Three New Facts about the Tea Party

For a movement that’s helped to reshape the Republican Party—and by extension, reshape American politics—we know shockingly little about the people who make up the Tea Party. While some in the GOP once hoped to co-opt the movement, it’s increasingly unclear which group—the Tea Party or establishment Republicans—is running the show. Politicians have largely relied on conjecture and assumption to determine the positions and priorities of Tea Party activists.

Until now. The results of the first political science survey of Tea Party activists show that the constituency isn’t going away any time soon—and Republicans hoping the activists will begin to moderate their stances should prepare for disappointment. Based out of the College of William and Mary, the report surveyed more than 11,000 members of FreedomWorks, one of the largest and most influential Tea Party groups. The political scientists also relied on a separate survey of registered voters through the YouGov firm to compare those who identified with the Tea Party movement to those Republicans who did not. (Disclosure: The political scientist leading the survey was my father, Ronald Rapoport, with whom I worked in writing this piece.)

For the first time, we can now look at what a huge sample of Tea Party activists believe, as well as examine how those who identify with the Tea Party differ from their establishment GOP counterparts. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the study:

1. Tea Party activists are not Republicans.

Republicans are now reliant on the Tea Party. While the number of Tea Party supporters has declined since 2010, they still make up around half of Republicans, according to NBC/Wall Street Journal surveys. More important, they are the most active supporters when it comes to voting in primaries, volunteering on campaigns, and participating in various other activities political parties are reliant upon. Seventy-three percent of Republicans who attended a political rally or meeting identified with the Tea Party. The activists are vehemently anti-Democratic. Among the FreedomWorks sample, only 3 percent of people voted for Obama or a Democratic House candidate in 2008, and less than 6 percent identify as either independents or Democrats.

Yet the Tea Party activists doing work for the Republicans are surprisingly negative about the party they’re helping. While 70 percent of FreedomWorks activists identify as Republican, another 23 percent reject the Republican label entirely and instead, when asked which political party they identify with, choose “other.” Asked if they considered themselves more Republican or more a Tea Party member, more than three-quarters chose Tea Party.

Given that so many don’t identify with the GOP, it’s perhaps not surprising that the activists also rate the party they vote for so poorly. Given a spectrum of seven choices from “outstanding” to “poor,” only 9 percent of activists rated the Republican Party in the top two categories. Meanwhile, 17 percent put the party in the bottom two. In total, 32 percent rated the party in one of the three positive categories while a whopping 40 percent rated the party in one of the negative ones.

In other words, the activists providing a huge amount of the labor and enthusiasm for Republican candidates are, at best, lukewarm on the party they’re voting for. Few are concerned about what their impact on the future of the GOP will be. Which brings us to:

2. Tea Party activists aren’t nearly as concerned about winning.

Or at least they’re significantly more concerned with ideological purity than with political pragmatism. The survey asked FreedomWorks activists if they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “When we feel strongly about political issues, we should not be willing to compromise with our political opponents.” Altogether, more than 80 percent agreed to some extent. Thirty-two percent of respondents “agree strongly” with the statement. Meanwhile, less than 10 percent disagreed even “slightly.” In another series of questions sent out to FreedomWorks activists, the survey asked whether they would prefer a candidate with whom they agree on most important issues but who polls far behind the probable Democratic nominee or a candidate with whom they agree “on some of the most important issues” but who’s likely to win. More than three-fourths of respondents preferred the candidate who was more likely to lose but shared their positions.

In other words, the Tea Party cares more about what nominees believe than whether they can win—and compromising on politics means compromising on principle.

The findings help explain what’s happened in so many GOP primary races.  Both nationally and at the state level, moderate GOP officeholders found themselves with primary challengers. The Tea Party has helped propel several upstart candidacies, like Christine O’Donnell’s infamous effort to win Delaware’s Senate seat or more recently, Richard Mourdock’s successful challenge to sitting Senator Dick Lugar. In both of those cases, and several others, the Tea Party candidate has proved too extreme for the general election and lost. But despite the losses, the push toward conservative purity continues. A recent New York Times story showed that even House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, seen as the leader with the most clout in the Tea Party movement, has been unable to move the faction's members in his party into more moderate terrain. In light of these survey results, that makes sense—Tea Party elected officials are simply reflecting their supporters. Meanwhile, those left in the establishment fear the party’s new direction.

3. Attempts to bridge the gap between establishment Republicans and the Tea Party are doomed to fail.

There’s no shortage of moves from Republicans to keep the Tea Party in the fold while shifting things more to the center. After the dismal GOP performance in the 2012 elections, establishment figures began pushing back against the Tea Party. Famous consultant Karl Rove announced a new political action committee designed to challenge extreme GOP candidates with more marketable ones. The national party even put out a report after the 2012 losses that pushed for more pragmatic candidates that could have a broader appeal. As noted, even Eric Cantor is trying.

But the gap between the two groups is huge. In the YouGov survey the study uses, more than two-thirds of Tea Partiers put themselves in the two most conservative categories on economic policy, social policy, and overall policy. Only 23 percent of non-Tea Partiers place themselves in the most conservative categories on all three issues; nearly 40 percent don’t locate themselves in the most conservative categories for any of the three policy areas.

Most jarring: On some issues, like abolishing the Department of Education and environmental regulation, the establishment Republicans are actually closer to Democrats than they are to the Tea Party respondents. That’s a gap too large to be overcome by a few political action committees and gestures of goodwill.

Tea Party activists dominate the Republican Party, and they’re no less willing to compromise with the GOP than they are with Democrats. FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe summed it up nicely in his book title: Hostile Takeover.

Simply put, the GOP is too reliant on the Tea Party—and based on these survey results, the Tea Party doesn’t care about the GOP’s fate. It cares about moving the political conversation increasingly rightward.

Comments

How about a fourth fact you guys failed to mention: See page 5 of the report. The Tea Party is extremist, bigoted and frankly, unAmerican.

