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The NYT Converts A Tea Party Supporter

Some very artful parsing from the New York Times, topped off with an on the spot conversion:

Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated


April 14, 2010

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

And while most Republicans say they are “dissatisfied” with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as “angry.”

Their responses are like the general public’s in many ways. Most describe the amount they paid in taxes this year as “fair.”

Most send their children to public schools. A plurality do not think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, and, despite their push for smaller government, they think that Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers.

Yes, we believe this poll. Who could doubt it?

They actually are just as likely as Americans as a whole to have returned their census forms, though some conservative leaders have urged a boycott.

So you see, even Tea Party-ists are not completely crazy.

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

Asked what they are angry about, Tea Party supporters offered three main concerns: the recent health care overhaul, government spending and a feeling that their opinions are not represented in Washington…

They are far more pessimistic than Americans in general about the economy. More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public…

Nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the job Mr. Obama is doing over all, and about the same percentage fault his handling of major issues: health care, the economy and the federal budget deficit. Ninety-two percent believe Mr. Obama is moving the country toward socialism, an opinion shared by more than half of the general public.

“I just feel he’s getting away from what America is,” said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. “He’s a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he’s a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction, I don’t care what he says. He’s been in office over a year and can’t find a church to go to. That doesn’t say much for him.”

The nationwide telephone poll was conducted April 5 through April 12 with 1,580 adults. For the purposes of analysis, Tea Party supporters were oversampled, for a total of 881, and then weighted to their proper proportion in the poll. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all adults and for Tea Party supporters…

But while most Americans blame the Bush administration or Wall Street for the current state of the American economy, the greatest number of Tea Party supporters blame Congress

Which again, The Times presents as evidence of how out of touch the Tea Party is, rather than an indication that they actually follow the news.

When talking about the Tea Party movement, the largest number of respondents said that the movement’s goal should be reducing the size of government, more than cutting the budget deficit or lowering taxes.

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

What "contradiction" exactly?

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

That’s right. We have just witnessed a miracle — of journalism.

The New York Times has performed an instant conversion. Ms. White, a Tea Party supporter, was made to face her own outrageous hypocrisy, and she immediately "changed her mind."

You see, even an old, racist Tea Party supporter doesn’t want to reduce the size of government if it means losing her own slice of the government pie.

And that’s precisely the moral the New York Times wants us to take from this ‘poll.’ That is the sole reason for this article.

All of these Tea Party hicks would drop their foolish objections to our government’s noble efforts if they would only get over their hatred of poor blacks and realize that everyone — even rich white old people like themselves – everybody needs and gets help from our kind and beneficent government.

The poor benighted dopes.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

22 Responses to “The NYT Converts A Tea Party Supporter”

  1. NotStuckOnStupid says:

    Great job Steve! I re-tweeted you on this.

  2. mr_bill says:

    Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

    Government’s job is to govern, not to help pander to any group. I don’t think the fouders created this system of government in order to pass out taxpayer dollars to selected demographic groups. Far too many people have lost perspective on what government is even supposed to do or why it was created. The statists exploit this societal amnesia by expanding government and reassuring the ignorant that government’s job is to give them a new car, paid for by the labors of productive citizens.

    The only people who are not upset by this arrangement are the folks on the receiving end of the benefits, who have been convinced to believe that they deserve the benefits more than the folks who worked to earn them, because after all, those Tea Party folks are all rich, white, old guys who got their wealth by exploiting somebody (we haven’t figured out exactly who, but we’re sure somebody got exploited) and they can afford it (in the name of social justice).

    On the subject of their social security/medicare flip-flop question, I’ve said before that I would gladly let the gov’t keep every penny I have paid into that ponzi scheme and I will never draw a penny from it in return for being allowed to permanently opt-out of their generational theft program. How’s that for consistency? See you at the Tea Parties.

    • BillK says:

      The problem, mr_bill, is you are perhaps .000001% of the population.

      When it comes right down to it, people have political beliefs up to the point it affects their pocketbook.

      I know many conservatives who have a huge dislike for AARP because of their support of Obamacare, but remain members because they have a great auto insurance plan and they get discounts.

      I wonder how many conservatives carry Progressive auto insurance because of their lower cost policies but don’t realize they live by their name and explicitly donate a percentage of their profits to progressive political causes? More importantly, when faced with that, would they care?

      I mentioned in another thread, free candy is tough to turn down, even if those giving it out have shoplifted it from struggling businesses; all that matters is that it’s free.

      That’s why no entitlement program I’m aware of has ever been killed, and why Obamacare will never be repealed.

      People will say they dislike it… right up to the point where they start getting freebies.

      “Hey, who cares if unemployment is 30% as long as my annual physical is free!”

