Political Bookworm Steven Levingston Repeats 10 Tea Party Lies
Here are the 10 Ficticious Tea Party beliefs and the real truth that rallys these American patriots.
1. The birth-certificate conspiracy. Reality: Not even official birth certificates from Hawaii, newspaper clippings from 1961, and the testimony of state officials will convince the true-blue Tea Partiers. Which is why WorldNetDaily’s Joseph Farah lectured the National Tea Party Convention for an hour about the “truth” of the birth-certificate story.
The “Birther” movement and the Tea Party are two separate entities. Yes, there are some “nutcases” in the Tea Party that believe that Obama was not born in the US, there are also Liberals, Democrats, the First Lady and even Government employees who believe that the President was born in Kenya. A majority of the Tea Party movement does not adhere to birther movement.
2. Death panels. Reality: PolitiFact named Sarah Palin’s Facebook invention its “Lie of the Year,” and the belief was thoroughly exposed as a falsehood by every news network (even Fox). Yet Palin still insists that the panels exist somewhere in the health-care reform bill that was signed into law, its actual language notwithstanding.
In August of 2009, before either the House or the Senate Healthcare Reform bills were fully formed, Palin commented on her Facebook page that the beliefs of the President’s Healthcare Advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanual (brother of Rahm Emanual) could lead to Death Panels. The Tea Party Protesters were adamant that anything that could lead to death panels should not be part of any Healthcare reform.
The Tea Party does not believe that “death panels” are in the final version of the Healthcare bill that was passed and it is not in there because many conservatives, like Palin, stood up and made their voices heard.
3. Obama is a Muslim/Socialist/Fascist. Glenn Beck’s fantasy of the week — one week Obama was a Socialist, the next he was a Communist, then a Fascist. Then it was on to Marxism and Maoism — was avidly adopted by sign-bearing fans at Tea Party gatherings, who sometimes shared Beck’s confusion by just calling Obama All of the Above. Reality: Give us a break. Obama’s self-evident cautious centrism, embodied by his health-care reform package stripped of a public option, as well as his more recent embrace of a limited offshore drilling program, has infuriated liberals in his party — but it hasn’t stopped Tea Partiers from denouncing the president as a radical anyway.
The group that Glenn Beck inspired is the 9/12 Project, not the Tea Party. Princeton University defines socialism as, “a political theory advocating state ownership of industry.” Read that definition again and then ask the questions, does the government own General Motors? Has the Government fired GM employees? Enough said.
4. Obama is going to take away our guns. Well, the NRA managed to scare a whole lot of people into buying up every gun and piece of ammunition in sight the first year or so after Obama’s election. And at least five police officers died because the suspects they were arresting feared Obama was going to take away their guns. But Obama not only has adhered to his promise not to address gun-control issues, there hasn’t been even a breath of it from his administration. Which, of course, just makes the paranoids that much more paranoid: It’s proof that he’s really up to something.
Paranoid or not, Obama’s Attorney General has stated that despite the Supreme Court’s Heller Decision, he believes that the government can ban assault weapons. Assault weapon owners would see that as the government trying to take their guns away.
5. Obama is raising our taxes. Reality: Obama lowered taxes for 95 percent of working Americans in his first year in office. But, you know, he’s a liberal Democrat – and for true-blue right-wing folks, that ALWAYS means a tax hike.
According to the AP: “One of President Barack Obama’s campaign pledges on taxes went up in puffs of smoke Wednesday. The largest increase in tobacco taxes took effect despite Obama’s promise not to raise taxes of any kind on families earning under $250,000 or individuals under $200,000.” When you have finished reading the Healthcare Reform bill you might notice a few more taxes on the middle class as well.
Did President Obama lower tax rates on 95% of all Americans? No, the rate of taxation has remained the same, but 81.3% (not quite 95%) of all families received a tax credit.
6. Fascism is a left-wing phenomenon. We can thank Jonah Goldberg — with a big assist from Beck — for the popularity of this one, even though Goldberg’s thesis has been demolished and angrily dismissed by academic historians. It’s especially come in handy for Tea Partiers with Obama-as-Hitler signs, who are not impressed by those pointy-headed professorial types anyway.
Once again, Glenn Beck is not the Tea Party. As far as Fascism goes, I have not seen the Tea Party take the position that it is a left-wing phenomenon, although they, like the leftist protesters of George W. Bush, have used the Hitler theme on signs to signify their protest. It seems as if you have a problem with the Glenn Beck Show, not the Tea Party.
7. Global warming is a hoax. So Sean Hannity assures us, citing the Climategate brouhaha — which was itself shown largely to be a hoax of its own. Meanwhile, the world’s ocean levels keep rising, and glaciers and the polar ice cap keep receding — regardless of the endless words thrown up denying that they are.
8. Some 16,000 new IRS agents will enforce the new health care reform act by throwing you in jail. Reality: The IRS is actually only increasing its spending in the coming budget year as it normally would — but some Republican operatives decided to figure out how many positions its increased budget would buy, and came up with 16,000, a figure that then became gospel on Newt Gingrich’s lips. According to the same mythmakers, this nonexistent new army of health care police was going to start throwing people in jail if they failed to buy health insurance — though in fact, the only penalties contemplated for such failures are fines and taxes.
According to comments made during a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee by IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven T. Miller, the IRS “may withhold your tax refund if you can’t demonstrate that you are insured”. Any persons not due a refund would go through the normal IRS procedures of levies, liens and eventually jail time if money owed to the IRS is not paid. “Will” and “can” have very different meanings; learn them.
9. Two million people were at the 9/12 March on Washington. At the culmination of a monthlong promotion (highlighted by a national Tea Party Express bus tour) by Beck and Fox News, about 70,000 people gathered on the National Mall on September 12 to protest. Beck cited an erroneous early report that over a million had shown up. Later that grew to be two million, the figure now commonly cited by Tea Party leaders as evidence of their tremendous numerical force.
No, 2 million is rarely cited by Tea Party leaders and when if is, it is cited by people who were not there. There will always be a debate over the actual number of people who did show up for the 9/12 protest. The participants are certain that it was more than the “dozens” reported by CNN and the pictures seem to show more than “tens of thousands” that some claimed. ABC reported that park rangers said that there were a million, but later backed off of that claim.
No member of the Tea Party or any 9/12 group claims to have an actual count, but many have attached themselves to the ABC News number of 1 million.
10. The Tea Parties are a non-partisan, broad grassroots movement. Sure, if by non-partisan you mean rabidly paleo-conservative, to the point of even dismissing Republicans, and by grassroots you mean fake populism organized and whipped up by the most popular cable-news network on television, with a heaping helping of corporate financing.
Tea Party folks and their defenders also want to believe that they’re just ordinary Americans who want to be serious about helping their country. But it’s pretty hard to fit that description when you embrace plain old nuttiness.
Honestly, if you want to do an opinion piece bashing the Tea Party, go ahead and do it. But do not try and parade your argument as a list of facts when it is nothing but hate and lies.