Dear Readers: My Tea Party Italia friend and translator extraordinaire, Luca Bocci, kindly provided a much better English version of Marco Respinti’s Libero article: Una tempesta perfetta per abbattare Obama:
Talking with Leslie Eastman, co-founder of the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition
A Perfect Storm to Bring Obama Down
How Saint Anthony of Padua helps the American Right of the “Tea Parties”
The perfect storm, that’s how Leslie Eastman, co-founder of the San Diego Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition, defines the colossal political storm that is taking the United States by storm and is known as “Tea Party”. Leslie has just landed in the Boot and this evening (from 6.30 p.m.) will meet the friends of “Tea Party Italia” (www.t-party.it) at the historic literary café “Giubbe Rosse”, in Piazza della Repubblica, Florence. The anti-tax movement Pasionaria? Not quite. She’s a sharp witted journalist from the San Diego News Network, with a background in Geology and Biochemistry. When asked about the political phenomenon, her words are clear: “The “Tea Parties” are the justified reaction from workers, savers, businesses, families and simple citizens against what can only be defined as a robbery in plain daylight. It is not a movement against any tax. We are more than happy to pay taxes, as long as they are reasonable and directed towards practical things like maintaining safety in our streets or guaranteeing justice to the people through our judiciary system. What we really can’t stand are the frivolous taxes that finance inefficient services or outrageous pet projects.We want to be able to buy what is really needed to maintain our communities, not finance a bunch of bureaucrat leeches.”
Ms. Eastman remembers that everything began in February of 2009. “There were three major factors behind the birth of the movement. First, the election to the White House of Barack Hussein Obama, who campaigned as a moderate to turn immediately in the last of a long line of rapacious tax-and-spend progressives. Second, the Wall Street bailout, who, injecting yet another dose of statism in the economic system, thought possible to cure a terminally ill patient with an injection of the same deadly virus. Lastly, the huge stimulus package, which amounted to pretty much throwing a can of gasoline on a burning house.”
At that point, on February 19, came the world-famous rant from CNBC’s Rick Santelli, who spoke high and loud against the madness from the ground of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the second largest market in the world for financial futures. “That was the wake-up call. We knew that the measure was full. Santelli seemed to lose it when, in the heat of the moment, waved in front of Obama the flag of the same fiscal revolt that started the United States, the 1773 Boston Tea Party. The idea was swiftly picked up by a number of different groups and on February 27 almost a hundred of different American towns saw their first “Tea Parties”. We never stopped since then. It all looked like a raging river, one which Californians, prostrated by one of the biggest tax hikes in history, were all to happy to join.”
Politicians are starting to feel uncomfortable…. “Look, the Tea Parties are a non-partisan movement, you can find people of from every walk of life and all political convictions. Take me, for example: I’m a registered Democrat, while the other two co-founders of the Southern California Tax Revolt Coalition are Republicans. We get along wonderfully. What binds us together is the fight against a monumental injustice. We want to steer the Country back into the tracks laid by the Constitution, build a new future for the United States and work hard to really change things.”
How can people so different stay together without fighting all the time? “Well, the Tea Party philosophy is quite simple: free market for everybody now, a severely limited government, few taxes that are low and fair. That’s the real strength of the movement. With such a pragmatic platform, Tea Parties can attract people coming from completely different backgrounds, from libertarians to social conservatives to pro-lifers. High taxes hurt everybody.”
That’s true, but there are a lot of speculations about the possible birth of a third party. “I don’t think that’s what’s going to happen. What we’re good at is what we’re doing right now: the watchdog that stares hard into politician’s eyes. We stay vigilant, we engage them, we push for fiscal discipline. That’s why our action is so effective. Should we change our ways, there would be a lot of different factors coming into play to distract us from the main objective. I really hope nothing like that will ever happen. On the other hand, there is no national organization that steers this composite movement, we have no unified structure. We are a multitude of different groups, with many others forming for special events, that do nothing but help each other, frequently overlapping their boundaries. Some activists enroll in one or more associations because they are attracted by different aspects of the fight for fiscal discipline and economic freedom. But the goal of the movement is the same, and it’s rock solid.”
