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Tempest in a Tea Party: Three Minnesota activists explain movement's principles -- and anger

Carol Wegner, Walter Hudson and Randy Liebo are board members of the North Star Tea Party Patriots.
MinnPost photo by Terry Gydesen
Carol Wegner, Walter Hudson and Randy Liebo are board members of the North Star Tea Party Patriots.

Randy Liebo was rolling. Big government, he said, is trying to tell us what we can eat. Ultimately, it will want to tell us how much we can earn.

"They even tell us what light bulbs we can use," said Carol Wegner.

Liebo stopped the conversation.

"I don't want to sound like one of those conspiracy people," he said.

The three Tea principles
And for the third or fourth time in our conversation Wednesday morning, he went over the three principles of the Tea Party:


• Fiscal responsibility.

• Limited government.

• Free markets.

That's it, he said. You believe in those three fundamentals and you, too, can be a part of the Tea Party movement.

Liebo, Wegner and Walter Hudson, who also was at our meeting Wednesday, are board members of the North Star Tea Party Patriots, which is the umbrella group for all 20 — more or less — Tea Party chapters in the state.

The North Star Tea Party Patriots is a two-month-old organization that has grown from the ashes of the initial statewide (more or less) organization, the Minnesota Tea Party Patriots.

"Philosophical disagreements" was the phrase Hudson chose in talking, carefully, of the breakup of that organization.

Now, it's the North Star Tea Party group that has the connection, via weekly teleconferencing, with the national body. And it's the North Star group trying to help local Tea Party chapters communicate with each other.

Holding together the various local chapters and the individuals within those chapters is no easy task.

"There's a reluctance to embrace the conventions of political organizations," Hudson said. "There's an element of anti-establishment feeling among people involved."

That means there's a huge suspicion of such basics of movement building, such as a central party office, fund-raising and dealing with the media.

So, although Hudson, Liebo and Wegner are board members, they make it clear when they speak of anything beyond the three core issues that they are speaking for themselves, not the Tea Party.

The North Star organization doesn't have membership cards and doesn't endorse candidates, although local chapters do. The organization has no positions on such huge issues as the ongoing wars, gay marriage or global warming (although most Tea Partiers probably are warming doubters, according to Liebo).

 The impact of the Tea Party on this year's governor's race?

There was a long pause before Liebo said that given the principles, it's unlikely that there are many Mark Dayton supporters in the Tea Party.

Explaining the anger
It was a beautiful morning. Although these still are hard times, the area around the suburban coffee shop where we met was bustling with activity. Parking lots were filled with newer-looking cars.

So why this anger that seems to be so basic to the movement?

All answered quickly, without reservation. The anger is over a concern about the future: the national debt, ever-expanding, more intrusive government, less liberty.

Each of the three board members came to the Tea Party in different ways.

Wegner, an interior designer, came across as the most fundamentally conservative.

"A conservative all my life," said Wegner, who's in her 60s. "But when I saw the direction the Obama campaign was headed, I concluded this is not the direction we should be headed."

She started attending Tea Party events.

 With genuine concern, she said that her sons have both told her that there's a professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth teaching that "socialism and communism are the best forms of government.''

She said she has persuaded both her mother and sister to become active conservatives.

"I converted them by asking questions," she said. "I asked them, 'How much of your check do you want to give to the government? Do you want your doctor to determine your health care or some bureaucrat in Washington?' "

Same views, different starting points
Liebo has made the longest walk across the political spectrum. Back in the 1960s, he was a Bobby Kennedy Democrat.

"But I turned into a Republican when I got into business," said Liebo, a 60-ish computer projects consultant.

But for years, he said, he mostly was a grumbler.

"I'd sit at home watching TV," he recalled. "I'd sit there and scream at the TV. I was upset by the spending, upset by the lack of respect people in Washington seemed to have for the rest of us."

Then came the move from his couch to Tea Party action. It was motivated by Rick Santelli's CNBC outburst over Obama stimulus plans — "Do you want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage!?'' — on Feb. 19, 2009.

"I was in New York working at the time," Liebo said. "I heard about it, I watched it. I told myself, 'you've got to get involved.' I'm just frustrated I can't do more."

As it is, he attends weekly board meetings and spends at least a night a week on the phone attempting to build this new organization.

Hudson, who is in his 30s, likely is the farthest from the stereotype of the Tea Party, starting with the fact that he's black.

Growing up in Cottage Grove with his black father and white mother ("like the president," he says), Hudson said he always seemed to have conservative values but found those values "re-enforced" by listening to Rush Limbaugh while driving from his high school to college classes.

"He expressed what I already believed," said Hudson, who then started listening to other conservative radio programs, receiving more affirmation.

Given the Tea Party's belief in limited state government, with more power granted to the states, how does Hudson view the federal civil rights laws of the 1950s and 1960s that finally beat back the awful treatment of blacks in the South? Were the feds out of line at a time? Would it be OK if Alabama, as an issue of state's rights, still demanded that blacks sit at the back of the bus?

"Personally, I agree with Rand Paul," Hudson said. "He said that the civil rights acts were appropriate, but not to apply to private organizations. He got in trouble for it. And obviously it's repulsive, morally wrong, for an organization to keep out someone because of the color of their skin."

But …

Hudson also believes that we're in a new place in America regarding race, sort of a post-race place. The mixing of races, more families like his own, is turning racial identity into an absurdity, he believes.

"Out on the East Coast, I think race is irrelevant," he said. "Minnesota may be lagging behind in that regard."

Those three values — fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets — cross all racial boundaries that do exist, Hudson says.

Setting aside social issues
The three would like all Tea Partiers to "set social issues" aside at the door. But the social issues — everything from civil rights to abortion to gay marriage — are a vulnerable part of the movement.

"We don't want to get into them," said Liebo.

"There is a concern among social conservatives that we're leaving them in the dust," said Hudson. "My take, it's like you're driving a car and the engine breaks down. Social issues may be the gas that fuels the engine, but right now the problem is that the engine is blown. We have to fix that before we ever can get the car moving again."

But, Hudson admits, some social conservatives don't buy the analogy.

"There's no question that God plays a role in motivating many," he said. "Some want to come to meetings and have us talk more about God's role. Others feel just as strongly that it's not productive."

Said Liebo, "Social issues drive us apart. Core issues bring us back together."

But how do you stay together when there's great suspicion of anything that looks like established political institutions.

Within the movement, there are even suspicions of such stalwart conservatives as 6th District Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has taken to proclaiming herself the head of the Tea Party movement in the Congress.

"As long as you uphold the Tea Party values, fine," said Hudson. "But when you start to move into other areas …"

There is even greater suspicion of the media than of pols. The media, Wegner said, have tried to turn Christine O'Donnell, the surprise Tea Party/Republican winner in the Delaware Senate primary, into some sort of buffoon.

"You don't read about the good things," she said.

"She may have flaws," said Liebo. "Whether she's ideal or not, I don't know. That's up to the people of Delaware to decide."

For the moment, the board of directors of the state's Tea Party would like to direct Minnesota attention to judicial races. The three appear to be supporters of Greg Wersal, the perennial state Supreme Court candidate who wants to open up judicial races to voting, complete with discussions of the candidates' political views.

They believe there currently are 20 local Tea Party chapters in Minnesota, made up of about 15 per cent Republicans, 15 per cent Democrats and the rest coming from independent and libertarian backgrounds.

They don't doubt that many of those members support the gubernatorial campaign of Tom Emmer as Hudson does. (Hudson was a state Republican Party delegate for Emmer.)

But Hudson understands many Tea Party members are suspicious of anything or anybody tied to the current parties.

A simple Tea Party message
Liebo said the Tea Party message to the major political parties is simple: "You don't own us.''

"There are no Tea Party candidates,'' said Hudson, "but there are Tea Party members who are running as Republicans.''

For now, the effort is to make the movement stronger in Minnesota, to somehow become more organized but not too organized.

All of this is dicey. Some of it has the feel of fad.

Even Hudson doesn't say the Tea Party will be around in the long run, not at least by that name.

"The movement may not retain the Tea Party name," he said, "but I don't think people who have become awakened to civic duty will go back to sleep."

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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Comments (78)

Wegner asks: "Do you want your doctor to determine your health care or some bureaucrat in Washington?"

She thinks doctors determine one's health care?

That just goes to show just how out of touch the TPers are.

Oh, and Bush Jr. added a trillion dollars to the nation's debt by starting an unnecessary war of aggression. A *trillion* dollars.

Yet, not a peep was heard from these "fiscal patriots" until a black man starts spending the nation's money.

Racism is at the core of the TP movement, period.

Not bad, but I have an observation.

"Hudson, who is in his 30s, likely is the farthest from the stereotype of the Tea Party, starting with the fact that he's black."

That is more correctly stated "farthest from the leftist stereotype" since the only place one hears race being offered as an issue is leftist media.

Wegner asks: "Do you want your doctor to determine your health care or some bureaucrat in Washington?"

The answer is C) A "Customer Service Representative" from your health insurance company. This, of course, presumes that one still has health insurance through their employer.

Note: Mr. Walker's gem hadn't appeared while I was writing, and I didn't offer him any incentive...it was just an informative, helpful coincidence.

Also, Walker might be surprised how many self-identified Tea-Party members are just as angry with Bush's profligate spending as he is...if he cared to learn anything truthful about the party, that is.

John, exactly. It should be phrased as, "do you want your health care to be determined by a government bureaucrat, or a private bureaucrat who has a for-profit motive to screw you over?"

Mr. Swift: You are absolutely and perfectly correct.

One can safely conclude from this article that stupidity is an equal opportunity employer. There is no bias here to race, gender, or orientation of any kind.

Also we could say, when it rains ... according to Pastor Keith Thompson, "It rains on the just and unjust alike."

