April 16, 2010

The Common Wisdom of the Newsroom

Justin Katz

Odds are that Philip Marcelo doesn't recognize how much he's bowed to the left-wing common wisdom of the American newsroom, as indicated by this paragraph in his profile of Colleen Conley:

Still, for many detractors, it is telling that the national Tea Party movement began not in the eight years of enormous federal spending during the Bush years, but in the first year of the nation’s first black presidency.

The "for many detractors" phrase is a fudge; Marcelo clearly finds it telling, because he thought it a detail worth an unrebutted mention. Those who fell for all of the Hope and Change pablum don't see the consistent theme of the public's early experience with Obama, which was absent from the Bush presidency: the cult-like commercials and logo, the messianic talk, Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright, Michelle Obama's implied dislike of the country, spreading the wealth, cap and trade, stimulus, the union shadow, Chris Matthew's declaration that he saw it as his duty to make sure Obama succeeded as president, the bizarre promotion of an "office of the president elect," the many (and questionably ideological) czars, politicized reports about theoretical domestic right-wing terrorists, and of course government overtaking of healthcare. The list could go on.

The fact of the matter is that Barack Obama would not currently be President of the United States were many of the current Tea Partiers and sympathetic voters not so deeply dissatisfied with President Bush. They were fed up with the spending and growth of government and reacted as angry voters are accustomed to doing: Putting the opposition in power. That the Republican candidate was within the "moderate" range, was a Senatorial old hand, and had championed pro-incumbent, anti-First Amendment campaign legislation didn't help.

Unfortunately, too many Americans were snookered by the happy talk and caught up in the zeitgeist — much of which had to do with a desire to break racial barriers — and chose not to see just how different a politician Mr. Obama was until it was too late. That they came to their senses quickly is not an indicator of racism, although those of us who were on to the game before the election predicted that President Obama's skin color would become a political weapon.

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My own interest in The Tea Party, whether or not it had a name then I'm not sure started during the Bush presidency, and ended during the Obama presidency.

The whole Tea Party movement is now more right vs left propaganda, propagated by a media that profits from dissent among the populace.

The fact that I lost interest in the Tea Party makes me neither a racist, conservative or liberal. The neverending need for people in the media to label us is disheartening. Collen Conally said on Jon Dipietro yesterday that the Tea Party has learned how to rally "from the left," insinuating on one hand how the rally was for ALL Americans, then saying on the radio it is for RIGHT Americans.

Also, for a media that is reportedly left wing, I heard a lot about the nationwide Tea Party rallies yesterday, more coverage than any rally I can remember. WPRO had constant coverage, and participation. And most of what I heard and read was pro Tea Party.

Posted by: michael at April 16, 2010 8:10 AM

The Silent Majority will be silent no more. The state General Assembly is more concerned over unions and protecting their positions than the people they represent. That is what most Rhode Islanders are upset about. When special interests can garner political support and taxpayers have to foot the bill.

The towns and cities are broke, the state is broke, there is no more money to support the special interest groups. It is not enough to vote people out, we need new blood, new candidates running against the incumbents with fresh ideas. They can't possibly do any worse than those people already in office. We need to change the way this state does business and it needs to start NOW. We need new candidates to file paperwork to run for election. It doesn't matter what your party affiliation is, what matters is that you get up, go out, and file to run for office.

I did that two years ago and will do it again this year. I will run for town council. Even though I lost, I haven't given up. By running I brought issues up to the forefront and exposed problems in my town. Some improvements were made as a result but in many cases the status quo held supreme. In order to change some things we need to get involved. So grab your friends, figure out the three most important issues facing your town or city and run for office. In order to change the local and state government we need people to get involved. Only then can we get the change we so desperately need. Or come December we will still be ticked that the same politicians were re-elected, mostly because they were unopposed on the ballot.

Posted by: George D at April 16, 2010 8:49 AM

"The Silent Majority will be silent no more. The state General Assembly is more concerned over unions and protecting their positions than the people they represent. That is what most Rhode Islanders are upset about. When special interests can garner political support and taxpayers have to foot the bill."

