And….I’m Out

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Dear Tea Partiers,

Ask Joe Arpaio to be your keynote speaker, and you’ve lost me.

He’s a power-mad thug with a badge, the walking, mouth-breathing antithesis of the phrase “limited government.”

Yes, this is but one state chapter in your movement. So distance yourself from them.

It’s one thing to have a few idiots and nutjobs show up at your rallies.

It’s quite another to invite one to speak.

Yours,

Radley Balko

PS: Hating immigrants? Not a winning issue. Or, for that matter, a limited government issue.

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91 Responses to “And….I’m Out”

  1. #1 |  Robin | 

    That’s a shame.

  2. #2 |  InMd | 

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Tea Party folks are not about limited government. Just because some of them say a few of the right things about federal power does not make them actual libertarians. They drone on about relatively trivial programs all while offering no suggestions on the rump of federal spending, Social Security and Medicare (unsurprising considering their demographics). If we’re to take their cheering of Sarah Palin seriously regarding Iran and the F-22, they also seem to support all manner of imperial overreach and limitless defense spending. Until they start talking about serious changes to entitlements and major government spending (like defense) they cannot and should not be taken seriously. Libertarians my ass, they’re disgruntled Republicans. Libertarians or classical liberals who take them seriously are being played for fools by a movement devoid of intellectual rigor.

  3. #3 |  Stephen | 

    Aren’t these just the same idiots who keep voting him into office just calling themselves part of the tea party? I’m sure the KKK could do the same.

  4. #4 |  bbartlog | 

    Local tea partiers lost my interest when they invited Rick Santorum and some standin for radio host Michael Savage to speak. You want to promote yourselves as a grassroots movement then maybe you could do something other than just function as a platform for Republican retreads. You know, have the speakers be people who actually just got involved in politics, or something.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Too bad. There were some good people involved with the Tea Party in the beginning. I guess it is a good example of how something can evolve into a nasty piece of shit.

  6. #6 |  reaganlaw | 

    Money quote:

    “Why would I want to be the governor?” Arpaio said. “I can lock up the governor if I want to.”

    Arpaio’s mentality in a nutshell.

  7. #7 |  Woog | 

    Thus the “problem” with decentralization: herding cats. As I understood it, the original Tea Party meme was centered around the outrageous spending and debt by the fedgov, harkening back to the Boston Tea Party. The completely irresponsible spending spree (which has been going on for scores of years) is an issue a lot of people can agree on, thus the participation and popularity.

    I’m not sure how much farther the Tea Party idea, by itself, can go, due to such instances as Radley mentions – I hope myself and others are able to use it as a vehicle to interest people in a related but more focussed movement to Restore the Constitution.

  8. #8 |  Over the River | 

    “It’s one thing to have a few idiots and nutjobs show up at your rallies.
    It’s quite another to invite one to speak.”

    Two sentences that go together like bread and butter.

  9. #9 |  Andrew Ian Dodge | 

    Tea parties vary from state to state. To paint all groups of tea parties because of one dumb guest invite by one group is a bit foolish. Despite what the MSM, the tea party movement is varied. I expected better of you not to believe the bullshit being peddled by the media about the tea parties.

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Tea Party folks are not about limited government”

    Sorry this is just wrong, and I speak as someone involved since the beginning. One of the major tea party “umbrella” groups, in fact the largest, Tea Party Patriots, has limited government as part of its core values. Here they are in care to read them.

    There are groups calling themselves tea parties that are all about one candidate, one obsessive subject or even complete frauds that are “GOP fronts” (ie Tea Party Express & Tea Party Nation neither of which are grassroots in any form).

  10. #10 |  Frank | 

    It took over thirty years for the Libertarian Party to do what the Tea Party has managed in six months.

  11. #11 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Andrew, I like what the TPP has to say. The proof that they’re honest, though, would be to see them come out against the drug war, minimally. The fact is that we’re blowing huge amounts of money on the drug war, the Middle East wars, etc. and these are things that conservatives tend to support.

    Someone else mentioned Social Security. I’ve seen plenty of Tea Partiers (who aren’t all old white people – please quit being suckered by the MSM) talk about Social Security and Medicare. No politician wants to touch it. It’s going to be forced on us at some point, though, as the situation will become untenable.

  12. #12 |  Robin | 

    My understanding is that it’s a pretty mixed up decentralized group. About 40 something percent could be characterized as somewhat Ron Paul type libertarians, and another 40 something percent are your religious traditional social conservative type. So long as the democrats are in power, it seems like a good thing. And it’s especially tempting to come to their defense, when you have foaming at the mouth liberals lining up to dismiss them altogether as a crowd of inbred racists.

  13. #13 |  asscore | 

    Well said.

  14. #14 |  Nick | 

    James Bovard describes a Tea Party event that was equally as disappointing (minus the authoritarian keynote).

  15. #15 |  InMd | 

    At #9

    Nice list of platitudes without any real policy proposals.

    Where is the proposal to raise the retirement age, means test Social Security, get rid of Medicare Part D (totally unfunded), or even altogether eliminate entitlements? Even a less ambitious plan to responsibly privatize some of these programs would be worth discussing. Your site offers none.

    Where are the proposals to remove ourselves from conflicts in the Middle East? Where is the insistence upon ending the war on drugs, repealing the Patriot Act, and providing due process to all individuals in government custody or facing prosecution, including those who have been arbitrarily labeled as “terrorists”? Where is the insistence on no longer transferring billions in tax payer dollars to private interests, be they agricultural subsidies or defense contractors?

    Oh, I know. All of those things would take time and thought to construct into a coherent platform, something every Tea Party group I’ve ever encountered utterly fails to do.

