The Tea Party Illusion

The MSNBC headline reads “Just 32% of Tea Party candidates win”. But I’m not sure I know what that means. Are there candidates registered with the Tea Party? Are there non-Republican conservatives making gains in the House or Senate this year? Or is a Tea Party candidate just any Republican who happens to attend Tea Party rallies or self-identify as such – or who the media designates as such?

The media is treating the Tea Party as if it were a third party that has somehow transcended the stale old two-party system. If the Tea Party were a third party, after all, 32% would be a phenomenal number. But the Tea Party is not a third party. It’s not anything at all but a new way to describe conservative Republicans. Or, as Joe Carter puts it, a new way to brand an old party:

The media, of course, will credit the victory to the Tea Party “movement,” rather than to traditional Republican voters voting for Republican candidates. The Republican establishment and the Tea Party’s self-appointed “leaders” will agree. The result will be their treating the Tea Party as if it were merely another special interest to be pacified, rather than the a new label for the same conservatives who have always caucused with the GOP.

Of course, until a Republican president is actually in the White House, I imagine Republicans/Tea Partiers can still play the role of opposition quite effectively. And the media will be only too happy to perpetuate the myth of a Tea Party independent entirely from the GOP establishment. However much this may be true of some grassroots organizers and however much the Tea Partiers may truly be tired of the Washington establishment, in the end they’re still just Republicans, electing Republicans, sending Republicans to Washington to do what Republicans have always done.

98 replies
  1. 1
    valdivia says:

    thanks you for saying this. so so true. a whole segment of the population actually believes–lead by the nose by the Media–that Tea Partiers are actually disappointed democrats! and that all those ‘independents’ who appeared in 2008 who are super conservative are not actually republicans who hated being called that after Bush.

  2. 2
    Jude says:

    [S]ending Republicans to Washington to do what Republicans have always done.

    Fuck over everybody who’s not rich and white?

    Zing!

  3. 3
    cmorenc says:

    Remember that the media, being in this “narrative” habit, periodically tires of the existing dominant narrative, and typically goes on the hunt for a new, dramatically contrasting one to the one that’s wearing out on them. Just like the Obama the magnificent communicator, first black president and second coming of FDR all rolled into one wore out about six months into his term, so will the tea party rebellion/GOP wave narrative begin to wear, possibly more quickly even than six months into the next congressional session, as the GOP wave begins to crash upon the hard rocks of the intractably difficult problems the country faces.

    Again: the media will be searching most likely for a COUNTER-narrative to one that’s wearing out on them, and likely not too very long from now.

  4. 4
    LittlePig says:

    @Jude: Yep.

  5. 5

    NPR had a quote from Boehner yesterday afternoon in which he was talking about GOPers and Tea Party reps. working together as if they were two separate things, as well.

    Very weird phrasing, but they are basically conservative assholes through and through.

  6. 6

    @cmorenc:

    Just like the Obama the magnificent communicator, first black president and second coming of FDR all rolled into one wore out about six months *minutes* into his term,

    Fixed that for ya.

  7. 7
    Mike E says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: And in other news: Water still wet!

  8. 8
    LittlePig says:

    @cmorenc:

    the media will be searching most likely for a COUNTER-narrative to one that’s wearing out on them, and likely not too very long from now.

    Yet somehow I doubt that counter-narrative will be “Rand Paul vs. The Debt Ceiling”, although that’s a Kobiashi Maru scenario for him. That would be the best choice for ratings, but not so much for media corporate masters.

  9. 9
    Sator Arepo says:

    I watched only the few minutes I could bear of election coverage of, uh, whichever lame-ass network Katie Couric is on, and noticed there was an extra logo (a black box with a “T” in it) for R-affiliated candidates that also were identified? self-idenified? as Tea Party-ers. What the hell? Can you have it both ways? “I’m against the status quo! And also with the Establlishment Party!”

    Who believes this shit? Who’s selling it? Why is the media going along with it?

    Oh, right: late capitalism. Crud.

  10. 10
    pk says:

    The tea party actually can be described as an an old whore with a new dress.

  11. 11
    Morbo says:

    Woke up this morning to the sound of Matt Kibbe and some other tea party person on NPR. I was late to work today because I slept in a little bit after turning that off.

  12. 12
    Lee says:

    And of course, the voters in CA who identified as Tea Party supporters voted overwhelmingly against Prop 19. This is because the Tea Party cares deeply about limited government.

  13. 13
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Weird, the last time something like this happened to Democrats, a party within a party taking over the party – the DLC – that was pretty much all Republicans too.

  14. 14
    El Cid says:

    Please let this succeed.

    Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) — founder of the Tea Party Caucus — will make a bid to be part of House leadership next Congress, likely touching off a tough intra-GOP battle for influence over the new majority.
    _
    In a message to her supporters on Facebook, Bachmann writes, “I am pleased to announce that I am running for Chairman of the House Republican Conference! Constitutional Conservatives deserve a loud and clear voice in leadership!”