I think it's disingenuous of these TP'ers to suggest that they can be true to their "small government" plank while tolerating the attitudes of social conservatives in their ranks. Social conservatives absolutely want the long hand of government to reach into people's lives (especially the most personal aspects of their lives) when it suits them. As it is, fiscal restraint, which is appealing to a broad segment of people in the center, is simply a Trojan horse for the intrusive, "big government" strangle hold that right wingers like Emmer would like to impose on individuals in the name of "values". And yet, Emmer is the TP darling of MN.

I also worry about Wegner's apparent disapproval of the supposed Marxist at UMD. I suppose she thinks education is all about steering students to particular beliefs, rather than exposing them to a broad spectrum of beliefs and letting them make up their own minds. The former approach is more brain washing than education and, from what I've seen from the Palins and Bachmanns of the world, sadly reflects the TP's stunted vision of "freedom."

"They even tell us what light bulbs we can use," said Carol Wegner.

It should be noted that the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the law that phased out the old-fashioned incandescents Wegner refers to, was signed into law by President Bush, not Obama. The sale of the bulbs were falling anyhow, and GE and other makers had already laid off workers and shifted over to more efficient lights.

I agree with the commenters on health care decisions. It is the insurance company making your decisions and if you are unfortunately out of work or employed in an industry without insurance you have no decisions to make other than visiting the emergency room.

I also agree about the trillion dollar war. The last balanced budget was done by a moderate democrat, Clinton. Budgets ballooned under Reagan and his idiotic idea that if you reduce taxes that will stimulate so much growth in the economy that tax revenues will actually increase. Since that time Republicans have continued that stupid tradition with Bush being a nightmare example.

I also find it interesting that all these so-called fiscal conservatives have come out of the woodwork now. The stimulus ideas that they are all complaining about started under the past Republican administration in an effort to recover from a recession who's root cause was the lack of goverment oversight and regulation of the financial industry. The idea of "free markets" without goverment oversight is a dangerous idea. The person in the article complaining about how the goverment tells us what light bulb to use, does she also complain about how the goverment tells us what medicine is safe to take or how much polution a factory can throw into the air? Free markets and profits allow for dangerous drugs to be marketed because occasional deaths and lawsuits from dangerous drugs can be a minor expense when they are making millions and billions on a product.

I also agree there is an element of racism in all of this despite Swift's denials. Also dirty and dishonest politics have become the chief method of the Republican party since the time of Gingrich; they will say anything, no matter how distorted or untrue to win.

• Fiscal responsibility.

• Limited government.

• Free markets.

Fine, lofty goals.

But it's all in the details. For instance, isn't it the height of fiscal irresponsibility to pour hundreds of billions of dollars a year into a military that hasn't won a shooting war since WW2?

The people who want fiscal responsibility, I'm sure they are refusing Social Security and Medicare for their elderly or disabled relatives and are paying the costs out of their own pocket. Or maybe not, perhaps it's just money that goes to other people that is the problem.

Limited government for a group of patriots who see nothing wrong with the PATRIOT Act? Limited government for people who typically want to legislate marriage, abortion, affiliation and contacts? Limited government for people who support the biggest security apparatus in the world, "Homeland" security?

Free markets for those who want closed borders? Isn't that kind of an oxymoron? Free markets for those who decry the looting of America by the big banks and corporations.

It's all in the details.

Thanks, John and Jeff, for calling out the absurd TP position on health care. Anyone who thinks doctors are in control of medical care today, or that medical care isn't effectively rationed by the insurers, is dreamers.

TP'ers should take a long, hard look at their position on health care. Insurance is, by its very nature, a collective enterprise designed to reduce risk by spreading it across a large population. It is thus a classic case for cooperation across groups, and thus an appropriate subject for government action. Unlike other businesses, which benefit from a laissez-faire, free-market approach to stimulate innovation and efficiency, free-market principles in health care insurance have simply encouraged waste and bureaucracy, without improving the delivery of medical services one iota. In their doctrinaire, one size fits all approach to free markets, TP'ers tend to favor simplistic ideals over practical reasoning.

Ms Wegner has it wrong on both counts. At present it is not her doctor, but her insurance company that is in charge of her health care. Under the new law it will not be a bureaucrat. SHE will be responsible for her own health, which sounds like a position she should support.

I'm sorry but this piece just confirms that the Tea Party is a product of tremendous ignorance and confusion driven by fear and even bigotry in some quarters. They are the "know Nothing's" of the 21st century. It's nice to see bogus social issues set aside, but the political and economic analysis and agenda are infantile.

The only important question that the Tea Party raises is how in the world can an advanced and extremely well developed nation like the United States produce so many people who are so horribly confused and ignorant regarding basic basic elements of government, economy, and politics. Every time I see a piece like this, I look at the comments and statements and I can't even imagine where to begin a dialogue. I know it sounds elitists, but as several people have already pointed out, the sheer ignorance regarding health care is enough to make one want to just walk away. Then when you pike this crap about Obama being a Socialist and the rest it just goes downhill from the there.

Wow, the first time I read a non-Brauer story on MinnPost in many weeks. Finally a locally written political story that's not leftist.

Walker is so typical of the Left: Call your opponents racist to try to shut them up. It would have been nice if author Grow had asked Tea Partier Hudson about the racism charge, which apparently is the only weapon available to the Left.

//But it's all in the details. For instance, isn't it the height of fiscal irresponsibility to pour hundreds of billions of dollars a year into a military that hasn't won a shooting war since WW2?

Well, technically we "won" the invasions of Grenada and Panama and the first Gulf War. That's worth a gazillion dollars right there.

Do you want the beaurecrats in Washington deciding if you will carry your rapist's baby to term? Make no mistake these people are the fringe of the right wing fringe no matter what the Fox news talking heads say!

As Bill quite rightly points out, completely free markets are not a panacea for problems as they bring with them their own set of issues (pollution, dangerous products, false claims, etc.).

Once you accept the need for some regulation where do you stop? Furthermore, how do you ensure these regulations are followed? it seems some issues we have seen recently are partially caused by underfunded agencies that can't employ enough people to truly enforce the regulations we have. So how do we balance the need to better fund these agencies with calls to reduce spending?

Perhaps the biggest question for lefties (of which I include myself) is how has the Tea Party movement gathered as many people to be as politically active as they have when the left doesn't seem to be able to. Why can't the left do the same thing? Yes, yes I know look at Obama, but will those people show up for the midterm elections? I have my doubts.

Wow, all these supporters of health care reform who accept the woman's naive premise that a doctor being in control of your health care would automatically be a good thing. (They all argue, rightly, that insurers are in control.)

There are surely many good and hardworking physicians but they are not handed halos or perfect judgment with their MDs. One of the primary problems in health care today is the influence of private industry on medical protocols, which are then given the imprimatur of medical associations and repeated by doctors.

Doctors routinely advance ineffective and expensive treatments that are bankrupting health care in any number of areas, from cardiology to orthopedics to mental health. The top selling drug in this country is for bipolar disorder. Hmmm, I had no idea that bipolar disorder was more common than say, the flu. Some of these unsupported drugs and treatments are merely a waste of money -- taxpayer money, incidentally but it doesn't seem the TPers care about that, being that it is too complicated for Glenn Beck to explain on his little chalk board -- but others create more harm and the need for more treatments. They are the intrusion of commerce into people's health.

I for one, would rather have a bureaucrat making some of these decisions if that bureaucrat knows anything about comparative effectiveness research and conflict of interest in medicine. If all a TPer cares about is the opinions of someone in a white coat, I would call that faith based medicine at its purest.

Lastly, I wish Doug wouldn't have let her just say the same vague line about her shock at: " the direction Obama presidency was going in..." What does she mean by that specifically? And why was she surprised -- didn't she read the newspaper during the 2008 election? That just tells me that TPers are uninformed.

After reading their comments, I was just wondering how well they all read, write, and speak Chinese or Arabic--because that is the final outcome given their three fundamental premises, which are:

• Fiscal responsibility.

• Limited government.

• Free markets.

"Free markets" includes unlimited and unrestricted movement of people ("labor market"--into and out of the US. Thus, no way to stop 500+million Chinese (or the Palestinians, for example--and many millioins from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Africa, etc) from choosing to move to the US. And you can guess who they vote for in elections once they become US citizens.... Or do we suddenly see "free markets" does NOT mean "free markets for everyone"--but rather "free markets for those selected groups we think deserve it--and nobody else"?

These new US residents would have jobs because they work for the lowest wages paid by corporations--so, the corporations will have "fiscal responsibility" because they will be paying the lowest possible wages and thus they will be maximizing their profits.

Limited govt means the govt does nothing because it is prohibited from such illegal activities as interfering in "free markets"--that is the "limited" part when it comes to "free markets".

What about liability for errors, mistakes, etc? Do they agree to unlimited liability for medical mistakes (or is this a casualty of "free markets" being limited to only a "select few"?).

Obviously, these people have NOT thought about the consequences if their desired claims were to actually become reality.

So, how well do they speak Chinese and/or Arabic?

As another poster said, the devil is in the details, and that is where I have a problem with the TP'ers.

For example, most TP'ers seem to be in the anti-global warming mindset. (To be precise, I assume they mean they don't believe in *anthropogenic* global warming. Anyone who thinks the globe is not warming, whatever the cause, is simply delusional. So let's assume they mean human-caused warming.) The simple fact is, there is no significant scientific debate among climate scientists (who are not tied to the energy industry or politically conservative "think tanks") that human activity is at least partly responsible for the warming. I have a hard time taking seriously the opinions of people who don't respect the science. Thus I must be skeptical of all of their ideas, since at least some of them are based on misinformation or disinformation.

