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US debt crisis heralds the return of the Tea Party

The US debt crisis is over for now, but legislators have just kicked the can down the road. In this series on the US debt ceiling, academics from Australia, the UK and the US assess the lingering global…

Republican senator Ted Cruz has become the face of the Tea Party movement during the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. But how has the Tea Party changed since its inception? EPA/Michael Reynolds

The US debt crisis is over for now, but legislators have just kicked the can down the road. In this series on the US debt ceiling, academics from Australia, the UK and the US assess the lingering global implications. Today, David Smith discusses the rise and rise of the Tea Party movement in American politics.


Following the US government shutdown and debt ceiling fiasco, there has been a slew of polls showing the Tea Party is at record levels of unpopularity with the American public.

However, this unpopularity matters little to the Tea Party itself. After they were muted in the 2012 presidential election, the shutdown has given Tea Party activists the chance to reassert their dominance within the Republican Party.

The Tea Party has never been entirely separate from the Republican Party, despite its self-image as a principled force of political outsiders. A study by American political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell found that Tea Party supporters in 2011 were most likely to have been “highly partisan Republicans” in 2006.

Tea Party groups like FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express are distinct from the Republican Party itself, but their main purpose is to get candidates elected as Republicans. They want to take over the Republican Party, not provide an alternative to it. Despite their hostility to “establishment” Republicans, these Republicans embraced the Tea Party and its thousands of dedicated activists. Tea Party support delivered the House to the Republican Party in 2010.

A lot has changed since the Tea Party first appeared in early 2009. It no longer draws tens of thousands of people to its rallies, and many of the prominent political and media figures commonly identified with it prefer to be known simply as “conservatives”.

The 2012 election did lasting damage to the Tea Party label. Mitt Romney’s victory in the Republican primaries showed the limits of Tea Party power, and Tea Partiers had to tone down their criticisms of Romney and the Republican establishment for the sake of defeating Barack Obama. Many Republicans then blamed the Tea Party for losing winnable Senate seats by nominating candidates too extreme to get elected.

But the issues that animate the Tea Party have not gone away. Most importantly, Obama is still president, and his signature healthcare legislation is on its way to becoming entrenched. Like all conservatives, Tea Party supporters believe in fiscal responsibility, limited government, and fidelity to the constitution. What makes them different from other conservatives is their conviction that Obama is out to destroy America, and is on the verge of succeeding.

In their book Change They Can’t Believe In, academics Christopher Parker and Matt Barreto argue that the Tea Party is “reactionary” rather than simply conservative. To them, Obama embodies catastrophic changes to the American way of life, and must be stopped at all costs. This puts them at odds with more traditional conservatives, like Republican speaker John Boehner, who would stop short of defaulting on government debt to stop “Obamacare”.

Tea Partiers believe the Affordable Care Act, despite its conservative origins, is an attempt to impose socialism on America. Harvard political scientists Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson have explained that Tea Party supporters are not opposed to all government spending. They support benefits for “deserving” recipients, such as the elderly and military veterans. However, they deeply resent their taxes being used on handouts for “freeloaders”.

Conservatives have long made this distinction between deserving and undeserving beneficiaries, and the distinction has often been implicitly racial. Former president Ronald Reagan was the master of this discourse.

The difference now is that Tea Party supporters see the expansion of government healthcare - along with immigration reform - as part of a scheme to bring millions of new, mainly minority voters into the Democratic coalition. They believe the Democrats want a society in which the “takers” will outnumber the “makers”, and will keep returning them to power.

Now more than ever, the Tea Party believes the Republican Party is too weak, compromised and liberal to stand up to Obama. The day after Congress raised the debt ceiling and re-opened the government, influential conservative commentator Erick Erickson issued a call to arms on his RedState website. Far from being a humiliating defeat, he saw the debt ceiling showdown as an important turning point. According to Erickson, it was worth shutting down the government and taking the country to the brink of default because:

…we always knew the fight would force the charlatans of the GOP out of the shadows into disinfecting sunlight.

Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell may face a primary challenge from the Tea Party over his deal-making with Democrats on the shutdown and debt ceiling. EPA/Shawn Thew

Every Republican legislator who voted to end the shutdown now faces the likelihood of a primary challenge from a Tea Party opponent. This includes Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, who brokered the deal with Senate majority leader Harry Reid.

Since January 2009, McConnell has used all his power in the Senate to obstruct Obama’s legislative agenda. In 2010 he declared “the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president”. McConnell is now one of the “moderates” within the Republican Party.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has emerged as the undisputed leader of the congressional Tea Party. Over the next three years he will make a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, which eluded the Tea Party in 2012. In the meantime, “establishment” Republicans may fear for their jobs, but will also see opportunities.

By appearing as a reasonable alternative to the Tea Party, the Republican establishment can drag the “compromise” position with Democrats further and further to the right. The relationship between the Tea Party and the establishment may be far more co-operative than it appears.


This is the second part in our series. Read the other parts below.

US economic policy: the right settings, disastrous process

Obamacare can’t make sense in a divided economy

A culture of dysfunction: is Washington headed for Groundhog Day?

Join the conversation

145 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Stephen Ralph

    carer

    If the Tea party is so unpopular how will they win seats?

    It also sounds the TP might be a house divided, with more factions than you can shake a stick at.

    America is going to go through many changes over the next decade or so, and the rise of the Tea Party may be one of those changes.

    They used to say Los Angeles was 72 suburbs in search of a city, it might well be 52 states in search of a country.

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    1. Stan Hlegeris

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Why do so many Australians think that there are 52 American states?

      Count the stars on the flag--there are fifty. The number hasn't changed since 1959, when Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th.

      I wonder where this error came from, as about half of all Australians will tell you there are 52.

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    2. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to John Newton

      You cant gerrymander a primary FFS !!!!!!!

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    3. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Stan Hlegeris

      Everyone knows there are 60 states in the United States. B Hussein Obama said so in 2008 (sans teleprompter).

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    4. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      He really said 60, coz he said he wouldn't be visiting Hawai'i or Alaska. He didn't want to visit the white side of the family in Hawai'i - would have been bad for his image.

