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Week of 2.19.10

Angry Voters

Will angry voters toss out the incumbents this fall?

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The Weekly Q
From the raucous Tea Party rallies to the painful sacrifices families are making behind closed doors, voter angst and anger are sweeping the country like a storm. Directly in its path: the 2010 midterm elections.

This week, NOW examines the strong impact this groundswell has already had on electoral politics, and what we can expect in November. Our investigation uncovers what motivates people who've come together under the Tea Party banner, and how a larger national voter dissatisfaction spells trouble for incumbents in both parties.

Viewer Comments

Commenter: Candy
Amazing how hysteria and misinformation can spread.

These Tea people are angry at the wrong bunch and are going in the wrong direction. Instead of being angry at the Plutocracy and Reagan/Regan/Bush/Cheney/Rove they are angry AT SOCIALISTS!!!!They say they can't find jobs or afford homes while the rich have gotten...THE SUPER RICH..have gotten HUGE tax breaks. The middle class has had to make up for it in regressive tax laws. NAFTA and deregulation by the i won't stoop to tea bagger level and call them fascists,have allowed corporate greed to run unchecked and the financial system to be unregulated to the point of causing economic bad loans to create huge wealth so the rich get richer...meanwhile all the jobs to pay mortgages have been offshored.It's not the socialists stupid!

Commenter: sw
I think that many americans are dissatisfied with what has been happening in Washington. There are many, like me, who do not hold fast to all of the tea pasties beliefs. So to brand everyone in the tea party as a fanatic, or racist or hate group is just not true. What has happened here, I believe, is that we the american voters do not feel like we are being heard in Washington. We call our representatives and ask them to stop the bailouts, the million dollar bonuses for the very people that put our economic system at risk and we are not heard. The bailouts continued, the bonuses, the corruption on Wall Street and we have not put legitimate barriers in place to even prevent this situation from ocurring again. Our beloved country has been brought to the brink of total financial disater. Will incumbents be voted out in November? I hope so. We need a clean sweep. Vote all incumbents out. Send Washington a clear message. There are parents, grandparents, families that want a better life for their loved ones than being chained to a yoke of financial debt that most did not create. As one senator put it,"Wall street had a party and we were not invited to it." I might add and we are picking up the tab.

Commenter: Menchx
I feel the tea party is no more effective in these matters then the coffee party is, but we have alot more fun; drinking lattes or other expensive brew or a good old cup of joe. I think the tea party folks missed the boat (the ones with the tea's aboard). In all it's all good fun, and thats all it's not like these are really political partys. So why do people treat them as such.

Commenter: Joan
The Tea Party was taken over by Glenn Beck, who is getting his informatation from Ben Stein. Ben Stein wrote a book about three years ago called "Can America Survive" wherein he talks about communist and socialist leaders murdering millions of people. Hs book gives the exact same information that Glenn Beck's documentary gave a few weeks ago. The two of them are good friends. Stein saw a group of religous uneducated people who are angry about the mortgage crisis that was created under the Bush administration, and Stein is using these people to fight Obama. Charles Krauthammer is doing the same thing. He was on The O'Reilly Factor last evening telling "the folks" that they don't need an education. Krauthammer said that only 25 percent of people in this country have a college education, he said that students should not be protesting the higher tuition fees, he was basically saying people don't need an education. He also said that it's fine for the Tea Party people to want Social Security and Medicare, because he realizes the Tea Party people want socialism, the want the social programs, but the conservatives don't want the Tea Party people to become aware of what they really want. I've talked with Glenn Beck followers and they quote the Bible and say Jesus is going to save them, they rage about the evil socialists while they tell me they are "entitled" to Medicare and Social Security. I asked them in a website called American Thinker, which Charles Krauthammer was featured in yesterday, why do the want the huge social programs then rage socialism is evil? I was locked out of the website and he next day Charles Krauthammer was featured on the website and he went on Bill O'Reilly's show and said it's fine for the Tea Party people to want those social programs, that they just don't want socialized heath care for everyone. Why is he so scared? These people don't want the uneducated Tea Party people to realize capitalism is what ruined the economy, they want to keep the Tea Party uneducated and god fearing and they are using them to fight the very social programs they really want. I think part of the reason Stein and Krauthammer are using uneduated people to fight Obama is because Obama is not helping Israel. Conservatives want capitalism to stay and a few people to have all the money in this country, convince the uneduated that god will help them and pit people on welfare, due to capitalism failing them, fight wit the unemployed middle-class. The conservatives are terrified of Obamacare because there are things in the bill that help people with student loans, educate people, and they know Obama is pro-union, living wage, spread the wealth out. Beck is being used as a pawn in their game.

Commenter: Joyce Kildea
Your description of American citizens uniting together peacefully as 'angry voters' is offensive. The picture you displayed does not show anger. It looks like a very peaceful, respectful march. In researching the march on Washington in 1963, no one called the black assembled there as 'angry'. Why would you characterise the Tea Party members with such a derisive, ugly, unfactual term. You do not have to be angry to protest conditions in the US. Please change your heading and correct you attitude. Stop offending Americans.

Commenter: mc
Where are we going as far as the School District in Los Angeles is concerned? Our high school education standard is not as we expect it to be. Many high school graduates are extremely poor in English and Mathematics. Their English Language Reading and Writing skills are way below expectation.

California is a Bilingual State and there is no doubt it. Does that mean we should not learn to speak and write English Language?

Education should be valued by educationists, not by politicians.

Commenter: mc
Where are the banks today?

The major banks got a huge bailout from the Taxpayers. But are the banks really helping anyone? No way.

It is unfortunate that banks do not help the American Taxpayers. When they needed money,they took it from the taxpayers without any collateral or credit check but most banks refuse to lend money even to genuine taxpayers. That is why Actor Bob Hope
rightly mentioned that 'Bank is a place which will lend money if you prove that you don't need it'.

Commenter: Robert
The Tea Party isn't cause, it's reaction. The Tea Party merely channels a certain flavor of right-wing extremism, then carries along a those susceptible to the angriest mantra that is repeated ad nauseum.

The rise of the Tea Party movement was entirely predictable -- the far-right has been growing and there was no reason to think it would not be loud and angry after Obama's election. It is appalling, but perhaps entirely predictable, that the Democrats would be so entirely panicked in the face of it. The modern party has a lousy sense of populist politics and little spine in the face of adversity. Furthermore, it is sadly powerless to resist both the money and technocratic aura that emanates from its most well-healed special interests supporters. Each time it succumbs, it provides more ammunition to its worst enemies, and demoralizes its former supporters.

Yes, the midterms will go badly for incumbent Democrats because the party has abandoned the populace along with its principals. No one, left, right, or in the mushy middle -- no one is happy with these folks. Problem is, the other party, the one that understands how to co-opt popular anger, win elections, and keep power, is horrifically dangerous.

Commenter: American Patriot
First, the name calling is divisive. The early comment by "Red" was totally off-base and uncalled-for. And, by the way, soldiers like the Bruckbauers risk their lives so that you have the very liberties and freedoms that permit you to speak your mind. For the record, no one joins the military because of its great pay and benefits - they do it to serve their country and it comes at great personal expense, and risk, especially during war times.

But enough of that... The challenges facing us all are tough ones. We could divide or we could work together... What unites us all is our love for this country. We could use a little more patriotism. Let's take pride in being Americans; be it by birth or naturalization. If this is your home, then stand by your nation; support it and be willing to make sacrifice for the greater good. If not, please find the nearest exit and go. The U.S. has gone from a leader to a follower. This must change NOW. We need to refocus on education. Parents need to make raising decent, responsible, respectful children their first priority - or don't become parents. We need to start manufacturing the goods we need, reward those who keep their operatins and jobs here and disincentivize those who import cheap foreign goods and export needed American jobs. Let's start looking inward again... we need to lead. The rest of the world wants to be us; let's not whittle it all away for short-term profit by a select few. Maybe our country's well-being means spending a little more for American goods. Our parents did not grow up expecting to get everything wanted immediately. They taught us a work ethic and the value of a dollar.

