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What is the Tea Party? Please explain!

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Good evening,

since I'm not American, but from Europe, I would like to ask you to explain to me what the Tea Party actually is. I believe I do not really understand it, and considering the trend in journalism to look for sensations and shrill voices and events, it's a bit hard to know if it does that movement justice.

I've seen reports about obvious radicals at Tea Party events, like people who made shrill polemic comments, like comparing Obama to Hitler, or suggesting he is a Muslim out to destroy the country. Some broad-brushed things Obama did as "socialism", without really defining what they think that is, and why that's always a bad thing. I've also seen reports when people used many labels, from "constitutionalism" over "libertarianism" to "conservatism", but these terms were not defined, so I was not sure I really understand what they mean. I saw when Sarah Palin made rather heated remarks, like "don't retreat, instead reload!", comparing their fight to military action.

I admit that for me, as a European, what I've seen of the Tea Party so far didn't strike me as very likeable, some things I found even ugly. But probably that's mostly just because this movement is alien to me, and I have only seen few sensationalist reports. Also, campaigns are traditionally shriller and more polemic in the US than in Germany, so maybe I have a mild culture shock too. We guys are sometimes too cramped when it comes to politics. So I am honestly interested in your ideas, sentiments and reports.

I assume in case of any relatively spontanous political movement or ralley from any side of the political spectrum, you find these rather shrill elements. But most of the time, they are not representative, and don't really tell you much about the real intentions and complains of that movement. For example, you found quite a few shrill voices and polemics in the anti-Bush and anti-war ralleys, like the Bush-Hitler comparison or the Bush-chimp theme, but that doesn't say much about the general character and concerns of this movement.

So what is the Tea Party? Has it somethin in common with right-wing extremists in Europe? Or is it a good thing, something to bring back enthusiasm to politics, changing it for the better? Do I need to be afraid of the Tea Party, or welcome it?

Probably that is not different in case of the Tea Party. Since I assume there are people here who sympathize with the Tea Party, some maybe even actively involved, I would like to ask you: Can you explain to me, a foreigner, what you believe the Tea Party really, essentially stands for, what you like about it, what you maybe dislike about it? Of course those who disagree with the Tea Party are invited to post their impressions as well. Neutral impressions are just as welcome as polemics.

Looking forward to your replies!
 
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Goshin

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The primary issues of the Tea Party are lower taxes and less government.


The media likes to cover any individual extremist they can find, since more drama sells more news. Those people are not typical of the Tea Party from what I have seen.
 

German guy

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The media likes to cover any individual extremist they can find, since more drama sells more news. Those people are not typical of the Tea Party from what I have seen.
Yes, I noticed that. Most reports I read about it are either not going much into the details, either because they are very partisan reports from the US, or European comments which make me think the according journalists do not really understand that movement, and are just turned off by the alienness of it.

The primary issues of the Tea Party are lower taxes and less government.
Ah, lower taxes! That's a real classic. But what do they mean by "less government"? Are they just against government in general, in all cases, or do they emphasize particular fields of government action? From my experience, almost everybody in America agrees on "less government", but when asked about the details, the differences begin: Some say, less social welfare, but do not touch the military! Others say less government in the bedrooms of consenting adults, but don't touch subsidies for regenerative energy!

Does the Tea Party has clear-cut ideas about "less government", or are they still rather heterogenous?
 

Goshin

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Yes, I noticed that. Most reports I read about it are either not going much into the details, either because they are very partisan reports from the US, or European comments which make me think the according journalists do not really understand that movement, and are just turned off by the alienness of it.



Ah, lower taxes! That's a real classic. But what do they mean by "less government"? Are they just against government in general, in all cases, or do they emphasize particular fields of government action? From my experience, almost everybody in America agrees on "less government", but when asked about the details, the differences begin: Some say, less social welfare, but do not touch the military! Others say less government in the bedrooms of consenting adults, but don't touch subsidies for regenerative energy!

Does the Tea Party has clear-cut ideas about "less government", or are they still rather heterogenous?

The Tea Party is not a monolithic entity, so you will get various notions. Probably most would not be intrested in cutting the military, at least not much. Cutting social spending would probably be favored by most branches of the party. Reducing the size, scope and intrusiveness in general of the government, though varying in the details of how to do this.
 

DarkWizard12

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Good evening,

since I'm not American, but from Europe, I would like to ask you to explain to me what the Tea Party actually is. I believe I do not really understand it, and considering the trend in journalism to look for sensations and shrill voices and events, it's a bit hard to know if it does that movement justice.

I've seen reports about obvious radicals at Tea Party events, like people who made shrill polemic comments, like comparing Obama to Hitler, or suggesting he is a Muslim out to destroy the country. Some broad-brushed things Obama did as "socialism", without really defining what they think that is, and why that's always a bad thing. I've also seen reports when people used many labels, from "constitutionalism" over "libertarianism" to "conservatism", but these terms were not defined, so I was not sure I really understand what they mean. I saw when Sarah Palin made rather heated remarks, like "don't retreat, instead reload!", comparing their fight to military action.

