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Obama should engage the Tea Partiers

By       Message Saad Zafar     Permalink
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Author 47174
Well, it seems clear that this Tea Party movement is not going away. And it seems like it may end up contributing to a split in the Republican party. That's not to say that most of the Tea Partiers are registered Republicans. But I have a feeling that very few of them would support Democratic (or progressive) positions for the most part. They could prove to be a spoiler in the next election. In that case, the Tea Partiers would be as resented as Ross Perot and Ralph Nader (by Republicans and Democrats respectively) were.

President Obama - if he is a good politician - may choose to let the Tea Party movement gather in strength so that it ends up crippling the conservative movement as a whole. That might be the right thing to do (politically), but it would require ignoring the fact that the people that make up the Tea Party have genuine fears and concerns. Yes, many of these people may be racist. But that does not mean that they don't have real reasons to be angry and scared by the way things are going. When a country goes through tough economic times, that ends up helping the populists, xenophobes, and racists. They tend to prey on people's fears.

The Tea Party folks, in particular, are being exploited by vested interests. If Obama is a politician, he will ignore the Tea Partiers. But if he is a leader, he will engage them. President Obama should directly address the Tea Party folks. He should talk to them. He should meet with some of their representatives. Perhaps there is some way he could alleviate their concerns. Mind you, I don't agree with the Tea Partiers on pretty much any issue. So I'm not advocating that Obama should seek input from the Tea Partiers when formulating what policy to implement. I'm just saying he should engage them. Talk to them. Tell them, "I feel your pain."

Bill Clinton never shied away from that. And that's why Clinton was seen as being a man of the people, and not as an Ivory Tower elitist... which is how Obama is viewed. President Obama does not appear to have that common touch, and this may be why the Tea Partiers do not feel like they have "one of their own" in the White House. It may or may not be a racist thing.

So essentially, Obama has to treat the Tea Party movement like it's an erratic, paranoid lover. Listen to her. She wants to be listened to. She wants to feel like she's important to you. Look into her eyes... and talk to her rather than at her. Let her know that you appreciate her. Tell her everything is going to be OK. And once you're done listening to her, feel free to forget everything she just said... and do what you were going to do anyway.

 

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I am a student of Human Resources currently living in Toronto, Canada.

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