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  2. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    The Amerrican Empire (in terms of global economic power) has barely lasted a century. Who would have thought that they would have destroyed that empire themselves through bloody minded stupidity and boorishly exhibited selfishness. In terms of the Tea party rhetoric, which slams social justice, one can only hope that the disease of absolute selfishness does not pollute the planet. Let America show the world that to promote exclusiveness in terms of wealth distribution and social infrastructure is not the way forwarded to prosperity. Just like the communist model before it the pure greed American capitalistic model, in all of its crass manifestations, will also become irrelevant in the ongoing evolution of the human commune.

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    1. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Unfortunately the disease of rampant capitalism has been caught by China and other nation around the globe.

      The "I want what they are having" ethos is not hard to catch, but very hard to discard.

      Don't forget, China has 168 billionaires already, and rising.

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    2. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      I world say that China is far, far smarter than the US and is not held hostage by lobby groups like the US and Aus. Maybe they dont like murdoch either.

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    3. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      The system in Chna is not duplicated anywhere else.
      It may have a capitlaist market economic system but it is a strictly one party politcal state. Business is free to operate as long as it stays strictly out of politics and recognises the "leadership of the Party".
      This dual system has been stable for more than 30 years basically because the middle and wealthy classes (who in other places have been the driving force in political reform ) see that their interests are maintained and advanced by the single party system. The system protects them from the working class and global business where necessary.
      In other words Chinese billionares are billionaires because the Communist Party is in control,

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    4. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @Ken and others. imho there's no difference at all between them. Except that the Chinese are simply more honest and overt about how their nation is run and why they do it that way.

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    5. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      There is no measure that it know of (or can think of) that would allow anybody to conclude that the way China is run politically is not different to the democracies of the world.

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Dear Ken, no doubt there is nothing you know of nor imagine. Doesn't make me wrong though. Uncommon point of view, yes, I can accept that. Also you have reframed what I actually stated into something else entirely, thus kind of putting words into my mouth I did not say. Australia still is a Democracy, no argument there. The US is more accurately a Corporatist Meritocracy and not a true Democracy, and hasn't been for about half a century or so. Big difference, imho. A closer comparison could be made to the system of Government under Charles I of England or earlier. And he lost his head at the neck, if my memory is correct. I'll check, yep, Tuesday, 30 January 1649. It wasn't his best day on earth. :)

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I think Australians as a whole would be absolutely appalled at the limitations imposed on democracy in the US particularly by various State governments who are able to determine their citizens' entitlements without much regard for their individual rights as "US citizens" under the Constitution. It is a Union of States with a curious (to our eyes) series of demarcations between States Rights and National Rights at a wide range of levels.

      Indeed the US is the best reason for compulsory voting I've ever witnessed, together with our emphasis on the rights and responsibilities of citizens of Australia rather than citizens of any individual state.

      And without doubt the bulk of these State regulations have been directed at excluding or restricting Blacks and their access to national voting. The Civil War ain't done by a long shot.

      Never far from race when looking at US politics.

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Please lets not give 'rational thinkers' such as cory bernardi and the loonie right any more crazy ideas than they already possess. shssh I have a radical idea to solve the budget crisis though ... tax corp multinationals properly, close all the loopholes, and stop the excessive tax breaks on 'investment'. If it is corporate welfare please label it as such, and stop the 'spin'. OK, I'm done. I hope, you hope, we all hope! :)

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    9. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Problem is Sean we probably cannot do this alone any more ... the use of tax havens and transfer pricing has become the norm on a global scale ... some 50% of world trade now involves tax havens.

      As the failure of the Mining Tax demonstrates, their accountants are much better at this than our tax advisors. National Governments acting alone are no match for a system of tax evasion designed by and for our multinational trading companies.

      Plugging these yawning holes will take international co-operation and substantial individual penalties for those involved and much better resources in our investigation authorities.

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    10. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      "imho there's no difference at all between them." I just assumed you were talking about the subject of comparing the politcal systems of China, the US and Australia. Not matter what defintional hair splitting you do, the one party political system of China is not in any way "the same" as the multiparty political systems of the west. Please enlighten me.

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    11. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Think of it this way, " the multiparty political systems of the USA" is a myth. It is not real. It's a TV Soap Opera the majority of the population tunes into ... the 'parties' may as well be selling a brand of soap powder. This myth, this methodology iow has been spreading like a virus and we here have already caught it, though the symptoms are not yet so negative, overt nor obvious the infection is already working. It's as slow as the 'frog in a pot on the stove' idea. I bet you're convinced now, Not! You'll need to buy the book and read the research papers I guess. :) btw real 'enlightenment' always comes from within though hard work. It's not something another can hand you on a plate. That's dinner, not hard won wisdom. So, no free lunches here Ken. Best to you.

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    12. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      an alt idea for Ken PhD student to consider is: If one was studying science they would work with a scientist to learn the method of practical experiment. Laws do not change, one 's understanding of how they operate does. If on the other hand one was studying Politics or Business/Economics the first and best thing to do is a historical study of world religions. The religions plow the fields and plant the seeds, later the politicians come along to harvest the product. Advertisers do the same for the…

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    13. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Peter fwiw - https://theconversation.com/wikileaks-a-few-secrets-19356 - John Keane is Director Institute for Democracy and Human Rights (IDHR) and Professor of Politics at the University of Sydney and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB). His most recent book, The Life and Death of Democracy (2009), was short-listed for the 2010 Non-Fiction Prime Minister’s Literary Award. His new book, Democracy and Media Decadence is forthcoming.
      === we live in the age of monitory democracy in which muckraking…

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    14. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Unsupported assertions and opinions don't hack it. Tell me all about the books and research papers or evidence that support it. Excuses don't hack it either

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I like John Keane's ideas a lot ... but I sometimes think he gets a bit ahead of himself ... too hopeful by half.

      'Monitory democracy" has been around for near 100 years in various embryonic forms ... from the earliest stirrings of the conceration movement through to a large number of public scrutiny bodies such as the Council for Civil Liberties, even outfits like Choice and the Australian Consumers' Association.

