Springtime for the Tea Party

I went to a Tea Party rally once. Two of my friends from work were going, and somehow convinced me to join them. This was a few years ago, so at the time I had not heard of the Tea Party as a political movement. I was disappointed when I got there and found out they did not actually serve any tea. I had taken the PATH to the WTC station and walked from there, so I was a little cold and could of used a nice hot beverage. I remember wearing a blue hoodie with a Phish logo and a flannel shirt and some other stuff, purposely so that I did not look like I was actively participating in the event. Most of the tea baggers, a phrase I’m not sure I knew at the time, probably assumed I was a pedestrian on my way to or from the nearby Starbucks.

The Tea Party actually began as a movement during the George W. Bush lame duck period. Some of their first protests were in response to the Wall Street bailouts, which I was never a big fan of either. My main issue with these angry protest movements is that they rarely attract people with nuanced beliefs. What struck me immediately about the people who spoke at the rally was the lack of a coherent ideology they had. It seemed like a forum for average Joe Republicians to rant, but under the guise of some underground movement.

I miss the days when Republicians were greedy board-room honchos, sitting around wearing their power ties and sipping scotch.

Republicans back in their glory days of power.

These days, your average Republician is likely to live in a log cabin in the mountains of Idaho, usually calling into the Rush Limbaugh show to talk about how they’re covering themselves in tin foil to hide from Obama’s Communist spy-satellites.

A new generation of GOP supporters.

Try reading some of the online comments for any Yahoo! News political article; they all sound like they are written by the two mountain men from Deleverance. The recent wave of crazy is perhaps a consequence of the Tea Party’s success as a popular movement.

I will take a look at some current representatives of the Tea Party, and how many of the things they say are stupid.

Glenn Beck

Here Glenn Beck starts off okay, calling Chris Matthews a balloon head. Then he continues, but without making any kind of point. Here you can really see Beck’s vast lexicon and strong command of english vocabulary:

“You sir, are a balloon head that was taught by a balloon head and all you did because you’re a balloon head was sit in your stupid balloon head Ivy League classroom and be indoctrinated by a balloon head and never ever used your balloon head to ask an intelligent question of the balloon head in the tweed jacket! You self-sanctimonious, self-important balloon head, America has had enough.”

As an Ivy League graduate, I can tell you that this was exactly what my college experience was like:

A typical lecture for MATH 294 - Linear Algebra at Cornell.

Thanks to Glenn Beck for calling out the Communist Ivy-League Indoctrination centers that brainwashed Chris Matthews. Shame on you, Holy Cross and University of North Carolina!

Apparently nobody listens to Glenn Beck anymore, so that is a relief. I think he had some conspiracy theory a while back that Egypt was being taken over by aliens. I don’t remember the details of that one. I think stuff like that eventually reduced his credibility among people who are not total wing-nuts, so his show got cancelled. Ha, sucks for him. But rules for pretty much everyone else.

Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul (R – KY) is a Tea Party candidate recently elected in 2010 to replace the infamous Jim Bunning. His platform isn’t the complete train-wreck that defines some of the other folks I mention here. He has a few positions I agree on, like he opposes oil subsidies, the war in Iraq, and the USA Patriot Act.

As it happens, Rand Paul smoked a fair amount of pot down at Baylor, at one point he worshipped a god named ‘Aqua Buddha’ which was presumably a talking bong.

My problem with all of these Tea Party candidates is they tend to treat “Federal Government is Bad” as an axiom, without really evaluating it on a case-by-case basis. Rand Paul is particularly fond of “leaving it to the states” in favor of Federal legislation. In many instances, I may agree with him. But other times, this stance can be very confusing to me. Here is his recent comment from a Senate vote that passed 96-1:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul was the sole “no” vote Thursday night on a measure that would make it a federal crime to aim a handheld laser pointer at an aircraft. The measure, offered by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) as an amendment to a measure on funding the Federal Aviation Administration, passed on a 96-to-1 vote, with three senators not present. It would call for anyone who knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft to face fines or a prison term of up to five years.

Paul told reporters after Thursday’s vote that he believed the laser-pointer issue was one best handled by the states, not the federal government.
“There are a lot of states that already have laws, and I think states ought to take care of it,” Paul said.

I am not surprised this measure passed 96-1. FYI, when you shine a laser-pointer at an aircraft, it does not just project a tiny red dot in the interior of the airplane. The light can refract with the windshield of the plane and fill the cockpit with intense, blinding light. It is fairly obvious that this should be an illegal.