You forgot stupid and cruel

"Stupid and cruel" describes the Tea Party perfectly. No other adjectives are necessary.

statflyer.com many culture and prospect have in us and many part of prospects economical include all relevent human need.

I imagine that it feels good to vent and malign those with whom you disagree. This is not a hallmark of open-mindedness.

You mean like Teabaggers malign everyone who doesn't agree with them?

GOSH! I KNOW, right???!!!

Liberal radio pundit: Missile strike on NRA gathering would end Obama's problems http://www.examiner.com/video/guest-on-stephanie-miller-show-obama-s-a-good-guy-for-passing-up-opportunity-to-bomb-nra-convention

Texas Democrat Party Official Calls For Murder Of Fellow Americans Over Political Disagreement http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/335732.php

Death Threats in Des Moines: Retired Columnist Wants to Kill NRA Members, Drag GOP Leaders Behind Trucks
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2012/12/31/death-threats-des-moines-retired-columnist-wants-kill-nra-members-drag-g#ixzz2SizjkcVR

Liberals on Twitter call for murder of NRA members after NRA press conference (Video) http://www.examiner.com/article/liberals-on-twitter-call-for-murder-of-nra-members-after-nra-press-conference

Professor calls for assassination of NRA CEO http://www.campusreform.org/blog/?ID=4544

Liberals Call for Killing of 6 year old Conservative http://patriotupdate.com/2012/08/left-spews-hateful-comments-at-6-year-old-conservative/#ixzz2Sj4fqgr6

If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun-victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms? https://twitter.com/JoyceCarolOates/statuses/279718404305321986

Actress Marg Helgenberger: ‘One can only hope’ NRA members get shot http://twitchy.com/2012/12/18/actress-marg-helgenberger-one-can-only-hope-nra-members-get-shot/

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock equates NRA with KKK http://twitchy.com/2012/12/03/sportswriter-jason-whitlock-equates-nra-with-kkk-gun-rights-advocates-fire-back/

Unhinged: Violent online diversion lets players murder NRA officials-- "I really want to shoot Wayne LaPiere in the head in a video game because I’m pissed about how he and others on his side have blamed violence on video games,” the game’s creator wrote. ”This’ll ultimately be a bonus level in the final game, but I want to get it done and released ahead as quickly as possible, in part because I wanna see the man wet his pants on television and bi**h about being victimized in a video game.” - the game's creator http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1422784_BULLET_TO_THE_HEAD_OF_THE_NRA.html
http://twitchy.com/2013/01/15/paging-media-bullet-to-the-head-video-game-allows-players-to-shoot-to-kill-nra-president/

Nicholas Assunto‏@NickJAss Can...can we shoot...the NRA?
https://twitter.com/NickJAss/statuses/282187503895728128

Sam Malone's Wig‏@SamMalonesWig I generally don't condone gun violence, but Wayne Lapierre should do us a favor and shoot himself in the face. #NRA #Lapierre https://twitter.com/SamMalonesWig/statuses/282162093808033793

Ahlberto‏@ahlberto @CNN Its time to stop NRA .Kill Wayne LaPierre.They whant war?Its time to kill all NRA top members.Save the children,kill al top NRA members https://twitter.com/ahlberto/status/282214544724619264

David McCreath‏@mccreath Wayne LaPierre can go fuck himself with an assault rifle. https://twitter.com/mccreath/statuses/282182703007272960

Max Erwin‏@citruscorp "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun," LaPierre concluded. someone should shoot this guy https://twitter.com/citruscorp/statuses/282194272902586370
Does He Listen to Himself? Matthews Compares NRA to Nazis, Decries Use of Nazi Comparisons http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2013/05/06/does-he-listen-himself-matthews-compares-nra-nazi-decries-use-nazi-c#ixzz2Sj3HkJkV

Twitter users call for assassination of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lauren_2121' wrote "i hope scott walker dies. someone please shoot him?!", 'McGee12' tweeted "Everyone say it with SCOTT WALKER MUST DIE", User 'jritsynme' wrote "He is the devil and deserves 2 be shot!!!" http://www.examiner.com/article/twitter-users-call-for-assassination-of-wisconsin-governor-scott-walker

FuKiNwAlLy‏@fukinwally Mitt Romney just needs to die, he is going to do no good for our country https://twitter.com/fukinwally/statuses/234310513834725377

Kaitlyn Kendall‏@skettikat If you think Romney would be a good president, kill yourself. #MittIsShit https://twitter.com/skettikat/status/235511519901786112

Dan Savage Wishes Palin Gets Cancer http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/05/05/dan-savage-wishes-palin-gets-cancer#comment-887228376

Obama sanctioned Dan Savage: Bully-in-Chief http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n98V4XuFLrk

'Tea Party Zombies Must Die' Video Game Lets Players Kill Off Conservatives http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/07/tea-party-zombies-must-die-video-game_n_951896.html

Twitter user tells conservative author Kurt Schlichter that NRA leaders should be killed http://twitchy.com/2013/01/10/twitter-user-tells-conservative-author-kurt-schlichter-that-nra-leaders-should-be-killed/

Is the ‘mainstream media’ fomenting violence against conservatives? http://conservativefiringline.com/is-the-mainstream-media-fomenting-violence-against-conservatives/

Democratic Congressman says it's time for unions to get bloody http://www.examiner.com/article/democratic-congressman-says-it-s-time-for-unions-to-get-bloody

Video shows union thug assaulting young female conservative activist http://www.examiner.com/article/video-shows-union-thug-assaulting-young-female-conservative-activist

Rhode Island cameraman threatened with sodomy by union thug at protest http://www.examiner.com/article/rhode-island-cameraman-threatened-with-sodomy-by-union-thug-at-protest

Union thug attacks Tea Party activist at Sacramento rally http://www.examiner.com/article/union-thug-attacks-tea-party-activist-at-sacramento-rally