      And they have proven - at times - to be very effective in pressuring democractic…

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    16. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Dear Ken, it's clear what I stated were my opinions from the get go. These were made as comments to this article on TC, and to others comments about it. You made comments (opinions) about my comments and asked me questions, and I answered them the way I chose. Now there's a hissy fit over "evidence" because you do not like my opinions expressed in very short comments to TC? Are you serious? Or slow? Had I been the author of a TC article, by all means anyone could rightfully ask "where's the evidence…

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    17. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      When you start to state them as established facts I ask you to support them with evidence.
      Karl Kruszelnicki once said "Get the facts and then have an opinion, not the other way around."

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    18. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @Ken re: "Unsupported assertions and opinions don't hack it." You first Ken. Have it on my desk at 9 am tomorrow morning. Excuses don't hack it either, or you'll be marked down 25% for lateness. Will there be any other probing questions your lordship? :)

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    19. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I have given you enough clues to show you where the information can be found . Go look them up yourself. Good practise.

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    20. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Note to self ... the answer to my questions is 'Slow'. OK, Got it.

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    21. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @Ken re: "When you start to state them as established facts.." You see Ken this is precisely where you get it all wrong and have little to no idea what I even said, nor how it was contextualized. Reading comprehension? I could ask you "to support (your false claim) with evidence" but there's no point. As my granddad taught me: "Sean, don't worry about it and don't bother, you just can't help some people." For if anyone here needed to take Karl's advice, it isn't me.

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    22. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      You need to read a little before you pontificate on Islam in Indonesia. Sufi arrived in Indonesia in a variety of ways. As legal immigrants from the Hadhramaut, as scholars brought in to teach locals Sufi doctrine, from Indonesian scholars returning after studying in Mecca and Cairo. Those teachings of Islam commonly called Wahhabi/Salafist (terms to which Indonesian Muslims violently object) came to Indonesia in the early 19th century at almost the same time as they were sweeping the Arabian Peninsula. They have been a feature of the some parts of Muslim tradition in Indonesia ever since. They were responsible for most of the revolts against the Dutch and depredations against the traditionalist Javanese Muslims in the 19th century.
      Before you continue trying to teach your grandmother to suck eggs to might like to peek at my profile and note the topic of my PhD thesis and to know that I have been in and out of Indonesia regularly since 1970.

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Hate to raise my voice in the midst of this ahem chat but I'm most curious about the Sufi strand in Indonesia ... my only dealings with sufis have been in India - essentially through a shared interest in music - and I found them to be a very moderate branch of Islam there but considered quite heretical by the more austere fundamentalist types. Point me towards some reading Ken, be most grateful.

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    24. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      <sigh> I should go 'peek at your profile'? Man I did more than just that two days ago. Talk about 'SLOW' - Ken clearly you have no idea what I am talking about, so busy are you spinning your own wheels in sand. ROFL It's been enjoyable. But aren't you "clever"!

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    25. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      For modern day Sufim in Indonesia, works by Prof Julia Day Howell cover a wide range. Her site at the University of Western Sydney gives a good range.
      Martin van Bruinessen has published widely in this area both modern and past. For the activities of the Sufi brotherhoods in the dark past you can't go past that grand old man of Indonesian History, Sartono Kartodirdjot and his works on the Peasants’ Revolt of Banten

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    26. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      OK, are you ready Ken? You have not said one thing above that I did not already know through my own efforts over a decade ago. I didn't need to look it up, my prior comments were off the top of my head. eg I stated: " If on the other hand one was studying Politics or Business/Economics the first and best thing to do is a historical study of world religions." Today you say to me: "Unsupported assertions and opinions don't hack it". NOW KEN go read what you wrote above about Indonesia - there's is…

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    27. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I respect all people who base their opinions on evidence and are prepared to back up these opinions with solid logic and facts. I have no respect for people who try to turn unsupported assertions into fact. This tendency bedevills and distorts our politics and the commentary that goes with it. I judge the state of knowledge of people by the statements they make and the way they make them. I also believe in the principle of put up or shut up. I have no need to apologise for my education or experience. The combination has given me a good grasp of the realities of the world.
      Yelling "knew that" after the event doesn't hack it either.

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    28. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I was just using some electronic notes and found that 9 of Martin van Bruinessen's papers on Sufi in Indonesia are available on his personal site at Utrecht University at http://www.let.uu.nl/~martin.vanbruinessen/personal/publications/
      They can be downloaded. Because English is not his first language van Bruinessen's papers are easier to read because they lack some of the convoluted language of some academics.

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    29. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Many thanks Ken ... an interesting lot your sufis ... very much on the Talib's hit list a bit further west of Indo.... pity, great music.

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    30. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I have discovered in my current project that that Sufism is more widespread in Indonesia than I ever realised. It fits in very nicely with Javanese mysticism. But I have also found that Sufi come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the tareket are real stickers for obedience to sharia and have got quite violent about it. I won’t say more I wouldn’t want to spoil your reading

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    31. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Stephen Ralph

      Stephen,

      You said: "Unfortunately the disease of rampant capitalism has been caught by China and other nation around the globe"

      Yes, they are sick of living in poverty, with all that entails for health and education, amongst other things, so they are embracing capitalism, for the cornucopia of wealth that only capitalism has been able to demonstrate it can deliver.

      It is very easy to criticise the "I want what they are having" ethos if you already have the choice, as do you.

      Personally? I am pleased to welcome them into the club. I just wish the membership were even bigger yet.

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    32. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      China is not being held hostage by lobby groups? Really? Do you have any idea how an opaque one party state works? All it has are lobby groups.

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    33. Stephen Ralph

      carer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris - nothing wrong with Capitalism and the need to share it around.

      Rampant capitalism will be a short term high and a long term problem. Look at the West.

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    34. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Its the "divide and control" scenario. The illusion of choice that allows us to stay happily ignorant and asleep.

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    35. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Chris Harper

      However it works, they seem to make decisions based upon the best interests of China, unlike our governments, who seem to make decisions based upon the best interests of the US, billionaire mininers and multinational corporations.

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  3. John Crest

    logged in via email @live.com.au

    It seems to me the main issue is that the Tea Party are wrong for now, but will be right one day.

    As big as a $16 trillion debt is, the events of the last few weeks show it's not big enough to warrant the extreme fiscal actions the Tea Party say they want.

    But some number IS big enough.