  15. 15
    matoko_chan says:

    i approve this post.
    teabaggers are just republicans trying to scrape the Bush off their shoes when no is watching.
    its simple rebranding.
    it works with media, because as fight-promoters selling adverts the media needs two matched competitors.
    the rebranding fails with youth and minorities.
    we see right thru that lame-ass shit.
    teabaggers are just fronting, not representing.

  16. 16
    PeakVT says:

    The Tea Party is the same old Republican shit in a new box. Unfortunately, the box is just shiny enough to distract the our lousy media from the contents.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    Sober Republican intellectual Christine O’Donnell is unhappy with Republican “cannibalism” against her.

    “Sen. [John] Cornyn says there was nothing we can do, we didn’t have enough money,” said O’Donnell of the Texas Senator, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She continued, “If he and Karl Rove had said, look, she is articulate on the issues as many people after watching our debates were able to say…there was verbal support they could have offered as pundits, so to speak, that they chose not to for whatever reason.”

    If she repeats this line enough, I’m sure she will be spoken of in the media as one of the GOP’s up and coming ‘serious’ leaders with the ability to offer true and functional plans for America.

  18. 18
    Larry Bird says:

    The Tea Party should be called the “How could I have been so stupid, what the hell was I thinking during the Bush years? Oh well lets pretend it never happened-Party”. I admit its not as catchy.

  19. 19
    Allan says:

    I spent the week prior to the election harrassing teatards on Twitter, such as:

    I got my mail-in ballot. Searched high and low, no #TeaParty on it, just Ds and Rs. #confused

    Silly #teatards until #TeaParty is on the ballot, Rs claim all the credit for your work. #suckers

    Now I’ve moved on to organizational issues:

    #TeaParty: Are Mitch McConnell and John Boehner the change you voted for?

    #TeaParty: insanity is electing the same leaders and expecting different results. @MitchMcConnell @JohnBoehner

  20. 20
    chopper says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    all the talk about the teabaggers being a third party is a joke now, but in 2012 it’s going to be deadly serious. the establishment GOP doesn’t realize what they’re doing to themselves with all this.

  21. 21
    mr. whipple says:

    The Republican establishment and the Tea Party’s self-appointed “leaders” will agree. The result will be their treating the Tea Party as if it were merely another special interest to be pacified, rather than the a new label for the same conservatives who have always caucused with the GOP.

    John Birchers with a new name.

  22. 22
    jcricket says:

    I find it hard not to be depressed about this election – mainly because I fear Democrats in the Senate will just cave in order to seem more “compromise-y” and we’ll get a gutting of Social Security, Medicare and the new healthcare law.

    The only two things that give me hope are: While that result would be hard to un-fuck, I know people would get animated and come vote the Republicans out.

    Two, most of this result is simply because Republicans (Tea Partiers, esp.) came out to vote in very large numbers and Democrats stayed home. That is not a “trend”, and it can be reversed.

    But is anyone else starting to feel that this shit’s reaching the irreversible point? I have a young kid – and when I think about the kind of infrastructure that’ll be crumbling around him and educational system failures he’s going to face in the next 20 years, I shudder. When I think about how Republican economic policies, if enacted, will probably make the difference between whether I can ever hope to retire or not, I shudder. When I think about my gay friends not being able to marry for another couple decades, or women not being able to get abortions, I shudder. The thought of global warming being allowed to continue to the point where billions of people are uprooted and our food supply disrupted, all b/c a bunch of know-nothing asshats rule our political system, I shudder.

    How do you get over that feeling?

  23. 23
    Allan says:

    @El Cid: The key is convincing Republicans that we are really scared of Michele Bachmann.

    Oh please don’t throw Michele Bachmann in that briar patch!

  24. 24
    Alex S. says:

    If people wanted to treat the Tea Party like a third party, shouldn’t they call it the Tea Party Party then?

  25. 25
    David says:

    The Tea Party wants to be separate from the GOP but the GOP wants to be affiliated with the Tea Party when convenient.

  26. 26
    Moses2317 says:

    Yes, and we progressives need to be Democrats, electing Democrats, sending Democrats to Washington, and making sure that Democrats do what Democrats should do.

    Much of the problem on Tuesday was that the Democrats were not bold enough on the economy because our “party within a party,” the Blue Dogs and their “centrist” mindset, hindered us from proposing sufficient stimulus and taking on the mortgage crisis in a way that actually helped people were losing their houses, and made us appear to be too much in bed with the banksters. With many of the Blue Dogs having lost and the “centrist” viewpoint being responsible for Tuesday’s debacle, now is the time for progressives to be the “party within the party” and to make sure Democrats have a bold message and policy agenda moving forward.

    http://www.winningprogressive......ve-forward

  27. 27
    chopper says:

    @matoko_chan:

    well, it’s kinda both. the GOP wants to rebrand itself after only 2 years in the wilderness. they think the teabaggers are the perfect group to hitch their wagon to, use them up and toss them aside once they’ve no use for them anymore.

    problem is the teabaggers feel the same way about the GOP.

    if things are massaged just right (and obama’s greatest quality, his ability to drive conservatives up the wall, comes into play here), there could be a massive clusterfuck in the conservative movement in 2012. we need a machiavelli here.