I admit that for me, as a European, what I've seen of the Tea Party so far didn't strike me as very likeable, some things I found even ugly. But probably that's mostly just because this movement is alien to me, and I have only seen few sensationalist reports. Also, campaigns are traditionally shriller and more polemic in the US than in Germany, so maybe I have a mild culture shock too. We guys are sometimes too cramped when it comes to politics. So I am honestly interested in your ideas, sentiments and reports.

I assume in case of any relatively spontanous political movement or ralley from any side of the political spectrum, you find these rather shrill elements. But most of the time, they are not representative, and don't really tell you much about the real intentions and complains of that movement. For example, you found quite a few shrill voices and polemics in the anti-Bush and anti-war ralleys, like the Bush-Hitler comparison or the Bush-chimp theme, but that doesn't say much about the general character and concerns of this movement.

Probably that is not different in case of the Tea Party. Since I assume there are people here who sympathize with the Tea Party, some maybe even actively involved, I would like to ask you: Can you explain to me, a foreigner, what you believe the Tea Party really, essentially stands for, what you like about it, what you maybe dislike about it? Of course those who disagree with the Tea Party are invited to post their impressions as well. Neutral impressions are just as welcome as polemics.

Looking forward to your replies!
DISCLAIMER: I sympathize and, prior to finding better work, worked for the tea party.
The very short, and maybe oversimplified version of it, is that it is only a group of people that all agree on a set of 3 things: Lower taxes, less government spending, and constitutional laws. You agree, then you should consider the tea party, if not, don't even consider the tea party. That's it. you have your crazies, you have your smarties, and you got the normal people. The only common relation is those 3 beliefs.

short and simple.
 

FluffyNinja

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While I, personally, am not an activist in theTea Party movement, I find some aspects of their platform quite intriguing. Just how much of it could actually be implemented under our current state of political affairs is the question. Anyway you can check out this website (their own) to get a more clear picture of the real issues the Tea Partyers are fighting for:

The Contract from America
 
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mpg

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This poll has some info.

Tea Partiers Are Fairly Mainstream in Their Demographics

As you can see, they're mostly conservatives, but there are also some moderates and a few liberals. Most of them AREN'T Republicans. There are PLENTY of Independents and some Democrats as well.

Their main focus is economic issues, particularly the enormous spending increases of the last couple years. The US hasn't seen anything on this scale since WW II. Even people on the left are complaining. Most people in the US disapprove of Obama's handling of the economy. As you can see in the poll, 28% of the US supports the movement, so it isn't a tiny group on the fringe and it isn't very conservative. Their opponents depict them as extremists, but the movement is against extreme economic policies. They're definitely right of center, but they're more centrist than extreme. Considering how unpopular Obama's economic policies are, I suspect that their support would be much higher than 28% if their opponents weren't flooding the media with negative images of them and depicting them as extreme.

Most of the people in the movement are also social conservatives and some want to broaden the movement, but they're focusing on economic issues in order to attract liberals, moderates, libertarians, Independents and Democrats. Many of those people would be turned away if they started focusing on social issues.
 

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Simply put, they are strict Constitutionalists. They attract a loon here and there like all movements, but they are tired of the massive expansion of government and the inordinate taxes that have resulted from it. The government has grown so far beyond what the Constitition allows, it's disgusting.

In that form alone, I agree with them. But they get a little quirky sometimes, too, which makes me keep a distance.
 

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The primary issues of the Tea Party are lower taxes and less government.


The media likes to cover any individual extremist they can find, since more drama sells more news. Those people are not typical of the Tea Party from what I have seen.


TEA

Taxed enough already.


We want smaller government
Lower Taxes
and more accountable representatives.

It is not a "party" like the dems or the repubs, but a grassroots movement.
 

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The tea party movement wants to have its cake and eat it too.
 
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Some people on this forum would say that they're Ghosts or Mummies or Werewolves or Frankensteins or Creatures from the Black Lagoon because according to them all the tea party does is scare people and monger fear.
 
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Guy Incognito

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The Tea Party Agenda, according to teapartista Michelle Bachmann:

1. Keep Bush taxcuts for the rich, or else, if the rich don't get to keep them make sure the middle class don't get them either.
2. Complete repeal of all the benefits of "Obamacare."
3. Immigration reform
4. No energy regulation.

The Tea Party is only concerned with "immigration" but not punishment to the employers who illicitly hire undocumented workers. Their definition of immigration reform is keep the immigration status quo, and make sure there is no pathwway to citizenship.

For energy regulation, they'd rather have Rev's antique lightbulbs on sale at wal mart than get America off foreign oil.

Sounds like a really patriotic agenda :roll:

I'm just glad the Republicans won the house this time around, effectively handing Obama and the Democrats the government in 2012. Enjoy your Pyrrhic victory and two years of gridlock.
 

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drastic reduction in spending is probably the only area of universal agreement you will find in tea party supporters.

I don't think anybody should be scared, but msnbc sure is. I watched a 10 minute video talking about how Rand Paul will filibuster the debt ceiling being raised, meaning govenrment services would shut down without the ability to borrow and spend.