The light bulb comment is another example. Some problems are too big to allow individuals or local jurisdictions to decide what to do about them. National defense is one example. Energy conservation and environmental protection are two more examples. Presumably these people would agree that we should reduce the vast sums of our national treasure that we send to the middle east and other unfriendly regions, yet they refuse to use a light bulb that conserves energy (and would reduce their own electric bill). That energy conservation also reduces greenhouse gas emissions is also an overriding goal and is, or should be, a national priority, but oh yeah, they don't believe anything science tells them. Thus resisting the use of energy efficient lightbulbs is an inherently irrational position that is also counter to their own self interests, and so here again, I must view their positions with extreme skepticism.

These examples illustrate why libertarianism is a cool idea that doesn't work when dealing with priorities that are national or global in scope.

Now fiscal conservatism is a fine principle that most people probably agree with, but here again, we must look at the specifics of a situation. The deficit spending of Bush, who ran up the national debt more than all previous presidents combined, and of Obama, who has done the same (including Bush's spending) is more than a little scary, and of great concern to me. Yet, as far as I can tell, the consensus of opinion among those who were dealing with the situation in 2008 was that if the bailouts/stimulus were not done, the global economy would collapse and we would be in the grip of a Greater Depression. The statement I recall in particular was "We were two days from a total collapse." Another case, I guess, where laymen do not believe the testimony of experts (economists, in this case). I'm no economist, so I can only assume they knew what they were talking about (and I must say, as I well remember the events of the fall of 2008, that my impression at the time was that those people were scared - panicked, in fact - which definitely scared me.) Did they do the right thing? I don't know. Maybe, as they said, things would have been vastly worse if they had done nothing. Maybe all they did was forestall the inevitable and worse is yet to come. But they had to do something, and the economic freefall was at least arrested. Now whether programs were executed properly and with the right priorities is another argument. I'm among the Obama supporters who is disappointed with the details of the bailouts and stimulus program, and with his failure to employ Reagan-style "great communicator" talks to explain exactly why and how things were done the way they were done - to lead, simply and directly, and not sound like a lecturing professor. But I also know the economic pit we're in was decades in the making, and will certainly take more than 2 years to fix, so I'm certainly willing to, as Clinton said recently, give the Dems 4 years to show some progress before deciding whether to throw them out. This is only reasonable. Going back to the Republican policies that ignited all of this cannot logically be the way to fix it.

So, it's the lack of respect of TP'ers for science, for expert opinion, and their attitude that government has no place in problem solving, that causes me to tend to dismiss the whole movement.

Americans are a spoiled and impatient lot, and expect everything to be fixed immediately, on Internet time. But if they think the Repubs or TP'ers can fix things in short order, they are in for a deep disappointment, and the Repubs had best beware, because if they promise what they can't deliver, the wrath of the voters will be fixed on them in the next election. And back and forth we'll go.

I suspect we could all agree on the three principles stated above, given the right definition. We are not at all likely to agree, however, on what it means to be fiscally responsible, how limited government should be, or precisely how free markets should be. We never have.

In my view, limited government means the government necessary to accomplish the goals we, through our elected representatives have agreed to pursue. Odds are, if I don't agree with a specific goal I will never agree that the government mechanisms used to pursue it exceed the limits.

Fiscal responsibility is something required of both the electorate and our representatives. In the first instance, we must control our own desires and demands for government expenditures, be they direct or indirect (e.g., tax deductions, credits, etc.) Once we've adopted a goal, again through those elected representatives, it's up to the representatives to proceed as efficiently as possible to achieve those goals.

The free market: have they ever really existed in the U.S.? We've regulated international trade since day one, largely in order to protect domestic business interests. We gave private entrepenuers millions of acres of public lands as incentives to build railroads, granted monopolies in order to spur construction of telephone and power distribution systems. The list truly is endless. Taxes have been imposed and certain activities exempted from those taxes, all along. It's rare to hear business interests complain when they receive the benefits of such regulation and far too common to hear those same interests complain when a regulation is not to their liking. Certainly there are regulations that many, if not most, of us would agree are unnecessary at first blush. Mechanisms exist to change any regulation, any statute. Use them, intelligently and respectfully, and we'll all be better for it.

Taxes have been the great economic complaint for decades. (Centuries?) Yet, they have always been a fundamental aspect of our government. We've collected taxes in different ways over the centuries, but they've always been used to pay for not only "essential services" as defined by some, but for those things voters wanted. (Of course, those things have changed since the makeup of the electorate has changed.)

All of which leads me to the conclusion that we'll get nowhere waving banners and making speeches about generalities,or by labeling one another leftists, socialists, tea-baggers, right-wing nut jobs, fundamentalists, etc. Nor will we make any progress when the source of an idea is more important than its merits. Those who doubt this need only look to the past few decades to see it in action.

Yes, these folks reveal a huge level of ignorance about the facts in the world, cultivated by listening to Rush Limbaugh and the rest. But the error of liberals is to dismiss or denigrate the anger at the root of the Tea Party. The anger is absolutely justified; folks feel it viscerally, and for decades the left has offered (outside the realm of acceptable discourse, from which it is excluded) the explanation for it in the way power is created and used to move the social wealth from the many to the few.

The problem with Tea Party folks, as with the Libertarians with whom they probably are most closely aligned, is that their view of the world is several centuries out of date and inexplicably fails to account for the phenomenon of concentrated private power (CPP). Without accounting for CPP, one has only a deeply incoherent concept of society in which government operates pursuant to some self-created agenda, the corporate media are controlled by the leftists, and the president is a carrying out a secret Manchurian plan to turn the U.S. into a Leninist government operating under Sharia law.

Government screws the people now, primarily because essentially all the Republicans and too many Democrats running it are serving the agendas of CPP. CPP is the natural tendency of any society and the primary role of government (i.e., the people acting collectively) is to mitigate the phenomenon in a variety of ways (yes, plus building roads, fire department, etc). The only route to a sustainable, prosperous society is for the people to become aware enough that they will work to strengthen government, not weaken it, but by electing those who will represent the common interest instead (including making sound judgments about where to act and where to stay out).

The prescription of "fiscal responsibility, limited government, free markets" -as code words for getting rid of government and giving CPP free reign - are the quickest path to the opposite outcome of a society with the many wholly and entirely at the mercy of the few. If these folks truly think that this would lead to more freedom, I have a sign that used to hang over the gates of Dachau I would like to sell them.

"tremendous ignorance and confusion"

"stupidity is an equal opportunity employer"

"how in the world can an advanced and extremely well developed nation like the United States produce so many people who are so horribly confused and ignorant"

*Sigh* I'm really sorry.

Life would just be so much easier if all us ignorant, workaday Americans would just huddle with our guns and our Bibles and let the scary smart, reality based community do our thinking for us.

Oh well.

I guess as long as Marxist professors continue to be discredited, the intelligentsia will just have to continue to deal with it as we unenlightened peasants continue to ignore the tear stained pleas from our betters to hand over our lives.

Something like 15% Americans hold passports. One antidote for the gaping ignorance that feeds the Tea Party is for people to go abroad and shake some of that RW fearmongering off their souls, learn how other people live that may reveal positive alternatives to our narrow brand of politics.

I recall the TP movement was up and running within weeks of Obama's inauguration. Virtually no time for him to do anything and these scared folks were out shouting and blustering, riled by the professional hate-media and fueled by millions in cash from RW donors.

"Personally, I agree with Rand Paul," Hudson said. "He said that the civil rights acts were appropriate, but not to apply to private organizations."

That presumably leaves restaurants free to discriminate.

Mr. Stych:

I do not hang my hat on the "racism" explanation for the Tea Party. However, can you respond directly to the question raised multiple times, but that I have seen only ignored, namely:

During the Bush Jr administration, government expanded enormously and constitutional rights were trampled right and left. The movement toward secret government was profound. Unaccountable, off-the-books spending skyrocketed. It is a fact that some 90% of the deficit about which the Tea Party rails is from actions taken by the Bush administration (the Obama contribution to the present deficit, largely the "bailouts," is the short-term part of the deficit that is projected to be retired completely within the next two years). So even if, for the sake of argument, one accepts that the Obama administration has contributed to the growth of government and the deficit (which I do not think the facts support), where were the Tea Partiers during eight years of Bush (and before, for that matter)?

Paul, I agree with you. I cannot understand, for example, how a U.S. congressman can say on TV (PBS news last night) that under the health care bill, decisions about care are made in Washington D.C. And apparently people believe him.
I'm not sure if it's ignorance or willful disbelief or simply closing ears and mind to anything they don't already believe.

I am not wordy enough to add, 'cept to note that everyone being responsible only for themselves is anarchy.

It's puzzling to me how often people vote against their own best interests. I have wondered that about my own family, working class people who voted straight Republican. In college, I remembering hearing the view of one political philosopher (can't remember who, but an 18th or 19th century Englishman) who said it didn't matter if voters were illiterate or uninformed because they could always look back and see if their lives had improved or not depending on who was in office. (Rough translation.)
So, why can't ordinary people figure out if their lives have improved or not under an administration and vote accordingly.
They don't remember who brought about the chaos? They think that 20+ years of bad policy decision can reverse consequences in 2? They don't hear about the threats to social security and medicare and become alarmed?
I sure don't know.

Happy to see that Mr. Swift continues to be the antithesis of scary-smart and reality-based. Neal Rovick (#10) has it right, I think, and Chuck Holtman (#21 & #24) makes good points.

•Fiscal responsibility

•Limited government

•Free markets

Goals that are hard to argue with globally, but the devil is in the details, and currently, the details, at least as presented by the Tea Party, are pretty unattractive and unreasonable.

To claim a well-justified worry about the national debt while simultaneously urging Congress to cut taxes is to tell your family, “We can’t afford to fix the car and put it on our credit card, but by the way, I’m quitting my job.” No sane person pays off debt by first, reducing the revenue coming in. Meanwhile, the biggest elephant in the room is one that no one on the right wants to address: a pair of wars we have no business – fiscally or ethically – fighting, and a military budget that’s larger than all the other military budgets on the planet combined, and to no real purpose.