  28. 28
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @cmorenc: the media will be searching most likely for a COUNTER-narrative to one that’s wearing out on them

    I think you’re right, but their analysis of the counter-narrative won’t change: tax cuts for rich people pls

  29. 29
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    I’m not sure why Ashamed Republicans had to create the Tea Party when they already had the Libertarian Party. This demonstrates how they are supremely more clever than we on the other side.

  30. 30
    matoko_chan says:

    @Alex S.: the Tea Party is just rebranding so ‘conservatives’ dont have to have to take responsibilty for the Econopalypse that Ate Americas Jobs and the Epic Fail of the Manifest Destiny of Judeoxian Democracy in A-stan and Iraq…(aka the Bush Retard Doctrine).
    They only fool themselves.
    They also tried rebranding as bipartisan and multiracial.
    Youth and minorities see right through that shit.

    The Teabaggers are frontin’, not representin’.

  31. 31
    matoko_chan says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: because teabaggers cant spell libertarian.

  32. 32
    Peter says:

    Is it just me, or is this post a little ‘Dog Bites Man’ around here?

  33. 33
    Cat Lady says:

    @chopper:

    the establishment GOP doesn’t realize what they’re doing to themselves with all this.

    I think they know, and I think Boehner et al. were, at the end of the day, afraid it really would go down the way it has. They actually will have a large spotlight on them now, and because the teatards actually believe the crap they spew, it will be interesting to watch the carnival barkers like Boehner and Cantor try to control the show. Carnivals are amusing, but they’re called freak shows for a reason.

  34. 34
    Martin says:

    Well, we have no trouble labeling certain Dems as Blue Dogs based on specific policies they support. Tea Partiers are little different, IMO. But where the Blue Dogs are moderates and are unwilling to make a gutsy vote either way, the Tea Partiers are radicals, wanting to brush away longstanding policies.

    I just can’t square conservative radicals with a long-standing movement. 61% of eligible voters turned out in 2008. 41% did in 2010. I don’t think the 20% that are likely to return in 2012 are going to embrace a bunch of guys that support those calling for the government to default and repealing a bunch of amendments.

    @jcricket: I know where you’re coming from, but there were a lot of bright spots Tuesday as well. I’m going to keep saying this but California going strongly blue this week may mean a lot. It’s the state that moves the nation, and I’m convinced that’s about to happen again. You can blame Reagan and the anti-tax movement on what happened in CA in the 70s. What hit the nation after 1980 was field tested here and exported. Democrats didn’t win here by small margins, they won by huge margins. If CA can get jobs back on track – and we’re a big enough place to do it without federal help – then it’s going to be a roadmap for what to do in 2012 and beyond.

    There’s a lot of ‘ifs’ here, but elections are about what you think will work in the future. There’s no point backing away from the ideas that you voted in favor of.

  35. 35

    Yes we need to clarify WHO is in the Tea Party. Maybe we could give them a symbol to wear, a yellow tea bag emblem to sew on their jackets.

    /snark

    Seriously, it’s pretty fucking hilarious that last year we were hearing Scott Brown of Massachusetts lifted up by the media as the new face of the Tea Party, a big “win” for the Tea Party, all of those “Tea Party ascendent” headlines, yada yada.

    And yesterday Erick Erickson posted on his website his list of RINOs who needed to be pushed out in 2012. Guess who made the list? Yup, Scott Brown.

  36. 36
    cleek says:

    i decided to stop reading MSNBC, for good, yesterday after this article. the headline is:

    “Voters say they cast their ballots against Obama, Pelosi”

    OMG!

    the text says:

    Exit polling data indicated that nearly four in 10 voters said they backed Republican House candidates as a way to thumb their nose at Obama, but David Hyde, also of Danville, identified two other villains: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Pelosi of California.

    nearly 4 in 10. that’s less than 40%, maybe even as low as 31%. that’s what they used to justify that screaming, narrative-confirming, headline.

    they’ve been going full tea-party all season. sometimes having as many as 13 separate stories on the “tea party” listed on their front page at the same time. they did a photo-spread of teabaggers that they kept up for over a week. all of their coverage has been fawning. i complained in every story they ran. i asked why this particular 11% of the population deserves so much adulation. i started leaving “this is excellent news for the teabaggers!” comments on every story, even sports and weather stories. had no effect, obviously.

    so, fuck em. i’m done.

    i’ve been looking for a replacement general news source all AM, but they all suck in their own ways.

  37. 37
    Suck It Up! says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    sure as hell did wear out fast didn’t it? the blago scandal;

    “what did Obama know and when did he know it?” they couldn’t wait to get the first scandal that would take down the first black president.

  38. 38

    You know who won? Progressives.

    The progressive caucus is now bigger than Blue Dogs and New Democrats combined.

    Suck on that, Tweety.

  39. 39
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @matoko_chan:

    teabaggers are just republicans trying to scrape the Bush off their shoes when no is watching.

    Win

  40. 40

    @cleek:

    Exit polling data indicated that nearly four in 10 voters said they backed Republican House candidates as a way to thumb their nose at Obama,

    Yes well it’s not nearly as interesting to say “Exit polling data indicated that nearly 6 in 10 voters said they backed Republican House candidates for reasons other than sending a message to President Obama….”