    At #11

    If your movement is incapable of tackling the most difficult fiscal issues then it isn’t worthy of support. Until that happens expect to be dismissed by people who seriously consider these problems and how to solve them in a way consistent with the Constitution and principles of limited government.

  16. #16 |  Les | 

    If you say you’re for smaller, limited government while at the same time you support the war on drugs, preemptive invasions, decreased due process for terrorist suspects, and current levels of defense spending, then the only people who will take you seriously are Republicans.

  17. #17 |  Justin | 

    If you think this is the first “idiot and nutjob” they’ve invited to speak you either haven’t been paying attention or have pretty low standards . There have been dozens, at least, and here’s just one example.

    http://teapartychicago.netboots.net/posts/michele-bachman-event

  18. #18 |  MacGregory | 

    “We do need to unseat our gangster government in Washington, D.C,” said state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa.”

    And what? Replace them with thugs like Arpaio? He’s the biggest gangster in AZ.

    Smooth move ex-lax.

  19. #19 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio gave the main speech, focusing largely on his signature issue of illegal immigration. But the former Drug Enforcement Administration agent also blasted the federal government as wasteful and said he wasn’t worried about federal investigators looking into his law enforcement tactics, which have led to accusations of racial profiling.”

    Ouch. Maybe MSNBC wasn’t totally wrong about this movement. First Palin, now Arpaio. And have they distanced themselves from Bush yet?

    Joe is oblivious to the fact that his former employer is the cause of much of the waste he refers to in the federal government. He’s just not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

    If the feds can take Arpaio down, I would consider that to be an appropriate use of federal law enforcement power. I feel the same way about Arizona’s new “get the Mexicans” legislation. Arizona is becoming more like Mississippi during the civil rights era, and it may take federal intervention (anyone else for sending in the U.S. Marshals in after Joe? How ’bout the governor?) in order to avert mass civil rights violations. Generally I am in favor of the “50 labs for democracy” idea, but Arizona is going to far. Mass boycotts, legal challenges, and possibly federal investigatons may be required to bring AZ back into the 21st century.

  20. #20 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    The tea party movement is just that; a movement, not a organization or cohesive group. There are Dem, Reps, Libs, Indies. The only point of the tea party movement is that there is too much government. But any one involved individual may a a different idea of what “too much” is than the guy standing next to him. Make common cause where you can, and sort the rest out later.

    Another prob is that Reps and other self-identified “conservatives” are trying very hard to co-op the movement (the Tea Party Express being a prominent example). I’d guess that this outfit is a bunch of pro-law enforcement “conservatives” using the name recognition of of the tea party for themselves.

    Great Ghu the Grandfather God! Arpaio is in no way a supporter of limited government and spending at any level. His only real gripe with the feds is that they won’t give him more power and funding. And if these foolish people keep reelecting him, it’s only a matter of time before they all get caught up in his ever expanding net of “enforcement”. Just remember, anything power you let him exert against someone else, he can use against you, too.

    Well, back to the book I’m writing.

  21. #21 |  JS | 

    Les “If you say you’re for smaller, limited government while at the same time you support the war on drugs, preemptive invasions, decreased due process for terrorist suspects, and current levels of defense spending, then the only people who will take you seriously are Republicans.”

    That pretty much sums it up.

    It looks like whet began as a well intentioned movement has been hijacked by the Republican party, who once again is trying to pretend that they’re something different from the Democrats. The best thing the whole tea party movement could do is repudiate and totally condemn BOTH parties and tap into the anti-incumbant sentiment.

  22. #22 |  Charles | 

    It took over thirty years for the Libertarian Party to do what the Tea Party has managed in six months.

    Invite fascists to address their meetings?

  23. #23 |  J sub D | 

    I’m a skeptic and a cynic so I was never in the Tea Party movement.

    The Palin worship was unnerving enough, this Arapahole thing is the clincher. It may have been started by folks with noble intentions and justified anger at spending, but it is rapidly morphing into a noisy movement of the right.

    It all confirms the wisdom of my heeding the jaded traits just mentioned and standing back, observing.

  24. #24 |  Justin | 

    They waited until a black President implemented tax cuts for the vast majority of American Citizens before becoming concerned about spending.

  25. #25 |  Chuchundra | 

    The Tea Partiers aren’t about any sort of coherent ideology. Too much Government spending? Worried about the deficit? Seriously? Where were they in 2003 when we passed a huge, unfunded new entitlement on top of fighting two useless wars without a dime of new taxes to pay for it. We put it on our grandchildren’s credit card and they were all OK with it.

    Tea Parties aren’t about limited government. Do the Tea Partiers oppose the PATRIOT act or the drug war? Are they worried about warrantless wiretapping or indefinite detention? No.

    Tea Parties are, in the main, about two things: anger and fear.

  26. #26 |  Slippy | 

    This is why cocktail sipping D.C. libertarians like Balko will never get anything done.

    Is it disappointing/infuriating that a local chapter invited a dumbf*ck like Sheriff Joe to speak? Of course. You won’t get an argument from me.

    But to announce “I’m done” based on a local chapter’s idiotic invite is just plain dumb, particularly given the opportunity that the overall movement may represent to advance libertarian causes. And, believe it or not, there are plenty of libertarian minded folk who are a part of the Tea Party. You and you Reason ilk look down your noses at the Tea Party movement, while simultaneously accomplishing Jack sh*t.

    But enjoy your Mojito, while the rest of us actually try to do something.

