FrontPage’s Person of the Year: The Tea Party

FrontPage’s Person of the Year: The Tea Party

Posted By Nichole Hungerford On December 31, 2010 @ 12:50 am In FrontPage

Over the past few years, while atrophy of the welfare state system has spurred violent protests in Western Europe, the United States has experienced a parallel, but remarkably distinct phenomenon. In early 2009, desperate Greeks rioted in the streets to demand that their overextended government do more for them in the face of financial crisis. Americans, at the same time, rallied across the nation for their government to do less. More than any one individual alone in 2010, this movement, the Tea Party movement, wrought tremendous change over the political landscape, realizing a historic election and revitalizing the American zeitgeist. The title of FrontPage Magazine’s Person of the Year, therefore, must be bestowed collectively on these individuals, the formidable torchbearers of our beloved liberty and prosperity.

Two days after the newly-elected President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the stimulus bill) into law February 19th, the Tea Party movement found its voice — in the unlikeliest of places. A little-known CNBC analyst, Rick Santelli, embarked on a spontaneous rant while delivering a market forecast live on air. His harangue was precipitated by the federal government’s decision to stem the 2009 housing and financial crisis with a series of unprecedented “bailouts” for Wall Street and the banking industry, financed by taxpayer revenue. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage, that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” Santelli wailed, turning to the gallery of traders on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. The crowd jeered. “President Obama, are you listening?” Apparently, he was not. Santelli proceeded to flippantly claim he was considering organizing a “Chicago Tea Party” to protest government spending and the apparent collectivization of wealth.

The clip was immediately picked up by the Drudge Report, a highly influential driver of conservative discourse. (For nostalgia’s sake, Santelli’s video clip is here [1].) Prior to this incident, there had been several large conservative-oriented rallies held around the country, some of which were publicized by conservative journalist and blogger Michelle Malkin. To our best reckoning, however, the “Tea Party” moniker had not been applied to this growing brand of conservative activism until after the Santelli clip “went viral.” Within hours of the rant’s debut, a number of “Tea Party” websites went live.

The notion of a Tea Party protest following the 2008-2009 financial crisis was completely felicitous at the time. It encapsulated at just the right moment, in just the right way, an ambient sense of unease, not just among steadfast Republicans, but among individuals erstwhile unengaged in the political process. By the time the Obama administration incestuously “bailed out” the auto-industry in March of the president’s inaugural year — or more precisely, bailed out the his union patrons — followed by the effective ousting of the presiding General Motors president, the political die had already been cast. President Obama’s throng of support quickly evaporate into a haze of resentment from the now not-so-silent majority.

The rancid reaction of the Left to the Tea Party is well known and not worth treatment here. What is important is setting the record straight on what the Tea Party really is. This is no straightforward task, to be sure, as the term “Tea Party” is essentially an umbrella label for numerous regional and national conservative activism groups. Members are predominately Republican voters, many of whom are disaffected and work largely outside the GOP establishment. Only 54% of Tea Party supporters had a favorable view of the Republican Party, according to an April 2010 New York Times/CBS News poll [2]. Polls consistently show the movement’s single greatest unifying principle is fiscal conservatism, including a desire for a smaller government and a concern over the federal deficit.  Social issues are mixed and far less uniform. According to the same poll, slightly more people favored civil unions for homosexuals compared to those who believed gay couples should receive no legal recognition (41% to 40%) and 45% are pro-choice (believing abortion should be available, but with restrictions), while only 35% believe abortion should not be available.

The movement’s focus on the virtues of fiscal conservatism in an atmosphere of immense economic uncertainty proved to be a political powder keg. In the afterglow of Barack Obama’s presidential victory, with both chambers of Congress controlled by the Democratic Party and headed by far-left leadership, many left-wing commentators believed the Republican Party was on the wane. And in fact, perhaps they were right. A large portion of Tea Party supporters, almost 40%, did not like McCain and slightly more had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. Glenn Beck was more well-liked than both McCain and President George W. Bush. The Left’s pronouncements may have been accurate with respect to the political clout of the Republican Party, but conservatism was — and is — still very much alive. As the Democratic Party moved farther and farther away from economic matters after the stimulus bill was passed, and as beleaguered Republicans stood by impotently, worried fiscal conservatives took the only avenue left.