Hate-a-rama: The vulgar, racist, sexist, homophobic rage of the Left http://michellemalkin.com/2011/02/25/hate-a-rama-the-vulgar-racist-sexist-homophobic-rage-of-the-left/

Southern Poverty Law Center website triggered FRC shooting http://washingtonexaminer.com/southern-poverty-law-center-triggered-frc-shooting/article/2520748

Liberalism remains an ideology of genocidal hate and rage http://conservativefiringline.com/liberalism-remains-an-ideology-of-genocidal-hate-and-rage/

I'm tea party. I spend alot of time reminding non tea party people the issues we face today are American issues, not race issues. I hate to tell you this , but, obama has created division in every sector of society. Race, color, class, party - I have been working hard to diffuse that. One last note, I'm half Shoshone Bannock - Indian and I am the director of the Wa State Tea Party. I have never been discriminated against by Tea Party members, I am treated with respect. On the flip side, I have been heavily discriminated against by Dems whose policies and attitudes insist I am different, I am not an American, I am a pet that must be cared for as I do not posses the intellect to provide for myself. I have provided for myself , accepting no money from those whom claim me as their pet , nor have I remained in the cage they provided for me, the res. Obama is the most racist of them all the Tea Party as a whole are not racist, we believe in equal rights for all Americans, whereas on the other side , your presidents side, extreme racism is carried on daily.

I have noticed that the term "racist" has changed its meaning. Originally it meant those who kept black people from voting, passed laws that forced them to use separate water fountains and public bathrooms (when there WERE any provided for them), made up felony charges as an excuse to "harvest" strong black men for prison industries, sent the Klan to terrorize them and then refused to prosecute the Klan because there were no witnesses (wink, wink), put fire hoses and attack dogs on them when they marched for voting rights, etc. Now it seems that ANY attempt on the part of government or private activist volunteers to help MAKE UP FOR that past racism is considered "racism" by the right. Has the Obama administration, or ANY liberal minded administration, forced white people to use separate and inferior public accommodations? Have they used trumped up charges to put white people in prison in greater numbers than black people? Have they even succeeded in completely stopping the preferential imprisonment of black people by white government officials while white people are treated more leniently? Using terms like "pet" and "cage" shows that you regard everyone whose combined luck AND ambition has not turned out as well as yours as being totally subhuman. Jobs for both black and white workers are disappearing because of decisions by those few people (mostly white but some of all races) with extreme economic power to move them to third world countries where people work for pennies a day, and black workers are NOT taking those few remaining jobs in preference to white workers; the numbers show just the opposite.

Your real oppressors are the minority of wealthy people who did not gain their wealth by making the pie bigger for all, but by gaming the system to get an extreme share of the pie from others. They have influence over governments of both parties, but the Republicans are much more to their liking. Crooked banks FEAR voters who elect Senators such as Elizabeth Warren who want to make the banks play fair with customers, depositors, and investors, so they stalk false fears of "socialism" to keep the power for themselves. CEO's are chosen by boards of directors of each others' companies in an interlocking, incestuous relationship that bypasses the interests of the majority of shareholders, and they agree on how much they will "compete," keeping retail prices up. But then they cry to voters like you that the "unions are killing us" to get legal permission to lower YOUR wages and benefits, and eventually eliminate YOUR job.

Class warfare is not a paranoid invention of the left. It is a reality being FOUGHT by the right on behalf of the upper class, and the right has far more weapons than the left to fight it. Ironically, the upper class and ALL Americans would be -- and were, in the past -- better off in absolute terms with more rights and better pay for workers. But a few of them do not care to be ACTUALLY better off, only about being further AHEAD of everyone else. They call themselves "job creators" when they only create more jobs as a last resort, to produce more stuff for a growing demand. But with more people unemployed or underpaid, because of their monopoly control of the labor market, the demand will not be there, and neither will the jobs.

We need to return to common sense Keynesian economics, or our economy will become Dickensian (as in "Bah, Humbug!" or "Please Sir, may I have a little more gruel?").

People in this country could have whatever they want to have. What they wanted was to be in debt $16,000,000,000,000. So what they will get was what they got once before. The people who got them in debt will put them in food lines like they did in the 1930's. I made about $4000 last year and was able to pay my rent on the trailer house I rent and to buy enough food to stay alive. I also sent $40 to the Bureau of the Public Debt and told them to apply my donation toward payment of the debt. I turned 65 in August but am not going to apply for social security. I do not believe in it. Social security was depleted by Democratic Party members of Congress in the 1980's. There is nothing there but a shell game. I can still support myself and keep the nation going with my $40 donation every year. You Keynesian economists have no money. All you have are pieces of paper which have no value. You are going to find that out after a while.

Y'all just keep telling yourself that while I direct you to the websites railing against out "Nigg*r President." Then tell me the Tea Party isn't a bunch of racist bigots. What do you people want, anyway? From where I sit, a return to a purely white America that never existed.

I always said the republicans had better be careful what they wish for when they were all excited about the tea party at the beginning. Now they can't control them.

I am an independent voter, which is American. Independent voters were created in government by the writing and approval of the United States Constitution. I registered independent the first time I voted and have never been registered any other way. Since the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party is pro-life, and abortion was given to us by the Democratic Party from European politics through use of the judicial branch of government as a legislative body, I have to consider Tea Party members more American than Democrats.

Why? Are Europeans the only ones who have ever had abortions? You might want to visit the bad old days of back-alley abortions with coat hangers. Why is it when anyone does agree with you they are "not American??" Unless you are Native-American, you too are "not American."

Why? Are Europeans the only ones who have ever had abortions? You might want to visit the bad old days of back-alley abortions with coat hangers. Why is it when anyone does agree with you they are "not American??" Unless you are Native-American, you too are "not American."

I don't think the heading "Tea Party activists are not Republicans" is supported by the line "70 percent of FreedomWorks activists identify as Republican."

