Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Tea Boys

When I watch coverage of the 2015 Republican presidential rallies and look out into the audiences roaring their approval of every outrageous statement, I sometimes hear an old tune going through my head.  With  apologies to Waylon and Willie:

Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
Don’t let ‘em blame brown folks and new immigrants.
Let ‘em be learned and lucid and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
‘Cuz they’ll always be bitter and troll us on Twitter,
even with someone they love.


Tea boys ain’t easy to love, if you’ve ever been trolled.
He’d rather cut taxes for Koch bros than help your household.
Grim, grey, and grumpy: “Get offa my lawn, boys!”
Keepin’ his weaponry near.
We can’t understand him, conspiracy delusions.
He’s gotta heart full of fear.

Tea_party_racistMamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
Don’t let ‘em blame brown folks and new immigrants.
Let ‘em be learned and lucid and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
‘Cuz they’ll always be bitter and troll us on Twitter,
even with someone they love.


Tea boys like Rush rantin’ mornings and Fox Newsin’ evenins,
whole lotta snake flags and tea bags and black machine guns.
Them that don’t “ditto” won’t like him, and them that do
sometimes look awesome in tricorns.
He’s quite well-intentioned, but his angst won’t let him,
resist the extreme far right.

Tea_Party_guns_2Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
Don’t let ‘em blame brown folks and new immigrants.
Let ‘em be learned and lucid and such.
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be tea boys.
‘Cuz they’ll always be bitter and troll us on Twitter,
even with someone they love.


Think Marco Rubio is “Moderate?” Think Again.

The popularity of Donald Trump among Republicans poses huge long-term threats to the Republican Party. In a nation that is increasingly diverse, the nomination of Trump could further cement the party’s image as the party of bullying white bigots and misogynists. But if there is a silver lining associated with the dark Trump cloud, it is this: It sometimes creates the perception that Trump rivals like Senator Marco Rubio are “moderate” by comparison.  If Rubio gets the nomination, such a “moderate” label would serve him well.

That’s quite a gift to Senator Rubio, because he is far from a moderate. Rubio’s positions put him far, far to the right on the American political spectrum. For instance:

  • Marco_Rubio_Tea_PartyRubio ran for Senate in Florida as the candidate of the extremist Tea Party, not as the moderate alternative to the Tea Party.
  • He has a lifetime pro-choice record of 0% from NARAL Pro-choice America.
  • On safety net issues, the Alliance for Retired Americans gives him a lifetime voting record rating of just 5%.
  • On environmental issues, the League of Conservation Voters gives him a lifetime voting record score of only 9%.
  • On science issues, the Evolution Institute rates his voting record a rock bottom 0%.
  • On veterans issues, the Disabled Veterans of America gave the flag waving Rubio a 0% on its most recent rating.
  • Overall, the American Conservative Union (ACU) gives Rubio a lifetime voting record rating of 98%. In other words, Senator Rubio favored this ultra-conservative group’s positions 98% of the time. For context, conservative Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) got an 87% rating, conservative House Speaker John Boehner got an 83% rating, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), an actual “moderate,” got a 47% ACU rating.

Admittedly, the definition of a political “moderate” is not a precise one. But I think we all can agree that the definition of “moderate” is not “one who supports conservative or liberal positions 98% of the time.”

no_moderate_Rebulicans_chartBy any reasonable measure, Senator Rubio is a far-right extremist, as is Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich (88% lifetime ACU rating), who is also sometimes inaccurately labeled a moderate by simplistic pundits.  Political scientists have documented the fact that Republican members of Congress have moved sharply to the right in recent years, and that seismic shift away from the political center is reflected in this year’s field of Republican presidential contenders.

Senator Rubio is not even a moderate in comparison to Mr. Trump. Rubio is more considerably conservative than Trump on several issues, such as affirmative action, Planned Parenthood funding, a progressive income tax, gay rights, and an assault weapon ban.

It is true that Senator Rubio’s rhetorical tone is more mild than Trump’s, and that often drives shallow pundits’ characterization of him as a “moderate.” The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart explains Rubio’s smooth style well:

Rubio has mastered the same technique Barack Obama used so effectively when he was seeking the presidency. When faced with a controversial issue, he doffs his cap to the other side, pleads for civility and respect, insists that it’s a hard call—and then comes out exactly where you’d expect him to come out. On social issues, Rubio is as predictably conservative as Obama is predictably liberal. What they share is their moderate-sounding rhetorical style.

But in the end, moderation is not a function of decibels and diplomacy. Ultimately, it is a function of positions on the issues. If moderate voters are searching for a substantive moderate in this year’s Republican presidential field, the truth is they’re not going to find one.