George, most Rhode Islanders are justified in their anger with deals special interest groups, ie. unions have. But, unions can be negotiated with, and concessions have been made for years now but it is never enough.

Try focusing on the real problem with the budget, medicaid and welfare, no federal income taxes for 51% of Americans, CPA's whose livelihood depends on wealthy clients who expect to pay no taxes through bookkeeping wizardry and the like.

Most union workers are middle class taxpayers with better than average benefits that have been whittled away for years. Maybe it is easier to focus on them than to sound politically incorrect and call to attention the massive fraud perpetrated by our "poor" and wealthy.

I hope "The Silent Majority" gets vocal about all matters that effect the state, and stop hyper focusing on "The Unions." And maybe The Tea Party will find the direction it has lost.

Posted by: michael at April 16, 2010 9:07 AM

I think you are referring to the Silent Minority, not the Majority!

Perhaps you don't know the history of the Silent Majority, which was largely a divide and conquer strategy by Nixon and friends to divide the people (ala Bush) and take over the political scene. As we soon saw, Nixon was a madman and a crook.

Justin, any reasonable person should be able to agree that the election of a Democrat and Minority HAS fueled the tea party. No, it is not 100% or even 50% of the anger, but by and large, tea party members poll STRONGLY republican....and independent...independent being the new name which many conservatives give themselves so as not to be lumped in with Bush and the present GOP.

However, if you look at the so-called Tea Party candidates, they are often FAR to the right of even George Bush. C'mon, now, Justin......we are not that stupid!

I think if you took a poll nationally of who Tea Party members voted for in the last election, 3/4 of them would not have been Obama voters.

As to the cross-over you mention......first of all, with 53% of the vote total, Obama surely didn't get many staunch Republicans! In fact, the National Election totals somewhat mirror the party affiliations...slightly more Dems than GOP.

Justin, denying reality is not helpful in a reasonable dialog. If you want to make some points, why not point out that Rhode Island tea party folks ARE different than many other states. At least you would have personal experience with that.

Posted by: Stuart at April 16, 2010 9:17 AM

I won't suggest that the Tea Party has jumped the shark, but I found it interesting that both looking over the photos and accepting the highest of the crowd estimates I've seen or heard, there was a smaller crowd at the Statehouse than last year. Like weather was a factor.
And take a look, both locally and nationally, at people who are starting to give it the cold shoulder. Notice Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota goveenor and widely presumed presidential candidate, was nowhere to be found when the Tea Party Express rolled into his state (not that I blame him for avoiding sharing a podium with Michelle Bachmann). Scott Brown avoided Wednesday's Boston bash. Even Steve Laffey bailed yesterday. And NFL Hall of Famer turned successful businessman John Hannah cancelled in Providence, too.
Maybe people who still believe in the Tea Party's original goals realize it's become a mess.

Posted by: rhody at April 16, 2010 9:43 AM

Justin spot on with your commentary.
Bush not only lost the support of the independent voter but he lost his own party over his liberal spending and his Demmie-lite softness on issues like border security. The discontent with Bush and with the lack any fiscal sanity within the ranks of Congressional Repubs is what first lead to a party change in Congress and then the election of a smooth talking resume-less Senator from Chicago.
The overwhelming majority of Tea Party folk are independent voters and it is independent voters who swing elections in this country.
The vote for Obama was an anti-incumbency vote and it's the same vote he'll face in '12.
America has a huge case of buyers remorse right now with this President and that remorse will only grow as time goes by and the massive bills come due.