It's time to get back to basics, people. If we continue to focus on in-fighting and not rebuilding the greatness of this nation, we will really be in trouble. Take a look around. The choice is ours. I believe in us.

Commenter: Rick
Like RAF said... But "Control" is the key word. The Tea Party folks want their President and Congress to "govern" America... not "control" it. The President and Congress are not our parents, nor our betters. The are not endowed with perfect knowledge, nor are they smarter than other Americans. They don't make better decisions than the average American. They were merely elected, or hired as temporary employees to work for us and manage goverment affairs for a little while. Then it's somebodies else's turn to step up and do public service.
It's time for less 'control' and more intelligent 'governance'. It's an attitude and mindset that politicians think they are superior to the Americans who hired them. Tea Party folks are saying "enough" it's our country and the contractual standards for goverance set in our Constitution are being abused and ignored by both our President and Congress. Enough is enough...

Commenter: John Wade
My view is simple:


It will send a message the same way as NOT purchasing junk food at the supermarket.

Commenter: Charles Vierthaler
I believe our congress, house and senate are out of touch. They are bought and paid for by lobbies. Interesting to listen to health care argued when in fact our arrival at no jobs, no insurance, bi-polar economy and the unraveling of America started with Ronald Reagan. We de-regulated business and we have been over run by lobbies and big business pushing for more freedom at the expense of everyone that works. Stop the tax credits to corporations for moving jobs off shore, go back to regulations that prevent monopolies, stop Free Trade, go back to the reulations we had prior to 1980, bring back a 10% interest rate ceiling, re-install every fabric of FDR's new Deal and of course require politicians to be fiscally responsible. How can politicans say they are going to work on jobs and then not repeal GATT? Wall Street needs regulations. If we need a product then we ought to make it. Bring back our manufacturing jobs. Bring back the family farm. Put limits on Corporate salaries, wall street salaries & bonuses and bankers salaries. We know they are stealing.

I believe Obama is the right guy. I also believe our government is borken.

Thanks for the time and the space.

Commenter: RAF
Anger in the voters is real.
I have a different view of "depth perception" from the comment below. To me socialism is justified... but only at my family level. I grew-up in a family that was very socialistic between my parents and us kids. The next level up is my local community and it should be a lot less socialized, allowing for individual freedom and mature decision making by community members. Then up through my city, to my county, and onto my State. I expect each higher level to provide less and less socialized control over my daily life. When I finally get to the top level with my federal government I expect them to protect my individual liberty and have "zero" socialistic agenda or control over me.

IMO, we need to have our government control minimized to the "lowest" possible appropriate level. That idea isn't new, as Ben Franklin believed it too. I don't want federal money in my library or school, we can do that ourselves w/o any federal mandate. I don't want any federal oversight of my health care, we can do that for ourselves at my State level. If my State doesn't do it, that's "my fault" as the State works for me. Each State can operate their own Health Care insurance oversite and rate board, they do it for our utilities providers now.
I too will see you all at the polls in November.

Commenter: Isabel
I don't understand the rage. I think it's misdirected. I think the talk of abolishing the fed and being so angry with the government and thinking that you don't have to pay taxes is absolutely crazy.

I think it's odd that no one seems to be angry about corporate America or the enormous transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper classes. The lack of rage about the influence of money in our elections seems to be absent and I don't get that.

The system is broken and the solution isn't a tea party, it's an informed citizenry and hard choices but quite honestly I don't see a mature discussion about this on the horizon.

Commenter: Aaron
Hello, I am a big fan of NOW. Voter angst and anger at incompetent, ineffectual Republicans was what accounted for their losses in 2006 and 2008, and rightfully so. I feel President Obama entered a difficult, entrenched situation when he took office. How things will look at the end of his first term, who has a crystal ball? But, I feel his policies, his administration, his judgment...will succeed! He has already taken right steps, but tremendous improvements were never going to happen overnight. People ought to try and remember that, at the end of 1982, almost two years after President Reagan took office, things looked bad. And then, Mr. Reagan's policies took hold, and improvements began and continued. It certainly doesn't help when bitter, loud-mouthed Minority Republicans state that there is no room at all for reconciliation! BOTH PARTIES NEED TO COMPROMISE!! Republicans ought to look really bad come midterm elections for WORKING HARD TO GET NOTHING DONE!! As for these Tea Party idiots, one of their most vocal representatives is exited Alaskan governor and national joke, Sarah Palin. Enough said. People who have been struggling financially for a long time have a right to be concerned and anxious. But, I feel that the upcoming decisions by Mr. Obama and the Democratic Majority will yield things positive and worthwhile!

Commenter: Dan
The national Tea Party "movement" will splinter the Republican party in 2012. Independents and republican moderates will not support the agenda of fear and hate that the TP group represents (as the keynote speakers at the convention in Tennessee were spouting).

Commenter: Brian
I've just watched the "Angry Voters" episode of Now and I'm left with a sense of frustration with the media that has been all too common for me since first hearing of the T.E.A. Party. Media outlets across the spectrum are giving the TEA Party a free ride, not challenging them on their ability to make a positive difference in American society at a time when constructive input is desperately needed. I would like for journalist to start asking the TEA Party some very specific questions about how they intend to address the issues that they have identified as problems. Angry rhetoric, slogans and protests doesn't automatically translate into effective governance and it certainly doesn't guarantee a solution to the problems our nation faces. I watch and support PBS because I can usually count on its journalist to cut through the fanfare and get to the bottom line issues that count. I didn't see that kind of reporting in this episode. I live in Hunterdon County, NJ, which has the HIGHEST property taxes in the nation and the services and support I receive in exchange for these taxes are meager. With that said, I'm seeking constructive solutions to the problems our nations faces, not spending my time protesting and supporting candidates for public office who's only appeal is that they whip up an angry crowd with angry rhetoric and promises of upheaval in government. Where is the investigative journalism I've grown accustomed to from PBS Now on the issue of angry voters and Tea Party? Do me a favor, do a in depth story of how the TEA Party encourages violent over-throw of the government, brutality and assassination of elected officials, and a demand for fiscal discipline that seems to limited in its focus to government programs that cost the taxpayers very little, but tend to offer a lot of benefits. The fiscal elephant in the room consists of defense spending, social security spending and Medicare spending. Which of these great TEA Party leaders are prepared to reduce or dissolve any of these budget items in order to achieve the fiscal responsibility they all claim they want? I'm hoping PBS Now will ask these questions and more on future shows covering the topic of angry voters. I'm an angry voter as well, but I'm angry that the media in this country is lending credibility to the actions of a relatively small group of voters whose only contribution to political discourse is racist, violent, and immature rhetoric.

Commenter: michelle
I think we American voter's don't really have a good foundation in how government works. What it takes for an idea to become reality. I think many people don't understand economics, which is very important for being critical of our politicians, whatever the party. If there is corruption, that's one thing. But I think the majority of our politicians do work on behalf of their constituents. The problem, as I see it, and it was demonstrated in the video, is that many constituents have no idea about the above mentioned mechanisms. Something that they don't like affects them and they blame the politician, not realizing there is a whole series of processes to make change happen. They want everything solved right now, but it doesn't work that way. They want politicians who are like them, joe schmoe from the neighborhood, but what we need is people with expertise in how to solve our very complicated and difficult economic problems, instead of un-electing people who are really trying. That delays the whole process of change for the better. I think these constituents should not dictate public policy because they don't always know what is best for everyone. They see the problem from one side and a narrow one at that.

Commenter: Manuel Amaral
We must have term limits for elected officials, until then the frustration with the politicians will continue and bad government too.

