Mr. Weiner, I would like to thank you for taking the time to personally respond to my tea party article yesterday. While we seem to agree on the striking similarity between the Bush-Obama war policy, you presented a number of criticisms in the comment section which I believe merit a reasoned and public response.
You wrote that Obama's cronyism and his surrounding himself with objectionable "Goldman-Sachs/Robert Rubin types" is nothing compared to that of the Bush administration's.
This may be true in the subjective sense; however, it misses the entire point.
Americans, particularly Independents, are growing increasingly disenchanted with our political leaders, be they Republican or Democrat, putting Wall St elites & other corporate giants in their inner circles. Obama was supposed to be wholly different than Bush, but his actions have betrayed his campaign promise to institute real change in this arena.
And even if one subjectively assesses that Obama's cronyism does not rise to the egregious level of the Bush administration, such an assessment reflects extremely low expectations. The old canards "the lesser of two evils" and "well, at least my guy isn't as bad as yours" have stifled excellence in the political arena, suffocated meaningful competition, and hurt the American people.
Perhaps we, as Americans, should raise our expectations so that we cease to tolerate the likes of Bush or Obama inserting Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, or Federal Reserve regulars in positions of trust and leadership.
You touched upon the travesty and gross miscalculations of the Iraq War.
I find little to disagree with here, considering that economic, strategic, and casualty predictions were completely off the mark. I would add, though, that Biden, and 110 other Democrats supported the vague, open-ended war resolution that gave the Bush administration a blank check.
Then, in 2006, Democrats were swept into power by anti-Iraq War sentiment, yet it's 2010, and we still have nearly 100,000 soldiers on the ground and approximately 100,000 private war contractors. Therefore, in reality, most Democrats have not been all that serious about ending the war in Iraq.
You wrote that my comparison of Olbermann and Maddow to Limbaugh and Beck was ludicrous.
This is merely a personal, subjective judgment call between the both of us. Some will agree with you, others with me. To be completely fair, I would have to admit that Maddow may be the most open-minded of the bunch, though I've also witnessed her sarcastic, condescending, and insulting rhetoric directed at Tea Party supporters. Since it's more of a matter of mere opinion, I don't consider it important enough to address in any detail. Ultimately, based on recent polls, I think it is fair to infer that the media is at least contributing to the hyper-polarization of America.
You wrote that the Ron Paul wing of the Tea Party is interesting, but go on to describe his economic policies as archaic.
While you may personally disagree with Ron Paul's policies, to claim that his wing of the Tea Party is merely "interesting" ignores the hard data. In recent months, the anti-war, fiscally conservative GOP renegade, has won the CPAC straw poll, virtually tied with Mitt Romney in the SRLC straw poll, finished a close second to Sarah Palin in a DC Tea Party exit poll, and virtually tied with President Obama in a 2012 hypothetical matchup in a Rasmussen poll, crushing the currently serving President by nearly 20% in Independent support.
He was able to garner the support of every single Republican member of the House, in addition to a significant number of Democrats, in support of his Audit the Fed bill, a bill supported by 75% of the American public. He is the most interviewed member of Congress, appearing constantly on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and CNBC. He was the only presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat, in 2007-2008, to warn about an impending economic crisis, making his predicitons more accurate than the vast majority of Wall St pundits and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He is visiting college campuses around the country, speaking to large, enthusiastic crowds about balanced budgets, less debt, and an end to undeclared, open-ended wars.
So, while you and others may disagree with some or several of Ron Paul's policies, his Tea Party faction and nationwide following are becoming a potent political force as the poll numbers and interviews show.
You also wrote that the Tea Party must tackle defense spending, as well as exorbitant spending in other areas.
I agree wholeheartedly and have offered the same criticism in multiple articles. And again, this is where the Ron Paul faction becomes especially relevant, since his faction has been calling for an end to the annual $1 trillion global military empire since 2007, while Bush was still in office.
That being said, however, it should be duly noted that Obama's military budget surpasses that of the Bush administration's, yet Democrats have offered virtually no resistance.
You wrote some particularly disparaging remarks about Sarah Palin, but as I stated in my article yesterday, such an approach will only prove counter-productive to your goals.
Personally speaking, I am not a fan of Palin's, but witnessing the continual onslaught of left-leaning invective directed at her, I think it's fair to say that liberals and other Democrats have made her into a superstar.
Ultimately, I predict that Palin's high negative marks with Democrats and Independents will prove insurmountable to any presidential aspirations, though the mood of the country is so volatile at this time, anything is possible.
You define Obama as a "moderate Republican" in effect, but then go on to state that the Republican party "consists of far-right corporatists trying desperately to still curry favor with racists, nutbars, and paranoids."
I would argue, in a similar way to you, that Obama, like Bush, is merely a symptom of the two-headed, one-party system in America. This system is beholden to Wall St, perpetuates many of the same fiscal policies (huge debt), advocates costly, open-ended war, squelches any potential political competition, and is propped up by an enabling media.
As far as the Republican Party holding the monopoly on corporatism, I invite you to read my upcoming article on this very topic. The corruption of corporatism has infiltrated both parties.
And as far as "racists, nutbars, and paranoids", are you aware that a recent poll revealed that Tea Party supporters are quite affluent and highly educated? Yes, there are some fringe characters, but by in large, the Tea Party is home to reasonable, intelligent, and down to earth Americans who are worried about their country.
In conclusion, if you want to engage them, educate them, and persuade them, I suggest utilizing a whole new approach. Often times, the spirit of one's argument can be more important than the actual content of one's argument.
* To read Ellis Weiner's Huffington Post blog, click here.
To read my rebuttal and Mr. Weiner's comment below, click here.
I would also like to personally invite Mr. Weiner to post another rebuttal on our site to further this discussion. If you're interested in posting a blog, and not just a comment, please contact [email protected] and we can make it happen.