rhody why do you libs obsess so much about groups that you then seek to diminish and dismiss? If the Tea Party doesn't matter then why do you libs obsses over them so much?? Lefties do the same with Sarah Palin. They report on her every move, obsess and smear Palin at every turn as they seek to diminish and dismiss her. Bizarre!! Why do you bother to give us guestimates on the size of the Tea Party based on photos?? Who wastes their time on such an exercise if they don't care??
Ah but you libs do care and you care very much.
I love your summary of where Republicans were and weren't yesterday. Hilarious! Let me help you out rhody. John Hannah cancelled because his best friend died unexpectedly a couple of days ago back home. Scott Brown didn't show because he needs to be the prettiest face on stage and Sarah being in Boston pushed the spotlight away from Scott. lol Laffey cancelled because Laffey is a people user and he doesn't need to "use" the Tea Party right now.
Anyone else you're keeping track of because you don't care about them rhody? lol
Btw you must love it when fellow libs wear Tea Bagger T-shirts. What tolerance for gay people huh??

Posted by: Tim at April 16, 2010 12:36 PM

Tim, I apologize if yesterday's big party didn't meet yur expectations. That damned weather.
And thanks for the additional evidence of how the Tea Party is turning on Brown. Did Scotty prick his finger and take some kind of oath he'd enter the Tea Party alive and leave it dead? Didn't think he did.
I'm glad I never joined your team. You eat your own.

Posted by: rhody at April 16, 2010 7:29 PM


The unfunded pension liability is real. Union-driven scams against the taxpayer are real. The basic reality is that public-sector unions are a core constituency of the corrupt "I got mine" mentality that governs Rhode Island.

I know that you, individually, are well intentioned, but telling taxpayers to look elsewhere is just union distraction. When I see George Nee speaking out against benefits for illegal immigrants and for stronger limits on welfare-related expenditures, I'll believe that we're seeing something more substantial than scams to keep the taxpayers forking over money to special interests.

Posted by: Justin Katz at April 16, 2010 9:02 PM

What exactly is a union driven scam against the taxpayer? There is no such thing. My pension, 50% of my base salary, no overtime of other gimicks with a 3% cola, compounded thanks to David Cicclilin's run for congress is less than what it was ninteen years ago when I was hired, but more than the simple 3% simple cola 50% pension on the first 10,000 it was for the last ten years. My 9 1/2 percent has been paid diligently over the last nineteen years. I was offered "liberal" sick time, and encouraged not to use it because the city does not pay TDI in case of injury, our sick days are all we have. The unused sick time was offered as a severance package upon retirement.

Generous benefits? Absolutely. Unaffordable? Definately, now that our elected officials have raided the pension fund. "Scam?" Absolutely not.

Our "bosses" who actually work for us, much like your, and our polititians veer off course, especially with their umbrella philosophy concerning welfare and benefits for illegal immigrants, and the occasional support for unionising babysitters, but their main objective is to improve pay and benefits for their members.

I wish I didn't belong to the AFL-CIO, or the IAFF for that matter, I've seen how the upper echelon acts and I'm not proud of that. I'm less proud of the politititians with whom our representatives do battle on a daily basis. I do not like what our president does, but at the end of the day, he is my president, and I will uphold the law and regulations as they are passed, grudgingly.

There is no scam against taxpayers. It is just an ugly truth, business and politics mixing with the taxpayer paying the bills.

And I'm not so arrogant to tell taxpayers anything. I just find it disheartening to see fraud, dishonesty and outright theft done daily by people with no accountability, or even a mention. The fraud is epidemic. The population of Providence, and the economy is directly tied to government handouts. It's a carnival the first of every month. The government drops millions of dollars into the neighborhoods in the form of disability and welfare checks, the stores are full, shopping carts full and the party in full swing. But nobody mentions that, public employees, who actually work and pay taxes an easier, less dangerous target.

Thats enough out of me, I have intoxicated homeless men to take to the ER so they can get a turkey sandwich and warm bed and start all over tommorrow.

Posted by: michael at April 16, 2010 11:19 PM

And by the way, I haven't spent the last twenty years building a business, padding my resume or going to school. I've been working. If I go next year it will be with about 400 bucks a week. Then I get to start over. Or, I can stay until I'm 60, and get maybe 600.00 a week which I won't need because I'll be in a convalescent home.

Posted by: michael at April 16, 2010 11:24 PM
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