Tag Archives: Tea party

Today’s Republican Party (Part 1)

The following is a terrific clip from the HBO series The Newsroom in which a character who identifies himself as a traditional Republican laments what his party has become.  See it here.

(Part 2 tomorrow)

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Thou Shalt Not Vote for Republicans

The Curmudgeon hates the idea of making blanket statements like “You shouldn’t vote for any Republicans.”

Yet he’s making it anyway.

Though he’s decidedly liberal, The Curmudgeon has voted for many Republicans over the years.  He’s done most of his voting in Philadelphia, and during that time he voted for Republicans for every local office:  mayor, city council, district attorney, judge, and the minor offices.  He’s voted for Republicans for state offices:  governor, state representative, state senator, attorney general, treasurer, auditor general, and appellate court judges.  And he’s voted for Republicans for federal offices:  House of Representatives and Senate.  He even once voted for a Republican for President, although that Republican was running as an independent candidate at the time (remember John Anderson?).

But no more.

There are a lot of good people out there who are Republicans, people The Curmudgeon likes and respects, people who have excellent reasons to be Republicans.  Some of them are even related to The Curmudgeon.  But their party has been taken over – hijacked, really – by a lunatic fringe that seeks to undermine American life and the American way in ways that make other radicals blush.  They are more extreme than communists, more extreme than anarchists, more extreme than libertarians, more extreme than the most extreme of liberals.

They are America’s own homegrown, homeland terrorists bent on overturning a way of life.

The Curmudgeon has no beef with those who disagree with him about how best to stimulate the economy, stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons, or reduce American dependence on foreign oil.  He welcomes different ideas about what to do about the middle east, how to produce a more educated population, and how to improve the country’s infrastructure.  What he cannot accept, however, is the obvious desire of this “new” Republican Party to dismantle virtually every aspect of our social safety net.  Ironically, people who don’t believe in the science of Darwin (and yes, it’s science, not a theory), or any other science that gets in the way of their financial interests, are themselves social Darwinists, committed believers in the survival of the fittest – and the willful destruction, by the fittest, of everyone else.

They want to take your Social Security, or your parents’ Social Security, and turn it into a business opportunity and feeding frenzy for the same financial interests that are responsible for the mess our economy’s in today.  If doing so leaves the elderly unable to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take your Medicare, or your parents’ Medicare, and turn it into something that will leave many older people, possibly even most older people, without the ability to pay for or obtain medical care at the very time of life when they will most need such care.  If doing so leaves them sick and dying, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take Medicaid, that most important health care safety net, and turn it into something that will not be there when misfortune strikes and people need it most.  If people who have come upon hard times find themselves unable to obtain care when sick or injured, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take public schools and turn them into an investment opportunity for their friends and a subsidy for the private education of their own children, doing so in a manner that will certainly help a few but would do so at the expense of the many – and especially, at the expense of the many of limited means.

They want to reserve college, the key to the future for many young people, as a privilege only for the privileged.

But they aspire to do more than merely destroy the social safety net.

They want to reduce your mothers, your sisters, and your daughters to the status they had a hundred years ago, with no right to make important decisions about their lives and their bodies and their futures.  That some of these people are themselves women is absolutely frightening.

They want to prevent from voting the very kinds of people who might vote against them – the elderly, the poor, and the non-white.  And while they’re at it, they’ve put the American political system up for sale to the highest bidders.

They want to dismantle the constitution based on the misguided concept of “original intent” that for all intents and purposes didn’t exist until the 1970s – as if anyone knows what Madison and his colleagues were truly thinking when they wrote the constitution, as if The Federalist Papers were anything more than a sales document, and as if anyone can seriously argue that a 21st-century society should be governed according to 18th-century principles.

They want to reduce the federal government to an extremely limited instrument that, among other things, would be an impotent spectator today in the aftermath of the storms that struck the east coast last week.

They want to turn the tax structure into a system that helps the rich get richer while avoiding paying their fair share.  They’ve waged open warfare on working people and the poor for more than thirty years, helping themselves to larger and larger pieces of the American pie, and now that those working people have awakened to what’s been done to them and have started fighting back, they have the audacity to charge those working people with seeking to wage class warfare.

They want to take any work that can be done cheaper elsewhere and send it overseas, turning millions of Americans into virtually minimum wage workers.  They’ve chosen as their national standard-bearer a child of privilege who made millions pioneering that very practice ­– a man who sees high unemployment and instinctively thinks “cheap labor.”