Calls for “limited government” cannot be taken seriously from people who, as Neal points out, see nothing wrong with the “Patriot Act,” or legislating everyone’s sex life, all the while trying to establish a state religion when the Constitution is quite clear that there will be NO established religion.

There hasn’t been a “free market” in the sense that Tea Partiers and other “conservatives” use the term since the very first human society, however many thousands of years ago that was. From time immemorial, government has ALWAYS influenced the way an economy works. The relevant question is, who benefits from that government influence? When the society as a whole is better off, a good case can be made that government influence is a good thing. When the influence benefits a small group at the expense of the many, it’s harder to defend, as it should be.

“Getting government out of the way” is not only sophistry – where’s the evidence that government has kept Microsoft, Apple, Medtronic, Target, 3M, to name just a few, from being profitable? – it’s sadistic. “Free” as in, unregulated, markets are what produced the slums and degradation of the late 1800s in industrial societies all over the planet. We’re approximating the late 19th century “Gilded Age” right now, but this time, many of the same poverty-stricken workers are in Bangladesh or Indonesia, so “out of sight, out of mind” once again becomes the operative theme.

Unregulated finance is what produced the speculative bubble that led to the Great Depression, and – surprise – once financial lobbyists persuaded Congress to get rid of government regulation of finance again in 1999 because, they insisted, the industry would police itself – thank you, Phil Gramm and "conservatives" – greed once again became the operative theme, and our current “recession” is the predictable result.

Others have already provided the corrective regarding health care. It’s not the doctor who makes the decision. It’s a health insurance company clerk who’s not accountable to anyone except his/her supervisor, and the motive is always company profit, not your health. I lived without health insurance for a dozen years, paying every medical bill out-of-pocket, and hoping every day that nothing serious would go wrong or no serious accident would happen because a hospital stay would bankrupt me. That only happens, people, in the United States. Health care is a given in every other industrialized country, and no one ever goes bankrupt trying to pay for it. They pay... gasp... taxes instead. And they get more effective (i.e., better) health care.

I’m an old guy living on a fully-taxable fixed income. I don't like corruption any more than a Tea Partier, and anger and frustration are understandable. Some of it is misplaced or misdirected, and often purposely, for political reasons. Some of it is pure selfishness, which doesn’t reflect well on its practitioners, and some of it, as others have pointed out, is sheer ignorance of what many public policies actually say and do, personified by the guy insisting that he wants to “...keep government hands out of my Medicare!”

@ #22 - Re your taking exception at my comment that "Stupidity is an equal opportunity employer." ...

Do I have to ask forgiveness from anyone that I cannot respond in any other fashion to your observation that, "Hudson, who is in his 30s, likely is the farthest from the stereotype of the Tea Party, starting with the fact that he's black."

Can't be helped. Your comments and the symbolic (idyllic) photo accompanying this piece are very inspirational!

• Fiscal responsibility.
• Limited government.
• Free markets.

All lofty goals. Fiscal responsibility is, I suppose, a no brainer as a goal. But we have 100 senators and 435 representatives all bragging about how they bring home the bacon (pork!!!). Notice how when Gates (who, IMHO, is in line for sainthood) proposed eliminating a no longer necessary joint services command - with about twice as many contractors as service members - there was a hue and cry from Virginia's entire delegation (Repub and Dem). When the tea party members reward congress members who don't support local spending they'll get my respect.

Limited government is a valid philosophical argument. But also in the eye of the beholder. The tea party in Florida wasn't too pleased with limited government (demonstrations when Obama visited) when NASA and Cape Canaveral was being cut back. Other than national defense, SS and Medicare are probably the 2 most intrusive government programs. What's the tea party position on those 2 programs?

Free markets are great - when you can find them. But if I burn coal to power my incandescent bulb and dump acid rain in your lake then you are subsidizing me. Personally, I think the role of government is to put in place "rules of the road" that allows markets to be free. The health care requirements (no benefit max, no charge for certain preventive procedures) may not be as straightforward. But the reality is that if you are uninsured and show up really sick at the emergency room, you will get some care and the cost of that is passed to others.

It's one thing to take pot shots at something, it's another thing to propose a constructive alternative.

Small quibble with #15--if we had won the First Gulf War, why were still prattling on about WMD and the evil Saddam, culminating after more years of "no fly zones" with an invasion a few years later?

"...your observation that..."

JJ, read it again; take your time. That was Doug Grow's observation. I merely (and correctly) identified it as a leftist racial stereotype (yet another, forsooth!).

As I said, common sense conservatives, as least none I know, put any weight into the color of a person's skin..we're into ideas.

Not sure what you have against the photo; not sure I *want* to know.

What I find most instructive about this article is that this group is a splinter from another group, that might have splintered from...well you get the idea.

The Tea Party is not a party, not a cohesive movement, is without a rudder and has confusing direction and even complaints. In short, they bring very little that is useful to our political process except noise.

Moreover, there really is NO "Tea Party". It is a conglomoeration of many entities -- some have already burned out, and some are fronts for PACS (and run by professionals for groups they represent or lobby for), and others (it is purported) simply money making conduits for their founders. Here is just a smatering of a few:

• The Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, a loose national coalition of several dozen local tea party groups;
• Tea Party Express, a national bus tour run by Our Country Deserves Better PAC, itself a conservative political action committee created by Sacramento-based GOP consulting firm Russo, Marsh, and Associates
• Tea Party Nation, which sponsored the National Tea Party Convention that was criticized for its $549 ticket price and because Sarah Palin was apparently paid $100,000 USD for her appearance
• Tea Party Patriots, an organization with members across the nation that proclaims itself to be the "Official Home of the Tea Party Movement; and
• The National Tea Party Federation, formed on April 8, 2010 by several leaders in the Tea Party movement to help spread its message and to respond to critics with a quick, unified response.

In summary, what we have here is a conglomeration of unhappy folks who seem to gather in small groups to vent. The bottom line to me is: anger is not a policy.

To add a bit of humor to their activities, I suggest the following for a quick view of some interesting Tea Party signs.

http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bl-tea-party-signs.htm?PS=494%3A21

I believe a lot of the anger Tea Party members feel was fomented by Republican leaders who spout -- over and over and over -- the hot-button words and phrases created by (I believe) a guy named Frum.

His health-care list included the words "government takeover," "big government, "government bureaucrat," "letting granny die," plus a bunch more for a total of about twenty words.

When financial services reform legislation was written, Mr. Frum produced another list to help Republicans fight its passage.

Tea Party supporters might start refusing to take such words and phrases as gospel and research the issues for themselves.

That is not what the tea party stands for, the tea party stands for privatization of Social Security, the elimination of Medicare and the privatization of all Veteran's hospitals. If you look at how well Wall Street functioned over the last 3 years you can plainly see that privatiztion is a losing proposition that would impoverish millions of Americans. The tea party has no answers to our problems, the tea party IS our problem. The tea party is just a sad group of old, white, racist bigots who are all going to die naturally very soon so they have NOTHING to say about our future. They can't stand the fact that we have a black president and when they howl "TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!" they mean to take it back from the minorities. They represent only the top 3% richest Americans so they are our cultural enemies. Barrack, don't dignify those low lifes by asking them for suggestions. Mark Montgomery boboberg@nyc.rr.com

Is any journalist ever going to ask Tea Party candidates exactly how they plan to simultaneously cut taxes, cut spending, and generate surpluses in order to pay down our national debt?

Most of the problems facing America will require solutions—whether it be increasing the retirement age, cutting Medicare, or raising taxes—that cause real pain. Eventually, one of the parties will have to inflict it.

Nice to have someone from Tea Party talk to the regular media, not just refuse and appear only in front of supporting groups without questions.
The three principles are great, except they each have different meanings to each person.
Where are the specifics to each principle. As stated they are only generalities.
No discussion of social issues. That is a cop-out!

Anger is not a program.

It is sad that the Left has so little left in it's arsenal, that they play the race card and try and reconstitute their failed policies. I would like a discussion of actual life, here, Progressyves! ... To keep the Conservatives on their game and to continue to make this country great! To have Doug Grow report on this is like having a chipmunk report on how to fly a 747!

@# 37- Re Tea Party candidates ...

I think, by and large, they are avoiding the main stream media like the plague.

Besides, the party's (mob's) objective is getting the power away from the sheriff and lynching the Government. Consequences and other details can go to the devil.

I have problems with a lot of conservative politics, but at the end the day, many of them are my friends, and we have more in common than not. There are good ideas from both the "left" and the "right" and would like to see more people of good faith discussing them civilly and working together for the greater good instead of ideological purity....

@ #33 ... Yes, I have read it again. And I realize that you were quoting Doug Grow to make your point that it is a "leftist racial stereotype" thing.

Those leftists, and the "scary smart reality based community" are upto their dastardliness again, huh.

I think Mr. Grow's statement in and of itself is complementary to the Tea Party. And I would have let it go at that, but when you quoted it and drew it as racist, I could not help but look deeper into the significance of this situation. This is a no-win situation as far as I am concerned.

It matters not whether the Tea Party is an inclusive party with women, minorities, rich, or poor in the mix. If the whole agenda and direction of the party is stupid, then my statement becomes valid. I will say it again: stupidity is an equal opportunity employer.

And by the way, I have nothing against the photo. It just looks staged and further strengthens the "racist" perception that we were talking about. But that's just that "community reality" thing in me.

//There are good ideas from both the "left" and the "right" and would like to see more people of good faith discussing them civilly and working together for the greater good instead of ideological purity..

Amen.

The biggest problem we face is the team mentality our "ruling class" have so successfully implemented for their own profit. They have taken divide and conquer to a level not seen for a very long time.