Commenter: Dennis Fortna
What I saw in this report was the loud and ignorant portion of the American populace. These people vote on their emotions, believe it is as simple as a party line, and continue to feed the corporations who degrade their standards of living. They hate taxes, but never see the tax breaks given to the corporations that drain them of their hard work, and attack their fellow workers as the problem. The Tea Party is not going to move us out of our problem with government, but deeper into it, perhaps to complete failure. It isn't a matter of Republican or Democrat; it's a matter of who owns the politician - the masses or the corporation. Elections can not continue to be based on emotions as the Tea Party wants. We need educated, rational constituents, and politicians.

Commenter: William E. Striplin
I feel that the language in the Declaration of Independance is relavent today. ...whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive... it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government. Beware of Article V of the US Constitution. If the clowns in Washington don't pass a comprehinsive health care plan similar to that of the rest of the western world and start inforcing banking regulations to prevent the idiot bankers from continuing business as usual then they can kiss their jobs goodbye.

Commenter: Ralph
As an Ex-Republican I agree with Pete's comments (below). BOTH parties are at fault for the current problem in DC. There is gross ignorance of what "limited federal power" really means to personal freedom. When elected officials in congress and whitehouse ignore their "limits", it creates the problem we have today. Both parties have progressive agenda's which embrace ignoring the voters and the people's Constitution.
The people wrote that Constitution (ratified by sovereign States) as a contract for our government to follow and function under it's provisions. Desire by government to now ignore it will only awaken the people to replace them... see you at the polls.

Commenter: Gordon Brathwaite
I think candidates should be checked for there ability to do the job they want to be elected for. I believe the people should be the ones to vote for congresses term length and there benefit packages. I believe the tea party movement is just the beginning of the awakening of the American people.

Commenter: Charles
single-payer and consumer advocates are being completely shut out by press and Dem. representatives who got elected by advocating their agenda. Now worm-tongues manifest our further enslavement to corporate rate-fixing, executive liberties, soldiers' loss and environmental devastation with secured impunity as if Karl Rove was the one person the Dem. party listened to. The lobby-backed rhetoric and neo-liberal rants of TEA party are an extra threat to any with character enough to question why even less oversight of corporations can solve this mess.While Murdok's Fox must be pleased with this nod, you've done good stuff before and I hope to see more.

Commenter: Juan Coronado
This is anger that is directed only at Democates. The Rpublicans are just as quilty, of what has happened to our great country. We the People need to clean house and see to it that the Progressives in this country never come to power again. The Progressives are to our country the same as cancer is to the human body, niether has ever had a good out come. The Politicans forgot who is the boss and we will take our country back. Maybe having a President like Obama was good, because it helped awaken the people.

Commenter: C Slick
The term 'tea party' is synonymous with 'republican'. I see no difference from the rhetoric of one to that of the other. The tea party speaks only in generalities, as do the republicans. And both have learned to cram as many histrionic adjectives as possible into every sentence they utter and pass it off to the media as the language of'reasonable policy'. The tea party does not represent me or my interests. I see them as nothing more than a group of bored baby boomers who lack the fortitude to get involved at a local level to effect meaningful change where they live.

Commenter: p dupre
The people who will be decisive in upcoming large voter turn-out elections have spent the last year educating themselves in the business of politics and economy, wall street and washington.

They are highly informed now and are angry, disgusted and frightened about what they have learned.

Democrats and republicans are two sides of the same evil coin. They will all be voted out of office in favor of candidates who have morals, integrity, values, and who truly love America. Democrats and republicans NOW represent the antithesis of these ideals.

Commenter: jan
Will angry voters toss out incumbents? My vote is YES!

Commenter: Michelle
The danger I see in this tea party movement is that the majority appear largely ignorant of the increase in government size, spending and overreach under Bush. Returning power to Republicans doesn't solve any of the problems that they're complaining about. The Bush administration made most of the mess that we're suffering for now. The Bush administration trashed the Constitution like no other in history! True Ron Paul libertarians comprehend that, but their voices have been obscured. So while the teabaggers may have an impact due to sheer size, they will end up shooting themselves (and the rest of us) in the collective foot as they follow Glen Beck off a cliff.

Commenter: susanthe
Where were these people when the GOP was driving the economy of country off the cliff for the last decade? The bulk of their tax dollars go to the Pentagon - yet they prefer to blame social programs.

Commenter: may
I want to say God Bless the Tea Partiers! When everyone else sits back and yells at the tv they are promoting REAL change. We love our country and it's people. We are Fair minded people. We don't hate on Obama, we just don't like him @ Congress overburdening even our "great grandkids" at this point. This debt is unsustainable so who cares about whether you are Demo or Reb. We want to be left alone to run our businesses without being taxed to death!We could create jobs ten times over if they would just STOP OVERTAXING US!We now have to pay a TERRORIST TAX every year of over $2,000. INSANE!

Commenter: Sue Bruckbauer
Dear Commenter Red,
I guess you missed the point of the show....We didn't say we were FORCED to pay taxes, never said my sons HAD to join the military, never BLAMED the government for any problems you think we have.
Paying taxes is everyones job, but we don't have to like every tax we pay. My sons CHOSE to join the military to serve their country, and yes you did help contribute to pay their salary and health benefits while they serve YOUR country, and I thank you for that. * FREEDOM is NOT FREE *
I don't like being called stupid, but seeing that you are only using the name RED and don't use your real name explains it all.

Commenter: armando perez
Yes we I will vote them out !!!

Commenter: Evelyn Andrews
Good Piece, but you goose-stepped around two major ingredients in the Nassau County election: School Taxes and the voter ignorance surrounding them.
Almost 70% of our property taxes in Nassau are school taxes- not County, Town, or State, but our local school district. Unfortunately the average voter thinks that the county executive has a direct role in those taxes- and doesn't realize that it is their school board, an entity that consistently enjoys the lowest voter tournout of almost any elected body, that makes the decisions regarding the bulk of thier taxes. In my experience on campaigns, all but a few voters consistently blame the wrong elected officials for almost every aspect of thier tax bill.
So why don't we see the Tea Party targeting school districts? Ask yourself that. I wonder if they really understand thier tax bills, either.

Meanwhile, County Executive Suozzi was doing all the right things regarding school taxes- encouraging consolidation of back-room functions and purchasing, etc., but he had no direct authority over school budgets. So he was effectively kicked to the curb for his role in managing the County's 16.5% of our property tax bill.

Commenter: Gary Sgroi
I think that yes IT'S enough. This was a great report. We pay the second highest taxes in the NATION. Drive thru Nassau county and you will see that it's NOTHING what it was. It is now urbanized. YES WE WANT VALUE for our dollars. We are being ripped off and we need to correct this. I hope and pray that Ed Mangano can restore the suburban dream! The election of 2009 shows that people have had enough. Suozzi was honest in this report. We were not better off than 8 years ago. In fact we are much worse. I came from Queens in 1995 and thought Long Island would be my promised land, my dream come true. But now. I have litter on the streets, pot holes, over crowding, poor services and HIGH TAXES to pay for it all. What now!??! This report shows how out of touch Suozzi was. Now we have a fresh start! Go Ed! Let's fix these issues and restore our once great suburb! It will take time but I feel it can be done!

