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Posted on Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7 a.m.

It’s my Tea Party, too. It is grass roots, isn’t it?

By Guest Column


The author, Rick Keith, center, confronts speaker Karen McConnell, of Ypsilanti, at the April 15th Tea Party rally on the Diag.

Lon Horwedel |

I attended my second Tea Party in as many years, this time on April 15, Tax Day, in the Diag, at the center of University of Michigan’s campus.

With reports of splintering, hijacking and accusations of “astro-turf,” I came to see for myself.

I enjoyed several conversations with other protesters, especially one with a young mother holding an “Atlas Would Shrug” sign. We discussed the merits and shortcomings of a flat tax, healthcare reform and the reach of the U.S. military. We referenced a copy of the Constitution that I brought with me. Backpack-laden students stood close to hear us speak. Two remarked on our civility and efforts to find common ground.

What if all political rallies began with a reading from the Constitution? According to Jefferson, democracy depends on an educated people.

Instead, we got far less from this Tea Party.

We got cheerleading and misleading.

And I learned that hypocrisy is a “conservative value.”

I’ll prove my case.

The common phrase, “we’re all entitled to our opinion” is logically weak. An opinion based on fact is superior to one that is not. And once we express an opinion, we are obligated to defend it.

“Facts” don’t take sides.

Karen McConnell began the event by telling of her love of history, then told a history of the Star Spangled Banner. After the anthem was sung, McConnell led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. From the crowd, I called for a history of the Pledge. No answer.

“Tell us the history of the Pledge of Allegiance,” I repeated. McConnell only stared.

I suspect she knows, or would like to know, that the Pledge was written by a Socialist in 1892, adopted in 1942, and last altered during the McCarthy-era, when “under God” was added in 1954.

“Tell us which Founding Father wrote the Pledge of Allegiance,” I yelled, this time mocking Sarah Palin’s past remarks.

Next up, a minister led us in a prayer, that we might retake our country, rescue it from the abuse of this administration. The minister failed to mention the gospel of Matthew, where Jesus said we must comfort the sick and the poor.

Then a doctoral student in federally funded cancer research, amplified by the federally funded electrical grid, stood on the federally funded university’s steps to speak ill of the federal government. Not hypocritical enough, she took the time to praise individuals and private businesses, though they also receive assistance through our education system, business loans and government-funded infrastructure.


Conservative radio talk show host Thayrone X at the April 15th Tea Party rally on the Diag.

Lon Horwedel |

Thayrone X, a local radio personality, spoke next. He confused Hank Paulson’s TARP bank rescue with Obama’s Stimulus package. He didn’t mention the Stimulus’s $140 billion tax cuts to the “We’re Taxed to Death” audience, nor the hundreds of billions to create jobs in rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure, increase efficiency and advance new technologies.

Thayrone X compared the Revolutionary War-era tax structure to today’s, which supports a prosperity-giving infrastructure and far-reaching military.

Thayrone X depicts himself a political Gnostic who “knows the truth,” calls for war with Iran, wants to keep America No. 1 by lowering educational and environmental standards and told us that we must vote against “everyone with a D after their name.”

Ayn Rand wrote, in order to tear down excellence, one only need to “elevate mediocrity.”

Thayrone X complained of corporate taxes.

I yelled, “What about Exxon?”

His quick reply, “Exxon paid $38 billion to foreign governments” (wrong), brought cheers from Tea Partiers.

With $45 billion in profits, inflated because of a trillion-dollar oil war, Exxon paid NO federal tax last year; instead funneling taxes offshore through 20 subsidiaries ... and the “We’re Going Bankrupt” Tea Partiers cheered.

A hypocrite cheerleading hypocrites.

This is my protest, too.

I remember Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts, inflated military spending, deregulation, two thousand bank failures and bailouts. Reagan was criticized for burdening our children by quadrupling the debt.

I remember George H.W. Bush’s unsustainable tax cuts, military spending, bank failures and bailouts that ran the debt higher. Bush was criticized for burdening our grandchildren.

Where was the Tea Party?

I remember the FDIC Improvement Act of ‘91, signed by Bush, giving the government power to take over failing banks, to conservatively reign them in, to be released when solvent again.

I remember Clinton-era prosperity (with tax increases), based on emerging technologies, a new infrastructure and the Information Age. Clinton left office with a projected surplus of $1.1Trillion.

I remember George W. Bush’s campaign for tax cuts, “It’s our money.”

“It’s our debt,” was the ignored reply.

Bush’s tax cuts (through Senate reconciliation) quickly erased the projected surplus, and with the wars, the debt doubled to nearly $11Trillion. Where was the Tea Party when trillions were borrowed for tax cuts and to kill people? Oh, here they come, just in time to “rescue” us by weakening and delaying Healthcare Reform that would save people from bankruptcy and untimely death.

Off the top of my head, the United States subsidizes coal, oil, transportation, agricultures, timber, communications, nuclear energy, pharmaceuticals, education, healthcare, defense, even tobacco. But, by God, if we don’t make money off of sick people, then we’re goose-stepping toward Communism.

This is my protest, too.

A Navy vet confronted me and told me to shut up. I pointed to a sign 30 feet away that read, “I Deserve to Be Heard.”

I learned that in his 20-year Navy career, he never took the time to read the Constitution, though he swore to defend it every time he re-enlisted. I couldn’t help it, I laughed.

When photographers documented our exchange, the Navy vet told them, “Make sure you call him an extremist.”

Really? Asking about the Pledge, Jesus, unbalanced tax structure, reading the Constitution and knowing U.S. history, makes me an extremist? Really?

The Constitution is not to be idolized, but read and understood. Right there in the Preamble, we are in this together, across generations.

I challenge my Tea Party to fact-check what they’ve been told, to hold cheerleaders and misleaders accountable, to educate themselves as a democratic populace must.

Since it’s grass roots, it’s my Tea Party, and my country, too.

Rick Keith is married, has a 4-year-old daughter and lives in Grass Lake. He is a self-employed contractor, inventor and entrepreneur.



Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

Fact based political discussion in a public forum is an oxymoron. Particularly when it comes to anything to do with the Tea Party movement. I mean, this is the Internet.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 12:45 p.m.

Moose (dropped the "Admiral" eh?), please show me any credible evidence that the right in AA has been violent at a Tea Party. Like I said, from my experience it's the left that is aggressive and violent, not the right and this borne out by well-documented reactions of AA leftists to visits by Horowitz, Connerly, and other conservatives who come to AA to try and speak. As always, YMMV. And please don't try to cite examples from elsewhere - we're talking about Ann Arbor here. After all, this is, not the Washington Post, NYT, etc. David, I know Thayrone is bombastic - that's his shtick - but Rick was the one who said "Anytime you wish to debate, Thayrone" and then called in to his show in order to do just that - Thayrone certainly didn't call him. And like I said, I heard the show, was horrified to hear my friend's voice babbling like a rabid nutcase, and embarrassed as Thayrone cleaned his clock in public. Indeed, Thayrone went out of his way to be gracious and Rick went out of his way to be, well, a priggish loudmouth.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 12:36 p.m.

"We took an apathetic attitude as Americans towards the Bush administration." Maybe in your "America", Sir, because I certainly don't fit that definition. You must have been speaking for yourself, because most of the people I know weren't apathetic or hold that attitude. Tea Partiers are Johnny Come Lately's to the apathy resulting in indignation bandwagon. Where were they before Obama? And now blame him for the problems caused by their apathy during Bush?? Oh, please. It's faux indignation to cover up their real feelings because the pendulum is now swinging in a direction that they don't like and can't deal with.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:55 a.m.