JJ, Please Google "the rule of holes"

The Tea Party Movement has largely been legitimated of late, but without any true cohesion on numorous social issues any long term sustainability of the movement is not possible. Without details on issuesn formal platforms, or intra-group compromising, it will not last beyond another elction cycle; two at most.

I'd like to thank Doug Grow for chatting with us and writing this article. One of the points we discussed which he wasn't able to squeeze in is that the polarization in our current political dialogue is unproductive. The fact that we disagree does not make one side or the other ignorant, uneducated, or somehow evil. Grow, a writer who certainly does not share the Tea Party paradigm, was nonetheless able to engage us in a cordial conversation which included substantive debate.

One of the goals of the North Star Tea Party Patriots is to create opportunities to dialogue directly with individuals and groups who hold opposing political views. Too often, we let our media have the conversation for us, or allow the anonymity of the internet to tempt us toward name-calling instead of honest discussion.

Many of the comments above make assumptions which paint the entire movement with broad strokes. I am not disposed to answer every point raised above (as it stands, I need to break it into two posts), but will speak to some of the recurring concerns expressed.

Regarding Wegner's point about health care, its easy to assume a lack of nuanced thought when considering a single sentence. Though I cannot speak for her, I think it's safe to say Wegner values having the opportunity to make her medical decisions based upon doctor recommendation, ability to pay, and her own judgment. It is true insurance companies have bureaucrats, just as government has bureaucrats. The difference, of course, is that you can choose whether or not to deal with an insurance company. You cannot choose whether to deal with the government. Furthermore, the power of the market to regulate the behavior of insurance companies has been severely handicapped by the government interference that was already in place before Obamacare, such as the inability to purchase across state lines.

The treatment of the global warming issue in comment #19 by Mr. Groth exemplifies the kind of dogmatism which prevents meaningful debate on both sides. "The simple fact is, there is no significant scientific debate among climate scientists (who are not tied to the energy industry or politically conservative "think tanks") that human activity is at least partly responsible for the warming." This is not a sentiment open to debate. It says "everyone agrees with me except those who are wrong." It is an ad hominem, which suggests the energy industry or conservative think-tanks are incapable of offering valid and truthful arguments.

Groth goes on, "I have a hard time taking seriously the opinions of people who don't respect the science. Thus I must be skeptical of all of their ideas, since at least some of them are based on misinformation or disinformation." Presumably, based on the aforementioned blanket dismissal of any scientist which does not parrot his opinion, Groth does not take seriously the science of Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, which demonstrated through the novel concept of direct measurement the opposite of a key presumption upon which all the IPCC predicative models are based.

(continued in a later comment)

(continued from a previous comment)

Another recurring point made above is, "Where were all these Tea Partiers when Bush was spending?" While it is true the straw which broke the camel's back was the stimulus Santelli ranted about in February '09, the many other straws which the camel bore to that point were indeed piled on by Bush. If the Tea Party overthrows of several establishment Republican candidates throughout this cycle's primary season do not demonstrate the non-partisan nature of the movement, I'm not sure what will.

The last recurring sentiment I'd like to address is that the Tea Party is somehow racist. This is a tired accusation which accomplishes nothing outside the echo-chamber in which it is expressed. It's a unsubstantiated smear which places Tea Partiers in the position of proving a negative. I can only speak from my own experience. As one who - despite my bi-racial background - is commonly identified as black, I have encountered nothing but warmth and encouragement from my fellow Tea Partiers. I have a bi-racial child whose mother is white. Surely, if there was some latent bigotry undergirding the movement, my family would be unwelcome. The opposite is true.

Mr. Carlton emotes in comment #38, "Nice to have someone from Tea Party talk to the regular media, not just refuse and appear only in front of supporting groups without questions." To the extent there is interest, North Star Tea Party Patriots will happily continue a conversation with anyone who genuinely wants one. We're talking about reaching out after the election to groups who consider themselves liberal to co-sponsor events where We the People have meaningful conversations about the issues without the pressure of a partisan political contest. It's important that we start talking to each other again. The interest and involvement of all citizens, regardless of their ideological preconceptions, can only enrich the political discourse and bolster the vigilance of the electorate.

Join us for a historic judicial candidate forum at the City Council Chambers in Monticello on Wed, Sept. 29th at 7pm. This is for a non-partisan contest for the bench in Court 3 of the 10th Judicial District. All are welcome to attend.

www.northstartpp.com

No other politician besides Michele Bachmann has associated herself so closely with the "tea parties", which are a grass roots, albeit, amorphous grouping of disparate Americans. Therefore, her success, i.e. re-election, should define the success or failure of this movement. If she wins, which seems likely, it will mean the democrats/liberals/progressive have failed to 1) come up with a message, or program, and 2) failed to convince a majority of voters in a very blue state.

Now, of course, she has a big political advantage in opposing Typhoid Barry, who is fast becoming, and deservedly so, the most hated President in modern history, since Herbert Hoover. He even makes Jimmy Carter look good, as he plays golf while America burns down to a Third World Country.

Most liberals/democrats/progressives are totally mentally blocked from seeing how evil Barack Obama is on behalf of the 1) Anglo American Wall street bankers, 2) ObamaCare health insurance companies.

One liberal/progressive, Senator Russ Feingold,(D-Wisc) will probably buck the trend of overwhelming rejection of Democrats in November. He had the courage to stand up and vote NO on the phony Fin/Reg bill, and call for Glass Steagall Restitution, as the ONLY measure which will work. All the other Democrats retailed the Obama Lie that this bill will regulate Wall Street, while the Banksters laughed all the way to the Treasury Department.

The FBI police state raids against hapless socialists/communists activists this week in Minneapolis should be a wake up call that Obama has continued, and escalated, the Bush Patriot Act police state. This is how Hitler started.

@ #43 - Re "the rule of holes" ...

Thank you. Yes, I know it, and thank you. However, in this particular case, I am not really sure that it applies.

Do you know of this quote: “I speak the truth not so much as I would, but as much as I dare, and I dare a little more as I grow older.” (Michel de Montaigne)

And, by the way, I'm done here.

Again, thanks.

I'm confused why he wants the choice to choose insurance across state lines when he is supposedly in favor of local control. The whole point of not choosing across state lines to preserve the integrity of insurance regulation representative of the values of the voters of the state, as expressed by their elected representatives. And how about this -- you can just change insurance -- well, not when they are all screwing you in the same way. Again, it just seems like they haven't thought through their positions very well.

And if he thinks free markets work so well what does he think happened in 2008. Wait...let me guess, the Federal Reserve in conjunction with Fannie Mae did it, because, as we all know, the markets are always perfect and no one comes along and uses them to rob everyone blind. Just like in the new Russia. Tea Partiers in love with ideology.

Stereotype for stereotype Mr. Swift. You continue to point out all the foibles and follies of leftists as though they are not the same pitfalls that the conservatives encounter regularly.

Leftists and conservatives alike drop the race bomb: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/08/conservative-liberal-sites-both-f...

Just a truth-loving, conscientious, reality-based, scary smart opinion.

#48

//Thank you.

You're welcome.

//However, in this particular case, I am not really sure that it applies.

You see racism where it doesn't exist. There are a couple of explanations for this, none very flattering.

//And, by the way, I'm done here.

Typical. But you'll come back and look.

@Paul Scott, comment #49

Assuming your referring to my brief treatment of the health care issue, I'll be happy to expound. When it comes to local control, you can't get any more local than the individual. What I infer from your comment is that it is somehow better for you or I to be bound by the dictates of our neighbors than to be free to purchase an insurance product which meets our individual needs. I don't agree with that.

Why does the state need to tell me what kind of insurance I should purchase and what it must cover? It can't be because they're looking out for me, because that assumes they have a better grasp on my interest than I do. It's not my interest the state is concerned with, but a special constituency which otherwise would have to pay more. As an example, by making single guys pay for policies which cover maternity, the state effectively transfers wealth from those single guys to a constituency for which maternity is a concern. That's unjust. The lack of a voluntary insurance pool large enough to bring costs down to where consumers would like them is not justification for forcing others into the pool.

I don't understand your aside about the Fed and Frannie Mae. Are you denying their role in controlling the market? Are you trying to imply the free market was the problem? If so, we have a fundamental disagreement. The market hasn't been close to free in a very long time.

I'm not aware of anyone who makes the case that the market is "always perfect." The market has the virtue of reflecting the will of individual consumers. When you vote with your money, you always get what you voted for. The same is not true of the polls. The question ought not be whether the market creates a perfect world, but whether the alternative is just. I submit it is not, because it introduces coercion into the process.

Read the label: Narcissism Tea...a mixed blend?

Not really...to assume T-Party Bagers are a mixed political blend is to miss the point to some degree maybe...since all are focused on a somewhat simplistic and angry concern about 'I','Me, and 'WE'...to heck with any concern for the 'other'...there lies the rub.

Getting-Mine, which initially appears to be the consistent primary focus, leads to a form of blindness of others needs and aspirations.

What a lousy attitude. Faces, pictures reflect the story. Look closely...

We support wars on others that eventually exhaust even the god-and-country patriots among us...too many dead youth; ours theirs...but no matter, eh?

Too many 'other' faces we cannot even visualize...numbers all?

One lump or two:
That's what T-Party Bags get so tied up in knots about...and may they remain so; knots and all...enough already

Hi Walter. You say that "When it comes to local control, you can't get any more local than the individual. What I infer from your comment is that it is somehow better for you or I to be bound by the dictates of our neighbors than to be free to purchase an insurance product which meets our individual needs. I don't agree with that."

The state is in the business of looking out for the common good. In principle anyway. I know there are all kinds of lousy things that happen in the name of government but I choose to assume that people are basically good, government employees included. They set standards all the time. The car you drive in, the bridge you cross, the food you eat, the medicine you take are all overseen by the state because like it or not if we let the individual make everyone one of those decisions -- to say, "hmm, has the latest lipid controller been established in a double blind placebo controlled trial to be safe and efficacious?" -- is foolhardy. Your answer just makes your movement look like captains of chaos. Is it? I mean it...I really don't see what you guys stand for the supposed nobility your effort. Seriously, you seem like a reasonable person -- what is up with all the powdered wigs?