Commenter: Pete
Most Tea-Party folks are upset because of no Whitehouse and Congressional commitment to basic Constitutional principals. Neither DNC or RNC can pass in congress any of their progressive agenda if they uphold Constitution principals. It's easier to "ignore" our Constitution and hope they don't get caught. Tea-Party folks have caught them and now both parties lose. Every Bill that comes from congress needs to "pass or fail" a Constitutional compliance filter.
Tea-party folks (which include democrats, republicans, and independents) know our government is ignoring three basic Constitutional tenants. Each Bill needs to fall within "limited federal power" authority (ignored). Every Bill must not damage or impugn fundamental "State sovereignty" (ignored). Any new law must support not weaken "personal freedom and liberty" (ignored). These are all requirements found in our Constitution, which the President, Congress, and Cabinet Secretaries have sworn to defend. Tea-Party folks believe those in DC have failed to do their sworn duty under our Constitution. (Our Supreme Court is asleep at the switch, but that's another issue.)
I'm reading lots of comments here that show very limited "depth perception" of how this nation functions. The "unlimited power" to govern rests within each State not at the federal government. (Basic civics 101.)
Just like in EU with their new constitution and EU President. The power still rests within their sovereign States. (Jolly just like the USA.) Depth perception means putting the decision at the proper level of responsibility. Health care, primary-secondary education, etc, are sovereign State issues (just like in the EU).
The difference is in USA the citizens control the government, not the other way around like in EU Constitution. Of course in EU many States pay tuition for college education, but their government also selected "college quality" humans at middle school for that honor. Their government selects those who are "better suited" for technical or service training. EU isn't pure socialist, but some States will notify retired folks telling them their home is too large and better suited for a family. They have one year to sell or their taxes jump to equal the homes value. Not socialism, but the next best thing, government telling people how to live.
Tea-Party folks know we citizens "tell the government" not the other way around. See you at the polls in 2010.

Commenter: Ron Paul Rules
PBS is doing a decent job on this story.

The real Tea Party was created by the Ron Paul campaign in 2007. It consisted of people from all sides on the political spectrum. It was recently infiltrated by the Neocons, backed by Fox News and Glenn Beck. The Neocons aren't even real conservatives, they are NeoLiberals hiding inside the Republican Party. The real Tea Party movement is not falling for it.

Even after Ron Paul won the straw poll at CPAC the Neocons at Fox and Karl Rove are desperately trying to dismiss it. Time to kick the Neocons out of the Republican party once and for all.

We want the Constitution restored, the wars to end, the corruption on Wall Street to end, and an audit of the Federal Reserve.

Commenter: Alice Johnson
I think some people are underestimating the TEA party. Along with Conservatives, Independants andR republicans I have met Democrats who are equally distressed with our government. We are being treated like igorant people who don't know what they need. The government needs to be brought back to "by the people, for the people"

Commenter: Valerie
PROGRESSIVES BEWARE! Long live the CONSTITUTION!Hurray for the TEA Party Movement!

Commenter: Dorothy Arnold
All incumbents should be voted out. No one in Washington is working for the people.

Commenter: Paul
As a lifelong Democrat I have to say that the so called Democratic party leaders such as Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Rangel and Obama are a Nest of Vipers and Liars. They are All Corrupt to the Core and Stealing Our Futures and Our Childrens Futures too. Oh, and Bush, McCain and All the Rinos are just as Bad. All of Our Media is now state-run propaganda and heavily Biased toward Obama and his Progressive(Communist) Agenda. Even Fox News is only Corporate Controlled Opposition that lets out a portion of the Truth. I've checked out the Tea Parties and they are much more Widespread and Diverse than the State-Propaganda wants You to know. Almost Two Million Protesters were in DC on 9/12/09 Protesting Big Government, Socialism, Higher Taxes and Constitutional Violations. Look up 9/12 March on DC on You Tube and see the Largest crowd Ever as reported by the Parks Dept. in DC. Also look up and on the InterNet to find the Truth that isn't being reported on. Our Media should be doing Real investigative reporting instead of filling the airwaves with Tiger Woods, Brithey Spears and other Distractions!!!!

Commenter: Carolyn VanZorge
C:EARLY, the waste, fraud, and mismanagement of tax money is well-known to everyone. thankfully, Americans are finally waking up and holding elected officials accountable. one small, but good example, is the frightfully large amount of money that is wasted on shuttling nancy pelosi and her extended family around the country...... true, it is only a couple of tens of millions of dollars, but, a million here, a million there and it starts to add up.

Dan Maloney for Congress!!

Commenter: D Beers
The progressive socialist experiment is dead on arrival; it just does not know it yet.

The parasitic leach of big governement is about to be excised kicking and screaming primarily due to its own elite bloated disregard for its host, the American people...

All those breast feeding on big governements nipples as well are in for some reality...

Commenter: mc
"You can have socialism or liberty but never both".
Why not? That's what is happening in banks today.
All the Corporations took the profit and went out of business. Now they ask the Taxpayers' to bail out?
We thought we were Capitalist but we are moving towards Socialism. Corporate Failure is a number one problem and the failure is rewarded in this country.

So what are we? A Capitalist? No. A Socialist? No.
So where are we now? Our Government has failed. Our Corporations have failed. We use Taxpayers' money to pave streets, run the county's health department and light the streets. That is not going to work.

Our Economy is not working. The Balance Sheet looks terrible. There is nothing Right on the Left side and there is nothing Left on the Right side.
No wonder we have problems after problems. We are unable to balance the Budget.

The biggest job Congress has now is how they can extract money from the Taxpayers without disturbing the voters. America is run by big corporations and not by individuals. It is obvious that nobody truly speaks for the common person anymore.


There is no point in blaming each other or pointing fingers at others. We need to find the ways to resolve the issues on hand. We need to formulate policies that will work. Then only the American Economy will improve.

Commenter: redduke
Ignore or demonize the conservative move of civic-minded citizens at your own peril.

Progressive destruction has reached it's pinnacle. FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and George Bush have all damaged our Republic too much.

The key now is to meet the ideals of the misguided progressives with the real-world success of the Conservatives, then we will all have a country we can be proud of. It is our civic duty to come together and fix this mess that has been created over the last 90 years.

Commenter: Kelley Ellis
FYI not everyone who is against big government and the outrageous frivalous spending is a "Tea Party Person". A lot of people are not happy with what's going on. So be careful not to put everyone in the same pot. Bottom line is you have a lot of American's who want "change". Real change that makes sense and works for everyone especially the American people. Not big government, large corporations and unions!

Commenter: Pauline
The great thing about the Tea party people is that they are not attached to any party and/or person.

They are every day Americans of all races, colors and creeds that have come together to protest the Federal governments unconstituional actions.

They are peaceful, law abiding, country-loving American patriots!

Americans need a review of what freedom really is they will drink hungrily from that well no matter how much the media and universities manipulate them. Americans will also come to learn that they are living through an unconstitutional coup with a marxist usurper. Article II was a well thought out concept to avoid foreign infiltration in the executive branch. One cannot be granted "citizenship" for eligibility for the POTUS. One must be born into American blue-blood if you will. The British citizen occupier of the POTUS can never be a "Natural Born Citizen" as he carries British citizenship through his sire. These are his own assertions. I do not need a court-ordered hunt for docs to prove he is ineligible. Five Supreme Court Cases lay it out for me.

Commenter: Nassau resident
Ed Mangnao got in and what happened - they all gave themselves pay raises - then he acted surprised. Here the rest of us are hurting whiel they got raises.
Went along party lines On Monday, Jan. 25, at the first meeting of the Nassau County Legislature, that body voted to give pay raises to its three legislative leaders: Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt, Deputy Presiding Officer John Ciotti and Minority Leader Diane Yatauro. The pay raise vote went along party lines, with 11 Republicans voting for the raise, and eight Democrats in opposition.
So be careful who you vote for might be worse and is ....

Commenter: Viv from NY
It would be really DUMB to just vote out all incumbents. The people you want to vote out are the obstructionists, those that are just saying No to everything. We need health care reform prices are sky rocketing- bring you ideas but when a party unites to just vote everything down they are not helping. If we did what the tea party people want we would be heading for disaster - they don't want bailouts yet they be mad if their bank collapsed - Obama so far hasn't raised anyone's taxes and the Bush tax cuts for the rich helped add to the deficit. We got into this mess because of the last 8 years and dont forget it.

