Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Were The "Tea Party" Protesters During Bush Years?


Lately, Fox News has been hyping the upcoming "Tea Party Protests," set for April 15. The event is supposed to be nonpartisan. But the people who purport to represent the movement are doing a lot of Obama-bashing.

Typical of the latter is a comment by a group organizing a local Tea Party event in Florida, which claims the protest is targeting the "outrageous spending by the Obama administration."

Which leads to me wonder: where in the f*ck were these protesters during the administration of George W. Bush?

Bush, as you'll recall, inherited a $128 billion budget surplus from Bill Clinton when he took office in 2001. Bush quickly squandered that and then proceeded to rack up gigantic budget deficits every year of his two terms in office.

Under Bush, the national debt grew by more than $4 trillion: the biggest debt increase of any president in U.S. history.

When Bush took office in 2001, the national debt stood at $5.7 trillion. At the end of Bush's two terms, the debt had skyrocketed to more than $9.849 trillion. And remember: Bush enjoyed a Republican Senate and House of Representatives during most of his time in office.

Things weren't helped along any by Bush's illegal and totally unnecessary Iraq War. That disaster will probably wind up costing the U.S. $3 trillion. It would be nice if some of these Tea Party protesters asked for an immediate halt to the $10 billion a month that America continues to squander in Iraq every month to this day. But I suspect there won't be too many "Stop the Iraq War" signs at these Tea Party events.

Like I said, where were these "tea party" protesters during the Bush years? Where were they when Bush was handing out billions of our tax dollars to his wealthy friends? Where were they when Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, was pocketing billions of dollars in closed, no-bid contracts? Where were they when $12 billion in cash disappeared without a trace after it was shipped to Iraq?

Obama has only been in office a few months. He inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression.

I'd suspect that most of the nearly 70 million Americans who voted for him understood very well what an Obama administration would bring: higher taxes on the rich and more domestic spending by the government to re-start the disastrous economy Obama inherited. Ten million more voters supported Obama's plans than the 59 million McCain voters who wanted more of the same failed GOP policies that got us into this mess in the first place.

The fact is, Obama is simply carrying out the policies that he promised during his campaign. They are policies that the majority of voters want---a fact that the Tea Party Protesters appear to be totally ignorant about.

The Tea Party Protesters clearly do not represent what the majority of Americans want. They claim to speak for "the people," but the people have already spoken. They spoke with their ballots in the 2008 presidential election.

Incidentally, the Tea Party Protesters seem to be clueless about the original 1773 Boston Tea Party, which was prompted by an decrease, not increase, on tea taxes.

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brian said...

They were busy being nationalists when Bush was doing it. Did Bush even spend money on the US or was it just spending money on wars and such?

david Yacker said...

They were lining up to line their pockets, they are the 'haves and the have mores'. the college Republicans that slandered returning Vitnam vets when they spoke against the war. The few, the proud, the legacy admittees.

spinn said...

THANK you. Every time I hear this Tea Party crap come up on the radio, I yell the topic of this post at it. (Though usually with more invective.)

Batocchio said...

It's partisan tribalism, or as Andrew Sullivan called them, "tea tantrums." There is no nobler principle at work, and there rarely is for these people.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Batocchio, thanks for stopping by. Speaking of Sullivan, I keep wondering: when is he going to abandon this party of kooks? I don't think he has ever really grasped how extremist the modern day Right-Wing is in America. The GOP of Ford and Eisenhower has been extinct for decades.

Batocchio said...

Marc, I agree, but I wish the Eisenhower Republicans would come back and take over their party (with their social attitudes updated for the 21st century, though). Krugman made a similar comment in his most recent op-ed - the GOP is insane, and it may be amusing in the short term, but it's bad in the long run, especially if they regain power. (He also points out, correctly, that were as crazy when they were in power, it's just that more people are noticing it or daring to mention it now.)

As for Sullivan - he's right on some issues, wrong on others, I'd say. He's a strong opponent to torture, and gets some other things right, but his economic views are pretty standard GOP – laissez-faire, happy with massive class inequity, supporting policies that make it even worse and benefit the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class. He was on Real Time a month or two back and acted like quite a wanker – Naomi Klein made the point (as she has several times) that as with Marxism, devotees of Friedman had to admit their philosophy had been a failure and that some regulation and oversight was necessary. I believe Sullivan considers himself a conservative but in the classical liberal/Enlightenment sense, but even so, I think that Sullivan, like John Dean, is kidding himself on the virtues of the true faith, and you're correct that there are so few of the them around it all gets a bit silly to claim that this largely theoretical, idealized conservatism is the real thing. I normally use the term "movement conservatives" or "authoritarian conservatives," but at some point, "conservatism" has to describe the people who actually describe themselves as conservative. And how many honest, intelligent conservatives are out there? Daniel Larison seems to be one. Most of them, like Sullivan, seem like they're decent on an issue or several issues (e.g. Andrew Bacevich opposing American imperialism) but miss the boat on others. Most every major speech or op-ed by a major Republican figure in the past few months (if not years) has been rife with bullshit and disingenuousness. Bobby Jindal and his "Beavis and Butthead" routine? Rush Limbaugh? Obama was a socialist, now a fascist? The Republicans with their numberless budget, pledging to eliminate the NEA, de-fund PBS and slash social spending while maintaining or increasing the defense budget? When they finally produced numbers, it turns out their "budget" would increase the debt by 300 billion more than Obama's, IIRC, and of course make the richest Americans still richer. Simple honesty and accuracy would be revolutionary for a national Republican figure.