  27. #27 |  Marty | 

    the tea party has always been invoked by a wide variety of people to reinforce their beliefs of what it stands for. originally, it was about unrepresented taxation, not less or no taxation. abe lincoln argued that the boston tea party was a precedent for a woman in marion, il to destroy a saloon. in 1925, the klan argued in court that they were defending the country, just as the ‘patriots of the boston tea party had done when they donned the mask in order to deliver their country from the hands of the oppressor.’ MLK offered up the tea party as a historical example of civil disobedience.

    this is the failure of the tea party movement- it means something different to everyone- it’s not a consistent philosophy.

    I don’t want anything to do with it.

  28. #28 |  Lucy | 

    I just wish they would stop sullying the Gadsden flag. It’s the only flag I really ever feel like raising with pride.

    Tea partiers I can never decide on. One of my father’s favorite sayings is “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Which is true, but if you take it too far you start voting for the asshole who seems ever so slightly less of an asshole than the first one. I voted for “None of the above” for president and never regreted it…

    Basically, I would worry about tea partiers ruining the reputation of libertarians, but so many liberal just assume we’re all racists creeps anyway. I don’t even know how much harm allying with them would do. Yet, I can’t bring myself to.

  29. #29 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Keep letting the peon invade and all hope for limited government is gone. They have to have their El Jefe.

  30. #30 |  Radley Balko | 

    But enjoy your Mojito, while the rest of us actually try to do something.

    I drink bourbon, thankyouverymuch.

  31. #31 |  Mark R | 

    The JBS being a lead sponsor wasn’t already a disqualifier?

  32. #32 |  Mark R | 

    “Where is the proposal to raise the retirement age, means test Social Security, get rid of Medicare Part D (totally unfunded), or even altogether eliminate entitlements? Even a less ambitious plan to responsibly privatize some of these programs would be worth discussing. Your site offers none. ”

    Exactly. I have no idea what the tea partier’s policy platform is.

    Neither do they.

    And as a liberal I’d say that easiest way to differentiate between a tea partier and a libertarian would be the integrity of your ideology. This tea party thing (or something like it) kicks up every time a Democrat gets in office.

  33. #33 |  Aresen | 

    | reaganlaw | April 24th, 2010 at 2:32 pm
    Money quote:

    “Why would I want to be the governor?” Arpaio said. “I can lock up the governor if I want to.”

    Arpaio’s mentality in a nutshell.

    And the shell for that nut is very small indeed.

  34. #34 |  Aresen | 

    Justin | April 24th, 2010 at 4:58 pm
    They waited until a black President implemented tax cuts for the vast majority of American Citizens before becoming concerned about spending.

    In which alternate universe has Obama “implemented tax cuts for the vast majority of American Citizens”.?

  35. #35 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Personally, I think The Tea Party is just the Republican Party under a different name. You know, when you have embarrassed yourself as much as the Republicans have, it’s probably hard to recruit people. It’s much easier if you say you’re something different. Like Blackwater is now Xe.

    If Tea Partiers were really for small government, they wouldn’t be caught dead on the same stage with Republicans.

  36. #36 |  ZeroSkill | 

    @Aresen

    According to FoxNews it is this universe.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/02/16/lawmakers-worry-obama-tax-cut-stimulate-consumer-spending/

  37. #37 |  nj | 

    Radley,

    Why in the world were you ever in? The tea parties have never been about liberty or small government. They are just pissed of republicans.

  38. #38 |  Jay | 

    Anyone who claims that” “[t]here are Dem, Reps, Libs, Indies” in the tea party movement is lying. Most are Republicans, the rest are Republicans who call themselves independents because they think it makes them sound smarter.
    It’s just as pathetic as when Glenn “Neocon” Reynolds finds the one black person in a crowd of 10,000 and uses that photo as proof of the diversity of the tea party movement.

    /Jay

  39. #39 |  Justin | 

    –In which alternate universe has Obama “implemented tax cuts for the vast majority of American Citizens”.?–

    Not enough to satisfy libertarians but it’s happened.

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/stevenwaldman/2009/02/is-obamas-tax-cut-the-biggest.html

    It’d be nice to see more Libertarians be honest about Obama’s record on tax cuts so far. I know it isn’t enough for you but pretending he hasn’t cut them makes you sound kinda… well, ignorant.

  40. #40 |  Foobs | 

    Radley, it’s nice to see you come to your senses about the tea partiers. As I respect your intellectual honesty and vigor, it was sad watching you lose your head.

  41. #41 |  Avery | 

    They lost me when they allowed Sarah “JUDAS GOAT” Palin to guide them into the republican clutches. Palin is AFRAID to have her speeches taped, god-only knows what garbage she is spewing.

  42. #42 |  Andrew Ian Dodge | 

    Well I am against the war on drugs as are many other tea party people. BTW all the libertarians involved are not Paulians (cultist variety or not). The tea party movement has been seriously going off Palin since she self appointed herself as “leader” at the TPN clusterf*** in Nashville.

    Radley, I have read you for many years, this piece is beneath you and is not your normal sensitive writing.

  43. #43 |  Elliot | 

    I thought the Tea Partiers who invited Sarah Palin to speak did a bang up job of demonstrating their lack of judgment.

    But Palin is mostly just nutty and not very bright. Arpaio is downright evil.

  44. #44 |  John Allen | 

    It is a trivial task to defame the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, or Tea Party organizations by ascribing to them the beliefs of some (or many) of their members. America is too diverse to categorize into a handful of groups.

    A corollary is that not everyone, not even most people, who belong to any one party are evil or stupid. They’re mostly just human, with all the attendant pluses and minuses.

    I believe the Tea Party is at its best when they push back against excessive government spending. I suspect it will lose its way when it becomes distracted by social issues, on which there is less solidarity. The immigration issue is but the canary in the cage.

