Linda Milazzo: Responding to what are you reading? here, at the 15th annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, requires finding space on the formerly all-white wall that after just two hours is dense with book titles, ranging from children’s classics to the coming-of-age The Catcher In The Rye, to seemingly equal entries of The Koran and The Bible. In a city known for its Hollywood glitz and climate-friendly outdoor living, what many don’t know about Los Angeles is how much it reveres its book festival; the largest in the nation, attended by 130,000 readers of all ages and ethnicities.
John Delloro: Longtime labor and international activist Bill Fletcher likened the Tea Party movement to herpes—they have always been there lying dormant and inevitably re-emerge whenever the nation’s immune system goes down. Highlighting the racist overtures of this inflammation on the body politic, Bill adds that it will take more than “economic inoculation” in order to return them into a slumbering state. In other words, just addressing “bread and butter” issues will not be enough. We still need to address race.
Shamus Cooke: Rank and file Tea Partiers are, politically speaking, lost at sea in the dead of night, looking for the light of common principles. On land, those manning right-wing lighthouses are broadcasting ideas loaded with hidden motives into this ocean of conservative public opinion. What the Tea Party will become is presently unknown; but those with an agenda will do their best to steer lost boats at sea in their direction, with potentially dangerous consequences.
Jim Fuller: Obviously, the peddling of weapons to Mexican drug gangs is highly profitable. Remember, 40,000 recovered weapons in 2008 alone, and nobody knows how many still in the hands of gangsters, but certainly many times that 40,000 figure. And there are thousands of sales to drug peddlers every day along the border. Money, money, money. America’s gun makers are going to protect that highly profitable business every way they can, and that inevitably means stirring up the knuckle draggers who front for them in every battle in the stupidly mistaken belief that they are “protecting our Second Amendment rights.”
Robert Reich: Republicans have been looking for a way to oppose Senate Dems on financial reform without looking like patsies for the Street. And now they think they’ve found it — by trying to make Democrats look like patsies for the Street. The strategy is surely the handiwork of Republican pollster Frank Luntz who for months has been telling Republicans “the single best way to kill any legislation is to link it to the Big Bank Bailout.”
Tina Dupuy: Put a necktie on a German Shepherd who’s strong on defense and hates taxes and if he’s a Republican he will get at least a 20% approval rating nationally (as long as he’s not openly gay or Mormon). Doesn’t have to be running for anything, just wearing something that has a flag pin attached so people will know he loves freedom.
Andrea Christina Nill: If Obama decides to tackle immigration reform next, some have wondered what the tea party response would be. Interestingly, it may not be an issue for most rank and file tea party members. When asked whether immigration was an issue that motivated how they voted, tea parties responded that it was just as low on their priority list as the average population.
Lycia Howell: To be blunt, all but a couple of Tea Party people were unable to express why they are angry in any specific terms.They voice sentiments along the lines that “Obama is ruining the country” or that immigrants are hurting us and some referred to a nasty rap song, “Press One For English,” but they could offer no specifics to back their feelings.
David A. Love: Those of you who remember the televised images of angry white protestors in the 1950s and 1960s know that this is nothing new. Whenever a black child tried to integrate a school in the Jim Crow South, the teabaggers of their day were out there to show their outrage. Whenever African Americans tried to register to vote or sit at a segregated lunch counter, the same crowd was out there. They came with their fists, their vulgarity, threats of violence and spitting.
Tom Degan: On the one hand the latent threats of violence and intimidation that underlies the actions and speech of the Tea Party crowd is enough to make any clear-thinking person seriously alarmed about the direction the lunatic fringe of American politics seems to be headed. On the other hand, these people are just so damned funny! We’re talking Ambivalence City here! Part of me wishes them to go away and the other part would mourn their loss if they ever did. Let’s face it: These assholes are the best thing to happen to progressive politics in this country since Eleanor Roosevelt.
Carl Bloice: The “moderate Republican” has gone the way of the typewriter. As the tea party people and their ilk become more racist and reactionary – and their rhetoric more incendiary, each day – the GOP encourages them and endeavors to pull them into its embrace. Meanwhile the “bluedog Democrats” become increasingly irrelevant with each passing day, their bark more in evidence than their bite.
Andrea Christina Nill: Perhaps for the sake of sense of consistency, Beck has essentially drawn a line in the sand between immigrants who emigrate to the U.S. legally, and those who do not. Yet, what Beck either ignores or doesn’t realize is that the “front door” is slammed in the face of most people who would like to live and work in the U.S.
Sharon Kyle: The Right dominates AM talk radio and Fox but progressives dominate alternative media and we can be a force to be reconned with when we use the media to get out our message.
Charles D. Hayes: Both liberals and conservatives choose relating over reasoning at times, but research shows that conservatives place much more value on in-group loyalty than liberals do. There is plenty of research data to back up this assertion; one doesn’t have to resort to anecdotal evidence of flag waving and lapel pens, although it’s hard not to notice such behavior.
Friday Feedback: I shy away from premises that imply that we are returning to some sort of better historical past. It reminds me too much of Garden of Eden stories, a perfect place from which we have fallen. Humans have never fallen – in an evolutionary sense – from anything better. Things perpetually get better and they get worse, over the short run. But I’m sure this comment is not completely applicable to your statement.
Berry Craig: Caballero also said that “From calling Mexicans ‘filthy, stinking animals,’ to listening the likes of Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin deliver hateful speech after hateful speech, to the increased use of violence in their words and actions, Teabaggers have come out in full force against our community.”
David A. Love: The Tea Party movement, a twenty-first-century incarnation of the angry white mob—with corporate backing no less—exploits the fear of the foreigner. They and their cohorts in the anti-immigrant movement stoke the fires of hatred and resentment, among a population hit by recession and searching for the enemy.
Andrea Nill: The majority of Americans, including Republicans and independents, support a solution to the nation’s broken immigration system that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Chances are, many would also be turned off by ALIPAC and Tancredo’s impractical “deport them all” strategy and nativist vitriol.
The Tea Party people are already claiming credit for Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts a couple weeks ago. They are determined to steer the course of the GOP in November, come hell or high water. If they are allowed control of the party, their extremism will only turn off a huge segment of the voting population. If they are denied that opportunity, they will splinter off into third and even fourth party uprisings. Have you ever watched an elephant try to walk a tightrope? It’s more fun than a barrel of donkeys!
Joseph Palermo: Unless the Congress moves some progressive legislation quickly there’s going to be trouble this fall because any political party that is stupid enough to allow a couple of shmucks like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson, or the outcome of a special election in New England, to unravel its governing coalition doesn’t deserve to be in power.
Sharon Kyle: When asked if the movement was broad enough to attract conservative democrats, Palin said, “they’re already peeking in — it’s pretty cool to see some of the Blue Dog Democrats peeking under the tent and finding out what is this movement all about and, holy geez, I’m scared if I’m not a part of this.”
Andrea Christina Nill: Though Kellar insists his remarks weren’t intended to “express animosity towards non-whites,” local Democrats describe Kellar’s comments as “symbolic of the Republican Party’s attitudes toward immigration in general.” The rally was organized by several California anti-immigrant groups including the Santa Clarita Valley Independent Minutemen, the Santa Clarita Tea Party, and designated hate group Save Our State.
John Peeler: The defeat of Martha Coakley in the race to succeed Ted Kennedy certainly shows the folly of taking victory for granted and failing to mount a serious campaign. But it also puts on display the complete political incompetence of the Obama administration and the national leadership of the Democratic Party and the Congress.