Bill Clinton on the Tea Party

“Big business has done well and people who caused the financial turmoil are already back in the saddle — they’re doing fine. And the government that gave them the TARP bailout — you’re doing fine; you’ve got a job, you can send your kid to college, you’ve got healthcare. The middle class squeeze is basically occurring to non-government private sector workers… They’ve been squeezed by both big business and government.”

“I’m sympathetic with these Tea Party folks. American public and private systems need to be modernized and changed so they’re more accountable to people and they help the middle class more. I 100% agree with that. They’re right.”

This is what net roots and the rest don’t get. The grievances are real. Mocking and ridiculing them has proven to be less than an ideal strategy for liberals and progressives. I’ve got friends here in Utah who regularly listen to Glenn Beck. And guess what, there’s plenty we still agree on. Imagine what could be accomplished if we all found that common ground.


  1. I don’t think anyone is saying that some of their grievances aren’t real. I think most people are put off by the continuous flow of self-pity and bigotry from the party members and leadership. When you have members at a rally carrying signs with a noose saying gay people should be lynched, and nobody is taking them asside? When you have high ranking members asking on Facebook for the “Wyoming Handbook” on how to “hang fruit”, clearly referring to Matthew Shepard? It’s hard to not call them a bunch of bigoted loonies. Dangerous loonies.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Just because we agree on one thing does not mean we can be friends. I believe in a creator, and in Christ, but most “Christians” would just as soon hang ME on a cross for being gay as they would befriend me. One point of common cause does not a fellowship make.

    If the past decade has taught us anything it’s that the Right is no longer interested in “bi-partisanship” or cooperation. They’ve had the “my way or the highway” mentality too long, and they’re not letting it go. There is no distention in the ranks, they vote as a block, even if it’s the opposite of what they’ve personally pledged or believe in. The Tea Party is that to an extreme, even farther right than the current right-wing group. No holds barred, and no compromise. If they have their way, Christianity will be the official religion of America, with mandatory prayer in school and on the sabbath. Abortion would be illegal, as would homosexuality, or any mention of sexuality at all.

    History shows us where such groups lead society, and how things turn out. It’s not pretty. And it’s hard for me to see how any logical person can want to associate themselves with such a movement. Even if you do agree with one of their stated principals.

    • I meant to reply to this earlier. Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      I guess I see this at least partly as what happened with major anti-Iraq war rallies. We’d organize a protest, sometimes hundreds of thousands came. And the media would often focus on and photograph the most extreme loonies in the crowd and make them out as typical. So, I think that’s happening at least some with the Tea Party.

      But yes,absolutely, some of them are virulent. That’s what the left needs to gets its views out there too.

      There’s a lot of anger in the country now. It doesn’t have to be the domain of the right.

      • But I’m not seeing it just in the fringe. I’m seeing it in the leadership, Bob. If it were just a few in the wings, I could write it off. But when the president for a state Chapter is saying things like this, you have to wonder where things are going with this party.

        This isn’t just about one or two bad apples. It’s a systemic thing, one that I’m seeing again and again. It’s worse than McCain’s rallies where people were openly calling Obama the N word and screaming “lynch him”, and McCain just blinked and pretended not to hear it. Except here the ones being crazy are in charge.

        Even their candidates are off the deep end. Did you hear Palladino’s views on his CNN interview a few days ago? Talking about how people on welfare should go to prisons to learn about hygiene? And how rape victims should be forced to have the resulting babies and place them in adoption vs having an abortive option? And don’t get me started on how he sluffs off the e-mail he sent out containing bestiality to his workmates… while calling for LGBT people to be place in prisons “to protect our kids from that sick stuff”.

        • That’s why the left needs to do something.

          • I don’t disagree with that. What I disagree with is this constant mantra here of “we should find common ground with the Tea Party and join forces”. Just because the Klan doesn’t like nuclear waste, and I don’t like nuclear waste isn’t, reason enough for me to join the Klan.

            Finding common ground is great, but it doesn’t mean you have common goals or beliefs on how to reach them. Gandhi and Hitler both wanted a unified world, but their visions of how to achieve that end were very different. The same can be said here.

            Linking forces is never going to work with the Tea Party. Providing an alternative platform for the sane people to jump to may, but that’s a tough raft to build while just trying to stay afloat.

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