I don't see that happening, but I could see a small game of chicken played with all the phonies that claim to support pay as you go.
 

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TEA

Taxed enough already.


We want smaller government
Lower Taxes
and more accountable representatives.

It is not a "party" like the dems or the repubs, but a grassroots movement.
I've got two questions for TP supporters:
  1. Why doesn't smaller government require a cut in military as well as domestic spending? The US has the highest per capita defence spending in the World after all.
  2. In what way would you like to make representatives more accountable and, specifically, to whom?
 

Goshin

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What is the Tea Party? As of today... a remarkably successful political movement that is going to have enormous influence in government for years to come. :mrgreen:
 

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I've got two questions for TP supporters:
  1. Why doesn't smaller government require a cut in military as well as domestic spending? The US has the highest per capita defence spending in the World after all.
  2. In what way would you like to make representatives more accountable and, specifically, to whom?
Because defense is the #1 job of the federal govt. Domestic spending is the responsibility of the states.
 
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From what my indifferent, inattentive and bloodshot eyes have glimpsed, the tea party looks to be an attempt by actual fiscal conservatives to break away from the liberal Republican party. And they’re being forestalled from accomplishing anything by being saddled with a helping of rabid jesus freaks and the idiotic notion that they personally will be paying more out of pocket if the richest 5% are expected to pay to at least 20% of their total income in taxes.
 

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I've got two questions for TP supporters:
  1. Why doesn't smaller government require a cut in military as well as domestic spending? The US has the highest per capita defence spending in the World after all.
  2. In what way would you like to make representatives more accountable and, specifically, to whom?


1. I'm for cuts across the board.

2. By our voting power as seen in this historic election.
 

ARealConservative

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I've got two questions for TP supporters:
  1. Why doesn't smaller government require a cut in military as well as domestic spending? The US has the highest per capita defence spending in the World after all.
  2. In what way would you like to make representatives more accountable and, specifically, to whom?
the original tea partiers that were actually upset with the Bush White house do call for a cut in military spending.

Unfortunately, the movement has been co-opted and a bunch of phonies that had no problem with the Bush White House but joined this movement for political survival when they realized people were fed up with their views.

They don't belong because they don't really have a conservative view of what our government should be doing.
 
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haymarket

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Simply put, they are strict Constitutionalists.
If that is true, when will they learn the difference between what the Declaration of Independence did back in 1776 and the purpose of the US Constitution today? I would be overjoyed if they understood that simple reality.
 

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If that is true, when will they learn the difference between what the Declaration of Independence did back in 1776 and the purpose of the US Constitution today? I would be overjoyed if they understood that simple reality.


Any evidence of this or are you just making things up now?
 

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Evidence?!?!?!? If I had a dollar for every time I have heard some tea party type talk about rights that are not even contained anywhere in the Constitution, I could put a nice down payment down on a new car. They seem to believe that the 1776 birth announcement of the USA is interchangeable with the US Constitution or it is even one and the same.
 

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Evidence?!?!?!? If I had a dollar for every time I have heard some tea party type talk about rights that are not even contained anywhere in the Constitution, I could put a nice down payment down on a new car. They seem to believe that the 1776 birth announcement of the USA is interchangeable with the US Constitution or it is even one and the same.


So in otherwords, you just made this up to smear us, the tea party. Face it you all lost yesterday, mouth foaming venom won't look good. Try intellectual discussion and links to back up your claims so you don't look so sour grapes. :thumbs:
 

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Are you for real? Are you honestly taking the position that you have never ever actually anyone - in person, on TV, on the radio, in print of any kind talk about their "Constitutional rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"? In all your years you have never ever heard that or a reasonable variation of it?????

And I have no idea what this has to do with anything

Face it you all lost yesterday, mouth foaming venom won't look good.
I have been saying much the same thing about this issue when the tea party were simply right wingers, or libertarians, or john birchers or any other right wing outfit who takes the same position confusing the Declaration with the Constitution. The election, has not a thing to do with it and you are intentionally attempting to change the subject.

just google this phrase

Constitutional right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness

you get over 160,000 hits.

here is but one... you can look up the other 159,999 on your own

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5808860/constitutional_rights_life_liberty.html
 
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ReverendHellh0und

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Are you for real? Are you honestly taking the position that you have never ever actually anyone - in person, on TV, on the radio, in print of any kind talk about their "Constitutional rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"? In all your years you have never ever heard that or a reasonable variation of it?????
So no links, this is what you are conceeding, you made this up?


And I have no idea what this has to do with anything



I have been saying much the same thing about this issue when the tea party were simply right wingers, or libertarians, or john birchers or any other right wing outfit who takes the same position confusing the Declaration with the Constitution. The election, has not a thing to do with it and you are intentionally attempting to change the subject.

just google this phrase

Constitutional right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness

you get over 160,000 hits.

here is but one... you can look up the other 159,999 on your own

"Constitutional" Rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? - Associated Content - associatedcontent.com



seriously? You found an article propping up the very same strawman you put forth?


You have failed, miserably.
 
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