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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/21/10

T'Nation or not T'Nation (That tis the Query)

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Message Anthony J. Gerst
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I don't know whether to cry, laugh, or find my passport. When G.W. left office I thought the nation would at least have better candidates to choose from into the foreseeable future. Christine O' Donnell and a legion of Tea Party candidates have secured positions on the November ballots. No longer can serious political junkies and commentators view this movement as a fringe marginal group. The Republican party, via their right wing hysterical media, has created a monster. A monster whose day may come as soon as Nov. 2, 2010.

From Rand Paul in Tennessee to Jim Miller from Alaska unto Sharon Angel from Nevada, the Tea Party, a rather populist but underdeveloped movement has shaken the establishment. Under normal circumstances I would say this is a good thing. However, this Contract from America that they apparently enshrine appears, to this writer anyway, as an extension of the extremist Libertarianism practiced by the Koch brothers. In short, the Christian Tea Party is being manipulated into the front man for corporate anarchy.

To me, Tea Party members are just angry-bible thumping mobs of extremists within the Republican Party. They are only held together by a flimsy philosophy of limited government and less taxation without a platform. Should you attempt to tie down a spokesperson for the party or find any sites that offer an established platform all you get is a run-a-round. While many in the Republican Party will not admit it, they are very worried about what will happen if several of these candidates get elected. Their actions, in Congress, will be carefully monitored and covered by the press. These Tea Party candidates may just be what is needed to severely hamper the Republican Party for years to come, as many moderate Republicans have openly stated to the press their opinions of the Tea Party candidates. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska had this to say after suffering her primary defeat. "As disappointed as I am in the outcome of the primary and my belief that the Alaskan Republican Party was hijacked by the Tea Party Express an outside extremist group. I am not going to quit my party."

Therein lies the rub, the Republican Party can neither afford to support, nor not to support these winning extremist candidates. The far-right propaganda machine has been working overtime ever since President Obama got elected. They have appealed to their party's base by ginning up anger with false reporting and stoking the fires of fear over everything, from racism, socialism and even portraying the current administration as fascist. There are not enough of these candidates to make a real difference in Washington even if all of them were to get elected. The scary prospect, however, is what if the GOP gives the keys to the kingdom to these newly elected candidates. Are they willing to ride a populist wave of extremism though 2012 to safeguard their party? If not, the primary question then, will moderates within the Republican Party rise to the challenge of governing (they haven't so far), or for the sake of party unity, will they cave to an agenda that they know is unworkable for this nation?



The closest thing to a party platform these extremists have is the above-mentioned Contract From America, which should not be misconstrued with the Contract with America, from the 1994 Gingrich led Republican landslide elections, most party platforms are actually quite generic in their composition. The Contract From America is much simpler than that being a collection of excellent sounding talking points lacking cognizance.

Number two on this list of ten ideas, is the desire to stop all cap and trade actions. Coming in at number eight is what they call "All-of-the above" energy policy. Simply put, they believe we should be harvesting every ounce of coal and oil from the lands of America, on and offshore. They also heavily support the advancement of nuclear power in this nation. Little, I am sure, do they realize the totality of Federal subsidies given to these industries in what has become known as Corporate Welfare. They seek to permanently enforce the Bush tax cuts, from income to capital gains and estates taxes. They want to do this and at the same time demand balanced budgets coming out of Washington. Do they have any clue as to the cuts needed in order to accomplish their goals? This is highly doubtful, many of these candidates are calling for the elimination of the Department of Education, privatizing Social Security and getting rid of the Department of the Interior just for starters. Their policies, if they could enact them, would plummet our nation into isolationism and create a simplistic populous of illiterate hacks.

They profess a desire to return to an interpretation of the Constitution and The Bill of Rights as laid out by The Federalist Papers. I wonder how many of them realize that The Federalist Papers were a discussion, talking points to help in the ratification of the Constitution. In some cases these essays offered two different viewpoints, one example being the concept of succession of a state after its ratification into the Union, or that Federalist number 84 was in opposition to a Bill of Rights.

While several of the issues promoted by the Tea Party are issues that many Americans and I agree need addressed, most issues of complexity demand multifaceted solutions. The Contract From America, would only serve to weaken our nation, both at home and abroad. I truly wonder if moderate Republicans, will awaken and help President Obama rule this nation, or will they simply continue playing these games that appear to be destroying not only their party, but perhaps, the nation.

Sources: Tea Party-Backed O'Donnell Upsets Castle in Delaware GOP Race; Fox News., The Federalist Papers: Pew Research Center for People and the Press;; GOP/Tea Party Platform Not Popular, by Deacon Blues.

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Anthony J. Gerst, is an author/columnist and activist. He resides near the confluence of the Iowa and Mississippi Rivers. His favorite author, Mark Twain, was an editor for the Muscatine Journal near where he lives. Mr. Gerst has offered (more...)

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