  41. 41
    Suck It Up! says:

    @cleek:

    Saw this same story yesterday at The Roots political blog. Had the same reaction. I even someone on a progressive blog cite that stats as proof that the election was a referendum on Obama for not listening to his “base”. That angered me even more because progressives should know better.

  42. 42
    Nick says:

    @Southern Beale: When the Democratic caucus is smaller than it has been in over half a century, I’m not so sure that’s a great thing.

    This basically proves everyones point. You can’t have a majority without the Blue Dogs

  43. 43
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Yes well it’s not nearly as interesting to say “Exit polling data indicated that nearly 6 in 10 voters said they backed Republican House candidates for reasons other than sending a message to President Obama….”

    Did you see the press conference yesterday where Obama was told by a reporter that 1 in 2 voters wanted to repeal hcr and Obama said ‘well you can also say that 1 in 2 voters don’t want to repeal hcr’.

  44. 44
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ PeakVT

    The Tea Party is the same old Republican shit in a new box. Unfortunately, the box is just shiny enough to distract the our lousy media from the contents.

    Not just a new box, but a bullshit backstory to go with it. It’s just Abercrombie and Fitch do politics.

  45. 45
    Nick says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    Did you see the press conference yesterday where Obama was told by a reporter that 1 in 2 voters wanted to repeal hcr and Obama said ‘well you can also say that 1 in 2 voters don’t want to repeal hcr’.

    Why won’t Obama use the bully pulpit?

  46. 46
    Kryptik says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I’ve repeated this before as far as my current despair goes, it really does honestly feel like the only reason this country elects Dems now is as a stopgap to let people forget just how bad Republicans are, just long enough to elect them again once they forget and lowblow the Dems into irrelevance once more.

  47. 47
    SRW1 says:

    Of course, until a Republican president is actually in the White House, I imagine Republicans/Tea Partiers can still play the role of opposition quite effectively.

    I suspect there may be a check of that when raising the debt ceiling comes up in spring of 2011.

  48. 48
    Nick says:

    @Kryptik:

    it really does honestly feel like the only reason this country elects Dems now is as a stopgap to let people forget just how bad Republicans are, just long enough to elect them again once they forget and lowblow the Dems into irrelevance once more.

    oh you caught that too?

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @cleek:

    two other villains

    Nice language from our unbiased press corps, huh? Pelosi is a villain. She’s the Wicked Witch of the West!

    You know, one would think media would stop this ridiculous, relentless Pelosi-bashing theme, now that she’s lost the gavel.

    Christ. Enough already. We get it. Media millionaires loathe Pelosi. They don’t like how she looks, they don’t like how she speaks, and they particularly don’t like that she’s a Democrat who won’t apologize for being a Democrat.

    How these assholes joined forces to take a hard-working, smart, effective grandmother who has spent her entire career pushing practical, middle class-friendly economic issues and turned her into some conservative caricature of a San Francisco femi-Nazi liberal has been a real lesson in bias for me. I’m proud of her, I’ve been listening to this nonsense since 2006, and I resent it.

    This is the same crowd who freaking grovel before Newt Gingrich and Tom Delay, both of whom left in disgrace, and one of whom is on trial today.

  50. 50
    wasabi gasp says:

    “Just 32% of Idiot Parade candidates win”

    …fails to ring any upside bells.

  51. 51
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @cmorenc:

    Again: the media will be searching most likely for a COUNTER-narrative to one that’s wearing out on them, and likely not too very long from now.

    Sorry, but if your idea is that the media narrative will swing back to the left, then I’m not buying this. Not in the traditional mass media any way. Their next big narrative will be the rise of conservatism amongst youth and minorities (statistics be dammed), and how the Democrats are so old-fashioned and out of touch. Expect every bitter old white Democrat over the age of 70 to get on TV to rag on Obama and be contrasted with a rainbow coalition of younger GOPers.

  52. 52
    SRW1 says:

    @Alex S.:

    If people wanted to treat the Tea Party like a third party, shouldn’t they call it the Tea Party Party then?

    Ahem, OK, but maybe they should then include the line ‘Don’t bring a bottle’ by default at the bottom of their announcements for party events.

  53. 53
    azlib says:

    Repeat after me – news has become entertainment. The goal is not to inform, it is to entertain. Gossiping about the Tea Party is fun, while explaining tough issues is actual work and might affect your ratings.

  54. 54
    monkeyboy says:

    The thing about the “Tea Party” is that it is not one unified organization, it has no history, and it has no official platform.

    Ask a dozen different teatards what it stands for and you will get a dozen different answers, often contradictory.

    The one thing you consistently hear is that it the solution to what is wrong with government in general or liberals in particular, and embodies whatever a given teatard holds dear. Thus it can be both for and against big military and for and against “big money influence” / “the right of the rich to be heard”. Words like “freedom” don’t have to carry any nuances.

  55. 55
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @kay: I watched one of her post-election interviews last night. She is a very classy person.

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @jcricket:

    …or women not being able to get abortions…

    Let’s be clear here. Women of means will always be able to get abortions.