It does seem to be a contradiction. I suppose it would be more accurate to say that the Tea Party are not Republican party loyalists. They will not support Republicans no matter what. Although they rarely find a Democrat (leftist/socialist) attractive and worthy of their support, they would just as soon stay home or withdraw active support (i.e. not walk the precincts) for Republicans that do not share Tea Party goals.

You said, "I imagine that it feels good to vent and malign those with whom you disagree. This is not a hallmark of open-mindedness."
Yet, then you make the assertion that Democrats are leftists/socialists. Most Democrats, in particular those in office, are centrists or left leaning. Most can better be described as Social Democrats. There is a clear distinction between a Social Democrat and a leftist or socialist. It's true that most leftists/socialists vote Democrat since the predominately available alternative is a veritable nightmare. So, my question to you is, since teabaggers use the terms leftist/socialist among their ways of "maligning" Democrats, and you do too, does that mean that you also don't demonstrate "a hallmark of open-mindedness?"

Socialism was an invention of European Communists which was supposed to enable them to participate in capitalist governments until World Communism could be achieved and everyone would live in a workers' paradise.

Try again. There are several definitions of "socialism" and the concept seems to work quite well in Norway, Denmark and Finland. Their populations are much happier than ours. What's wrong with that?

Mr. Cabeze:
How about a few examples. It is too easy to say someone is bigoted. If someone like the ideas of lower taxes, less government, and more freedom, how does that make them bigots? Thanks

Because you might say that is what the Tea Party is all about until they actually start proposing legislation and policy. Then what the Teabaggers are all about is actually only about limiting the rights of those that don't fit into their Christian Right Wing views of America. Examples: against the rights of same sex couples, against the rights of women to make their own health decisions, against the free expression of religions other than Christianity, limiting voting rights of those who disagree with you. Your Teabagger slogans are all about smaller government, less taxes and more freedom but your actions and policies are exactly opposite.

1. What 'rights' are you talking about concerning same sex couples? There is no constitutional right to marriage at all, gay OR straight, hence by limiting the recognition of marriage to that which is beneficial to society (man and woman) is not a violation of any rights. For any society to exist and thrive is wholly dependent on procreation. THAT is the reason heterosexual couples marriage is recognized by the state. It's a practical matter, not a discriminatory one. There is no "right" to gay marriage anymore than there is a right to polygamy. Indeed, there is no 'right' to state recognition of marriage, period.

2. What 'rights' of women to make their own health decisions are you talking about? Abortion? That is an issue that is hardly restricted to the tea party. It's a polarizing issue that not even all democrats agree with. What other "health decisions" does the tea party want to restrict for women?

3. Please cite examples of tea party members opposing freedom of expression of religions other than Christianity. While I have no doubt many Christian members of tea party organizations disagree with the doctrine of some other religions, I've seen no efforts in the name of tea party to suppress other religious beliefs in the public forum.

4. Limiting voting rights of those who disagree with you? You must be kidding. Following election law is somehow limiting voting rights? Requiring ID (which most states require you to possess anyhow so not an undue burden) to prove you actually HAVE a right to vote is somehow limiting voting rights? It seems to me that the efforts are to ensure fair elections, not to limit the opposition. In a country with some 20 million plus illegal immigrants it is completely reasonable to ensure that only those who are legally eligible voters be allowed to do so. What legally eligible voters are the tea party trying to limit? Demanding proof of eligibility is not limiting voting rights. You can't cash a check, drive a car, GET A JOB, apply for a loan, get on a plane, get married etc. without valid state ID, why should something as critically important as voting be different? There is no unreasonable burden involved in that requirement.

5. The actions of tea party organizations are wholly consistent with streamlining Government (which just means to lessen the overlapping bureaucracies that even the most ardent big government proponent can't deny exist and get rid of costly, unnecessary departments ) lower taxes and a more uniform tax code, as well as liberty.

I'm not a member of any Tea Party group nor do I agree with all of their stances and methods but your characterizations without context seem born of the disinformation and rhetoric supplied by those who oppose them, not of a valid analysis of what they are all about.

"There is no "right" to gay marriage anymore than there is a right to polygamy. Indeed, there is no 'right' to state recognition of marriage, period."

Then why do so many Republicans and Tea Partiers want to pass laws and constitutional amendments defining what types of marriages will be recognized by the state?

Every state already has laws that recognize marriage, or rather define it for state purposes. Most define it as a civil union between a man and a woman. There is no 'type of' marriage, only what the state recognizes as a marriage. Any two people can get married anywhere in the country that they like if they can find a minister to perform the ceremony and it is perfectly legal. Nobody is going to be arrested for marrying someone of the same sex. The distinction is only in what the state recognizes. That recognition isn't a "right" it is what is determined by the individual state. The only 'rights' we have are those outlined in the US Constitution, which does not address marriage at all, or state Constitutions so long as they don't directly conflict with the US Constitution.

The legal claims are significant. If you choose to 'marry' someone of the same sex and a church sanctions it and performs the ceremony there is no law prohibiting it. You won't be charged with a crime. The state will simply ignore it entirely (which I think they should do with all marriage but that's another post) meaning you won't receive the benefits of a couple that is recognized. Stating that it's "illegal" is a lie. Polygamy is illegal. If you marry more than one person of any sex you will be committing a crime in every state in the Union. Not so with gay marriage.

The 'equal protection under law' argument that so many claim makes gay marriage a 'right' is fatally flawed as well. Many states have civil union laws that give you the same benefits as a married couple but without the distinction of 'marriage'. Perfectly legitimate as the state can define marriage any way they choose as long as they don't discriminate institutionally. Gay rights activists aren't happy with this, but that doesn't make it wrong.

We are a republic for a reason. The founders intention was for each state to determine where they stood on such issues. If you are unhappy with the rules and regulations of one state, you are free to move to another state that is more suited to your particular purpose. If we simply forced all states to conform to all standards we would cease being a representative republic. There are several states that recognize gay marriage. If the issue is so important to you, nothing prevents you from moving to one of those states. Other states should not and can not be forced to accept your views to suit your desires. The same applies to other social issues such as marijuana sales. Just because Colorado has legalized pot doesn't mean you can fire up a joint in Times square. Nor should it. Each state must decide for themselves what the citizens of that state deem socially acceptable. The federal government has no role.

