My name is Patrick M McCormick and I have created this blog as a platform for my political views as well as those of select contributors.

I believe that American Politicians have lost sight of their goal: To uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the people of the United States. They argue and bicker on the floor of their respective houses, positioning themselves for the next election, while they accomplish very little business for the citizens of this country.

Meanwhile our economy is sliding downward. Millions of our precious jobs have have been exported overseas. Our social safety net and other public services are being cut. Our middle class is rapidly disappearing and the numbers of citizens existing below the poverty line is increasing dramatically.

I plan to examine the causes of these terrible changes to our American way of life. Your comments will help us all arrive at some important conclusions.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Do We Sail With The Tea Party, or Leave Them Behind ?

I found an article in The Atlantic that was titled;

My Country, Tis of Me

There’s nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots.
By Michael Kinsley

I had to write something about it.

The Tea Party’s success is a testament to the frustration of the American People. In large numbers, in 2008, Americans elected their first black president, Barack Obama. Tired of the Bush lies, the war, and the staggering economy, the unthinkable happened. The American People were desperate for change. Candidate Obama made many promises that the voters wanted desperately to hear. Good news was just a few months away, the new administration was going to attack the multitude of problems head on...hallelujah!

Then the angry Republican survivors appeared like a swarm of wasps. Taking every known political trick out of their great big bag of tricks, they proceeded to attack everything the new administration put on the table. True, some of the new plans may have been hurried and not so well thought out, but the plans of the Bush Administration had all ready failed. Our nation’s economy was sinking; fast. Instead of coming to the table and attempting to negotiate stronger legislation, they blocked all they could. They became the Party of NO! The Ship of State kept on sinking.

Soon after, the Tea Party stood up to announce its own birth. Character assassination, fear and outright lies were presented to the American People on a daily basis. Even without facts, a fair percentage of the disenfranchised actually believes them today. I understand why; with millions out of work and more millions working for less, bad news is easy to believe. To make matters worse, there has been no point by point repudiation of these charges from the presidential corner.

The Democrats are now facing great potential losses in the November elections.

Think about this, the Republicans have not put forth any plans, no platform, nothing of substance; they simply held up the legislative process and worked to create fear and uncertainty among the voters. The Grand Old Party could have done their jobs and worked to create some improvement in our economy instead. That, after all, is why they were represent the people's needs.

Still, the Democrats are behind in the polls. Democratic politicians must have been sleeping to let things deteriorate to this point. Not only do the Democrats need to sit down with the GOP, if and when they come to the table, they need to do SOMETHING DRAMATIC NOW; how about some new JOBS or a new strategy to create them. How about rewriting some of those inequitable Trade Agreements, you know...the ones that allow a dozen countries to profit tremendously from our stupidity. Positive action is needed to defend the Democratic position; it almost looks like they want to lose in November.

How does a middle of the road voter, like myself, determine the proper course in light of this pile of contradictions? I want to see some positive results from someone! Along with a huge number of voters, I'll just have to wait till November to make up my mind and set sail with whoever has the best plans.

Following is the article from The Atlantic...make up your own mind.

My Country, Tis of Me

There’s nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots.
By Michael Kinsley

THE RIGHT-WING populist Tea Party movement has politicians of both parties spooked. Democrats fear it will bring so many Republicans to the boil, and then to the voting booth, that they will lose control of Congress. Republicans fear the movement will frighten away moderates and leave their party an unelectable, ideologically extreme rump. The press, both alarmed and delighted by this political force that sprang from nowhere, is eager to prove its lack of elitism and left-wing bias by treating the Tea Party activists with respect. Journalists also sincerely appreciate having something new to write or talk about. It is in their interest to keep this story going.

A Harris poll released the last day of March reported that a third of all adults support the Tea Party, and slightly less than a quarter oppose it. Do they know what they are supporting, or opposing? The movement is not yet united on a single platform or agenda, like Newt Gingrich’s 1994 Contract With America, which started as a triumph and ended as an embarrassment. The lack of specifics allows anyone who is just existentially fed up (and who isn’t, on some days?) to feel right at home. No one will demand to know what he or she is fed up with. On Web sites and in speeches, Tea Party Patriots reveal a fondness for procedural gimmicks (like a ban on congressional earmarks), constitutional amendments (term limits, balanced budget), and similar magic tricks or shortcuts to salvation. Apart from a general funk, though, the one common theme espoused by TPPs is the monstrous danger of Big Government.

The Tea Party movement has been compared (by David Brooks of The New York Times, among others) to the student protest movement of the 1960s. Even though one came from the left and the other from the right, both are/were, or at least styled themselves as, a mass challenge to an oppressive establishment. That’s a similarity, to be sure. But the differences seem more illuminating.

First, the 1960s (shorthand for all of the political and social developments we associate with that period) were by, for, and about young people. The Tea Party movement is by, for, and about middle-aged and old people (undoubtedly including more than a few who were part of the earlier movement too). If young people discover a cause and become a bit overwrought or monomaniacal, that’s easily forgiven as part of the charm of youth. When adults of middle age and older throw tantrums and hold their breath until they turn blue, it’s less charming.

