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I'm really curious what people think deep in their gut about this Tea Party thing. Here's my basic reaction. I get the anger. There is a sense of government being out of control. There is frustration that the interests being served are really disconnected from the average American and their needs and way of life. But when I get beyond the frustrations, and look at the actual candidates, I don't see the kind of ability or competence needed to actually make anything good happen. Blowing off steam doesn't actually get anything done. Anyone who has worked in government knows this. Real impact in the real world takes more than a gut full of rage. It requires someone who can work systems and crunch numbers and get laws passed and work nice in the sandbox with others.
What I am afraid of is that the Tea Party in the end will be just therapy -- a way of venting some feelings. You know, every year these politicians appear on the scene very skilled at reading what people want to hear and then saying it. Bottom line, I don't think the Tea Party is any different. They are channeled into the rage but will no more deliver anything of substance on the other side than either of the two major parties.
Let me give concrete examples. They talk cut, cut cut. But what are WE willing to see go. Social Security? How about the courts that put people in prison who commit crimes and are a social threat? What about jails and guards? How about Homeland Security? How about air traffic control? How about the FBI or CIA? What about Veteran services? What about someone to stop fraud and manage your banks so they don't rob you blind? What about the military and our preparedness?
When you get right down to it, when you get to concrete cases, we are living in a fantasy that these Tea Party types who say they will "cut, cut, cut" will be able to pull the trigger on these programs -- and even more so that we even want them to! and that's were we need to be honest with ourselves.
The bottom line is that the vast majority of government spending is stuff we DO want. Sure we are angry, but these Tea Party types won't deliver the goods. The truth is, we don't want them to. There is so little real discretionary spending out there that what impact the Tea Party can make will hardly be felt. Tell the widow next door you want to cut her Social Security and see if you can really look her in the eye as a moral thing to do. How about her medicare? We know better and these expenses are the single biggest cause of our financial problems.
The truth is that even the Republicans knew that TARP was needed -- Bush himself put it forward. In private, they will also admit that the stimulus saved the economy from a complete free fall. Somehow we all have to find a way of balancing our frustrations with reality. I believe and know deep down that the Tea Party is therapy, not a real answer. That's my view. What do you think?
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