I am aware of the promises that President Obama has kept. Are we okay with allowing the President to break 19 promises in under 18 months? And I said 19 instead of "20 or 20 gazillion" because I thought we wanted to have a fact-based discussion... I have 19 broken promises of President Obama's that I can back up using factual evidence. Some of the kept promises are minor. Some of the broken promises are minor. We have to consider whether we are okay with 19 broken promises - especially ones as major as reforming the Lobbyist system, which he promised heavily and was one aspect of his term that I was actually looking forward to. I am not okay with 19 broken promises. I'm sure someone will say "Well Bush broke 10 million promises" and that is probably accurate. The point is we need to make our politicians more accountable. We took an apathetic attitude as Americans towards the Bush administration. Look where that got us. It is time that we as the American people gather and evaluate the politicians that we elect to represent us.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:45 a.m.

David: You say you didn't hear the radio broadcast - then why are you bothering to talk about it?!


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

Only 19? LOL! Why not 20 or 20 gazillion? Good grief, I'm so glad that someone is keeping score. Oh, the "Promises Kept" by Obama are six pages long vs one page you reference as "promises broken" at the same website.

David Briegel

Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:25 a.m.

Sorry UWM, Thayrone gets HIS "bully pulpit" every single day and I can't stand listening to his semi-literate drivel for more than a few minutes at a time. He deserves no credit for fairness, tolerance or humility in the treatment of others. I didn't hear Rick on the show as I didn't know it was happening but his writing is superior to Thayrones bombastic namecalling that had to be deleted. Moose, you are so right. A little hypocrisy goes a long, long way!


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:24 a.m.

Yeah, the "Right" showed great restraint at the McCain/Palin rallies, and continues today at Tea Party rallies, when we all heard shouts of "kill him" and saw the signs of Obama with swastikas. I'd hate to see what some folks would do when they don't feel so restrained.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:10 a.m.

Moose: Maybe we would be a little more understanding if he didn't hadn't broken 19 promises since Election Season


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 11:03 a.m.

That kind of comment is no different than the alleged veteran at the tea party rally who told Mr Keith to shut up. Intolerance anyone? Don't you love these people who say that although they didn't vote for Obama and wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, just to come out of the woodwork and trash the man and those who did vote for him, when he's only been in office for little more than a year?


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

"so the left has to knock off the intolerance now before it's too late." So now it will be the fault of the "left" if anything untoward happens because of their supposed intolerance of the "right"? Give us all a break. Once again... Pot? meet kettle.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

What have we become as a people? I'm a political independent, have leaned to the left in the past but now have very serious doubts about my 'progressive' fellow travelers. I see nothing "progressive" about the kind of behavior they're engaging in these days. I know Rick and I know Thayrone. I've been to both their homes, engaged in pleasant conversation and call them my friends. I just can't believe what I'm seeing now. I used to think that Rick was a rational, albeit passionate person, however, given what I've read here and heard how he conducted himself on Thayrone's radio show yesterday, I now have serious doubts. Rick's conduct on Thayrone's show was shameful. He refused to engage in conversation, instead being belligerent, obfuscatory and evasive. He did not answer one single question Thayrone put to him, no matter how simple the question was. To his credit, Thayrone gave Rick two whole segments of his show in order to allow Rick to debate, but instead Rick tried to turn it into his own personal soapbox and even went so far as to insult Thayrone, the show's host! I admire Thayrone's generosity and restraint vis-a-vis the fact that he didn't give Rick the boot after the second insult. In light of Rick's behavior yesterday on the radio, I have to conclude that he was equally rude, disruptive and disrespectful at the Tea Party. Rick, what has happened to you? The left has shown, at least to me, that time and again they are not the tolerant people they claim to be, but in fact, it is the right that shows great tolerance and restraint. Witness what happened when Ward Connerly, David Horowitz, et al., came to town. The left shouted them down, threatened them and ultimately disrupted their presentations so that the people who came to hear them speak were denied that right. It seems like the left is for free speech only insofar as they agree with it. The left also likes to paint the Tea Party attendees as racist, yet the only legitimately verifiable racist conduct I've seen has been from leftists who went to the rallies to disrupt them. And the media is complicit in promulgating the false stereotypes raised against the Tea Partiers. As I said, I know Rick, and like his brothers he is a very big man. Now consider, if a large, white male Tea Partier went to a pro-Obama rally and got in the face of a black woman attendee - how do you think the media would have portrayed it? I think they likely would have invoked images of Bull Connor, Selma, etc. In contrast to the IMO biased media portrayal of these rallies, the attendees at Tea Partys are much more tolerant than their leftist critics. Rick, I simply don't see why you had a problem with other people reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Nobody made you participate, so why did you feel the need to disrupt others who chose to do so? That's the epitome of intolerance, something I never expected from you. As for people claiming that we can't know what was in the mind of the framers of the Constitution, sure we can: they're called The Federalist Papers. Try reading them some time. Lying, misrepresentation, "spinning" are all found in both political camps: Before the election Obama said he would bring people together, but now that he's in office he tells his supporters to "get in their face" and "hit them twice as hard" when dealing with his opposition. Obama also said he would get rid of lobbyists, conduct negotiations in the open and with transparency. We all know how these promises have turned out - hardly what I would call honest behavior vis-a-vis campaign promises. I could go on but I think I've made my point re. what I see as the most intolerant behavior I've seen in my better than 50 years on the planet, and it's coming from the left. The right has shown great restraint so far, however, I fear that if the left keeps up their attacks on freedom of assembly and speech it won't be pretty. What do you suppose would happen should Tea Party sympathizers decide to go and disrupt pro-Obama and other rallies the way the left currently does to the right? We've already seen that they are prone to aggression and violence, so I dread what would happen if the right decided to fight back. This just can't end well, so the left has to knock off the intolerance now before it's too late.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 8:02 a.m.

One would have to search extensively to find an article, that is Mr. Keith's, that used so much print to say so little. His hubris and hypocrisy, let alone the cherry picking of facts, is surpassed only by the oligarchs that currently control Washington D.C. His behavior, by his own admission, demonstrated the intolerance and egotistical arrogance that has become the hallmark of the illiberal liberals of today. If the so-called "Progressives" practiced any honest dialog, as opposed to the Saul Alinski tactics that comprise their "Bible", many of this nations political divides could be breached.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:57 a.m.

That data on how whites view minorities compares those who "strongly support" versus those who "strongly oppose". It doesn't compare them to the average. Talk about skewing the data...


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:48 a.m.

Here are some articles I've found that were interesting on this topic: - The original tea party was protesting a tax *cut*. The British government wanted to eliminate taxes for the East India Company's tea imports, which would probably give it a monopoly and wipe out the smuggling trade that some wealthy colonists were involved in. The smugglers organized the tea party in protest. - Some polling suggests that white Tea Party sympathizers have lower opinions of African-Americans, Hispanics, gays, and immigration than whites who don't support the Tea Party: - Democrats were likely to lose a number of seats in Congress, Tea Party or not. The dominant party usually loses seats in the first election after a party gains the presidency. But the Tea Party may end up increasing the number of seats the Democrats keep: - Somewhere on the net there's a great article putting the Tea Party in historical context. Just about every Democratic president had a conservative backlash movement. This is just the latest incarnation.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:46 a.m.

