American politics hey? Can’t live with it, past the table salt. The world’s greatest democracy is a fickle beast. It throws up all sorts of characters and odd balls and every now and then throws up situations that bring the country to brink of national crisis, I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about.
Take the tea party for instance. A movement that believes in very small government, reduced taxes (for the rich anyway), the constitution, but not federal government and they believe in guns – they love their guns.
Now I don’t know whether there should be too much read into this but the tea party movement was born in 2009 during the early stages of Obama’s Presidency as a protest against taxes and big federal government.
Interesting that they waited until 2009 given the previous president increased the federal budget by a mere 104% during his eight years in office. That’s a substantial increase when you compare it to the puny 11% increase during Clinton’s two terms.
In terms of “small government”, at the end of 2010 the federal government employed less people than it in did in 1980 and far less than at the end of Reagan’s two terms in office. Under Reagan federal government employment went from 2.875 million non-military employees to 3.110 million. This increase, coupled with several tax increases, should have had the tea baggers marching on the streets 30 years ago. Where were they? Probably sipping on coffee.
What could be the reason? Some of the initial protests were about were partially in response to several Federal laws such as, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and a series of healthcare reform bills. Then they protested against Washington and its culture but mainly they protested against the president. What is it about this president that get’s there backs up so?
Ably abetted by the "fair and balanced reporting" of Fox News, the tea party has successfully sucked oxygen out of the president’s agenda. At the same time they have spun the GOP into a reactionary, inward looking, always say no party that it is finding it more difficult appealing to its own base than it has stymieing all that comes out of the white house.
Then you have the whole birther movement. You know this mob, the one’s that more or less think that Obama is a half-breed muslin born in Kenya. The movement has been emboldened earlier in the year by statements made by reality tv celebrity and comb over expert Donald Trump. The Donald bought into the birther argument saying, “I want to see the birth certificate, how come his own family doesn't know which hospital he was born in? How come-- forget about birth certificates. Let's say there's no birth certificate. How come in the hospital itself, okay? This is one of the...in the hospital itself, there's no records of his birth. In other words, it doesn't say how much they paid, where is the doctor, here's your room bill.”
The truly amazing thing was that the white house was forced by the furore to provide copies of the president’s birth certificate to a salivating media. Well if the Donald and his kind demand authenticity from the president, then I demand to see Trump’s hair fresh out of the shower…no wait. That’s just not right!
See what American politics has reduced me to! Let’s hope it doesn’t have the same impact on America itself.