  57. 57
    Admiral_Komack says:

    @Southern Beale:

    More people to tell the black guy to do what they want, to do it in the way they want it, in the time frame they want it done (RIGHT NOW!).

    Yawn.

  58. 58
    AB says:

    @LittlePig: was that Kobiashi or Kobayashi? I couldn’t tell from the movie :o.

  59. 59
    RoonieRoo says:

    You know what scares me about the “Tea Party” success? The number of them that got away with NO DEBATE! No talking to the press but even more, refusing to do any debates and many of them still won.

    Republican/Tea Party, I don’t care what they call themselves. But the group that is labeling themselves Tea Party successfully ducked debates and, to some degree, public vetting.

    THAT is a trend I worry about with this group within the GOP that nobody is talking about.

  60. 60

    @Suck It Up!:

    Did you see the press conference yesterday where Obama was told by a reporter that 1 in 2 voters wanted to repeal hcr and Obama said ‘well you can also say that 1 in 2 voters don’t want to repeal hcr’.

    No but a fucking men to that. I’m so suck of our stupid media discourse.

  61. 61
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @RoonieRoo: Jesus vetted them. No worries.

  62. 62
    Nick says:

    For the record; from a Gore/Kerry/Obama voting Indy, left on a friend’s Facebook wall;

    No, center-right country. Democrats make mistakes when they assume otherwise. My point has always been that the country is TRENDING toward more center-left (and it’s not destined to happen), but to be moving in a direction is not to have reached the destination. The way the WH moved forward in 2009-2010 as if the virtues of their actions were self-evident–doing little to explain, promote, or sell their goals or the “how” of reaching those goals–demonstrated that they’d misread the Independents’ support they’d won in 2008 and were shockingly politically naive. Without those Independents in the mix, the core” Obama supporters remaining are only a minority of Americans. Independents’ support was primarily for what appeared to be Obama’s pragmatism and bipartisanship, and they were sick to death of Iraq. It would not have been as easy as it was for Republicans to convincingly characterize the WH and Dems as “more of the same ‘tax and spend'” if it was not the case that a critical mass of the message’s recipients are basically CENTER-RIGHT in political proclivities in the first place. A lot of Independents wanted systemic gov’t change, and the WH and Congress didn’t deliver that, they didn’t reshape governance itself. But, frankly, even if they had, the economic situation–which I think would be not significantly different right now if McCain had won–would have still resulted in midterm losses.

    Basically, they blamed Dems for Republicans being uncompromising.

  63. 63
    Peter says:

    @kay: Signed. Of all the frustrating things to come out of this election, the one that really burns my bacon has to be Pelosi losing the Gavel ad handif it over to John Boehner of all people. She kicked ass all over te house, sh got a ton of shot done, and so much of it never saw the light of day thanks to a recalcitrant Senate.

  64. 64
    RoonieRoo says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: I love JSF. You can make me laugh on the worst days.

  65. 65
    BenA says:

    Thanks to the intelligent and informed voters in my area, my State Representative is now a 24 year old true believer tea party asshole whole still lives with his parents.

  66. 66
    Catsy says:

    @jcricket:

    But is anyone else starting to feel that this shit’s reaching the irreversible point?

    In Washington State, it may well be at that point now, thanks to the insanity of the initiative process and that destructive, malignant motherfucker Tim Eyman. Because people are fucking stupid, selfish and short-sighted, I-1053 passed–which enacts a California-style supermajority requirement to raise taxes.

    Yeah. After watching the slow-motion economic bomb that’s been exploding in California, apparently 65% of WA voters who showed up decided that was a great idea to emulate.

    I don’t know how we–and by “we” I don’t mean Democrats or liberals, I mean “we” as in THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN THIS FUCKING STATE–come back from this. A couple years ago he pulled the same shit with I-960, and thankfully due to a provision that allows initiatives to be altered with a simple majority vote after two years, the lege suspended it in order to deal with the growing budget crisis. Now their hands are tied again, at a minimum for at least another two years. At which Eyman and his well-funded corporate backers get to try it again.

    Fuck every single ignorant, selfish asshole who voted for this. And fuck Eyman in his fucking ass with a chainsaw. That malignant piece of shit has been fucking up Washington State for decades. He’s responsible for the gutting of what was once one of the greatest public transit systems in the nation. His agenda is to defund and destroy government at every level, and he does this effectively by abusing the citizen initiative system and appealing to people’s most selfish instincts while hiding the destructive consequences of his initiatives.

    Eyman needs to spend the rest of his life homeless, penniless, crippled, miserable, and utterly dependent on every government service he’s spent his career trying to destroy. That would be a good start to reaping the karma of all the damage he’s inflicted on this state.

    Oh, and fuck the citizen initiative process too, especially the way it’s enshrined in the WA constitution as damn-near sacrosanct. The few good things that have come out of it are vastly outweighed by the dangerous shit it has allowed to be enacted into law. We elect legislators to represent us and write law because by and large, people are fucking stupid, selfish and short-sighted. I-960 and I-1053 are an example of what happens when you allow professional lobbyists to sell whatever laws sound superficially appealing to a simple majority of citizens whose grasp of policy rarely extends beyond what’s necessary to balance their checkbook.

