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The Sound of Ideas

The Tea Party Next Door

Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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Roughly a year has passed since the Tea Party movement began. From an on-air rant by a CNBC editor, the movement grew to a tax day protest, then a push-back on health care, outrage at government debt, diatribes against immigration and quite a lot more. In Ohio there are groups from Chesterland to Cincinnati and everywhere in between. Wednesday morning at 9, join host Dan Moulthrop for a conversation with Tea Party people about their beliefs, how they came to them and what, specifically, they want. We'll also talk with political analysts about what this movement means for America.

Tags

Government/Politics

Guests

John O’Hara, Author of A New American Tea Party & Vice President of External Relations, Illinois Policy Institute
John Green, Director, Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics, The University of Akron
Mark Naymik, Political Reporter, The Plain Dealer
Glenn Newman, Founder, Marietta 9-12 Project
Marianne Gasiecki, Founder, The Mansfield Tea Party & Co-coordinator of the Ohio Tea Party Patriots Group

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James 9:31 AM 3/3/10

I am a supporter of the tea party movement and grass roots campaigns to instill the basic constitutional values back into this country. Please do not generalize statements that people show up to rally’s armed as one isolated incident. Report the facts as you know them and you know full well this was one instance. The beauty of the tea party movement is that there is no “one” voice but rather true American people standing up for less government spending and their constitutional rights. Whether this administration or the last, government spending is out of control. And, this current administration is spending at a much higher pace than the former.

John G 9:39 AM 3/3/10

What would the guests say is more important, freedom or equality? Do they understand the tension between the two?

Callie 9:40 AM 3/3/10

The speaker from the Mansfield Tea Party just said that government involvement is what caused the financial crisis. Can you please ask her how she can justify that with the fact that members of the Tea Party are running for office? I have never been able to understand that—if you oppose government involvement, how do you run for office?!

Dr. kibwe weaver 9:40 AM 3/3/10

The TEA partiers keep talking about the constitution and how it is not a living document. Do they think that we should return to the way we were when it was originally written? Slavery and sexism were the norm amongst many other things that we no longer agree with. As we leaqrn new things and grow, should not the constitution grow with it? Are we doomed to the past?

Tara 9:41 AM 3/3/10

Mr Newman said that the 912 project believes the constitution is not a living document, but an agreement.  Does this mean he is against changes being made to the constitution?  What about slavery, or women’s suffrage, or any number of other changes that have been made over the years? 

Wendy 9:45 AM 3/3/10

To that woman, not only were you correct in holding her accountable for misinformation, but it was under Raegan that we as Americans got the idea that we should be able to have what ever we want and furthermore, that we as Americans deserve what ever we want.

Peter Calvin 9:48 AM 3/3/10

nice job with the Medicare question

Rich DeColibus 9:50 AM 3/3/10

Dan,
Great program.  You were excellent in not allowing the Tea Party people to avoid concrete responses.  I don’t dislike the Tea people, but they need to stop sprouting platitudes, and put forward specific responses and solutions to issues.

Beverly Masek 9:59 AM 3/3/10

Saying the constitution is NOT a living document is just an opinion and not a fact. Does anyone think the “Founding Fathers” would not react differently today?
Your two guest Glenn Newman and Marianne Gasiecki, in my opinion, our reacting emotionally, and not factually. Marianne just could not answer the question about the economic housing issue - she just kept saying that people should not buy a house that is over their means. She did not understand what Dan was really talking about. When Dan asked Glen what the issues where in Marietta he said they wanted to education people about how to get involved. Also, Glenn talked about Tort Reform and could not address Dan’s statement about Tort Reform not being a major issue in solving the Health Care Issue. It’s fine to say big government is bad but what would they do. Their is a place for government!! It’s fine to say our taxes are too high but what would they cut? Basically what I am saying is that the Tea Party movement is a movement of “emotions” and I believe many participants are not fully educated on issues and the complexity of issues.

Sandy 10:02 AM 3/3/10

Dr. Weaver: When our constitution was written, our very young country had many hurdles to overcome. Our constitution layed the groundwork for us ultimately overcoming slavery and sexism.

Cathryn Kapp 10:04 AM 3/3/10

Nice work, Dan.

Kim 10:04 AM 3/3/10

Great program Dan. Thanks for pressing for specifics and clarity. The Tea Party supporters are entitled to their beliefs—and entitled to believe the misinformation running throughout their movement—but it is important to press them when they try to bring that misinformation to the mainstream as fact. I also find it interesting that in this forum, many of the speakers disavowed the “fringe” and noted that the “fringe” makes good TV. However, if they truly disavow those people, then why not do so publicly, on TV, so that the general public can more appropriately see the distinctions between the various factions within their “movement.”

Bill Schulz 10:17 AM 3/3/10

I associate with the tea party movement because it is they who advance the common sense solutions for this nation, that has become obsessed with material comforts, at not only the expense of future generations who cannot represent their sentiments regarding being left with the enormous debts of their forebears, but also this nation’s greed is being subsidized by the same third world nations that labor to manufacture much of the material things which we greedily consume.

Yes we our borrowing from future generations and third world nations to pay for our greed.

According to the Congressional Budget Office figures for our Federal Debt and Gross Domestic Product, our nation’s debt has risen from 31% of GDP in 1981 to 63% by 1987, to 71% by 2008, 84% in 2009 and astoundingly it will be 98% of our GDP in 2010.

We support a government that is optimally sized for greatest effectiveness. Bigger government advocates have had their way for many decades for no matter the political party in power, government has grown, become more intrusive, and spends beyond the means of We The People.