"Why does the state need to tell me what kind of insurance I should purchase and what it must cover? It can't be because they're looking out for me, because that assumes they have a better grasp on my interest than I do."

You know, I'm sorry, call me naive, but I happen to think that Linda Berglin or whoever is involved in writing complex insurance regulatory law has a slightly better grasp than you or I of why we should'nt let some outfit in the deep south sell us Minnesotans some craptastic insurance policies i that bury all of their theft and deception in the fine print.

"As an example, by making single guys pay for policies which cover maternity, the state effectively transfers wealth from those single guys to a constituency for which maternity is a concern."

Guess what, the world is filled with these sorts of slights of hand, "wealth being transferred " from single guys who just want to live in their own sweat lodge and not be bothered still have to help pay for the roads that other people use. "That's unjust." Yes, and so were the floods in Pakistan, but I don't suspect the Tea Party cares much about that, or anything other than their unsympathetic ideological grievances over the stupid tax bill. What has happened to our country to make people so horribly self centered?

Walter Hudson: Thank you for demonstrating the meaning of the word "class". Many here would do well to learn from your example.

Re The health care discussion.

Comments are correct -- under the managed care system we have today, insurance companies make a great deal of decisions about your health care, but of important note managed health care regulated by the government is not free market health care.

In a free market system patients control health care dollars, physicians control health care prices and determine what services they will provide, insurance companies determine what they will cover at what cost and individuals choose personal insurance based on cost and tolerance for risk. They pay affordable predictable premiums to pay for unpredictable unaffordable health care events.

Government run health care -- a single payer system -- is the managed care we have now on steroids. It won't solve access, quality or cost issues. The answer lies in moving the opposite direction toward a free market system with a safety net that puts money in the hands of the truly vulnerable to participate in the marketplace as they choose.

It really is about who makes health care decisions -- you and your doctor or someone else.

//Life would just be so much easier if all us ignorant, workaday Americans would just huddle with our guns and our Bibles and let the scary smart, reality based community do our thinking for us.

Yes Tom, things are a lot easier when you let smart and knowledgeable people make important decisions.

Mr. Hudson's free market defense of the status quo is riddled with factual errors and ignorance. Our health care system cost two or three times that of almost any other developed nation, delivers poorer health care, and fails to deliver health care to anyone who needs it.

The idea that this failure is the product of government regulations or interference with the private sector is simply ignorant. The most efficient health care system in the country in the VA system, and that system has also gotten the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the country for about six years now. Furthermore, folks like Mr. Hudson seem to be ignorant of the process whereby government regulations are enacted, they are in fact the product of health care industry lobbyists who over the decades have lobbied for more and more industry favorable regulations and subsidies. Tea Party champions of the status quo demonstrate and irrational dependence on a mythic notion of out of control government bureaucrats. This not only reveals tremendous ignorance regarding the health care system, but also the nature of our democracy and process by which laws and regulations are enacted.

This idea that one is better off dealing with a private bureaucracy than a government bureaucracy is likewise pure fantasy. Again, experience in this country with Medicare and the VA absolutely refutes this proposition, both are more efficient and less expensive than any private system. I don't know how else to say this, what cave have you people been in? Millions of Americans are dying suffering every year because private plans are denying treatment, coverage, and kicking people out? You gonna fight your insurance company? No, you gonna find out you no longer have coverage because they found small glitch in your original application five years ago. Insurance companies actually have people who's job it is to find those glitches and kick people out when they get really sick or severely injured, and you think your better off dealing with them than you the government?

Which brings me to yet another problem with the Tea Party health care agenda; you people do realize that a huge part of the Obama health care plan is the establishment of patients rights don't you? This big fight your gonna win with your insurance company is ten times MORE likely to go your way now that those basic rights are in place. Obamacare has made it MORE not LESS possible for you to do what you want to do, it facilitates your challenges to the private providers and insurance companies.

The end of the day Obamacare is not a government takeover of private health care it's a government bailout of private health care. There no getting around the fundamental ignorance behind the misguided notion that a government take-over of some kind has taken place, it has not.

So we have a group of people who don't understand how the current health care system works, or how government regulations are enacted, or the nuts and bolts of democracy. Nor do they understand the real nature of "Obamacare" or how it actually benefits them. What am I missing here?

So your pissed, whatever. Anger is no excuse for ignorance. The resources are there, you can know what you're talking about if you want to. Ignorant anger never produces constructive results. So long as the tenets of Tea Party activism are based on ignorance the Tea Party is and will remain nothing but a toxic influence on the American political and social landscape. If you're OK with that Mr. Hudson, by all means carry on. But don't think you hide from your personal responsibility by claims to be the victim of "broad brushes".

The ignorance regarding climate change and the nature of science is simply a replay of the health care debate. Again, if you want to know what your talking about you can, but you have read some stuff and get your information form people who know what they're talking about, not Glenn Beck.

Regarding the accusations of Tea Party racism and bigotry. These accusations are the product of Tea Party activism, not race card political correctness.

A sample can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S38VioxnBaI&feature=related

The anti immigrant, anti Muslim, anti African American sentiments of some Tea Party Activist has been well documented. I am unimpressed with Mr. Hudson's ethnicity since if anything it simply suggests a racist notion that only white people can be racists or bigots.

I point out, that given the clear and unambiguous signs of bigotry by fellow Tea Party activist, Mr. Hudson's response is NOT to denounce that bigotry, but to deny having experienced himself. Yes, when they came for the students I said nothing because I wasn't a student... And these people are teach us about personal responsibility?

//Small quibble with #15--if we had won the First Gulf War, why were still prattling on about WMD and the evil Saddam, culminating after more years of "no fly zones" with an invasion a few years later

Neal,

Our objective was to drive the Iraqi's out of kuwait, that was clearly accomplished. As for the rest, well it's all been about oil. Hasn't worked very well, but it was about the oil.

@ #58 and #59 ... Thank You, Paul. You have succinctly pointed out some points that require serious and thoughtful consideration on the subject matter(s) covered here.

I'm going to blame all of that anger and ignorance on all that bad tea people have been sipping. The steam has clouded their eyes and clogged their brains. I am sure many of them are civil, but once in a while you run into a few who are snarky and unnecessarily bellicose.

By and large, however, the discussions have been very stimulating and enlightening.

I believe this political music video captures many of the concerns of the Tea Party Movement, and in fact, it is a kind of Tea Party fight song.

http://www.stevecarlsonforcongress2010.com/node/45

Vote for change! Vote for change! Vote Independence and Tea Party candidates in 2010! We can BREAK the two-party system in Minnesota, let's do it!

Author Editor Tim Walker: Yes, doctors determine one's health. Any educated person knows quality medical care is a major reason for a higher life expectancy and quality of life.

TP'ers know that, why don't you? Maybe you should join.

Your reasoning that Obama has some kind of "equal rights" to spend as much money on the military as Bush did is completely crazy. So does he have some kind of "equal right" to get as many people killed, too? The only justification for any war is self-defense. We need to defend ourselves and if Obama is out there trying to get "equal time" for black men, he is going to fail to defend us.

You are really out of touch, and the Tea Party has nothing to do about race.

John Olson: To be honest, HMO's have been a scam from the beginning. I worked at one a month or so and the big issue was spending ridiculous random amounts on bad technology and lobbying the legislature to include abortion as a covered "health service". That seemed to make the women who worked there feel real important and efficacious.

HMO's are an overpriced fraud. We need to improve service, sure, but first we need to save lives. We should repeal by selectively defunding live-saving programs in exchange for Obama's promise not to veto the repeal. It's unconstitutional (not only with the mandate) and completely a failure as far as saving money. Rates are going up, and in fact Betty McCollum has already introduced H.R. 5808 to establish the public option.

If you don't already know about H.R. 5808 it's because the visionary folks in the media don't want you to hear about it, because they want the Dems to get re-elected and pass and they don't want to spook Betty McCollum's chances to do just that.

//Author Editor Tim Walker: Yes, doctors determine one's health. Any educated person knows quality medical care is a major reason for a higher life expectancy and quality of life.

I hate to say it but expecting a bunch of people who can't identify their own best interests to delve into something as complex as medical practice and produce any kind of insight is like asking a dog to play the violin. All this confusion about who makes health care decisions is simply a reflection of ignorance. It might be helpful if some people stopped worrying so much about what they believe, and start thinking about they know and don't know.

Author Editor Paul Udstrand I'm not sure what you meant to say there.

Okay, Paul, but please examine your premise: "a bunch of people can't identify their own best interests." I'm not confused. The decision remains between the patient and the doctor, has for thousands of years for those who have doctors, it's nothing new. Doctors have special knowledge, that's a philosophical dictum. Tea Party does not want Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Betty McCollum, and Harry Reid to intervene in that relationship. ObamaCare can't work because there are not enough doctors to have this relationship. Do you want the nurses to take over the doctor role? Do you want the government to take over the doctor role?

That being said, the real issue here is about finance, access and timely medical education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment, the basic model to address health disparities.

That's what my proposed reforms (after we repeal ObamaCare in the Congress) will do. I believe there is broad consensus for this and it will get done. It would help if readers will vote for me and get their friends to vote for me November 2.

http://www.stevecarlsonforcongress2010.com/Steve_Carlson_says_we_must_sa...

//Okay, Paul, but please examine your premise: "a bunch of people can't identify their own best interests." I'm not confused.

Yes you are confused.

