A Progressive’s historical overview of the birth of the Tea Party and their current dominance over the Republican Party…Part 1 and Part 2
John Boehner the current Republican congressional Speaker of the House appears to be a man under siege by junior ranking members of his own conservative party.
The speaker who is prone to displaying personal and political “emotion” in the form of “crocodile tears”, has recently looked somewhat misty-eyed off camera as time in the proverbial “hour glass” continues to run out for striking a compromise on establishing a new national debt ceiling between the Republican-controlled Congress and the Democratic White House.
The dramatic political theatre being acted out by House Republicans and President Obama is in essence a fight over a Republican-majority congress that is heavily influenced by a rambunctious Tea Party caucus and their non compliance in allowing the United States government to borrow enough money to pay their bills on time to a wide variety of domestic and international lenders.
Not enabling the U.S. government to raise the national debt ceiling (debt limit) and borrow the required money to pay the country’s debts in a timely manner could cause a catastrophic chain of events in world economic markets that more than likely will (1) raise the United States government’s interest rate for borrowing money (2) raise the interest rate for American businesses both big and small and (3) raise the interest rates of credit for everyday Americans who already struggle to make-ends-meet everyday in a fragile American economy that’s just one lactose intolerant mishap away from falling into a double dip recession.
Just as important, delaying the implementation of a new national debt ceiling would inevitably delay paying America’s military, delay citizens from receiving their social security / disability checks and delay federal and state workers from being paid on time.
The battle between the two political heavyweights is being fought in an exchanged volley of heated and contentious words aimed at rallying each other’s political base and aimed at influencing public opinion.
The Republican Party’s ideological stance on never “antagonizing” America’s 2% super rich with talks of increased taxes, is playing against President Obama’s commitment to ensuring that the super rich pay their fair share of taxes and not impose the burden of America’s economic reform on the backs of the country’s middle class and the poor.
Conservatives because of their ideological allegiance to wealth and power, are totally against any increase in government revenue at the expense of rich corporate donors. Instead, they’ve zeroed in on cutting trillions of dollars in social programs (primarily social security benefits, health, education, and Medicare) that go against the grain of their ideological principles of allowing the poor and the economically depressed (the new term for the middle class) to either “swim or sink” on their own without much -if any- assistance from an emasculated and smaller federal government.
Republican insistence of eliminating the aforementioned social programs without “imposing” higher taxes on the rich, – a miniscule but powerful percentage that has greatly benefited from over two decades of paying low taxes – threatens to completely derail President Obama’s attempt to “right” a listing ship (America’s economy) and threatens to drive our ailing economy over a steep cliff without a parachute.
A tear of despair gently rolls down the check of John Boehner
John Boehner is an “old school Republican” who clearly understands that driving “Miss Daisy” (The American economy) off the proverbial cliff is not good for business or Republican politics, understanding this reasoning for self preservation, the apparent “thorn in the back side” for House Speaker Boehner completing a deal with President Obama that would include eliminating the Bush era tax cuts for the super rich and closing exorbitant tax loops for wealthy corporations in return for cutting trillions of dollars in federal programs is the effervescent and always angry “Children of the Corn”, aka The Tea Party.
Like a spoiled toddler endlessly yanking at the hem of their father’s trousers at a toy store, the Tea Party caucus is constantly in the ear of Speaker Boehner reminding him that the “Children of the Corn” are now in control of the Republican Party and are holding on tightly to the steering wheel of the car that’s heading straight for the end of the United States’ economy’s cliff.
The birth and emergence of the Tea Party
During the Spring of 2009 with little warning, the Tea Party angrily converged and “marched” across American big screen televisions spewing anti-government speeches, anti-Obama rhetoric and raising a whole lot of hell and like the morning mist, they came virtually out of “no where”.
Metaphorically, they arrived on the scene like a regiment of “Army Ants” that had been rudely awakened from a restless slumber from deep beneath the ground; they emerged upon terra firma by the thousands, armed with sharp pincer-like jaws that were drawn and ready to inflict pain upon anyone that professed to be a supporter of Barack Hussein Obama, the newly elected 44th President of the United States.
Financially backed by the ultra conservative billionaire Koch brothers they rolled into town hall meeting after town hall meeting across the U.S. loudly demanding the “over throw” of President Obama and his “Socialist / Communist agenda”.
For those that are “less informed” let it be known that the Tea Partiers had officially stormed onto the American political landscape and American homes via cable and satellite transmissions full of spit and vinegar, openly displaying a deep religious-like contempt for the Democratic Party and America’s first Black President.
But exactly who and what is the Tea Party? By their own definition, they are an amalgamation of American political parties made up of “God fearing patriots” that are vehemently against “Big Government” and everything that they think “Big Government” represents.
To Liberals, they are the “Children of the Corn”, the wayward and out of control offspring of today’s Republican Party that are not afraid to sacrifice the many for only a few. “Baptized” and “knighted” in conservative ideology, they reflect the teachings of their “parents” while obediently performing the will of their master and benefactor, the “Invisible Hand”. (Big Business)
In fairness, there are Tea Partiers that cringe at the hateful and divisive actions of their brethren, however, being silent / complacent to their brethren’s “misdeeds” creates an image of a “united front” to the average politically disconnected American who watches this predominately aged and angry, Anglo-ultra-conservative political party with skepticism and curiosity.
Understanding Republican history
Once upon a time in American history the Republican Party aka “The Grand Old Party”, represented the very best of what “The United States of America” and it’s newly penned constitution stood for.