Early portents of Tea Party power came in the form of Massachusetts junior senator Scott Brown, who assumed “liberal lion” Ted Kennedy’s seat in the January 2010 special election, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the first Republican governor to be elected in New Jersey in 12 years. Both enjoyed a wellspring of support from Tea Party activists within and outside their respective states. From this standpoint, the 2010 midterm election looked like it would be a good year for conservatives

Few predicted that the election would be as historic as it actually was, surpassing even the “Gingrich Revolution” of the 1990s. In terms of immediate political success, however, the impact of the Tea Party was a wild card in some cases. While candidates like Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Nikki Haley, governor-elect of South Carolina, were able to use Tea Party support to beat not only their liberal opponents in the election, but their Republican establishment opponents in the primaries, others, such as Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, Sharon Angle of Nevada, and Joe Miller of Alaska could not manage the same success. In these cases, personal foibles and eccentricities played a significant role in their defeat.

Although the Tea Party may have been an obstacle to conservative victory in select races, if the conservative voter “enthusiasm gap” can be identified with the Tea Party phenomenon, and indeed, conservative Tea Party supporters were by far the most enthusiastic voters in the midterm election, then the presence of the Tea Party was an overall boon to the Republican Party. The charge that “less electable” Tea Party candidates may have cost Republicans a few seats is unfortunate (if true), but it is overshadowed by a new competitiveness among conservative candidates and that, as conservatives say, makes us better.

The Tea Party has also helped bring much needed aesthetic diversity to the face of conservatism — and serious new political talent to the fore. The favored liberal characterization of the GOP, which was regrettably presented in excelsis by 2008 presidential contender John McCain, was “pale, stale, and male.” This image was shattered during the 2010 midterm election by a much more diverse stock of high profile candidates, either in gubernatorial or congressional races. Many of these individuals may have serious political futures ahead of them. South Carolina governor-elect Nikki Haley exacted a huge upset over not just her Democratic opponent, but also many in the SC Republican establishment. Haley faced serious opposition in the gubernatorial primary, but was a Tea Party favorite. Rising star Marco Rubio, the “un-Obama,” was largely supported by Tea Party forces, and made short work of both Obama-ally, incumbent Kendrick Meek and the (presumably) top Florida GOP leader, Governor Charles Crist. Rubio’s political gifts cannot be overstated, and the maturity of his political career will be fascinating to watch.

The 2010 election proved the Tea Party’s strength. In many ways, the movement has done enough to fall complacently back into slumber. So, what is on the horizon for the Tea Party? Does the it have the fortitude to face President Obama head on in 2012? Most of the front-runners for 2012 GOP presidential candidates — Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin — fall short of the adequate support needed to defeat Obama. Yet, recall the low opinion Tea Party supporters generally had of John McCain (and his party). If Tea Partiers can maintain movement enthusiasm, and if an actually inspiring candidate emerges, President Obama has every reason to be concerned. The battle for the presidency in 2012 will likely be very competitive.

Commentator Arthur Brooks has described the Tea Party as a new front of a culture war. “America [can] continue to be an exceptional nation organized around the principles of free enterprise — limited government, a reliance on entrepreneurship and rewards determined by market forces,” Brooks said in the Washington Post, “[or] America will move toward European-style statism grounded in expanding bureaucracies, a managed economy and large-scale income redistribution. These visions are not reconcilable. We must choose.” The problem is, the Tea Party notwithstanding, the outcome of this war is nowhere certain. Even under Republican leadership, the size and scope of government has increased every year. The government spends more, controls more, takes more. And to some extent, polls have shown, the populace is in favor of this direction. Can it be stopped? Or are we inevitably headed toward European decline? Perhaps most importantly, the Tea Party represents the hope that our fate of joining the other corpses of Westernism is not sealed — that we will always be a society that protests for the government to do less and not more. As recent events have shown, there is plenty of room for optimism


Article printed from FrontPage Magazine: http://frontpagemag.com

It’s the Media, Stupid!

It’s the Media, Stupid!

By Lloyd Marcus

After being interviewed as a guest on two radio programs back-to-back, I was angry and frustrated. I had to endure radio talk show hosts and callers who have never attended a tea party tell me how racist the rallies are. Not only will this false accusation of racism not go away, it appears to be growing stronger.