    Similarly, I suggest those who actively oppose wrongful convictions and other police state issues come from a broad spectrum of political viewpoints. They are also in danger of diluting their message if they become too distracted by other issues on which there is far less agreement.

    Regarding granting more power to Joe Arpaio, regarding the troublesome state of our criminal justice system in general, I whole-heartedly agree with Radley. On some other issues, not so much.

    Is that such a big deal?

  45. #45 |  thefncrow | 

    #21:
    “It looks like whet began as a well intentioned movement has been hijacked by the Republican party, who once again is trying to pretend that they’re something different from the Democrats.”

    True, but probably not in the way you meant. The actual “Tea Party” folks, the ones who got hijacked, were the Ron Paul supporters, and they never had any media coverage at all. The Tea Party folks who have gotten media coverage have been a movement that hijacked the idea of the Paulites and went to work selling it to the media. Dick Armey’s PAC was the organizer of all the tax day events last year, organizing several of them hand-in-hand with Fox News. Hell, they were already doing some initial organization of the idea of “Chicago Tea Party” before Rick Santelli went on that rant where he really first introduced the whole “Tea Party” meme in the mainstream media.

    It was hijacked, yes, it’s just that the movement that got hijacked is one that few few people had ever really heard of before it was hijacked.

  46. #46 |  Chris | 

    I was out when they supported the bill in AZ. If that is not the general platform that the group represents then why have no corrections (or attempts at correction) been made? There was a time where I thought that most of the bad press was uncalled for, and I still do. But this is not bad press this is a bad choice of direction to get “something” done. Tea party members seem more fed up with a lack of resolutions to a majority of problems “plaguing” our modern society. This mentality leads a group to reason that doing anything is better then what we’re doing now. Which is no different then throwing money at it, besides all the human rights violations that will come with it. Or how about the police resources wasted stopping anybody they think may be illegal? This is not a limited government bill, and if you don’t want to be held accountable for what a local chapter did wrong then you had best get to work making them NOT a local chapter. Don’t hold it against us when one of your own makes a fool out of your group using your groups name and reputation, and we walk away. But if you can’t do that then we have to assume that most of your talk is just talk. And if you can’t convince your leadership otherwise then I would suggest you listen to these people who say your group has be hijacked and get out. Otherwise you believe as they do, and that is fine just as well but you can’t control a society without a lot of money with immigration becoming a police matter, wars being fought for confusing reasons, so called experts telling us we’re not safe enough, and welfare a right instead of a choice.

    What the libertarians have done in the past 30 years is build rational working models and presented their ideas to anybody willing to listen. They continue to work on educating voters about how the most obvious solutions isn’t always the wisest or best one available. This is a long sighted solution to the problem. As more and more spending happens people start to see the libertarian “wing-nut” as correct in their assertion that this will lead to less privacy, and more road blocks on our “pursuit of happiness.” But associating with your group when your group associates with Sheriff Joe is too much for me. And I have no real political affiliations.

  47. #47 |  parse | 

    This is why cocktail sipping D.C. libertarians like Balko will never get anything done.

    You can tell somebody’s serious about politics when they’re not afraid to expose the cocktail-sipping of their ideological opponents.

  48. #48 |  Phelps | 

    PS: Accuse me of hate because I want secure borders, and I’m going to ignore everything else you have to say. Even when I agree with it, like in this instance.

  49. #49 |  JThompson | 

    @Mark R: Another good test is the social liberty test. An awful lot of Tea Party folks seem to be mad as hell about the government being all socialist or whatever, but they’re perfectly ok with the government having complete control over the private lives of other people.

    The main problem seems to be that a lot (or even most) of the people at those rallies are hardcore authoritarians that are suddenly concerned with “freedom” and “fiscal responsibility” because someone they consider an authority figure told them to be angry and you don’t question authority. I never got why anyone ever thought they were anything like actual libertarians: From where I’m sitting they look to be the exact opposite.

  50. #50 |  dhlii | 

    The Tea Parties represent many things – ideological cohesion is not one of them. One facet of the Tea Party is that it is a civil war within the GOP. Hayek recognized that classical liberals and conservatives could often cooperate, but liberals no matter how well meaning are virtually always the enemies of individual liberty. Libertarians are inevitably going to clash with the Tea Partier’s over some issues of ideology – there is a libertarian ideology. Conservatives and Tea Partier’s have no real underlying ideology. There is bound to be conflict. You can boo Palin or Arpaio if you wish. In November you get to decide whether to vote for ideological purity – if you are even lucky enough to have a libertarian candidate, and even then your libertarian on the ballot could be one of these libertarian paternalist or some other form of progressive in disguise. Almost universally, the Tea Parties are far more conservative than Libertarians. They are also far more libertarian than conservatives. We do not need to join the Tea Parties to support them when they are right and condemn them when they are wrong. And I am not sure Libertarians should be condemning other organizations because some of their members are nut-jobs. I have read the “Contract From America”. It is not what I would have chosen, but its offenses are minor, and if it has a small impact in Washington that is am improvement I can endorse. As to libertarian issues such as gay rights, the drug war, immigration, …..
    These things are changing far faster than I ever would have believed anyway.

  51. #51 |  » Boo hoo | 

    [...] darn, Radley Balko has quit the Tea Party. What will we do? Oh, what will we do? Dear Tea Partiers, Ask Joe Arpaio to [...]

  52. #52 |  Whim | 

    Radley uses the squishy Obamaesque phrasing to describe the focus of Sheriff Arpaio’s ire:

    “Immigrants”.

    I notice Radley conveniently omitted the key qualifier: ILLEGAL immigrants.

    If you’re ever a crime victim from one of these criminals, you will realize what a problem it is trying to catch and convict someone with an ever-changing identity.