It is a political party that was “born” in America’s northern states in 1855 by anti-slavery activists who opposed the Democratic Party and it’s support of slavery.
Historically, Republicans can trace their political roots back to the “Whig Party”, a post Revolutionary War political entity that’s remembered in American history books as being the political party that started the United States’ “Second Party” political system.
In terms of political ideology, Republicans once boldly embraced national unity via territorial expansionism, a strong national economy / defense and diversity in the sense of ending slavery while welcoming new immigrants from western Europe as new Americans.
Albeit the Native American can legitimately disagree with any historical claim that the U.S. government at any time during it’s metamorphosis as a nation believed in promoting real inclusiveness and real diversity … however that’s another story to be told at another time.
Republicans in 1869 fully understood all to well, the inner frailties of a young nation that had not too long ago liberated itself from the bondage of a English King named George.
They also understood the tremendous sacrifices made by young Americans (from North to South) that lost both life and limb on the smoke filled / blood stained Civil War battlefields of Antietam, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Vicksburg and countless other cow pastures and marshes that stretch as far as Maryland’s Eastern Seaboard to Louisiana’s Gulf of Mexico.
It was a political party that had no inherent love for American Black slaves but inherently understood deep in their “God fearing heart” that the enslavement of another human being was morally wrong.
So having a fundamental understanding of the honorable origin of the Republican Party one has to ask, “what exactly went wrong with today’s Republican Party”?
How and why did the GOP evolve from being the Party of Abraham Lincoln – the so-called Great Emancipator – to a 21st century political entity that now proudly proclaims: (A) “He’s not one of us” (referring to President Obama);
to (B) “We want our country back” (referring to Gays, Atheists, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Middle Easterners and everyone else not White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)
to (C) Being the political party of effervescent, Bible thumping, global warming denying, gun toting evangelists that earnestly believe that “The Earth was literally created in 6 days”.
In fact, when challenged by Progressives about the existence of dinosaurs whose unearthed bones date back millions of years, conservatives are prone to (1) stare at you with indignant disbelief or (2) quickly respond with, “Damn those Dinosaur bones…the devil must have put them there”.
So what in “Sam Hill” happened to a political party that befriended the former slave and built the railroad that connected America’s east and west coasts?
The American Industrial Revolution kicks into high gear
In short, the evolution of the Republican Party began in 3 parts beginning with (1) the ending of the American Civil War’s “Reconstruction Period” in 1877, which in essence was an interesting and complex compromise that was made between the U.S. government and southern state leaders that was intended to “mend hard feelings” and allow the U.S. government to go about it’s business of economic growth.
Ending Reconstruction automatically devalued the life of the newly freed slaves by allowing Southern States (once union troops left the south) to “tend to uppity Negroes” by ushering in an era of Jim Crow laws and lynchings that were not challenged by the federal government.
(2) The complete confiscation of Native American land by forcibly removing Native Americans from their homelands and relocating them on “Indian Reservations” and (3) the love and infatuation with war, money and power.
A switching of roles
From the end of America’s Reconstruction Era in 1877 to the end of the 1950s, the Republican Party as a whole, purposely turned away from openly supporting societal issues that advocated Black civil rights and the overturning of immoral and degrading southern Jim Crow laws.
However outside the “club house” Republicans enjoyed the image of portraying themselves among Black voters as being the Party of Lincoln, especially during election cycles.
Amazingly in a reversal of roles and political ideology the Democratic Party which in 1932 was led by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, embarked on a quest of competing for the Black vote, opting instead to shed it’s Klan’s robes for judicial robes, looking to befriended America’s suffering Negroes in return for their vote.
Southern Democratic leaders that were sworn to subjugating Blacks and their civil rights, began switching political alliances and parties to the civil rights “do little” Republican Party and by the mid 1960s were full fledged Republican card carrying members. Intertwined with a declining percentage of Lincoln Republicans, the newly transformed Southern Republicans became the dominate force in the “house that Lincoln built”.
A party of hypocrites
Now, let’s fast forward the hands of time to November 4, 2008. Barack Obama is elected as the nation’s first Black President and the sons and daughters of the Ku Klux Klan and the Whites Citizens Council are not happy. Under the pretense of hating “Big Government” – they never marched against the Big Governments and high taxes created by either President Ronald Reagan or President Bush # 41 or President Bush # 43 – they vociferously and belligerently marched against a Black President that some in the Republican / Tea Party were now calling the Anti-Christ, a Communist and a Socialist.
Indeed many of them could not force themselves to say that President Obama was “their country’s president” and in a complete act of sheer delusion found comfort in lying about his American citizenship and his religious preference.
A wise person once said that a tiger can never change it’s stripes, so isn’t it logical to ask if we as a nation should believe that in a little more than three years that the “stripes” that currently run down the backs of angry Tea Partiers have now changed into cute little “birth marks” that symbolizes economic and cultural diversity?
The multi trillion dollar question that should be asked by President Obama and Speaker Boehner is, “are members of the Republican Tea Party caucus so blinded by intolerance and ideological differences that they’re willing to crash and burn the American economic system in order to make a political point”? Unless Speaker Boehner is strong enough to pull the plug on the Republican Party’s creation, the answer may very well be “yes”.
As always, the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Is the Tea Party caucus a party of modern day Kamikazes that control the Republican Party? And are deepening political ideological differences between Republicans and Democrats further ruining the United States chances of emerging from it’s “Great Recession”? Inquiring minds want to know. Sound off.
Until next time Louisianans, Good Day, God Bless and Good Fishing.