Angry callers said they saw racist signs on TV and shared stories from black friends who claimed to have experienced racism at tea parties. I told one caller, “Ma’am, with all due respect, your friend is a liar.” I am a black man who has attended well over two hundred tea parties across America traveling on three Tea Party Express tours. I know the tone of the rallies and the types of people who attend them.
The tea party attendees are moms, dads, kids, grandparents, and yes, mostly white, but they are not racist. Many even voted for Obama. They are decent, hardworking Americans who love their country and do not want it “transformed” into Europe. For the gazillionth time, I will state this truth: The tea parties are not about race!
So how has the “tea parties are racist” lie become so solidly branded into the minds of many? Then, it hit me: “It’s the media, stupid.” Last year I appeared on CNN fielding accusations that the tea parties are racist gatherings. During my interview, CNN showed the same sign of Obama as a witch doctor several times. Meanwhile, 99.9% of the signs on display at the rallies expressed opposition to Obama’s policies only.
The liberal mainstream media attempts to put and keep us tea party patriots on the defensive. They scream, “You should denounce those people carrying racist signs!” Well, who died and made the “agenda-driven” liberal mainstream media the final authority on what is racist? According to them, anything short of fawning approval of Obama is racist.
The liberal mainstream media’s hypocrisy is stunning. While chiding us to denounce questionable racist signs, they clearly favor and hide real hatred and violence coming from the left. A few years ago, after performing at a troop support rally in Washington,  D.C., I walked a few blocks away to witness a so-called “peace” rally by the left. At least 1,200 peace protesters marched down the street chanting, “F— George Bush, F— George Bush!” Their signs spewed hatred for Bush, our troops, and America. And yet, not one sign or any footage of the “peace rally” was featured in the liberal mainstream media.
More recently, signs at Arizona Immigration Law protest rallies which threatened to “shoot more police” and other hate-filled anti-America messages are ignored by the liberal mainstream media.
As I stated, I know the caliber of the patriots who attend the tea parties. If anyone displayed a truly racist sign or made a racist comment, that person would be verbally attacked by the crowd.
This is why I know the black Democrat senators who said they were called the “n” word while walking through a crowd of tea partiers were lying. Not to mention the fact that if the incident really happened, the video would be viral on YouTube.
Here are a few of my personal tea party experiences. Keep in mind I have performed at well over two hundred tea parties across America.
Before singing my “American Tea Party Anthem,” I say, “Hello, my fellow patriots! I am not an African-American! I am Lloyd Marcus, AMERICAN!” The crowds go wild. Many tearfully thank me. They say hyphenating divides us. Would racists make such a statement?
 I’ve seen numerous signs in the crowds which read “Lloyd Marcus for President.” Why didn’t CNN show any of those signs on TV during my interview?
At a tea party in Texas, a white cowboy approached me pushing a stroller with two black babies. The proud new dad said he and his wife, who was also white, asked God to give them babies who needed their love. They felt blessed to adopt two babies from Africa. Could this couple be classified as redneck racists protesting Obama because he is black?
An incident happened at a tea party in Traverse City, Michigan which ripped my heart out. A white woman in a wheelchair saw me approaching. She yelled, “Oh my gosh, it is Lloyd Marcus. I listen to your music. I read your columns. I love you. May I have a picture with you?”
The woman’s adult daughter confided to one of our staff members, “My mom is dying. She said all she wanted to do is meet Lloyd Marcus.” Wow! Now, do you understand why I am so outraged when the liberal mainstream media and ill-informed radio talk show callers attempt to portray the tea party folks as a bunch of racists?
On numerous occasions, I have been approached at tea parties by patriots who have emotionally thanked me for my participation in the movement. Because we share values and principles, they call me “brother.”
The “racist” accusation is an evil lie designed to control and shut up decent people who simply disagree with our president’s agenda. White racist skinheads do not care if you call them racist. They probably wear it as a badge of honor. But the decent white folks who attend the tea parties are devastated by such charges.
Partners with the liberal mainstream media spreading the lie about the tea parties are Hollywood and the liberal Democrats.
Here is a shameful misrepresentation of the tea party patriots by NAACP President Ben Jealous: “A group of White males wealthier than their peers called the Tea Party has risen up in the land. They say that they want to take the country back. And take it back they surely will. They will take it back to 1963 if we let them.”
Folks, ask yourself: Would white people who one year ago voted in record numbers for a black man to lead our country suddenly have a desire to “take America back to 1963”? Ridiculous. Jealous’s comments are hate-inspiring, manipulative, and evil.
As long as God gives me strength, I will keep shouting from the rooftops, “the Tea Party Movement is not racist!” God bless.
 – Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American!