    What is that number and when will the US hit it?

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    1. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to John Crest

      Not sure about a magic number but a credit downgrade by the other two major ratings agencies will be a serious wake-up call.

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    2. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Darren Kay

      What number will trigger the most immediate downgrade then?

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    3. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to John Crest

      Sorry, can't seem to find my magic ball...

      Fitch has the US credit rating on a negative watch with a timeframe of a few months. Read from it what you will...

      'Although Fitch continues to believe that the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default'

      http://www.cnbc.com/id/101093033

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    4. John Crest

      logged in via email @live.com.au

      In reply to Darren Kay

      I'm not talking about a downgrade because of default risk caused by political machinations, I'm talking about a downgrade caused by the fact that the debt is too big to service...

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    5. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Crest

      The Tea Party are corporate america

      The Tea Party is completely astro-turfed, it is not a real political movement

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    6. Michael Shand
      Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

      Software Tester

      In reply to John Crest

      Not at all,

      You are right that government budgets cannot blow out indefinitely.

      So we have revenue and spending - the Tea Party have signed the norquist pledge to never ever raise taxes - not only will they never raise taxes...they are intent on lowering taxes.

      So whilst spending may need to come down(Debatable), you can't honestly state that you are for balancing the budget if you have signed a pledge never to raise taxes.....what if raising taxes is a sensible thing to do? it doesn't matter, they can't do it, least they be primaried

      because they are not interested in fixing the budget, that's not what they want and to blindly believe the propaghanda - well quite a few people already have, they are the useful idiots that turn up to protest corporate tax rates

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to John Crest

      @John re: "..and when will the US hit it?" Next year. Make a diary note of my answer here. :)

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Michael Shand

      @Michael .... People confuse the TP people with funny hats and badges and holding up signs at protests as being the TP. People are funny though, hey Michael? And journalists are not what they used to be either. Equivalent to using a brick as a door stop, is about what most are good for these days. :) Here's a one question Quiz: What did Clive Palmer actually mean and what was his intention when he drew a comparison of Rupert's (ex)wife to a Chinese spy during the election recently? Any of the readers know, because none of our journalists, politicians or talking heads on TV or Talkback radio could work it out.

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    9. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Robert McDougall

      Robert,

      The Heartland Institute has an annual budget of about six million dollars. How much of that goes to the TP?

      The Koch bros? How much did they contribute?

      Big Tobacco? Are you serious? What is tobacco's interest in the Tea Party? Did you know the Gore family have been funded by tobacco for generations? Is he beyond the pale as well?

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  4. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad ....

    Viewed from afar the Tea Party resembles the death throes of a dinosaur trapped in a tar pit ... writhing against the inevitable demographic - and yes racial - changes in the US . It is impossible to examine the Tea Party without acknowledging their racial base and implicitly racial intent.

    These are the folks who believe that the US was founded on protestant christian values ... one nation under god ... in god we trust. Not true…

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You said: "It is impossible to examine the Tea Party without acknowledging their racial base and implicitly racial intent."

      Do you have evidence for this claim Peter? Some evidence that the Tea Party groups are not largely racially reflective of the current proportions in the US population? Some real evidence that these people are driven by race motives?

      I am aware of constant claims on this, but I am also aware of constant smears of 'racism' against decent people, acting in good faith, for no reason than they are not frothing socialists.

      Want to demonstrate that this is real, rather than just another smear campaign against, libertarians, free marketeers and constitutionalists?

      You know, make a fraudulent claim your opponents are racists and then you never have to address what they are actually saying?

      Want to demonstrate there is is any significant reality behind your sneering smears at those you disagree with?

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/09/race-and-tea-party

      I know it's a regession analysis which is probably a bit sciencey ... but there's a mass of information available on the motives and consequences of Tea Party policies on Afro Americans and Hispanics.

      Here's a few more: http://www.msnbc.com/politicsnation/study-tea-party-supporters-more-likely-ex

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/20/race-central-fear-angst-us-right

      http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2010/07/naacp-vs-tea-party-who-s-right/23735

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    3. Andrew Smith

      Education Consultant at Australian & International Education Centre

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hardly surprising when looking at connections or links the Tea Party has via Ted Cruz and various or usual suspects who seem to have a misanthropic view of humanity......

      Not only do they opppose immigration reform etc. but have a propensity to liaise with white supremacists.....

      http://www.zennie62blog.com/2013/08/23/ted-cruz-white-supremacist-associations-are-disturbing-18216/

      Of course the same old names pop up such as John Tanton (and his anti immigration anti population growth network…

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    4. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Mmmm - msnbc and the guardian - I'll stick to Fox News for my take on US politics thanks !!!! ROFLMFAO !!!!!

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    5. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Andrew Smith

      Yep - that Ted Cruz must be racist. After all, he is Hispanic !!!!!!

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      @Peter re: "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first drive mad ...." omg lol, great line, very apt. But I want to know how you got your hands on my unpublished draft doctoral dissertation on "The Mass Schizophrenia of Modern American Society"? Given you are quoting from it without giving due referential credit I am a tad perturbed Peter. It's not even at the printers yet. :) I note you are a Farmer. Now I'd also like to know besides harvesting copious amounts of wisdom and insight, what else might you grow and what fertiliser are you using? Perhaps you could package it for sale and I could be the marketing manager? I think we'd make a killing. There's certainly a huge existing demand for such a product, look around. :)

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris Harper

      @Chris re: "Some evidence ...?" Personally, if it is evidence that one seeks, then I would highly recommend using one's own eyes and ears, followed with a liberal dose of common sense. Though to be honest half a teaspoon should be ample. And that is "liberal" as in a 'generous in amount' and not the word 'liberal' so often used as an insulting put down swear word in the USA. About the only thing of Value most Australians have in common with American society and beliefs is that we both speak English. Though even that is debatable. :)

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    8. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andrew Smith

      Thank the blessed lord Jayzus Andrew ... for a minute there I thought he was another muslim or sumfink.

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    9. Robert McDougall

      Small Business Owner

      In reply to Mike Farrell

      I thought watching fox news damns one to hell for all eternity... Or does it just feel like it?

