Tea Party: Long on Emotion but Short on Truth

The problem with the Tea Party movement is that it is fueled by emotion (chiefly fear and anger) rather than reason. The majority of people supporting the movement simply do not have facts to support their opinions. Consider the results of an April 2010 poll of Tea Party Supporters:

Nearly half say the main goal of the movement is to reduce the role of the federal government, far outdistancing any other consideration.

An overwhelming majority of Tea Party supporters, 84 percent, say the views of the Tea Party movement reflect the views of most Americans. But Americans overall disagree: Just 25 percent say the Tea Party movement reflects their beliefs, while 36 percent say it does not.

Thirty percent of Tea Party supporters believe Mr. Obama was born in another country, despite ample evidence to the contrary. Another 29 percent say they don't know. Twenty percent of Americans overall, one in five, believe the president was not born in the United States.

Eighty-eight percent disapprove of President Obama's performance on the job. … Asked to volunteer what they don't like about Mr. Obama, the top answer, offered by 19 percent of Tea Party supporters, was that they just don't like him.

Sixty-four percent believe that the president has increased taxes for most Americans, despite the fact that the vast majority of Americans got a tax cut under the Obama administration.

From: Tea Party Supporters: Who They Are and What They Believe

Commenting on the lack of logic and introspection behind the Tea Partiers’ opinions, Ben Adler for Newsweek wrote:
[An Associated Press reporter] dutifully quotes their[Tea Partiers’] antipathy toward government, taxes, and deficit spending, and their horror at the accusation that they are motivated by racial animus. But the reporter seems never to have posed any serious questions about what tradeoffs they would make to achieve their stated goals.

There are only two ways to balance a budget in the red: raising taxes, which Tea Partiers vehemently oppose, and cutting spending. But what spending should be cut? Defense and veterans spending, which accounts for 54 percent of the federal budget? … Discretionary domestic spending is the favorite target of fiscal conservatives. But when it comes to specifics, suddenly every program seems worthier than when demonized in the collective abstract. …

Likewise, a University of Washington poll found Tea Partiers to be roughly twice as likely to have negative attitudes about African-Americans and immigrants as the general population. Might it be possible that the Tea Partiers who profess no racial motivation are, let's say, not entirely aware of their own visceral motivations? …

The closer you look, the more the Tea Party just looks like any other right-wing populist movement: it is motivated by fear of immigration, fear of new religious modes of expression, racial resentments, opposition to gay rights, and claims about taxes and spending that often don't add up under scrutiny.

I don’t have a problem with people disagreeing with my opinions—and I welcome your comments if you disagree with some of my blog posts—but I have a huge problem with people who loudly voice their views (and cast their votes) when they are ignorant of the facts.

Further reading:
10 fictitious Tea Party beliefs

No comments:

Post a Comment