Yes there has been no change in the direction toward bigger government except for stepping on the accelerator toward a bigger government that will collapse under its own weight.

We of the Tea Party Movement are not politically active with an agenda for government to give us more in exchange for that old fashioned thing called freedom.

No, we are protesting for government to operate within its means and the construct of our Constitution.

Jerry 10:17 AM 3/3/10

These groups seem to have platforms based upon truisms and poorly researched principals.  However, there is a very significant risk that they will be co-opted by a much more sophisticated and cynical political machine that recognizes that the “Tea Party” votes can be had for a few easy handouts.  This is not a lot different than the successful party building dynamics crafted by Karl Rove and Lee Atwater - seducing the southern conservative Christian populace wholesale and making them the “Christian Right.”

Jeffrey Bookman 10:22 AM 3/3/10

Dan asked a very good question to one of the guests that went unanswered and that is: what is wrong with big government? The answer is also very important. Number one : government always wastes money because it is not guided by the bottom line. When a businessman sees that he cannot pay all his obligations at the end of the month he knows that more money is going out then coming in and that means he is doing something wrong that he must change or he will soon be out of business. Government does’t look at things that way so it, INEVITABLY , continues blindly doing the same wrong thing.Imagine if a company ignored its dollar signals month after month you can easily see how deep in the hole he would get. Also he would never figure what changes would produce better results. That is why so many Government programs go on for years without producing its desired results. That also leads to the second reason why big government is bad. Because the money belongs to everyone it belongs to no one and therefore no one is watching that it not be wasted(let alone stolen). The combination of huge sums of money(who casually discusses Billons and Trillions besides government) with a non transparent mazelike beaurocracy is an invitation to stealing and cavalier use of the publics hard earned money. In government that feeling of preciousness and scarcity about money is absent thus it gets wasted. Lastly , government has the power to coerse and force which business does not. If a business disapoints me I can walk away and be free of their mistreatment. Not so with government.

Don 10:23 AM 3/3/10

I would probably give the Tea Party movement some credence if they were not led by individuals like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Individuals who irrationally “feed the angry mob” in order to make money. A mob that should look at the benefits, provided by government, that they enjoyed while growing up. Bottom line is they are analogous to people who starting voting down school budgets once their kids have graduated. The vast majority of the excessive spending they reference can be tied back to deregulation and two wars Bush should have raised taxes to pay for. In fact he irresponsibly lowered taxes. Of course we should move towards a balance budget, but more importantly change priorities relative to where the money is spent. Invest in America and Americans. Move from free trade to fair trade. Fine the COMPANIES and individuals who hire or use illegal aliens. Say $250,000 per occurrence. Now that might balance the budget.

Sheila N Markowitz 10:29 AM 3/3/10

Dan--
That was a remarkable program, and you did a terrific job on pushing back in a civilized way against misinformation and trying to get answers to how people (who seem uninterested in problem solving) would want real problems solved.
It troubles me though that all the exposure the TEA party and other like groups are getting now leaves the impression that there is no grass roots activity on the government needs to be part of the solution side.  What about a program with representatives of Patriots for Change in Chagrin Falls which is a purely local group which is totally grassroots and/or Organizing for America which has a local presence and a strong grassroots elements but is national?

Jeffrey Bookman 10:34 AM 3/3/10

Regarding Tara’s comment , the Constitution allows for change, and there is an established orderly proceedure called the amendment proccess to do it . Slavery and womens sufferage were both changed that very way. It was not done by judicial fiat or even a simple majority vote. Major changes should have a broad concensous.

Maxx 10:46 AM 3/3/10

The problem is that people like you are giving up your freedoms to the elitists. Just because the two guests could not answer the questions well doesn’t mean there are not others who can. The affordable housing act was started under Clinton! They used GSE’s to allow private banks to sell the bad loans to Fannie and Freddie. The loans were then repackaged pushed through the investment banks. Easy credit through legislative actions of congress caused over demand which drove up housing prices thus creating an asset bubble.

Judi Chamberlain 11:05 AM 3/3/10

The hypocrisy and ignorance of the guests today is just stunning. They just parrot platitudes and sum everything up in “Government: BAD!” Ms. Gasiecki doesn’t seem to understand that the sub-prime mortgage mess was the result of the SEC, the Fed and other regulatory agencies paying NO attention to what the financial sector was doing. And I’m sure the Tea Party people will happily use Medicare, collect Social Security benefits, use our public roads, parks; they’ll expect police protection and fire fighters to save their homes, etc., which are all courtesy of “big, bad government.” Good for Dan in pushing back, even though his point was obviously lost on the guests.

julie 11:06 AM 3/3/10

Thank you for presenting this, and especially for pointed questioning.  I think this is a Know Nothing movement, and the fact that they are true believers serves as a wakeup call.  We ignore there gathering steam at our peril.  A non-emotional refutation of their positions will take time and patience.

Bill ONeil 11:32 AM 3/3/10

Comments from TEA party adherents are hereby sought re:
Dick Armey/FreedomWorks’ financial involvement in this so-called “grassroots” movement. Little do they realize that their passions are being hi-jacked by the financial elite for its own purposes which are hardly “for the people.”

How do they respond to Rep. Bachmann’s (MN) call to be “armed & dangerous?” Oh...was it really just a metaphor?

Where were their shouts when Reagan began the
dismantling of the regulatory functions of the government?

They seem to be angry libertarians with little or no social conscience. Wealth is their only value.
At least the social contracts in many European countries help alleviate the imbalances which are caused by “free market” practices. Sen. Sherrod Brown is correct to call for “FAIR market” practices.

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