m not sure. If the dollar devalues dramatically… and we see significant inflation hitting the price of consumer goods… well… I think the movement may take off. But if Obama’s bet (that government spending can end a recession) is successful… then the movement dies.

    It gets complicated though. For instance, what happens with the dollar? Does it collapse? What if the Euro collapses first? Today’s Bbg News was speculating on Germany ending its use of the Euro. If that happens… maybe money runs to the US? There are so many possibilities, I like to keep it simple – a strict interpretation of the US Constitution, including all the amendments.

    Having said all that… good thought-piece GC.

  3. No one should easily dismiss this as merely disgruntled republicans.. and this movement will grow in number the more people are hurt by government spending money that isn’t theirs to spend, or take in the first place.

    Liberals can marginalize this and laugh all they want but there is a very big movement afoot and as this economy continues to crash – which it will – the crowds will grow.

    You have not heard the end of this – trust me.

  4. You have not heard the end of this – trust me.

    I’m sorry I missed that…what were you saying?

    I was outside burying my gold and guns….

  5. there certainly were some fringe types there but I’m sure Republitarian is correct in the assumption that some or many of those folks were closer to the center than the folks who still apparently are drinking the anti-Obama Kool-Aid (to borrow a really, really tired phrase) …

  6. there certainly were some fringe types there but I’m sure Republitarian is correct in the assumption that some or many of those folks were closer to the center than the folks who still apparently are drinking the anti-Obama Kool-Aid (to borrow a really, really tired phrase) …

    I wouldn’t be surprised by that at all.

  7. Don, care to explain for the kids what sparked the Boston Tea Party? Was it a tax increase on the general population or was it a large tax cut to a specific large business?

  8. Last year questions were raised about why the attendance at Obama’s rallies were significantly larger than McCain’s. The response: Republicans are usually at work.

  9. Last year questions were raised about why the attendance at Obama’s rallies were significantly larger than McCain’s. The response: Republicans are usually at work.

    Yeah, apparently they all were really busy on election day, too.

  10. … Republicans are usually at work.

    That’s true and is why only 200 or so showed up in Hartford.

    Many of us are not inclined to take time off to be part of a peaceful protest.

    On the other hand; when the armed insurection comes – count us in!

  11. It would appeare that the only formula for Federal surpluses is a Democrat President (with his finger in the wind), and a Conservative Congress.

    I can’t believe I miss the days of Clinton/Gingrich.

  12. “Don, care to explain for the kids what sparked the Boston Tea Party? Was it a tax increase on the general population or was it a large tax cut to a specific large business?”

    It was Sam Adams: ” “If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace.We seek not your counsel or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; may your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!”

    His thing was liberty — mine too.

    I have that graph emblazoned on the top of my blog.

    Sam was a curious creature — cared nothing about money at all; he had an understanding second wife.

  13. I think the tea party itself was arranged by Sam in a newspaper office; actually, in what we might consider a blog office. Sam was into pamphleteering. Somewhat like a blogger, he devoted most of his time top politicking and neglected his business, which ran into ruin. But he was much loved in Boston by those who jealously guarded their natural rights (there was, as yet not constitution incorporating those rights), among which was “the right to happiness,” i.e. the right to hold and enjoy private property, But you knew that, didn’t you forreal?

    End of lesson. Glad you asked.

  14. easthartfordtaxpayer

    http://brainflation.wordpress.com/2009/02/28/hartford-tea-party-video-jim-vicevich-speech/

    Video and a transcript (poorly formatted for now) of Jim Vicevich’s speech at the tea party.

  15. Pity you all lack any real appreciation for history – we have been through this before – 1930 + . Hoover tried to jumpstart the economy and then the other guy came in and added fascism’s controls . Did Not Work. World War Two interrupted the depression and the end of the war Almost saw it resume . The problem is one entirely of confidence – people invest and buy stuff when they feel safe. For very good reasons , People Do Not Feel Safe. Those with real assets have been complaining for years about the spending and lack of controls but those we elected elected to keep fueling the craziness so they could get elected again and again. O talks well but front men have brought us to this and no one has ever claimed O is a genius financier. Where is a J.Pierpont Morgan when you need him – roseaca and all.

  16. Yes, the “The New Deal hurt America” crowd rears its ugly, history-ignoring head.

    How’s the sand down there today? Cooler by the ears?

  17. Yes, the “The New Deal hurt America” crowd rears its ugly, history-ignoring head.

    Yep, the data shows the New Deal got the economy back to its pre-depression values by 1941. (Hmm, why does the year 1941 stick in my head?? Something else happen that year?)

  18. Yep, the data shows the New Deal got the economy back to its pre-depression values by 1941. (Hmm, why does the year 1941 stick in my head?? Something else happen that year?)

    Yeah, because America’s war factories were at total full output between December 8th and December 31st.

    I know WWII helped the economy. But so did the New Deal. That’s the difference- your crowd refuses to give the New Deal ANY credit for anything.

  19. Yeah, because America’s war factories were at total full output between December 8th and December 31st.

    Nope – by 1940 we were already producing for allies and preparing ourselves.

    Here’s a PDF for your review:
    Altamont (NY) Enterprise 11/22/40 – read the editorial “Really Rolling”

  20. >>There has been recent circulation of the older view that it is World War II, as a kind of giant public works project, which ended the Great Depression. This claim is not consistent with our best knowledge of the subject. To survey the cutting edge of the literature briefly:

    Christina Romer writes:

    This paper examines the role of aggregate demand stimulus in ending the Great Depression. A simple calculation indicates that nearly all of the observed recovery of the U.S. economy prior to 1942 was due to monetary expansion. Huge gold inflows in the mid- and late-1930s swelled the U.S. money stock and appear to have stimulated the economy by lowering real interest rates and encouraging investment spending and purchases of durable goods. The finding that monetary developments were crucial to the recovery implies that self-correction played little role in the growth of real output between 1933 and 1942.

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2008/11/what-ended-the.html

  21. Tom Clarke… shush! We’re not supposed to discuss monetary policy!

  22. I don’t think Obama wants to discuss it either. Check how he treats Geithner at about 6:15 into this video clip. Ouch!

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1045687816&play=1

  23. I know WWII helped the economy. But so did the New Deal. That’s the difference- your crowd refuses to give the New Deal ANY credit for anything.

    …yea it really helped, thats why the unemployment rate was still 18.91% in 1938…. 5 whole years after the New Deal saved us all…

    So lets review, massive government spending caused a depression to last from 1929 until 1941, and even arguably until 1945.

    No government spending and no market interference allowed the post-WWI depression of 1920-21 to last for 1 year.

    Now why is it normal for a depression to last a decade and a half? Oh yea, because the government doesn’t allow the liquidation of bad debt to occur so it bogs down the economy for extended periods of time as more debt and inflation is tacked on top (thank you Bush and Obama). At least we have 2023 to look forward to…

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