Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Qualms With The Coffee Party

(I have some great progressive friends that are part of the Coffee Party, and I have huge respect for a lot of the folks leading the efforts, they are brilliant and inspiring people, so I hope none of them take offense to this editorial.)

I get it. It is clever. And I completely agree with the message that the Coffee Party is putting out:
We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans.
If you follow them, you will also hear a lot about civility in public discourse, clearly a response to the childish antics of teabaggers that we witnessed last summer during the health care town halls.

I am totally in agreement with them on this, so what are my qualms with the Coffee Party? It is indicative of what I have always liked least about the progressive movement: we are far too often responding, always reacting and never acting.

There is no shred of doubt in anyone's mind that the Coffee Party is a response to the Tea Party. It shouts it in the name. "Hey look at me! I'm not like that radical group of whackos that seem to get wall-to-wall coverage!" And it shouts it again when you look at the description. "I swear, I'm like, totally, nothing like those freakin' teabaggers! Really!"

When Republicans controlled Congress and the White House it made some sense to be responding. They led the agenda and the best we could hope for was to fight it. Yet with full control we are still stuck there far too much. We propose health care reform yet spend the first several months of the debate responding to accusations of death panels and rationing.

I have grown tired of responding. And while I cannot make claims that I will stop any time soon, I certainly will not be joining any Responders Anonymous. I will not join a group that would never exist were it not for the teabaggers. I will not dignify their nuttiness. We have more potential to act and not react than we have had prior to this in my lifetime, so I apologize to my progressive friends if I find little excitement in the Coffee Party. I do, however, find excitement in the thought of civil discourse and using collective will to shape a government that works for the people. Yet I see little hope of that happening when we cannot stop giving these radicals attention, let alone naming groups after them.

This is not treating the teabaggers for what they are, a rather frustrated group representing a very tiny segment of the nation. They absolutely do not deserve the coverage they get. And part of that is our responsibility. We should not be treating them with respect. And frankly, when you make a group that is so blatantly and solely a response to the teabaggers, you elevate them.

We should be treating the teabaggers as what they are, the whacko base of the Republican party and nothing more. These are the racists, radical anti-Democrats, and conspiracy nuts of the right and nothing more. These are the same folks who protested the counting of ballots in Florida and nothing more:

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These are the same folks we have been stuck responding to for far too long. And while we will surely be obligated to respond for the rest of time, can we not work to shift the balance our way a little? Can we not use what little influence we have to give more attention to our ideas and less to theirs?


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  2. I have a peaceful action that will bust the power of the RepubliKLAN party and their confederate conservatives in the Democratic Party. It appears peaceful. We need to form a huge consumer boycott of some of the companies that give money to conservatives in both parties and force their CEOs to get us the legislation that we want ot they lose money from liberals and progressives. What appears more peaceful than that? You don't even have to go in the street nor do you have to get arrested. Just send some emails.


    Please post this on your blog and spread it around also.

    Send the following email to GOP contributor Rite Aid Pharmacies at

    Send me a bcc copy to when you send this email. SPREAD the word.

    To the Rite Aid CEO:

    I join with many other people who demand that you get congress and the President to enact a public option that will work like HR676 but will not ban private insurance. Your company PAC has given money to conservatives over the years.

    This public option will get fully funded by US government general federal taxes.

    People will have no monthly premiums, no copays, no yearly deductibles, no coverage gaps, no means tests and no yearly or lifetime caps for coverage.

    This public option will cover 100 percent of the cost of: all doctor's visits including dental visits, all generic and patented medications, surgery and all hospital visits, hospice and nursing home residence and abortion, contraception and other family planning costs.

    People can choose this single payer public option health care plan at will even if they had or have private plans presently.

    People will have the option to choose private plans or keep the private plans that they have now.

    This legislation should appear implemented as amendments to HR676

    Until this legislation gets enacted into law, I REFUSE to do business with Rite Aid Pharmacies

    Do as I demand, or you will lose my business and the business and income from many other people as myself.

    Good day.

    Help stop the filibuster. Brown Forman, GOP contributor who distributes Jack Daniels whiskey and Southern Comfort operates out of Kentucky, Senate Minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell's state. SPREAD the word.

    Send me a bcc copy to when you send this email.

    Email Brown Forman at

    To the Brown Forman CEO:

    Your company PAC has given money to Sen. Mitch McConnell in the past. I will not buy Jack Daniels Whiskey and Southern Comfort until you convince Mitch McConnell to stop all filibusters on legislation and holds on appointments for the duration of the Obama administration.

    Good Day.

    You can see further efforts at

  3. Can we not see the teabag movement as in response to "Drinking Liberally"? And remember those "The Tea is in the Harbor" rallys for Howard Dean?

  4. I understand your point - and thought the same thing..

    But it's nothing more than a vehicle to an end.. it was useful to position the coffee party as an antithesis to the tea party.. it brought people in in droves as well because they were frustrated with the tea party being represented as real america. -

    But as I've been saying.. we can already drop this whole 'opposition' to the tea party position.. it's not useful anymore - it was only useful to gather like minded people.

    Your problems with the coffee party are entirely an ideological one.. or should I say a principle one - that it shouldn't be a reaction.. Some things are based on reaction - someone hits you, you hit back. You don't hit someone because you thought they were going to.. well, ok, that's actually an accepted republican strategy now that I think about it... Anyway, I digress. The point is - the movement is well over 70,000 members in a matter of days.. that is due to labeling correctly and couldn't have been done without the positioning of being anti-tea party. Now that classification can be dumped.. and we can move on..

    Maybe even change the name.. it's only a gimmick for the most part and it's served it's use - it's gathered a strong following of like minded individuals under a single platform. Wouldn't have been able to be done so quickly otherwise.

  5. and yes.. a shorter version of what I just said..

    The shift away from being a response to them happens the day after we are a fully functioning movement. - and I believe that is today.. or maybe tomorrow =)