    A malleable identity that lets them commit innumerable crimes, then simply melt back across the border until the heat dies down….

  53. #53 |  ZappaCrappa | 

    At this point, I’m for anything or anyone that bucks the current status quo. All you republicans and democrats are just doing such a bang up job. And such AWESOME candidates and officials you have given us…simply splendid.

    Besides a few minor issues, I really don’t see much difference between the 2. There CERTAINLY is no difference in the way they do business (which is usually behind our backs, involves deominizing anyone who dares to disagree, and requires removing money from our wallets and putting it under their control to redistribute as they see fit. Liars, thieves, and con-men…each and every one.

    I love when you folks bash libertarians. It just confirms that I have made the right choice.

  54. #54 |  P O'Rose | 

    Mexicans vote for Democrats 5 to 1.

  55. #55 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    I helped organize a Tea Party. Our speakers consisted of two Libertarian candidates for office, 2 libertarian-leaning radio show hosts, a Ron Paul Republican former candidate for governor, and the progressive anti-war founder of Warriors for Conscience who spoke about war and taxes. Our theme was getting rid of property and the income tax.

    We only had about 150 people because of rain. I was hoping that some of the Tea Party Patriots would come over after their love-fest with Newt Gingrich. I wanted to see their reaction to our speakers. Alas, the rain kept them away.

  56. #56 |  mark | 

    Though I do support any protest against taxes, I am afraid that the Tea Party is full of people that those of us in the small “l” libertarian movement do not appreciate.

  57. #57 |  UCrawford | 

    A malleable identity that lets them commit innumerable crimes, then simply melt back across the border until the heat dies down….

    Right, because everyone knows that any Latino immigrant is just a serial killer in waiting…ready to stab law-abiding white folks for a welfare check. That’s obviously the rule and not the exception, because Joe Arpaio (who beats restrained paraplegics to death in his jails) tells us so. Why, those dirty wetback thugs are barely even human. How dare they come to our country and work jobs that we should be paying unions twice as much to handle so we can pay more for the goods and services at the counter? Where do they get off trying to improve their lot in life like our forefathers did when they immigrated to this country? That’s the white man’s prerogative. Next thing you know, they’ll be wanting us to up the quota so they can come here “legally” and not have to risk their lives paying a coyote their life savings to cross the border. How selfish of them.

    /sarcasm

    Honestly, I’ve had it with all the fake “pro-freedom” cave-dwellers who try to pretend they’re only against “illegal” immigration when they make repeated comments about how immigrants are just criminals. Let’s get something straight…if you believe that immigration is a “problem” but you’re not for letting more immigrants in legally by raising the ridiculous quota, then you’re not pro-legal immigration. You’re anti-immigration, period. And it’s probably because you’re a racist. Just like Tom Tancredo and Joe Arpaio.

  58. #58 |  Marty | 

    #39 | Justin-

    ‘It’d be nice to see more Libertarians be honest about Obama’s record on tax cuts so far. I know it isn’t enough for you but pretending he hasn’t cut them makes you sound kinda… well, ignorant.’

    if you have the largest expansion of spending in the history of the world, combined with printing money at a scary clip, doesn’t that kind of make tax cuts look kinda… well ignorant?

  59. #59 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

    I used to have some really dumb and angry thoughts about illegal immigrants. My thoughts were really collectivist, but I didn’t realize it at the time. Resentment chased away rational thought.

    From where did the resentment come? The perception that taxpayers were paying for services benefiting the illegal immigrants. I was scapegoating the immigrants for the fact that our government steals money from some to redistribute to others. My anger should have been confined to the government which does such things.

    I have put away the resentment and, instead, focus on paying my poor tithe and supporting reduction in the size and activities of government.

  60. #60 |  Mark R | 

    @Jthompson

    Yeah I mean to me the tea partiers are a bunch of authoritarians who don’t feel like have authority anymore, which has caused them to freak the fuck out. That they ever had any authority was just an illusion created by believing in whatever their team’s authority told them to believe in. If you make yourself believe you are in favor of it, then your ego gets the credit for it. Probably the most egregious example of this is Medicare Part D, which was just a ridiculous WTF moment that will confuse historians for generations.

    The hardcore authoritarians are present in the Dem camp as well, but they don’t make up as large a percentage as they do republicans. I think that’s why the dems didn’t freak out quite as much as the repubs when they lost power.

    And just to clarify I don’t think it’s right to single out one or two crazies at a protest and try to defame the rest of the protest by association. But to not take responsibility for the decisions of the movement’s leadership, especially such a nascent movement, is ridiculous. You own Sarah Palin and Sheriff Joe and the JBS, if you pay them to attend or you take their money to sponsor your events. That’s how you define a movement. Otherwise the movement becomes so amorphous that it has no definition, and is meaningless. You can’t just define your movement as “the bestest, smartest, goodliest thingiest thing ever” and get away with it for very long.

  61. #61 |  UCrawford | 

    Jerri,

    From where did the resentment come? The perception that taxpayers were paying for services benefiting the illegal immigrants. I was scapegoating the immigrants for the fact that our government steals money from some to redistribute to others. My anger should have been confined to the government which does such things.

    You’re absolutely right…and when that happens the negative attention generally focuses heaviest on the groups of people that are perceived to look or act the least like “us”. And that’s usually immigrants, especially since they tend to have the least public representation. Racism is a natural by-product of collectivism.

    Good on you for realizing that and changing your views. I’ve met too many who’ll never do so.

  62. #62 |  winston smith | 

    The Tea Party has been NeoConned Part 1, 2 and 3

    http://www.blog2.tshirt-doctor.com/?p=10598

  63. #63 |  flukebucket | 

    Just keep watching the Tea Party. Given enough time what and who they actually are will become abundantly clear.

