The Left Still Doesn’t Get the Tea Party, As Told Through the Stages of Death and Dying Part 1 of 2 [Reader Post]


Cross Posted at Brother Bob’s Blog

Author’s note: I had originally started writing this piece back in November of 2010, but life events put my blogging on hold for a bit. I was just getting to the point where I thought that the left’s hatred for the Tea Party was finally starting to die down since the movement’s evolution started taking it away from the highly visible protest rallies and with it, out of the cameras and out of liberals’ psyches. Then came all of the recent hysterics by the left as the recent debt ceiling issue brought all of the pent-up hatred they have for the Tea Party coming up to boil in an embarrassing explosion of rhetoric fueled by unthinking rage that made me decide that it was time to finish this piece once and for all. With all of the events that have taken place this wound up being a lot longer than expected and needed to be broken into two parts. To start where I left off a few months ago…

On the morning of Saturday, October 30, 2010 I boarded the Washington, DC Metro to see hordes of predominantly white leftists descending onto The National Mall for Jon Stewart’s (non-partisan, non-ideology driven if you listen to Stewart) Rally to Restore Sanity. While the obvious purpose was to mock the Tea Party movement, the event came off as partially one last fling while they still held power (before the inevitable thrashing that the mid-term election just a few days later would hold) and partially as a massive group therapy session. To be honest , the entire things came off as… there’s no nice way to say this – kind of pathetic. Basically, this group of predominantly white leftists came out to say, “We’re going to make fun of people who have the audacity to be unhappy with a president and Congress whose actions are destroying our economy.” You’ll have to forgive the rest of us who didn’t come out to join this predominantly white leftist rally. It made me realize that over two years after its emergence the left still does not even remotely understand the Tea Party movement. Looking back on how the left has reacted to this movement reminded me of The Five Stages of Death and Dying. This post charts how the left has gone through each stage. The timeline is far from perfect, but the actions and reactions all fall within each of the stages. And yes, I’m going to lay off of the “predominately white” remarks – I just wanted to mimic how the press has been covering the Tea Party movement. Although if you look at the crowds the phrase was just as applicable to this rally (if not more so) as it was to any Tea Party rally.

Stage 1 – Shock and Denial

Anyone reading this probably remembers the origins. Back in the days when the rosy blush was still on our new president, Obama displayed his economic acumen by continuing one of the worst policies of his predecessor – more bailouts and even greater deficit spending to throw money out as political favors to well-connected special interests. This led to CNBC’s Rick Santelli launching into the rant heard ’round the world when he suggested that this country needed another Tea Party. So on February 28th the first of these started happening around the country. At the time I was working for a consulting company in downtown DC and that day happened to be the final day on the contract that I was supporting. Being not too far from Lafayette Park where the DC protests were planned and having completed all of our project closeout activities, my Site Lead was OK with me taking a long lunch and going to check out the event. There were a fair number of protesters, many carrying signs, and a few reporters milling about.

How it was covered by the press was interesting. While Fox News naturally covered it extensively, most of the liberal mainstream (yes, that term is redundant) outlets chose to ignore the events, hoping they would just go away. The New York Times buried the story deep in its pages, while one Boston newspaper (the Herald, I believe) chose to not even report on the story. That night I tuned in to my favorite channel to watch when bad news strikes the left, MSNBC. I remember Rachel Maddow interviewing her field correspondent afterward, and the segment opened with her reporter condescendingly sipping a cup of tea and then mentioning how poorly run and amateurish the protest was. One example was how there were plans to dump a truckload of tea bags in front of the White House, but proper permits had not been obtained, eliciting a a good chuckle from Maddow. Well no kidding – unlike most leftist protests the Tea Party is not made up of people who spend their careers in the cottage industry of professional grievance/victimhood. We don’t have the same experience in trashing and vandalizing to make our points as the left has developed over the years. And of course, while I must have missed the one sign that the correspondent mentioned out of the many – She stated that this particular sign’s message was of the trump card that every lazy, intellectually dishonest liberal likes to fall back on – racism. She had no evidence to support this claim of course, but not having any evidence has never been known to stop a member of the left from throwing out charges of racism.

And our president himself, in his delightfully out of touch with reality manner, simply stated that he did not even know that there was a protest taking place right outside of his own home. Even his biggest supporters never accused our president of being overly observant.

Or look at how the mainstream media still treats the Tea Party. How many times do you still see it referred to with the ever present air quotes of “Tea Party”? If that sounds like nit-picking how many times during the George W. Bush presidency did you see the same treatment of the “Anti-War” movement? Where did the anti-war movement disappear to after Obama came into office anyway? Maybe the few that are still around are expressing their love for peace and pursuit of social justice by advocating infanticide? Nah, that’s just crazy talk.