    This, or something like it, needs to pass.

  67. 67
    Nick says:

    Also, this

    Pew: 78% of Americans favor tougher #energy efficiency standards//sure, but not if they think that it’ll cost them jobs

    How do you message that?

    It’s easy for Republicans to say “IT’S JOB KILLING” It’s not easy for Democrats to say “Trust me, it won’t kill your jobs”

  68. 68
    GregB says:

    As I said elsewhere, if Sarah Palin had been subjected to half of the hate on Speaker Pelosi she’d be getting talked off of a bridge.

    I am sick of the Pelosi haters and think she is a class act and a hard worker.

  69. 69
    JGabriel says:

    If the right wing is the Tea Party, can we be the Alcohol Party? Or the BYOB Party? Which, think about it, would make us the party of personal responsibility!

    .

  70. 70
    JGabriel says:

    @Nick:

    It’s easy for Republicans to say “IT’S JOB KILLING” It’s not easy for Democrats to say “Trust me, it won’t kill your jobs”

    Tell people it will create jobs. And tell them that anyone who says otherwise is a lying, power hungry, sociopath who will say anything to achieve their evil ambitions.

    (Yeah, yeah, I know that’s just a roundabout way of saying “Republican”, but a lot of people seem to forget that’s what it means.)

    .

  71. 71
    matoko_chan says:

    the establishment GOP doesn’t realize what they’re doing to themselves with all this.

    wallah, they know and that is what is the pre-election round of elite bashing from Murray, Douthat, Manzi, etc was all about.
    In this election Salam/Douthat Stratification resulted in COD, Angle and Paladino being forced on republican leadership by the base. These are anti-meritocratic candidates in a democratic meritocracy. They are unelectable as we observed.
    This why Rove is desperately trying to kneecap Palin now…he knows she cant win a presidential election anymore than COD could win a senate seat in Delaware.

    Intellectual elites (scientists and academics) and cultural elites(hollywood and art and media) have left the conservative party.
    Only business class elites remain, and their goal (farming the masses for profit) remains the same.

  72. 72
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Nick: Recommenting someone else’s stupid facebook comment, apropos of nothing?

    That might be a sign you shouldn’t be commenting.

  73. 73
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    Here’s the field guide for Identifying whether a conservative is a republican or a tea partier.

    If the person is a republican talking about social issues:
    This is a Republican

    If the person is a republican talking about monitary issues:
    This is a Tea Partier

    If it is a Tea Partier, and they start to talk about social issues, they are still a tea partier because they talked about money first.

    If a republican runs on monitary issues, such as tax cuts, and they lose the election, they were a republican. If a republican runs on monitary issues and they win, they were a tea-party insurgent, standing up to Obama.

  74. 74

    @GregB: I think they might define “class” and “hard work” differently than you or I would.

  75. 75
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    @GregB: The voters in her district think so too. She was reelected with 73.5% of the vote; the next closest candidate (a Libertarian), got 16.5% of the vote. The Republican got 10%. Pelosi isn’t going away any time soon.

  76. 76
    Davis X. Machina says:

    And tell them that anyone who says otherwise is a lying, power hungry, sociopath who will say anything to achieve their evil ambitions.

    But are they a white lying, power hungry, sociopath who will say anything to achieve their evil ambitions? Because I’m going to withhold judgment until I know that. If the answer is ‘yes’, I may have to overlook the whole ‘lying, power hungry, sociopath’ thing

  77. 77
    Corner Stone says:

    @Catsy: Are there any reliable counts of how many people used to live in CA and are now in WA?
    I hear anecdotes all the time about CA people “killing” ID and WA and OR but haven’t seen any tally on it.

  78. 78
    danimal says:

    @cmorenc:

    Again: the media will be searching most likely for a COUNTER-narrative to one that’s wearing out on them, and likely not too very long from now.

    The Return of the King President will be the next narrative. Though he never really, uh, left or anything. The media complex loves the back and forth and goes out of its way to tear down/build up the parties to support their narratives.

  79. 79
    Catsy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Are there any reliable counts of how many people used to live in CA and are now in WA? I hear anecdotes all the time about CA people “killing” ID and WA and OR but haven’t seen any tally on it.

    Haven’t looked, no idea. I doubt that’s what’s going on here–that’s just the usual in-group crap you hear from natives of any appealing place to live when describing out-of-state transplants. People bitch about CA drivers a lot, but I’m here to tell you they’ve got nothing on the assholes who are allowed to have a motor vehicle in Bellevue or Redmond.

    No, this isn’t about CA transplants. It’s about Tim Fucking Eyman and the fact that a majority of the people in this state are apparently stupid or selfish enough to think that emulating CA’s supermajority requirement for raising taxes was a great idea.

    I gotta tell you though–I’ve lived in WA more than half my life, and think it’s one of the greatest states to live in, but what Eyman has managed to do to it with his abuse of the initiative system has me taking a hard look at Oregon. From what I can tell they have all the same great wilderness with somewhat less right-wing insanity fucking everything up.

