Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tea Party Federalism: A New Meld of Whacky Ideas

Only property owners should be able to vote.

If that sounds like something out of the 18th century you would not be wrong in thinking so. This is actually a point of view that was once quite prominent in American politics and policy making.

John Adams, our 2nd President, thought it was a grand idea:
“John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence and later president, wrote in 1776 that no good could come from enfranchising more Americans:”

“Depend upon it, Sir, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened by attempting to alter the qualifications of voters; there will be no end to it. New claims will arise; women will demand the vote; lads from 12 to 21 will think their rights not enough attended to; and every man who has not a farthing, will demand an equal voice with any other, in all acts of state. It tends to confound and destroy all distinctions, and prostrate all ranks to one common level.”
But now we are hearing from the Teabaggers that this is pretty much what they think also:

“Judson Phillips, President of the Tea Party Nation recently stated he believes that only property-owning individuals should have voting rights.”

“Phillips made the case that the original intent of the founding fathers was to only grant voting rights to property owners. His reason: “If you’re a property owner, you actually have a vested stake in the community.”
Now here’s the rub and the irony. Adams, who Phillips apparently agrees with, was a Federalist. When he was President he sat as the leader of the Federalist Party. The Federalist Party, it might be recalled, was the party of a strong central government.

Federalism was anathema to those of purported to support “states rights,” a well-known plank of the Tea Party platform.

And if that doesn’t underline the wackiness of the Tea Party movement, nothing does. Teabaggers simply have no knowledge of politics, government or policy. The only thing that they seem to take seriously is anything that any Founding Father said or thought.

Anything. Even if it runs counter to the central core of their philosophy.

But then that may yet be another definition of insanity.

Or at best, blind ignorance.

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