“Who cares?”

I want to stitch together a few highlights from Brian McNeill’s lengthy profile of local Tea Party chapter head Bill Hay in today’s Daily Progress:

“I have a lot of respect for Tom Perriello,” Hay said, taking a break from selling his Righteous Bean coffee at the farmer’s market in Meade Park on a recent Wednesday. “He’s a good guy. … He does what he truly believes is best. I don’t question his integrity at all.”

Hay’s kind words might seem a bit odd from the leader of the anti-tax and anti-government-spending Jefferson Area Tea Party, which has organized protests outside Perriello’s district office at which the congressman was called a “traitor,” a “coward” and a “political prostitute.”


When asked about some of the harsh rhetoric espoused at Jefferson Area Tea Party events, Hay said he regrets it when things gets out of hand.

“I don’t think it does any good,” he said. “I like to see people totally avoid name calling. Stick to the facts.”

At several Jefferson Area Tea Party events, members carried signs with a photo of Perriello with a red slash across his face that reads “WANTED: Congressman That Will Uphold the Constitution.”

“I feel a little bit bad about that sign at times,” Hay said. “But it does make an effective statement.”


At the town hall meetings, some Tea Party supporters have questioned Perriello’s ability to read, his intelligence and his love of the United States.

At the protest outside Perriello’s office last week, a supporter of health care reform stood on Perriello’s office steps and told the crowd of supporters and opponents about how his health premiums have skyrocketed and his family is struggling to keep their health insurance.

“Who cares?” shouted a Tea Party supporter.

I’m pushing the boundaries of fair use here, but the point is obvious: we’ve got a bunch of people whose actions are nowhere near their words. That “Who cares?” really sums up the positions of the teabaggers: We don’t care about anybody but ourselves. Newborn needs expensive surgery to live, but the parents lack insurance? Sucks to be born. Guy loses his health insurance, and his job along with it, and now can’t get coverage because of a preexisting condition? Good luck with that, bub. This bunch is more like the Go To Hell Party.

But the quote that I really want to preserve from McNeill’s article is Keith Drake, the disastrous recent chair of the Albemarle County Republican Party, saying this of the Tea Party: “It’s a real movement. It’s not a flash in the pan.”

Like the Bull Moose Party, the Free Soil Party, and the Nullifier Party, this “nonpartisan” group is here to stay. Well, until Republicans are in power again.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

5 replies on ““Who cares?””

  1. I tend to see the “who cares?” attitude of the tea baggers to be a step below even self-interest, which is what’s really frightening me. If you could draw them a very clear diagram full of causes and effects pointing a straight line towards Obama’s healthcare plan making things tangible, measurably better for them, they’d still have the attitude of “who cares?” The problem for them isn’t the policy, nor is it the messanger surrounding it. The problem for them is the messanger.

    As another example, take Obama’s broadcasted speech to students about how kids should stay in school and take education seriously. It’s a message that shouldn’t be the least bit objectionable to all but those who actually WANT their kids to cut classes and not do their homework; in spite of the unobjectionable message, and in spite of the fact that it’s being delivered by one of the few black non-athlete, non-entertainer role models young black students find credible, it’s a huge controversy among the tea baggers and conservative radio set because while the message ought not to be objectionable, the messanger remains a Democrat they didn’t vote for, and it’s more important to say “fuck you” to a Democrat than to tell kids to stay in school.

  2. Right Freakin’ On!!

    I’m so tired of selfish, ignorant bastards who can’t see beyond their own threatend sense of ownership and look at the real good proposed and to be had here.

    Let’s adopt the real men drive trucks and shoot deer mentality (and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that): How many roofers, carpenters, car mechanics, painters, and welders have good health care benefits?

    But God forbid they should question the status quo and speak their doubts and fears. No, better to be part of the crowd spittin’ on the stove and talkin’ about that Obama and how he’s trying to give it all away (when he ain’t proactively doin’ enough to stimulate the economy).

    Meanwhile the white, wealthy, and gated elite laugh and begrudgingly acknowledge that they couldn’t make it happen without the dumb schmucks who think that they share a common interest within their party affiliation.

    I’m always thinking that if the poor southern whites and blacks had realized that they both suffered under the callous, but not callused, hand of the white plantocracy and revolted not against the North but against the southern elite, what a different world we’d have today.

    And I think now it’s happening, slowly but surely. Southern Whites and Blacks are inter-marrying and finding their commonality, like a Brazil 400 years later. Yes a bit off-topic, but there is a multi-ethnic, native voice that needs to be awakened. And when it rises it will make a mighty squeak against the deeply-entrenched power that the hidden elites have amassed, thanks in no small degree to the yocal dumbasses.

  3. Wait… a tea bagger is selling coffee (which, according to Google, is fair trade and organic) at a farmer’s market? This contradicts everything I know about tea baggers. Isn’t it that fair trade + organic + coffee + farmer’s market = socialist who is secretly part of Obama’s troupe of step danc––, er, brain washed attack liberals? The whole “fair” bit is particularly amusing.

  4. My uncle is a fair-tax supporter with signed pictures of George W. Bush on his wall. He disagrees philosophically with progressive taxation. He’s ex-military, retired from middle management in a Fortune 100 Company, a Sunday School teaching Methodist and Rotarian living in a small town in North Carolina. I suspect that he would be a Tea Party person, but that would involve making a public display of himself, which he just doesn’t do. He gets his news from Fox, without the slightest bit of self-consciousness. He puts up with his family’s support of Obama and Democrats with good humor, though with some regret. But there isn’t a mean bone in his body. He would give you the shirt off his back. He’ll bring a homeless guy home and feed him, but he doesn’t want government doing it.

    His brother — another uncle — had a brain aneurysm rupture 33 years ago, and has lived on Medicaid and Social Security ever since. Charlie is glad that the government provides the safety net for his brother, though he is conflicted about it because had this happened before there was Medicaid, his brother would have moved in with him, and Charlie would have taken care of his brother, because that’s what family does.

    My great regret in this debate is that the battle is being fought from rampart to rampart, completely out of touch with the human life taking place on the field in between. Charlie and his brother don’t fit anyone’s stereotype, and flame wars on cable news shows miss, and mistreat, them.

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