//The decision remains between the patient and the doctor,

Unless your Doctor orders a treatment that's not covered by your insurance company, or you need treatment that's not available within the approved provider network, or a medication that's not approved. Sure, if you're insurance company doesn't drop you because they found out by looking at your facebook page that you smoked cigarettes for a few months three years ago and failed to put in on you application (A real example by the way)sure it's all between you and your Doctor. If you're wealthy enough to afford the difference between the deductible or extra charges for going outside the network, sure it's between you and the Doctor- but that's not the case for 90% Americans. Most people have health insurance because they can't afford to pay for medical care out of pocket.

Millions of people are not taking the medications or getting the treatment their Doctors would prescribe or did prescribe for them because insurance companies deny coverage. I'll give you one example; Pravachol is a cholesterol medication that is less risky for many patients in terms of causing liver damage. For years millions of people were more or less forced to take Lipitor instead because their insurance company wouldn't pay for Pravochal. Millions of people on fixed incomes are faced with the choice of either paying hundred of dollars a month for non-approved medication, or taking alternatives that their Doctors don't think are as effective. My Doctor was spending so much time on the phone arguing with insurance companies that he had to start billing for the time.

This is the reality of health care in America. The health care legislation includes several restrictions on insurance companies abilities to restrict treatment, deny coverage, and cancel policies. It also has several provisions that will make easier for Doctors and patients to challenge treatment restrictions imposed by insurance companies.

It's really very simple, your interest in all this is your health. You need health care, your life depends on it. Insurance companies make money by taking your premium and then paying for the least amount health care they can. If you think what's good for insurance companies is good for your health you are confused and not correctly identifying your own best interests. It's very nice of you to want to sacrifice your health care, or that of your loved ones in order to deliver more profit to the insurance companies but it's not in your best interests (or in the best interests of your loved ones). This is a basic observation. If you don't get this, the odds of you correctly deciding whether you need a CT scan with contrast or an MRI are very dim indeed.

So your point is, I need you or Obama's bureaucrats to decide what health care I need, not my doctor and I. And that's because I'm confused because your doctor was arguing about an alternative to Lipitor.

You stick with your premise, ""a bunch of people can't identify their own best interests," and also a bunch of people's doctors also can't identify their patient's best interests and this is why we should not repeal ObamaCare and really reform it. You're saying the government will build in best practices that will protect low-income people from their ignorance of medicine.

I'm still extremely skeptical about your views. I'm not against best practices, but I don't think we should go for this because of an argument that the government will take care of me. If they can do a good job with Medicare, that would be great.

//So your point is, I need you or Obama's bureaucrats to decide what health care I need, not my doctor and I.

OK, we've reached circularity here, but I have to ask: who exactly are these bureaucrats you're talking about that are going to make your health care decisions? What department do they work for? What branch of government? Who's they're boss? Show me the passage in the health care legislation that creates these bureaucrats.

@Paul Scott, comment #54

Thanks for the reply, Paul. Sorry for the delay in response.

While I tend to agree the government exists to fulfill a "common good," I suspect our views of that good are quite different. That's where the debate can occur. For instance, you twice make the point that the expertise of regulators may result in a better outcome for we common folk than individual judgment. That may be true. Then again, it may not.

The experts banned DDT for fear of its effect on the environment, directly causing somewhere between 30-60 million deaths. The experts can be wrong.

While it is certainly true that expertise ought to be respected, it does not entitle one to dictate what others must do. There is nothing which prevents a question such as whether "the latest lipid controller [has] been established in a double blind placebo controlled trial to be safe and efficacious" from being answered without the government.

The argument you are making, or at least the one I am inferring, is that government must impose in such matters lest we common folk fall to the lure of false advertising. My response is two-fold; first, it is incumbent upon individuals to perform their due diligence before entering into contracts, either explicit or implicit - caveat emptor; second, if fraud occurs in a transaction, we have a due process for dealing with that.

Due process is hardly chaotic. It merely requires a crime or tort to have actually been committed. Regulation, on the other hand, intrudes upon relationships without invitation. You think I shouldn't be able to buy the latest lipid controller without what you deem to be an appropriate study, so I don't get to make that decision. Regardless of whether you may be right or wrong about the wisdom of considering the results of such a study before ingesting the product, what gives you the right to make that decision for me?

Regarding powered wigs and the like, I have never been one for such theatrics. I have never carried a sign. The only political shirt I've ever worn has been one advertising a candidate or our organization. There is some debate within the movement regarding the value of costumes and signage. I am in the minority which believes it is counterproductive, not because there is anything inherently wrong with it, but because it only serves to alienate us from those who don't understand it.

Your final point about "little slights of hand" does not resonate for a couple of reasons. First, the maintenance of roads fails as an analogy for coercion in private transactions. The construction and maintenance of infrastructure is among the proper roles of government and does not redistribute wealth. We all get what we pay for with roads, even if we do not drive, because we all benefit uniformly from the commerce which they enable. The same is not true of forcing people into an insurance pool. Second, and perhaps more importantly, you imply some moral imperative which justifies wealth redistribution. The problem with that is justice is the supreme moral imperative. It is never just to take that which does not belong to you. It is therefore never moral to do so, no matter the extenuating circumstances.

To assume that I do not care about victims of natural disaster because I do not condone stealing from my neighbor to provide for them is to assume I have some claim to my neighbor's property. I do not. It demonstrates no virtue to give of that which is not yours. It's not a question of being "self-centered." It's a question of justice and the rule of law. Otherwise, you can justify anything with a rationalized "moral" need.

@ Paul Udstrand, comment #59

For someone whose so carelessly tosses around the word "ignorant," you sure presume a lot you couldn't possibly know. You "know" I am arguing for the status quo. You "know" I don't understand how regulations are made. You "know" that I know nothing, specifically because I don't agree with you. What raw arrogance.

"This idea that one is better off dealing with a private bureaucracy than a government bureaucracy is likewise pure fantasy. Again, experience in this country with Medicare and the VA absolutely refutes this proposition, both are more efficient and less expensive than any private system."
You can't lump Medicare in with the VA system. The latter is compensation for services rendered, not a wealth redistribution ponzi scheme. The "efficiency and low cost" of Medicare is due to a combination of rationing and unsustainable below market reimbursement, hardly an ideal model to impose upon the rest of us.

"Millions of Americans are dying suffering every year because private plans are denying treatment, coverage, and kicking people out?"
And this won't happen under Obamacare? People won't be denied treatment by the government? And you say I'm living in a cave. Again, the difference is where the control lies. You argue under the unstated presumption that everyone is entitled to care regardless of ability to pay. It is there the fundamental disagreement lies. To say people cannot obtain that which they cannot pay for, as if they should be able to, is to deny economic reality. It should also never rain on wedding days. But nothing can change the fact that it sometimes does.

"You gonna fight your insurance company? No, you gonna find out you no longer have coverage because they found small glitch in your original application five years ago. Insurance companies actually have people who's job it is to find those glitches and kick people out when they get really sick or severely injured, and you think your better off dealing with them than you the government?"
Again, if you think government won't do precisely the same thing, I've got a bridge to sell you. The difference is, when the government is the one doing it, you'll have no recourse.

"Which brings me to yet another problem with the Tea Party health care agenda; you people do realize that a huge part of the Obama health care plan is the establishment of patients rights don't you? This big fight your gonna win with your insurance company is ten times MORE likely to go your way now that those basic rights are in place. Obamacare has made it MORE not LESS possible for you to do what you want to do, it facilitates your challenges to the private providers and insurance companies."
All it's going to do is place an unsustainable burden upon insurance companies, putting them out of business. Of course, that's what it's designed to do, as Jacob Hacker told us in 2008.

"The end of the day Obamacare is not a government takeover of private health care it's a government bailout of private health care." That's largely true, though it's a bait and switch. What is a bailout today will be a set hook tomorrow. Insurance companies benefit from the mandate of new customers, but will not be able to keep up with future coverage mandates and price controls. Premiums are already increasing in anticipation of mandates, even as the administration threatens to cap those increases. The message is "you will provide greater coverage without greater cost," an economic impossibility.

@ Paul Udstrand, comment #60

I'm not asking anyone to be impressed by my race. To me, it is a non-issue. I never bring it up unless others do. Curiously, those who evoke race are almost always on the Left.

As for the examples you cite on YouTube, which I will repost for the sake of others...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S38VioxnBaI&feature=related

... the vast majority of those examples do not convey racist sentiments. For instance, the birther issue - while settled to my satisfaction - has nothing to do with race. It has to do with a constitutional qualification for office. Being against illegal immigration seems the proper position for anyone who respects the law. And while I personally do not doubt the president's professed religion, the concern over Islam is based on a rational examination of its theology and contemporary practice, not a racial prejudice.

How is a sign reading "Thank you Glenn and Rush" racist? Were the plethora of depictions of George W. Bush as Hitler racist? You're seeing racism wherever any criticism is present, a hypersensitivity which desensitizes you to the real thing.

I unequivocally condemn racism, but will not cheapen it by crying wolf when none is present. That montage certainly has some examples, and those are reprehensible. Even so, highlighting examples of racism exhibited by others does not change my personal experience with the people I know or reflect upon the message we deliver, which has nothing whatsoever to do with race.

Your accusation that I am personally racist is as unconscionable as it is unsubstantiated, a cheap personal attack which demonstrates your complete lack of goodwill. Again, you claim knowledge you cannot possibly have, based not on anything I've actually said, but what I haven't said. What fresh fallacy is next?

Thank you Mr. Hudson for your long and detailed responses to my comments. I think you comments deserve a response. For the sake of space I’ve excerpting parts of Mr. Husdon’s comments. I've also broken my comments into several posts.

In response to my general observation regarding the apparent ignorance of many Tea Party members you respond:

“The experts banned DDT for fear of its effect on the environment, directly causing somewhere between 30-60 million deaths. The experts can be wrong.”

And

“While it is certainly true that expertise ought to be respected, it does not entitle one to dictate what others must do…The argument you are making, or at least the one I am inferring, is that government must impose in such matters lest we common folk fall to the lure of false advertising.”