Rick Keith believes that we have to fix what he sees as a maldistribution of wealth since the 1980s. If the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getting richer (something I don't quite know where to fact check), we should ask the question: why did this happen? The biggest difference between the economy of the last 30 years and the 30 years previous to it (1980-1950) is that of choices. During the 1950s-1980s, American consumers had a lot less choices. There were 3 major car companies - houses in a neighborhood were all very similar - etc. The stability that this brought to our economy allowed unions to negotiate nice wages and quality benefits for a majority of the workforce. Workers could expect to work for the same company for 30 years, slowly work up the chain of promotion, and retire with a nice pension. Now, there are many more choices for Americans as consumers. We can shop around for the best deal available, and we encourage retailers to give us the lowest price. We don't look at our purchases as citizens - we look at them as consumers. As citizens, we may not approve of labor practices that Walmart carries out. But over 100 million people shop at Walmart each week because they are looking for the best deal as consumers. This scenario wasn't created by the executives - consumers demanded it. That being said, no executive deserves a bail out. If their policies caused a corporation to tank, they should be out of a job. No government interference in the market means no government interference in the market. Taking the income of one, which is their legal property, and giving it to another, this is stealing. Redistribtuion of wealth through taxation is stealing. Fewer and fewer Americans have to pay the Federal Income Tax each year - but spending certainly isn't decreasing. That is why so many people are upset, and rallying with the Tea Party. We know the movement isn't perfect, we know we have some crazies - I certainly don't consider Thayrone X a leader of mine. But the Tea Party is a sign that Americans are changing their Political apathy. The last thing I want is for the Republicans to hijack the Tea Party - I'm hoping its the other way around! What we need is change in Washington, and I would like to see the small-government Tea Party replace the big-government Republicans. Keith believes that it is Bush's economic policies that brought us to the economic crash. While his wars have put us in the hole big time, I think Keith believes Clinton is more innocent than he really is. It was Clinton's policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that gave out too many mortgages to too many people. Does everyone remember how these unpaid mortgages got us into this mess?


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

@oldsailor. Pot? meet kettle.


Tue, Apr 27, 2010 : 6:35 a.m.

@"old sailor"...sooo..while the anti tea party quips you cite as reprehensible are "no-no's",labeling obama as a communist and a muslim mole ( by harping on his middle name) is just fine huh? as to the "intent " of the framers, that's as absolutely unknowable, arguable...and ultimately irrelevant.. as is similar baffle gab about "god's will" via the bible, koran etc. all the producers of such documents were mortal ( and flawed) humans and not omnicient.... the best we can do is use the ambiguous blueprints they established in ways that make sense for our times ( as opposed to " all time"!!).


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 10:01 p.m.

@AlfaElan "As for pointing to the Constitution and saying it says todays federal government is wrong, well that is ignoring that the Constitution was meant to be a living document that would allow the laws of the land to adapt to changes in the country." Please cite your sources for the Constitution being meant to be a "living document". I make a habit of reading the Constitution, as well as the Federalist Papers, as well as history in general to try to understand the mindset of the founders. I have found nowhere where the founding fathers meant for the Constitution to be re-interpreted at whim. In fact, the founders of this country set up specific procedures for "amending" the Constitution. The Constitution is a legal document, stating the authority of the Federal government, the rights of the people that exist by INALIENABLE RIGHT, and reserving all rights to the people and the STATES those not specifically granted to the Federal government.(9th and 10th amendments) It is a legal document no different than your mortgage contract. You may have taken out a loan at 12% (I'm old enough to remember those) but that does not give you the right legally to abrogate your contract unilaterally when rates drop to 4%. You must renegotiate in good faith with your lender, much as you have to work to amend the constitution. This is hard, deliberately. This is set up to avoid the "Tyranny of the Majority". Look it up. A "Living Constitution" could just as easily strip you of your rights to post here as the founders could never have imagined personal computers. So much for your free speech rights. @The rest of you. When you start throwing out "Wingnut", "reality-based universe", "Rethuglican", "Dimmicrat", "Racist" and the rest you lose. Generic insults and broad spectrum characterizations may win the emotional battle, but you not only lose the high ground, you don't solve anything. We are supposed to be Americans. We can agree or disagree. But the GOAL is supposed to be what is best for the country. NOT WHAT'S BEST FOR YOU. Here's a Democrat quote. "Ask not what the country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country" Yeah, I'm old enough to remember that too. Anyone want to take a shot at who said that? Anyone? Beuller? @jimbobob "Maybe eliminate "socialist Security," or "socialist" Medicare and Medicaid?" Hell, yeah. Do I get back what I paid in over the last 35 years? I won't even ask for interest. Maybe then I'll actually see something back. I could even leave some of MY hard earned work go to pay for my kids college education. @tigger Stop with the race card already. I really don't care one way or another what color he is. I care what he does and what he stands for. "The measure of a man is not what he looks like, but what he does every day" I won't expect you to source that, because that was my father, who was a LEGAL immigrant. I didn't vote for him, but I gave this president the benefit of the doubt right up until he wanted to bill service members private insurance FIRST for service related injuries. Look it up. That, is a betrayal of faith and a total lack of honor. I could go on, but you folks, in general, don't want to discuss, debate or learn. You just want to yell your side's talking points. More's the pity.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 8:50 p.m.

Absolutely Rick Keith. YOU NAILED IT. If I am ever lucky enough to meet you, I'll shake you hand for writing this. Smug? Says one misinformed commentator. Nope, this is just plain, down to earth, critical thinking happening. Breathe the free air folks. TruBlu74, Lisa S, Tigger, jimbobob, thank you for your fantastic, informed, apropos comments. This is perhaps the best opinion/commentaries posted since the inception of THANK YOU.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

i never heard of mr keith before this, and id only heard 'thayrone's name but not his style/substance of discourse; but it seems familiar since i occasionally catch limbaugh and other assorted ranters as a way of staying awake ( if enraged) on long drives... based on this article and this thread keith seems far more substantively accurate and mature while 'x' seems just to be trying to get the attention of the FOX bigs so he can get better paid for snark...which sadly is where once respectible journalism/commentary seems to be headed,if rupert murdoch has his way.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

Tigger, Thanks so much for your comments. What a great country we live in. We are able to voice our opinion freely. I support your right to do so. I just wondered while I was reading the article how long it would take in the comment section for someone to use the race card to discredit those that don't agree with the Obama administration. I only had to scroll down to the 4th comment before I found the race card being used followed by another comment of yours using the race card again. Why is it that you can voice your opinion but those that dont agree w/ you HAVE to be racists. Do yourself a favor & go to a Tea Party & talk to people there & then make an informed opinion.If your response is I wouldn't waste my time then you will fall into a category of sad group of Americans on both sides of the isle that are guilty of "contempt prior to investigation". Choosing to stay ignorant of the truth is just as bad as lying about it.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 1:11 p.m.

It's great to hear from Thayrone X. He dances as good as he walks. Back in the day he shouted about great blues music on the radio. Now he's just shouting his blues. I'll take the music. He's only a messenger. Thayrone disproves the adage that even old dogs can't learn some new schtick, or tricks, or something like that.

thayrone x

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 1:05 p.m.

Wait, we can't call names here???? We can't swear like drunken sailors, insult and malign???? What fun is that, Cindy? Man, I wish you were around in the Bush years, could have used you to help crush the left. All-of-the-above was their strongest Saul Alinsky suit, it's all they ever did. Anyway, I'm somewhat amazed at the time I have in here, on this site, somewhat amazed that I'm paying any attention to this 'comment' crap at all. I never really hit this site before. But after a couple pals chimed in and told me Rick wrote the bs piece he did, having been there and seen the nice Tea Party folks first hand, having heard the speeches, having heard about and read the misrepresentation of the Diag Tea Party by Rick, well...I just couldn't resist. And now he wants to debate? I'd do that. But only these stipulations: 1. It happens on stage at either Hill or at The Michigan 2. Open bar 3. All you can eat shrimp buffet If Rick can't make that happen he's more than welcome (as ALL others are--we care and we can help!) to call my radio show. We have rules there too, but they are the good kind of rules. No swearing, stick to the point, don't repeat yourself, keep it clean, no groin shots, no eye gouging, no biting, and most important of all--don't sound like Rachel Maddow. Other than that, were good to go. My show, aside from being the coolest most fun talk radio show on the dial, is an open forum. Every week day! I don't care which side of the political fence you're on. Give all my callers enough time to state their case, am polite ansd gracious, I bend over backward to help them have a voice on the radio airwaves. All that and I give them enough rope to make a macram plant hanger or to hang themselves with. As the wise sage Chris Montez once said: 'Call me, don't be afraid you call me, call me and I'll be around.' Don't know how to find me? What, are you under a rock? WAAM's the only game in town, baby,the ONLY game in town. I gotta go freshen my drink. See y'al on the radio.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 12:19 p.m.

