Tea Party in Black and White

Teabaggers are stupid: this I confirmed by attending a Tea Party event on Tax Day in Las Vegas, which I previously wrote about here and here.

They would react with the usual “What, you think we’re stupid because we believe in yada yada yada just because you don’t agree?” No, I don’t. I think they’re stupid because they’re stupid. I’ve no problem with conservatives; I have a problem with people whose entire position is based on lies, lies that could be trivially disproven by a ten-year-old with a computer. I have a problem with them when they refuse to listen to the facts, when they continue to insist, despite all available evidence, that Fox News reports the truth.

These people have created a toxic environment in our public discourse, an environment where a politician can say something on television that is empirically, factually incorrect, and when challenged on it by the interviewer, say, “Well, that‘s fine. You and I can have a disagreement about that.” (J.D. Hayworth, running for Senate in Arizona.)

Some of the rhetoric is the standard “Throw The Bums Out” stuff. Harry Reid is not only the Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats, he’s a senator from Nevada, so he received plenty of attention here.

But look at the sign on the right in this picture. It calls out three “bums” to “throw out”: Harry Reid, Shelley Berkeley, and Dina Titus, Democrats all. They apparently don’t want to dump Republican Representative Lee Terry from Nevada’s 2nd District, nor even Republican Senator John Ensign, despite his ethical and legal entanglements.

The bank bailout (which, it should be remembered, was a Bush Administration measure) was “more like a trillion dollar black hole” only if a black hole sucks stuff in and then spits it back out with interest while stabilizing the economy and preventing a depression. I don’t like throwing money at the people who caused the problem, either, but that’s what we were left with, after letting banks that big exist and do business the way they do. The mistake was made long before the crisis.

This fellow was entirely too proud of his clever discovery that OBAMA can stand for “One Big-Ass Mistake, America.”

But I think the shirt on the left is the most amusing: “Educated Fox News Fan.” I mean, is there such a thing?

Kenneth Wegner is running for Congress in Nevada’s 1st District, which includes most of Las Vegas. Mr. Wegner is not a recent Tea Party invention: he has run for this seat and won the Republican primary twice before.

The 1st District seat has been held by Democrat Shelley Berkley since 1999. Barack Obama took the district by 64% in 2008; Kerry by 57% in 2004; and Gore by 56% in 2000. John Ensign did hold the seat for a while before running for Senate, but the bottom line is that this is not a competitive race and Mr. Wegner is unlikely to win.

This campaign sign is ridiculous: “Put America back to work, Balance the budget, Become energy independent.” That’s a list of goals, not plans. If I say “World peace, end crime, eliminate disease,” will you vote for me?

I spoke to this guy at length. “Jail me for no health care? Change it back!”

Um, no. No one is going to be jailed for not getting health insurance, nor for refusing to pay the fine. It makes a good Fox News sound bite, but it’s an outright lie, as the text of the law would tell him if he bothered to look it up.

He also said that he is registered to vote as a Democrat, because when Obama comes to collect up all the guns, they’re going to start with Republicans, and he’ll have advance warning so he can escape to the hills. Right, I’m sure that’ll fool them.

This sign doesn’t even make sense. I guess the point is supposed to be that global warming is so ridiculous that we shouldn’t be surprised if Tipper Gore wants to blame it on rock music.

Younger people might not be familiar with the Tipper reference or the PMRC, but they certainly are familiar with the Parental Advisory stickers that resulted from that whole fiasco.

Note also the tea bags inexplicably hanging from the sign.

The message of this nice fellow’s (courageous) costume is that taxes are so high, he can’t even afford clothes to wear.

His taxes, of course, are lower than they have been at any point in his lifetime, thanks to President Obama’s unprecedented tax cuts—but he’s not going to let facts get in the way of a good costume. Presumably under Bush and the Republicans his taxes were so high that he couldn’t even afford the barrel outfit and thus couldn’t leave home to protest.

I complimented him on his courage for coming out dressed like this, and he replied that he’d been dressing this way every day since Barack Obama took office. Those lower taxes are just awful, I know.

The iconic image of the poor man so burdened by taxes that he can’t afford clothes and must cover himself with a barrel, originating in the early 20th century in political cartoons by Will B. Johnstone, may be unfamiliar to the younger generations, but that’s not the target audience for the Tea Party.

And that’s it for the Tax Day Tea Party event. An interesting day.