Paul’s assertion that the “states ought to take care of it” is a particularly bizarre one for this law. It would be irresponsible to assume that every state would pass the law, and use that to justify inaction at the federal level. What about the alternate scenario? Let’s say that every state in America voted on such a bill, and every state passed said bill except for Kentucky.

Kentucky now more dangerous for commercial aircrafts.

The problem is that this doesn’t just affect residents of Kentucky, it affects anyone who happens to be flying over Kentucky. If I wanted to fly from Indianapolis to Nashville, without being attacked by some jerk with a laser-pointer, I would now have to go well out of my way to accomplish that.

This would be extremely inconvenient.

Have you ever been on a flight that took off and landed in the same state? Probably not very many. Commercial airline flights are by nature a matter of interstate transportation. They are precisely the type of business that should be regulated by the Federal government, as opposed to the states. Rand Paul is wrong.

Michele Bachmann

Despite being a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Michele Bachmann is dumber than a pile of bricks. Not one for diplomatic tact, she stated in regard to Iran, “We can’t remove any options off the table [sic] and we should not remove the nuclear response.”

Just a heads up Iran, we’re playing around with the idea of blowing the shit out of you, but it’s only one of our many options on the table. The table is also full of various benign ideas like, “playing a charity wiffleball game” because Michele Bachmann has not removed any of them off yet.

This is how much of a fucking idiot I am.

We all know about the global warming hoax: invented by the USSR in a desperate, final attempt to derail the US economy and win the Cold War. Here is Mrs. Bachmann with an air-tight proof of the non-existence of climate change:

“Carbon dioxide … is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural …. We’re being told we have to reduce this natural [sic hey learn any new words lately] substance to create an arbitrary reduction [sic] in something that is naturally [sic] occurring in the earth.”

There you have it, anything that is naturally occurring in the earth is good for you. We’ll take tornados as an example. Suppose I built a giant Tornado Machine, and began deploying it in the center of Manhattan. Residents of New York City would not be happy about this at all. I imagine I’d be a very hated man there. On the other hand, I’d have the full support of Michele Bachmann, based on her reasoning above: Tornados are just some naturally occurring thing that can’t possibly be bad for us–who cares about a few more?

The other pillar of Bachmann’s climate change argument is that carbon dioxide is a “harmless gas”. Really, carbon dioxide is a very useful gas for humans. It allows us to exhale after breathing, which prevents us from exploding with oxygen atoms. It also facilitates the serving of beer in kegs. To my knowledge, no one is arguing that carbon dioxide is like that gas from The Rock where you drop a container and it starts melting your face.

Not carbon dioxide.

The environmental issue with carbon dioxide is that an abundance of it makes the Earth hotter. It is sort of like a coat. A coat itself is not hot; it keeps you warm using your own body heat.

In fact, it’s almost like one of those things–what do you call those houses made of all windows, where you put plants to keep them warm? I don’t remember.

At this point, I would go on to explain how an increase in global temperature melts the polar ice caps, if I were explaining basic Earth Science to a group of Second Grade children. I suppose if I were stuck in a conversation with Michelle Bachmann about it, I would just give her a bouncy ball to play with or something.

Sarah Palin

I almost forgot to do this last bit. Fortunately, I made a to-do list earlier today, and I just remembered to look at it.

I don’t have too much to say about Palin. She should tell her kids to stop mouthing off on Facebook or something. I have no opinion of Dancing with the Stars because I don’t watch that show.

There was one issue with Palin that was overlooked with all the other controversy surrounding her, some of which was false. She made that map that got over-criticized when the Arizona shooter came out, because she had sniper’s crosshairs on the political districts of 20 Democrats. This overshadowed the more relevant criticism of the map, that it was crazy and in poor taste:

Clearly the real map, it has Sarah Palin's signature.

Though Palin’s map would make a great spec for an Al-Qaeda video game, it’s not a map that anyone would pick up and say, “Yes Sarah, I agree to kill these people.” It is pretty clear she is just trying to get Republican votes and stuff. I simply find it weird that marksmen’s targets are being pointed at things on U.S. soil in a political ad. It’s a very bellicose campaign spot, is all I guess I am saying.

That’s all I have for now, I can’t remember any other Tea Party people I hate. Scott Brown is okay. I’ll have some other blog-type stuff soon. I’m guessing the topic will be me insulting various people.

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