Rick: Can you elaborate on what you are trying to get accross with the use of that quote by Rand? I don't understand what you are trying to say, both when you used it in your article and in your comment. Thanks for the explanation.

Rick Keith

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Thayrone X, again proving Ayn Rand's point by being mediocre. The rally was videotaped, which would prove he's misleading again about my call for a history of the Pledge, after it was recited. Gutless comments, with no accountability. Anytime you wish to debate, Thayrone, with fact-checking. Every time you are caught telling a falsehood, a penalty. Same for me. But you better do your homework. Rick Keith


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 11:16 a.m.

From what I can determine about Ann Arbor politics is the basic "everyone is entitled to their opinion" except in A2...where it doesn't matter if one is liberal, conservative, moderate, etc...what happens is that if someone doesn't agree with the opinions presented, names are called...and I think it's absolutely hilarious how juvenile, somewhat intelligent people can be in this town!

thayrone x

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 9:53 a.m.

Rick Keith was pretty much the loudest mouth and the smoothest brain on the Diag April 15th at the Tax Day Tea Party Rally. He kept yelling out offensive and disruptive rants pretty much all the way through the intro ceremonies. The only time he stood down and let the folks that came to speak and be heard actually speak and be heard was when I went down his throat from on stage. Rick's basically a [*censored*] with little or no info at hand on the tax issues I addressed that day. He heard none of what I said. It's apparent from his lame post on I was talking about income tax in general being a hijack on your hard earned pay--*before* you even get it, before *you* decide what to do with your own hard earned money. I was talking about a Fair Tax ( being a logical solution to that onerous extortion, a solution to our need for a tax base, tax revenue that makes the income tax and all it's bad mojo go away yet keeps us rolling in tax revenue dough. He didn't hear that. Rick was too busy running his mouth. And prior to that Rick kept going on about the Pledge of Allegiance (during the Pledge of Allegiance!), basically being a [*censored*], harassing Ms. McConnell during it's recitation. What American in their right mind would have a problem with pledging allegiance to the *greatest* country in the history of Mankind (other than a dolt with little knowledge of world and American history)? I guess Rick would. [*censored*] is to put it mildly with regard to Rick. He was there to learn nothing, to tear down, to disrupt, to maim and hurt logic driven discourse, to detract rather than add. He contributed nothing to the positive mix that day and I highly doubt he contributes anything to any mix any day any where any place any time. So in closing let me say [*censored*] Rick and his National Socialist-meets-Stalinist shout-down tactics, and the left-wing bong smoke he drifted in on. We take a lot of it back in 2010, take it all back in 2012. Get ready. I'm Thayrone X and I approve this message.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

Nice Story. It amazes me how many people, especially on the right, point to our founding fathers and the constitution without understanding either. Part of this goes back to the way American History is taught in grade schools. Too much politics have caused American History to be taught as an attempt to indoctrinate children instead of presenting the facts. This leads to college professors having to practically start from scratch when teaching American students American History, as well as the described Tea Party cheerleaders. Quite frankly the founding fathers were radical liberals. Most would not want to be associated with the conservative christian movement of today, and if they had been conservative we'd still have an English King, or Queen. As for pointing to the Constitution and saying it says todays federal government is wrong, well that is ignoring that the Constitution was meant to be a living document that would allow the laws of the land to adapt to changes in the country. The calls for war are even more concerning since they show so little understanding of the world outside of the US, as well as International Law and Relations. One of the best descriptions of the relations between States I have heard was that it is like the old west without a sheriff. Everyone can do just about anything they want on their spread, and the only way to change them is for everyone in the community to put pressure on them. You can't make another country change, but you can influence whether they want to change. The Iraq war hasn't changed the goals of the people interested in terrorist attacks, and if anything it has emboldden Iran and those who feel the US is an imperialistic threat to their community. If someone feels you are a friend and wants to be your partner they are much less likely to attack you then if they are an enemy and dispise you. As for the national debt. Yeah it is very very scary, but it would be even worse if the economy had been allowed to tank. The TARP funds and stimulus package do not concern me today, since they were meant to do what was necessary to keep the slide from going into another great depression. They seemed to be working, but if they are continued past the middle of next year I will be concerned and pushing for change.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

This isn't a fact based "news" article. It is clearly classified as "opinion" at the top of the page. It is Mr Keith's opinion. Mr Thayrone X and his ilk dominate the airwaves with their uninformed and angry spin of current events made to fit their world view. Like conservative propagandist Fox News, is "fair and balanced" in their presentation of the "news". Yeah. Sure. Right. Uh huh. This pro tea party rant posted earlier on Ann is classified as "news" in the header. It is not. It is a plainly biased opinion of a tea party supporter, not unlike Mr Keith's piece. Just another example of conservative bias in the "news". Despite AnnArbor. com's claims to the contrary, the evidence is clear.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 7:28 a.m.

Technojunkie, you are still wrong. Look at the Reagan budget proposals he did e=very year compared to total spending and you will see the Dems spent about 3% more than he proposed. And that doesn't count suplemental spending requests he made, which makes it about even. The idea he helplessly accepted Democratic overspendfing is a convenient lie to keep him as a hero. As for responding to terrorism with nuclear weapons, I find that particularly terroist. So a few radicals from, say, Iran attack us we just nuke Iran. OK, hundreds of thousands or millions of innocent Iranians die, I guess you accept that (I don't), but what about the massive cloud of fallout that drifts across totally innocent nations who had nothing to do with anythign against us, they just don't count? We would be seen as worse that Hitler and cut off from the world. What a great idea. The point about responding to conventional attack with nukes was never right, especially in Europe. While Eisenhower was right to complain about the military industrial complex and cut their budget, his plans for nuclear war in Europe were wrong. All this is lost to current Republicans, we can never use nukes against anyone in modern times, the cost would be too great. Even Kissenger, Skowcroft, Nunn and many other hawks now back the Global Zero movement to get nukes off the planet entirely. The danger isn't Russia, or China, or really even Iran, its loose nukes and terrorists and North Korea. Bush did nothing to halt the real dangers and the current neocons are just too stupid and dangerous to get back their power.

Steve Pepple

Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 6:57 a.m.

A comment was removed because it contained a personal attack against another commenter. Please keep the discussion civil.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 5:52 a.m.

Incredible article. Such a bias, left sided report is just the type of writing I should expect from a paper based in Ann Arbor. I don't know if this is just the typical brainwashing from the university or if educated people have come to the conclusion that this current administration truely has our best intrest in mind. This is, for me, the most terrifying times I have ever witnessed. Young minds being poisoned by professors and "news papers" with agendas. I know it's not the popular thing to say, but I PRAY for this country daily. I pray that this guy in office is just a test to strengthen our moral and political values. I am not a member of the Tea Party, but I do agree with their mission to take a stand to bring our country back to the values on which it was founded. Feel free to bash me on here, but please take it upon yourselves to research and form your own opinions; don't be swayed by what an artical or a professor deems right. We are all given the ability to think for ourselves and form our own beliefs.


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 : 1:43 a.m.