    Keep an ample supply of popcorn.

  64. #64 |  Sinchy | 

    I watched this video taken at a Tax Day Tea Party supported by freedom works GOP front group
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbyFeFhUTmI
    I know it comes from a group called new left media but I think the interviewer was very respectful and gave the people a chance to express themselves.
    What came out was not much more than gibberish and misinformation.
    Many of the people interviewed couldn’t really articulate why the were so upset without falling back on vague talking points of “tyranny” etc.
    There are many reasons to be upset at Obama and in some ways he is following up on Bush, but if these people needed a Black President to start complaining about “tyranny” after 8 years of the most corrupt, criminal, and power hungry administration ever, then I can only assume it’s race that upsets them most. Maybe it’s only a half formed racism in the back of their minds, that they can’t acknowledge, but thats what all the “take our country back” rhetoric means.
    Also some of these people want to abolish the EPA!! How, except for government, can a society come together to protect those things which sustain life on earth? I assume these people want their children to breath clean air and drink clean water, but sure abolish the EPA.
    And the “global warming is bull shit” chant, just ridiculous.
    This isn’t a coherent group of people.

  65. #65 |  Mark R | 

    The tea party would have existed if Hillary had won and wouldn’t have been any less virulent. That creepers use the tea parties to dog whistle their racism at one another is to be expected. There’s lot of creepy racism at the tea parties, but they know to keep it mild or they’ll make everybody look bad. I don’t think it’s the driving force, though it might have helped spark that “oh shit” moment.

    Of course they’re “scared” and afraid of “tyranny”. They just spent 8 years putting as many tyrannical tools in place as they could. They had no qualms with budget deficits, new unfunded entitlement programs, nor launching foreign wars of choice on false pretenses. They’re just really terrified because now they don’t have control of the levers.

    Authoritarianism is really fun when you’re the authority. Otherwise, not so much.

  66. #66 |  Justin | 

    –if you have the largest expansion of spending in the history of the world, combined with printing money at a scary clip,–

    You’ll have to support your first claim with some hard evidence. Doesn’t strike me as true.

    We are not “printing money at a scary clip”. Most economists fear deflation far more than inflation right now. You’re voicing an opinion–an obscure opinion not supported very well by real world facts–and claiming it to be fact.

    – doesn’t that kind of make tax cuts look kinda… well ignorant? –

    No. It’s Keynesian, for sure, and you may not agree with it, but there’s a method to the madness.

  67. #67 |  Mattocracy | 

    #10 | Frank |

    How can you possibly compare the LP and the Tea Party Movement? If you really think that the Tea Party has massed a coherent message of limited government in all aspects of life, you are sadly mistaken. The Tea Party hasn’t accomplished anything close to the LP when you get down to the nitty gritty.

  68. #68 |  Price | 

    Radley….hating immigrants…?? A bill to make what is already a Federal penalty, a state penalty doesn’t seem inconsistent to me…Would you feel differently if they were people that looked like Osama Bin Laden? Should we not have any control of the movement of people that enter our country? There are people out there that hate us and would kill as many of us as they could…What do they look like? People who enter our country illegally, without regard for our law…what should we expect from them in regard to obeying the other laws that we have? If it had been your dad that was shot dead on his ranch, would you not have some inclination toward protecting others from the same threat? I was surprised by your remark..Of course everybody agrees with your thoughts regarding Sheriff Joe…It just caught me off guard that you misidentified the state’s bill as something against immigrants…Perhaps ILLEGAL immigrants…but enforcing our laws isn’t hate…it’s justice, if done properly and with out prejudice.

  69. #69 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    You’re only out now? It’s been obvious to me from the begininning that the Tea Party was just a Republican cat’s paw to keep people who left the party due to the Bush administration from actually being able to organize effective opposition. Once enough time had passed for the failure of Republican leadership to no longer be the news, they’d all be rolled back into the GOP, all without the party ever having to address the reality of what went on between 1995 and 2008.

    And if the Republicans win control of the House or Senate in November, you can bet the ‘tea party’ wil disappear as suddenly as it appeared.

  70. #70 |  Frosty2 | 

    Sheriff Joe’s job is to catch criminals. Illegal aliens are criminals.
    Jails punish offenders to change behaviors. Joe’s certainly try.
    Joe wants to reduce illegals. Government can be smaller with less crime and welfare.

    Mexico needs to take care of its own citizens and not make the US its defacto social service provider.

    Bob

  71. #71 |  pam | 

    no one on earth is illegal or alien.

    And the bigger tax refund check this year was welcome and appreciated.

    So thanks to whoever was responsible.

  72. #72 |  Below The Beltway » Blog Archive » The Tea Party Movement Is Brewing A Mighty Authoritarian Cup Of Tea | 

    [...] immigration bill that increases the power of the state and is, most likely, unconstitutional. And, as Radley Balko notes, they’ve asked Maricopa County Joe Arpaio to be a keynote speaker at an upcoming convention: [...]

  73. #73 |  UCrawford | 

    Sheriff Joe’s job is to catch criminals. Illegal aliens are criminals.

    Sheriff Joe’s job is to enforce the laws of Maricopa County. He’s been alternately exceeding and neglecting that duty for quite some time. And immigration was never his job. He only “cracked down” on it because a) Joe Arpaio is a racist bully, and b) it got him a lot of headlines, which he likes even better than being a racist bully.

    Jails punish offenders to change behaviors. Joe’s certainly try.

