Friday, September 25, 2009

Advice for Tea Party Organizers

If you want politicians, the media and the general public to take your concerns seriously and treat your tea parties like political demonstrations rather than wing-nut circuses, here are a few things you could do to help your cause:

1. Stop inviting Joe the Plumber to speak at your events. The man has proven himself to be a complete idiot on the subjects of economics and foreign policy. If you continue to treat him like a pundit, you will continue to be considered ignorant by the rest of us. You might as well invite Britney Spears -- she'll draw a bigger crowd, and nothing she says can be any stupider than many of JtP's past public proclamations.

2. Stop harping on Obama's birth certificate. That fake issue has been completely discredited. He did produce the birth certificate. He was born in the U.S.A. If you keep peddling that snake oil to the wingnuts, your events will continue to be looked on as medicine shows rather than political rallies. I've noticed that very few birthers were concerned about the fact that John McCain was born in Panama (I'm just sayin').

3. Invite Jesse Ventura to speak at your events. He shares many of your concerns with the growing U.S. tax-and-police state. He also has cross-over credibility and is truly independent of any political party or media empire (although he does have a book to plug).

4. Put some emphasis on issues that liberals can't (or won't) argue with. There is a lot of common ground on the subject of civil liberties (such as the current proposal to collect DNA from anyone arrested, before conviction). If you spend some time talking about the things you have in common with the ACLU, liberals will stop laughing and do you the courtesy of listening to what you have to say. They will be much less likely to tune you out when you bring up your other concerns if they have already treated you like fellow citizens deserving of respect.

5. When you see some idiot at one of your events carrying a homemade "Obama = Hitler" sign, ask that individual what, specifically, Obama has in common with Hitler. Then explain why Hitler is in a class which invites few legitimate comparisons. You don't have to censor anyone, but at least try to educate the ones who are making you all look bad.

I disagree with many of your positions, but I think that one-party rule is bad for democracy. Watching the Republican Party become a shrinking, marginalized joke troubles me. Without a credible opposition, I shudder to think what the Democratic Party may become. Ideally, I would like to see several viable parties hold seats in Congress, with a coalition required for a working majority. That would keep the radicals in any party from ramming things down everyone's throats (because the minor parties would abandon the coalition in that case).


Deekaman said...

1. JTP is smarter than Joe Biden.

2. Very few at the tea parties I've attended (I think Milwaukee) has made any Birther statements - it was a sign and the guy was alone. Way alone.

The Canal zone was US territory at the time of McCain's birth.

3. Jesse Ventura? Seriously? You're killing your cred here.

4. Libs shouldn't be arguing with us over increased government power. No government in history has failed to oppress their own when they obtained enough power. And Soft Tyranny is still tyranny. But Leftys seem to think it's ok with this Administration. But they should cconsidder this: I'll stipulate this Administration would do nothing nefarious with all that information and power over the citizenry. OK. But what about the next one? Or the next? Or the next?

5. What about Bush was equal to Hitler? Did you ask that? Further, just like Birthers, I see almost none of those. There are statements clearly relating what is happening in this country now to what happened in 1930's Germany, and I think some comparisons are valid. But our side is much less "Obama=Hitler" than the Left was with Bush...or for that matter is in characterizing us.

Last, you say we should be more like a political protest. So maybe some broken windows or burned-out cars? Looting and mayhem?

Jill: Maybe you should attend a TEA Party before you condemn it. It's not what you think.

Ordinary Jill said...

1. You must be kidding. Biden has made some embarrassing gaffes, but he can at least grasp the actual effect of a tax policy on a particular income bracket after the facts are pointed out to him. And I don't recall him ever accusing an Israeli journalist of anti-semitism for questioning some actions of the Israeli army.

2. The Milwaukee tea party may not have featured Birther statements, but some in other states have invited Orly Taitz (who holds the patent on that particular snake oil) to speak. Yes, the Canal zone was US territory. It would still be easy for wingnuts with an axe to grind to file frivolous lawsuits over McCain's elibility.

3. Talk to some people in Minnesota. Jesse has his issues, but he is thoughtful and intelligent, and people actually listen to what he has to say, even if they disagree with him. He campaigned on reducing the size of government, and he actually returned the surplus to taxpayers (though, in hindsight, that may not have been the best idea).

4. And that is precisely the argument you should be making first, before you start harping on the evils of socialized medicine. Give Feingold some props for criticizing Obama over wiretaps and cap-and-trade, even if you disagree with him on everything else. Then others will be less likely to tune out everything else you say.

5. The Code Pink protests were just as bad, and that group has about as much credibility as PETA. You'll notice that those wingnuts are not getting much that they wanted out of the current administration and Congress. No single payer health care; we're still occupying Iraq and Afghanistan; If Gitmo does close, most of the remaining detainees will simply be shipped to Baghram. In other words, their protests did nothing to influence policy. Most politicians (even left-leaning ones) hold those people in contempt.

While birthers and other fringe elements at the tea parties may be few, they are the ones who will get their pictures on news sites. I'm saying that the organizers should be seen to be making an effort to education these people, rather than letting them hi-jack the message or become the face of the movement.

No, I'm not suggesting broken windows or mayhem. I'm saying you should focus more on legitimate political grievances rather than culture-war attention-grabbing.

Joe the Plumber is a culture-war attention whore. He is not a pundit. I sure don't think he's smarter than George W. Bush or Karl Rove (although both of those men have definite blind spots and a lack of intellectual curiosity). As long as tea partiers keep acting like Joe is worth listening to (and insisting that he is smarter than Joe Biden, or anyone else in our government), no one outside your coccoon will take you seriously. If you're OK with that, keep on keeping on.

Deekaman said...

All I can tell you is quit believing everything you see on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC. I don't believe everything I see on Fox. Or every sign or speaker at a TEA Party. I guess that's the difference.

Again, before you condemn, come on out.

Anonymous said...

And you nutroots bloggers want to be taken seriously for what you write, why not criticize your own freak shows?

The tea party was hardly a freak show when 1.5M people gathered and there was not as much as scuffle.

You apparently have only been getting 1/4 the news.

Deekaman said...

Easy, Anon. Jill's not worthy of your beating. Save it for someone who is really out there. She's just a little misguided.


But seriously. Let's not be harsh here. The idea is to bring her to the Dark Side.

Jill: We have cookies over here.

Dan said...

Jill does make some valid points. I have never been to the Tea parties, and all I have seen is what is on the news. If someone brings a Hitler sign, the media is going to focus on it. Joe, he is old news. Jesse? I don't think he will do it, but there are other speakers who would make excellent speakers.
There will always be nut cases about the birth certificate, but that is who the bloggers and media focus on.
Tea parties are supposed to unite and tell a story. A few wackos spoil the good message, even if they are few and far between.