lloydmarcus.com
Spokesperson/Entertainer of Tea Party Movement & Tea Party Express
The American Tea Party Anthem CD/album
Confessions of a Black Conservative, foreword by Michelle Malkin

Sarah Palin and the Multitude of Dummies===And they name names: Sarah Palin, taxpayers, Tea Party supporters, viewers turning away from the mainstream networks, newspaper and magazine readers canceling subscriptions, those without degrees from an elite university — all dumb.

Sarah Palin and the Multitude of Dummies

By Stuart Schwartz

We are dumb. So say the folks at the top of our leadership ladder.

And they name names: Sarah Palin, taxpayers, Tea Party supporters, viewers turning away from the mainstream networks, newspaper and magazine readers canceling subscriptions, those without degrees from an elite university — all dumb.
Stupidity is the face of American exceptionalism for Barack Obama and his media and university supporters. New York Times columnist David Brooks, a graduate of the elite University of Chicago, says the nation’s a “joke,” that Sarah Palin and ordinary Americans should shut up and let the “educated class” lead. Bill Maher, who practices his contempt at HBO and honed his arrogance at Yale, labels us a “stupid people.”
Meanwhile, Woody Allen says we are so clueless that Barack Obama needs to take his Harvard law degree in hand and become a “dictator for a few years.” Allen, who does not have an Ivy League degree, nevertheless burnished his elite cultural credentials with first an affair, and then a marriage to his stepdaughter a few years back. More recently, he dismissed the rape of a fourteen-year-old by fugitive director Roman Polanski with the observation “he’s an artist.”
We do not read what they want us to read, vote the way they want us to vote, buy what they want us to buy, or believe the way they want us to believe. The United States bounded by the Hudson River and Rodeo Drive is a black hole of intellect and culture desperately in need of guidance.
They are angry that 81% of us put the nation “on the wrong track” and that two-thirds are “outraged” with what the “educated class” is doing to us. Their response, however, is pushback. The Atlantic magazine, a favorite of our political and media elites, just this month explained the growing anger on Main Street: “It’s that you’re stupid.”
Sen. John Kerry (D-Martha’s Vineyard) said this past week he and others inside the Beltway are growing impatient with the average American’s failure to grasp the superior ways of elite Washington. We the people suffer from a “comprehension gap” because of our inability to see the “amazing resurgence” that our elites have delivered to a nation afflicted by more than 220 years of what the president calls a “flawed Constitution.”
“We’ve come back,” Kerry proclaims, proudly pointing to Wall Street, the economy, and the general state of the republic. The media applauded (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal, which warned that whatever Kerry was doing, he should “stop doing it in public”). If the poet Robert Browning (dead nineteenth-century white guy who originated political incorrectness when he gave up being an atheist and vegetarian and wrote soppy love poems to an individual of the opposite, not same, sex) had been a Washington Post editor, he would have gleefully slapped on the headline “Kerry Says Obama’s in His Heaven, All ‘s right With the world!”
Blink. Oh, okay — when you’re married to the notoriously ill-tempered heir to the Heinz foods fortune, I suppose all days away from her seem sunny. Or perhaps all those years encased in tight spandex while windsurfing achieved what fellow aristocrat, Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-OxyContin), did with drugs and alcohol: cut off the oxygen to his brain.
They are smart and we are dumb. End of story. Whether conservative or liberal, our elite journalists agree with Senator Kerry and the Times’ David Brooks, who sums it up this way: We’re smarter than you. Brooks then uses an entire thesaurus to describe the relief and optimism among the cultured media at having a fellow “intellectual in the White House.”
The intelligence of this educated class stands in stark contrast to those of us who think of a thesaurus as the slavering reptile with the big teeth that ate the lawyer cowering on a toilet in Jurassic Park. And wouldn’t mind if a few of the big guys were loosed to do the same on Capitol Hill.
Our traditional media, both left and right, regard this newly aroused dummy class (us) with disdain and anger topped with a heaping helping of arrogance. The deputy managing editor of National Review, even while defending Sarah Palin from vicious, gratuitous attacks (yawn), makes sure his brothers and sisters-in-brains on the right know that he agrees “quite intensely” with attacks on her rhetoric.
Sarah Palin is the anti-Harvard. She did not attend an elite university; doesn’t have a Kennedy, William F. Buckley, or Bush gene in her body; and offers cringe-worthy thoughts such as “I love my country” and that character counts.  
As such, she displays the “gleeful ignorance” that afflicts the vast majority of Americans disgusted at the mess our elites are making of the country. So says David Frum, a member of the conservative elite media; on the other side of the aisle at the Washington Post, editorial writer Ruth Marcus piles on, insisting that the angry nation represented by Palin is dumb, incapable of learning.
And so we need the guidance of our betters. Or so goes the thought processes, the critical thinking shaped by the identical exposure of Marcus and Frum to an education provided by Yale University and Harvard Law School. Harvard, especially, is where our current leadership has been drawn.
And Harvard is up to the task. Sure, once it was an explicitly Christian university actively engaged in graduating students of great character and education. Its first honorary degrees were awarded to Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson.
But over time, “transformative leadership” changed the school, much in the way Obama is doing for the United States. As later Harvard-trained historians would tell it, the Puritans who founded the college left to pursue other opportunities, such as raping the wilderness and establishing injustice. Meanwhile, university leadership realized the lack of social justice involved in honoring and thereby encouraging national leaders who believed in “God-given” rights and self-government. Besides, the latter were home-schooled, a condition that produces individuals, the Washington Post tells us, who are just not “very good at thinking.”
And now Harvard has come into its own, shaping a White House that even Yale graduate John Kerry praises for doing an awesomely “ship-shape” job. Look around you, he says proudly: This is what bringing Harvard to the White House does.
And at Harvard, the transformation just underway in the rest of the nation is complete. More representative of its values are recent honorary degree recipients that include Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA), whom one London newspaper honored with the title of “the Senator of Sleaze.” On the cultural front, the university honored Ivy League art critic Dr. Leo Steinberg, who, we are told by the “most widely-read fine arts magazine in the world,” has thrilled the arts world with his studies of  “the prominent display of the genitals of the infant Christ [in art].”
From George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to Ted Kennedy and Leo Steinberg.
And they call us dummies?
Stuart Schwartz, a former retail and media executive, is on the faculty at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Obama mocks, we remember

