Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: tea party

June
22nd

If Common Core is a plot, then it’s a conservative one

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

To the hoax of the moon landing, George W. Bush’s secret masterminding of 9/11 and Detroit’s suppression of the water-fueled car, add another conspiracy theory:

Common Core is an Obamanian plot to seize control of America’s public schools.

This canard, astonishingly, is fast becoming an article of faith of the tea party movement and has even been picked up by the Republican National Committee, which ought to know better. As the adage says, a lie can make it halfway around the world while the truth is still lacing up its boots.

The Common Core State Standards — now being adopted by school districts in Washington and most other states — ought to be uncontroversial, especially to conservatives who beef about the basics that don’t get taught in public education. Read more »

May
28th

UW professor predicts tea party bump won’t last

The tea party has gotten a boost from reports that it was targeted for special scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service. Support has increased from 28 percent in March to 37 percent in a poll released May 20.

But Christopher S. Parker, the Stuart A. Scheingold Professor of Social Justice and Political Science at the University of Washington, doubts the bump will be long-term. In a new article written for CNN, he says that to remain viable in coming years, the tea party likely will have to play up two issues that resonate with its core: immigration and same-sex marriage.

Read more »

May
14th

Secrecy ignited firestorms over Benghazi and the IRS

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Here’s what you don’t do if an IRS division is discovered to be singling out the political opposition: Sit on the explosive information for at least two years, and let the abuses fester in the meantime.

Here’s what you don’t do if a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans are killed by jihadists in Libya: Water down the public explanations until it sounds as if lax security had nothing to do with the attack.

The blunders behind these two evasions aren’t remotely comparable in magnitude. But the Obama administration’s impulse to conceal the truth is the same.

An Internal Revenue Service unit’s seeming hostility to exemption-seeking conservative groups could conceivably go nuclear if responsibility reaches high enough in the Obama administration. The fact that IRS employees were hunting down Republican-leaning groups is shocking in itself; if it was even tolerated on high, it’s a revival of Nixon-style political tactics.

It also gives the lie to President Obama’s mantra that he’s running “the most transparent administration” in American history. Lois Lerner, who ran the IRS division that granted or refused tax exemptions for advocacy groups, learned in June 2011 that its employees were using such search terms as “tea party” and “patriot” when targeting groups extra scrutiny.

She didn’t bother to inform the public until Friday, on the eve of a scathing inspector general’s report. Even then, she insisted that the Determinations Unit had no political agenda.

The problem never would have arisen in the first place had the IRS been more forthcoming about its practices.

The unit uses what it calls “be on the lookout” criteria for scrutinizing particular groups. There’s no reason the BOLO has to be secret. Had it been an open document, no one would have dared add small-government advocacy to the guidelines.
Read more »

May
14th

The New York Times vs. the tea party: Mistakes were made

The New York Times editorial board is doing some after-the-fact damage control over its enthusiastic support last year for Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party groups.

Excerpt:

Taxpayers should be encouraged by complaints from Tea Party chapters applying for nonprofit tax status at being asked by the Internal Revenue Service to prove they are “social welfare” organizations and not the political activists they so obviously are.

Note the subject-less, passive-voice headline on its new editorial: “The I.R.S. audits are condemned.” Who, exactly, condemned them? (Please don’t ask.)

In politics, this grammatical evasion is standard fare for

Read more »

Aug.
2nd

A dubious debt deal, a big victory for the tea party

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Every time House Speaker John Boehner walked into a room to talk debt limits with Barack Obama, he was followed by an invisible crowd with cocked hats and manic smiles.

The tea pot brigade.

“Just between us,” Boehner could say, “I know it makes sense to include some new revenue in the deal. But I’ve got these crazy members who wouldn’t want the richest man in American to kick in an extra dime toward a balanced budget.

“You don’t know what it’s like caucusing with these nuts. There’s no dealing with them. Hell, some of them would squeeze me out of leadership in a heartbeat if they could, and then who would you be dealing with?

“Some of them really would let America go into default rather than raise taxes. And there’s even crazier guys back in their home districts talking about running against them if they cut me any slack.

“I’d love to play ball with you, Mr. President, but that’s the world I have to live in.” Read more »

Jan.
10th

What we know about Jared Loughner: Not much

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Sometimes a deranged gunman is just a deranged gunman.

At this point, no one has a clue as to why a 22-year-old misfit with a Glock opened fire on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a crowd of others in Tucson, killing six and nearly killing her.

We won’t have a clue until Jared Lee Loughner himself starts talking, and maybe not even then, given the odd workings of his disordered mind.

Was he triggered by the general “vitriol” in the air? Arizona’s bitter disputes over illegal immigration? The fact that Sarah Palin talked about reloading instead of retreating and once drew a cross-hairs on Giffords’ district during the last election?

Not a shred of evidence for any of that so far. You’d think the chattering classes would observe a decent interval after Saturday’s massacre
before turning it into political ammunition.
Read more »

Sep.
18th

This isn’t my nightmare. It’s Karl Rove’s.

I went to bed Tuesday night, a good, liberal woman — radio tuned to NPR, issues of New Yorkers stacked high on the nightstand, and socialist thoughts of government takeovers lulling me to sleep.

I woke Wednesday morning to my worst nightmare: the cloning of Sarah Palin.

Sometime during the night, “disenfranchised” Tea Party voters rolled out its Beta version of Mama Grizzly 2.0.  No longer was there one shrill pit bull in lipstick yelping “You betchas!” There were now two.

Where was Murphy Brown when you needed her?

Read more »

Sep.
14th

The Million Man Spending Protest

The conservative protest at the National Mall on Saturday has leaped to the Web and evolved into one of those Million Man March-style disputes over the size of the crowd. (Million Man organizers threatened to sue the National Park Service for estimating their crowd at a measly 400,000.)

Because this newspaper ran an AP story on Sunday reporting “tens of thousands” of protesters, we’re starting to get letters to the editor accusing us (here in Tacoma!) of being in cahoots with the cabal of liberals conspiring to marginalize Saturday’s crowd. Excerpt from one:

D.C. Metro Police estimated the crowd at 1.2 million, while the Parks and Recreation Department estimated the crowd at 1.5 million. This appears to be an attempt by the mainstream media (of which this newspaper is part) to paint this event as one attended by fringe element or by right-wing extremists …

We don’t print letters with dubious factoids (numeroids?) that we can’t verify. And I couldn’t verify estimates of either 1.2 million or 1.5 million protesters from the police, the parks department or any other agency that might provide a politically neutral tally of the protesters on the mall.
Read more »