Back on topic, in the liberal mind, this was supposed to be the start of the greatest era in the history of humanity – how could anyone possibly oppose Obama’s mandate? The entire country was united as one in its delight over our new president! Unless you count the 54 million people who voted for the McCain/Palin ticket, but who cared about their opinion anyway? Unable to comprehend any logical reasoning behind the Tea Party’s thought process, most of the left dismissed the movement out of hand. And while they probably wished they had started fighting in earnest sooner, given the nature of the movement and its resistance to the left’s usual tactics it probably would not have mattered when nor how hard they chose to attack the Tea Party.

Stage 2 – Anger

Oh my, was there ever anger. Of course, saying “was” suggests that the anger has gone away. First liberals simply sniffed and dismissed the Tea Party movement as “astroturf”, declaring that these protests were a wholly owned subsidiary of Fox News. These of course are the same liberals who never thought to question the backers of their anti-war anti-Bush protests, the profiteers behind the Green propaganda they unquestioningly accept as fact, and for that matter, the left never saw anything wrong with busloads of ACORN protestors showing up with matching, professionally designed shirts and signs to harass private citizens in their homes in the name of deflecting attention from the damage our president and congress were inflicting on our economy at that time. Wizbang’s Jay Tea just wrote a pretty good analysis of how the Tea Party differs from real astroturf.

Stage 3 – Anger

Another issue that the Left has had with the Tea Party movement has been that it has been stealing their thunder. While there have been occasional rallies by the right, since the 1960’s leftists have pretty much held a monopoly on the mass demonstrations and taking to the streets. At long last we had finally achieved Utopia – Democratic control of both houses, a leftist as president, how could things not be better? Why would anyone possibly protest this? One of the reasons liberals have had to fall back on the tired arguments of racism, astroturf, regular folks being duped by the powerful, etc., is that they simply can not conceive that any rational person would oppose their policies and can’t argue on the basis of facts that they themselves are unable to understand. Yes, you’ll get leftists who will pretend to listen by saying something to the effect of, “You just keep using that same tired rhetoric of tax cuts for the wealthy and slashing government!” without actually listening to any of the detail behind the arguments, while they continue to rehash their own failed policy of tax and spend and spend and tax, then tax and spend and tax some more.

Liberals are also unhappy about the role reversal they have seen with this administration. Taking to the streets to “Fight the Power” was what the cool people always did. Now that the leftists had come into power they are facing the graphic truth that it is a lot more difficult to offer practical solutions than it is to carry a protest sign in the streets. To some degree this fate awaits the Tea Party, but the letdown won’t be as bad as the one that the left experienced. Most of the left’s beliefs are founded on the historically failing philosophies of socialism and pacifism and that a passive, weakened United States is good for the world, while the Tea Party’s basic principles of fiscal responsibility and personal accountability have a proven track record of success.

One of the best examples of the role reversal comes from a comparison that I am ripping off and building onto, a fantastic point of geekdom raised by Bill Whittle. The way the left has shifted is summed up in the greatness of the original Star Wars movies versus the terrible prequels. Once upon a time the left was the cool rebellion, fighting against what they believed was an oppressive empire. Back then the right was cast as the unhip establishment with their Imperial Star Destroyers and Death Stars, but it was now the conservatives who were racing to make the Kessel Run in under four parsecs (without paying any carbon offsets!) to tell their elected leaders to vote against Obamacare, while our president and all of his supporters became Viceroy Gunray as they hissed that “this healllth care mandate is perrrfectly leeeegal. Now siiiiign this bill into law and ennnnd this pointless debate innn the Sennnate”

“Have you ever faced a Tea Partier before? ” “Why, no… ” “Our leftist agenda will not survive this.”

Stage 4 – Anger But despite its lack of consistent corporate funding (I’m still waiting for my checks to show up), the movement did not fizzle out after the initial protests in February of 2010. In fact, they grew in numbers and spread across the country. So the leftists came out to meet the tea partiers and confront them directly. At the April 15th rally in 2009 Sue Roesgen got in the face of one Tea Partier to defend the president she had worked so hard to help elect. Even for a liberal organization like CNN this was too much, and her contract was not renewed. We also got to see an allegedly mainstream voice like Anderson Cooper’s unable to resist using the “Tea bagger” slur that leftists like to use. There are two good ways to throw this back at a lefty using that phrase. The first is to point out that using an adolescent slur is a perfect embodiment of the left’s arguments. Or one could ask your favorite leftie if he considers himself the opposite of a Teabagger. If the answer is yes, you can respond, “So I guess that would make you a c*cks***er?”