Obama mocks, we remember

By Michelle Malkin  •  April 15, 2010 09:24 PM

President Obama derided the Tea Party activists at a Miami fund-raiser tonight. You keep laughing, chump:

He says he’s been a little amused over the past couple of days when people at the rallies complained about taxes. Quoting the president: “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”

Yeah? Thanks a lot:

By all estimates, the budget outlook is daunting. The latest projections of the Congressional Budget Office reckon the cumulative deficits under President Obama’s policies to be $12.7 trillion from 2009 to 2020. In 2020 the estimated annual deficit will be $1.25 trillion, or 5.6 percent of the economy (gross domestic product), despite assumed “full employment” of 5 percent. And the deficits get larger with every succeeding year. Given unavoidable uncertainties, these precise projections are likely to prove wrong. But their basic message seems incontestable: there’s a large and growing gap between the government’s promises and the existing tax base.

How big a tax increase would be needed to close the gap? Well, huge. To put things in perspective, all federal taxes (income, payroll, and excise) averaged 18.1 percent of GDP from 1970 to 2009. Under CBO’s assumptions about Obama’s policies, taxes in 2020 would already be slightly higher, at 19.6 percent of GDP. But on top of that, there’d need to be a further tax boost approaching a third to balance the budget, because spending is projected at 25.2 percent of GDP. Needless to say, this would be the largest tax burden in U.S. history, even including World War II.

Like the Tea Party sign says: “We’ll remember in November.”

I like this one even better: “We can see November from our house.”