I had to laugh at this 'Dear Diary' essay of your deluded memory of the Tea Party on the Diag. Fist off - I was there. Second: you were rude, obnoxious and you smelled like you had ben drinking before you got there. The smell of booze probably accounts for the delusional memory you have of the event. Third - it took you long enough to find the answers for the questions you persisted in yelping out to the speakers. The people around you - myself included answered all of your loud and repeated questions. By they way Mr. Not Much of a Genius... The fourth word of the Constitution (the Preamble) is OF. Not 'in', like you seemed to think it is. Should have accepted that Pocket Constitution I offered you. What's the 4th word of the Constitution? "Of." The Constitution - what's the 4th word? "Of.' You were so drunk I believe you thought I was asking you a question rather than giving you an answer. You kept trying to tell me WHAT you wanted the 4th word of. When I finally said "WE the people OF the United states - IN order to form a more perfect union..." You looked at me and said "In. What'd you do look it up?' I could only laugh at your ignorance. Word to the wise - KNOW the answers to your questions if you plan to test people. BTW - The guy's name is Francis Bellamy. I may have spelled it wrong - but I can tell you he was kicked out of his church for his socialist sermons. I am one of the people who answered your question "Who wrote the PoA?" Bet you didn't like my answer to your Jesus question either. How many people asked to to quiet down so that they could hear the speaker? How many times did you shout at the people asking you to pipe down and cuss at them? I know - I was there. Yes - it was 'your' Tea Party also. You have every right to be there. HOWEVER - you had absolutely no right to shout down the speakers, push people at the rally or shout in anyone's face. I think you did everything you could to try to get someone to hit you - but you lost, no one took the bait. You acted like a complete fool. As my husband told you - if you want to get up and speak you are welcome to have your own rally and talk all day long if you want, but stop making it hard for the rest of us to listen to the speakers we came to see. I'm glad you have a little cheering section here. Lots of props and attaboys for you. I can bet none of the people telling you how wonderful you are because of what you wrote had the total misfortune of your fetid breath in their face while you shouted and spit for half of the rally. Yep, congrats - you're a real hero. ***rolling eyes*** Just a note: I don't agree with everything each speaker says. I do listen to them and keep my disagreement quiet until later when I have the opportunity to talk to the person about what I don't agree with and why. It's called common curtesy. Maybe you should learn some.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:50 p.m.

Say what you all wish, but lets see what the Nov 2010 Election results reveal. Will the Dems sweep the elections like Mr Keith and his echo-chamber seem to suggest?

David Briegel

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

Macabre, you say you hate the politicians. Do the bankers scare you? They certainly should as they rent both parties so they can have their way with us. The American people would have been better off going to Louis the Loanshark and Bennie the Bookie for their banking. Actually, they probably did! I read the rants posted by Thayrone before they were removed. Comparing his semi-literate buffoonery to the thoughtfullness of Rick Keith is stunning!


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

@jimbobob: I agree that Reagan absolutely deserves credit for tax rate cuts and defense spending hikes. Congress wouldn't have done those things without his leadership. Tax revenues and defense spending doubled while he was President. Unfortunately, total federal spending tripled. THAT took Democrat leadership. On the bright side the Soviets imploded while trying to keep up with our defense spending, as planned. I don't think the Left will ever forgive Reagan for that. Remember when Bush Sr. trusted the Democrats and broke his no new taxes pledge? Remember how the Democrats LIED and spent $1.80 for every new dollar in revenue and didn't bring the $500B in deficit reduction they promised, as Ross Perot pointed out? I voted for Perot in 1992 for just that reason. If the deficit reduction had happened I could have accepted the tax hikes but as most conservatives predicted it was a sham. W was Herbert Hoover to Obama's FDR. I don't much like McCain either. I really haven't liked any president since Reagan. Hopefully the Tea Party can help keep Establishment Republicans in check. We'll see. Go on YouTube and watch the CSPAN compilation videos of Frank, Schumer, Raines, etc swearing up and down that there was no real estate bubble and berating Republicans for fear mongering. And next time some tribesman pulls a 9/11 style attack I fully support following Eisenhower's strategy of relying heavily on our relatively cost-effective nuclear deterrent. W had a nice idea but it's proven far too difficult to implement.

David Briegel

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7:43 p.m.

We have the results of the tax cut mania of the Repubs. 8 million jobs lost! Proud of your policies? The little guy with the big ears warned us about "that giant sucking sound"!


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 5:48 p.m.

Right On the money! I'm all for governmet reductions, fewer tazes, and more efficient spending but the Tea Party redefines "freedom" to suit their own needs while they are more than willing to suppress the freedoms of others.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 4:29 p.m.

So the first Bush tax cut did not stimulate revenues but the second one did? There a logical inconsistency there, don't 'ya think? Again, let me introduce you to the Laffer Curve. There comes a point where tax cuts do not increase tax revenue (were this not the case, the best tax rate in terms of revenue would be "0"). That cuts in the top marginal tax rate (and corresponding cuts lower down the scale) from 94% during WW2 to 71% in the 1960s to 50% under Reagan produced higher revenues tells us that taxes were too high. (As an aside, one might argue that the cost of fighting WW2 and of fighting a global Cold War justified those rates). But today the top marginal rate is at 35%, the lowest it has been since 1916 except for 1988-1992 (you remember, the good old days under Bush I when we were running record deficits than, too). We are past the tipping point on the Laffer curve. Lower rates will result only in lower revenue.

Rick Keith

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 4:23 p.m.

On tax cuts generating revenue.... Does anyone consider limits? Are the tax cuts sustainable? Grand tax cuts during Reagan's first term led to recession. Further cuts in GHW Bush's term led to recession. Both Reagan and Bush raised taxes back to sustainable levels. But when it was W. Bush's turn, rather than limiting the tax cuts, Bush put the pedal down, "No such thing as too much." How did that work out for you? When the richest 1% own more than 20% of the wealth, a crash follows, like a wave curling over onto itself. That's what happened during the Guilded Age of the 1880s, the Depression and in 2008, with burps in between. Between the Depression and 1980, growth happened across all economic classes, not equally, but growth. Since 1980, there has been a redistribution of wealth. The middle class wages have remained flat, the rich got richer and the poor got proportionally poorer. And far more left the middle class heading to the bottom than the top. The top of the wave outran the bottom and the wave crashed. And those at the top continued to make money, not as much, only $30 Billion in the last 1-1/2 years. They're kids still went to the best schools, they still lived in the same houses and they drove the same cars. And those in the middle and at the bottom had their lives changed for them, for the worse. Now many fear Obama's debt will lead to hyper-inflation. Far more likely to get hyper-inflation when your infrastructure is crumbling while building up the military, as happened in Chile, Argentina, Israel, etc. By investing in a lasting infrastructure, inflation is not such a risk. And there are many economic tools that can curb inflation. A flat tax is not one of them. You all need to look beyond the numbers and see what the money is being spent on. Which is more sustainable? Investing in my own home, repairs and upgrades? OR Tearing down my neighbor's house down the street? We've tried both in the last two administrations. One led to the greatest economic growth in our history, the other led to the greatest crash in the last 80 years. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Rick Keith

Hot Sam

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

I understand graphs, and can see the total picture. Considering the hangover of mild recession that he inherited, and the effects of 9/11, we do need to understand the time it takes for economic policy to kick in. The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 ("JGTRRA",, ), was passed by the United States Congress on May 23, 2003 and signed by President Bush on May 28, 2003. This is what enabled the policy to truly become effective. The last thing I am going to do is defend everything GWB did, but I will stand by my point that tax reduction spurs economic growth and results in increased revenues.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

Hot Sam: You need to look at the website YOU cite. YOUR website says REVENUES went down in 2001, 2002, and 2003. They then went up 2004 - 2008 (Did you think no one would check the website? Or did you just not understand its bar graphs?). It is VERY hard to connect an increase in revenue in 2004 and after to tax cuts that were implemented retroactively (i.e., passed in 2001 and took effect on income earned after Jan. 1, 2001) three years before. And, as you note, the tax collected as a % of GDP declined over the entire period. In the meantime, Bush went on a spending spree (e.g., two unfunded wars and Medicare Part D) that only Democrats allegedly do. You need to have all of the facts--not just the needle-in-the-haystack facts that support your position.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Hot Dog! We're headed back to the Old West where every man is for himself. Dick Cheney is the Sheriff! Whatever happened to E Pluribus Unum? United we stand, divided we fall? Being our brothers keeper? Or is "brother" a too highly charged word for some folks? For the anti union crowd... When did we stop referring to this nation as a union, where we all look out for each other? What happened to working with each other for the common good? Notice that the politicians who hate government are always trying to get elected? And when government fails, they don't take any responsibility, but instead blame the folks who are trying to make it work for everyone? Republican and Rupert Murdoch are playing the Tea Party for fools and TV ratings. It's amazing that some people can be convinced to vote against their own economic interest.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 2:15 p.m.