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  5. Tony Simons
    Tony Simons is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Dodgy Director

    The neo fascist Tea Party is a terrifying beast. What is overlooked is the blatant gerrymander (would make Joh Bjelke- Petersen blush) which gives Tea Party types safe Republican seats.

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Tony Simons

      Neo fascist huh?

      Lets see, free marketeers and small government types are fascist? Really? Another case of 'I disagree with what you say, therefore you are a fascist"?

      Want to go look up what a fascist actually was?

      What the heck, it is so much easier to blacken someone with baseless smears than to actually address their arguments, isn't it? Who knows, address their arguments and you might actually learn something, and we can't have that, can we.

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    2. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris Harper

      @Chris a more accurate word for Fascism is Corporatism. Personally I blame Hitler for giving the concept such a bad reputation and muddying the waters. It is confusing to most, that is true. And I blame PeterO for me responding here at all. I was going to stop further commenting on TC from today - bugger!!!

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean,

      Sure, corporatism is a better description of the West today, Big Business, Big Labour, Big Green, Big fifth sector in general, all seeking preferential treatment from within Big Government. However, that preferential treatment is only possible if that Big Government exists in the first place. Eliminate Big Gov, and there is no one to slant the playing field in favour of the Big Everything Else.

      Corporatism is the direct outcome of the structures created by the regulators put in place by big gov.

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    4. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Michael Shand

      Sean,

      Ok, if you say that. Still, being fundamentalists does not make them fascists. Small government, free market constitutionalists, whether fundamentalists or not, are pretty much, by definition, exactly what fascists are not.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Disturbing as this is no doubt to us both Chris - I agree with you .... strewth that's twice!!

      The most accurate political description of the Tea Party is reactionary - acting in fear of change and seeking to regain a diminishing sense of control .... driven to restore some mythic past than build a new future.

      But technically they are not fascists... fascism is actually much more politically clever, offering simple slogan "solutions" to everyone's problems, ending internal conflicts, blaming…

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      Just as when I last agreed with you, you rejected it, so on this occasion I reject your agreement with me.

      There is nothing technical about their lack of fascism. The Tea Party in its policies and objectives is as divorced from classical fascism as it is possible to get, and still exist at all.

      If you wish to misrepresent them, as most of your comment here does, what conclusions am I meant to draw about you ability to argue against what they actually are?

      I would certainly label them conservative rather than reactionary. That label today belongs to those who wish to protect the Corporate State, with all its protections for favoured groups at the expense of the general population, against the threat posed by small government types.

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris,

      Can you give me any sort of breakdown on the membership of the Tea Party - particularlyinterested in its ethnic support base, its regional/state support levels and the level of education?

      We are on a slippery slope here of course once one sees the TEA Party as "conservative" ... personally I would regard the recent efforts at blackmailing the administration over the Affordable Care Act - to the extent of destabilising the global economy as anything but conservative. Similarly the hysterical…

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris Harper

      @Chris a fun but rare research topic could be re 'Big Gov' 'US' 'corporatism' 'history' & 'the structures created by the regulators put in place...' In 1881, Pope Leo XIII (Vincenzo) commissioned theologians and social thinkers to study corporatism and provide a definition for it. In 1884 in Freiburg, the commission declared that corporatism was a "system of social organization that has at its base the grouping of men according to the community of their natural interests and social functions, and…

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    9. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, and so you still assume the TP etc are ***really*** ideologically aligned to "Small government, free market constitutionalists"? Mate you are not listening to me, but that's ok. Never believe anything you read or heard on the internet, ok, nothing, including http://www.teapartyexpress.org/ and politicians whose lips are moving.

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    10. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Chris Harper

      The definition of fascism does include many aspects of the Tea Party.
      So in the same way we have broad and somewhat flexible definitions of Anarchy and Socialism so we can have broad and flexible definitions of Fascism.
      Be that as it may I cannot understand why people try and make sense of the Tea Party, they don't try and make sense of anything.

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Felix

      But they do Mr F ... they do.... they know that Obama is a muslim, a foreigner, a gawd-denying cawmewnist hell-bent on handing them over to Blacks or Mexicans or Red Chinese...probably all three.

      They know that he will have his socialistic death squads roaming the leafier streets deciding who lives and who dies ... they know that secret cabals of Wall Street (jewish) bankers and Hollywood movie moguls are really running the country and that they are intent on stripping the decent gawd-fearing…

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    12. Paul Felix

      Builder

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      To be honest it's not their politics that interests me too much - but the psychology of the Tea Party belief system is enthralling .
      So what else do you do to entertain yourself, pull your toenails out with pliers.
      Actually I agree, but it is a masochist sort of life isn't it.

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    13. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Paul Felix

      The really intriguing part is watching how some Australian (ish) folks (some of them commenting here often and emphatically) absorb their beliefs and slogans from the ratbag end of the Tea Party swamp and then try and transplant them unaltered into an utterly different climate and political system. It's a fashion statement rather than an ideology ... more like cultivating lantana or prickly pear. Feral politics.... an alien growth.

      If you want to a prime example - check out where Corey (mad…

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  6. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    Well, apart from members of the Tea Party, there is a very large section of the American population who will be hoping that Ted Cruz becomes the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 - Democrats.

    One would really like to think that Republicans aren't completely self destructive and would appoint someone who has some prospect of being elected.

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    1. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      The Americas were Spanish long before they were WASP Mike ... and the hispanics are simply rfecklaiming what was always theirs :)

      I was watching the other day as one of the GOP's stalwarts was explaining that within a decade Texas will be overwhelmingly Spanish speaking and a Democrat stronghold... the Tea Party will simply accelerate the process and politicise the emerging minorities for decades to some.

      Adjusting to reality is the most painful adjustment of all.

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    2. Davd Mitchell

      Hydrologist

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      I agree and disagree Mike, it was that thinking that gave rise to our present PM
      The Labor party wringing their hands with glee when it was announced TA had won the vote for opp leader.
      "The Australian public will never vote for Abbott"...... oh bugger

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    3. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Davd Mitchell

      I tend to agree and disagree as well David.

      TA was a godsend for Labor, because if virtually anyone else had been the leader of the coalition then the contest would almost certainly have been a lot more one sided.

