Tea Kookies

An Article by Guest-Writer Jeff Eyges

[Note: You last saw him guest-blogging in Pharyngula. Now, in a major career blunder, Jeff Eyges lowers his standards dramatically and agrees to write an article for Bay of Fundie. Risking his sanity for your entertainment, Jeff goes undercover at a teabag rally.]

Early teabaggers

A few days ago, I received an email from United for Justice and Peace, asking for volunteers to help stage a demonstration against Sarah Palin, who was going to be speaking on Boston Common. I do little enough apart from fire off protest emails, so I figured I’d go. I hadn’t realized it was a fully-fledged Tea Party rally. Of course, I arrived about an hour late and couldn’t find the group (I heard later they were segregated from the rest of the crowd behind a fence). I’d missed hearing Palin speak (I was told she began by saying, “Look at all the cameras! They want to hear our message!”, then started trashing the “liberal media”), so I wandered about for a little while and observed.

There were probably around two thousand people there, in addition to the vendors selling crap (including a prodigious number of “Don’t Tread on Me” flags). It was pretty much a circus of crazy. With many of them (I daresay most), one could tell by looking at an individual’s face whether or not he or she was a Teabagger; there was an obvious cognitive deficit. One guy was sitting behind a table, wearing a three-piece suit and a pig’s nose, squealing, with a sign that said, “Bailout Barney Frank“. Near him was a frail young man with a quavering voice, calling out, “We’ve got to get Obama out of there, folks! We’ve got to get him out of there!” Some of them just looked haggard. From what I could see, the movement seems to be comprised mainly of people to whom, for the most part, neither life nor nature has been particularly kind.

Nearly any sign you could imagine was in evidence. All the different flavors of anti-Obamaness, from “ObamaCare is Unconstitutional!“ (there must be a Godwin-like principle covering that one by now) to “We Don’t Hate Your Race, Just Your Policies!“ Also in attendance were the obligatory religious lunatics—”Don’t Take God Out of [the Institution or Icon of Your Choice]!“ There were a few protest signs held up by liberal and environmental groups, and some that were obviously satirical, e.g., “Green Coalition of Gay Loggers for Jesus!

Then there were some I couldn’t figure out at all. One young man in an MIT sweatshirt was carrying a sign that said (note the spelling): “MIT Nucular Engineers for Palin“.

Another read, “I’m Gay For Palin!“ Acerbic, or a fiscally conservative gay person desperate enough to overlook her religious views—a Log Cabin Teabagger?

One sign said (I promise you), “Know Who Else Was a Kenyan Muslim? Hitler!“ Funny, the young man carrying it didn’t look crazy. Later, someone explained to me that it was probably meant to make fun of their accusations. I was embarrassed; I actually hadn’t gotten it, but it shows how far over—or under—my head most of this was.

Without question, however, my favorite was one that said, simply, “Generic Angry Slogan!

I’m not much of a one for crowds, so I only stayed for about twenty minutes. While I was there, a woman ascended the stage and began by asking, “How many Republicans are here?” Some hands went up. “How many Libertarians?” Considerably more. “How many Democrats?” A few, and, naturally, they were booed immediately. “Don’t boo them”, she said, “They have every right to be here!”, then she immediately began trashing Nancy Pelosi and the Dems. That was when I decided to leave.

As I headed out of the Common, I noticed three enormous buses, painted stem to stern with Tea Party motifs. I learned later these are for carting around the staffers, as they take this dog and pony show from city to city. It’s supposed to be a populist party, a party of “honest, hard-working Americans” who are against profligate spending (although I’m quite certain most of them would have no idea as to what “profligate” means), but meanwhile, they have enough money to buy three customized buses—and I imagine they don’t come cheap.

As I was going home on the subway, I got into a conversation with a college-age young man who showed me a few of the many photos he’d taken, one of a young woman who stood in the front of the crowd while Palin was speaking, crying tears of joy (I’m not really surprised by the devotion that woman inspires, but still, it’s very disturbing). I expressed dismay over the fact that it was such a sizable crowd. He told me he’d spoken to a number of people, and, in his opinion, most were Emerson College students on lunch break, working people also out for lunch, or just locals passing by who stopped out of curiosity. He also told me that most of the speakers were either entertainers (he showed me a photo of a guy in a cowboy outfit who sang their theme song—yes, they have a theme song), or individuals who just wanted to vent. The woman I mentioned above, for example, was the mother of a young man who was killed in Iraq, trying desperately, I imagine, to convince herself his death had been in the service of a worthy cause. There were no elected officials present. A number of signs expressed support for Scott Brown, our new Republican senator who got Ted Kennedy’s seat. The Tea Party endorsed him while he was running, but, apparently, he’s attempting to distance himself from them as he tries to position himself as a “moderate” Republican. (Yeah, good luck with that. There’s a term for a moderate Republican—a Democrat.)

