“Crazy” seems a bit harsh, but gee…

As much as I like hearing Patsy Cline, I’m a little put off by labeling Tea Party types as “Crazy.” Seems a bit far to go. At the same time, this sort of thing is disturbing.

Of course, ALL man-on-the-street clips are disturbing, and will undermine your confidence in the principle of universal suffrage. But this is a tad worse than  most. And while I didn’t go to the rally this week, this is not terribly inconsistent with what I’ve seen and heard at previous Tea Party gatherings.

This came to me from Tyler Jones, as did a previous video posted here.

One more caveat: This IS a Tea Party gathering, not a Republican Party convention, despite Tyler’s effort to equate the two.

19 thoughts on ““Crazy” seems a bit harsh, but gee…

  1. bud

    It’s hard to get around the fact that the Tea Party is becoming ever more entwined in the workings of the GOP. Sure there are still a few stallwarts left but they are becoming dependent on the votes of the tea party types and have adjusted their positions accordingly. Just look at the remarkable transformation of John McCain. There’s someone that I just don’t recognize from his run for POTUS in 2000.

  2. bud

    The Democratic Party of 2011 is essentially the same as the broader political spectrum of the Nixon years. The right wing of the Democratic Party is roughly equivalent to the Democratic Party of 1972 but with very few real liberals. Dennis Kucinich is one of the last. The blue dog Democrats embody the GOP of 1972. But now we have this whole nuther party that was essentially non-existent in 1972. That would be today’s Republican Party. What the GOP is today is a collection of right-wing ideologues together with a large number of out-and-out nuts like Bachman, Palin and Trump. For folks like me there is nowhere to go so we latch onto the least repulsive force in order to prevent a complete catastrophe. Sadly only the Democratic Party, with all it’s flaws, has any real hope of combating the destructive nature of the GOP.

  3. Brad

    “The Democratic Party of 2011 is essentially the same as the broader political spectrum of the Nixon years.”


    “The right wing of the Democratic Party is roughly equivalent to the Democratic Party of 1972 but with very few real liberals.”

    Double wow.

    So you’re saying the “right wing” of the Democratic Party — by which I suppose you mean to refer to moderates in the party — are the equivalent of George McGovern and, I don’t know, Bella Abzug? So… where does that position the rest of the party.

    Suffice it to say that Bud’s idea of moderation and mine are … different.

    Fact is, there are sensible Democrats, just as there are sensible Republicans. But both have nearly been harried out of their parties (and some HAVE been harried out, such as Joe Lieberman and Charlie Crist) by the extremists.

    Now, we find ourselves hoping for a “moderate” like Mitt Romney — who was the choice of DeMint conservatives in 08 — which shows where we’ve arrived. Bud would agree with that assertion, but fails to see how far Democrats (and I’m talking national Democrats, not the far more moderate sort we have in SC) have moved out on their own wing.

  4. bud

    I meant to say “the right wing of the Democratic Party today is comparable to the GOP of 1972”. (This whole typing thing is a challenge).

    Seriously Brad I really can’t think of anyone in the GOP that’s even remotely sensible. A few come close to being normal at least. But given everyone’s falling all over themselves to declare Lindsey Graham a “moderate” I find nothing about the GOP worth salvaging.

  5. Kathryn Fenner (D- SC)

    Shootin’ fish in a barrel

    Message to the guy who thinks any laws but the US Constitution and the *State* Constitution are super-fluous: Have a sitdown with the SC Constitution sometime. It provides, among other things, for tax incentives to big business (in the form of fee-in-lieu-of-tax), for one thing…

    and the US Constitution does consider that government should “provide for the general welfare.”

    Maybe there needs to be a “Dr. Truth” book about that.

