For Immediate Release
Drew Courtney or Miranda Blue
202-467-4999 / email@example.com
Reading Between the Lines: The Tea Party’s Real Constitutional Philosophy
WASHINGTON - Despite all
the hype, the Tea Party is not a "populist,"
"libertarian," or "constitutionalist" movement. Rather,
it is a movement of grassroots frustration that has been co-opted by wealthy
corporate interests to fight against
the historic victories of Populism, against
the key movements for civil liberties and civil rights, and against modern constitutional principles,
argues a new report by Jamie Raskin of People For the American Way.
newly-empowered House GOP takes to the House floor to read the Constitution in
its entirety, Raskin's report questions the Tea Party movement's
asserted allegiance to the text and history of the Constitution, its claim to
champion the liberty of the people, and its identification with earlier
populist movements. "Americans who still love the promise of political
democracy, the real Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the progress of human
liberty and equality should carefully read the fine print, as well as
between the lines, before they drink the tea being served at this party,"
Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, is also a Maryland State Senator
and a professor of constitutional law at American
college of Law.
The report, Corporate
Infusion: What the Tea Party's Really Serving America,
discusses the modern Tea Party movement's history and track record,
- advocating in the 2010 elections for repeal of
the 17th Amendment--popular election of U.S. Senators--a key victory
of American Populism in the last century;
- advocating in the 2010 elections for repeal of
the 16th Amendment and attacking the federal power to impose an
income tax, which is essential to modern democracy;
- fighting the 14th Amendment's
guarantees of equal protection and birthright citizenship and arguing for
repeal of parts of the 14th Amendment, including its crucial
- asserting the unconstitutionality of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and defending the right of private establishments to
discriminate on the basis of race and other arbitrary factors;
- advocating for
a return to the gold standard and thus assailing another great victory of
the Populist movement for working people;
- opposing the reproductive rights of women and the
civil rights and liberties of gay and lesbian citizens; and
- calling for ever more "deregulation"
and generating a host of silly and false political issues, like
allegations about the president's citizenship and religion, while
ignoring and obscuring gigantic corporate scandals and crimes of our
times, including the multi-trillion dollar sub-prime mortgage scam, the BP
oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and the lethal collapse of Massey
Coal's mines in West Virginia.
Constitution reflects the American people's historic fight for a strong
democracy, civil liberties and the common good," said Raskin.
"Although the Tea Party has been billed as embracing all of those values,
it has been co-opted and channeled to fight for the power of big corporations, not
the rights of the American people. We should take a close look at what the Tea
Party's words about the Constitution really mean."
Responding to the planned Constitutional
"read-out" by the Republican majority in the House of
Representatives on Thursday, Raskin said: "It's a fine idea to
celebrate and study the Constitution, but the document they're reading
aloud is about two minutes longer than the one the Tea Party supports.
And what does it mean to read the Establishment Clause out loud when you support
the teaching of creationism in our public schools? Or to repeat the words
'due process,' 'liberty' and 'equal protection' but deny their application to
all citizens? Or to read the Commerce Clause and the necessary and proper
clause but deny their use in advancing the public health and welfare? It's one
thing to read the Constitution, quite another to defend its meaning."
The full report can be found at: http://www.pfaw.org/media-
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.
People For the American Way is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American: Equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. Our America respects diversity, nurtures creativity and combats hatred and bigotry.