      Freebies + class warfare is destructive, but as long as it’s easier to enjoy “free” stuff rather than work for it, those working for it are destined to lose.

    • proreason says:

      “The problem, mr_bill, is you are perhaps .000001% of the population”

      Demonstrably wrong.

      A high percentage of younger people, who haven’t already contributed hundreds of thousands to those programs, would opt out of them.

      They are confident they could get a better yields by investing 15.3% of their income elsewhere.

      Anybody with a calculator and a minimum of self-confidence would come to the same conclusion.

      But people who has been forced to contribute for decades, like the 67 year-old in the article, would be a raging idiots to opt out. That would be walking away, not just from hundreds of thousands of dollars of “contributions”, but walking away from many times the value of that, because the annuity value of SS is at least double the contribution value.

      So I’m really tired of hearing that people with common sense are stupid.

      The people making the claim are the ones who are the idiots.

    • mr_bill says:

      BillK, I will concede that you are correct in that people find it hard to say no to “free” stuff, but I think if they knew how much it was actually costing them, they would reconsider. For example, if you put your social security taxes into a simple savings account, you would draw nearly twice as much as social security would pay, without having to worry that government is going to squander it all and replace it with IOU’s.

      Part of the American mindset is self-achievement, it’s what sets us apart from other nations that think of themselves as a collectivist group. Ask a Japanese person what he/she thinks and they will respond with the phrase “The Japanese think…” they don’t view things from the perspective of an individual, in America people do – hence the quest to be #1, be the best and so on. Through an insideous campaign of liberalism/progressivism, this drive for achievement is being undermined: trophies for everyone, no keeping score, etc. It is this sense of self-achievement that is the best weapon against class warfare and I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.

      I think the desire to achieve is more powerful than the desire for people to sit on their hands and wait for somebody else to do it. I can’t prove it, I don’t have any science to back me up, or any fancy statistics, but I believe it. The bottom line is that people with that kind of drive will always succeed where others fail and even if this country is overtaken by the liberals, their model is not sustainable, the driven achievers will eventually rise again, history is filled with empirical examples.

    • BillK says:

      proreason, would that be the vast majority of younger people who not only voted Obama into office but who also believe he’s not doing enough?

      Watch The Daily Show sometime – that’s what the majority of “younger people” think, for better or worse.

    • proreason says:

      Who said “the vast majority of young people”. Not me. If you want to tit and tat, be accurate.

      I said a high percentage of young people, and that meant exactly what it said.

      You are mixing apples and oranges when you lump people who understand how Social Security works,with the something-for-nothing crowd. Many people, young and old, understand that they would be better off to have the money in SS to invest themselves. I suspect it’s a majority, but they don’t poll on that since it doesn’t fit the libwit agenda. Yes, there is another group that just wants hand-outs, and I agree with you that they are greedy and wrong, should be educated, but probably will never be if the marxist mentality continues to prevail.

      .000001% fits YOUR perception that there is no hope for the country so you apply it like a gatling gun.

      You are wrong on this one, even giving you credit for using exageration to make a point.

      And in the process, you are smearing decent people who wisely refuse to abandon funds that have been confiscated from them for decades.

      (And fyi, I’m not on Social Security, and don’t plan on being dependent on it).

    • BillK says:

      I never said there was no hope, I said that there is a vanishingly small percentage of the population that not only feels Government is too large, but that also realizes that nannyism is not the role of Government and/or would be willing to give up their Social Security payments.

      So yes. .000001% is a gross exaggeration.

      Perhaps .4% would be better given the following calculation:

      Number of votes received by Libertarian candidate Bob Barr in 2008 Presidential Election: 523,713
      Number of votes cast in 2008 Presidential Election: 131,068,004
      Percentage of votes cast for Bob Barr: Approximately .4%

      So what I am saying is given the number of people who want their freebies, I think the number of those who realize the present system is untenable is but a small percentage of that.

      The question is, how do we change that, as even if a huge education campaign were launched, people would need to want to be educated about it.

      Perhaps if we had a cool picture of a polar bear on a tiny bit of floating ice that we could say represented the ever-shrinking percentage of GDP that isn’t devoted to debt service and entitlement programs…

    • proreason says:

      As usual, there is a lot in what you say that I agree with.

      But I can’t grasp why you are sticking with this notion that people should give up Social Security. That program has to be reformed going forward, not by asking people who have already sacrificed all their lives to sacrifice MORE….particularly since many older people depend on it. I don’t care how conservative you are, it’s an unreasonable expectation. You should re-think it. I’ve seen it from others besides you, and it means your frustration is overcoming your reason. You are too smart to fall into that trap.

      And .4% isn’t much better than .000001% either.