Jake, I appreciate the sentiment, but to appropriate the words of Trudy Baker and Rachel Jones, I've realized that our political system is hopelessly broken and I now belong to the "Me Party." I'm no longer interested in Washington, and am now more focused on personal financial survival in a world where we're surrounded by politicians of many different colors all reaching for our wallets with greed in their eyes. Obama briefly gave me hope of a post-partisan political arena where intelligent people genuinely cared about our future. What a crock of you-know-what that turned out to be.

Jake C

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 1:26 p.m.

Macabre Sunset: If you're like those of us who think the Tea Party seems to have one too many borderline-racist wingnuts, but you are still concerned about irresponsible government spending, hypocritical politicians on both sides, biased News organizations and runaway Wall Street greed, take a look at the Coffee Party. It's kinda like the Tea Party but with more informed members and reasonable debate. It's helpful when discussions center around real policy, instead of whining vaguely about "tyranny", "communist nazis", "union thugs", and "taking back our country".

Hot Sam

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 1:26 p.m.

"""Hot Sam: Sorry, but no. Revenues went down with the Bush tax cut. Please see:""" Perhaps as a percentage of GDP...the REVENUES in fact rose...


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 1:20 p.m.

Keith, I'm with you on this one. I don't like the idea of people going around demanding their freedoms, especially if they're obviously not intelligent enough to be free in the first place. Real freedom should be reserved for those with enough intelligence, connections, and political hubris to get elected. Everybody else should get over it and realize that the chances of turning things around now are so small that only a well-organized, well-educated, passionate, diverse, and motivated group will be able to even stand a chance...


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 12:59 p.m.

Can't wait until the November elections.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

Keith realizes the Tea Party movement is significant right now, and is doing his best to define it so as to marginalize it. That's been the job of the left-wing mainstream media the last few months. We could find similar examples of hypocrisy amongst local individuals who claim to be Republicans or Democrats. His points are valid, but biased. I can't get myself to join this new party, as outraged as I am about out-of-control spending from both major parties. I'm becoming apathetic, focused instead on how to invest my 401k so as to survive the inevitable hyperinflation Obama is guiding us toward.

Rick Keith

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 12:31 p.m.

If Ram and others want a sound fiscal policy, shouldn't the Clinton budget be considered as a model? Shouldn't funding a new energy-based infrastructure be considered. Previous infrastructures created jobs and prosperity like the railroads, electrification, highway system and Internet did. While the "drill, baby, drill" and "clean coal" crowd pretend and chant, China spend $9billion per month on renewable energy technology. Maybe we should chant, "America, staying number 1 by lowering standards." Or, invest here in our own renewable infrastructure. While some call for nuclear and wind power, which will need a $1trillion electrical grid upgrade, the same trillion dollars would put solar panels on 1/3 of US homes, which will relieve the existing grid. Huh. Rick Keith


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 12:15 p.m.

As a supporter of the Tea Party, I support cuts in military (which is separate from defense nowadays, thanks to our empire mentality), cuts in subsidies (which have helped the food industry increase obesity in our nation), and would like to see the phasing out of social security / Medicare (why? the money isn't there). Its easy for the media to point out the idiots of the Tea Party, the small portion who are racists, etc, but there are many intelligent people who want to bring a sound fiscal policy to the federal government.

David Briegel

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 12:04 p.m.

Bravo! A lot of good info on the Mad Hatters that you will never hear because Rupert Murdoch and Dick Armey don't want to talk discuss real issues. These people really only complain about the Dems and Obama. It really is a sad commentary on our media and the misinformation that passes for news that so much good commentary, insight and analysis comes from the Comedy Channel, Stewart, Colbert and Bill Maher. I have never heard one single Mad Hatter discuss the American Empire run by our foreign military dominance or the ridiculous NASA budget when we have so many problems here. Nor have they ever complained about the subsidies to the industries to which Mr Keith refers. Technojunkie, you really can't be serious if you ignore 2000-2006 when your party contolled every aspect of our govt. while accomplishing the following: Energy 0 Finance 0 Health Care 0 That Repub majority also did a great job on Iran! NOTHING! Clinton should have killed Osama but not poor, hapless Bush/Cheney! This is totally partisan as you can clearly see from these posts. To deny the obvious serves no useful purpose!!

Rick Keith

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 11:57 a.m.

There are two questions that are consistantly unasked. What was the Reagan-Bush-Bush debt spent on? What is the Obama debt spent on? An infrastructure OUTSIDE the US (700 US military bases outside the US)? Or an infrastructure INSIDE the US? Eisenhower's Farewell Speech says it better than I could. Rick Keith

Mike Hartwell

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 11:46 a.m.

Excellent piece of work. Nicely done.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 11:43 a.m.

Technojunkie should think about what he writes. Yes, congress writes and passes the budget, but the President proposes the budget, lobbies and leads his party in support of it and signs or vetoes it. Reagan proposed the tax cuts of 1981, so they are called the Reagan tax cuts not the Democratic Congress tax cuts. Reagan proposed and pushed his defense spending priorities, so they are called the Reagan defense buildup and the GOP gives him credit for them. He got both with nearly unanimous GOP support and the Blue Dog Democrats, giving him the majorities he needed (most "liberal" Democrats opposed). Every year Reagan went before the American people on TV and told them his budgets would be balanced within three years. It never happened. Bush I brought record deficits because he inherited Reagan's deep recession. In 8 years the only budget Reagan vetoed was a defense budget, because it didn't spend enough. Clinton passed his first budget (with heavy lobbying) with no GOP votes, and Phil Gramm (R-TX) and the GOP (including Rush) claimed it would destroy the economy by taxing wealth. The opposite happened: longest growth period in US history, record job creation and strong median income growth. The pay-go system he set up, demanding budget cuts or new taxes to balance any further tax cuts or budget increases led us into surpluses. Pay-go was one of the first casualties of Bush II, to make room for budget busting tax cuts, wars, big pharma giveaways and defense spending. It was Cheney (the real first term boss) who told Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill in 2003 that "Reagan proved deficits don't matter" (strongly supported by the American Spectator). The result of the budget busting tax cuts was the worst economic recovery in post WWII history, actually lowering median income and costing jobs. The deregulation took off under the GOP and Bush II, leading directly to the economic blow-out we continue to suffer under. Even Bernie Madoff said he couldn't have done so much damage even under the deregulation done under Reagan and Clinton. It took Bush's "voluntary regulation" program, that allowed him to choose which agency he would report to. Now that they are out of power the GOP hates deficits, but not so much before. So now their tools in the Tea Party, led by Fox News, screams and wails about them, but offers no answers.