  80. 80
    Corner Stone says:

    @Catsy: I asked because people from CA have had an effect in Austin, TX and from second hand anecdotes also areas on Idaho.
    Maybe not politics so much but prices for property in those two areas.

  81. 81
    trollhattan says:

    In the post-election information blizzard I somehow missed this teabag disappointment.

    Two neo-Nazi candidates appear headed for losses in their bids for local offices in Southern California.
    __
    National Socialist Movement regional leader Jeff Hall had 28 percent of the vote in his race for the Western Municipal Water District serving District 2 in Riverside after all precinct votes were counted. Incumbent Tom Evans had 72 percent.
    __
    Former Aryan Nations member Dan Schruender had 10 percent of the vote in the six-way race for two seats on the Rialto school board. Leading candidates Joanne Gilbert and Edgar Montes had more than 20 percent each.

    [San Luis Obispo Tribune-11/3/10]

  82. 82
    kay says:

    @GregB:

    I feel as if it’s really important we not let them rewrite history on Pelosi so it coincides with the attack ads Republicans have been using for the last three cycles, because that’s what they’re doing.

    It’s a lie, and it’s well on its way to being accepted as truth.

    Meanwhile, Delay stands trial and complete degenerate, Newt Gingrich, continues to be given a huge platform to lecture the rest of on Morality and History.

    John A. Boehner’s claim to fame in his home state of Ohio is he’s the congressman who passed out checks from tobacco lobbyists on the House floor. That and golfing. He golfs.

  83. 83
  84. 84
    jcricket says:

    @Catsy:

    In Washington State, it may well be at that point now, thanks to the insanity of the initiative process and that destructive, malignant motherfucker Tim Eyman. Because people are fucking stupid, selfish and short-sighted, I-1053 passed—which enacts a California-style supermajority requirement to raise taxes.

    I live in WA state, and this is part of what prompted me to write my original message.

    WA is in a huge hole that it may never climb out of, without turning into a third world country. It still takes 2/3rds majority there to raise taxes, and you can’t just blame Republicans for voting for that initiative/system. California is our future (and I don’t mean that in a good way).

    I understand – everyone wants services, no one wants to pay for it. Republicans lie to you and say you can have your cake and eat it too, and Democrats fail to articulate the reality in a way that counters the lies.

    What gets me is that when the bill comes due, the public seems willing to accept punishment (close the parks, shut off the domestic-violence hotlines, close down the libraries, get rid of healthcare for the poor, live with shitty roads and crumbling water/sewers) rather than embrace the remedy (increase taxation on the upper echelons back to where it was during the Clinton years). All the while bitching about “civility” and “why can’t we all just get along” in politics.

    You know why we can’t get along? Because we fucking disagree about important issues. What’s the compromise position between global warming deniers and reality-based folks? What’s the compromise between those that think there’s no government role in healthcare, that banks should be unregulated, that women shouldn’t be allowed to choose an abortion, that gays shouldn’t be allowed to get married/serve in the military? The political spectrum doesn’t have to be aligned this way (black/white) but it is.

    I’d laugh if this didn’t have a long-term, lasting impact on me and my family.

  85. 85

    Of course, until a Republican president is actually in the White House, I imagine Republicans/Tea Partiers can still play the role of opposition quite effectively.

    Which is the bloody point. Like I was telling my conservative friends, the True Believers, yesterday, it’s just the same cycle starting over again that started in 94.

    1. Republicans run promising to cut taxes, spending, the deficit, the debt, and give everyone rainbow blow jobs, all without touching 2/3rds of the budget through the magic of discretionary spending cuts.

    2. GOP voters flock to the polls and hand them Congress.

    3. The GOP proceeds to grow government, the deficit, spending, the debt, and bending their voters over a chair instead. When the voters rightly protest, the GOP tells them that if they just give them the Presidency, they promise to change and really, truly go back to the magical spending cuts and BJs.

    4. The GOP voters complain quietly, and go vote for the GOP presidential candidate.

    5. The GOP continues to grow government, the deficit, spending, the debt, and bending their voters over a chair instead. When the voters rightly protest, the GOP tells them that if they just give them bigger majorities, they promise to change and really, truly go back to the magical spending cuts and BJs.

    6. The GOP voters complain quietly in private, then go vote for more GOP candidates.

    7. The GOP continues to grow government, the deficit, spending, the debt, and bending their voters over a chair instead. When the voters rightly protest, the GOP tells them that if they just give them another chance, they promise to change. By this time, the GOP has driven the economy into the ground, completely destroyed their brand, and made themselves noxious to 73% of the country.

    8. The other 27% of the country sighs and goes and votes GOP anyway. Everyone else decides to vote a Democratic ticket.

    9. After Democrats pretty much start doing what they promised they’d do, part of the country freaks out, another part keeps wondering why they didn’t wave the Economic Wand of Job Creation +5 and fix everything overnight, part of the country complains loudly that their pet project isn’t being taken as THE MOSTEST IMPORTANT THING EVAR (as opposed to the economy), and the other 27% starts mobilizing the discontent by screaming about taking their country back.

