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Entries in Tea Party (7)

Friday
Dec102010

The Tea Partys War on Education

How the Tea Party Will Destroy School Reform - The Daily Beast:

Uwe Romeike teaches two of his children, Josua and Lydia, at their home in Morristown, Tennessee on March 13, 2009. (Wade Payne / AP Photo)

Across all these issues, “We can’t have government officials coming in and supervising the decisions that fit parents make,” said William Estrada, director of federal relations at the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.

Education reform has been pushed to the background on Capitol Hill as of late what with taxes and equality taking top billing for the lame duck session, not to mention a recession going on. That being said, the Tea Party, and many of it's members who were put into office in the midterms, have not forgotten about it and are ready to wage their own private war on the public education system starting in January.

The above quote raises two questions to me. First, who decides the parents are "fit"? If Mr. Estrada doesn't want the government supervising the decisions parents make, how will anyone determine whether or not the decisions they make are in the best interest of the child? I'm not against homeschooling, not in the slightest, but you cannot say that you want the government to leave "fit parents" alone, without determining who gets to make the decision as to whether or not they are, indeed, "fit parents".

Second, where are these government officials they speak of? Is there some sort of homeschooling police that I am unaware of? Granted, I am not overly familiar with homeschooling, having never done it, but I don't see how setting specific curriculum guidelines is tantamount to direct government supervision of a homeschooler. I think we should all be able to agree that there are certain minimum requirements all students, be it public, parochial, private or homeschool, should have to meet in order to qualify for a high school diploma, and no, I don't see that as some kind of Big Brother system where the govt. is telling you what you can and can't teach.

I'm not against homeschooling, not at all, I am against the idea that a parent has the right to decide whether or not their child has achieved a level of education that is equivalent to other children. Parents, fit or not, are not objective when it comes to their children and that is what we need, objectivity. 

I for one sincerely hope that the Tea Party does not succeed in eliminated the DOE and creating a system where parents get to determine what their kids curriculum needs to be. While I don't think that NCLB should be extended (it's a ridiculous, ineffective top-down reform that does little more than create paperwork for teachers and funnels money away from schools that really need it), I certainly don't think that we as a nation should put the future of our collective society on the partisan chopping block.

 

Tuesday
Oct052010

The Tea Party's Kissing Cousin

Tea party, religious right often overlap, poll shows:

"The way the data looks, if this is a marriage of convenience, it's one that would be against the law. The relatives are too close," said Jones, a self-described progressive.

Okay, so that's a deliberately vague and somewhat shocking headline, sue me.  It's a functional analogy.

That being said, the biggest issue that I see the Tea Party facing is this one, the struggle to maintain a dedication to individual liberty, small government and fiscal responsibility without being sacrificed on the altar of social conservatism.

The Tea Partiers may share socially conservative beliefs, but the Tea Party is not, at its core, a socially conservative movement. No movement that wants to amend the constitution to protect a private arrangement (marriage), protest the free expression of certain religions (Islam), use Government to deny private property rights (Park51), use Government to dictate individual medical treatment (Abortion), etc... is in any way in favor of small government. The Tea Party movement was started around fiscal conservatism, not social conservatism.

The problem is that it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between the Tea Party and the social conservatives and you can pretty much blame the Tea Parties for that. The first Tax Day Tea Party had nothing to do with social conservatism and everything to do with fiscal restraint. Since then the cause has been distorted and championed by people like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, at least publicly.

If the Tea Party as it was originally constituted wants to survive, they need to decide what they are on the whole and find a way to speak with one voice.

Monday
Oct042010

Where have you been Tea Party?

How the Republican Party Could Blow It - The Daily Beast:

If the Tea Partiers are as angry at Republican fiscal irresponsibility as Democratic fiscal irresponsibility, how come the movement only sprung up after Barack Obama?s election? Where were these guys in 2004, after George W. Bush launched off-budget wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, hiked education spending, forced through a costly prescription [not to mention unfunded] drug benefit, and won reelection because of the unprecedented enthusiasm of the GOP's conservative base?

I have to admit, I think that the larger Tea Party movement, while not exactly being an "astroturf" movement, does have some suspiciously odd timing. Yes, there are many "Tea Partiers" whom I know had issues with Bush's spending, but they still voted for him in 2004.

The biggest issue I see is that as soon as Obama was elected, Fox News went from defense to offense, immediately doing everything they could to lay the deficits and increased debt squarely at the feet of a new administration. Unfortunately, they were quite successful convincing their followers (they're not just viewers anymore) that President Obama was the reason that the debt had increased more than 1000% since Reagan's inauguration

Mr. Beinart is correct I think, the Tea Party (at least the ones I know) are focused on returning the GOP to it's Goldwater-era dedication to libertarianism, and that scares the establishment Reagan/Bush Republicans to death. The one thing that is missing is the social libertarian streak that Goldwater had, unfortunately the movement we have today is the bastard child of Goldwater's fiscal libertarianism and George W. Bush's "compassionate conservatism". It's the small, limited government that still gets to tell you what to do, who to love and what you can/cannot do with your own body. 

Monday
Oct042010

Circle the wagons

Washington Conservatives Worried About Movement Conservatives on Defense - Marc Ambinder - Politics - The Atlantic:

Although the op-ed, written by FPI's Bill Kristol, AEI's Arthur C. Brooks and Heritage's Edward Fuelner, sets up the Obama administration as its foil, the real purpose to nudge Tea Party conservatives back into line on defense spending, according to a Republican strategist who is working on the program.

Bill Kristol, Arthur C. Brooks and Ed Fuelner getting together to protect the military-industrial complex, why am I not surprised?

For the record, I don't disagree with many of the people calling for a reduction in defense spending. These fine gentleman from the hallowed halls of Washington's finest "Conservative" think tanks will tell you that defense spending is not the cause of soaring deficits, and they may not be the only cause, but their a part of the problem.

We have to accept, as a nation, that in order to get out of the whole we're in, we can't make anything off limits. The defense budget has to be scanned for waste, if cuts need to be made, then they need to be made.

Oh, and I'll definitely be looking for an abrupt change in direction from these "principled" Tea Party backed candidates, as they fall in line with what the GOP in Washington wants from them

Monday
Oct042010

My rally's bigger than your rally

One Nation Working Together Rally: Day of Wingnuts - The Daily Beast:

the rally offered a snapshot of the fragile coalition that is the contemporary far left?a dizzying array of activist organizations and identity politics, with financial muscle provided by the labor unions who bused their members in.

I was pretty sure that this rally would be nowhere near as large as the "Restoring Honor" rally for a couple of reasons. First, they didn't have the GG Allin of Right Wing radio as their front man and second, I didn't even know it was happening until Friday (not that I would have gone, but that little buzz does not bode well).

What I find amusing about this, aside from the treasure trove of material that these morons just hand delivered to the right-wing press, is that it appears to confirm that our political process essentially been boiled down to a dick-measuring contest between crackpot talk-show pundits.

So Ed, Glenn, can you guys just get it over with? I'm tired of the rhetoric and to be honest, I'm tired of all of the pundits who claim to be "looking out for us".