Lisa S

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

Bill Maher recently called out defense spending as "a giant welfare program - a jobs program for defense workers to build crap that we don't need." He went on to say that "half a million of our troops are in other countries around the world, and that we spend more on weapons than the next top 15 countries, combined." And, that if we were to cut defense spending in half, we would still be spending as much as the next 8 countries combined. On, Ron Rosenbaum wrote a terrific article entitled, "Don't ignore the Tea Party's toxic take on history." And, I quote: "Calling Obama a tyrant, a communist, or a fascist is deeply offensive to all the real victims of tyranny, the real victims of communism and fascism. The tens of millions murdered. It trivializes such suffering inexcusably for the T.P.ers to claim that they are suffering from similar oppression because they might have their taxes raised or be subject to demonic 'federal regulation.'"

Lisa S

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

Bravo!!! This is definitely one of the best editorials on the Tea Party movement.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 10:48 a.m.

Under Eisenhower, a Republican, the top marginal tax rate was 92% (about 50% effective rate), corporations paid a profits tax that accounted for four times of total federal taxes that it does today, we paid off the WWII debt and built the interstate highway system and the middle class and mdeian income expanded greatly. And of all things we still had rich people and they built the corporations and American jobs that brought us the middle class that Reagan and Bush II ripped apart. We had serious tarriffs that protected American jobs in manufacturing. Reagan's push to deregulate and bring "free trade," admittedly with Clinton's help, was put on steroids by W. and resulted in the collapse of 2007-08. The deficits Obama inherited, estimated by Bush admin at $1.3 trillion three days before his inauguration, were brought both by tax cuts and overspending. Tax cuts, unnecessary wars, medicare part d, more tax cuts and deregulation let Wall Street gamble and set up fraudulent schemes to line their pockets. The Economist of London, a conservative business magazine, called Bush's 2003 Cap Gains and dividends cuts crazy, with the title, "the inmates are in charge of the asylum." Even Warren Buffit, hardly a socialist, said it was wrong to tax his secretary more than him. That is the real Reagan/Bush "redistribution of wealth," but upwards. Now the Tea Party wants to go back to the bad times that got us where we are. Reagan tripled the national debt, Bush I added about $1.5 trillion more, leaving Clinton with a record $340 billion deficit. Clinton dramatically cut deficits and slowed debt growth and left Bush II a $230 billion surplus. Tax cuts and spending under W. Bush added over $5.1 trillion to the national debt. The resulting recession blew up the deficits, as revenues from average income people's taxes dropped and costs of supporting the economy jumped (unemployment insurance, welfare, food stamps, medicaid...). The answer Tea Partiers propose, "government living within its means," always goes undefined. Maybe eliminate "socialist Security," or "socialist" Medicare and Medicaid? How about our bloated socialist military budget? Or roads, bridges, dams, parks, schools, universities... We could follow the example of the libertarian paradise Haiti. They have almost no real taxes, or roads, medical systems, schools, social security systems, infrastructure or even building codes. The poor ndepend on the kindness of strangers and Christian (and other) charity. We could get rid of everything but the military and police, and let people fend for themselves. That would be great.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

Pro tea party opinion on You mean besides all the bandwidth given to the wing nuts? Go here for a good laugh.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

So when will we see a guest opinion column on from someone who's pro Tea Party?

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:50 a.m.

Hot Sam: Sorry, but no. Revenues went down with the Bush tax cut. Please see: Moose made an oblique reference to the Laffer Curve, but apparently you did not pick up on it. We are way past the point on the Laffer Curve where reducing taxes means increased revenues. Knick: Thanks! You made my point! Slander and name-calling. No facts. Must be a tea party-ist. Fact: I drove from A2 to Grand Rapids yesterday and went through FIVE construction zones funded by stimulus money. That money is putting Michiganders to work, who are spending money putting Michiganders to work. Go take a good macro-economics class and you will learn that a recession is PRECISELY the time to deficit spend. That class also will teach you that the Obama Stimulus likely was too small, not too large. But it appears that your economic theories come from the Bible. Good Luck with that! Inside the Hall: they want less of a nanny state... for someone else. Ask them if they want to give up their Medicare, Social Security, law enforcement, roads, etc.., No, they want it all. Its the OTHER GUY who has to give up HIS nanny state. Ram: the issue is not what you SAID; it is what the Tea Party-ists have DONE. It did not exist when Bush violated civil liberties. It did not exist when Bush ran record deficits (which he did throughout his eight years). It did not exist when Bush and his cronies handed out bloated no-bid govt contracts to his buddies and to his contributors (e.g., to Halliburton and to Blackwater). It did not exist when the Bush administration stood by and did nothing when companies to which he was closely connected (e.g., Enron) bilked million of investors and then collapsed. It did nothing when Bush lied to the nation to justify an illegal war. It did nothing when Bush handed out billions of dollars of TARP funds to bankers that Republicans had either de-regulated (in the case of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Actg by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act ) or had refused to regulate (in the case of Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which specifically prohibited the regulation of the derivative market). No, the tea party-ists appeared with their swastikas and with their hammers and sickles, aided, abetted, and virtually sponsored by Faux Noise (the Republican Partys propaganda machine) and by Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, only after a black president had taken office. The Tea Party has been embraced by a large swath of the Republican Party leadership (e.g., ex-half-term Governor Palin). So please dont kid yourself that this movement is non-partisan. And please dont expect those of us who reside in the fact-based universe to believe that fairy tale. I obviously cannot judge you as an individual, Ram, and I take you at your word that its not about race, and that you are as angry with Republicans as you are at Democrats. But those of us in the fact-based universe see the tea party for what it is. And remember: you are known by the company you keep.

Hot Sam

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:23 a.m.

"""Cutting taxes brings reduces deficits? """ No, it has been proven to increase revenues...what the government does with the increase is another story...


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

Which branch of the government controls spending? Congress. Which party controlled Congress for the 40 years prior to November 1994? Democrat. Did the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994 have much to do with the "Clinton" balanced budgets, which weren't even that if you include Socialist Security? You betcha. That Republican congressional majority quickly eroded and was lost, unfortunately, and now the overwhelming Democrat control of Congress is producing $1T+ annual deficits for as far as the eye can see. To my Republican eyes, Obama looks like the big-budget sequel to President Carter and like most sequels to bad movies it's looking like an even bigger disaster. Using federally funded resources (where does the federal government get its money from?) isn't hypocrisy. Demanding the funding of those resources and then whining about the deficit is hypocrisy. Since you geniuses voted for the federal government to confiscate our labor and wealth by force via taxation we might as well make use of the very inefficient results. You do understand the implicit use of force (made explicit if you fail to pay) behind taxation, don't you? That's why taxation should be minimized. That, and at some point many people stop trying so hard when they realize that their labor is being used to buy the votes of people who hate them. Would you expect that confiscating 100% of a person's labor instead of 33% would result in triple the tax revenue? Wayward Republicans are the target of the Tea Party grass roots too. It's not lost on us that W's spending crippled the Republican brand. It was his spending, not his tax rate cuts, that erased the projected surpluses. Congress was all too happy to go along and raise him while they were at it. It's not certain that the Republican party can be saved but given the dominance of the two party system it's the least bad option. It worked for Ron Paul and soon, hopefully, Peter Schiff. With Iranian theocrats apparently trying to build nuclear bombs in order to induce the return of the 12th Imam and thus the Apocalypse, it occurs to us that preventing said theocrats from acquiring nukes would be a really good idea. Hopefully that can be done by the Iranian people themselves but they're running out of time. Jesus didn't tell Caesar to tax his subjects and force them to provide health care for all. Jesus told his followers to help their fellow man directly, by their choice. Big difference.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

