Dan Middleton’s Political Punditry, September 13

I have spent the morning reading reactions to last night’s Republican “debate” sponsored by CNN and the “Tea Party Express”. I predictable horror show with the usual themes, i.e., government bad, taxes too high, illegals/Muslims bad, the Chairman of the Fed, incorrectly portrayed as a member of the Obama Administration, is committing “treason” for trying to improve the economy. Repeal Wall Street St. reform, health care reform, and everything else President Obama has accomplished. And a stirring rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” which lasted far too long, as usual. 

And like last week, an audience enthusiastically devoid of humanity.

Alarmingly, like Fox “News”, CNN has actively supported the fictional “Tea Party” from its inception, effectively using its status as a television “news” organization as a promotional tool for the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. The “Tea Party Express”, widely covered by CNN, is a front organization for mega wealthy Republican donors to create the impression of a grassroots populist movement. 

It isn’t. 

Just the Big Money Men enabled by the televisions they own–and in the case of this debate–in a contractual arrangement to exploit and confuse viewers with the tired iteration of early 60’s Goldwater, late 60’s Nixon, and early 80’s Reagan anti-government, fear of “the Other” schtick. Except instead of communism, it is the browns taking away “our” money, indeed “our country” courtesy of the Affirmative Action, “Socialist” president who wasn’t even born in the United States.That isn’t hyperbole; in fact, I’m trying to be restrained. 

And the result? At street level, photos of angry “tea party” citizens holding up signs saying “Keep Your Government Hands Off of My Medicare” (I am not making that up). Up above, in the executive suite, surrounded by the Big Money Men, is Rick Perry or Mitt Romney learning their lines. Rick Perry pleased the Money Men last night with this: his goal as President is to “make D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can.” 

Translation: “I am a 2011 Republican who hates government meddling in the private lives of citizens, unless it can be used to abolish Roe vs. Wade. I am a 2011 Republican who hates government meddling, so let’s get rid of the social safety net (by privatizing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security), let’s defund useful things like the EPA or the Department of Education. I am a 2011 Republican whose main concern is insuring that the privileged few retain as much of their wealth as possible.”

I do not oppose wealth, but I do oppose greed. America is not a gated community with swimming, golf, tennis, and drinks at the club where everyone looks and talks the same. It is a country of wonderful variation in its people, culture, and local history. But it is, and always has been, a country where, to paraphrase George Orwell, “all men are created equal, but some are more equal than others.” It is a constant struggle to figure out how to live as a community without gates, where people help each other. Government at every level has a primary role in modern society: to help people help each other. If my house is on fire, my neighbor spraying my roof with a garden hose is, of course, much appreciated, but what I will require is the fire department. Pronto.

P.S. Some good news…Public Policy Polling shows President Obama leading Rick Perry in a hypothetical match-up, 52% to 41%. Three weeks ago, the margin was only six points. In the same poll, Obama leads Mitt Romney, 49% to 45%. […they were tied 3 weeks ago..]

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