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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) — Constitution talk routinely bubbles up at discussions in Tea Party gatherings. References to the Constitution are used to justify positions and render particular views incontestable.

But some parts of the Constitution are favored over others. During 2010 and 2011, we attended dozens of Tea Party meetings in several states, from Massachusetts to Arizona, and gathered research on hundreds more. In a telling aside during a question- and-answer period with members of the York County Constitutionalists in North Berwick, Maine, one speaker mentioned that he might prefer to limit the amendments to the Constitution to the Bill of Rights and omit the rest altogether.

  • PAUL DUMAS

    informative

  • BobVietVet

    The problem for society in general is that it doesn’t matter if the emotion is fear or anger, the reaction is the same- vote in your own imagined self interest and screw the rest. My fear is that this is the same set of emotions that drove post WWI Germany into the Nazi’s political camp. They stoked up fear of the Jews taking over the economic wealth of that nation. The current fear being stoked up is that liberals are taking over the economic wealth of America in favor of “illegals” and those considered less deserving.

  • Common Sense Patriot

    This article may be correct about the values and fears of Tea Party members, but I think the fear cited is more widespread than just among Tea Party members. I’m certainly afraid and I’m not a knee-jerk voter. I am a conservative on many issues but liberal on others. I have voted mostly for Republicans and at one time was an active Republican Party worker on the inside. But as I have watched America change for the worst, my positions have changed and I now consider myself an Independent Conservative. I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats, including Obama. But year after year, I have been sorely disappointed by the quality of candidates we have, both nationally, statewide, and locally. More and more it has become a choice between the lesser of two evils. I’m retired now and have had more time to look into this phenomenon, which I was aware of for the past couple of decades but with work and raising a family, I never had the time to figure out just what was happening. I now see it through the eyes of a trained journalist, business executive, and former activist within the Republican Party who helped change Texas from a solidly Democratic state to one with many Republican elected officials. Unfortunately, it has become far too Republican. Any one side who dominates a state or a nation inevitably succumbs fo the excesses of power that are embodied in that old adage, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s true in business and politics. And it’s also proving to be true in a socio-economic sense. The top 1% vs the 99%, or at least the top 20% vs the remaining 80%. They have most of the wealth, pay the least taxes, have bought the politicians, and continue to enrich themselves at a rate that is staggering, as the middle class shrinks and the poor increase. I fear for a country that is controlled by an uber-rich, elite group which includes most highly overpaid corporate executives. I fear for a nation that seems split along ideological lines that have not been this bad since the period just before the Civil War. Look at most national elections in the past 20 years. They have been split almost down the middle and the members of those two groups are becoming more and more extreme. Moderation and moderates seem to have disappeared. I, for instance, am against the ever-increasing number of lazy people who have their hands out for government money and don’t seem to want to work for anything. But that doesn’t mean I have no sympathy for the poor. I was born poor and raised poor. I lived from paycheck to paycheck for a good portion of my life, but finally climbed the corporate ladder to a point that, once my children were gone, I have been able to accumulate a modest amount of wealth. I’m willing to give a hand up to people in need. I’ve spent most of my life helping friends, family members, and various charities with a good portion of my income. But I absolutely abhor welfare in its present state. I strips people of dignity and leaves them a multi-generational leech on society. Welfare should be temporary with mandatory training and education for up to 2 years so these people can acquire needed job skills and work for a living. For many, that also would mean government paid child care while they are attending training/school. But I’m willing to do that. Likewise, unemployment needs to be changed so it is not just a temporary, barely liveable amount of paid benefits that do nothing to address the real problem: America’s economy is now a world economy and we simply cannot compete on a simple labor basis with Chinese workers who earn $2 a day while employers have to pay from $10 to $40 an hour for the same work her ein the U. S. Those kinds of manual labor, manufacturing jobs are gone forever. So, let’s face that and include mandatory retraining and education for those on unemployment if they are not able to find a new job within 4 months of losing the old one. For that matter, let’s face the fact that the only solution for America’s workers is to become the most skilled, highly trained and educated workforce in the world. That’s something that is not easily duplicated elsewhere. So, improve our schools by the only educational reform that has been proven to work, even in inner-city, poverty stricken, crime ridden neighborhoods — charter schools with autonomy and the parent’s right to send their kids to any public charter school they wish. Dropout rates pllummet. Academic achievement and college bound kids soar. The kids love school. And let’s make post high school education up to a Bachelor’s degree, at least in STEM subjects, free. (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.) Many other countries already have free post high school education. College is not for everyone, but we also need well trained people for vocational jobs: electricians, welders, computer repair technicians, HVAC technicians, medical technicians and more. So, let’s reform the largely fraudulent vocational training industry by replacing it with free community college/vocational training schools. The cost will be substantial, but the payoff will be even greater. We will have people employed in productive jobs, not people on welfare and unemployment who can’t get a decent job. They’ll pay more taxes instead of draining the public treasury with no hope of an improvement in life. The REAL American Dream is to be able to have freedom and opportunity for a comfortable life with a home, car, food, medical care, and the ability to help your kids. Now does that sound like a nut case Tea Party ultra-conservative? No. And there are lots of people out there just like me. We don’t adhere to extremes. And while we may be religious, we don’t think we need to force our religions down the throats of people who don’t want to hear it or be a part of it. Religion, too, is a freedom – the freedom to be religious or to not be religious. As long as your moral, it doesn’t matter. And that means not imposing your relgious views about homosexuality, gay marriage, out of wedlock sex, or other things. If you believe these things are wrong, then voice your concerns and vote your conscience, but don’t try to use government to impose it on others. The problem with all this is that the two parties have been taken over by extremists. I don’t care what state you vote in or who the candidates are – the candidates won’t be worth a darn. Once more, voters will face that perennial “”lesser of two evils” choice. The reason there is such a dearth of good candidates in the Republican races this year is the same reason there has been such a poor crop of candidates in every election for the last 20 years – extremists have taken over the Democratic and Republican Parties – left wing ideologues and fanatics in the Democratic Party and right wing neo-Nazi, knee jerk ideologues and fanatics in the Republican Party.