BTW, this isn't a "Republican and tea party" issue. There are plenty of democrats who oppose gay marriage on moral or religious grounds. Contrary to popular belief, not all Democrats are atheists or abandon their faith when they join the party. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Mary Landrieu, D-La. and Mark Pryor, D-Ark all staunchly oppose Gay marriage even with the immense pressure to publicly change their stance by their party. Multiple dems who were previously opposed relented under the pressure. Politicians don't always put their moral convictions above party politics because they need support of the party to get re-elected.

Great argument. Unfortunately, it was kind of a waste of time, as the guy you were talking to was obviously an idiot and didn'strmed fort have any substantive arguments of his own. But I enjoyed the monologue ;)

Two objections to this post, the first being your statement that "The only 'rights' we have are those outlined in the US Constitution, which does not address marriage at all, or state Constitutions so long as they don't directly conflict with the US Constitution."
This is not accurate. The ninth amendment to the Constitution states that just because a right is not enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights does not mean that you don't have it. The only rights we do not have are those explicitly taken from us by the document. This has been applied to the states through the 14th amendment. The constitution is quiet on the question of wiretaps, the reading of emails, and a whole host of other points that we now consider fundamental to our freedom. I actually think this is the most inspiring thing about the American system: we are never to ask WHY someone deserves a right, but rather ask why they should not keep it.

Second objection: You argue that equal protection under the law is invalid because of the existence of civil unions. I absolutely agree, civil unions solve this problem of equal protection under the law. However, seeing as this is the only response you make to the question of equal protection under the law, I assume that you concede that it is a constitutionally valid request. Which makes me wonder how the many states that still do not have civil union legislation are not in violation of their constitutional mandates.

Personally, I think there's an important constitutional question often overlooked by people debating the topic: The Full Faith and Credit clause, which requires that every state respect the permits, acts, and licenses issued by other states. Frankly, an Alabaman couple should have the Constitutional right to get married in California and move back to Alabama, remaining legally married.

I have a permit issued in the state of Alabama to carry a concealed weapon at all times, with the exception of a school campus or federal building. Should NY, CO, and California, as well as the District of Columbia be required to recognize this right. What about NY's recent ban on all magazines containing more than seven rounds? If I carry a legally obtained 10 round firearm is NY required by the Full Faith and Credit clause to allow me to do so in their state as well?

I guess you'd have to take that up with those arguing for tighter gun control! I'm only arguing about gay marriage. Although I would add that the issue of recognizing the marriages of other states is made more pressing because of the fact that every state recognizes the straight marriages of every other state in the union as valid- not so of any form of gun license, nor has that ever been true.

Even as a supporter of marriage equality, I cannot agree with brianbruzzo's use of the full faith and credit clause for marriage, or a number of other issues, as rep4au has made clear. "...[I]n the case of statutes...the full faith and credit clause does not require one state to substitute for its own statute...the conflicting statute of another state...." according to the Supreme Court. In short, I want my state's gun control regulations to have meaning, so I'm not going to force Alabama to recognize a marriage based on that same clause. Its greater weight is with judgments, not statutes, so someone cannot escape a court judgment by simply moving to another state.

Do you know how many hoops I have to jump through just to receive the basic rights of marriage? How much it cost me with a lawyer to fill out wills, power of attorneys, etc? Do you have any idea how much money my non-legally recognized wife and I have to pay because we can't file married? Because of ignorant people like you, we do not have joint healthcare. My company offers domestic partnership and it costs $4800 in extra federal and state taxes to cover my wife because the government doesn't recognize our marriage. Sure, we weren't arrested when we stood before God, family and friends and promised to love, honor and support each other until death us do part, but we haven't gained the same rights and responsibilities that a straight couple has. It's disgusting.

You make prejudice statements, you are what you are describing others as. I'm Tea Party, I voted for your right to marry. I am seeing to many prejudice and ignorant, hateful statements by people like you. Get off your high horse, before people like me start pushing back on you. Those wills and power of attorneys , they have to be filled out anyways. Those taxes. my husband and I pay more now because we are married and my husband still pays for my insurance, just as he did when we were a domestic partnership couple. What's disgusting is watching yet another group of people attempt to become a "minority group" so that they can strip away the rights of others and force themselves on others where ever they go. You already have the same rights and responsibilities as a "straight couple" - the problem is you don't want the responsibility side. One last note julietotsch, you and too many like you are going to end up losing those of us who have supported you with your bigoted attitudes. You keep accusing a certain group of a wrong doing they are not guilty of it creates resentment julie - so you might want to think about that. Quite honestly, I have heard and read too many comments just like yours, accusing me and others who supported your right to marry of being bigots and worse. You are the problem and those like you , you are striving to create hate and division. Feel proud julie.

How are gay couples stripping away your rights??? Your response is pretty hateful.

As an unmarried American, I would point out that homosexuals who claim to be married are avoiding taxes that I have to pay.

mmaderom:
Side note on point 2) many in the Tea Party are against abortion but for the Woman's right to choose. What they object to is being forced to pay for it. Why should I have to pay for some college kid to get laid? Sandra Fluke wants $3 Grand a semester to pay for contreceptives? Really? If she wants that many rubbers, let her pay for them. I had to pay for mine when I was in college.
Side note on point 3) I will admit that many Tea Party members are against Sharia law in the US. Mostly because Sharia and the US Constitution do not mix, and we are against honor killing a girl because she was raped.

Other than that, I agree whole-heartedly with your post.

Fine. Then let's make sure Viagra isn't covered as well.

well, considering one is a medical ailment and the other is a choice....

