Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Jack, a Hack, and a Quack

Getting lost in the spin-coverage of Sarah Palin, Jan Brewer and Rand Paul is the essence of what they allegedly stand for.

In common, they espouse theme positions that at best do not make sense and at worst are hateful and bigoted. Two of those themes are “the outsider” and “anti-establishment”. Before I get to specifics, let me ask a few questions for clarity. Please, pardon my pronouns.

What is this being “an outsider” supposed to mean other than you have not been elected yet? How does being an outsider benefit your constituency that elects you to office? What is in it for them? How are you going to get what your constituents elected you to get? Do you work well with others? Can you collaborate and negotiate on your constituents’ behalf, especially since that will be with the “insiders” – you know the people who actually run things?

What is this anti-establishment “no more politics as usual” rhetoric supposed to mean? Does that include anarchy? Does that mean other than usual or abnormal politics? Isn’t normal politics as usual really what voters elect a person to do in the first place? Isn’t the conduct of legislating so that the electorate does not have to what normal politics is about? How is being different from other people who successfully do politics for a living a valid qualifier to hold an elected position?

The Tea Party backed son of big-time insider, the rookie Rand Paul’s opinion on the Civil Rights Act did not get the coverage it deserved. The deniable plausibility defense that his comments were taken out of context is a cover-up story. The story is the Tea Party connection and an unconscionable position that supports invalidating parts of the Civil Rights Act. And even if Paul did not mean it, it is tooth paste out of the tube – hard to get back.

His dad called to coverage “unfair,” as if fairness is a high priority to establishment Republicans and their Libertarian cousins like Ron Paul. That Pops Paul is incumbent is because he plays well with others and has for years deserve noting. His official website proclaims that he is “America's leading voice for” among other things “. . . a return to sound monetary policies.” It does not say when such sound monetary policies existed, although presumably it was sometime before the Civil Rights Act, you know like the “I Like Ike” era. I digress.

Both Paul and Palin espouse positions on off-shore drilling that get incomplete or disconnected coverage. Sarah Palin says she remains a "big supporter of offshore drilling" despite the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to AP. She says it’s safer to dig in Alaska. Of the oil spill Paul says that “. . . sometimes accidents happen.” Each excuses the environmental catastrophe BP created. The Tea Party likes drilling. Never mind the pesky environment or conservation.

Meanwhile, Arizona’s governor has new propaganda that is both evocative and shallow. Jan Brewer is Rosie the Riveter, “Doing the Job the Feds won’t do.” That used to be called codswallop. The Feds are the only ones who can do anything about immigration. Arizona’s racial profiling law is being taken to court by no less than the NAACP and is also a matter of presidential inquiry by the Justice Department. Palin’s contribution is the Tea Party connection.

Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act in 1921. President Warren G. Harding signed the law which established national quotas for immigrants, although Latin Americans are not mentioned. It became the Immigration Act of 1924 and lasted until 1965, when it was replaced by Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. After President Lyndon B. Johnson signed that law it went into effect in 1968 and is pretty much at the core of US immigration law today.

Johnson said of Immigartion Act of 1924, "This system violates the basic principle of American democracy, the principle that values and rewards each man on the basis of his merit as a man. It has been un-American in the highest sense, because it has been untrue to the faith that brought thousands to these shores even before we were a country." LBJ signed the Civil Right Act. He was not a lawyer.

Neither Palin or Brewer or Paul is a lawyer so they might not recognize that while their speech may produce resonance with populist sentiment, it espouses segregation. They might not know that the 1896 Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation. It might be unclear that the law remained until the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka renounced it 58 years later. They are not lawyers, alright..

The Tea Party and its spotlight-celebrities do like to cheerlead when they play in their ideological theme park -- “limited government, lower taxes, less spending.” If they really want to cut government size, reduce the tax burden and spend less, so much as they say, how come they do not call for ending the Iraq War and bringing our troops home? That would be all three rides in the Tea Party theme park.

The answer is that they are big supporters of the military, never minding that the military is a huge part of the government and is ridiculously expensive. The Tea Party loves guns, the 2nd Amendment and wants to "take the country back." It is anyone's guess how far back they want to take it.

Being the anti-establishment outsider for limited government who gets elected makes a great movie theme, like Frank Capra’s classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But it ends there. The rhetoric is codswallop. The Tea Party connection of Palin the Jack, Brewer the Hack, and Paul the Quack has a segregationist tilt. The essence that is lost due to inadequate coverage is the disingenuousness of the themes being peddled with such Tea Party pandering.

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