After months of incendiary rhetoric reached a crescendo with the passage of health care reform last week, this announcement from a coalition of Tea Party organizations comes as a welcome relief. Perhaps cooler heads and a more civil political discourse will prevail in America after all.
The full text of Thursday's press release follows below:
TEA PARTY THANKS PRESIDENT OBAMA FOR TAX CUTS
Concedes U.S. Born President Not a Socialist, Anti-Christ
RICHMOND, VA - A coalition of the leading Tea Party movement organizations today issued joint statement of gratitude to President Barack Obama for the tax cuts received by over 95% of working American households. In a dramatic reversal of recent rhetoric, spokesmen for Tea Party Nation, Tea Party Express, the National Tea Party Convention, Tea Party Patriots and other affiliated freedom-loving groups also announced that President Obama wasn't a socialist, a Muslim or the Anti-Christ.
The surprise declaration of thanks followed just weeks after a CBS poll found that "of people who support the grassroots, 'Tea Party' movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up." As it turns out, Barack Obama as promised delivered tax relief to over 95% of working American households. Political statistician and analyst Nate Silver put the impact even higher, with the 2009 stimulus tax cuts reaching 98.6%.
"I'm afraid we had the whole 'Taxed Enough Already' thing wrong," acknowledged F. King Loof, executive director of the Tea Party Express now touring 42 cities nationwide. "One of our members saw that his tax refund went up this year. When we did some digging, it turned out the average refund from the IRS was up 10% because of the tax credits in the Obama stimulus."
Tea Party Coalition (TPC) leaders have revised their position on the contentious health care reform bill as well. Since August, Tea Party members have been telling President Obama and Democrats in Congress to "keep your government hands off my Medicare." The revelation that Medicare is a government program after all prompted an across-the-board reevaluation of Tea Party rhetoric.
"Surveys showed that 59% of self-identified conservatives and 62% of McCain voters believed the government should 'stay out of Medicare,'" said Tea Party Nation co-founder Tim "Poppa" Vane, adding, "But just because we were wrong doesn't make us any less angry."
TPE's Loof agreed, "We were kinda off on that whole 'socialized medicine' thing."
That stunning turnabout came when Dothan, Alabama 9-12 activist Beauregard Longstreet accidentally bought T.R. Reid's book The Healing of America instead of Glenn Beck's best-seller Arguing with Idiots. Longstreet reported to back Tea Bag Central that the health care bill passed last week would leave untouched the American system of private doctors, private hospitals and private, for-profit insurance companies. Over time, he learned, "Obamacare" will cover 32 million more Americans without adopting a British or Canadian-style national or provincial single payer system or enforcing non-profit status or mandated treatment and payment schemes on insurers as in France, Germany, Japan or Switzerland.
"No, Obamacare isn't socialist," concluded National Tea Party Convention event planner Avril Geste. "But with all its taxpayer funded doctors and hospitals, the Veterans Administration is just crawling with communists."
Other announcements from the Tea Party coalition on Thursday included:
- The Tea Party is not a movement of independent voters, but merely a continuation of the Republican Party's failed 2008 presidential campaign by other means. As CNN noted, "87 percent say they would vote for the GOP candidate in their congressional district if there were no third-party candidate endorsed by the Tea Party."
- Despite the shared belief of 24% of Republicans, the Tea Party coalition announced that Barack Obama isn't the Anti-Christ. Should Pastor John Hagee or the Hutaree Militia conclude otherwise, that position will be reconsidered.
- Overcoming the objections of the 58% of Republicans who think Obama may have been born outside the United States and the 17% of white evangelicals who claim he is a Muslim, the Tea Party leaders concluded Barack Obama is a Christian guy born in Hawaii.
- The national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan and doubled again under George W. Bush. The Bush tax cuts accounted for almost half of the deficits during Bush's presidency and over the next decade will add more red ink to the national debt than the stimulus, TARP and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.
- The Tea Party Coalition will no longer call President Obama a socialist or communist. After realizing that the Dow had jumped 37% since President Obama's inauguration, TPC went back and discovered that since Herbert Hoover, the stock market and the economy overall do better under Democratic presidents.
In other news, the leadership of the allied Tea Party organizations wished Americans a Happy April Fool's Day.
(This piece also appears at Perrspectives.)