    10. The GOP wins Congress.

    11. Go to 1.

  86. 86
    Suck It Up! says:

    @Nick:

    Maybe Dems should start saying they would create jobs that pay X amount of dollars, jobs that won’t have you living paycheck to paycheck. Jobs that can help you send your kids to college w/o going into massive debt. And if they don’t act now, the Chinese are going to take those jobs. Something like that.

    With stats like that I can see how some pols might be tempted to scare the crap out of people instead.

  87. 87
    Cris says:

    As I was saying on election night, this is really the only way “third parties” can operate in a majoritarian system. Let’s go ahead and consider the “Tea Party” to be a party, but also consider them a faction, a proper subset of the Republican coalition (which also encompasses Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and whatever the Christian Theocrats are calling themselves these days).

    If the Greens and Socialists were smart (I know, I know) they would do exactly the same thing, and behave like factions. They should be attempting to work within and even take over the majority (D) coalition instead of playing their little games on the fringe, running general election candidates who garner 1% of the vote.

  88. 88
    Cris says:

    FUCKING SPAM FILTER. How the FUCK have we not added “s0cia1ism” as an exception long ago?

  89. 89
    Seanly says:

    A little piece of my soul dies each time I hear “Tea Party favorite”. I long for that phrase to pass into obscurity, but I don’t think it will…

  90. 90
    dww44 says:

    @kay:

    Thanks, I am proud of her too. Also, how many Speakers would give her Dems permission to go out and bash her repeatedly? Mine did and he went negative;didn’t help him one iota and he lost to a political newcomer to the national scene with oodles of money behind him and some sealed divorce papers from a few years ago. I daresay there was nothing to stem the red tide. Sadly, right now, I feel like

    @Kryptik:.

    Certainly, in my part of the country, the Democratic party is being marginalized out of existence and we need some serious grassroots efforts that reach out to young people of all colors and persuasions. We’ve got to rebuild from the ground up and for the long haul.

  91. 91
    Nick says:

    @Suck It Up!: I think this is an important factor for progressive to consider.

    The country supports many of your position….with conditions and it’s those conditions, that are occasionally true, that Republicans use to drive a wedge.

  92. 92
    brantl says:

    If every Republican had been Barry Goldwater, you’d be right, Kain, but they aren’t, and you’re not.

    The Tea Baggers are the “Crazy Eddy” Republicans. Their the glibertarians on meth.

  93. 93
    Triassic Sands says:

    But the Tea Party is not a third party. It’s not anything at all but a new way to describe conservative Republicans.

    For now. I wouldn’t be surprised to find a formal split with the Republican Party at some point in the future. It seems pretty unlikely that Republicans are going to get anything accomplished between now and 2012. So, do the American whiners voters turn back to Democrats? That seems unlikely. Instead, more and more candidates may try to distance themselves from both major parties (both of which suck). I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see a Tea Bagger presidential candidate in 2012, perhaps Sarah Palin herself, should she decide to run and fail to get the GOP nomination.

  94. 94
    Catsy says:

    @Cris: The problem is that whoever designed the spam filter did not design it in a way that allows or requires whole-word matching. Which means that if a prohibited word appears as a substring anywhere in a completely legitimate word, the legitimate word is moderated as well.

    The degree of idiocy involved in this design is clearly demonstrated by the effect it has.

    One of three things needs to happen: a) the spam filter is replaced with one that isn’t an incompetently-designed piece of shit, b) a “whitelist” is added that provides exceptions that will not trip the filter, or c) the filter is redesigned so that it only matches whole words and not substrings.

    Since the only thing I know about the current filter is what I can glean from the way it functions in practice, I can’t say which of these is feasible. I can pretty easily throw together a regular expression that will trap cialis without trapping socialism, but I have no idea if that would do any good or not.

  95. 95
    piratedan says:

    I dunno, I always looked at the difference between the Tea Party folks and the Republicans this way….the Tea Party folks actually believe the bullshit that they’re espousing and the Republicans know better.

  96. 96
    Triassic Sands says:

    They’ve called the election for Patty Murray in Washington State.

    I’d like to be the first to BEG Dino Rossi to never run for office again. Enough is enough Dino, you’re starting to remind me of Harold Stassen trying to get the Republican presidential nomination. You’re a loser, dude, accept it and move on.

  97. 97
    Triassic Sands says:

    I was just reading 538 at the Times (liked it better when it was independent) and was shocked — SHOCKED — that Nate Silver says Rasmussen’s polls were “biased.” Say it isn’t so, Nate.

    I don’t understand the purpose of a biased pollster. One would think that accuracy would be paramount no matter who one wanted to win. It’s as though Rasmussen is trying to influence the outcomes of elections by creating the pre-election illusion that Republican candidates are doing better than they really are. I know Wingers live in a fantasy world, but this is ridiculous.

    In 2008, I quit paying attention to Rasmussen polls. This year they were a source of laughter.

  98. 98
    xian says:

    if I were Obama I’d put Solis (or maybe a new labor secretary) on TV every week analyzing the latest job reports and discussing specific remedies for job loss (retraining, investment in jobs, tax holidays, whatever), lather, rinse, repeat.

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