However, the most interesting thing he said by far was that he’d spoken with a CNN cameraman, an “old-timer” who’d covered more than his share of political events, who told him, “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—these Teabaggers are going to be the end of the Republican Party.”

One can only hope.

33 Responses to “Tea Kookies”

  1. arkonbey Says:

    I think Mr. Brown isn’t trying hard to be moderate what with his comment about the IRS building plane-crasher.

    Plus, now we know what state you live in “our new Republican senator”

    The only reason he won, I think, was because his opponent was a giant idiot. Was she the best thing waiting in the wings to fill Kennedy’s shoes? As a Vermonter, I fear the same when Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders decide to retire (or die). But, our Freshman, Peter Welch is doing good.

    See how neatly I avoided talking anymore about the teabagger morons?

  2. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I don’t know that Coakley is inherently an idiot; I think she might have just handled the campaign badly – although I think I recall hearing that her problem was she couldn’t put enough funding together in time, or something. Plus, she was the victim of bad timing – the health care bill and all.

    Brown is still only finishing Kennedy’s term, then he’ll have to run for re-election. Hopefully, the Dems here can get their act together by then.

    I was quoting the kid on the train, but I think he was probably correct; I think Brown is trying to present himself as a moderate Republican. Problem is, there’s no such thing any more; the leadership won’t allow it. Look at what they did to McCain. Then again, what does it mean to be a “moderate” Republican today? They’re all so batshit crazy now, you could say the moon is made of green cheese and still seem sane by comparison.

  3. Jeff Eyges Says:

    BTW, I’d like to thank Ron for graciously posting my little report from the front lines.

  4. arkonbey Says:

    @Jeff: I also think the kid is correct. One might argue that our own Jim Jeffords was the last true moderate Rep. and he switched to Independent in disgust.

    I voted for our Rep.Governor Jim Douglas twice. He’s quite moderate. In almost any other state, however, he’d be only a few paces to the right of Pelosi and Sanders.

    And thanks for the ray of hope about Mr. Brown’s term. I’d forgotten about that. Though, from what I saw of Coakley’s speeches and actions, I stand by my assertion (my dad still lives in MA and I visit regularly enough to get an earful)

  5. ericsan Says:

    Nice article, Jeff. Thanks.

  6. The Runaway Lawyer Says:

    I have a smart, gay, concervative friend who always makes pro-Palin comments on Facebook. At first I thought he was joking. I don’t think he’s joking. I don’t get it.

  7. The Runaway Lawyer Says:

    On a side note, I ran across this today…not sure if it’s been posted in the past. Funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgjGpPLCFhE&feature=channel

  8. Jeff Eyges Says:

    @arkonbey: I’d forgotten about Jeffords. FSM, they wanted to kill him, didn’t they?

    @ericsan: Thanks!

    @Runaway Lawyer: “I don’t think he’s joking. I don’t get it.”

    I don’t get it, either, I’ve never gotten it. I once knew a Log Cabin Republican. I’d ask him things like, “Did you have a good time at your annual meeting in the corner booth at Denny’s?”

  9. OtherRob Says:

    The problem for people who join the Log Cabin Republicans, or people like me who are skeptics, who also have a “conservative” political philosophy is that the major conservative party in this country is the Republican Party. Which is being taken over by far-right nutcases who yell “Socialism! Communism!” every time President Obama speaks. And sometimes people who have identified themselves with a group or movement have a very hard time letting go of it when the group or movement changes.

  10. The Runaway Lawyer Says:

    Eh, at least it’s not just me. I want to yell at him, “You know they don’t like you, right? And pssst, many of them aren’t big fans of your black boyfriend, either.”

    I think OtherRob has a valid point, but I’d still prefer not to be told “Good Morning, Comrade!” when I log on….

    I just noticed I spelled conservative wrong up above – how embarassing. I’ve never claimed to be a good typist, though.

  11. Pete Moulton Says:

    Thanks for taking this hit for the team, Jeff. I know I’d have been worried about burning out some brain cells in the presence of so much insanity.