But the November 2 mid-term elections are just round the corner… “Republicans have a fair chance of winning, but that could bring back from the grave the Obama administration in 2012, something we have seen before in US politics. That would be a disaster: it’s better not to win big this fall than having to bear another four years of Obama. I want to make one thing crystal clear: everybody today, and that crosses party lines and affiliations, want to send Obama packing and elect a new president, whoever he/she may be.”
That’s understandable. Thank you Leslie, and good luck with every- “Hey, where are you going? I’m not through. I’d like to add something that’s close to my heart. I’m a staunch defender of the free market, the freer the better, because in the end it benefits everybody – please write that down. And I say that as a newly converted California Catholic, as I came from the Episcopalian church just two years ago. Well, I pray each and every day for God Almighty to extend the real freedom of the individual that only free market can bring to each and every person. One of the things that convinced me to join the Roman Church has been the realization of how many people seem to be surprised by this kind of speech. When you tell them you are into politics, their minds immediately race to selfish and dirty practices. Being a Catholic keeps me humble and perseverant. I want to say it here in Italy: I consider my special patron Saint Anthony of Padua and I pray for him every day to bless me with his famous eloquence and his formidable oratory skills. The Tea Parties, having to face Obama, would sorely need it…”.
It seems California and Italy have much in common — Italy’s government employees seem to feel a deep sense of entitlement to the blood,sweat, tears and wealth of its citizens. Italy’s government workers recently protested in Rome against austerity cuts.
Transitioning back to the more mundane business life from my awesomely, awesome vacation, it seems things started to go to Hell in a Hand-Basket…just as I predicted. Fortunately, Tea Party efforts seem to have at least stalled the toxic-to-free-speech Disclose Act while I was away. General McChrystal is punished for daring to utter a few, hard truths about Team Obama (hey- it’s not the color of his skin, its its thinness that is a problem).
This reminds me to mention some observations I had about the opinions about Obama expressed by European media and some Italian citizens that I met. Firstly, when the McChrystal story was reported, the BBC focused on the general’s comments in a way that made in clear they agreed with its assessment. Being a recovering journalist, I know how information is relayed is telling. Mainly, in the analysis, the European media highlighted McCrystal’s assessment (instead of Obama’s reactions). This derisive attitude about the American President — which I thought was suppose to disappear after Obama’s
coronation election — indicates the the European community has little regard for the Once. This would explain, in part, the total rejection Obama has received during the G20 meeting.
I read an International Herald article on my train ride to Venice, and something caught my eye. The piece was discussing Obama’s declaring “war” on the BP Oil Spill. As a former report, when a writer puts snippets like “war”, “battle”, and other specific terms in quotations throughout the article, generally it is a way to mock the wording being used and the person saying it. The Europeans do not seem to be taking Team Obama’s response efforts seriously — and in that, Americans are in full agreement with their European Counterparts.
During a train ride, my husband and I sat next to an Italian businessman. He had family in California, and was delighted to chat with a couple of Californians about various topics. I was delighted to chat with him, and was amused when he carefully determined our attitudes about the President. Recognizing we were like-minded, he referred to Obama as a “clown”. Needless to say, this determination was essentially shared by my Italian Tea Party friends.
Finally, I wanted to thank my San Diego compatriots for the warm welcome back, and to link to some of their pieces that are helping me get caught-up. It is obvious we need to keep on our toes, as this administration seems keen to ram through as much liberty-crushing legislation as it can during the summer.
- Left Coast Rebel: Hot Russian Spy — Pics and Analysis.
- W.C. Varones: Thoughts on the Kagan nomination.
- Beers with Demo: Oil Spill and World Cup Updates (MUT Note — the World Cup was a serious focus of our Italian friends!)
- The Liberator Today: Also covers Kagan — who makes Harriet Miers look like a Constitutional scholar on the order of Mark Levin.