Chock Full of Nuts

If you haven’t seen the New Left Media video of the recent Tax Day Tea Party in Washington, you might be alone.

It has collected around 10,700 comments on Huffington Post. My favorite is “chock full of nuts.”

The video shows Tea Baggers answering questions about why they are protesting. Almost all of their replies are the usual right-wing rants against President Obama’s “tyranny,” “socialist agenda” and “onerous taxes.”

Even so, one Tea Bagger’s response was original, at least to me. She said she was vexed partly because “President Obama is considering banning fishing in America .” I hadn’t heard that one.

But I wasn’t surprised by the man and woman who defended rich folks. The Tea Baggers claim they are anti-elitist, but they’ve been taking the side of wealthy people all along. That’s why millionaires like Dick Armey are happy to help bankroll the Tea Party movement – more on him in a minute.

“When you hose the rich you hurt America because I’ve never worked for a poor person,” the man said. “The gentleman I work for now is a wealthy individual. He wasn’t always wealthy. But he built his business up and now he’s a millionaire. God bless America .”

The woman said she doesn’t think the rich should have to pay higher taxes. “They have the right to earn that money,” she added. “Nobody has the right to take it away from them.”

She’s said she’s for a flat tax. A flat tax puts a heavier tax burden on the poor than on the rich. Nonetheless, the woman admitted she struggles “to make my house payment every month.”

The man, the woman and the other Tea Baggers on the video look like working stiffs. So they made me think of Alexander Hamilton, the famous Founding Father. Okay, I teach history.

Hamilton , whose face is on ten dollar bills, said ordinary people were too stupid to run the country. Only wealthy aristocrats like him were up to the job, he added.

Really, Hamilton was afraid working stiffs might complete the American Revolution and vote his well-heeled pals out of office.

The Tea Baggers would have been Hamilton ’s sweetest dream: a right-wing, largely working class movement that is pro-rich people. He might have chipped in a few bucks to FreedomWorks, Armey’s Republican front group that’s a big Tea Party sponsor.

Probably few Tea Baggers are as rich as Armey. But the Tea Party movement has bought into the Social Darwinist idea of the old millionaire Robber Barons: rich people are rich because they’re strong and smart, and poor people are poor because of their own shortcomings.

Anyway, latter-day Robber Barons and their apologists like Armey seem to be to be getting a good return on their Tea Party investments. Heck, they don’t even have to pay professional actors to appear in TV commercials plugging rich people. Tea Baggers do it for free.

Berry Craig

Published by the LA Progressive on April 27, 2010
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About Berry Craig

Berry Craig is an emeritus professor of history at the West Kentucky Community and Technical College in Paducah and a freelance writer. He is a member of American Federation of Teachers Local 1360, the recording secretary for the Western Kentucky Area Council, AFL-CIO, and the author of True Tales of Old-Time Kentucky Politics: Bombast, Bourbon and Burgoo, Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War, Hidden History of Kentucky Soldiers and Hidden History of Western Kentucky. He is a native of Mayfield, Ky., where he lives with his wife of 33 years and their 20-year-old son.