Saturday, June 26, 2010

The patriots have a problem

Look, we love the Tea Party and all -- hey they are the only homegrown political movement we have out here. The anti-war people make good pot brownies, but they can't organizer a rally for shit.

However, it is becoming apparent that the Tea clan is more like a Republican shill machine than a grassroots, middle-class political movement.

Take their recent stance on the Disclose Act. The Act is actually a response to a recent Supreme Court decision that gives mega-million-dollar corporations like Goldman Sachs the same right to donate politically as, say, some ahole who works at the Wendy's on Amboy Road. (Legally a corporation is a person, so I guess it's fair right?)

The Disclose Act doesn't exactly tackle the decision specifically but instead makes these corporate entities, or their political funnel groups, 'disclose' who exactly they are. So when an ad goes on TV and claims "Obama is a closet-Muslim-Commie-terror-coke-dealer" the ad then has to say: "BP America approves this message." (This goes for everyone, that is, except for the National Rifle Association, who got a sweet deal.)

Antipathy toward the Disclose Act is expected from the Republican party machine, which stands to reap windfall donations from corporate entities who would love to get that pesky financial regulations and drilling restrictions of their golden-plated backs.

But where does a local grassroots movement come off criticizing their congressman for voting for this common sense, legislative tweak in a landmark, game-changing SCOTUS decision? How exactly will they, local activists, be affected by this bill, or is there some other motivation behind their opposition?

Take the recent unemployment benefits vote. The vote was stalled, successfully filibustered by Republicans, and may end unemployment benefits for more than 200,000 people.

The left-wing tack on this vote is that Republicans actually masked their opposition under the guise of deficit reduction when they really wanted to stall the economic recovery. Pretty grim stuff.

True or not, giving unemployed people money to spend and live on is not exactly a terrible way to claw out of a recession. And Republicans have no problem letting the Bush tax cut live on, so why not throw them a bone.

The whole Tea Party movement was built as a reaction against Obama's supposed Lenin-esque intrusion into the private sector (apparently leading to War Communism).

On Staten Island, the Republicans and Tea Partiers have repeatedly tried to paint their congressman as a liberal lackey, part of the Pelosi Machine. And they use votes like Disclose, and Cap and Trade as supposed evidence of his socialist bent.

But it's not working. Staten Islanders don't know/care/give-a-shit about Cap and Trade. And the congressman, a centrist, is actually more in touch with the issues that impact Islanders on a daily basis. It may be time to try something else.

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