    The numbers on recidivism in Arpaio’s jails are no lower than anyone else’s jails. The only difference is that the incompetent manner in which Arpaio runs his jails puts the county (and the taxpayers) on the losing end of a lot of lawsuits that a sheriff who actually gave a crap about the laws and his community wouldn’t get the county involved in.

    Government can be smaller with less crime and welfare.

    You’ve premised this on two fallacies…the first of which is a non-sequitur assuming that creating a bigger police force to reduce crime will eventually lead to a reduction of police forces once crimes drop. The national crime rate has been on a downward trend for 30 years…we have no fewer cops than we ever did. Secondly, your argument against welfare is an argument against welfare, not illegal immigration…get rid of the ability of dirtbag Americans to suckle at the state teat and the immigrants won’t be suckling either.

    Mexico needs to take care of its own citizens and not make the US its defacto social service provider.

    Another faulty argument, this time premised on the “fixed amount of pie” argument on economics that immigrants can only benefit if they “take” from Americans, not provide utility and value of their own. Thereby an argument to be discarded without serious consideration.

  74. #74 |  Christopher | 

    It’s ok, we libertarians have all already left the tea party anyway.

  75. #75 |  Frosty2 | 

    UCrawford,
    Time to leave the theoretical and live in the real. The Sheriff enforces all the laws and will put emphasis where needed. Illegal immigrants are law breakers and if you don’t see the problem you are in denial. All other countries secure their borders and enforce their laws.

    The voters seem happy with Sheriff Joe. It’s their decision. If they illegal aliens as a problem they may well support his methods.

    Your “slice of the pie” argument is simply silly. America takes care of Americans. Mexico takes care of Mexicans. That’s how it works.

  76. #76 |  UCrawford | 

    Frosty,

    Illegal immigrants are law breakers and if you don’t see the problem you are in denial.

    Being as I live five miles from the Mexican border, I don’t see a problem with immigrants at all. I do, however, see a problem with criminal groups that make profit on immigrants because of restrictive immigration quotas championed by closet racists and pro-union cronies who don’t seem willing to extend the same rights to a Latino that they would to an immigrant from, say, English-speaking European countries.

    Scratch beneath the surface of an “illegal immigrants are criminals” mouthpiece who also opposes raising quotas and you’ll find a mouthbreather who 40 years ago would have been wearing a white hood in Alabama while standing under a burning cross.

    The voters seem happy with Sheriff Joe. It’s their decision.

    Yet another reason why I find majority rule to be an often laughable form of governance.

    Your “slice of the pie” argument is simply silly. America takes care of Americans. Mexico takes care of Mexicans.

    Then you obviously never bothered to read Milton Friedman, or much about economics at all…which means I can pretty much not waste my time explaining basic concepts of trade and mutual benefit to you.

  77. #77 |  Frosty2 | 

    UCrawford,
    First of all why are stuck on trying to confuse and conflate an issue of Rule of Law and Sovereignty with an economic one? If it was an economic one it be more a micro-economic discussion on labor as a variable resource input not the macro pie cartoon.

    Now all that oppose your view are “Racists” are you a Democrat by chance?

    Legal immigration is fine and has served this country well. Last I heard there was a slew of slots available in the Guest Worker Program that has gone without applicants — easier just to sneak across I guess.

    All we are doing with our porous boarder policy is taking the pressure off of Mexico to change its corrupt oligarchical system to one that provides opportunity and fairness to their citizens. I think most Mexican would rather earn a living at home than here. They do have a pretty fair resource base that would provide a great deal of opportunity if all the wealth was not invested outside the country.

    Well got to go do my yard work now — have a ball.

  78. #78 |  petey | 

    “They waited until a black President implemented tax cuts for the vast majority of American Citizens before becoming concerned about spending.”

    BINGO! where were these people when bush was in the white house? there’s about a dime of difference between bush and obama – bush exploded federal power to create a stasi-state and blow the heads off innocents halfway around the world in the process of lining the pockets of the defense industry, while obama – not ceding back what bush gave, mind – explodes it to line the pockets of the insurance industry while at least providing a few million people with access to health care, which is kinda the opposite of blowing heads off. i voted for neither, but if i have to be ruled by one i’ll take obama.

  79. #79 |  libarbarian | 

    Frosty2,

    Personally, I’ve seen too many people claim to care only about the rule of law regarding immigration who, in other circumstances, find it less important compared to other principles.

    I seem to remember, a few years back, Michelle Malkin arguing, in back to back posts, that:

    1) Opposition to “amnesty” is not about race at all. It’s all about the rule of law. The law is the law and must be enforced. Period.
    2) While the fundie mormons from Texas had technically broke the law by marrying girls as young as 13, it was really an entirely concentual crime that didn’t really hurt anyone and it wouldn’t be just to enforce the letter of the law in this case.

    Rule of law indeed.

  80. #80 |  UCrawford | 

    First of all why are stuck on trying to confuse and conflate an issue of Rule of Law and Sovereignty with an economic one?

    Because economics is tied to the Rule of Law and Sovereignty, same as it’s tied to everything else humans do.

    Now all that oppose your view are “Racists” are you a Democrat by chance?

    Nope…I’m an individual, not a collectivist. I don’t pretend that being a member of a party is the same thing as having an ideology. Nor do I pretend that being a member of either party somehow validates an odious belief.

    Legal immigration is fine and has served this country well.

    Especially in the era before immigration quotas designed to “preserve culture” (which is what a lot of the Tea Party immigration rhetoric is really about). “Legal” immigration is a misnomer because immigration is not a crime…it’s a consensual activity on the part of an individual. And I disagree that it’s served this country well at all. Some of our greatest periods of prosperity occured when no immigration quotas were in place.