While they’re at it, they’d love to gut that minimum wage, too.

They want their limited government to bow to the needs of large businesses in distress but turn a blind eye to ordinary people in similar distress.

They want to eviscerate regulations that keep the air clean, the water pure, and people safe.  It’s more important, they insist, for businesses to have the opportunity to make money unfettered by such nuisances.

They want to destroy unions, depriving vulnerable working people of the only protection they now have from employers, already rich, who want to grow richer by reducing their pay, cutting their benefits, working them harder, making them more vulnerable to injury and illness where they work, and telling them they should be grateful to have any work at all.

Democrats are far from perfect.  The Democrat running for re-election to the Senate where The Curmudgeon lives, in New Jersey, is truly vile.  The Democrat running for re-election in Pennsylvania, where The Curmudgeon used to live, is the personification of mediocrity.  But on their worst days, both of these men, who might struggle under ordinary circumstances just to earn an honest living and put bread on their families’ tables, are light years better than the extremists who seek to unseat them.

No, the people who’ve taken over the Republican Party have almost nothing in common with people we normally associate with Republicans.  They have almost nothing in common with people we normally associate with America.

And they don’t deserve your vote – not a single one of them – until they change their ways.

 

 

Behind the Scenes at a Romney Strategy Session

A Sketch in One Act

(A small conference room.  Two men are seated.  One is Fred Hamilton, who has been on Mitt Romney’s campaign staff since 2006.  Before that, he worked for Romney in Massachusetts, on the Salt Lake City Olympic committee, and at Bain.  The other man is Jerry Wrightman, founder of the Tea Party organization in Ohio and its current leader.  They are chatting quietly but awkwardly when a third man arrives:  Carl Lemon, one of the Republican Party’s top political strategists.)

HAMILTON:  Gentlemen, thank you for joining me this morning.  As you know, we’re faced with the very challenging task of trying to improve our standing with both the Tea Party and Republicans who are more centrist and voted for Obama four years ago.  We need your help with the Tea Party people.

WRIGHTMAN (grimacing):  Well, your boy’s practically a socialist, what with his health care plan in Massachusetts and his past support of abortion and gun control and the stimulus.  You’re gonna need to show us that he’s different from Obama, because right now, the only difference we see between the two of them is that my people would cross the street if the guy they saw walking toward them looked more like Obama.

LEMON (shaking his head from side to side):  That’s right, Jerry, get it all out of your system now so we can get down to the business at hand.

WRIGHTMAN:  Am I wrong, Carl?

LEMON:  Whether you’re right or wrong doesn’t matter anymore.  We now have two candidates, Romney and the Kenyan.  It’s one or the other.  If you don’t see any difference, feel free to go back to your people and tell them it doesn’t matter who they vote for.  If you don’t really feel that way, though, kindly extract your head from your ass and cut the crap.

WRIGHTMAN:  I’m just saying, Carl.  Yeesh, don’t be so serious.

LEMON:  This is serious business, Jerry.  The future of the republic is hanging in the balance.

WRIGHTMAN:  If you’re not happy with your boy either, we could always put up our own candidate and take our chances with that.

HAMILTON:  Please, gentlemen!  Let’s get back to the business at hand.

LEMON:  No, Fred, hold on a minute, I need to make a point here.  (turns to Wrightman)  Who’s your candidate, Jerry?  Who do you have who wasn’t already rejected in the primaries by your own people?

WRIGHTMAN:  Well, there’s Jeb.

LEMON:  He’s not even one of yours.  Who else?

WRIGHTMAN:  One of our spiritual founders, Jim DeMint.

LEMON:  Really?  Five months before the election and you want to go with somebody no one’s ever even heard of?

WRIGHTMAN:  Chris Christie.  People certainly have heard of him.

LEMON:  No guts, pardon the pun.  Next?

WRIGHTMAN:  Well, there’s…Sarah.

LEMON:  Okay, now you’re just wasting our time.  She’s too busy trying to get rich.  Four years in the White House would hurt her cash flow.  Besides, as a candidate, she couldn’t find that fine ass of hers with both hands.  Even if you had a candidate, it would only take votes away from Romney and ensure that the Kenyan wins.  Is that what you want?

WRIGHTMAN:  No, but…

LEMON:  The primaries are over, Jerry, and the time for buts is over, too.  Romney’s the guy, whether you like it or not, so let’s get back to the problem at hand.

