When I think of Tea Parties the image that comes to mind is my little sister playing dress-up-- using her mothers clothes for a costume and having a make-believe moment. It's all about children pretending and using their imaginations to keep themselves entertained.
This same kind of make-believe is what the Republican "Tea Parties" were all about this week. The so-called "Tea Parties" were basically PR creations, crafted by Republican Strategists, sponsored by Right Wing front groups like FreedomWorks, and promoted by Right Wing Republican media. These people are masters at creating their own reality when the real world doesn't suit them. The events are designed to whip the Republican faithful into a frenzy. You even had Texas Governor Rick Perry (one of the Confederate Governors opposing Obama and rejecting stimulus funding) attend one of these events saying that Texas could secede from the United States... that whole Confederate thing again (if not in geographical terms...it's definitely alive in terms of ideology). What is it with Republican Governors and seceding from the Union? Sarah Palin and her husband have actually been connected with secessionists in Alaska.
One of the big ironies in all this is the fact that most of these "protesters" actually received a tax cut, which went into effect this month. I really don't believe these people understood exactly what they were protesting. All they knew is that this effort was part of the Right Wings anti-Obama campaign...and at the end of the day...that's all they really needed to know.
But are most Americans falling for this mostly manufactured outrage? Are Americans buying what Republicans are selling? Apparently not... at least not at the moment (although the power of Republican media has a way of changing that rather quickly). According to a new Gallup Survey, the tax issue is much ado about nothing, especially when put in historical context.
The Following Is Courtesy Of Gallup:
Views of Income Taxes Among Most Positive Since 1956
PRINCETON, NJ -- A new Gallup Poll finds 48% of Americans saying the amount of federal income taxes they pay is "about right," with 46% saying "too high" -- one of the most positive assessments Gallup has measured since 1956. Typically, a majority of Americans say their taxes are too high, and relatively few say their taxes are too low.
These results are based on the Gallup Economy and Personal Finance poll, conducted each April, including April 6-9 of this year.
Since 1956, there has been only one other time when a higher percentage of Americans said their taxes were about right -- in 2003, when 50% did so after two rounds of tax cuts under the Bush administration.
The slightly more positive view this year may reflect a public response to President Barack Obama's economic stimulus and budget plans. He has promised not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000, while cutting taxes for lower- and middle-income Americans. The latter has already begun, as the government has reduced the withholding amount for federal income taxes from middle- and lower-income American workers' paychecks.
In this year's poll, slim majorities of both lower- and middle-income Americans say they pay about the right amount of taxes, while upper-income Americans tend to think they pay too much. The views of upper-income Americans have not changed in the past year, while both middle- and lower-income Americans are more likely to say they pay the right amount of tax. Read more of the Gallup report here.
The Republicans, especially those in the Republican media, are trying to convince the American public that this is an issue with legs and that there is genuine anger towards taxes across the social and political spectrum...when in reality, most of the noise about taxes and fiscal responsibility is coming from a small fringe within their Party... almost a fringe within a fringe...because the Republican Party is down to its base at this point. Where were these people when George W. Bush and the last Republican majority were running up huge deficits, trying to hide spending by keeping it off the books, not monitoring Wall Street, allowing the Oil Companies to rape ordinary working Americans, and allowing Special Interest Groups (Government contractors) to literally rob taxpayers blind in Iraq with thefts of historic proportions. They weren't trying to stage these grand protests then. In fact, it was the Republicans lack of fiscal responsibility that largely contributed to the current mess that the Country finds itself in.
This is clearly an effort by Republicans and their media apparatus to whip up anger towards Obama. Many of the people at these "Tea Party" rallies did not show up to complain about taxes at all. Instead, they were complaining about a list of other perceived grievances with Obama... with signs suggesting that he's Muslim, friendly to terrorists, is a communist, a Nazi, ...you name it. To me, the events appeared to have the feel of last years General Election campaign where folks were calling for violence against Obama, carrying racists signs, vandalizing campaign offices, and using stuffed Monkeys to represent him. It almost harkens back to the Southern tradition of lynching picnics, where lynchings were social events. I know that's an extreme comparison....but race is surely playing some role in these events. How many Blacks did you see in these crowds? Let's be honest...these are generally White Americans who are simply looking for any excuse to protest Barack Obama.
This is really an example of Right Wing media using fear & propaganda to take advantage of the ignorant and the uninformed. They prey on folks who are driven more by ideology (religion, race, xenophobia, fears, prejudices, and culture war issues for example) than by facts. It sends the message that Right Wing media is still strong and can make themselves as relevant as they want to be... regardless of whether they are dealing with the real world or not.