The problem with saying that "gay couples have a right to be married by any church that will recognize it" but the state is free to "ignore it, just as it should be ignoring all marriages" is precisely that: the state and federal government does NOT IGNORE marriages. It provides LEGAL AND FINANCIAL BENEFITS to married couples, and so do many private employers, that are not available to marriages "ignored" by these entities. In other words, if you are straight and in love, you can pool your income for tax purposes, automatically get recognized as the legal parents of your children and those you adopt, get to be on each others' insurance plans, can visit each other in the hospital, have custody of each others' remains in the event of death, then get widow's/widower's benefits, etc. etc. etc. But except in the 13 states so far (but not yet in the eyes of the federal government, or in the eyes of employers who do not approve), people who are gay and fall in love can live together but not get any of those benefits. As a straight husband and father who HAS enjoyed those benefits for many years, I feel it is only fair to extend them to gay couples also, or not have them for anybody (and try to get THAT past voters!), just treat ALL couples as cohabiting partners under the law, regardless of THEIR belief that they are married.

The mantra about "just proving you can vote" ignores the FACTS ON THE GROUND that people too poor or ill (or both) to need a driver's license, who have been recognized as eligible to vote for DECADES, are suddenly and ONLY NOW being told they cannot vote without spending MONEY THEY CANNOT AFFORD and getting, in some cases, nursing assistance (even MORE unaffordable) to make trips to government offices, to RECERTIFY their identity which has been already certified long ago, in order to CONTINUE to be eligible to vote. In many cases, the original documents they are required to have now have been lost (courthouse fires, lost family Bibles due to moving -- or Klan-started house fires, sometimes, or the death of possible witnesses) which essentially makes acquiring the new ID cards IMPOSSIBLE for people whom NO REASONABLE PERSON WOULD DREAM was not born in this country. The motivation for doing this, acknowledged in their partisan speeches, is that, although the laws IN THEORY apply to all voters, their supporters KNOW it will make it more difficult for SOME people -- you know, the WRONG people, wink wink -- to be able to vote. So yes, the burden is not unreasonable for affluent working people, but it is for some people, and it is INTENDED to be unreasonable for them.

The goal of "streamlining" government is a euphemism for DESTROYING those functions of government which Tea Party fanatics believe should not be functions of government -- even if they NEED to be done for the public good and no entity EXCEPT government has the means and will to do them. That was what we had before either of the Roosevelts, and America only became great when those problems were fixed -- adulterated foods, child labor (often combined, as when child workers' fingers ended up in the ground beef), no employer responsibility for employee safety (as the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire in 1900, and the Bangladesh factory collapse just recently), starving families with too many children due to ignorance of birth control (and lack of medical services to provide it), etc etc etc.

If the Tea Party proposes some REASONABLE policies, the rest of America's voters might consider them.

I find it ironic that one who claims to support gay rights uses the derisive term "teabagger", clearly meant as a put down, instead of "tea partyer". The implication is that members of the Tea Party practice the sex act nicknamed "tea bagging", namely, sucking on a man's testicles. The implication is odd given that this would imply disdain for men who suck another man's testicles -- which is something one might expect a gay man to enjoy. Hence, using the term "teabagger" is meant to imply that a member of the tea party is gay. Omigod! It is hypocritical to criticize members of the tea party for lack of respect for same-sex couples and in the process show disdain for gay sex.

The fact is that the Tea Party is not at all identical to the Christian Right. Yes, many members are devoted Christians, but some (like me) are non-believers. I have rarely been shown disrespect by members of the Tea Party for my atheism, but I often am shown virulent hostility from the Left for my Tea Party beliefs. The Left has a long way to go before it can fairly criticize the Tea Party for a lack of tolerance.

If you had ever gone to a tea party rally, you would know that there are openly gay people and atheists there. Yes, many openly gay individuals and atheists don't like it when the gov't takes their property rather than protects it. Sure, a majority of the Tea Party is not gay and is Christian, but that is not to say that these are the focus of the party. If that were the case, gays and atheists would not feel welcome there and this is simply not the case.

I apologize, but I have used the term "teabagger" to refer to the fanatical narrow mindedness of the TP, and the practice of mailing tea bags to elected officials as a protest. I was never aware of the use of the word to refer to a gay sex act, since I am not personally gay, and do not discuss the details of my or their sex lives with any gay people. Is it possible that gay people started referring to the sex act by that name BECAUSE of the dislike of TP activists? Was the word used in reference to gay sex BEFORE the TP started, or not? Obviously I would not know without more research of the question, but I leave that research to anyone else who wants to do it; it is not my field of interest. I have heard, however, from television shows of the satirical nature, that a few years ago, a right wing Senator's (at that time) last name started to be used as a newly coined word for something involved with sexual activity, in an attempt to ridicule him. I found it humorous but not quite fair to the man's reputation. The extenuating factor is that no one seriously BELIEVES in such a connection, they only wanted to laugh about it.

I know that many TP activists are not evangelical (i.e. Taliban) Christians, but since the same political candidates appeal to both, TP voters are, in effect, promoting those policies, even against their interest. The evangelicals welcome you to their rallies because you are voting with them.

As far as "taking my property" we seem to have an all-or-nothing dichotomy about the balance between private and public assets. If the TP ideal of NOTHING being taken to support public activities for the public good, we would have no government at all, and we would be living in Somalia (I am not referring negatively to their ethnicity, only the status of their current government, and surely many Somali refugees would agree) where whoever happens to have the most guns in your village this week is the government this week. To regard ALL of one's income and wealth as untouchable for the common good ignores the fact that we built a country TOGETHER, some of it by private transactions exchanging goods and services for money (MOST of it, actually), but a critically necessary portion by pooling ALL our resources through taxes to build and maintain the "commons" for all of us. Did you pay personally for the part of the street that is in front of your house? What if that were voluntary, and the person down the block refused? That would be a very bumpy dirt road! Was your last hamburger made of meat inspected to be sure it was save to eat? Yes, because, when our common experience over a century ago proved that the meat packers could not be depended upon to do it themselves, our GOVERNMENT passed laws to require it. Have you used a GPS device to find your way on a trip? Certainly, you earned the money to buy the device, but who put the satellites up, and keeps them working properly, to make it work? Right, the GOVERNMENT (specifically, USAF). Did you go to a state university to get your degree? These were founded by land grants from the Federal government, beginning during the Civil War (when many people no doubt said the government could not afford it). There are many other examples, which any liberal, union member, or minority race member could show you.