HAMILTON:  Yes, let’s.  Does either one of you have any ideas for something we can do that’ll get the far right enthusiastically behind us in November?

WRIGHTMAN (excitedly):  Social Security.  It’s pure socialism, and Mitt should say that if he’s elected, he’ll dismantle Social Security and let people make their own retirement investment decisions without government interference.

HAMILTON:  Jerry, that’s not quite what we had in mind for…

LEMON (turning toward Wrightman):  Hey, shit-for-brains, do you just want to concede the election to the Kenyan right now?

WRIGHTMAN:  Okay, smart guy, what do you have?

LEMON (smiling):  Actually, I do have something.  We need to create our own issue, like Willie Horton in ’88 or those swift boat loons we ginned up to sell their souls to the devil back in 2004.  We need to pay a lot of attention to something that most people don’t care about and use it to take over a few news cycles and score cheap ideological points that rally people – in this case, the screwy people.

WRIGHTMAN:  You establishment Republicans have no respect for us, and it’s going to hurt you.

LEMON:  I’m scared, Jerry, I’m scared.

HAMILTON (ignoring the last exchange):  What do you have in mind, Carl?

LEMON (sitting forward):  Student loans.  We hit them on student loans.

WRIGHTMAN (laughing):  That’s your big idea?  Student loans?

LEMON:  It’s perfect.  There’s a big fuss going on in Congress over student loans.  The interest rates are scheduled to rise and Democrats are falling all over themselves trying to prevent that.  Republicans are saying they’ll go along in exchange for spending cuts, but that makes them look like they’re just getting in the way for the sake of getting in the way.  In other words, politics as usual.  The way to score points is to take a stand, regardless of what that stand is.  In this case, they should refuse even to consider preventing the interest rate increase and start talking instead about de-funding the entire federal student loan program.

HAMILTON:  What?  You have to be out of your mind.

LEMON:  Great – a strategy critique from a guy whose next successful political strategy will be his first.  Not only should we do it, but your boy should lead the way.

HAMILTON:  Seriously, Carl, that’s a terrible idea.

LEMON:  No, it’s a perfect idea.  Look, long-time Republicans – real Republicans, not your Tea Party wing-nuts…

WRIGHTMAN (interrupting):  Hey!

LEMON:  Real Republicans have their own money.  They don’t need student loans to put their kids through school.  Well, in this campaign, they’re no longer student loans:  they’re government handouts.  They’re unfunded mandates.  They’re entitlement spending we can no longer afford.  Real Republicans don’t need student loans and don’t want to give other people handouts to put their kids through college when they’re putting their own kids through school without the government’s help.

HAMILTON:  Technically, it’s not an entitlement.

LEMON:  It will be when we talk about it.

HAMILTON:  What about the middle class?

LEMON:  Polling shows the middle class doesn’t make voting decisions on issues like this, so there’s no risk of alienating them.

HAMILTON:  What about the poor and minorities?

LEMON:  Fuck the poor and minorities.  Why should you care about the poor and minorities?  There’s not a chance in hell they’ll vote for your guy, so why should you care about them?

WRIGHTMAN:  So how does this help win over my people – assuming you’re even serious about trying to win us over?

LEMON:  Quit the posturing, tea-boy.  Do you remember during the primaries, when the Kenyan said that every kid should go to college and…

HAMILTON (interrupting):  No, that’s not what the president said.  He said that every kid who wants to go to college should be able to go to college.

LEMON:  Let’s not let this strategy get bogged down by the facts, Fred.  Remember swift boat.  Do you remember what happened?  Santorum called the Kenyan an elitist and said that not everyone needs to go to college and that saying so was an insult to honest working people everywhere.  He got tremendous traction on that, especially among your tea-baggers.

WRIGHTMAN:  That’s Tea Party, Carl.  Tea-baggers are a totally different thing.

LEMON:  Whatever.  Your people ate it up because so many of them didn’t go to college and have never understood all the fuss about college.  Going all the way back to Nixon in ’68, Republicans have always scored huge political points taking shots at all those liberal college-boy eastern elitists in politics and the media.  Your people didn’t go to college, Jerry, and they don’t particularly care whether their kids go to college, either.  So then tell me, who are student loans for?  (momentary silence)  I’ll tell you who they’re for:  they’re for eastern elitists and big-city liberals.  Why should Tea Party Republicans – your people – turn over their hard-earned money to subsidize college for those people ?