    Last I heard there was a slew of slots available in the Guest Worker Program that has gone without applicants — easier just to sneak across I guess.

    Which tends to support my point that the unwelcoming nature of immigration policy and programs is what forces immigrants to come here “illegally”.

    All we are doing with our porous boarder policy is taking the pressure off of Mexico to change its corrupt oligarchical system to one that provides opportunity and fairness to their citizens.

    If we actually cared about that, our first order of business would be the legalization of drugs. Of course, that position also assumes a rather paternalistic and condescending attitude towards Mexican sovereignty that I tend to disagree with. Frankly, I see nothing that immigrants do here in the States that makes them any more of a problem than the average American. They pay taxes, they give us cheap labor, they keep the prices of goods and service low. The more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.

  81. #81 |  UCrawford | 

    libarbarian,

    Opposition to “amnesty” is not about race at all. It’s all about the rule of law. The law is the law and must be enforced. Period.

    Yup, the same bad argument emanating from the flawed premise that all laws must be just.

  82. #82 |  TGGP | 

    It’s not a limited government position, but I think it is a winning issue. Sheriff Joe is extremely popular. Pete Wilson was quite popular in California, it was after him that the Republicans tanked in that state. Libertarianism is unpopular, entitlements are popular. Libertarians should simply abandon populism.

  83. #83 |  JOR | 

    “Opposition to “amnesty” is not about race at all. It’s all about the rule of law. The law is the law and must be enforced. Period.”

    Gotta love that argument.

    Not like amnesty doesn’t amount to changing the “the law” and legalizing something (or rather, someone). Once amnesty is granted, the uh… law is still the law. It’s just a different law. Or at least applies differently. Or… something. It would be no different from someone hitting that magical number of birthdays where they’re suddenly allowed to buy alcohol legally.

    Really. If the only problem with immigrants is that they’re illegal, then simply legalizing them solves the “problem” instantly, right? Right?

  84. #84 |  TD | 

    “Not like amnesty doesn’t amount to changing the “the law” and legalizing something (or rather, someone). Once amnesty is granted, the uh… law is still the law. It’s just a different law. Or at least applies differently. Or… something. It would be no different from someone hitting that magical number of birthdays where they’re suddenly allowed to buy alcohol legally.”

    More, it would be equivelent to someone violating the law to enter the country, and being awarded with hundreds of thousands of dollars in welfare. Or someone stealing a car, and being awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in welfare.

    It’s not like this is the first time this sorta thing has happened. In 1986, there was a mass amnesty. Immigration leaped up to 800000 a year, as people imported their relatives in and more immigrants entered with the expectation of amnesty. By 1997, the number of illegal immigrants had returned to 5 million In the same way, that if you enacted an amnesty for all underage drinkers in the US, the likely result would be more underage drinkers.

    If you make a mockery of the law, people violate it more. Illegal immigration is intimately tied to legal immigration. If you’re pro more immigration, that’s fine, but most people in Arizona aren’t.

    “PS: Hating immigrants? Not a winning issue. Or, for that matter, a limited government issue.”

    Assuming he’s referring to the new immigration bill, 70% of likely voters support it. It’s a winning issue, a huge winning issue, and likely to win all its supporter’s many votes. Since the likely result of mass immigration is more Democratic governments, and more welfare payments, whether it’s limited government is debatable as well. The government needs less tax money to keep immigrants out than it needs to fund their social welfare.

  85. #85 |  Kristen | 

    slew of slots available in the Guest Worker Program that has gone without applicants — easier just to sneak across I guess.

    Obvious statement is obvious.

    Is it easier to hire some guy to drive you in a van across the border in the dark of night for a few hundred bucks, or is it easier to spend months and the same amount of money dealing with a government bureaucracy that lives by neither reason nor efficiency?

  86. #86 |  Twitch | 

    Finally come to your senses?

  87. #87 |  Tom | 

    The TEA Parties are what you make them. If you are willing to be an organizer, you will control the message. If you’re not willing to do the work then the Republicans will take over the message. The ones local to me have been doing a pretty good job of staying true to the limited government and low tax message and that’s all b/c of the people doing the work behind the scenes.

  88. #88 |  Blagnet.net » Misguided Tea Partiers, misguided Tea Party haters | 

    [...] of what various neocons and other dupes have said at other rallies over the past year (for example, here is an issue I agree with liberals on and that does, in fact, make Tea Partiers an embarrassment), I’d wager that the whole of the Tea Parties’ message is no more violent than the [...]

  89. #89 |  Deoxy | 

    PS: Hating immigrants? Not a winning issue. Or, for that matter, a limited government issue.

    You completely lost me here. ILLEGAL immigration is a serious problem, and one of the few things the federal government should actually be dealing with (that’s a significant part of international relations, the primary Constitutional function of the federal government).

    If you want more immigrants, ok, fine. I think many people who are rallying to the law in Arizona (for just one example) would be fine with that, too. But ILLEGAL immigration causes several different problems, none of which are fun to live through.

    People farther north of our southern border don’t seem to understand how close this is to an actual, literal invasion. If federal government can’t do the one job we really need it for, why bother having it at all? (especially considering all the massive problems that if causes in areas where it shouldn’t be doing anything at all – as you are well aware)

  90. #90 |  Progressives for State-Sanctioned Monopoly | The Agitator | 

    [...] on this particular issue is in no way meant to imply my broad support for the tea party movement, or Arizona tea partiers in particular—a fallacy Cole regularly [...]

  91. #91 |  Progressives for State-Sanctioned Corporate Monopoly - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine | 

    [...] on this particular issue is in no way meant to imply my broad support for the tea party movement, or Arizona tea partiers in particular—a fallacy Cole regularly [...]

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