Commenter: Apostlerich
Wake up PBS. The Tea Party movement has you in its sights. Start being more honest in your Reporting

Commenter: Stoney J
I did not relize that there was so many idots in the usa until i start listening to the media. People don't think anymore for themself. The person or persons that started the tea party have a agenda for what they are doing people need to stop and thing whats in it for the person. The republicans want to keep the insurance the way it is because they gey millions for their campane. The President is doing all he can to bring us out of a recession that was none of his fault and people are mad at him for something he had nothing to do with it take money to make money. If we are to get out of the recession we will have to pay for it.

Commenter: JJW
I sure hope for a sea change in 2010. I want all of the incumbents defeated. We do not need and we don't want career politicians. Washington has gotten too big, too arrogant and too elitist. We need another Boston Tea Party, but this time we throw the politicians into the Potomac.

Commenter: I Don't Watch PBS
I'm sorry about the ignorance of some of the posters here.

The tea party is not 'astroturf'. It's a movement. You can't buy a movement. It is the awakening about how our system of gov't has been abused to lead us to socialism.

The see what criminals are looting our country to create a crisis and take over for socialism.. and don't like it.

Commenter: Freedom Joe
Vote them all out. Crooks.

Commenter: Carl Van Wagenen
Lifetime Republican who's dropping out of the party. I'm a new "independant" voter who's going to vote against all incumbants in November.

Commenter: William Miller
To be honest I thought the report lacked balance. While it did a very good job of painting a picture of the discontent voiced by Tea Party it did nothing to elucidate what specifics the Tea Party has to offer. For example in the interview with Mr. Maloney it becomes clear that his position is extreme. he wants no government involvement in anything. But do we know how he would pay for public education? Services such as garbage removal, snow clearing, police, fire departments etc? Further, as he goes on what you admit is political theater, when he fonds his district's representative working in Washington, doea anyone ask him where he thinks she should be working? When the newly elected Mangano takes office he cuts $7,000,000.00 in salaries. How? Does he eliminate jobs? Whose? What will the effect of these cuts be? Is the best way to reduce spending adding to the rolls of the unemployed? What hardships may ensue if jobs are lost or income reduced? Swayze made perhaps the most insightful observation by saying that if you are not talking to the people you will lose the election. That lack of voice will go further toward defeating Democratic incumbents than anything the Tea Party will do. By and large the Tea Party is comprised of malcontents who are now able to prey on the fears of the populace. Couple that with the national Democratic party REFUSING to fight Republicans and the Obama administration's reneging on promised changes FOR the people NOT Wall st. and you have perhaps a more complete picture.

Commenter: Dan Maloney
Maria and Karla did an outstanding job with their even handed portrayal of the Tea Party movement.
Good work!

Commenter: D.A.Kasimakis
The Suburban American Dream can live & thrive with education. The population needs to be educated in the science of being adult. You don't need a cell phone in every pocket & you don't need cable TV. There are many things present in our modern day environment that people don't NEED. There are many ways to live & thrive without PAYING for it.
We live in Hicksville, grew up in Hicksville.
Our parents also moved from the city or other urban areas. We love it here. We never had any children, because we are still interested in living our lives & living our dreams. One cannot dedicate ones self to another, until they have finished their own journey.
We bought our parents home in 1987. We own our own home. We would like to pay less in school taxes, because we have no children. Those of us that do not have children should pay a base fee & those with children should pay per child, whether they rent or own.
We can afford it here. Anyone can, if they pay enough attention to how the budget. I wouldn't live anywhere else, no matter what.

Personally, I have many ideas that might work to make this a more financially friendly area, but, you need to pay attention to how you spend your money.

Oh, and you can actually make coffee at home. Tea? I like tea.....I don't complain I act. Don't blame others for your own mistakes. Much more to say....but, this is already way too long. All the best. Cheers!

Commenter: Claire Starnes
No matter what you say about the Americans who want true democratic change, we will win in 2010. Our country is much stronger than you might think -- and in the right way. Go ahead with your spewing of hate for the opposition. It only galvanizes the forces. Now I know why I don't like PBS and don't watch it unless it BBC comedy shows.

Commenter: Bill McNulty
The element of your program that highlights Dan Maloney raises some questions that could be further explored. What is his connection to right wing Catholicism? Why was he so anxious to block a LI Peace Group, Pax Christi, from speaking to representatives of the Catholic Cathedral? How did he move from a leader in the Gathering of Eagles movement to a strong voice in the Tea Bag Movement? Why did he make such a move? How did the Eagles Group utilize VFW posts to gain support for their movement? What's the relationship between these two groups? What is the overarching all encompassing thinking that drives the very totalitarian behavior of both of these groups?

Commenter: Darrell Pack
Tea Party and 9/12ers are concerned citizens that are self governed from group to group. We all research and we all make our own decisions. We are an all inclusive group however progressives (which are socialists by their own definition) do tend to feel uncomfortable during our meeting. We do have democrats who actually believe in America as our founders organized it.

Commenter: Paul Purpora
Why does your support by the tax payers of this country not impart a connection to all, your dislike of all view points that are not liberal is indirect contrast to inclusion of those who support you. For your own self interest you may want to rethink this position the majority may some time recoil and cut you funding and support. I just believe a grop that is supported shoul respent all not a put forth a vision of what you would like.

Commenter: steve costa

Commenter: I DON'T WATCH PBS
Keep making fun of the people and we just get more popular. THANKS!

Commenter: Don Bush
The genius of the "teaparty" astroturf movement is that they have taken the justified anger of Americans at the current system, that we have thanks to the Reagan revolution and "free market" mania, with it's deregulation mantra and corporate favoritism over the citizens, and managed to blame it on liberals and Obama who have just now won majority.
It's barely changing now with Dems in power because they are not behaving progressively enough. That's where the anger and focus should be if we want things to change.

Commenter: John from Green
It's about time people got angry. Taxpayers have been gouged by unions of over sized, obscenely compensated and under qualified police, teachers and other bloated public services.
The media has done a grave disservice to the public with biased reporting, frequent failure to provide all facts and obvious promotion of a socialist agenda and impractical, empty-suit, empty headed politicians.
The government can keep it's services, I'll keep my hard earned money.

Commenter: Patrick
I think you are underestimating the disgust with the government that is in place now.

Commenter: Jim Carlson
I can never figure out how the many senior citizens involved in tea party activities can keep trying to scare people about "socialism" and "progressives" when they almost certainly collect Social Security and Medicare themselves. Next time, PLEASE ask them if they are getting those benefits. If so, ask why they shouldn't be considered socialists or progressives themselves. We need those programs and should be proud of them, not blasting them.

Commenter: Deb in Ohio
I get very irritated with the "tea partiers". The man who is "looking for his congresswoman" made the kind of statement that gets me going. He talked about yelling at his tv until he was fed up. He and his compadres SAT ON THEIR HANDS through 6 years of a GOP controlled Congress, 8 years of GWB and his veto pen only working during the last 2 years blissfully ignoring war profiteering, wars operated outside the federal budget process and all kinds of shenanigans. They only started howling since the election of Pres. Obama.
Complaining about progressives as if they started this train careening down the slope. Nope. Sorry.

As soon as tea partiers and conservatives start booing Boehner, McConnell, Cantor et al as loudly as the do the Dems, I'll believe it's a true belief system and not idiocy or something worse.

Commenter: C.P. Hodgkinson
People are hurting so much that they are not using common sense. Electing Brown in MA. may be a message but nobody is sure about what happened other than voters are really PO>ed. Attacking the democrats now is folly. The republicans were responsible for this financial crisis, because of their belief the no goverment is best. Well, Regan is dead, Stockman was wrong about supplied side economics and said so. With GLASS-STEAGALL gone. The banks raped the american consumer, let Obama do what he has to do. The Tea PArty movement is a rudderless ship, with a loud horn blowing, but nobody understand what it means. American people got the goverment they voted for, unless they sit and educate themselves, they will get screwed again and again, So go ahead vote out the democrats and put the back the bastards who put us in this place. The Republican Party.

Commenter: Robert Johnson
We are being ill served by the two political parties when people put being reelected over governing our villages, cities, stated, and nation.

