A Welfare-Receiving Conservative Who Hates “Socialism” Hits The Streets

Photo: Jim Commentucci / The Post-Standard

Photo: Jim Commentucci / The Post-Standard

Thanks to the Syracuse Post-Standard we have a fascinating glimpse into the mind-set of tea baggers spurred into action last week by Fox News’ increasingly deranged secessionist Glenn Beck and yo-yo’s like CNBC’s Brooks Brothers populist Rick Santelli.

The Syracuse daily spotlighted a local organizer to give its readers a sense of who took to the streets. She turns out to be a 60-year old grandmother, Joanne Wilder, who paid no taxes in 2008 because her income was too low, receives a monthly Social Security cheque plus disability payments as a result of a knee operation, and went through personal bankruptcy in the past year.

And why did Wilder take to the streets?

“I don’t want to see this country turn into a welfare, nanny state, where we stand in line for groceries, and we’re in welfare lines, and in socialized medicine lines,” Wilder told a reporter with a perfectly straight face. I wonder if she can spell “cognitive dissonance.”

What can I say? For some, no explanation is necessary and for others it is impossible.

Add It Up
Joanne Wilder is no Susan Boyle.

She and her motley crew of tea baggers in Syracuse and elsewhere couldn’t seem to find a unifying theme to their protest so it drew nanny state beneficiaries like Wilder decrying a nanny state along with racists still reeling from the thought of a black man as President, anti-immigration militants, folks with jobs opposing the stimulus to reduce the nation’s staggering unemployment and a few people holding placards protesting the use of teleprompters.

Teleprompters?

For the most part, what happened on April 15 was a turnout of bits of the 23% of Americans who don’t think President Obama is doing a good job – and cling to the idea that Saddam Hussein helped plot 9/11.

(A side note to 9/11 conspiracy theorists: Just because I mentioned the attack, please do not post dozens of comments about how 9/11 was really a conspiracy led by Kraft Foods or Scientologists or The Knights of Malta or anyone else. They’ll be deleted. We know how 9/11 happened and you’re not adding anything to the discussion any longer, if you ever did.)

Cue Boehner
Positively licking his chops at the sight of a bunch of men and women tea bagging, House minority leader John “Man Tan” Boehner announced that the disenchanted lunatic fringe is the future of the Republican Party.

He told a news conference in Washington that the protestors are the new face of the GOP, confirming that his party not only is devoid of ideas but lacks any appeal whatsoever to the independent middle. The only thing missing at Boehner’s media opportunity was Eric “Ralph Wiggum” Cantor jumping up and down in the corner shouting over and over, “It’s Obama’s fault!”

In a way, Boehner and Joanne Wilder’s friends up in Syracuse or elsewhere in the country are made for each other.

They represent out-of-date ideas shared by a small minority of the country who cannot face the reality that America has moved upward and leftward, thanks to the past two elections. Boehner may share Wilder’s fears of grocery store lines – which already exist, at least in most markets on weekends – or welfare lines, which Wilder already stands in every month, or hospital lines which only means she’s never been to an emergency room.

charley-james.jpgIn short, these purported protestors would prefer people go hungry over policies where the federal government keeps them from starving, more Bushville’s springing up in parking lots and fields around the country than providing assistance to people whose American dream went up in GOP smoke, or keep nearly 1/6th of the country from access to doctors or hospitals rather than adopting a national health plan like every other industrialised nation has had for decades.

I guess the one thing we all learned on National Tea Bagger Day is that the mad, like idiots, we shall always have with us.

Charley James

The Progressive Curmudgeon

LA Progressive

Published by the LA Progressive on April 18, 2009
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About Charley James

If you are born in Milwaukee, chances are you're born a Democrat. So, I gravitated naturally to liberal politics as an activist and a journalist. I've been writing since I was eight and, after working in newsrooms for far too long, I have devoted much of the past decade as an independent investigtative jouralist. For much of the past year, I've been writing about homelessness - America's immorality play.