A Pew Research Poll recently declared that The Tea Party is “Strong on Defense, Israel, and that they are Tough on China”.
One of the aspects of The Tea Party that most would find surprising is that they call for common sense in government. There are a myriad of issues that are brought up in local Omaha Tea Party rallies, and most of them are local, but the general theme is responsibility in spending and taxation from governments both local and national. The reason that most would find this shocking is that the media have taken so many potshots at The Tea Party that they have been successful in adding at the very least confusion to the modus operandi of The Tea Party, but at its core The Tea Party is primarily concerned with common sense.
The 10/7/2011, Pew Research Poll states that 60% of Tea Party members believe that defense spending should be kept the same. This appears to lack common sense, as all departments should be willing to cut. If one reads into the poll from The Tea Party perspective, however, one could theorize that The Tea Party members that answered this question believed that the question was put to them in a manner that suggested it should be the only department cut. When phrased as an open-ended question, as they did here, a Tea Party member’s defense mechanisms go up. This is probably due to the fact that at this point in history, Democrats are willing to make cuts in spending as long as those cuts are almost solely in defense. If the pollster had asked the Tea Party member if the defense department can be cut, in general, I believe that nearly every Tea Party member would respond with a resounding yes. I write this, because obscure bloggers have determined that there is some contradiction in the poll that suggests that Tea Party members wouldn’t mind cuts in defense while saying there shouldn’t be cuts in defense.
Those obscure bloggers were not specific with their charge. They simply wanted to lay the ‘inconsistent’ charge out in the hopes that you would join them in a polite scoff of The Tea Party. Democrats love to reveal inconsistencies in Republicans and Tea Party members, and they usually have to resort to half-truths to get there. In this example, the obscure bloggers failed to mention that this specific poll said that Tea Party members support the “peace through strength” Ronald Reagan approach (by 60%), maintaining current spending levels on defense (60%) and reducing military commitments overseas by (55%). The latter point is the point of contradiction that obscure bloggers have pointed to as an inconsistency, but they did not lay the poll out as specifically as I did here. The obscure bloggers simply put general and interpreted statements out about the poll and interpreted their interpretations.
The question to take away from this poll is, is it a contradiction to say that we can build our defense at the same rate that we are now, while removing some of our troops in say Germany, Korea, and elsewhere? Another aspect of the poll that was not specifically listed by the obscure bloggers is the note at the beginning of the question ‘would you reduce military commitments overseas’ to “reduce the debt”? This question is right in the wheelhouse of most Tea Party members, and I’m sure it would only increase the boldness on their exclamation point behind their ‘yes’ answer.
I also believe that if the pollster asked The Tea Party members ‘can and/or should the defense department be cut if it is found to be wasteful?’ the ‘yes’ answer would be emphatic. Let’s say that a comprehensive, bipartisan study on the federal government and overall spending was done to discover waste. Let’s say that a majority of the waste this panel discovered occurred in the defense department. I don’t believe that the blind love of country that Tea Party members have would blind them to the fact that there is a great deal of waste in the department that needs to be addressed. They are, above all else, for common sense.
Even this obscure blogger from Omaha, Nebraska (who has no ties to the defense department or their financial records) knows that there is a huge percentage of waste going on in the defense department. (As it is in every department of the federal government.) When a Senator or Congressman wants to bring money back to his state, the most politically favorable way to do so is through defense department contracts. Republicans and Democrats alike love a contract of this nature when jobs are created and a local economy is lifted. The question The Tea Party members have is what percentage of that contract reflects the true cost of the potential contract, and what percentage has been inflated by the contractor and the politician? As previously stated, The Tea Party backs money spent on national defense in general, but they remain consistent when they ask how much of the money spent on defense is wasted? That is the primary concern and the theme of the movement no matter what department, bill, or entitlement. Rather than being an inconsistency, as some obscure bloggers have suggested, it is a glaring consistency.