Commenter: Ralph H
Thank God there is a movement, any kind, attempting to waken the general populace of this country.

Voting out the incumbent beuracracy would be a good thing.

Term limits would be a good thing.

These are thoughts of a 75 year old retiree who just cannot swallow the current governance of the U.S.

Commenter: R. Edwards
..American's now realize that a socialist marxist fraud has been placed in the White House and that D.C. is at War with it's own citizens, people are hurting and cannot finance the sinking Death Ship any longer. There will be investigations,and supporters of this shadow government will be jailed....

Commenter: angry too
Maybe I'll join the Teabaggers. I'm a lifelong registered independent with strong Democratic leanings but no longer. I am FED UP with all politics and suspicious of ALL MEDIA. I will rely on my God given ability to make up my own mind about the horrible current reality we face. If the Teabaggers are mostly libertarians, now my intense curiosity has been raised and I ask "what do we need liberated from?" Government which has usurped from the people too much power, authority and control over every aspect of our lives. Corporations wanting to enslave us. The Federal Reserve controlling the amount and distribution of money which by law we are supposed as a means of exchange. Also the corrupt judiciary or system of our law. We need liberated from all these things. We need to learn to exercise our God given FREEDOM TO CHOOSE and all decent people are tired of giving over our personal freedom and power to those who are harming us. We are FED UP and UNITE we will. Power to the decent people of this country.

Commenter: gary
yes i believe that the tea bagers will have an impact
on the incumbents more so than a fresh new person with no prior political experience. the people are feed up with lies, if the politicians have been in office 2 or more terms they need to go. the longer they stay the more corrupt they become. if they can be bribed (Neb.& LA.) openely by the Harry,Nancy and Obama what are they doing behind the everyday scene.
tea bagers are from every party repb. dem. inde. its people who are feed up with spending the American people into a debt we can never pay back. people want less gov except the people that have lived off of gov. entitlements for 5 generations, there uneducated and don't want to work as long as the working men & women keep paying them for doing nothing. we need less spending, fewer taxes and less gov.

Commenter: Ernest Hartman
I'm an independent voter and have tried to vote for candidates that would represent the people rather than the wishes of the lobbyists. However, I find that close to an impossibility as both the Democrats and Republicans tend to cater to the wishes of the lobbyists and go where the money is. It's now their major source for the cash needed to run a meaningful campaign and therefore they can not truly represent the voters anymore. I feel nothing is going to straighten out this mess and finally get meaningful campaign reform, eliminate wasteful spending and get our government back on track again, until we get the "foxes out of the hen-house" so to speak. When independent and dissatisfied voters gather enough strength, to finally get an organized and viable third party on our ballots, we the voters will have no real choices other than more of the same. I don't know if the current "Tea Party" movement can truly get organized or not. I do know, that right now, "It's the only game in town". Even if it does nothing more than give the voter a place to say, "we don't like the choices that either the Republicans or Democrats offer us". Right now there is a saying going around "That we have the finest government that money can buy", I for one would like to change it back to, "A government of the people, by the people and for the people", again.

Commenter: Jason 'Great White' (Shark: Beings Rights Person)
I do not disagree with exploring small and extreme groups, like The Tea Party; however, when exploring them their needs to be at least two-sides represented. Where was The Socialist Democrats and true Socialist Independents (like Thom Hartmann, Dennis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders and etc)?

Commenter: a tea party person
We will be a stronger nation if we stop thinking that government will look out for us. They have failed us so often and it can not be changed.

Commenter: JoAnn
Businesses don't want to share, workers won't work together, and we have, essentially, two Republican Parties; so, we are in an abyss.

Commenter: Soldtonorm
The big mistake made by the Progressives is that they attacked our children's future and the elderly's security. The voters in the middle will protect these to the death.

Commenter: Fred
The Governor's Convention is happening now.
I have not heard any talk about State Sovereignty!
The most important issue that the Governors control is State Sovereignty - please air this out with as many Governors as possible.

Thank you.

Commenter: Alan8
The "Democrats" only PLAY an opposition party on TV.

The Democrats saddled us with NAFTA and the WTO, which export our jobs to low-wage countries.

The Democrats let George Bush do whatever he wanted.

The Democrats stand united with the Republicans against Medicare for all.

The Democrats let our country torture, and are protecting the American war criminals who authorized torture.

The Democrats, like the Republicans, receive THE MAJORITY of their funding from corporate sources.

The Green Party doesn't accept ANY corporate money, and represents CITIZENS' interests. A mere 5% of the vote would get the Green Party matching Federal funds, and would send a strong message to the Democrats that their business-first agenda will cost them votes.


Commenter: Jared Salinger
I think a massive upset is what this country needs. I know people who will be automatically voting out all incumbents this year. My family is not that extreme; however, we will be voting out all incumbents who have voting records and behaviors that relect party politics over serving the people.

Commenter: Ramesh Gandhi
Great show.
The questions though that are not asked to angry voters, what sacrifices they want to make? What programs should be cut? (Medicare, Medicaid, Defense, Social Security?) Should they all be cut by 5-10%?

Commenter: Dan Gallo
The Senators in Washington are not true representatives of the people and their best interests. They have not been for some time now, since the corporations and special interests have innundated the halls of congress with their blood money and lobbyists with their agendas.

Nobody truly speaks for the common person anymore.
Banks and Companies may be "too big to fail," but the American people are not important enough to save, or care about by those elected to stand for them.

Most of the legislation passed today hurts Americans, from tax cuts for the ultra-rich and companies, to averting strong tariffs on cheaply-made foreign goods, to preventing a real health-care reform with a single payer system, etc.

The time has come to change the political landscape of this country, one voter at a time, one outsted, two-faced and corrupt politician at a time.

Commenter: Henry O. Harwell
As the senior member of the public broadcasting forum, Now (and all the elites in PBS Land) ought to be taking a longer view, beyond the mid term elections. Were I in your *esteemed* position, I'd be asking whether Americans might be ready to simply ignore a dysfunctional government? If so, what would that mean -- Not paying [war] taxes, as in the 60s; mayhem in the streets (as recently in Teheran and other Iranian cities); More apathy?

Is the American republic going to hold, or will it fracture along already evident fault lines (Northeast, South, Southwest, Inter-Mountain, West)?

What is it that would too much to ask of Americans?
What is so wrong with richer Americans paying their fair share, if reasonably determined? Why are we (not) our brother's keeper? Were we ever?

Commenter: PeterG
I am so disgusted watching protesters who, on the one hand, accuse the Government of practicing Socialism, and on the other hand, cash their monthly social security checks and draw medicare benefits or have relatives that do. The plain truth is, the Tea Baggers are about as inclined as anyone else to sacrifice their benefits for the sake of future generations, they would just like someone else to bare the cost for them. So let's cut the childish rhetoric and have an honest debate about what social services we are willing to sacrifice or keep, and what we are willing to pay for with our taxes.

Commenter: Rob
While I understand the tea party'ers anger & frustration, I fear they are on the wrong track. With both businesses & consumers lacking the confidence to spend, it seems that slashing government spending will only make the economic slide deeper.

Commenter: Jack L Eich
our freedom and bill of rights is under attack like never before. the present democrats are usurping our constitution and over riding basic principles that the founding fathers set up to protect liberty. we must get rid of all incumbents this election if we hope to be free.

Commenter: h
Voters are angery but real jobs are hard to come by with out higher education !
That is why Mr. Obama can't fixed over night or his stimulous package does not work and/or last long in creating full time high paying jobs or changing the economy status of an individual person or a family.
It takes years and years of hard work, higher education, giving up youth and young adult live in achiving such goals and determinations and love for learning and applying that love in a given job.

