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A Sad Little Tea Party

Thursday, Apr. 16, 2009 3:46 AM

One can safely conclude that FOX News' 'Tea Party' Protests were a complete and utter failure.

That has nothing to do with a FOX News anchor decrying the rise of fascism in the United States, or the parade of loons with signs that ran the gamut from equating Obama with Adolf Hitler to insisting that 'taxation without representation' means something other than being able to elect people to Congress.

The 'teabag revolution' (or whatever you want to call it) failed when protesters prepared to dump a truckload of teabags into the Potomac River. They were told no, because that would be polluting.

Next, they figured they'd spread a tarp in Lafayette Park, dump the teabags there, hold their rally, clean up and leave. Again, they were told no, because they didn't have a permit.

A protest outside the Treasury Building was dispersed by the Secret Service. (It is connected to the White House by way of an underground passage.)

Finally, some idiot really put an end to things by tossing a package over the fence and onto the White House grounds. The Secret Service dispersed the protesters, locked down the White House grounds, and brought in a robot to examine the package.

My usual scorn for goofy protest antics remains. And, as clearly demonstrated, it's not just a failing of liberal protests, it can derail conservative ones as well.

Conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin are upset by a Department of Homeland Security report citing serious concerns over 'right-wing extremism' and saying it's just another Obama Administration plot to disenfranchise conservatives or anyone who disagrees with him.

Except the report is talking about right-wing extremist groups recruiting by using fear ... of things like taxation, the economy, and immigration. Things that sound very much like the daily dosage from people like Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck. And, even being mindful of 'guilt by association,' if you're spouting the same specious garbage and rhetoric, let's try an old favorite from former Attorney General John Ashcroft:

"I say to you, 'You are only helping the terrorists.'"

But, apparently, it's also upsetting to people like Limbaugh that someone like him might be spied upon. Funny, I don't recall hearing that kind of concern when President Bush was busy creating DHS, issuing executive orders to implement illegal wiretaps, altering habeas corpus, or changing the legal standard for searches.

Instead, we were told, "If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear."

Professional apologists for the reckless disregard with which the Bush Administration cast aside the law and our Constitutional protections can help themselves to a nice big cup of STFU.

Because I rather think it's too much to ask that they join in a responsible and rational debate about national security and the methodology our government has used to date.

Texas Governor Rick Perry thinks seceding from the Union is a possibility if 'Washington continues to thumb its nose at the American people.'

Unfortunately, Perry misstates the provisions under which Texas joined the Union in 1845. Perry thinks Texas can leave any time they want; the actual agreement was that Texas could divide into five smaller regions if they wanted.

Jim Tedisco, the Republican candidate for former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand's seat, is challenging the election results in New York's Columbia County, including Gillibrand's vote, because Gillibrand cast her vote by absentee ballot.

But! But! But, says Tedisco's campaign, Gillibrand wasn't actually out of the county, which the election laws apparently stipulate.

Gillibrand explains that there were votes scheduled in the Senate, and she had a reasonable expectation that she might not be in town to cast her vote.

Over here at the Ministry, my wife works for AT&T, which is in a contract dispute with its workers. Should the union go on strike, she'll have to relocate for the duration out of state - but there's no way to tell if there will be a strike, or when one might happen if so. Thus, it would make perfect sense for her to file for an absentee ballot in the upcoming special election ... but there's no guarantee that she'll actually be out of state on Election Day.

Unfortunately, waiting until the last minute to request an absentee ballot isn't an option, and not voting is problematic from the standpoint of one's civic duty.

For my own part, working in television news, I routinely cast my vote by absentee ballot, because I had no idea if I would be sent out of town for Election Day coverage.

Tedisco's claim is garbage and a desperate, transparent ploy to keep his opponent, Scott Murphy, from claiming victory.

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