P.J. O’Rourke was once asked why conservatives didn’t hold demonstrations like the liberal side of the political spectrum.

His explanation was simple: “Because we have jobs”.

His explanation might be partly true (since students are the main ones that attend political demonstrations).

But now I am reading that the conservatives (or rather, libertarians) are indeed demonstrating, and being ignored by the media because many of the demonstrations are in small towns “outside the beltway”, so don’t count. Or the protesters are dismissed because, to use Robert Reich’s description: they are “kooks and demagogues and Right Wingers”.

PajamasMedia is keeping track of the estimated attendance, and their estimate so far is that 618,000 people attended the various “tea parties”, They have links to film from “citizen journalists”. But aside from blogs and CSPAN, one doubts you know why these people are demonstrating.

Let’s get some things straight.

One: Those demonstrating are fiscal conservatives, with a bias toward libertarianism. Notice all those signs saying “I am John Galt“? Go find your college paperback of Atlas Shrugged and you will see why this issue goes beyond the usual partisan line.

Yes, most of the protesters are probably Republican, but I suspect the majority are independent, with some “Blue Dog Democrats” taking part of the demonstration.

Two: The protests were not against taxes per se.

The protest was against the huge spending bill passed without those in Congress taking time to read who was getting the money, or questioning why so many “pork barrel” projects were being funded under the guise of “fiscal stimulus”.

Three: They are protesting that the “solution” being touted will be used to increase the power of the Federal government.

Even Robert Reich, discussing the AIG scandal notes:

The scandal is that even at this late date, even in a new administration dedicated to  doing it all differently, Americans still have so little say over what is happening with our money. (italics mine)

But then Reich gives his own “solution” to the problem:

… As long as taxpayers effectively own a large portion of them, they should be accountable to the government.

This, of course, is the argument of the Obama administration.
Yet, where in the constitution does it grant the president such power?

A lot of folks are distrustful of large corporations, but at least one can make laws that stop monopolies and punish those who cheat.

But if all that power is placed into a large bulky Federal bureaucracy, who will watch the watchdogs?

Hence the Tea Party Protests.

I am a Democrat who supports a broad government safety net for the poor. Finance is not my strong point, which is why I left private practice to work as a Federal job.

And I think Libertarianism ignores the charity that should be a part of any just government.

But when billions of dollars are being given to huge financial conglomerates to be used for heaven knows what, then I too have to question if this is wise.

And the given the wide cross section of those attending the tea parties, these people deserve a hearing, not just a dismissal by a clueless Mainstream Media.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket

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