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Posts tagged with "Tea Party"

Nov 9

Takers

My neighbors David and Barbara are intelligent, witty and charming people of the extreme right-wing persuasion. They’re wonderful neighbors, pleasant, kind and generous. He’s 89 and she’s perhaps a year or two older. He just had a hip replacement, and she was hospitalized recently, as well. They shared a hospital room for several weeks while rehabilitating, which is kind of romantic, in its own weird way.

I spoke to David the day after the election, and he was mildly distraught over the outcome. He thinks Obama is a crook and assumes the president will raise his taxes. He hates paying taxes so that other people will get benefits they didn’t earn and don’t deserve. This is a staple, of course, of Tea Party thinking, that there are earners and there are takers, and the earners shouldn’t be forced to give up what they’ve earned so that the takers can live off it.

In the same conversation, he marveled at how much he and his wife had received from Medicare. He was certain that the medical services they had just received exceeded the amount he had put into the system. I couldn’t help needling him. “So, you like socialized medicine, then?” 

What amazes me most about this whole strain of political thinking is the disconnect. Somehow, it doesn’t bother my neighbor that his neighbors are paying taxes for his health care, but it annoys him mightily that he might have to pay for his neighbors’ unemployment benefits. If he were alone in thinking that way, we might conclude that my wonderful neighbor is a sociopath, but he represents an alarmingly large and vocal percentage of the population. Fortunately, not quite large enough to have won the election. 

Texas, My Texas

Well, my former home state of Texas did it again, with the Republicans choosing Ted Cruz, yet another Tea Party fruitcake, over David Dewhurst, the establishment-backed candidate, in the Senate primary (which means Cruz will almost certainly be going to Washington, given that Texas hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide office in living memory). That the establishment is now represented by a wingnut like Rick Perry is bad enough, but not bad enough, evidently, for the Texas Republican party, which apparently is going all in for the truly loony Right. I keep waiting for the whole Tea Party thing to implode as people discover just how genuinely moronic and destructive their agenda is, but the voters keep choosing them despite their insistence, in the name of ideological purity, on obstructing any kind of meaningful compromise. After their dismal performance in the last Congress, we’ll see how many of them the voters send home in November, but I’m not hopeful that anything close to a functional legislature will emerge any time soon.