Later on in the summer of 2009 at a Tea Party rally in St. Louis several white Tea Partiers beat a black man who had come out to counter protest, shouting racial slurs, and the entire incident was caught on Youtube. Why haven’t you heard about this you ask? Because I just lied about the details of the beatdown. If what I said were true, the press would have been all over this incident to help support their narrative of racism behind the Tea Party. The victim in question, Kenneth Gladney, is someone you have probably never heard of because of the facts behind the story. Kenneth Gladney was selling Gadsen flags at a Tea Party rally when several white members of the SEIU assaulted him while shouting racial slurs. The entire incident was captured on video, but the liberal bigots in the press choose to ignore stories like these that do not support their agenda.

Stage 5 – Anger

With Bush and Cheney leaving office in 2008 the left would need to fill the void of having a central figure to hate and find someone to serve as an outlet for their anger. Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin served the purpose to some degree, but there was never a pure focal point to truly funnel leftist rage. Despite its lack of clear leadership, the Tea Party movement became their new target. Sadly for the left, rather than take a critical look at why their policies on foreign policy and economics are failing, it was easier to label a bogeyman and lash out. Chris Matthews broadcast an ominous tale of the “Rise of the New Right” (I’m choosing to not give a hyperlink reference here – suffice to say that I watched it so that you don’t have to) that tried to loosely tie the Tea Party to various current militia groups and white supremacist groups from America’s past. These are the same leftists who worked so hard to ignore our own president’s ties to his own radical past during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Another great example of this willing blindness and seeing what they wanted to see was the failed Times Square Bomber. When the story broke, Mayor Bloomberg suggested that the bomber might be somebody opposed to our president’s health care plan (Translate: Tea Partier). Until of course, the truth came out as to the perp’s ideology – the one of which liberals dare not speak. Mark Steyn had an interesting observation back in 2008 after the leftists in the press launched their all out assault on Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin and her family – for all that liberals claim to care about average Americans, they become incredibly angry and condescending when confronted with one of them. Steyn made a great point, but missed taking it to its disturbing conclusion. Liberals care about average Americans, but in the same way that many people care about their pets or children. Liberals want what they think is best for us and that we are incapable of living our lives without their helpful meddling, but when we speak out we’re seen by them as a child throwing a tantrum or the dog pooping on the carpet for attention. These Tea Partiers are the kind of people who watch Fox News, can’t name a single show on NPR, think that drinking cheap beer and watching NASCAR is fun and wouldn’t know the first thing about which wine goes with the meal at a good Ethiopian restaurant! (** Answer to the wine question at the end of Part II’s post) To reject the impositions of an overeducated bureaucrat with a Master’s degree in Public Policy who has never had a real job or lived in the real world is borderline sedition to the left.

But we’re not your children, and we’re not your pets. Unlike this growing leftist ideal of permanent childhood and dependency, many of us choose to live as responsible adults, and we like to make the choices in our own lives. P.J. O’Rourke once gave a great retort to then First Lady Clinton’s children’s book with the phrase, “The village is Washington. The child is you.”

Continued in part II…

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First! Okay, this is my own post…

BB, I LOVE your liberal version of the 5 stages of coping with one’s mortality.
The TEA Party has been vilified and targeted since its inception.
My favorite thing is to compare the thuggary and filthiness of the left’s gatherings with the law-abiding and cleanness of the TEA Party’s various gatherings.

Today has been filled with Biblical reminders for me.
On this issue there are two:
Satan, like the Left, is like an angry wild beast, looking for someone to devour, knowing he has but a short time left, he aspires to take some down to destruction with him.
Those hypocrites who would clean merely the outside of a cup, trying to pass it off as clean, while the inside is filthy.

The Tea Party still doesn’t get that they’re being used by wealthy special interests, and that half of the legislative initiatives new republican governors are rolling out are actually being written by the American Legislative Exchange Council–which most of them probably haven’t even heard of.


I don’t believe that you really understand what the TEA Party is, Greg. It doesn’t have a “leader”. There is no national TEA Party headquarters. The TEA Party is about as grass-roots as a group can get, as the hundreds of separate TEA Party groups started individually, without corporate backing or financing, but with the hard work and support of average Americans. It is, essentially, the average American person. Or, as we like to say, “We, the People”.

This is, of course, the irony, in that Obama’s friends are, essentially, calling average Americans “terrorists”. Good luck with that.

@Greg, exactly who is this leader?

That said, thanks for reading and for commenting? Stick around for Part II – you just might learn something!