    As to Brown, I’ll see your one vacuous empty suit, and raise you one. My home state’s saddled with both Panderin’ Johnny (“You kids get off my lawn!”) McCain and Jon (NO!!!1!!) Kyl. Now there’s a pair to draw to! Could be worse, I guess. At least I don’t live in Texas.

  12. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Without question, McCain isn’t the man he was ten years ago. I think the trauma he suffered in Vietnam has taken its toll – either that, or it’s just age. The bottom line is that he sacrificed all the principles he supposedly had, and still didn’t get to be President.

    I’d feel sorry for him, but for the fact that he’s responsible for unleashing Sarah Palin upon the world. If he hadn’t been so desperate to win, she’d still be in Junuea watching the Ruskies from her house, you betcha! For that alone, he deserves to lose.

    And pssst, many of them aren’t big fans of your black boyfriend, either

    Frankly, I’ve always found it hard to understand the presence of members of oppressed minorities in the Republican party. Stockholm Syndrome is all I can figure (apart from cases of outright insanity – e.g., Michelle Malkin).

  13. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Rob – yeah, I know. It will be their undoing.

  14. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I’d have been worried about burning out some brain cells in the presence of so much insanity.

    I do actually feel a little stupider now that I

    Uh – what was I saying?

  15. RunawayLawyer Says:

    I don’t understand the presence of ANYONE in the TeaBaggerRepublican party – what sort of bastard wouldn’t want the availability of health care for the sick, real protections for the weakest of us, and basic human rights for all Americans? It’s beyond me.

    Soon you’ll be spelling conservative wrong too….I blame living in Texas.

  16. carolita Says:

    @Pete Moulton
    It could be worse. I, too, used to say

    At least I don’t live in Texas.

    Unfortunately, I do live 40 miles from Okahoma – and that is way, way too close. They have Senators James “Ain’t No Climate Change Here” Inhofe and Tom “Damned Lazy Slugs Just Draw Unemployment “Cause They Don’t Want to Work” Coburn, each of whom is crazier than Texas’ Hutchinson and Cornyn, combined. Then this week the leading Republican candidate for governor said he thought Oklahoma should raise its own state militia to fight the Federal government and a member of the State Senate said he would propose a law to fund such a militia. We have started looking for property in Oregon.

  17. Pete Moulton Says:

    @carolita
    I’d totally forgotten about Inhofe and Coburn. Probably thinking/hoping that Oklahoma had already seceded. I saw that bit about their wanting to start their own militia to fight the US government, and just shook my head in wonder. The rest of us won’t need to fight them, just build a fence around Oklahoma and let it wither away to nothing. Good luck with your impending move!

  18. Jeff Eyges Says:

    In the past, I’ve suggested a new slogan for the Oklahoma Tourism Dept. – “Oklahoma; Texas’ Developmentally Challenged Little Brother” – but it hasn’t caught on, for some reason.

    People are always telling me, “Listen, you think that’s bad? Where I’m from… “, and then comes a horror story about Arkansas, Florida, Alabama or Mississippi (of course), Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio… it just goes on and on. It ends up being the entire South, Midwest, and a good portion of the Western states. I can’t believe we fought a war to keep these people. Can’t we send them on their way with some lovely parting gifts? (“Don Pardo, tell them what they’ve won… “)

    I’ve come tho think the United States was probably a bad idea. Balkanization is beginning to look better and better.

  19. RunawayLawyer Says:

    As much as I make fun of the state, there are lots of nice liberals in Texas, actually. Unfortunately, most of them are vewy vewy quiet because they are afraid of the loons. There are even (no, seriously) some moderate conservatives here if you look real hard.

  20. sue blue Says:

    Jeff, you brave soul,you. I know I couldn’t do it. I’d either start screaming or my blood pressure would have soared into the ionosphere. The crazy is just palpable, isn’t it? Just listening to these people on TV, I can practically smell it, like the reeking smoke from a burning landfill. If I had to walk through a crowd like that I’d probably have to run home, take two or three showers and down a benzodiazepine or two with a bottle of Crown Royal just to clean out my brain. I salute you.

  21. Jeff Eyges Says:

    As much as I make fun of the state, there are lots of nice liberals in Texas

    That’s okay; we can airlift them out, and relocate them here to civilization. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for employment once we export the Teabaggers, Birthers, Truthers, Creationists, Biblical literalists, UFO conspiracy theorists…

    Well, perhaps the UFO people can stay. I don’t think they’d fare too well down there in the Confederate States of Jesus.