HAMILTON:  So you want to make fun of educated people?

WRIGHTMAN:  I think I’m starting to like this.

LEMON:  You see, Fred?  The uneducated guy like this.  Our target here isn’t just the Tea Party, either:  this’ll also resonate with working-class conservatives, Republicans, and even blue-collar Democrats.  These people didn’t go to college, never wanted to go to college, don’t care if their kids go to college, and don’t want to subsidize people who do go to college.  This issue is just ripe for us to pull out our tried and true strategy that when we propose something that we know will be unpopular with some people, we just insist that we should let the market decide without government interference or intervention.  No one knows what that actually means, but our base eats it up and it scares the crap out of the liberals.

WRIGHTMAN (smiling):  I think I like it.

HAMILTON:  Wait a minute.  Are you forgetting that Mitt has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young and both an MBA and a law degree from Harvard?  And that Bush senior had a degree from Yale and Bush junior had a bachelor’s degree from Yale and an MBA from Harvard?

LEMON:  That’s the beauty of it.  You respect the Bushes and I respect the Bushes, but the Tea Party people can’t stand them.  To a member of the Tea Party, the only difference between W and Teddy Kennedy is a dead party girl in the river.

HAMILTON:  You’re kidding.

LEMON:  No, I’m not.  Believe me – I’ve polled on it.  Look, Mitt went into Philadelphia a few weeks ago and said that the whole education establishment’s mystique about small class size is a crock, remember?  And has he gotten any meaningful pushback from that?  No – barely a peep.  Don’t you see?  This also gives us an opportunity to take a few shots at overpaid public school teachers and their unions if they try to fight back.  Tea Party people hate public employees and their unions with a passion.  If you walk through a Tea Party crowd when Mitt gets on a stage and starts talking about overpaid teachers and their unions, the men will practically have hard-ons they’ll be so excited.

WRIGHTMAN:  I can sell this to my people.

LEMON:  But we can take it even further.  We can take shots at all those elitist, liberal-run universities that claim they’re non-profit organizations so they can evade taxes.  We can talk about the huge salaries they pay their administrators and professors and their astronomical tuition, too.  We can compare their tuition to that of legitimate internet universities and ask what in the world they’re doing with all that tuition money.  And the best part of this angle, just a little cherry on top, is that the high and mighty Washington Post will have to sit out the whole thing because it owns one of those internet colleges and would go belly-up tomorrow without it.  We’ll have that bitch Katherine Graham’s tit in a wringer.

HAMILTON:  Carl, you realize Katherine Graham’s been dead for more than ten years, don’t you?

LEMON:  Who cares?  You get my drift.

HAMILTON:  So you’re saying you want Mitt to be the anti-education candidate?  Are you serious?

LEMON:  Serious as a heart attack.

HAMILTON:  The governor’ll never go for it.  He values education and respects educated people.  Look at him, his family, his kids, the people around him.  He’s never going to question the value of higher education.  He may question its cost, he may question some of the things being taught, but question the value of higher education?  It’s not going to happen.  He’s just not going to go there, Carl.

LEMON:  Oh, he’ll go there.

HAMILTON:  What makes you think that?

LEMON:  Because not believing it won’t stop him from saying it.

HAMILTON:  What?

LEMON:  Oh, come on, Fred, he does it every day.  Health care, abortion, the stimulus, stem cell research, the minimum wage, amnesty for illegals, gun control, bailing out banks – do you want me to go on?  He’s constantly saying things he doesn’t believe so people will like him and vote for him.

HAMILTON:  That’s not true.  People change over time, their views evolve.

LEMON:  Save it for your book, son.  This is politics.  People say things they don’t believe to get elected.

HAMILTON:  Not the governor.

LEMON:  Yes, the governor.  Take it to him, let him decide.  You can keep your hands clean and tell him it’s my idea and you’re only being an honest broker.

WRIGHTMAN:  You guys realize I’m sitting here, right?

LEMON:  Some things are unavoidable.

WRIGHTMAN:  The Tea Party wants action, not just talk.  Even if you get him to say it, what good does it do us if it helps him get elected and then he doesn’t do it?

LEMON:  Good lord, are you people stupid.

WRIGHTMAN:  Excuse me?

LEMON:  It’s about the table, nimrod.

WRIGHTMAN (Looks for a moment at the conference room table): What?

LEMON:  The table.  What you guys want is a seat at the table in a Romney administration.  Romney says things like this, he gets elected with your help, and you and your cult get a seat at the table where they decide real things, not nonsense like student loans.