    The reality of political elections is that you can’t get nominated if you don’t appeal to the extremists who control both party’s machinery. The Republican base doesn’t like Romney or any other moderate national, state or local candidate. The Republican base has been taken over by right wing extremists, composed of a loose network of tea party reactionaries, religious fundamentalists, one issue voters (abortion, immigration, etc.)and people so far to the right they make Nazi’s look like liberals.
    This is not just my opinion. Search the internet and you will find a clear plan by those right wing activists, especially when the Tea Party was organizing for the 2010 elections, that advises like minded nuts to become precinct chairs and delegates to the county, state, and national conventions. They quite correctly state that this is the way to power. And they succeeded, at least enough so that they have significant control of the party machinery which raises money, gets out the vote, distributes literature, and holds neighborhood meetings. Most importantly, they are the ones who select the candidates that will run in the primary.
    It works this way in both parties. I know. I was a political activist in the 70s who helped turn Texas into a solidly Republican state, wrenching control from the Democrats. I was a paid consultant and one thing I learned is that the average voter has no idea how politics really works. They complain about the candidates in the primaries and even more so when the general election comes about. They end up voting for the “lesser evil”. They feel they have done their duty by voting, but it is not enough. It’s like starting a race when the other runners have already completed the first lap.
    The same thing has happened in the Democratic Party, only it is controlled by left wing extremist radicals with virtually socialist agendas who despise capitalism and believe in big brother government handing out a never ending cornucopia of money to every hand that’s out to be filled with no thought about where the money comes from or that it will eventually, and nearly has, bankrupted the government (look at what’s happened to the socialist democratic governments of Europe and their financial crisis that is now forcing extreme austerity measures and causing riots).
    The right wing Republicans are just as bad, believing in no government regulation, unfettered capitalistic greed, extremist religious positions (a theocracy), destroying the environment in the name of profits and easy money, and most of all, the preservation and dominance of a politically corrupt uber rich upper class that controls the country. They are crafty idiots. All of them. On both sides.
    Things will not change with all the talk, opinions, protests, editorials, blogs, etc. They will only change when moderates get involved at the precinct level of politics and take back control of their respective parties.
    McCain was a moderate, frequently “crossing the aisle” to partner with Democrats on some legislation, including liberals like Ted Kennedy. That made him hated by the Republican base. He only won the Republican nomination because he started taking more right wing stances and slavishly courted the right wing Republican base. But even after the nomination, his support was lukewarm and he knew he couldn’t get out the party machinery in the general election, so he chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, which at least gained him the support of the Republican base. But in the general election, independents and moderates blanched at the idea of Sarah Palin being one heartbeat away from the Presidency, so he lost the election.
    Romney is now in the same position, flip flopping previously moderate and even some liberal views to gain support from the right wing party base. No candidate can win the Republican nomination without it. But once he gets in the general election, he will face the same problems as McCain. The same is true of candidates for the Senate or House, and for state candidates for Governor of state senate or house, even local races that are partisan for mayor, county commissioners and city councils.
    Obama and many Democrats may be unpopular, even with many in their own party, but they will vote for them because they don’t like what the Tea Party conservatives have done in Congress.
    This election is certainly about more than the Presidency. No President can get anything done without strong support in Congress. Nor can any governor without strong support in his/her state legislature. Since radical extremists control both party’s machinery, they will seek to nominate candidates in line with their respective extremist philosophies. Moderates and independents will again have only a choice of the “lesser of two evils.” No matter who wins what race, they are almost sure to be an extremist right or left winger. Today, there is not a single moderate member of Congress, so we deadlock and get nothing done.
    Wake up, America! Wake up moderates! Wake up independents! For that matter wake up if you are not an extremist liberal or conservative. Take back the party machinery. Get off your duffs and save the country from the control of the extremist fanatics!

  • EATHERICH

    wake up folks, grandpaw bush was a card carring nazi, he raised his kids and their kids, look around at what we have. corporate welfare, law that protects crooked bankers, politictions owned by big oil and big drug.loopholes in the tax laws that let billionares pay less taxes than working stiffs in every productive job left.prosicute treason. remove the profiteres from government. repeal the patriot act, so we have a bill of rights again.

  • TWFlash

    This is some of the most insightful commentary I’ve heard or read anywhere lately. Kudos to BobVietVet, Eatherich and, especially to Common Sense Patriot, whose commentary is invariably better than the analysis he attaches it to. Keep doing what you’re doing; there are sensible people listening. Regrettably, not many of them are Republican – and none of them work on Capitol Hill.