The Liberal Crab Watches the Tea Baggers (and is amused)

For the past several weeks, the Crab has paid only little attention to the Tea Bag Parties being planned across the Country.  Keith Olbermann did a segment last night on the April 15th protests.  For those not familiar, the TBP is supposed to be a rallying cry against Government taxation and the direction of Socialism that Obama is taking the Country.

Fox News is really the only organization ‘pimping’ this event.  Most of the main stream media, except for the Liberal Bastion of MSNBC, is ignoring.  MSNBC is simply mocking the event.  Which, does needs to be done.  Fox has been promoting for weeks and claimed 100’s of 1000’s of people were going to attend.  When the Crab heard on of the events was going to be in Lafayette’s Square, two blocks from his office, his ears perked up.

I figured I’d head down there.  I went under the guise that I just wanted to see how small an event it really was and to say I was there.  Of course, in the back of my mind it was my intention to get into the S$%$ with folks.

As I walked up, I was surprised.  It wasn’t the 10-20 people I expected.  But, it wasn’t the 1000’s either.  It was 100-200 folks – not bad in the rain.  People from all ages and backgrounds.  Each event had well known Conservative speakers – so maybe it wasn’t so shocking that at least some folks showed up.

The signs that were being held up started to raise my ire and I knew it was only a matter of time before I started discussing my positions with folks.  As is typical when you talk politics – some people are ignorant and just want to yell at you and ignore everything you say, some selectively hear, and some actually are willing to have a intellectual debate.

I probably talked to about five different folks.  I called for attention by asking the general audience on where they were for the last eight years when we spent money like there was no tomorrow.  AH!  That got attention.  The first person to engage me was an older gentleman, who thought I was a lunatic for supporting any type of tax policy.  He didn’t want to listen – just tell me I was wrong.  The next was a woman who came right up to me and said "I hope you enjoy driving your SUV".  Not sure how that was relevant, but I did point out I didn’t drive an SUV.  So, she followed up with (and now less than a foot from my face), "the Green people must LOOOOVVE you."  Again, puzzled.  If I drive an SUV I am wrong and if I drive an efficient car I am wrong.  After establishing a comfort zone – I asked what this has to do with taxes and she didn’t have a response.  She and the old man continued to scream and me and tell me I am crazy as I talked ot other people.

I then had a spirited conversation with a group of folks – me against four??  Another gentleman came up to me and wanted to interview me.  I don’t know his intent or his ideology, but went with it.  I’ll probably be mocked on YouTube – but so be it!  He did interview in an objective way.  He asked why I disagreed with the protest and why I supported Obama.  Occassionally I would get mocked or ribbed by my previous ‘spirited’ group.  He asked them to pipe down and they’d eventually get a chance to be interviewed.

I explained to him that my frustration is where were all these folks over the last eight years.  I also advocated a continuation of deficit spending until we can right the economy (to which the old man could barely control himself against my socialist tendencies).   The interviewer asked what really needs to happen to build a consensus.  I advocated for Conservative and Liberal leaders to put politics aside and really discuss why we need to spend money during down economic times and educate the American people.  (for those who get the reference – I think they figured out my General Population Theory). 

After the interview, I had two relentless gentlemen – one middle aged and one younger corner me into another conversation.  I found this one the most amusing of all.  First, they kept repeating information they claimed I said – which I hadn’t.  They claimed I supported all of Clinton’s policy – and while I supported most of them, I realize now some were wrong and I didn’t mention his policies anyway.  What I did mention was the deficit was eliminated and debt reduced under Clinton.  They said, Bush had a free pass for his debt/decificts because of Katrina and 9/11  and Obama is the one that (already) has mortgaged our future with his budgets.

Their favorite topic was Geitner.  It started out that we can’t support him because he doesn’t know how to use Turbo Tax.  Really – that’s your argument?  Are you that stupid or do you think I am that stupid?  Yes, he did lie and cheat on his taxes.  But to claim he is too stupid to use Turbo Tax – really??  They then claimed he was in the Bush Administration. When I protested that claim – they said he was a Sr. Bush Advisor.  When I told him he was Deputy Treasury Secretary to Clinton – they still persisted and said he was a Bush advisor.  Really? What – when he was working on Wall Street? (btw, I can’t find anything on the ‘net that says he was a Bush advisor).

They then said we are heading towards Nazi Germany – not that we will become Fascist –  but we are getting close.  They also discussed this protest wasn’t about Obama or taxes but our whole economic philosophy – I disagreed. It’s exactly what it was about – Obama (or I misinterpreted the Obamaomics, go home Obama, and Socialist-Obama signs).  They claimed he had no plan (except they are arguing against his plan).  Then, somehow, it was about Obama being soft on Terrorists. I thought this was about the economy.

They then moved on to say that Obama has no support for his policies – no mandate.  They asked me what the vote margin was for Obama’s victory – I told them 10M votes.  Umm, that wasn’t the answer they were expecting because they were speachless.  But nevertheless, they recovered to say that wasn’t a major vicotry.  They also didn’t seem to think it was a big deal that he had the first majority win since Carter and even the great Reagan who claimed a mandate – didn’t have that (only a plurality).  I’m sorry, in a closely divided society a 53/46% victory is huge.

At this point, I was growing tired of the conversation.  But, since I put myself there and I didn’t feel like should take my marbles and go home (and I like being the center of attention) I decided to let them pepper me with more questions.  I was honest – when I didn’t know enough about an issue – I said so.  They took my innocent comment about having a college background in Economics to me being a practicing Economist – even though I corrected them about ten times.  This was related to deficit spending and recessions – something, by the way, Conservatives and Liberals agree.  They wanted to talk Cap and Trade energy and slowing down rebuilding infrastructure.  They believe there is no real problems now (with infrastructure).  They also think we are 100% free market.  That Government should not intervene ever on the behalf of a company. 

What I found is these folks were close minded and didn’t even listen to what you were saying.  I even, to get their attention, said that Reagan spending in the early 80’s was the right thing to do.  So, apparently a) I am a supporter of Reagan and b) While it was appropriate for Reagan to deficit spend to get out of the recession, it’s not the right solution now.  They somehow faulted the Democrats for any growth in the debt/deficit in the last 8 years when it wasn’t related to Katrina/Sept 11.  Remember, they only had a majority after Jan 2007. 

It was fun. It was entertaining.  It was frustrating.  The problem has been and will always be that most Conservatives are so ideologically set, they cannot believe anyone else has a point of view that is worth considering.  At times they tried to placate me, but it was shallow and obvious.

And for the record – I did offer up my hand for a handshake to each of them at the end of the discussions – to which they reciprocated appropriately and politely.

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