Commenter: C. Ikehara
The following short essay, "Are Angry and Frustrated Voters Ushering In the 'Age of the Wunderkind'?", may be of interest:

Commenter: Marilyn Sheldon
What I do not understand - Nassau and Suffolk counties have for decades been in the hands of Republicans with corruption and malfeasance abounding - how soon we forget! Many conservative Republicans with their extream ideology never have and never will care about the middle class or the working poor.
When the resident in your piece decried government to get out of his life he did not mention the very programs that have sustained the middle class and given them a chance to maintain their lifestyle - Medicare and Social Security. To their credit, as part of their health care reform plan, the Democrats did propose reductions in Medicare. Ironically, the Republican media fear-mongers and their dupes, the Tea Baggers, seized upon this to incite hysterically paranoid spectacles of "Death Panels" and draconian health care cuts. In the 1990s, then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, attempted to coerce Clinton into accepting large Medicare cuts by shutting down the government.
However, the Republican scolds now lecturing us on fiscal probity are the very people who defended Bush's deficits and those of Reagan. And they did this without offering an economy rationale other than defending their tax cuts to the wealthy and their propensity for military expansion. Accordingly, I do not see the Republican Party or the right leaning Tea Partyers being in a position to either moralize or enact meaningful solutions. Actually, I suspect that some extreme ideologues hope to precipitate a government debt-based financial crisis as a surreptitious means of revoking social security and Medicare which they despise. Reagan himself stated he believed Medicare to be an enemy of freedom. The Tea Party "movement" might well fear being successful.

Commenter: cokids
Based on my reading, the Tea Partiers are a vocal minority! Make that a majority and then we might have some major impact in the midterms. Otherwise; it looks like a minor effect!

One can only hope that such bigotry is among the minority!

Commenter: J Ellen Saunders
This sounds like much of our pre world war history. That Sara Palin is being considered for head of this movement gives me pause. Is it heralding her run for office of President of U.S.? Is is because people are thinking, yelling, believing their feelings are true/not flawed. Much that is for "the people" would shock so many proponents and members of the Tea Party. Medicare, Medicade, Social Security (WE paid for that for years!) and more FOR the people are bones of contention. Please, Lord, let them see the REAL truth.

Commenter: Ruth Peeples
On last eveing's show you showed 3 different communities and how the incumbembents were defeated by the Tea Party No Tax people. I would urge you to keep in touch with at least one of these communities - the one where the County Mayor was defeated by the No Tax people. It would be very helpful to find out in six months just what services has had to be cut when the funds were cut. Did they cut the police force, fire fighters, teachers, libraries, services for children, the elderly, the disabled, etc? When taxes are cut services must be cut. Let's find out how they like that? Thanks.

Commenter: John Willard
Enjoyed your program last night, except for the fact that it seemed like a community where no outside influences had an impact. It was just one tax too many. But what do the people who swept the new guy into office read and watch? Everybody is so angry and I think they are having lots of prodding at anger from the outside. The most telling comment was the losing candidate who indentified that people are now only focusing on themselves and not the country. Tea Party will have as much effect on the repubs as it will the Dems. I think it will be a wash.

Commenter: Gary Hatton
The problem is not the "Tea Party" movement,but, rather the professional politicians that have reached new heights of eletism and arrogance.
Elected office, in the American republic, was never meant to be a career but a shared, temporary service by various citizens that were willing to give up a few years of their personal pusuits in order to serve the greater good of the nation, state, or locality in which they resided!
After all that we have seen, it may be concluded that a "professional" politician is a corrupt politician, regardless of party affiliation!
Also, I think that we need to stop throwing the words "democracy" and "democratic" around, so much. The United States is only a democracy on election days! The rest of the time it is a "republic", just as our pledge of allegiance says!

Commenter: Linda
In our small Texas town, North of Houston. our newly formed Tea Party group of about 30 have added 100 names to our email list within a month. We decided to hold a "Get Out the Vote Rally" inviting the local and state candidates to come and speak. Within a week, we raised all funds needed for our event, publicity, printing and food for the event with the gracious support of merchants in the community. Support has been most positive for our event. We are expecting 200 from the community to attend our "Rally". Tea Party support is real.

Commenter: Linda Hughes
Seeing the Supreme Court hand corporate interest unfettered ability to donate and thus "buy" elected officials from judges to legislators is something the Tea Party should pay close attention to. Throwing out just Democrats won't help. Throwing out all current incumbents who come up for election might. Even better in my view would be voting ONLY for independent candidates as a means of creating a new party whose candidates do not take group affiliated gifts whether corporate, Chamber of Commerce or church. Only individuals should be able to contribute and their influence as individuals should be limited by a maximum donation. Currently the 2 party system that allows stalemates by special interests to override statesmanship/stewardship of this country is in danger of killing the American ideal of democracy which includes one person one vote.

Commenter: Eugene Tate
Please read a definition of Fascism: 1) Extreme patriotism, 2) attention to media, 3) concern only with own opinions, 4) not willing to use rational debate, etc. and tell me who the Fascists are in our modern society! The so called tea party. I am tired of some Republican hack telling me that they are simply disgruntled voters trying to express their opinions. Rational people do not shout down the opposition (in the first place, research shows that such behavior drives away other people), they do not carry signs comparing the President of their country to Stalin, or Hitler, the devil, etc.
American, British, Canadian socialism has its roots in Methodism, Roman Catholicism, and other Christian perspectives. We are our brothers keeper and responsible for one another.
We are not driven by greed, guns, violence, and racism. In the words of the song from Martin Guerre, "Who are the impostors hers?" Cries of revenge and violence only leads to violence and the destruction of society.

Commenter: gunter hiller
I watch NOW every week. I think that most of your
programs are excellent. What I saw tonight, about
the Tea Party, is not one of them. Your discussion
was narrowly focused on the anger of people running
into financial difficulties. The "revolt" encompasses a lot more, including "Patriots" who want to "take the country back" by getting the government "out of their lives" and letting "the free markets" be in control; people who want to "roll back" most, if not all social programs, i.e. health care, education,etc.; people waving the Consitution and getting ready to defend themselves from government tyranny with their guns.
They raise no questions about corporate power. Only
government, i.e "socialism" is to blame for what ails us. Read the N.Y. Times article on the Tea Party!

The tea party reminds me of the 20's, when nazi hooligans sought to demolish the Weimar Republic.
Will Timothy McVeigh become their Horst Wessel?

Commenter: Valerie Saturen
As deeply concerned as I am about the growing level of right-wing anger in this country, I can sympathize with the pain and loss that is driving it. Watching this movement unfold, there's one question that nags at me. In light of the role that entrenched financial and corporate interests have played both in the current recession and in the longer-term destruction of the middle class (not to mention the poor and working class), where is the progressive version of the Tea Party? Why don't we see progressives out in the streets, organizing in the grassroots manner I can't help but admire on the Right?

If you have any ideas about this, feel free to post something on my Facebook group:

Commenter: James D. Keister
I wish you would have talked to our leader Congressman Dr. Ron Paul.He is our modern day Ben Franklin,or to the Newly formed Continental Congress that was created last year,to help fight the government in D.C..We will shut down these idiots in Washington, and bring back the kind of Government our founding Fathers wanted us to have,read your history.At least you didn't mock us like the regular media does."DON'T TREAD ON ME"

Commenter: William Zaffer
Our justices are bought off and this Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to give money now for so called free speech is getting is back to the Carnegie days so people be prepared, we all are going to get screwed worse than ever by multinationals and the Tea Party has no idea they are being used over ideology that does not work. The judges are destroying our democracy on the Supreme Court. We must get this money out of our body politics and it's systematic corruption.

Commenter: kenzen
I find it frustrating how much legitimacy your show gave to the "angry voters" by inferring that it is all the current administration's fault that the country is such a mess without once reminding viewers that the current administration has been in Washington for only one year. Seems one should bring up the point that we watched this country fall apart during the 8 years of the irresponsible Bush administration. Where were these "angry voters" then?

