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Buying Lightbulbs: The Tea Party Response

After watching the Republican response last night, I decided it was in the best interest that I not comment on it since all of America instantly forgot the words of Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, as soon as it left his mouth. No new ideas were presented, no substantive information was gained by watching it. But after reading the response to Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party response to the State of the Union, I decided to watch it myself. The results were… strange to say the least.

First off, there’s the issue of broadcasting it. I had my TV turned to ABC for the State of the Union and ensuing dry analysis and Republican response. After that, they went to an episode of the comedy, “Cougar Town,” and I turned off my TV and went to bed soon afterwords. But if I had had been watching CNN, as most the comedians & other media personalities I follow on Twitter were apparently doing, I would have watched the Tea Party response. This led to some debate on whether to air the response to begin with. The response wasn’t exactly sanctioned by anybody. The Tea Party is kind of its own anarchical party right now, with no clear leadership. I mean, Rand Paul, a Tea Party member, aired a response right afterwords, but nobody picked him up. In fact, Rand was happy for it to simply air on his YouTube channel. But to quickly settle the issue so we can move onto more humorous issues, if CNN wants to air it, it’s their choice, and it certainly entertaining, at least if my Twitter feed is any indication . Why? There were three main problems at play with the speech:

1. It Wasn’t Professional: This is where most of the humor was derived from, but apparently the camera was off, which is very unprofessional, and it thus seemed like Bachmann was talking to somebody right over your shoulder. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins said it was a quizzical Labrador Retriever she was talking to, and that the camera should have been turned around to reveal this fact. The problem was never fixed, so instead of having your attention on what the content of the message is, you’re just distracted at who she could possibly be looking at over your shoulder.

2. The Content of the Message Was Full of Misinformation:

[speaking of national over-spending and the government’s misuse thereof] So what did we buy? Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which lightbulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama’s new healthcare bill.

This comprises about 20 seconds of her 7 minute address, but it also stands for the general misinformation populating the speech.

Dear Michele Bachmann: The government doesn’t tell us which lightbulbs to buy. They recommend that we should get more energy efficient lightbulbs, but that’s far from the socialistic implications you’re making there. After all, even if they did make us buy energy-efficient lightbulbs, it’s not like it would be a bad thing. In fact, if the entire nation switched, then we could probably put a couple more years on the life of this planet. They may have their problems, but they’re hardly a deterrent when you look at how much money they save you on your energy bill.

As for the IRS agents, this is the first I’m hearing about this. Unless I’m missing something, it doesn’t make a lot of sense either. The IRS handles taxes. Why would they be policing the healthcare system in the way you’re implying? And how exactly would the IRS policing the healthcare system be a bad thing?

I could go on, but frankly, I don’t think dissecting any more of the various diversions of information and truth of the entire speech would exactly be productive.

3. Charts: We may be visual learners, but with the exception of a classroom where you have the time to really dissect every aspect of the chart, the chart has places where it should and should not be used. Politics is not one of those times where a chart should be used.

Overall, the “Tea Party Response” was like watching an MTV reality show. The trainwreak of it all is always entertaining, but everytime somebody tries to say something important, it either comes out wrong, misinformed, or just plain laughable. Unfortunately for Michele Bachmann, it was a little bit of all the above at a time when the Tea Party needs all the credibility that it can get.


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