HAMILTON:  He’ll never go for it.

LEMON:  Does he want to be president?

HAMILTON:  Of course he wants to be president.

LEMON:  Then he’ll go for it.

HAMILTON:  No he won’t.  He’s a man of principle.

LEMON:  John McCain had principles.  He wouldn’t talk about Reverend Wright, wouldn’t talk about this guy being born in Kenya, wouldn’t talk about him being a Muslim, wouldn’t talk about his wife being ashamed of being an American, and where did it get him?  Now he’s just an old, cranky, bitter guy, just like Bob Dole before him.  Principles are for losers.  If your guy wants to be president badly enough, he knows what he has to do to get there.  Say what you want about Mitt, but he’s a focused and disciplined guy who knows how to keep his eye on the prize.  He’s not gonna go soft now, not when it’s closer than ever.  Six years, more rubber chicken that the colonel could possibly imagine, there’s no turning back now.

(There’s a knock on the door.  Without waiting for an invitation, Mitt Romney enters.)

ROMNEY:  How’s it going, fellas?

HAMILTON (looking up and forcing an unconvincing smile):  This is a sticky challenge, governor.  We’re tossing around a few ideas but haven’t yet come up with anything solid.

LEMON:  I’m not sure I agree with that.  I have something for you, governor.

ROMNEY (looking to Hamilton):  Fred?

LEMON:  Fred doesn’t like it, governor, but I think it’s worth sharing.

(Hamilton tilts back in his chair, visibly unhappy.  Romney notices and nods at him.)

ROMNEY:  Let’s hear it and I’ll decide for myself.

HAMILTON:  Well, governor, it’s like this…

THE END

Contradictions Plague the Tea Party

One of the many flaws of the fatally flawed tea party is that so many of its members, while complaining about the many areas of endeavor that they think the federal government should abandon, are themselves feeding off the public teat they ostensibly abhor.  This is getting more and more attention, and an article in this past Sunday’s New York Times illustrated this point well.

The article, “Even Critics of Safety Net Increasingly Depend on It,” is worth reading; you can find it here.  While The Curmudgeon could go on about this subject at length – he’ll probably come back to it in the future, and possibly more than once – for now he’d just like to present the situation of an individual who is used as an example in the Times story.  He’s Ki Gulbranson, a small business owner who makes about $39,000 a year.  The article reports that “He says that too many Americans lean on taxpayers rather than living within their means.  He supports politicians who promise to cut government spending.”

It’s clear from the article that Mr. Gulbranson is a good man who works hard to provide for his family.  As readers learn, though, he’s not able to do so entirely on his own:  he receives an earned-income tax credit and his three children eat free breakfast and lunch at school – meals paid for by taxpayers and that nasty federal government.

The story quotes Mr. Gulbranson saying, “I don’t demand that the government does this for me.  I don’t feel like I need the government.”

No, he doesn’t “need” the government and he doesn’t “demand” that it do these things for him – but he sure files for that earned-income tax credit and signs up for those free meals for his kids.

Is he a bad guy?  No.  Is he a confused guy?  Obviously.  But what he is, not consciously perhaps, is a hypocrite.  A lot of these tea partiers are in the same boat:  they want their benefits – their social security, their Medicare, and more – and they somehow don’t see anything wrong with that.  They’re against the redistribution of income – unless some of that redistributed income is being sent their way.  They lose their jobs and sign up for unemployment, but when some members of Congress want to extend unemployment benefits because the economy’s so bad, they complain that those members of Congress are socialists out to destroy the country.  They themselves are deserving of government support but others aren’t.  We all know who those “others” usually are, too.

They’re misguided, they’re wrong, they’re angry, and some slick people have sold them a bill of goods and convinced them that the government – any government – is their enemy.

It’s not, and while there are people in the tea party who understand their cause and truly believe it, the group seems to be dominated by those kids who always sat in the back of the classroom and never carried any books and there’s little chance of persuading them that they’re being led around by the nose to support or oppose things they don’t even understand.

Mini-Rumination: Which Movement Are We Talking About?

“Big Government” (biggovernment.com) is a web site run by a fellow named Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger of sorts who, failing to gain recognition as a legitimate voice and brain, has chosen to wallow instead in the muck of occasional sensationalism.  He had some role in the Shirley Sherrod scandal more than a year ago – a role that is still apparently being defined in a court of law.  He’s also the person who first exposed – pardon the pun – the tweeted photograph of former congressman Anthony Weiner’s weiner.