    I’d either start screaming or my blood pressure would have soared into the ionosphere.

    Sue, that’s why I only stayed for twenty minutes!

    Scott Brown was on Face the Nation this morning. When asked if he considers himself a “Teapartier”, he ducked the question by saying he thinks of such a person as a “concerned citizen” who can be a Democrat, Republican, Independent, etc. Right.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6408446n

    If he truly means the things he’s saying. the Republican power brokers will either snap him into line pretty damn quickly, or he’ll be on the next Acela back here to Boston. Either way, I think he has no clue as to what he’s up against.

  22. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Regarding OK and TX… I never understood why so few people call them out on the fact that they (and their red state brethren) are the biggest federal tax leeches in the union. The red states basically exist in the ratty shape they do only because of the kindness of the citizens of the blue states bleeding their “hard earned” tax dollars to those states.

    If us liberal blues weren’t such damned bleeding hearts and allocated tax revenue due to highest paying states as opposed to greatest need states, the red states would be freaking third world at best!

    Yea, “don’t tread on me” motherfuckers. You pay less, get more, and are ungrateful little babies. Fuck you. It’s time for a little reality check.

  23. Jeff Eyges Says:

    PL, do you have links to figures? ‘Cause there are some people in whose faces I’d just LOVE to throw them.

  24. RunawayLawyer Says:

    Click my recent blog entry for a quick look at what federal tax dollars are paying for in this state. Note that the language is C&P (and linked) directly from the state education code.

    If you haven’t seen it before it will probably piss you off. It will probably piss you off if you have seen it before, actually….

  25. Jeff Eyges Says:

    You mean the religious literature requirement? I don’t mind if it’s comprehensive; it’s been an important part of human history. If it’s restricted to the Judeo-Christian tradition – it’s Texas; I wouldn’t expect anything else. I’d be surprised if there were any public school teachers teachers in the state (outside of, perhaps, Austin) who would even be familiar enough with another tradition to teach it. I’m sure they think Buddhism is a bunch of ignorant heathens bowing to a statue of a fat guy.

  26. RunawayLawyer Says:

    Exactly (and I commented as such), but you know it’s not.

    If you understand how the TX curriculum is set up, this is as basic as it gets – they are lumping this requirement in as being equal to the other things listed there, not just some obscure mention in an elective somewhere or a subpart to learning history and/or social studies or even a sociology elevctive – this stands alone.

    I took religious philosophy courses in college and found them fascinating from a secular viewpoint. I also find religion to be a necessary element in the study of cultures/history. But this is not that.

  27. RunawayLawyer Says:

    I am also really pissy and stressed today…probably should make that disclaimer right now.

  28. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Jeff – See the following link. It turns out that TX is one of the few red donor states (just BARELY, though). But, OK is a leech! And look at NM. Holy crap! Poor MN… they give so much but get unkept bridges in return.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/1397.html

  29. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Oh and we mustn’t forget Ahlahskah! Big leech, despite all that oil revenue in the state. SOCIALISM!

  30. Jeff Eyges Says:

    Oh, that’s wonderful. Yes, I can see the imbalance in favor of the red states. So, we’re all going to hell when we die, but, until then, it’s our job to support the “elect”? And these are the people who keep complaining about taxes and federal spending?

    I think perhaps I hate them more now, if that were possible.

    There should be HUGE billboards erected at regular intervals all over the South and Midwest that say, simply, “STFU!”

  31. Parrotlover77 Says:

    When I found out that statistic, I just laughed. I laughed and laughed. It was all I could do! Think about it. They beat the game. They complain, unopposed, on the teevee. They pay less in taxes, they get more in return. They beat us!

  32. Jeff Eyges Says:

    I’ve been saying it for a while now. Increasingly, they get to have the society they want, while maintaining the collective myth of victimization.

    They’ve won. We just don’t want to face it.

  33. Parrotlover77 Says:

    They won on paying taxes and playing the tax victim, just as their corporate overlords desired. I wouldn’t say they won on much else yet.

    The teabaggers have a lot of hate and not all of it is directed to Obama being a muslim socialist kenyan communist dictator and the fact that they can’t see that tax dollars build things like roads.

    They aren’t too fond of the bank industry either. That scares the corporate overlords a bit. Look at how momentum has changed on the new bank bill already.

    Now if only we could redirect some of the rest of the hate… It will be hard. After all, President Obama is pretty black. You can’t really squint and make the blackness go away. So that’s a tough barrier to break down for life-long racists.