America Has Gotten Much Better Since 1776, Not Worse

The other day when listening to sports talk radio I was treated to Original Mattress Factory CEO and pitch man Ron Trzcinski wishing me a Happy Independence Day.  In his most recent commercial radio ad, Trzcinksi gets off his box spring and on to his soapbox:

“This is Ron Trzcinski.  Our founders intended this country to be one of limited power, created expressly to protect our rights. As time has progressed, however, it has become less limited in scope and our rights less secure.

This assertion, the same used by Tea Party activists these days, is softer than one of Mr. Trzcinski’s premium mattresses.  Lets get real, Ron.  If you are an American woman, racial minority, religious minority, or gay person, your rights are much more secure now than they were in colonial times.   Quaint little colonial customs like slavery, hanging for sodomy and Native American genocide are, thank goodness, things of the past.  For the most part, state and federal laws no longer treat American women like legal incompetents, akin to children and criminals.  States like Massachusetts no longer ban  non-Christians from holding office, or require Catholic officeholders to formally renounce papal authority.

Does Mr. Trzcinski really want to take us back to those “good old days?”  The truth is, the rights of Americans are much more secure than they were in colonial times.

As for Trzcinksi’s point about limited government, it is true that the United States has more government than it did in the colonial times, just as every industrialized nation on the planet does.  The American government that American citizens have freely chosen, via their representative democracy, has given us dramatically better education, health care, water, homes, national security, food, working conditions, environment, medical research, consumer protection, police and fire protection and a myriad of other things most colonial citizens lacked.  That’s why polls continually show that Americans want more government services, not less.

Does Mr. Trzcinski really want America to take us back to those days of bare bones government?

Rather than comparing the governments of two vastly different historic eras –colonial America versus contemporary America — it is much more sensible to compare the United States with other contemporary industrialized societies.  Making that comparison, it becomes clear that America still has very limited government.  When you look at government revenue as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), Americans pay 27% (includes state, local and federal taxes combined), according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.  (It should be noted that a sizable portion of that 27% is used to fund the largest military and counter-terrorism initiative in the world, a heavy burden that other nations don’t bear. )  Americans’ tax bill is much less than the 29% paid by Mexicans, the 31% paid by Irish and Australians, the 32% paid by Canadians, the 34% paid by Poles, the 35% paid by Brazilians, the 39% paid by British,  the 41% paid by Germans, the 44% paid by Norwegians, the 44% paid by Fins, the 45% paid by the French, or the 46% paid by the Swedes.

It simply is not true that since colonial times Americans have been losing all of their rights and being overrun by a vast government.  America accomplished truly great things on July 4, 1776 that are well worth celebrating.  But we need to celebrate the truth of 1776, not the delusional Tea Party spin.  Most importantly, we need to celebrate how much more true America has gotten to its Declaration of Independence values over the past 237 years.

– Loveland


Snow Birds, Not Snowed Birds

In his 2013 budget proposal, Governor Mark Dayton proposed a “snow bird tax” as a matter of fairness:

“It’s one of the unfairnesses that somebody can spend six months and one day out of the state and pay no state personal income taxes and come back here and take advantage of all the state has to offer for five months and 29 days. So, yes, there’s a snowbird tax.”

As Fox News dutifully reported, Florida GOP Congressman Trey Radel wrote a snarky rebuttal letter a few weeks back to Governor Dayton: Continue reading

Can Norm Coleman Recover From His Recent Tea Party Cheerleading Role?

So, Norm Coleman won’t rule out a run for Minnesota Governor.  Well, let’s see, what has Norm been doing to ingratiate himself with Minnesota voters since he lost to Al Franken in 2008?  He:

1)   Moved out of Minnesota at the first opportunity.

2)   Became a Super PAC (Congressional Leadership Fund) political hit man doing the dirty work for a group of Tea Party-controlled House members sporting a 9% approval rating, an all-time historic low.

Continue reading

Tea Party Proposes Mileage-Based Electoral College Reform

Gun Barrel City, TX — Tea Party activists announced today a sweeping proposal to reform America’s much criticized Electoral College presidential section process.

“When you look at a 2012 election map that reports results by county, it’s clear who really won the presidential election,” said Bud Remington, President of Tea Party Battalion.  “Don’t get confused by the junk science pushed by the east coast liberal elite, because anyone with common sense can tell by a glance of the map that the election was stolen in a treasonous act.”

Continue reading

How In the World Did Minnesota GOPers Screw Up Their Golden Opportunity?

I have a prediction, though not a particularly prescient one.  Minnesota Republicans will say they lost the election because of bad candidates.  Mitt Romney, Kurt Bills, and the Tea Party-supported freshmen legislators were all just bad candidates, they will say.

“Victory has a thousand fathers, and defeat is an orphan,” as John F. Kennedy observed, and in the coming days a lot of Republican candidates will be orphaned.

But for their own good, Republican leaders need to objectively ponder this question:  Bad candidates, or bad policies? Continue reading