And that's not that surprising, I suppose. After reading The Conscience of a Liberal by Krugman, who makes a compelling case for a strong middle class and the liberal policies that help create and maintain that, I really don't see how anyone can support Reaganomics unless he or she is ignorant, selfish or a shill. Often, I see conservatives argue from theoretical principles (for the more sincere among them, I think it's their genuine starting point) and completely ignore empirical data and the actual consequences of policies – for instance, Reaganomics increased wealth inequity and real wages have stagnated. Obviously, liberal policies – or more specifically, Democratic party policies – can push to extremes as well, and a conscientious conservative party could serve a valuable role in arguing for greater caution, means-testing, responsibility, etc. But that would require rationality and responsibility. The Overton window has pushed so far to the right in the country we're nowhere near that – the fight is often between watered-down, corporate suck-up policies from the Dems and gross irresponsibility, power grabs, corruption and insanity from the Republicans. Dems are far too beholden to corporate interests, and the GOP is completely beholden, and where they're not they're tribalists and arsonists determined to torch the entire place. That's been "normal" for some time now, but it's not healthy and it's really pretty horrible. Haha. Sorry, long comment – but my concern is that it's such a difficult fight on the national stage (or state stage) simply to have an adult conservation about what the best policies might be, and after that it's an arduous fight to get anything remotely decent passed. Here's hoping, and in the meantime, back to the ramparts, I guess.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Batocchio, thanks for your post; you make some great points.
Back to Sullivan: I've also seen him on "Real Time" several times. Sometimes he makes more sense than your typical Cons. But I have to admit, I was pretty angry at him during an appearance he made on "Real Time" a couple of years ago. It was on the episode in which Noam Chomsky appeared. Chomsky, as usual, gave a brilliant summation of the Iraq War. And then afterward, Sullivan completely trashed what Chomsky had just said. I just wanted him to shut the f*ck up. Chomsky said that Bush had committed war crimes with the Iraq invasion. Sullivan then started saying that Chomsky was wrong and that "America, in fact, is a force for good in the world." Like many Cons, Sullivan seems to think that if you criticize a war criminal like Bush, then you are, in fact, attacking America itself.

T L Sabo said...

They were all over the news! Didn't you pay attention. Why do you think Obama got elected? He was supposed to be different than the Bush administration. But he isn't.

If you guys were so upset over Bush doing these things then I ask where are younow? I guess it's OK for the democrats to tap your phones and raise the debt and send your sons to Afganistan all while paying off his friends with our tax dollars?

Unknown said...

Right one.... Last I checked the first bailout was Sept 2008.
"Tea Tantrums" is a good word for these bitter hypocrits.

Unknown said...

Right one.... Last I checked the first bailout was Sept 2008.
"Tea Tantrums" is a good word for these bitter hypocrits.

Marc McDonald said...

To the last commenter:
>>we have a society that
>>believes they are owed

Actually, if we pay taxes to our government, then we do (and should) expect something in return. Are you suggesting that the American people shouldn't expect anything back in return for paying taxes?

>>>the government does nothing

True, we should privatize everything because the private sector always gets it done efficiently and better. Just ask the Gulf States residents about what a bang-up job BP is doing for them.

>>entitlements are killing us

Yup, it's America's lavish, European-style, generous welfare benefits that are ruining us. Not $3 trillion Iraq War fiasco. Not Bush's $1 trillion giveaway to the crooks on Wall Street. Not the hundreds of billions of dollars the U.S. lavishes on corporate welfare each year. Not the runaway trillion-dollar budgets of the Military Industrial Complex.
Nope, it's grandma getting her generous $150 monthly Social Security check, (which she fully paid for when she was younger). Yeah, we should cut off all her checks, so she can no longer afford to eat the ALPO she buys to keep from starving. Yeah, that'll solve America's budget woes.

Franco said...

I'm from Argentina, so I believe that if even I knew this maybe you should too...

Tea Party was founded in 2007 by libertarins AGAINS Bush bailots...

Marc McDonald said...

Hi,Franco, thanks for the comment.

>>Tea Party was founded in 2007 by
>>libertarins AGAINS Bush

OK, so they were technically in existence in 2007. But my original question stands: where the f*ck WHERE they?
I NEVER EVER saw or heard of a Tea Party protest until Obama took office. While Bush was pissing away $1 trillion on his Iraq War fiasco and pissing away another $1 trillion on bailing out the crooks on Wall Street, I NEVER saw a Tea Party protest. NOT ONCE.

>>I'm from Argentina, so I believe
>>that if even I knew this maybe
>>you should too...

With all due respect, I don't think you really know what is going on in America. You can't know, unless you live here. You can't watch our corporate media, like CNN, and truly know what's going on in America.

Anonymous said...

They were protesting Bush. Look it up. You have the power of the internet. It's worthless if you don't actually look things up.

Marc McDonald said...

>>They were protesting Bush. Look
>>it up

Really? During the Bush years, there were these massive Fox News-sponsored rallies in Washington, D.C.? I must have missed those.
In fact, most of the TeaBaggers I know now were big Bush supporters back then. They were die-hard supporters of Bush's multi-trillion-dollar Iraq War disaster. They also were quiet during when Bush was bailing out the crooks on Wall Street with hundreds of billions of our tax dollars.
As Bill Maher said, it was only when Blackie McBlack entered the White House that these TeaBaggers started their Fox News-sponsored massive rallies.

Batocchio said...

Yeah, about that.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Batocchio, thanks! Lots of great reading, here.