      I’m hardly a starry-eyed optimist, but it’s abundently clear the country is having a noteworthy re-awakening to conservative values. Whether it’s enough to turn the tide, who really knows. But to hang onto such pessimism in the face of a clearly rising tide just doesn’t make sense to me. You could be like the guys in the 1770’s who declared that this freedom thing will never work out.

    • BillK says:

      It’s not that I’m focused on people giving up their Social Security.

      But rather the press will always have their pre-made interview if they ask those who qualify whether they would be willing to give up their Social Security or Medicare. When they say “no” the story will be “Tax protesters unwilling to give up Government benefits.”

      Social Security, you will recall, is the entitlement program that started it all.

      The fact that people have come to rely upon it is the problem.

      When SS was created, the average life expectancy was 62 years of age. Most people would never live to collect, or if they did it would only be for a few years.

      To have the same system today, you shouldn’t even start receiving benefits until you reach age 81; under the current system the average person will receive benefits for over thirteen years (given the current average life expectancy of 78.)

      That alone would bankrupt the system…

    • proreason says:

      As you say, the solution to the SS non-crisis is known and has already been enacted at least once.

      The collection age will be pushed back to match current longevity. This action is inevitable.

      Private accounts will never get through. I’m opposed to them anyway.

      People can’t be allowed to opt out. The system doesn’t work if that happens.

      It’s unfortunate that so many depend on SS…..but that’s the reality. Better to continue to support people who have paid for decades than people who have not.

      SS doesn’t have much in common with entitlement programs anyway. SS isn’t even an entitlement, and shouldn’t be lumped with them. People pay in before they extract out. It isn’t socialism by a long shot.

      Calling it an entitlement is parallel to calling the payments your brother-in-law makes to you for the $1,000 you lent him “entitelements”. It’s ludicrous to even suggest it.

      People should think it through and, if accused of being pro-socialism, point out that it certainly isn’t a giveaway program like welfare, tax credits and most of the other marxist programs that have been shoved down our throats.

      And if somebody then says “that’s what Obamycare does”, say no……SS didn’t subsume 20% of the economy like Obamycare does. Obamycare is a fascist grab for power, pure and simple.

    • BillK says:

      I think you’re edging perilously close to Obamacare with your “people can’t be allowed to opt out… the system won’t work” line of thinking.

      That’s what those who like Obamacare say about medical insurance. Heck, Mitt still believes Romneycare was a good thing in not allowing MA residents to “opt out” of having health insurance.

      What you fail to grasp is you paid in but aren’t owed anything at this point – your payments paid for benefits for your parents and perhaps grandparents. The very definition of a Ponzi scheme.

      Your children will pay for your benefits, except – whoops! – there isn’t enough money for your benefits. Your money is long gone, spent, sorry.

      It’s an entitlement in that you will likely collect far more than you ever paid in, and the money you paid in has long since been disbursed to someone else.

      If you simply got back what you paid in plus some rate of return, that would be one thing. But it’s not.

    • proreason says:

      “What you fail to grasp is you paid in but aren’t owed anything at this point ”

      Try to tell that to about 60+ million Americans who have paid for decades. We damn sure are owed. And it’s not like its some vague Obamy 3-faced lie. It’s all clearly documented as are the amounts we paid in.

      Now somebody could suggest not paying it………but nobody ever will.

      “you’re edging perilously close to Obamacare ” You’re kidding of course. Because it isn’t rational to compare SS to Obamacare for about, oh, a gazillion reasons. As I said, commanding and controlling 20% of the economy with a Rube Goldberg scheme of 150+ bureaucracies bears scant resemblence to a simple scheme of enforced funding for old-age retirement.

      Look, I’m not the biggest fan of SS, and it certainly has some Ponzi aspects to it, but when conservatives attack that program, it plays right into the hands of the Marxists.

      Re-direct your fire to something that doesn’t threaten everytbody in the country who is over 50 years old, particularly since it’s the least of the country’s problems.

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    OK, let’s talk 60%

    60% humidity, do you notice that?

    60% on your plate, 60% in a bucket?

    I mean, the answer is academic, truly.

  4. jobeth says:

    ” More than 90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public…”

    Translated, that just means the 90 percent of the Tea Party supporters are smarter and have a more educated understanding of what is going down in America than about 60 percent of the general pubic.

    Which validates the story’s first sentence.

    “Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public,”

    Now who are you going to trust? Those who are better educated, who READ…and THINK…and DEDUCE results based on facts…or the less educated,who read less, think less and can’t add two and two and aren’t encumbered with facts….but who “feel” their way through life?,

    If that makes us the fringe of the fringe…I like my fringy neighborhood.

    • BillK says:

      The problem is, the “fringe” does not an electorate make.

      In most areas in which the Tea Party Express stopped, the people at the rally would not have been enough to get a candidate elected, let alone make a difference at a national level.