  6. bud

    Let’s take Richard Nixon. In the 60s Nixon was considered a rather right-wing sort even in the GOP. Or at best a moderate Republican. He was certainly far more conservative than someone like Nelson Rockafeller. Yet Nixon did the following: (1) Pushed for wage and price controls to combat inflation, (2) Proposed health care legislation that was far more government involved than Obamacare, (3) opened a dialogue with the Communist Chinese, (4) withdrew our combat forces from Vietnam (5) reduced the size of the military budget, (6) discussed ways of reducing our dependence on imported oil that included alternative energy sources.

    Seems like the GOP has moved a long way to the right since Nixon.

  7. Abba

    Nixon also presided over the establishment of the EPA, OSHA, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, among other environemental- and labor-friendly initiatives. Many of today’s conservatives are opposed to all or most of these as governmental intrusions into their freedoms. As Bud said, the Republicans have moved a long, long way from the 1960s and 1970s.

  8. bud

    One last point. Brad would surely agree that someone as liberal as George McGovern would never become the Democratic nominee for president today. I don’t even think he was all that liberal by 1972 standards. Perhaps a bit left of center but it seems like there were many others far more liberal. Eugene McCarthy perhaps?

  9. Brad

    It’s been so long now that it’s hard to remember for sure, but I don’t know how much of the “out there” feel of the Democratic Party in 72 was McGovern, and how much was the 1972 edition of the Party itself pulling him along. The party was certainly on a self-destructive streak at the moment.

    I’ll note that part of the whole New Left, countercultural feel of people like McGovern and McCarthy was the antiwar stance. And THAT is nowadays the default position of the party. Back then, you could find Democrats with strong defense credentials. Not so much anymore.

    That was about the time the Democratic Party started losing me, by the way. The antiwar stance (which became more than a principled objection to Vietnam, and encompassed a hostility to all things military) was just a piece of it. There was also abortion, and Identity Politics (as opposed to Civil Rights, which had given the party the moral high ground in the previous decade).

    The Republicans lost me over the Southern Strategy, and government-hating, and ideological rigidity.

    Oh, by the way, Bud, you forgot affirmative action — when you were talking about Nixon, I mean. Yeah, pols of both parties were more centrist in that generation. Including McGovern, if he hadn’t been the captive of a party in turmoil.

    The guy was a war hero in WWII. But you didn’t hear about that during the campaign. The Democrats of 1972 didn’t want to hear about war heroes.

  10. Doug Ross


    Do you think the Vietnam War-era “hostility” toward the military preceded the actions taken by that same military in Vietnam or was a result of having access to more information about the realities of war than ever before?

    Hard to defend napalm.

  11. bud

    Ding, Ding, Ding. Brad seems to get it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Democratic Party was “anti-military” but they certainly didn’t worship the military the way politicians do today. One of McGovern’s ideas for the military was to reduce the number of aircraft carriers from 12 to 7. And that was during the cold war. Today we have 11. And no one on either side of the isle is proposing a reduction in that number.

    Indeed the political spectrum has shifted radically to the right since 1972. I sense it’s about to move the other way with the Ryan plan proposing the abolition of medicare.

  12. Ralph Hightower

    The people in the video look like they need Obama/Romney Dental Care. They are missing a few teeth as well as something else.

  13. Phillip

    Brad, your memory of the Democratic party in 1972 as the party of “McGovern and Bella Abzug” is highly selective, and in this regard Bud makes a good point. One should not forget that George Wallace was a major factor in the Democratic primaries, up until he was shot. Also Henry Jackson (the American political figure you most resemble ideologically IMO) was a candidate, and Humphrey became a late contender, one who had certainly broken with LBJ on the war late in the 68 campaign but who was still seen as a classic “Cold War Liberal.”

    When Jimmy Carter won the nomination 4 years later, he was in no way considered a real leftist liberal, that role being occupied more by Mo Udall. And in 1980 Ted Kennedy was the more liberal alternative to Carter. In fact, with the exception of Mondale in the 1984 election, no real liberal has received the Democratic nomination until Obama, who really is more center-left.