Second, although the 1960s ultimately spread their tentacles throughout the culture and around the world, politically there was just one big issue: ending the war in Vietnam. No such issue unites the Tea Party Patriots. You might guess from some of their materials on the Web that the repeal of health-care reform is the TPPs’ Vietnam, their towering cause. But even for devoted TPPs, stripping health insurance away from people who’ve just gotten it is unlikely to summon the same passions that the activists of the 1960s brought to stopping a misguided war. Not only do TPPs not have one big issue like Vietnam—they disagree about many of their smaller issues. What unites them is a more abstract resentment, an intensity of feeling rather than any concrete complaint or goal.

The antiwar movement also worked, sort of. As did the civil-rights movement that preceded it. Antiwar protests ultimately turned the establishment itself against the war, though extracting us from it still took years. By contrast, the Tea Party Patriots, I predict, are just the flavor of the month: the kind of story that the media are incapable of not exaggerating. The antiwar movement and the 1960s changed America in numerous ways forever. The Tea Party Patriots will be an answer on Jeopardy or a crossword-puzzle clue.

A final difference: although the 1960s featured plenty of self-indulgence, this wasn’t their essence. Their essence was selfless and idealistic: stopping the war; ending racism; eradicating poverty. These goals and some of the methods for achieving them may have been childishly romantic or even entirely wrongheaded, but they were about making the world a better place. The Tea Party movement’s goals, when stated specifically, are mostly self-interested. And they lack poetry: cut my taxes; don’t let the government mess with my Medicare; and so on. I say “self-interested” and not “selfish” because pursuing your own self-interest is not illegitimate in a capitalist democracy. (Nor is poetry an essential requirement.) But the Tea Party’s atmospherics, all about personal grievance and taking umbrage and feeling put-upon, are a far cry from flower power. There is a nasty, sour, vindictive tone to the Tea Party that certainly existed in the antiwar movement and its offspring, but never dominated the atmosphere created by these groups.

Some people think that what unites the Tea Party Patriots is simple racism. I doubt that. But the Tea Party movement is not the solution to what ails America. It is an illustration of what ails America. Not because it is right-wing or because it is sometimes susceptible to crazed conspiracy theories, and not because of racism, but because of the movement’s self-indulgent premise that none of our challenges and difficulties are our own fault.

“Personal responsibility” has been a great conservative theme in recent decades, in response to the growth of the welfare state. It is a common theme among TPPs—even in response to health-care reform, as if losing your job and then getting cancer is something you shouldn’t have allowed to happen to yourself. But these days, conservatives far outdo liberals in excusing citizens from personal responsibility. To the TPPs, all of our problems are the fault of the government, and the government is a great “other,” a hideous monster over which we have no control. It spends our money and runs up vast deficits for mysterious reasons all its own. At bottom, this is a suspicion not of government but of democracy. After all, who elected this monster?

This kind of talk is doubly self-indulgent. First, it’s just not true. Second, it’s obviously untrue. The government’s main function these days is writing checks to old people. These checks allow people to retire and pursue avocations such as going to Tea Party rallies. This basic fact about the government is no great secret. In fact, it’s a huge cliché, robably available more than once in an average day’s newspaper. But the Tea Party Patriots feel free to ignore it and continue serving up rhetoric about “the audaciousness and arrogance of our government,” and calling for the elimination of the Federal Reserve Board or drastic restraints on the power of the Internal Revenue Service.

“I like what they’re saying. It’s common sense,” a random man-in-the-crowd told a Los Angeles Times reporter at a big Tea Party rally. Then he added, “They’ve got to focus on issues like keeping jobs here and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.” These, of course, are projects that can be conducted only by Big Government. If the Tea Party Patriots ever developed a coherent platform or agenda, they would lose half their supporters.

Principled libertarianism is an interesting and even tempting idea. If we wanted to, we could radically reduce the scope of government—defend the country, give poor people enough money to live decently, and leave it at that. But this isn’t the TPP vision. The TPP vision is that you can keep your Medicare benefits and balance the budget by ending congressional earmarks, and perhaps the National Endowment for the Arts.

What is most irksome about the Tea Party Patriots is their expropriation of the word patriot, with the implication that if you disagree with them, you’re not a patriot, or at least you’re less patriotic than they are. Without getting all ask-notty about it, I think a movement labeling itself patriotic should have some obligation to demonstrate patriotism in a way other than demanding a tax cut. In their rhetoric, the Tea Party Patriots do not sound as if they love their country very much: they have nothing but gripes. Yes, of course, these are gripes against the government, not against the country itself. But that distinction becomes hard to maintain when you have nothing good to say about the government and nothing but whines to offer the country.

Times are tough, and some sympathy is due. Still, times have always been tough for many folks for one reason or another, and people didn’t always resort so quickly to all-purpose bellyaching, did they? But in recent years inchoate rage against the government has almost become part of our civic religion: the short list of values we all do share. To say, “Yeah, the government’s okay by me,” or even to express gratitude for a country that sends you a Social Security check and pays your medical bills, actually does seem almost un-American. Our new national motto is from the movie Network: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” And what is “this”? Ask not.

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