I agree we should have reasonable debates on WHICH services ought to be paid for by the common treasury and available to all, and which ones ought to be purely private sale-and-purchase contracts. But calling everyone who wants a particular public service, that you personally do not believe you need, a "socialist" or "statist" or someone who wants to "steal my property" prevents reasonable dialogue. I suspect you would prefer reasonable dialogue, but some of your cohorts apparently do not.

Well said!

For the record, here is a list of instances of "tolerance" I've compiled.....the vids from Dan Savage toward the end of the list are a MUST WATCH. :)

Liberal radio pundit: Missile strike on NRA gathering would end Obama's problems http://www.examiner.com/video/guest-on-stephanie-miller-show-obama-s-a-good-guy-for-passing-up-opportunity-to-bomb-nra-convention

Texas Democrat Party Official Calls For Murder Of Fellow Americans Over Political Disagreement http://rhymeswithright.mu.nu/archives/335732.php

Death Threats in Des Moines: Retired Columnist Wants to Kill NRA Members, Drag GOP Leaders Behind Trucks
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tim-graham/2012/12/31/death-threats-des-moines-retired-columnist-wants-kill-nra-members-drag-g#ixzz2SizjkcVR

Liberals on Twitter call for murder of NRA members after NRA press conference (Video) http://www.examiner.com/article/liberals-on-twitter-call-for-murder-of-nra-members-after-nra-press-conference

Professor calls for assassination of NRA CEO http://www.campusreform.org/blog/?ID=4544

Liberals Call for Killing of 6 year old Conservative http://patriotupdate.com/2012/08/left-spews-hateful-comments-at-6-year-old-conservative/#ixzz2Sj4fqgr6

If sizable numbers of NRA members become gun-victims themselves, maybe hope for legislation of firearms? https://twitter.com/JoyceCarolOates/statuses/279718404305321986

Actress Marg Helgenberger: ‘One can only hope’ NRA members get shot http://twitchy.com/2012/12/18/actress-marg-helgenberger-one-can-only-hope-nra-members-get-shot/

Sportswriter Jason Whitlock equates NRA with KKK http://twitchy.com/2012/12/03/sportswriter-jason-whitlock-equates-nra-with-kkk-gun-rights-advocates-fire-back/

Unhinged: Violent online diversion lets players murder NRA officials-- "I really want to shoot Wayne LaPiere in the head in a video game because I’m pissed about how he and others on his side have blamed violence on video games,” the game’s creator wrote. ”This’ll ultimately be a bonus level in the final game, but I want to get it done and released ahead as quickly as possible, in part because I wanna see the man wet his pants on television and bi**h about being victimized in a video game.” - the game's creator http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_1_5/1422784_BULLET_TO_THE_HEAD_OF_THE_NRA.html
http://twitchy.com/2013/01/15/paging-media-bullet-to-the-head-video-game-allows-players-to-shoot-to-kill-nra-president/

Nicholas Assunto‏@NickJAss Can...can we shoot...the NRA?
https://twitter.com/NickJAss/statuses/282187503895728128

Sam Malone's Wig‏@SamMalonesWig I generally don't condone gun violence, but Wayne Lapierre should do us a favor and shoot himself in the face. #NRA #Lapierre https://twitter.com/SamMalonesWig/statuses/282162093808033793

Ahlberto‏@ahlberto @CNN Its time to stop NRA .Kill Wayne LaPierre.They whant war?Its time to kill all NRA top members.Save the children,kill al top NRA members https://twitter.com/ahlberto/status/282214544724619264

David McCreath‏@mccreath Wayne LaPierre can go fuck himself with an assault rifle. https://twitter.com/mccreath/statuses/282182703007272960

Max Erwin‏@citruscorp "The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun," LaPierre concluded. someone should shoot this guy https://twitter.com/citruscorp/statuses/282194272902586370
Does He Listen to Himself? Matthews Compares NRA to Nazis, Decries Use of Nazi Comparisons http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2013/05/06/does-he-listen-himself-matthews-compares-nra-nazi-decries-use-nazi-c#ixzz2Sj3HkJkV

Twitter users call for assassination of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker lauren_2121' wrote "i hope scott walker dies. someone please shoot him?!", 'McGee12' tweeted "Everyone say it with SCOTT WALKER MUST DIE", User 'jritsynme' wrote "He is the devil and deserves 2 be shot!!!" http://www.examiner.com/article/twitter-users-call-for-assassination-of-wisconsin-governor-scott-walker

FuKiNwAlLy‏@fukinwally Mitt Romney just needs to die, he is going to do no good for our country https://twitter.com/fukinwally/statuses/234310513834725377

Kaitlyn Kendall‏@skettikat If you think Romney would be a good president, kill yourself. #MittIsShit https://twitter.com/skettikat/status/235511519901786112

Dan Savage Wishes Palin Gets Cancer http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2013/05/05/dan-savage-wishes-palin-gets-cancer#comment-887228376

Obama sanctioned Dan Savage: Bully-in-Chief http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n98V4XuFLrk

'Tea Party Zombies Must Die' Video Game Lets Players Kill Off Conservatives http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/07/tea-party-zombies-must-die-video-game_n_951896.html

Twitter user tells conservative author Kurt Schlichter that NRA leaders should be killed http://twitchy.com/2013/01/10/twitter-user-tells-conservative-author-kurt-schlichter-that-nra-leaders-should-be-killed/