We’re not exactly talking Walter Cronkite here.

Recently, Big Government featured a two-part piece called “Occupycalypse Now,” by a recent college graduate who is described as “an avid hunter and firearms enthusiast”… who for now “works at a local gun store while he is completing his Masters thesis and Missouri Geology Certification.”

“Occupycalypse Now” is hysterical – hysterical as in funny and hysterical as in evoking hysteria.  It speculates on a ridiculous scenario in which the Occupy Wall Street movement aspires to overthrow the U.S. government.

The Curmudgeon would like to present a few selections from this screed.  To be fair, these selections, quoted verbatim, are presented without context.

For some of us, it’s difficult to take the Occupy movement seriously.  However, for once, let’s do just that and ask the simple question, ‘What if the Occupiers take power?’

In reality, though, the only way the Occupy movement could garner power would be through direct, possibly violent, confrontations with authority figures.  Their demands are too absurd to be accepted by the general public en masse.

If anyone succeeds in bringing down the United States government or creating a social dislocation that breaks this fragile, amazing machine the Founders create, what comes after is not pleasant.  What comes is what was before the Dream of America.  That was simply survival of the most vicious.

These guys are good at anarchy…because they are without conscience or any sense of moderation…That is what anarchy looks like.

These movements are regularly co-opted by more insidious ideologies.  Those who instigated the French Revolution ultimately found their way to the guillotines just as many of the antagonists who toppled the Russian Empire found their way into the gulags of Soviet Russia.

The irony with the Occupy people is they seem to be pining for an age that has never, and cannot, exist.  Instead, you end up with an age of the top level in the elite and a whole lot of people at the bottom…To want to destroy a system that abrogates that is appalllingly stupid.

It was suggested by those interviewed that the Occupy movement will only further polarize our nation, and I agree.

…we may mistakenly dismiss the OWS [Occupy Wall Street] protesters as incapable of having any rational idea of how to run our country.  However, as suggested, these people have an idealized vision of that end, albeit one lacking significant consequential understanding.

Let’s face it, though; many of them are facing poor job prospects and massive amounts of debt.  They’re pissed and, in some ways, I don’t blame them.  Yet millions have chosen a different path from these radicals – one of personal responsibility – and therein lies the ultimate downfall of the OWS movement.

The Curmudgeon would like to offer a few observations.

First, in what alternative universe does anyone believe the objective of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its various off-shoots is to overthrow and take over the U.S. government?  Hasn’t the chief complaint about the movement since day one been that its members have utterly and repeatedly failed to articulate any concrete objectives at all?  Even liberals have found this exasperating, yet here, a voice of the conservative movement – the same movement that has been busy mocking the meandering, wifty ways of the Occupy movement – has suddenly uncovered the movement’s hidden motives.  Thoses motives are so hidden, one suspects, that even Occupy participants are unaware of them.

Second, the author seems to fear that Occupy’s participants are violent.  Really?  These long-haired, slow-moving, kumbaya-singing, indolent semi-protesters will engage in “direct, possibly violent confrontations with authority figures”?  Really?

Third, and the reason The Curmudgeon has chosen to offer an entire post about an unknown writer published on an irrelevant web site, is this:  the reader could take every single statement quoted above from the article, substitute the words “Tea Party” wherever it uses “Occupy Wall Street,” and the author’s assertions would not only be at least as valid, but they also almost certainly would be even more valid, more relevant, and more true.

Try it; it’s fun.

Mini-Rumination: A U.S. President Born in a Foreign Country?

Think the argument that President Obama isn’t qualified to serve as President because he was born in another country is unique?

Think again.

It’s happened before.

Chester Alan Arthur came to Washington, D.C. as the ultimate political hack; he had never been elected to any public office and was fired from the one and only government job he ever held amid allegations of corruption.  When President James Garfield lay dying from an assassin’s bullet, many Americans despaired at the thought of Arthur, his Vice President, taking his place.

In her book Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard writes that

Enraged by the very idea of Arthur taking over the presidency, Americans across the country readied themselves as if for battle.  Some took a tactical approach, frantically trying to revive the rumor, started during the campaign, that the vice president had been born in Canada, and so was constitutionally prohibited from becoming president.

So it looks like The Donald and all those tea party fools not only were wrong but also weren’t even original.