Commenter: Tony Silvain
So they voted out the Mayor of Nassau

It's still a long way till the independents can eliminate Obama......but hopefully, they will do so in very short order


Commenter: douglas j twigg
obama is the worst mistake the dems.ever made in my will bring these morons to there end.every one understands who brought this misery to this goes all the way back to clinton.and all the smoke and mirrors to make every way possible to give loans to people who could not possibly make the payments .just to buy votes. there is so much more but im not going to waste my time telling you any more.your show is a propaganda show for the dems.but you better enjoy what little time these idiots have left. they will be gone.

Commenter: Edward Hutchinson, Plainfield Vermont
I have been voting for Democrats for about 40 years and have never been as dissapointed as I am now. I can't imagine why any progressive (or any Democrat with a working brain) will bother to show up at the polls in Nov. I expect the TEA types will be there loud and clear. It seems ironic that they will demand less taxes and less government and seek election of Republicans who will do nothing to improve the lives of most TEA types but spend lavishly on their corporate sponsors. But alas the Democrats play the same game, only poorly.

I will probably vote but only for progressives, and that means third parties. They will also get whatever work or money I can spare.

Commenter: Terry Smith
PBS needs to listen to the people and get off their liberal agenda. We the people are sick of the liberal slant of the main stream meida. This next election what you call the Tea Party people will change the direction of our country. Tea Party people are not Republicans, they are Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. Americans who say Look to our founding fathers, and the Constitution.

Commenter: John
You bet we will vote them out. They are not listening or if they are they are ignoring what we Americans are saying. How much would they save if they stopped Hilary from flying all over the world promising this country and that country BILLIONS of dollars? How far would the foreign aid go to paying for domestic programs first? Then giving anything left over to these other countries. That is if there is anything left.

Commenter: Angry Voter
The angry rightwing voters that command media attention today are the mostly the same people who supported George W. Bush and the Republican Party for most of the last decade. Why do angry rightwing voters get so much attention? I think it is because the corporate media is mostly rightwing. The corporate mass media broadcast the views of the rightwing through rightwing TV such as Fox news, and rightwing radio such as Clear Channel.

Angry leftwing voters are "invisible" in corporate media; they are not seen or heard. But it was mostly angry leftwing voters that voted Obama for president.

Commenter: D.L. McNamara
While not having personally attended any Tea Parties, I strongly support the Tea Party agenda of fiscal responsibility. I have donated to Tea Party candidates and will continue to do so. On election day politicians and talking heads may be surprised by how wide spread Tea Party support is.

Commenter: Anonymous
Mr. Suozzi didn't loose because of the 'tea party'. He lost because he didn't focus on the real problem with Long Island...SCHOOL TAXES are the problem. His long winded whinning about 'consolidation' would have saved peanuts compared to what really has to be done about school taxes. I'm a life long democrat and will surely go back to my party next year. Mr. Mangano shouldn't totally unpack.

Commenter: Jamie M.
Anyone with common sense knows the BHO admin. continues to downplay the Tea Party rallies. They, in truth, are very, very concerned. If not, why are democrats either changing party and/or dropping out like flies? The Tea Party Movement is NOT about a particular party. It about Americans fed up with the greed and slight-of-hand in polictics. Fed-up with BHO talking out of both sides of his mouth. It is about BHO and his administration's desire to have complete government control over our lives. It is about tax relief. It is about truth; character; trust; all of which we don't have in this current adminstration. 2010 and 2012 will tell all!

Commenter: Steve Ross
I think this episode would have been far stronger if you had not tried to justify the bizarre governmental budgets in New York State. When I first compared these things in 1994, I found New York State government at all levels took 17% of Gross State Product in taxes and fees. No other state was above 12% and almost all states were between 10 and 11%.

The percentages have trended downward a bit in the past 15 years, by New York is still the leader. Its state budget is $20 billion a year higher than California's, even though California has twice the population!

I live in Massachusetts now. My town property taxes just jumped 17%, entirely because my property's value did not decline as much as the town average. The town budget, $130 million, is $900,000 less this year than last despite a $3 million rise in health insurance coverage costs (and that's after town employees shouldered more of the burden of those costs themselves). I can't complain.

When New York's politicians do they same, they will be worthy of re-election. When journalists can actually look at the numbers in detail before doing what is essentially a personality piece, they will be worthy of my time (and I spent 20 years trying to teach this stuff to journalism students)!

Commenter: Mugsy
Looking at the Tea Party crowds, a few observations come quickly to mind:

1) Most conspicuously, the crowds are all white. Typically older, and judging by their misspelled signs, most probably have no more than a high school education.

2) Where was their outrage during the last eight years when the Bush Administration was racking up all this debt? Only now are they being whipped into a frenzy by the same people that caused all their troubles, in a carefully calculated scheme to regain power.

3) The Tea Party movement isn't even half as big as the Ross Perot movement was in 1992, yet is receiving far more coverage because of their angry (even violent) behavior.

4) Who on Earth would vote to put Republicans back in charge after creating this mess simply because Democrats weren't able to fix it in 13 months?

Commenter: John F
I agree with the Teabaggers. I'm sick and tired of paying taxes to pave streets, run the county's health department and light the streets. We have too many firefighters sitting around. Can't they and the police be used to collect the garbage in between calls? If we do this now, I will have a smaller tax bill. I don't use the library anyway.

Commenter: jose martinez
As I saw your story, I was dumbstruck by the incredible lack of diversity in the people who make up and lead this movement. A party that caters only to Whites, as this one seems to, is not an American party. Instead it seems like the "last gasp" of the "aggrieved White (wo)man". And in that case it, is not a political group, that I, as a multi-racial, hispanic American, have sympathy towards, or would ever support.

Commenter: Red
I watched tonight's program (2/19, Friday) and listened to Mr. and Mrs. Bruckbauer's complaints about how much they are forced to pay in taxes. How it's killing the middle class. How the government forces Americans to pay through the nose with taxation to support the needs of the nation.

Then, these people have the gall to say that 2 of their sons "had to join the military" to find work and that one of them "had to re-enlist" because he was saddened about his job prospects because his older brother, another vet, can only find work after discharge in a job that he had while in high school.

Who are these people "blaming" for their problems? WIth their sons being in the military, they have been employed by the government. I, and every other taxpayer, has paid their salary, their health benefits and every other cost of their employment. You people are blaming the government for your financial problems with 2 of your sons working for the government thru taxes being paid by fellow Americans?

These sad people need to wake up to the fact that the current administration is trying to correct the problems created by the past administration.

Please. Know your country's history. The "tea party" is the "liberty league" of the the 30's, it's the supporters of laissez faire during the Gilded Age. Definition: FAILURE.

How can this couple blame our government, which is trying to save our system, for their personal crises when 2 of their sons are working for it? What a gross case of ignorance.

Maybe most Americans are as stupid as the Bruckbauers.

Commenter: Thor
Good Question: "Will angry voters toss out the incumbents this fall?" My prediction is yep, you bet they will. It's a fairly simple problem congress has right now. 1. They fail to acknowledge the "limited federal powers" concept of our US constitution. 2. Congress has no respect for State sovereignty in most bills they pass. 3. Personal freedom and liberty is a joke to both GOP and DNC legislators. 4. Congress has chosen to disregard some wise advice offered congress by a previous President who said "It will be of little avail to the people that laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they can not be read, or so incoherent that they can not be understood..."
Most voters support good liberals and good conservatives who strive for free and open pragmatic discussions of national issues on capital hill. However, once anti-constitutional progressive principles became apparent in BOTH parties; and BOTH party platforms then embraced "unlimited" federal government control, congress lit the fuse. So as the only nation on Earth which guarantees personal freedom and liberty before government control, it's only natural that voters will take away the 535 jobs of these very foolish Senators and Representatives.
God Bless America... Those congressional legislators wanting European socialism need to remember this nation fought a war to avoid European style government control; and to never put any government ahead of personal rights, freedom, and liberty. You can have socialism or liberty but never both.

Angry Voters

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