    So the idea that the Democratic party was on a “self-destructive streak” in 1972 is a little overblown. They picked a candidate probably too far to the left of the mainstream on that occasion, who ran on one main issue that most people felt would be resolved soon, so the wind was sucked out of that sail to some extent. Then there was the Eagleton mess, and the economy was OK, and voila.

  14. Brad

    A few quick points. First, to Bud: what you regard as present-day politicos “worshiping” the military (which seems indicative of your own powerful antipathy toward it, more than descriptive of their positions) is the result of Democrats realizing how they were KILLING themselves politically with all that hate-anyone-in-a-uniform stuff left over from Vietnam. Once the party woke up, suddenly our men (and women!) in uniform became victims to politicians of the antiwar stripe — pitiable victims of blood-crazed politicians and oil companies and other supposed war profiteers. Not a bad word was to be breathed about the poor soldiers, and homilies were to be preached about their noble sacrifices, etcs. John Kerry’s medals were to be celebrated, unlike McGovern’s, because, under this new ideological interpretation, it wasn’t Kerry’s FAULT that he was in Vietnam killing Viet Cong.

    That’s what changed. It was a smart political calculation, a realization that blaming the servicemen and -women was a political dead end, that it ran in the face of a deep, visceral need of every community to respect and be grateful to its warriors. Of course, the new “victim” status is not one that most in the volunteer military would cherish, but it was an improvement over being spit upon.

    Now, to Phillip:
    — My memory is imperfect, but pretty clear on the points we’re discussing. The faction of the party that triumphed (within the party, that is) was the faction that we would identify with McGovern (and as I say, our picture of McGovern was imperfect and unfair, but it’s one he went along with) and Abzug. It was the anti-war, anti-military, legalize-abortion, identity politics wing. The Wallace faction (thank God) lost out, and the Scoop Jackson faction, unfortunately, took a big step on the road to being a historical footnote.
    — Speaking of footnotes, I voted for McGovern. Or rather, I voted against Nixon. Because of Watergate. McGovern was right about me — when I got into that booth (which is where I actually made up my mind in this, my first election), I could not pull the lever for Nixon. But I only did it as a protest, because I knew Nixon would win. I thought McGovern, who couldn’t even run a decent campaign, would have been a far worse president than Nixon, and if I thought he had a chance, I would have abandoned my protest and held my nose and voted for Nixon.
    — The party most certainly was on a self-destructive streak that year, which is why what happened happened.
    — Regarding “the Eagleton mess.” I liked Eagleton a lot, and McGovern’s decision to dump him after promising he wouldn’t is a big reason why I say that if I thought he’d had a chance to win, I would have voted for Nixon in spite of everything. Anyone who would do that, I felt, would be a lousy leader. To me, Eagleton was the better half of the ticket. (I can’t remember now all the reasons I thought so highly of Eagleton — memory being imperfect — but I did.)
    — Of COURSE Jimmy Carter was not a “real leftist liberal.” The liberals HATED him. His nomination was a correction — or an attempt at correction — from the death-spiral pattern of 1972. I voted for Jimmy Carter, by the way, with no sense of conflict. I liked Ford, but I liked Carter better.
    — The liberals, who had triumphed (except in the general election) in 1972 worked against Carter from Day One. I was there at the mid-term convention in Memphis in 78 when they all tried to crown Ted Kennedy as their champion to overthrow him — which he eventually tried to do. From then on, largely thanks to the left wing of the party, the Democrats were in the political wilderness until they nominated Third Way man Clinton in 92.

    The rest is fairly recent history, which we can argue about another time (and we do, all the time).

  15. bud

    Brad is partially correct in that the Dems may have gone too far in correcting the abuses of the military stemming from the Vietnam era. But it wasn’t a hatred of the military but rather a recognition that the military can and does serve misguided interests. The Democrats blamed the militarist politicians not the military itself but that distinction is lost on folks who see no wrong with the military. Reagan did a good job of deceiving the public into branding the Democrats as anti-military. It was never true but as you can see from Brad’s false portrayal it came to be established as fact. The GOP is very good at doing that.

