Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Tea Party, and Why I Love It

I love watching the Tea Party for the same reason I always loved watching Wylie Coyote chase the Road Runner out beyond the edge of the rock precipice. It’s just a lot of fun to see that look of surprise that comes with the realization there’s nothing underneath but empty air. Tea Party candidates will undoubtedly win seats in congress come November, at which time they will come face to face with a number of unsolvable problems. The jobs necessary to bring down unemployment simply no longer exist in sufficient quantity. The national debt can’t come down when people absolutely refuse to pay higher taxes. The war in Afghanistan, like the war 40 years ago in Vietnam, is not something we can win. Deregulation, “getting the government off our backs” in TeaPartyspeak, is guaranteed to result in more episodes like the BP oil spill, and the home mortgage meltdown, and the salmonella-tainted egg recall, and the Wall Street derivatives scam, and the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical failures— because as hideous as government is, it’s not nearly as damaging as the unregulated and unprincipled corporate pursuit of profit above all else.

Unsolvable problems are a gift from heaven to a candidate running against the establishment, but a nightmare to an elected official when it comes his or her turn to make things better. The American electorate has basically become ungovernable— a good thing for those outside government looking to get in, and a frightening thing for those in power. One thing I would like to see is a breakdown of the unemployed along party lines, because it seems like unemployed Republicans blame the Democrats, and unemployed Democrats blame the Republicans. This, of course, raises the question of what happens when both disgruntled groups turn their sights on the Tea Party?

During the next two years, watch for the Wylie Coyote look of helpless resignation on the face of newly-elected Tea Party honchos. For a sicko like me, who gets off on the humor of satire, cynicism, and sarcasm, it just can’t get any better.

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