Is the ‘mainstream media’ fomenting violence against conservatives? http://conservativefiringline.com/is-the-mainstream-media-fomenting-violence-against-conservatives/

Democratic Congressman says it's time for unions to get bloody http://www.examiner.com/article/democratic-congressman-says-it-s-time-for-unions-to-get-bloody

Video shows union thug assaulting young female conservative activist http://www.examiner.com/article/video-shows-union-thug-assaulting-young-female-conservative-activist

Rhode Island cameraman threatened with sodomy by union thug at protest http://www.examiner.com/article/rhode-island-cameraman-threatened-with-sodomy-by-union-thug-at-protest

Union thug attacks Tea Party activist at Sacramento rally http://www.examiner.com/article/union-thug-attacks-tea-party-activist-at-sacramento-rally

Hate-a-rama: The vulgar, racist, sexist, homophobic rage of the Left http://michellemalkin.com/2011/02/25/hate-a-rama-the-vulgar-racist-sexist-homophobic-rage-of-the-left/

Southern Poverty Law Center website triggered FRC shooting http://washingtonexaminer.com/southern-poverty-law-center-triggered-frc-shooting/article/2520748

Liberalism remains an ideology of genocidal hate and rage http://conservativefiringline.com/liberalism-remains-an-ideology-of-genocidal-hate-and-rage/

Democrats are the party which has pushed for higher nomination petition signature requirements at state level for independent candidates. For example, in Arizona Democrats and Republicans are required to get about 4000 signatures to get on the ballot for a statewide office. Independent voters have to get close to 30,000 signatures. Signature requirements like this were most recently upheld by federal court in Alabama, which has a similar signature requirement. So we see Democrats as the party which seeks to say that independent voters are not protected by the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Tea Party Republicans are not the people who will bring down the Democratic Party. Independent voters will do it.

you don't get more freedom when you have less government.

Of course you do. Government doesn't provide freedom, it restricts it. Excessive laws and restrictions are the antithesis of freedom. Our founding fathers designed the Constitution of the United States with the express purpose of limiting the size and scope of Government because they recognized the larger and more encompassing a Government is, the less free the citizens of the country would be.

While limited laws and regulations are necessary in a civil society, laws and regulations by definition restrict freedom. No law states what you CAN do, only what you can't. Restriction is, by definition, in opposition to freedom. The only purpose of a large, bloated, federal Government is unnecessary laws and regulations. The founders intention was for states to be self regulated as much as possible. It is not for the State of California to make laws that would affect the State of Tennessee, nor is it for the federal Government to force the state of Tennessee to accept or adopt California law, for example.

why because you say you do? How does that work exactly? Show me where the government takes away anyone's freedom exceot when a crime is permitted. Then i will give you an exacmple of countries where they are a tea-baggers Utopia and i will show you that there is no freedom what so ever. I will be waiting.

Two seconds later....

I cannot buy Time Warner Cable, I have only Cox. This reduction in my freedom to transact is due to a franchise granted by the City of San Diego. There are literally thousands of other governmental blockages of commerce between willing parties.

Then again ... if you can name ONE monopoly that is NOT created by government, I'll buy you a ham sandwich. Or a Reuben.

But you can't. They don't exist. Government is the source of EVERY restriction on trade....

Furthermore, the bigger government is (spending as % of GDP), the smaller the investment by the private sector with "what's left." The result is SLOWER GROWTH, the most insidious and damaging curse of all. No rising tide; stagnation.

45 years, OECD data here. See if you can spot the relationship...:
http://workforall.net/files/Size_of_government.gif

I agree with you that the original comment was too broad, and more government does not always mean more freedom. I will also agree that the founders had an eye for restricting the powers of the government when they wrote the Constitution. However, it's important to remember that the Constitution was a replacement for the Articles of Confederation, a document which gave the federal government so little power it was causing anarchy and rebellion. The Constitution dramatically expanded the power of the national government. President George Washington created the first national bank, similar to the Fed we have now. President Thomas Jefferson purchased a tract of land that doubled the size of the country in direct opposition to the idea of a small government without the right to make such a deal. The founding fathers were definitely afraid of tyranny, but they were also terrified of a government being too weak.

Also, you are simply wrong that laws and regulations by definition restrict freedom. That would be true if the only body capable of oppression was the government, but it isn't. State governments can oppress you, corporations and other institutions can oppress you, people that are bigger or richer than you can certainly oppress you. Even things like systemic poverty or insufficient access to education are, in a way, oppression. The federal government has tools to help you keep rights that would otherwise be taken from you by any of these groups -- admittedly they are not always effective, but they can try, and I certainly prefer it when they do. I think by now everyone agrees that the federal government is correct to force states to allow African Americans to vote. I think we all can agree that the minimum wage should exist, even if we disagree on what it should be. And I think we can all agree that bankers can be greedy, and some regulations to keep them from pulling a Bernie Madoff are necessary.

Right...you didn't grow up before the Civil Rights era, did you?

you don't get more freedom when you have less government.

That statement is overly simple. When gov't is too big, too intrusive, too restrictive of personal choices, then of course less gov't would increase freedom.

But if one were to reduce the size of gov't to nearly nothing, then there would be nothing to protect our lives from savages and our property from thieves. Property is an aspect of freedom. The very fact that one owns property means one is free to do with it what one pleases. But that freedom evaporates if an elected gov't is not there to protect it.

The Tea Party does advocate a smaller, less intrusive, market-based, constitutional gov't. Yes. Absolutely. But the leave out all the adjectives in that list and we see that "the Tea party does advocate... gov't". It advocates gov't. It absolutely is pro-gov't. We are not arguing over the existence of gov't or even the necessity of gov't. We are merely at odds over the size of gov't.

Ummm ... methinks we'd be able to form a police force without a government. This echoes the "What? We don't need roads?" stupidity I see daily.

There were roads before there were governments, and there were police before there were governments.

To quote Bastiat:

"Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

"If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

"Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

"If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all."

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