      If we can tap into that “60%” that’s great, but if all a candidate needs to say is “We’ll need to cut Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/School funding” that number drops to near 0. Seriously.

      The AP has (gasp!) run some good polls on this, in which people are asked is Government spending too high, a majority agree, but when asked if they support cutting funding for any social programs, schools, roads, unemployment benefits, and on and on no line item gets the support of more than 5-10% of people.

      As smarmy Dems like to say, it’s easy to say “cut the spending” but people aren’t willing to cut any of the programs they support. :-(

      Democrats have learned that as long as they keep certain portions of the electorate awash in freebies, and blame “the rich” for the fact more people don’t have freebies, they’ve got a core group dependent upon them and thus who will never vote against them.

      Meanwhile conservatives get painted as just wanting to take food away from the poor, homeless children.

      Which do you think more people identify with?

      Until that can somehow be changed, Government won’t change.

      Unfortunately, education won’t change that, either.

      What will? Got me.

    • jobeth says:


      I was being a bit sarcastic with my comment about liking my fringe neighborhood. :-D

      I don’t for one moment believe that the Tea Partyers are a fringe at all.

      I think that we could easily multiply the people with the Tea Party mind set by at least 3.

      I know from talking to people near me that there are many more of those who hold the Tea Party mindset but don’t go for a variety of reasons from work to stamina to just not liking to demonstrate but they still believe in Constitutional Conservatism and will vote that way in Nov. There are a lot more of us than the Tea Party turn out indicates.

      And as I said…we aren’t a fringe group and we are gaining more devotees every day due to Obalmy’s shenanigans.

  5. misanthropicus says:

    Frankly, I am surprised by NYT good words for the Tea Party people – normally, the MSM describes them as a collection of “Deliverance” types, or some bitter white guys (liberal sensitive way to say illiterate hillbillies) –

    Heck, my Brooks (crumpled) suit can tell a lot about that –

  6. skclewis says:

    If memory serves me right, FDR set up Social Security to provide a “forced” savings plan for the American people. It came on the heals of the Great Depression. At the time it might have been a good thing. The money paid in was managed by the government and used solely to pay an annuity to those who contributed. However during the 60’s (part of the Great Society) the Dimocrats realized that there was this huge pot of money not being spent fast enough for them. Thus they passed a law which brought Social Security into the federal budget trough using IOUs to guarantee the annuity. No one bawked at the time because the economy was strong and the federal government was not passing out freebies to everyone as they are now. It was the seed money for the freebies. As we are all aware now (at least those of us educated enough to read and think for ourselves), the passing our of freebies has far exceeded the fund. Coupled with that is the Baby Boomers (of which I am one) started to hit the magic age of being able to collect on their funds and low and behold there was none! Oh the money comes, but I doubt it is the same rate of payout the original planners of Social Security had calculated. So I agree that a wise person would want to invest their money elsewhere to get a better return. However given the current state of the economy I am not sure where that might be. Maybe Chinse government bonds (sarc)?

  7. beautyofreason says:

    “Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity …is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor

    NYT uses the most subtle phrases to sling venom at their philosophical opponents. You see, Tea Party supporters are bitter and pessimistic because they want the United States to uphold its long favored values, such as the freedom to keep the fruits of your own labor.

    Love how the NYT redefines socialism, government waste and redistribution of wealth as “helping the poor.” I guess Cuba must be the best “helper of the poor” in the world (let’s forget the part where 95% of all Cubans are poor).

    • jobeth says:


      And the poor live so well too in Cuba. Take a ride on Google earth to see all those “well off poor” (/sarc)

      I’m always amazed with all the communistic countries living such substandard lives, how there are still those “useful idiots” who still think it might work.

      Mind boggling


  8. JohnMG says:

    …..”90 percent of Tea Party supporters think the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared with about 60 percent of the general public…”

    So are we to believe that 60% is an insignificant number? That 90% of the TEAparty members comes from the 60% of the population–which in itself is a sizable contingent…..well above the 52% of nitwits who elected the Moron.

    On another topic, as a self-employed individual I’ve paid BOTH halves of my SS benefit. Are you saying I have no claim to the monthly check I receive Bill? That’s not ludicrous, that’s insane. I don’t receive any more in benefits than do my former employees whose contribution I had to match and send to Uncle Sugar on their behalf? Where’s the justice in that? I guess I should just walk away while some illegal immigrant goes on the dole with MY money.

    No thanks!

    P.S. I’m still working and paying SS on those meager earnings, PLUS paying income taxes on the social security checks I receive……money that itself was a tax. That’s taxes-on-taxes. Not fair, but it’s the law.

    Is my monthly benefit an entitlement? No way!

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