Here are some choice excerpts from the NY Times report:
Amazing that the Republicans would have the chutzpah to stage a "populist revolt" so blatantly out of touch as to focus on the same old same old conservative agenda items we've been hearing about for years: those "tax and spend" Democrats (yawn), "big government" (double yawn), and how we just gotta protect the "free market" from the "socialist agenda" of Barack Obama and the Congressional Democrats. While knowledgeable economists are expressing legitimate concern over the Obama administration's giveaway of trillions in taxpayer money to the same Wall St. insiders whose greed and stupidity got us into this mess, all the Republicans can see is "creeping socialism." Ye Gods! Obama and Geithner are bending over backwards to avoid even the appearance of nationalization, but in Republican eyes their all-out effort to save the capitalist system from itself translates into a socialist agenda.
Although organizers insisted they had created a nonpartisan grass-roots movement, others argued that these parties were more of the Astroturf variety: an occasion largely created by the clamor of cable news and fueled by the financial and political support of current and former Republican leaders.
Fox News covered the events all day with reporters and hosts at the scenes. Neil Cavuto, a Fox host, and Michelle Malkin, a conservative contributor, headlined the protests in Sacramento while Sean Hannity broadcast his show from the protests in Atlanta.Chicago Mercantile Exchange said that the Obama administration was promoting “bad behavior” in helping people who were at risk of losing their homes and that Americans should protest with a tea party in Chicago.
Even if the age old diatribes against "tax and spend" Democrats and "big government" had some validity (they don't), you'd think at least some in the Republican leadership would have the sense to realize that there is something profoundly different about the present situation than anything we've encountered before. Obama's desperate efforts to revive the economy are not attempts to broaden the scope and power of government -- they simply reflect the realization, shared by most economists, that the federal government is the institution of last resort when all else fails. While his program involves the spending of astronomical sums, relatively little of that will be due to tax increases, and the increases he is recommending will affect only a small minority of the wealthiest and most privileged among us. While I disagree with Obama's futile attempts to shore up a failed "free market" system, it's clear that something has to be done -- and short of initiating a program based on multiple nationalizations of certain failed institutions, a program favored by economists of both the left and right, it's hard to imagine much in the way of an alternative -- aside from the socialist-oriented planned economy conservatives profess to fear the most, which Obama clearly opposes.
Sure, Obama's stimulus package includes various items he sees as important, why wouldn't it? He was elected, McCain wasn't. The Democrats are the majority party, the Republicans aren't. So what planet do you have to live on to see traditionally Democratic values expressed in a Democratic program? The majority of the voters obviously endorsed those values or they wouldn't have voted for them, so Obama's program is clearly an expression of the popular will -- and he is still, despite all the doubters, commanding tremendous support in the polls.
As for the avatars of conservative talk radio who've been loudly trumpeting this event, I'm reminded of an ancient limerick found inscribed on a hardened paleopolitical turd during the Age of Socio-Illogical Innocence:
There once was a ninny named Hannity
Whose verbiage verged on inanity.
The rant of this fool,
Was pure bull stool,
With the stench of a flatulent manatee.