      All the polls suggested that Abbott vs Rudd was about the best that Labor could do in order to keep the election relatively close. Turnbull vs Gillard would have been a disaster for Labor.

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    4. Darren Kay

      Private trader

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      To be fair to TA, he was an excellent Opposition Leader. Many hoped he'd have kept that job for another 3 years...

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    5. Mike Farrell

      Former Penny Wong employee (DSP)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It will be interesting to see how the US economy copes when the 10+ million illegals become legal, bring their families in the US and claim all those nice new benefits they couldn't get in Mexico. That will do wonders for the US budget and debt. Should Obimbo's immigration legislation go through, there will certainly be more "takers" than "makers" in the US. If the GFC was a recession, wait till you see what's coming.

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    6. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, I think you are giving way too much credit to US Voters than they deserve. Would not surprise me one bit if someone like Ted Cruz won in 2016. Furthermore I have retracted even good and hopeful thing I ever said about Obama in 2004. The Repubs Dems Libtards et al are all f........, delusional and full of it. Yeah that pretty much sums up my irreverent opinion. Been there, done that, and kissed the ground with never ending gratitude when I came home. Now how to get the Marines out of the NT for good. That's the question.

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  7. Ken Alderton

    PhD student, former CEO

    I don’t think it would be drawing too long a bow to see parallels between the influence of the Tea Party in the GOP and the capture of the Liberal Party by its conservative wing and the consequent demise of the more liberal “wet” faction of the party. In the Abbott Ministry there is only one recognisable “moderate”, Malcolm Turnbull and one fence sitter Joe Hockey.
    And the mechanism is the same, control of the candidate nomination process. In the US the Tea Party has targeted moderate Republican incumbents by vigorous support of conservative opponents in the primaries. In the Liberal Party the conservatives, notably in New South Wales and Victoria, have been able to preselect conservative candidates in safe seats as they became vacant. In Kooyong for instance the moderate Petro Georgiou was replaced by the far more conservative Josh Frydenberg

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    1. Michael Sheehan

      Geographer at Analyst

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Actually, both the ALP and Coalition are straight down the line "moderates".

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    1. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Peter Dawson

      re: "We need to talk about the Koch brothers" ... no, we need to tear up the [misnamed] 'US Free Trade Agreement' and not make anymore. A real FTA runs to one page - "We agree to trade freely between our nations with no barriers to access to internal markets." signature X signature Y. Or go hard and start calling a spade a spade instead of an implement potentially useful in the movement of a weight of material from specific location to another specific location utilizing the power energy generated by the humanoid species in vertically station to the central earths core. Savvy? Research legal actions taken, and won, immediately post every FTA ever created by the USA from the beginning of time .......... if ex-pm-JWH was a lawyer, then he was never a very good nor wise one. TA simply wouldn't even understand the summary imho, but whatever. Such matters tend to sort themselves out over the long haul.

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  8. Darren Kay

    Private trader

    The Tea Party is bankrolled by the fabulously rich and powerful, notably the Koch brothers. It's this funding that makes it a particularly viable threat to oust moderate Repub incumbents in the primaries. That and the energised voting base. In the same way, the power of the NRA tilts enough votes in marginal electorates in their favour to stop meaningful gun control reforms.

    Continued funding is contingent on the promise of the Tea Party meeting its goals. In light of the 2011 debt ceiling dustup…

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  9. Michael Shand
    Michael Shand is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Software Tester

    This reporting is missing the point entirely

    The Tea Party is the ultimate Astro-Turf, if a repub doesn't do what the Koch's want, they will run an unknown business man against him who is pro-life, pro-gun, anti-gay marrige etc and they will fund the opponent

    thus if a repub doesn't follow Corporate demands, they won't be elected next round - it is that simple

    it's the MONEY LEBOWSKI!!

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  10. Michael Affleck

    Librarian

    The Tea Party obviously only has the most passing acquaintance with reality, if they seriously think putting up Ted Cruz or any other confirmed Tea Party hardliner as the Reublican candidate in 2016 will do anything than put a Democrat, even Hilary Clinton, in the White House with a massive majority.

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    1. Father Æthelwine

      Priest and researcher.

      In reply to Michael Affleck

      Is the Tea Party of as much importance to the USA as the over $1000Trillion that China could cash in any time and the over $500Trillion that Russia could make liquid likewise? Just a thought, President Husssein whatever his name is might well have to say 'how high/' if they ask him to jump.

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    2. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Father Æthelwine

      father , oh he's jumping. Don't kid yourself. btw China's Treasury Notes and US Bonds are in fact UNcashable. ie worthless - cant be repaid - wont be repaid - cannot be cashed or converted to anything of true value. Now, think that through a little, and drop a note to your local rep and senator to demand they remove the US military for our home soil as a threat to our national security and survival and well being over the long haul. Alas, it;s not an issue because Julia and Kevin never had an argument about it, so no journo was alerted it was even an issue.

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  11. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    About the comment in the article: "Like all conservatives, Tea Party supporters believe in fiscal responsibility, limited government, and fidelity to the constitution." Well, well, well, they (the TP & so called conservatives) might even believe that, and oh so many commentators, political scientists, and everyday people might believe it too. Doesn't make it true. Actions speak far louder than words. Tweedledee, 'If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.' Lewis Carroll http://esgs.free.fr/uk/logic.htm

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  12. Dispatches

    logged in via Twitter

    I have to say it's disappointing to find RWNJ trolls here. Not really surprising though ...

    I'm also a little disappointed not to find more interest in defending Americans as our friends. They're a funny mob, true, and they led us astray in Vietnam - some will never forgive them for that - but by and large they're good people who like Australia and Australians. Can't we give them a break? They're having a rough time, and the vast majority of them are not personally to blame for it but are being…

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  13. Sean Arundell

    Uncommon Common Sense

    Related references (from wiki for simplicity): The Investment theory of party competition (sometimes called the Investment theory of politics) is a political theory developed by University of Massachusetts Boston professor Thomas Ferguson. The theory focuses on how business elites, not voters, play the leading part in political systems. [...] "The real market for political parties is defined by major investors, who generally have good and clear reason for investing to control the state....Blocs of…

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    1. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      The Investment theory of politics has been challenged from its inception. According to Ferguson’s analysis Democrats won the 1936 election because of large financial support from businesses with the most to gain from their victory. Michael J. Webber in 1991 showed empirically that vast majority of donations from these businesses went to the Republicans. This is the only election for which Ferguson has tested his theory. You treat it like established fact – it is simply one theory amongst many…

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    2. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Excellent points Ken - from an economic perspective the US Civil War can be read as a battle between an agricultural plantation model (based on slavery) and the industrialist interests of the North East where slavery would not deliver the goods. States 'Rights" were a central symptom in how this clash manifested itself.