How smug you are. Your "opinion" is simply lefty socialist blather. Reagan and Bush ran up debt so tripling it now -- in a recession nonetheless -- under Obama and the drunk liberal congress is justified? Give Clinton full credit for what only a conservative congress forced down his throat (but you hated welfare reform I'm sure). The stimulus has been a failure and you show your lack of "facts" stating otherwise. A few new roads, 2-3 lizard tunnels and protecting the "march mouse" in Pelosi's district for a trillion dollars was a huge waste, created hardly a handful of permenant jobs, and even the honest liberal will admit it was nothing but political payback money for Dems. My grandkids say thank you. Healthcare controlled and soon to be run 100% by the Federal Government is right there in the constitution too, especialy that part where only 50% of the tax payers get to pay for the everyone else. The federal government picks winners and losers through the lobbyist game but tea party folks are to blame, not liberals who have controlled Congress for the vast majority of the last 60 years? Cite the bible as it relates to taxes and the federal government yet you would likely be the first one to cite the non-existent "separation of church and state" language allegedly found in the constitution to object to a christmas tree found near government property. Frankly, you are the ultimate hypocrite holding the constitution and favorably citing to all the federal government overreaching (like healthcare law) that flies in the face of that very constitution and limited government principles found inside the 4 corners of that document. Helping the poor as the bible tells us is not the job of the federal government (rememeber that alleged "seperation clause") but that of each individual according to their personal decisions. Remember, the federal government cannot give to anyone that it does not first take from someone else who rightly earned it and what one person receives without working for another person must earn without receiving. Does a government that takes 40% of someone's wages under force to redistribute it to other who will vote for the party in power resemble anything in the constitution you claim to know? The current political culture that ignores the founding principles of this country, the constitution and seeks to redistribute wealth and grow government 10x is what the tea party is objecting too. How dare people object to the nanny state and bankrupting this country. If you were not protesting the war in Iraq you forfeit all right to object to anything the federal government does now? Your "opinion" makes clear that you have no problem with big government. And about those Bush tax cuts, I'm sure you declined them and paid extra to the federal government as was your right. Oh, that's right, you took advantage of those "bad" Bush tax cuts as you are a hypocrite. After all, you can't trust a conservative congress w/ "extra" money. Except Dems have controlled the Congress and spending since 2006 so you probably forfeited your Bush tax cuts starting in 2006!


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 9:11 a.m.

It's wing nut time, folks! I suggest that all those who complain about taxes give back their public education, stop taking Social Security and Medicare and send back the money that they've already been paid, not drive on any roads or go to a public or National Park, close the public library then cut the defense budget by a few trillion and get out of Bush's two unnecessary wars that were off budget. Cutting taxes brings reduces deficits? Don't make me Laff(er)!

Steve Bean

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:58 a.m.

Thanks for that, Rick. I appreciate you efforts to promote informed discussion. Good to see that you're still around and engaged.

Hot Sam

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

The Bush tax cuts, like the Reagan tax cuts and the Kennedy tax cuts all resulted in increased revenues to the government. The fact is that in all cases the government spent it faster than it came in. The rate at which spending is going on now is truly unsustainable. That is what the Taxed Enough Already movement is all about. As with any protest movement, regardless of which side it originates, one can find discrepancies and some nuts. It is unfortunate that he debate disintegrates in to a partisan bickering match, as it truly is all our money...

The Picker

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

So what is this authors point? He's just part of the problem. Democrat good, Republican bad. Hypocracy in politics, I'm shocked! The fact is that the sleeping giant we call the silent majority has been stired and they have had enough of politics Rick Keith style. When will those of his ilk come up with solutions that don't involve incest with gov't. His ranting of Bush, Palin, Exxon ect. ect., reveal him as the shallow thinking bot that has so permeated the fringe on the body politic. His presence at this event was purely contrarian sport without any original thought. And yes,he is lucky this was not an ACORN event.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:40 a.m.

I liked your article. It is descriptive and interesting, and (I think) fairly nonconfrontational. Alas, let the floodgate of comments start... "oh, you crazy Ann Arborites with your wacky, liberal, Walmart-hating, tax-loving utopia.. No matter what the subject or Author (who lives outside of Ann Arbor) writes. One mention of "taxes" and they're off running :) Thanks for your contribution, Mr. Keith!


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:36 a.m.

Tigger, I just said Bush is just as guilty as Obama. The reduction in your taxes amounts to redistribution of wealth because as you said, the reduction came from the stimulus package. The stimulus package must be paid for by those who had their taxes increased, no? I realize that taxes must be paid - we need to provide for a strong military, solid infrastructure, and a fair system of law & order. But our government has overextended themselves, and they are offering a free ride to too many Americans on the backs of the successful and wealthy. It was recently reported in USA Today that more then 45% of Americans don't pay a Federal Income Tax now. Are you okay with that? Its not about a black President, come one now, lets not stoop to the race card. I didn't like Bush, and I was pretty apathetic about it. But this is where American apathy has gotten us - we have elected politicians who, for too long, spent money that didn't exist and knew that there weren't citizens willing to check up on them. I regret allowing Bush to slide by without a larger protest movement - his foreign policy is going to haunt us all for decades.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:31 a.m.

"An intentionally and deliberately disruptive jerk" And I thought the writer was referring to Thayrone X! "A Navy vet confronted me and told me to shut up. I pointed to a sign 30 feet away that read, I Deserve to Be Heard. And then be called an extremist? Just goes to show the hypocrisy and ignorance of the majority of Tea Partiers. Party On!

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:25 a.m.

Ram wrote: "The tax cuts under the current President amount to a redistribution of wealth, which is glorified stealing" This is Tea Party logic? If Bush had cut taxes, well, then they're tax cuts. But when they Black President cuts taxes, they are income redistribution (code word: socialism). My taxes went down. There were deductions in my return this year--nearly $2000--that were not there last year and that exist solely due to the stimulus package. But for the stimulus program my taxes would have been nearly $2000 more. So please tell me, Ram, how, exactly, the obvious reduction in my taxes amounts to income redistribution. Also, it is Tea Party gospel that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts is a tax hike. So how many of you tea party types are supporting the extension of the Obama Tax Cuts, which were only for this year? How many of the tea party-ites see that as a tax hike? I didn't think so. I rest my case. It's not about taxes up or down. It's about (God forbid) a black president.

Edward R. Murrow's ghost

Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

Thanks for the piece, Keith! Be prepared to be slammed, slandered, and borderline threatened by the tea partyites who have all but taken over the discussion boards. But don't worry about them using any facts to refute your piece, as the vast majority of them don't live in the fact-based universe. Funny how it was OK for a semi-illiterate white Republican president to do the things you cite (and that those of us in the reality-based universe know he did), but when an articulate black Republican president, tries to fix the mess left to him by his predecessor, its Katie Bar the Door!!!! THEY WANT THEY'RE COUNTRY BACK!!!!! Gee, I can't imagine why those of us in the reality-based universe think that race is at the core of the tea party protests.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 8:12 a.m.

Look, the Tea Party is going to have some misinformed people. There are misinformed Democrats and misinformed Republicans, big surprise. The thing is, the Tea Party is a legitimate movement who wants the government to spend within its means. We have had to deal with budget deficits for too long (Bush is guilty and Obama isn't doing anything to fix it). The tax cuts under the current President amount to a redistribution of wealth, which is glorified stealing. We have become an entitlement country - everybody wants something for nothing. Big business wants a bailout, families want a home they can't afford. Well guess what? We should let the failing businesses fail, because to do otherwise is anti-Capitalist. Not everyone can afford their dream house, maybe you should wait a little longer to have kids. The Tea Party means something different to everyone. That is what it means to me.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7:42 a.m.

This is one of the best articles on the Tea Party movement I have read. Other than The Daily Show, no one in the so-called "main stream media" seems capable of calling out the Tea Partiers on their hypocrisy the way Rick Keith has.


Sun, Apr 25, 2010 : 7:18 a.m.

Right on!