Monday, April 27, 2009

Missing at Tea Parties: right wing extremists

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson got it exactly right in his assessment of the Saint Paul Tax Day Tea Party ("Perception of Tea Parties was incorrect," Star Tribune, April 26).
...I saw thousands of average, hard-working Minnesota taxpayers (many with family in tow) respectfully voicing deep concerns about the future of our country...This was about spending at the federal level that has gone completely berserk, about an exploding deficit that threatens the quality of life of our kids (and probably that of our kids' kids), and about a bailout mentality in Washington that turns the capitalist foundation of this country on its head.

There were few if any "right wing extremists" at peaceful protests across the country on April 15, and I hope that the Department of Homeland Security was not wasting its resources spying on the law-abiding working folks there.

Many on the left are constantly stereotyping or attacking the messengers, while refusing to engage in civil and reasoned debate on tax — and spending — policy. A canard that I noticed circulating in the leftmedia and Twittersphere was that the Tea Party was a protest against all taxes. It goes something like this: "I wonder if they enjoyed driving to the Tea Party on taxpayer-subsidized roads," or "I pay my taxes so we can have police, fire departments, and veterans benefits."

Nobody at the Tea Party is against taxes for legitimate functions of government, so let's put an end to that straw man argument. The Tax Day Tea Parties were a protest against excessive taxation and wasteful spending, making them more akin to Shay's Rebellion than the Boston Tea Party (sorry, Rick Santelli).

Even with the DFL's across-the-board tax rate hikes heading for a veto, it's more important than ever for fiscal moderates and conservatives to make an afternoon of it this Saturday at the Tax Cut Rally, State Capitol grounds, 11 am - 4 pm. There will be plenty of people to meet and things to do and learn for the whole family. The keynote speaker is Tax Cut Coalition icon Jason Lewis, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty will make his first appearance at the annual event.

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