There are two ideas contained in this line of reasoning. The first point, about DDT I’m afraid betrays yet another example of scientific ignorance. For one thing DDT is still being used and continues as one of many authorized insecticides. DDT’s value as an anti malaria agent is well recognized by the scientific community and always has been. The fluctuations in malaria deaths since the mid 60s has been caused by a variety of factors ranging from insects developing DDT resistance to a variety of climatic issues and treatment effectiveness. In South Africa for instance they tried to decrease DDT use because of increased resistance and environmental issues but had to start using it again when Malaria cases spiked. The environmental hazards of DDT are well documented, in the US it’s elimination has been quite successful.

Mr. Husdon goes on to say:

“You think I shouldn't be able to buy the latest lipid controller without what you deem to be an appropriate study, so I don't get to make that decision.”

This brings me to the second idea (the first being skepticism of science) contained in the DDT/lipid comment; proposition that caveat emptor is all we need. It may appear that I got sidetracked with a DDT discussion but my point is that some people cannot locate and identify accurate and reliable information even when their lives literally depend on it, and a lot of these people appear to have joined the Tea Party. Mr. Hudson would have us live in a world where manufacturers are free put anti-freeze in our toothpaste and lead in children’s toys. The problem is this assumes the average consumer has ability and capacity to perform chemical analysis on every product and detect these toxins for themselves. I would point out that in the absence of any regulation any customer that did detect these toxins would simply be stuck with the product anyways because the manufacturer is “free” to put whatever they want into any product. You may find something in there you don’t like, but your only recourse is to not buy the product again. That’ll show em.

The consumer model breaks down with particular alarm when applid it to the medical profession. It is simply absurd to expect that a sales manager with no medical training or experience, who was moments before walking down the street on the way to a lunch date, will upon collapsing with a cardiac arrest, and while unconscious, make informed medical decisions for himself.

Again we come back to ignorance. You have this simplistic worldview imposed on a complex reality masquerading as intelligent skepticism. The DDT denial is basically a branch of anti environmentalism which is itself a symptom of an era of anti intellectualism we’ve been experiencing since the mid 80s.

In response to my observation that the private insurance industry is currently denying treatment on a massive scale Mr. Hudson responds:

“And this won't happen under Obamacare? People won't be denied treatment by the government?”

And to my related comment that no government takeover has actually taken place:

“That's largely true, though it's a bait and switch. What is a bailout today will be a set hook tomorrow”

Well, first it must be said that Mr. Hudson comes dangerously close to acknowledging that the “take-over” the Tea Party is so hysterical about hasn’t actually taken place. What we really have here is a “slippery slope” argument. The problem with slippery slope arguments is they pretend that anxiety is evidence. The Right has produced a number of these slippery slope arguments devoid of evidence throughout history. Fluoride was government takeover of our children as was and is public education. Medicare would deliver us into communism. Legal abortions would produce euthanasia clinics all over the country etc. etc. These complaints about “Obamacare” are simply the latest in a long line of Libertarian/Conservative hysterical reactions to something that causes them anxiety.

In response to my general proposition that the function of government is to promote the general welfare, Mr. Hudson replies:

“The problem with that is justice is the supreme moral imperative. It is never just to take that which does not belong to you. It is therefore never moral to do so, no matter the extenuating circumstances.”

And:

“To assume that I do not care about victims of natural disaster because I do not condone stealing from my neighbor to provide for them is to assume I have some claim to my neighbor's property.”

So what we’re establishing here is the Libertarian foundation of the Tea Party movement. All this stuff about caveat emptor and government regulations is really just an expression of Libertarianism.

The problem with Libertarians is that at the end of the day they don’t actually believe in democracy. They’re kinda like Anarchists in denial. Democracy requires that the individual on occasion will submit to the will and regulations of the majority as established via the democratic process. Libertarians frequently characterize this as an infringement of their liberties. The problem Libertarians have is that they happen to live in a democracy. Libertarians could have a coherent philosophy if they admitted that they don’t believe in democracy, especially the liberal democracy our founders created, but they get conflicted by the desire to claim constitutional legitimacy. What you end up with are these conflicted arguments that reject legitimate and rational public policy in favor of some kind of consumer rights model of society.

It all becomes incoherent at the point where libertarians are forced to admit that the “rights” they propose are actually being protected by the government. They’re willing to admit this when it comes to law enforcement and military matters, but they become confused when you point out the government role in protecting the general welfare and the consumer rights they claim to be advocating. Hence, the government’s role in protecting a consumer’s right to not have anti-freeze in their tooth paste becomes interference with the sacred buyer-seller caveat emptor relationship. Libertarian philosophy ends up turning democracy on its head because it denies the fundamental function of democratic government- to protect individual rights. The libertarian imperative for small or weak government ignores a history that clearly demonstrates that a strong government is required to enforce individual liberties. It was not a weak or limited government that won the civil war, or established, protected, and enforced voting rights for blacks and women. You end with this notion that government is the primary threat of liberty when in fact the whole point of liberal democracies is to guarantee liberty. This fact is highlighted by an arc of history that completely refutes libertarian dogma. The history the United States is not one of increased despotism accompanied by growth of government. On the contrary, over the last 200 years individual rights and liberties have continued to expand as the government seeks to extend individual freedoms to more and more people. Contrary to libertarian hysteria more people enjoy more liberties in these United States than at any time before in the nation’s history. More people enjoy more civil rights, labor rights, and consumer now than ever before. This is an historical fact

Mr. Hudson goes on argue:

“You argue under the unstated presumption that everyone is entitled to care regardless of ability to pay. It is there the fundamental disagreement lies. To say people cannot obtain that which they cannot pay for, as if they should be able to, is to deny economic reality. It should also never rain on wedding days. But nothing can change the fact that it sometimes does.”

This brings us back to the whole problem of ignorance and the Libertarian rejection of liberal democracy. Let me point out at this juncture that the preamble to the US Constitution clearly states that the function of creating a democratic government is create a more perfect union and promote the general welfare. Mr. Hudson’s problem is that he lives in a democracy where the vast majority would in fact probably list health care as a basic human right in the US as it is many other countries. Most people recognize the difference between life and death and rain on a wedding day. The economic theory here betrays basic economic ignorance.

Almost no one in this country can afford to pay for their health care out of pocket, that’s why we have insurance companies. It’s not a question of affording health care, it’s a question of establishing the best way to spread health care costs across the community so everyone get treatment when they need it. What you have here is an example of the aforementioned libertarian incoherence that classifies an attempt to make health care affordable as an attack on the individual right to purchase healthcare.

And:

“All it's going to do is place an unsustainable burden upon insurance companies, putting them out of business. Of course, that's what it's designed to do, as Jacob Hacker told us in 2008.”

This brings us full circle to my original observations regarding a failure to identify one’s own best interest and the incoherence of Libertarianism. We do not have a right to health care, but insurance companies have a right profit from our health care. Better to let people die than let insurance companies die. A more perfect union is one where the only organizing principle is profit. The fundamental argument against creating a rational health care system is that it will interfere with an industries profit. I remind everyone that many countries have established universal health care much more efficiently and affordably than the US, with massive government involvement. But here, in the US, we place an industries profit above our own need for health care. Again, it’s very nice of you to offer to sacrifice your own health care on behalf of insurance company profits, and frankly you’re free to do that. The problem is you people are running for office and you want to impose that choice on everyone else, all under the guise of extending our liberties.

I’m sorry but the failure to comprehend the difference between a health care market and a health system betrays a fundamental ignorance of how healthcare in this country actually works, and an inability to identify ones own personal best interests. The failure to recognize government’s role in establishing and protecting individual liberties betrays an ignorance regarding the nature of the democracy we live in. The rejection of scientific consensus on a variety of issues betrays fundamental ignorance regarding basic reality. A lot of people who share all this ignorance appear to have joined the Tea Party. This exchange only confirms this observation.

Finally we have the issue of bigotry an racism again

Regarding the racism on display in some of the signs carried by Tea Party activists at some rallies Mr. Hudson responds:

“... the vast majority of those examples do not convey racist sentiments. And while I personally do not doubt the president's professed religion, the concern over Islam is based on a rational examination of its theology and contemporary practice, not a racial prejudice.”

And:

“How is a sign reading "Thank you Glenn and Rush" racist? Were the plethora of depictions of George W. Bush as Hitler racist? You're seeing racism wherever any criticism is present, a hypersensitivity which desensitizes you to the real thing.”

Finally:

“I unequivocally condemn racism, but will not cheapen it by crying wolf when none is present.”

I didn’t actually accuse Mr. Hudson of being a racist, I simply pointed out that his response to racism within the Tea Party is claim that he hasn’t personally experienced it.

Here Mr. Hudson claims that he condemns racism unequivocally, but this claim is thrown into a pile of equivocations.

Here is an example of two sign on exhibit at the link I provided:

“ Save White America”
“ Taxpayers = Nigaars”

These signs are racist. They are just two out of many. I am not being hyper sensitive, I am not seeing racism where none exists, I am not crying wolf. I’m simply making an observation. In all his extensive writing Mr. Hudson has had ample opportunity to denounce the racists that have crept into the Tea Party. He could acknowledge their presence and express some regret at the Tea Parties inability to exclude them. This he has not done. Instead he denies their presence, minimizes their impact, and refuses to denounce it because it isn’t there and wonders what “fresh fallacy” is next.

There comes a point Mr. Hudson when the refusal to denounce a thing become a tacit endorsement. As to whether that tacit endorsement makes one a racist in this instance, well I leave that to you and your own conscience.

As for myself, I know racism when I see it, and I see here. I name it and I denounce it, and I’ll not apologize for doing so.

As for the Tea Party evaluation of Islam, it appears to be about as competent as their evaluation of DDT and “Obama Care”.