Over the course of two years, Americans have become familiar with members of the Tea Party and their dreamlike demands to take the country back to the days of the Founding Fathers, but the scope and breadth of their illusory intentions cannot fully be realized until one hears the collective voices of their leaders in one room. At a press conference on Monday, several teabag leaders and a senior fellow from the Cato Institute spoke to reporters about their demands concerning the debt ceiling as well as insistence that the country revert to Christian family values. The group’s de facto leader, Reverend William Temple, chairman of Tea Party Founding Fathers, laid out a list of demands for Republicans to meet if they didn’t want to face the wrath of the teabaggers in the 2012 elections.
Temple, dressed in Revolutionary War garb complete with musket at his side, assailed John Boehner and House Republicans for not following teabag directives in dealing with spending cuts and the deficit. As far as the teabaggers are concerned, nothing short of eliminating the federal government will be tolerated; the debt ceiling, spending cuts, and the deficit are merely means to an end. Each of the speakers warned of the Obama Administration’s liberal, welfare-state agenda that spells the end of America as the teabags remember from history.
According to Temple, if Republicans in Congress do not repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, eliminate entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and slash funding to every government entity except defense, his party’s members would replace every Republican in 2012. It is obvious that Temple and the rest of the teabag leaders do not have a firm grasp on reality or the legislative process. Reverend Temple claimed that the tea party had given Boehner a “big stick” to wield in forcing President Obama and Democrats to acquiesce to the ultra-conservative teabaggers’ demands and that Boehner had sold out the tea party by compromising on spending cuts. It is difficult to articulate the tenor of delusion rampant in the tea party’s leadership, but they called Representative Paul Ryan’s Draconian Pathway to Prosperity weak and not nearly harsh enough to satisfy members of the tea party.
Each speaker parroted Temple’s demands on Republicans and they all had some insane comments on why raising the debt ceiling was not acceptable under any circumstance. One of the speakers, Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, claimed the deficit ballooned during the Obama Administration because of the fake stimulus and the Affordable Health Care Act. Mitchell is a liar on both counts because the stimulus did help the economy except according to economists it was not big enough, and the health law will not be in full effect until 2014; but the rhetoric sounds appealing to the ignoramuses in the tea party. Mitchell is also Cato’s senior tax policy official and he made the most outrageous claim that if the Bush-era tax cuts are made permanent there will be a 7% increase in revenue to help the government pay down its debt. Although the press conference was called to address the debt ceiling and the deficit, the speakers found a way to insert socially conservative issues into the agenda.
The teabag leaders managed to connect fiscal matters to the alleged degradation of family values and of special note was Reverend Temple’s demand that Boehner and House Republicans re-instate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Temple told the press corps that soldiers shouldn’t have to worry about who was watching their backsides in the showers and that when he was in Viet Nam he was never concerned with the sexual orientation of fellow soldiers. In a conciliatory act, Temple told the assembled reporters that he would accept a slight bump in the debt ceiling if Boehner would stop the “military effeminization.” He said that women should not be in tents, showers, locker rooms, helicopters, or barracks with male soldiers.
One of the speakers, Bob Vander Plaats tied the debt ceiling directly to “core value issues” and attempted to tie the Christian-inspired sanctity-of-life position to fiscal responsibility; although he had little success making any coherent argument other than sanctity-of-life meant fiscal responsibility to which the other speakers nodded their complete agreement.
The other preacher who spoke to reporters was an African-American teabag leader, Reverend C. L. Bryant, who accused Democrats of making a “coordinated effort to fundamentally destroy the core values” the Founding Fathers intended for America. He called on preachers across America to “stand up and be bold enough to speak to the issues that affect the people sitting in your congregations.” He continued that “it was the preachers and the pastors who stood up to the British by inspiring passion in the people of this country to build America into the great nation it would become.” Each of the teabag leaders suffers from historical ignorance that tea party darling Michele Bachmann exudes, and it was ironic that Bryant passionately preached returning to the Founders time when African-Americans were assigned 3/5ths of the value of white men; but that is the price to pay for historical ignorance.
It is a sad commentary for America that a small group of fanatics is given a forum to make inane pronouncements about the state of the nation’s economy, and a dangerous precedent that they wield authority over Republicans in Congress. It is telling that they feel powerful enough to make threats against Republicans who are so single-minded in desiring to make President Obama a one-term president that Boehner and company may seriously consider acquiescing to the teabagger’s demands and actually attempt to shut down the Federal government to keep their jobs. That is the problem when a group of ignorant fundamentalists gets a taste of power.
The teabag leaders managed to infuse fiscal conservatism with social conservatism and it can only end in a theocratic oligarchy if the tea party isn’t stopped. A few weeks ago it was revealed that the religious right was coupling with the tea party that is funded by the Koch Brothers and the press conference yesterday substantiated that the pairing is bearing fruit. The presence of the Cato Institute’s Mitchell further verified that the tea party, religious right, and plutocrats have an agenda set in stone and it does not bode well for Americans. The fact that the participants condemned the Draconian spending cuts and Paul Ryan’s Pathway to Prosperity as “wimpy” should be a wake up call to Boehner and House Republicans that the inmates are gaining control of the conservative asylum. Although the Cato Institute was represented at the meeting, Reverend Temple gave stern warnings to the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and other conservative think tanks that the tea party elite would not tolerate anything less than complete defunding of the Federal government.
The goal of the tea party is not a United States, but a loose confederacy of disparate states with laws unto themselves. The presence and representation of Christian preachers bent on dictating a socially conservative agenda for the whole country is disturbing of its own merit, but with funding from Koch Industries, the threat of theocracy becomes even more alarming. The assembled idiots at the teabagger press conference would be comical if not for the fact that they have funding to do serious damage to America. The teabaggers may be small in number and maniacal, but so was Hitler’s Nazi party and it didn’t stop them from wreaking monumental carnage on their country. If the teabaggers aren’t stopped, America will suffer the same fate.