Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Tea Party comes to Washington to fight for liberty?

There's a story in this morning's WaPo about the Tea Party allying with Democrats to help defeat an extension of the Patriot Act.  One reads that it was "a vote that served as the first small uprising of the party's tea-party bloc." I was pleasantly surprised initially. My impression of the Tea Party has been that they're more of an ultra-conservative group of xenophobes than a group seriously interested or concerned about liberty. Tea Party activists, for example, came out in strong support of the Arizona immigration crackdown, real libertarians aren't inclined to have much truck with opposing immigration.  It would be nice if the Tea Partiers were actually taking civil liberties seriously, if they were more Ron Paul-like and less Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachmanm-esque, I'd be less inclined to think the Tea Party was bad for America. 

In any event, my hopes were quickly dashed when I dug into the numbers a bit.  This alleged pro-liberty Tea Party uprising was exaggerated significantly by the Post.  Of 111 congressmen that the Tea Party had endorsed, 96 (86%) voted in favour of the Patriot Act extension, only 12 (11%) voted against and three didn't vote.  Yeah, sure, that's some uprising.

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