    But after reversing course the Dems went too far the other direction and basically adopted the most militaristic planks of the GOP’s platform. Not only is the military never criticized for it’s abuses but it is not to ever be reduced in size or the scope of it’s mission curtailed, regardless of circumstances.

    Today the pragmatic left has no where to turn when it wants to establishing a sensible reduction of the military. And I don’t mean just a reduction in waste but an actual reduction in capability. In today’s world that, ironically, would likely result in greater not less security. And as a by product the national debt would also be slashed.

  16. Brad

    Allow me to go back to Doug’s salient question:

    “Do you think the Vietnam War-era ‘hostility’ toward the military preceded the actions taken by that same military in Vietnam or was a result of having access to more information about the realities of war than ever before?”

    Oh, the latter, certainly. Most Americans, particularly nonveterans, were completely unprepared for the amount of information available to them about the actualities of war. And we’re talking war, period. Most people tend to be terribly shocked by what it’s really like.

    For that reason, I doubt that we’ll ever again be able to fight a war all-out like WWII (or as close to all-out as WWII — ours was nothing like the existential struggle that the Germans and Soviets engaged in).

    And in fact, although you can’t tell it from Bud’s comments, our society has become so reflexively antiwar that when we DO engage in military action, we always do it with one, or both, hands tied behind us, because the home front is constantly ready to back out.

    Y’all like to say I was wrong about the Iraq invasion. I was, in two ways:
    1. I failed to see how badly Bush and Rumsfeld would screw it up (something that was belatedly and only partially fixed by Gates and Petraeus).
    2. I failed to anticipate that American support for the effort would collapse the way it did. If I had foreseen THAT, in particular, I would not have been for the invasion. As you may or may not recall, I expressed very clearly at the time my understanding that this was a very, VERY long-term commitment. In fact, I couched it in terms of crossing the Rubicon — as an irreversible act that would change things profoundly, for the foreseeable future and beyond. If I’d had any idea how quickly people would start saying, “Are we done yet? Can we go?” I think I would have said let’s not cross that river.

    Language plays a role. It’s very hard to see a military action through to success when you start talking about “exit strategies” before you enter, and complain of “mission creep” at the prospect of reacting to battlefield realities, we severely limited the ability of the nation to wage war effectively.

    So, antiwar folks, congratulate yourselves there…

  17. bud

    I just saw some pigs flying. Must have since Brad has actually, kinda-sorta admitted in a backhanded, tentative way that maybe, just maybe the Iraq invasion could have possibly been a mistake. This was all couched in terms of blaming the anti-war folks of course. Still, it’s refreshing that at least one pro-war guy is seeing something beyond the pro-war rhetoric. Satin must be having a good time with those snowballs down there.

  18. Phillip

    I think that when a society “becomes reflexively anti-war,” that to me is an indication of a society that has reached a higher state of evolution. Revulsion and resistance to war should be the default stance, and if that is brought about by the “amount of information available to them about the actualities of war,” then that’s one more example of how more information always ultimately helps a society grow and evolve. Only the highest level of true threat can override that natural anti-war inclination.

    I disagree with Brad that we’ll never be able to fight a war “all-out like WWII.” If and when we face a military and existential global threat of that magnitude, I have no doubt that we would. The redemption that the U.S. has (partly) received since Vietnam has been precisely that learned reluctance among a significant slice of our society to sacrifice American lives for vague geopolitical ends, or for superpower jockeying over Third World pawns. Neoconservatives call that the “Vietnam Syndrome.” I call that the Lesson of Vietnam, which to me and millions of others worldwide, stands as probably one of the two or three most horrible mistakes and sins this otherwise proud nation ever committed, along with slavery and a couple of other odds and ends along the way. It’s a lesson we must never forget, a reluctance we must never shed.

    The one has nothing to do with the other. If and when the defense of the United States is truly at stake, I am sure the country would be no less unified than it was in those years between 1941-45.


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