Obama’s Tea Party Straw Man
By Sean Parr
Why does it seem that the public is being told that the only demand the Tea Party activists have is that their taxes be lowered? Though the activists would doubtless welcome such an outcome, it is by no means the sole impetus of their objections. In fact, the demand is explicitly absent from their “Contract from America.”
The contract — a written expression of the will of those like-minded Americans who would sign it — serves to convey to U.S. public officials a consensus outcry for a policy agenda of individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom.
Interestingly, only two of the ten recommendations from the Tea Party’s contract involve the topic of taxation, and contrary to what the public has been presented from both the White House and the news media, each of these recommendations is devoid of any mention of protest in response to cripplingly high taxes. The movement’s members request, and the contract stipulates, that the U.S. government ought to:
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and … permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011.
It should be evident from this declaration that rather than concerning itself with tax rates, the Tea Party pines for the upheaval of the current tax code. The distinction is an important one, and the fact that it has not been recognized by the administration is seriously troubling.
This mischaracterization of the Tea Party’s view reigns broadly. We hear it, most conspicuously, from President Obama:
In all, we passed 25 different tax cuts last year. And one thing we haven’t done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year … so I’ve been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying thank you.
The same straw man argument was presented last week by intellectual powerhouse Bill Maher. On his absurd cable television show (just before — in absolute defiance of history — he accused all staunch conservatives of being Ku Klux Klan members), Maher offered that the Tea Party people “were venting their anger, their rage, at taxes. Which of course, in most cases, for them went down.”
But if a brief look at the Tea Party contract could aptly elicit the truth of the matter — that tax rates are so obviously not the issue — then why the misunderstanding?
The answer is that there is no misunderstanding; we are witnessing a deliberate misclassification. The administration and the media are, at all times, intentionally misrepresenting the goals of their opponents.
Is it not reasonable to accept the sorry conclusion that those who pursue tangents rather than facts perhaps have as their aim diversion rather than solutions?
And if it is agreed that this administration’s most vocal and sincere conservative opposition is purposefully misidentified (though their goals have been expressly documented), then the question inescapably arises:
To what end?
It indeed seems the case that without first attempting to correctly identify a problem, the chances of encountering a solution grow increasingly slim. And because it seems to me impossible that such an uncomplicated concept could slip so effortlessly over the heads of our nation’s leaders and opinion-makers, I believe that there is something much more sinister at work
The public is being misinformed plainly because the Obama administration wishes to redirect the public away from a recognition and understanding of a political philosophy that desires to implement a redistributive social system.
In its call for individual liberty and economic freedom, the Tea Party expresses an understanding that the redistribution of wealth presently desired by Washington, the media, and liberals at large would be best guaranteed by the continuation of the current tax code — a tax code perceived by its critics as perpetuating a gross injustice by utilizing the coercive income tax to negotiate the satisfaction of ends to which those fleeced have not consented.
Ought an injustice be permitted to endure so long as some class or constituency benefit from its presence? Signers of the contract, liberty-oriented people from across the growingly constrained nation, all rightly reason, “No!”
There is a danger in the Obama White House honestly appraising the Tea Party’s criticisms: It may bring illumination to the consequences of their policies. And because, as poll after poll suggest, an enlightened citizenry would reject absolutely the continuation of said policies, such honesty would be politically suicidal.
Where the Tea Party openly provides its recommendations and cites its complaints, the Obama White House and its allies in the media take quite a separate approach. It is difficult to tell behind which goal they place the stronger thrust of their efforts: concealing their own agenda or wrongfully portraying the intentions of their critics.
On the campaign trail, Barack Obama sold a bill of goods (to those interested in his product): the possibility that this nation might finally be presented with the opportunity to rip through the ever-present and seemingly insurmountable partisan divide to achieve the Holy Grail of political discourse more commonly known as the civil debate of issues. However, now it is evident that he is actively pursuing an attitude of the very dissension which it was his stated goal to diminish.
Candidate Obama once said, “Let’s debate our genuine differences on the issues that matter.”
Hear, hear, Mr. President!