Some of the other results of the poll state obvious facts about Tea Party members, in that they generally favor Israel over Palestine, and they are in favor of getting tough with China. Tea Party members, if there is anyone out there that doesn’t know this, are an America first crowd. Tea Party members believe China has used and abused us in the free trade agreement, and they are in favor of getting rough with China and taking advantage of the fact that theirs is not a consumption based society when compared to the American economy. Tea Party members believe that we have some cards in this trade agreement that have not played. While no one wants to anger the Chinese, we don’t have to be walking on glass with them either, especially when many believe that we haven’t yet fully explored their dependence on us to this point in history.
On the illegal immigration issue, 98% of The Tea Party members favor stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security, and 94% favor Arizona’s immigration law. Democrats and Democrat leaning types favor stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security to the tune of 71%, while only 54% disapprove of the manner in which Arizona has decided to handle the matter. The natural question that results from disagreeing with how Arizona hoped to handle this issue is how would you handle it? Would you change the Constitution to bar citizenship of children of illegal immigrants? 58% of Tea Party members say yes. 67% of Democrats and Democrat leaning types say leave the Constitution as it is. The next question deals with priority, should the priority be better border security and stronger enforcement of laws? 67% of Tea Party members say yes. 48% Democrats and Democrat leaning types favor a combination of border security, stronger enforcement of laws, and creating a way for illegal immigrants already here to become citizens.
Again, Democrats and Democrat leaning types love to point out Republican and Tea Party inconsistencies, but a read through this poll on illegal immigration can only lead one to believe that Tea Party types are the most consistent of the groups polled here. Democrats and Democrat leaning types are for stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security, against Arizona’s immigration law, and for the most indecisive, inconsistent answer on what our priorities should be in regards to illegal immigration. So they want stronger enforcement of immigration laws and border security, but they don’t want the law imposed by a Republican governor of a red state…especially when the media and the ‘one we’ve all been waiting for’ are against it. Who has a mind of their own again? Who are the partisans here again? The inconsistencies of the Democrats and Democrat leaning types are no surprise to this obscure blogger, but it damages their favorite ‘inconsistency’ argument.
“Have you ever noticed that The Tea Party has never complained about the income disparity in this country?” an obscure blogger asks to aid his comrades in the desperate search for an inconsistency or hypocrisy in the Tea Party movement. The obscure blogger was also seeking to bolster the Occupy Wall Street movement’s argument through comparative analysis. The blogger basically reveals himself with this question as an individual who knows nothing of The Tea Party. If the blogger seeks true understanding, rather than an opportunity to dismiss The Tea Party as a genuine movement, then he need only look at the principles behind the movement. The Tea Party is not concerned with individual wealth. The Tea Party is concerned with waste in government. The Tea Party is seeking to diminish the role of government in our lives to a reasonable level that they believe will allow for the opportunity of greater individual prosperity. The Tea Party also believes that the American engine is running at its best when the individual retains more of their money. I realize that some of the times it is difficult to see through the cloud of partisanship and partisan characterizations that are conducted by our political leaders and media personalities to diminish the other side, but if those who seek to be independently informed choose to investigate the driving forces of The Tea Party they will see this tenet of The Tea Party listed right around #1 in the list of the most important things they hope to accomplish. (Author’s note: If it wasn’t clear on the first read-through, please read the last line in your favorite sarcastic tone to enhance the obviousness of it.) Obscure bloggers should also know that simply knowing this stuff should not cause you to have to turn in your “in-crowd” status card, but just to be on the safe side don’t say anything aloud when they start in on one of their rants.
The problem for the media, and other liberals, is that it is difficult to defeat common sense. It is difficult to look at the spending going on in the halls of Washington and say that The Tea Party’s call for more responsible spending is radical. They can call them radical and extreme, and they will, but don’t expect a specific list of reasons why. They’re name callers. Getting into specific refutations is…somehow unnecessary to their followers. It’s enough to know that Tea Party members are radicals. It’s enough for the followers to think that they are like-minded and superior to Tea Party members without investigating the issue. It is also difficult for them to say that a common sense (a real common sense) approach to illegal immigration is unreasonable. This may be why the media chooses to divert the public on issues of race, charges of ignorance on economic disparity, hate in general, and a number of other things the media have charged to the composition of The Tea Party without foundation. They find it more politically expedient to attack the movement with ad hominem attacks, as opposed to dealing with substantive debates on the issues where they fear they may not be have a fighting chance.