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Tea-Ball

By The Reverend Published: September 29, 2010

Let's play some Tea-Ball, shall we? If it's all the same to you, I'll just go ahead and Tea the Tea Party Belief Ball up......and then hit it too.

Yesterday, I listed the candidate names recommended by the Portage County Tea Party on a handout circulated to county residents this past weekend. These candidates, the handout says...."share with us a belief in the following ideas and principles."

1) Belief in INDIVIDUAL Rights and Freedom

Yes, the word individual was in all caps on the handout.

Rights and freedoms.....who is against either of those? No one......oh, wait....

Tea Party beliefs, as we've witnessed in the Tea Party supported candidates, are quite extreme. Just as Sharron Angle, for example, has refused to answer media questions about her extreme beliefs to avoid the potential fallout from stunned Nevada voters,.....so too, the Portage County Tea Party doesn't really want voters to know the extremity of their "beliefs."

The word INDIVIDUAL is in all caps because that's the most important part of belief number 1 to Tea Party members. It is the same individual right that Rand Paul spoke of when he said that private, INDIVIDUAL business owners had the Constitutionally protected right to refuse to serve blacks at their lunch counters.

Rand Paul: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains and I'm all in favor of that.

Questioner: But...?

Rand Paul: (nervous laugh) You had to ask me the "but." um.. I don't like the idea of telling private business owners - I abhor racism - I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same time I do believe in private ownership.

Individual rights and freedoms...to Tea Party groups....also means that a pharmacist has the INDIVIDUAL right to refuse filling some prescriptions for certain customers. The Tea Party rationale here is that the INDIVIDUAL right of the pharmacist trumps the rights of customers.

Businesses that discriminate against customers based on skin color, sexual orientation, religion, etc.....or pharmacists who discriminate against customers because their religious fee-fees might be bruised if they didn't.....that's the Tea Party idea of what Individual rights and Freedom means.

2) Belief in following the Constitution

Once again, who does not believe in following the Constitution? I mean, other than Dick Cheney?

Let me suggest who doesn't believe in following the Constitution.....the Tea Party folks.

The 14th Amendment, the 17th Amendment, and at least in part, the 10th Amendment, have come under seige by today's Tea Party-driven extremists.

Rejecting the 14th (if you're born here, you're a citizen)..... is for the purpose of lashing out at Hispanic immigrants. All part of the "no amnesty" insanity. Rejecting the 17th....which guarantees state elections for citizens to vote for their federal Senators.....is for the purpose of replacing those elections with state-legislature appointed federal Senators. I guess that's called freedom, liberty.....but it kind of looks like giving freedom away to elected state officials to me. Radically reinterpreting the 10th Amendment is for the purpose of negating Obama's health care reform. States rights, often screeched in the past by conservatives in an effort to nullify civil rights legislation, is now being screeched to deny access to health insurance for all U.S. citizens.

That is what Tea Party groups call "belief in the Constitution." They want the Constitution radically changed. That's how much they believe in it.

3) Lower taxes on all Americans

Again, who does not want lower taxes? That's right, no one.

It is a fact that income tax rates, capital gains tax rates, and dividend income tax rates are at their lowest level in at least 30 years. In addition, Obama has lowered taxes for small businesses and given 95% of workers a cut on their payroll taxes.

Why then the Tea Party belief in lower taxes still? All part of a wider conservative effort to "starve the beast". The thinking is that if the government doesn't have any revenue, they can't spend any revenue. Can't the government just borrow to meet any Tea Party imposed shortfall? Not if another Tea Party "belief" bears fruit....

4) Ending government borrowing

As Lou Reed sang, it takes a busload of faith to embrace that "belief." For example, if a bad recession, you know, happens.....then the federal government could not extend unemployment benefits, food stamps, basic social safety net stuff..... if the feds had to borrow the money. How do you think that would work out? On a larger scale, if the federal government had been restricted from borrowing in 2008 .....millions more citizens would be unemployed today.

Conservatives tell me they want the federal government run like a business.....bring in the oh-so-experienced CEO's to run the government, they say. How in the hell can a business operate without access to borrowing? So, too, the federal government.

To be continued tomorrow...

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