What Tea Baggers want

WHAT TEA BAGGERS WANT…. As we get closer to Wednesday’s “Tea Parties,” the far-right events continue to draw more attention. I’m still not quite sure what the Tea Baggers want, exactly, though it appears to have something to do with taxes.

To that end, DougJ helpfully posted this Tea Party-related message sent out by Human Events, a right-wing magazine:

In 1773, a handful of men dumped tea into the Boston Harbor. That one act set in motion a chain of events that birthed the greatest nation on earth. But today, many Americans feel helpless as they watch an imperialistic government destroy our Constitution and 237 years of liberty.

The first American Tea Party birthed a nation. The second American Tea Party could help save it!

Just like our Founding Fathers, we’re tired of the way our government is behaving. And lawmakers are refusing to listen. It’s time to exercise our first amendment right and make a statement. The Patriot Depot is helping our friends at Reagan.org raise funds to take 1,000,000 tea bags to the nation’s capital.

We’re also offering FREE T.E.A. Bumper sticker (87 cents shipping and handling). Check out our yard signs, picket signs, T-shirts, and more for a local Tax Day Tea Party near you!

The stickers, signs, and shirts have a simple enough message: “T.E.A. Taxed Enough Already.”

And that’s where I start to get confused about why these events are occurring. Obama already passed the largest middle-class tax cut in history. Yes, he’s proposing increasing the top rate back to where it was when our economy was healthy, but that only means that folks with household income below a quarter-mil aren’t really in a position to whine about the administration’s agenda.

For that matter, given the last several decades, 39.6% is hardly the stuff of revolution*. Indeed, Obama’s rates will be lower than most modern Republican presidents’ rates — and have I mentioned lately that Reagan raised taxes, too?

Which brings us back to where we started: what are these people whining about again? They don’t like economic recovery efforts, but the stimulus has already passed and it’s a little late to rally opposition to it. They don’t like budget deficits, unless they’re run by Republican presidents. They don’t want their taxes to go up, but Obama has already passed a significant tax cut.

Andrew Sullivan summarized this nicely: “These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It’s a function of a movement’s intellectual collapse and a party’s fast-accelerating nervous breakdown.”

Post Script: By the way, I dare you to watch Rachel Maddow’s segment on this from last night and not laugh. It was the first time I can recall seeing Rachel blush on the air.

* corrected