      The curious thing for me as a fortunately distant observer is how these very issues continue to play out in US policy and politics ...very much an unresolved war that one. The Confederate flag still flies and the issues of race, of class, of states versus the guvvermint, and yes even slavery (albeit waged) persist.

      It's a quiet Sunday .... so well worth a watch this: http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/47355

      and this excellent look at the working poor from Steven Long:

      http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/47286

      So glad I'm here and not there.

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    3. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      One of the reasons for the longevity of these issues in US politics is that the United States is a collection of regions with each region having its own mythology. Politicians who want to succeed utilise the mythology of the region containing their electorate to mobilise support. All politics is local. So in the south the mythology of the antebellum South is utilised. In the south west the cowboy mythology is used. All supported by subliminal messages and symbols. The problems come when the Yankees move south to Florida etc. The politicians then have multiple myths including Cuban to cope with. This is done to some extent in Australia. Queensland and WA are the best examples. Strong party discipline retrains the trend in Australia.
      I think you would get along with some of my Southern friends. They would consider you a Southener (south of the equator)

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    4. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Yes it seems to be a very fragmented country ... a collection of countries really with vastly different histories - often right next to each other or even within - enclaves. Divided ethnically, historically, economically, religiously ... most strange to antipodean eyes.

      That expression - all politics is local - was very much the buzz word when I was immersed in such matters - but to be honest it never made much sense to me - and even less so now that I live in the most local of localities…

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    5. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Joe Bageant's "Deer Hunting with Jesus" ... is one of my favourite books. The style of the title blows me away. I have bought countless copies for friends and relatives who want an insight of how working class America thinks. I spent a lot of time around Winchester, Virginia Bageant's home town and across the Blue Ridge in West Virginia so I can testify to its accuracy
      Incidentally, George W Bush is a perfect example of politicians adapting to regional mythology. GW is Yankee. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, from a family going back at least two generations in Connecticut. Educated at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and Yale University, the home of Northern Protestants
      Yet GW the politician is the epitome of a gen-u-ine Texican. This was part of his success. He and others helped break down the Democrat stranglehold on the Southern states.

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    6. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      A temporary phenomenon those southern states I suspect Ken ... specially if'n them latinos and negras keep breedin' 'n gettin them guvvermint handouts the way they does.

      If it's half as hot there as it is here set yerself down in front of your laptop 'n watch that first little documentary I posted above ... a real eyeopener actually - especially the comments from Reagan's son - who would be thrown out of our own LNP for his radical views on just about everything. Most unexpected. Just shows how US politics has been transformed/deformed over the last 20 years.

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    7. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @Ken re "... I can testify to its accuracy" etc etc. Really? I thought Unsupported assertions and opinions don't hack it? When you start to state (things) as established facts I ask you to support them with evidence. re "George W Bush is a perfect example of politicians adapting to regional mythology." Huh? Where's all the referenced books, studies, and evidence to support your wild-eyed opinions mate? ............ penny dropped yet? Moe than likely you only recognize your very own behaviour when…

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    8. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @Ken yadda yadda yadda ... re "You reduce American Civil War history to a simplicity that produces absurd conclusions." That's an opinion. It was a *simple* comment on a discussion board. Get over yourself already. re "Wikipedia doesn’t get many points." Like Doh! Not every person who reads TC knows as much about these subjects as you and I do Ken. Wikipedia is in fact a great starting point for people who may not have heard particular terms, ideas, or aspects to History still playing out today…

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    9. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      The basic facts of GW's life are well known and don't need referencing. The facts stated support the contention that he is a Yankee. His Texas persona is self evident. If you would like me to back up any statement with references please ask. I don't have my first passport only my present one.
      i"m glad you have had the experience of going and talking to a wide variety of people in the US.

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    10. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      You made an inaccurate statement on the causes of the Civil War and I called you on it with evidence that I would be happy to back up.
      I didn't think that this was just a "simple discussion board" but a place for "Academic rigour, journalistic flair"
      I also try to save space by not giving references but try to give give enough information for people to check statements or ask for backup information.

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    11. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Sure Ken. "You made an inaccurate statement/s" about me personally and about what I had said plus how I said it. However, I don't take such trivial things personally. The exception proves the rule of course. In this case I made an exception. I'm not offended that you find my academic rigour and my excellent journalistic flair so wanting. Everyone has their opinions though. Your welcome to yours. :)

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    12. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      I have made no statement about you personally either accurate or inaccurate. I made a very general statement "I judge the state of knowledge of people by the statements they make and the way they make them" Is this the statement to which you refer? My comment was about this discussion board being about concerned with "Academic rigour and Journalistic flair (its motto). Again you didn't feature in the comment anywhere.
      I find some of you statements wanting in accuracy and have already identified them,

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    13. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Hi Ken, I respect your right to fanciful beliefs and poor reading comprehension skills, even though I don't share them. Stanley Aronowitz Taking It Big – C. Wright Mills and The Making of Political Intellectuals Chp 4: "Mills strikes a dissident chord: “there is VERY LITTLE DIFFERENCE between the TWO PARTIES that monopolize American politics” (346), and there has never been a real alternative political formation to challenge them. The reason: the social structure that supports this arrangement has…

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    14. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Quite acceptable. C Wright Mills was a distinguished thinker of the left in the 1950's. From his perspective the quotation makes sense. He would have liked to see a party further to the left of the Democrats just as the Tea Party want to see a party to the right. Mills had great faith that the labour movement would provide the far left party. (The New Men of Power).
      I fail to see how the quotation you provide or any of Mills' work supports your thesis that the American electoral system is a competition between business groups "investing" in the parties with the voters presumably just willing dupes. Mills' power elite were sourced from wider section of society than just business
      Mills’s 'The Power Elite was de rigueur reading when I was much younger.

