Beneath the Tea Party’s Anti-Government Rallying Cry, Americans Call for Government to Do More

“Can you hear me?” That’s the recurring refrain in a radio promo for this weekend’s “Virginia Tea Party Patriots Convention,” which—with an estimated crowd of 3,000—purports to be one of the largest rallies yet of so-called “Tea Party” sympathizers. The 60-second radio spot by keynote speaker Lou Dobbs features allegedly outraged Americans repeating that line, interspersed with un-attributed stats about how Americans supposedly oppose stimulus spending, health care,  and other government spending policies  “Maybe Washington can’t hear us,” Dobbs intones dramatically, “because they’re just not listening.”

Not listening to whom? For two years media obsession with the Tea Party has drowned out nearly every other voice in the public debate, a self-perpetuating feeding frenzy that has raised the volume on this population’s views to a disproportionately deafening roar. Yet, as is shown all too clearly in Project Vote’s recent poll report What Happened to Hope and Change? A Poll of 2008 Voters, these shouts for attention are coming from a segment of the population that is overwhelmingly white, wealthy, and older—and one that is out of touch with the needs and views of most Americans.

 

One thing that Tea Party sympathizers say is confirmed by Project Vote’s poll: they are indeed almost universally angry. Yet, based on their responses to Project Vote’s survey, they seem to have precious little to be angry about. Three fourths of them report that their personal financial situation is fairly good or very good. Eight out of ten are employed or retired; they are overwhelmingly married; they went to college; and they make more money.  Contrary to claims that the Tea Party represents a “wide swath of Americans,” nine out of ten Tea Party sympathizers are White.

Older, wealthier, White conservatives: this is hardly a population overlooked or ignored, either by the media or by Washington.

Can you hear me? This question is better asked by the 21 percent of young voters, the 37 percent of Black voters, and the 39 percent of low-income voters who reported to Project Vote that they did not have enough money to buy food for their families at some point during the past year. (Only 6 percent of Tea Partiers said the same.)

It is a question better asked by the strong majorities of black voters, young voters, and low-income voters who support stimulus spending, government programs to create jobs, and who say they agree with the statement that “government should work to provide for the needs of all citizens.”

It is a question better asked by the majorities of all American voters who support raising taxes on capital gains, ending combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and raising the minimum wage to ensure that no family of three with a full-time worker has to live below the poverty line.

Belying the exaggerated claims of Tea Party activists, Project Vote’s poll shows that most Americans—and particularly the black, low-income, and youth voters who increased their participation so decisively in 2008—share a common expectation that government should provide for the needs of all Americans rather than limit its activities to national security and police protection. This value translates into support for increased spending on infrastructure and public education and maintaining or increasing spending on income security programs such as Food Stamps.

In a press release about the Project Vote poll, Color of Change co-founder and executive director James Rucker said, “What Project Vote’s poll shows is that the views on government held by progressives represent the majority. We shouldn’t let Tea Party activists convince us that we, and not they, are the minority.”

Yet as the Tea Party minority turns up the volume on its microphones again this weekend in Richmond, Virginia, media attention will no doubt once again focus on their anti-government message. Meanwhile, the voices of the other 72 percent of American voters are calling for a different vision of government—one that does more, not less, to support and protect struggling Americans.

The question is, can anyone hear them?

Tags: Tea Party, Virginia, Project Vote, minorities, youth, government, Low-income (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

The Tea Party and 1% Countries
The USA--A World of the 1% Owners

Good thoughts...you could name at least 50 areas where the Tea Party would shutdown part or all of the Federal governments oversight and its spending.

What the Tea Party and Mr. DeMint describes as I see it is Mexico North of the Rio Grande about 2030.  The backers of the Tea Party/the GOP/the rightwing media conglomerates will have given us by 2030 or so is a system very much like Mexico, Brazil, China. I call these 1% countries because all forms of basic services and commerce is owned by 1% of the population.  We are very close to that now-- in 2010 about 10% of the population own 85% of our assets as a nation.  I like to use Mexico because I have lived there and I have viewed its degeneration into a country which has a small cadre of billionaires and then a huge number of very impoverished people. It has a tiny middle class.  Its social structure has its richest citizens who live away from its poverty--mostly they live on mountain top estate guarded 24/7 by the Mexican Army.  They only care about increasing their own wealth. The overall GDP in Mexico is of no consequence to them (in fact Spain and Mexico had the same GDP level in 1980--now Spain far outstrips them in all categories except perhaps value add mining / extraction industry).  On the economic level, Mexico's richest billionaires i.e. Carlo Slim own all the essential "low-tech" industries i.e. water supply, electric gas/oil utilities, and food distribution. They care nothing for any high tech industrial or scientific base--they couldn't support it in any case because that would require them to support a heavy investment in human capital and education which they will NOT do. In fact the Government in Mexico exists as the protector of the 1% billionaire class only--everyone else gets little from it. You might have noticed that G W Bush was very fond of Mexico. It's his kind of place--he is an elitist whose whole life is/was dedicated to enriching "his" kind of people. Look around the USA and you see this happening. Who owns the basic industries and assets in the USA. The Bass brothers are the biggest owners of water in the western US.  The Koch brothers own  or direct much of the pipeline infrastructure. The list goes own--T Boone Pickens owns huge supplies of natural gas.  The picture of this path we are on is a grim one. The monied supporters of the Tea Party and of the GOP look at the last big player in the game--the player with huge amounts of money and riches--that would be the Federal government. They want those riches for themselves. Don't ever believe that Bush wanted to knockoff Saddam because of his daddy. Saddam controlled over 800 Billion barrels of oil and Bush and his oil buddies used our Army to steal it.  The same hold true in America. The United States has huge untapped reserves of everything--oil, coal, wind, gold, silver, land...the 1% Gang feel its their natural right for them to get it (for free like they did in Iraq) and then turn it over to the rest of us for a huge profit.

So then, where do we go from here. I would propose that at some point the citizens would arise and nationalize all mineral and base production of goods--i.e. pipelines, highways, airlines, oil companies, etc. but we are past that point I fear.

What about the political side. Well, when looking out there, I now see the same players that we had on the GOP side as in 1999. Karl Rove's American Crossroads just gave out $4.5 mil. in advertising. That will buy a lot of loyalty from the new generation that will arrive in the new Congress of 2011. And to that I say to you --- "I give you the nominee for President for the Republican Party of 2012--Jeb Bush of Florida".

Jeb's a full fledged cardcarrying member of the 1% club of the

by hddun2008 2010-10-09 12:21AM | 0 recs

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