Monday, March 29, 2010

A greased tightrope

Sarah Palin, at a rally in Harry Reid's hometown, said there is a difference between inciting violence and standing up for freedom. That's one GOP reaction to the Tea Party protests that have included acts of violence. The full spectrum of reactions include:
* Dismissing the violence
* Justifying it
* Encouraging it
* Praising the perpetrators
* Blaming the victims (Democrats are fanning the flames?)
* Suggesting Democrats were "asking for it"
* Suggesting stories of violence are a "Liberal hoax"

Essayist Terence Heath describes each one in more detail. He goes on to say that it will be difficult to find a causal relationship between GOP words and Tea Party actions (though some screeds left behind by gunmen on shooting sprees come pretty close). It will be easier to show positive correlation between heated rhetoric and increase of violent acts (which I understand has been done).

Since Tea Party activists identify as GOP members or GOP-leaning independents the party has to walk a tightrope that looks to have been greased. Anger the Tea Party and they'll form a third party. This is a possibility since the Tea Party complains about the size of the deficit and the GOP had a hand in increasing it. But being nice to the Tea Party means some degree of ignoring or excusing (or encouraging) their heated words or their violence. Do that and the GOP turns off everyone else. The Tea Party crowd is now carrying signs emphasizing "We the People!" and claiming they speak for the majority of Americans. The actual majority is now saying, "What you mean 'we,' kemosabe?" So, who can the GOP afford to alienate?

A battle between the GOP and Tea Party? Democrats will be delighted to watch.

Why do the Tea Party people want smaller government? It couldn't be because they don't want government to help them with their own issues, could it? Perhaps the underlying issue is racism, yet again. It seems these people are willing to go without government services if it also mean that it prevents government money from going to those people, the ones who aren't white. It seems when they want their country back, they want it taken away from the blacks and the Hispanics. It also seems they have an unbelievably high tolerance for cognitive dissonance.

Intrigued by "kemosabe" and want to waste some time? Check out this list of catchphrases (and even more time delving into their sources). And this list doesn't include political phrases. I was surprised at how many came from Star Trek.

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