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    15. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Hi Ken. Who needs a thesis? I do not rely upon others thesis' nor books to state valid opinions about reality, nor to think for myself. That Aronowitz & Mills were +/- expressing similar observations of fact and critical thinking skills as I, is irrelevant. A mere coincidence of no importance. So back to where we began, I repeat: "@Ken and others. imho there's no difference at all between them. Except that the Chinese are simply more honest and overt about how their nation is run and why they do it that way." This 'imho comment' is best viewed for what it is: a concentrated truth. Readers may make of that what they will. Dismiss it out of hand, or use it as trigger to view reality in a compelling and accurate way.

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    16. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      From Oxford dictionary
      "noun (plural theses /-siːz/)
      statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved: "his central thesis is that psychological life is not part of the material world""
      Just because you say it doesn't make it true. In other words I dismiss it, thank you,

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    17. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      re "Just because you say it doesn't make it true." Correct. Just because you dismiss it, does not make it untrue. The Truth is. IT doesn't require any human belief to confirm it. E=MC2 (if it is true) didn't need Einstein for it to be a reality of Truth throughout eternity. You may quote Oxford all you wish. The truth is I did NOT "put forward [anything] as a premise to be maintained or proved." Your personal beliefs about what I 'should prove', false claims about what I 'said', and how I am supposed…

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    18. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      1."imho there's no difference at all between them. Except that the Chinese are simply more honest and overt about how their nation is run and why they do it that way."
      2.“Australia still is a Democracy, no argument there. The US is more accurately a Corporatist Meritocracy and not a true Democracy, and hasn't been for about half a century or so”
      3" the multiparty political systems of the USA" is a myth. It is not real. It's a TV Soap Opera the majority of the population tunes into ... the 'parties…

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    19. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      I am sorry I missed posting the initial sentence. "I counted 7 theses...

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    20. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      LOL Whatever floats your boat, but thanks for summarising my comments 1 thru 7. Excellent, thanks. Did I really say all that, as important direct co-relations with the political article on US Debt and the Tea Party RWJBs, and so succinctly? I've improved more than I thought. Appreciate the feedback there Ken. Makes perfect sense to me. :)

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    21. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      To me the most mind-boggling aspect to all this is my dear friends fascination and energy spent over my comments. Done on a TC page dedicated to 'quietly' unmasking one of the most insidious side-shows about American politics today. It's only the tip of an iceberg too. The Labor 'leadership' debacle and the exposed corruption of Eddie Obeid, Mafia & Co. is but a pin prick compared to the extent of the deceit, corruption, criminality, and rank insanity of the US Govt and political/corporate/financial…

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    22. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      In nearly 500 words condemning the United State you produce no piece of evidence or logic to support your opinions and assertions. Nowhere can I find expressions like “this is so because…” or “look at this and you can see” or “these events show this is true”. This is what separates a sensible opinion from a rant. A rant is not contestable because there is nothing to contest, therefore no debate.
      There are two exceptions.
      You say “Eddie Obeid, Mafia & Co. is but a pin prick compared to the extent…

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    23. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      @ Ken re "In nearly 500 words condemning the United State you produce no piece of evidence or logic to support your opinions and assertions" Yes that is correct. 10/10 for your observation skills. Yes one could say it is a rant, no different than a speech by Gina R, or a speech by Obama. Re "currently lying" bzzzt, nope currently SILENT. re: Ken says: "that the United States government is no more deceitful, corrupt, criminal and insane than the government of any other comparable country including…

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    24. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      I thought experiment: I spend 2 years of my life collating all the scientific evidence available that proves beyond doubt that the world & universe is older than 8,000 years. I jump a plane to the USA and present my findings to 'young earth creationists'. (A 2011 Gallup survey reports that 30% of U.S. adults say they interpret the Bible literally.) Q. Does the hard evidence change their minds or do I get shot within a couple of days and my body sent home to Oz in a body bag? The same situation exists…

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    25. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      Lastly Ken et al, if I had written 50,000 words, or 500,000 words and included every single item i could think of as supporting evidence, you or someone else would still find something in it to argue about and tell me I am wrong. That's how it works. That's the truth of the matter from woe to go. Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. In fact I have experienced enough of this in my lifetime to have bought the biggest Multinational T-Shirt Corporation. :) Best to you and yours.

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    26. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Ken Alderton

      8. " To be a huge success in politics or business is easy. There is a formula Ken. Excessive OCD + zero conscience + zero moral compass + a willingness to be the biggest lying bastard in the room at all times + still be able to sleep at night."
      Rupert, Gina, Ken Lay, "Dick" Fuld, Jr., John D. Rockefeller, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Ebbers, "Tony" Hayward, Stephen Schwarzman, Dick Cheney, Prescott Bush, Rod Blagojevich, Timothy F. Geithner, Henry 'Hank' Paulson, Jack Abramoff, Angelo Mozilo, Senators…

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    27. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Sean Arundell

      Sean,

      And also for any other large organisation.

      Do you think the people at the top of Greenpeace are any different? In any way 'nicer' compared to successful politicians or business people.

      To get to the top in any area you can be decent, but you need to be ruthless regardless.

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    28. Ken Alderton

      PhD student, former CEO

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Not necessarily so.
      I have known quite a number of successful CEO's, some of major multinationals and found that ruthlessness is not a prerequisite for success. Persistance, risk taking, vision and the ability to "bring people along" in terms of both getting them on the same page and advancing their skills and experience are far more common indicators of success. Ruthlessness has a habit of catching up with you. A good case study is Albert John "Chainsaw" Dunlap.

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    29. Sean Arundell

      Uncommon Common Sense

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, good question. I'd say 'it depends' on the individual. What is their motivation for a start? Is it personal power and attention they seek for themselves or is it a genuine desire to be of service to others above all? I am not aware of any people in Amnesty Intl, Doctors without Borders, Greenpeace, the World Court, Climate Science, or Refugee advocacy that would fall into the category of "OCD + zero conscience + zero moral compass + a willingness to be the biggest lying bastard in the room…

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