TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Monday, March 21, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1047

IRS Logo 2USA Today op-ed:  How David Brooks Created Donald Trump, by Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee):

Last week, in assessing the rise of Donald Trump, New York Times columnist David Brooks engaged in an uncharacteristic bit of self-reflection. ... Brooks is, of course, horrified at Trump and his supporters, whom he finds childish, thuggish and contemptuous of the things that David Brooks likes about today’s America. It’s clear that he’d like a social/political revolution that was more refined, better-mannered, more focused on the Constitution and, well, more bourgeois as opposed to in-your-face and working class.

The thing is, we had that movement. It was the Tea Party movement. ... One of the most famous things about the Tea Partiers was that — as befits a relentlessly bourgeois protest movement — they left things cleaner than they found them. ...

Yet the tea party movement was smeared as racistdenounced as fascist, harassed with impunity by the IRS and generally treated with contempt by the political establishment — and by pundits like Brooks, who declared "I'm not a fan of this movement." After handing the GOP big legislative victories in 2010 and 2014, it was largely betrayed by the Republicans in Congress, who broke their promises to shrink government and block Obama’s initiatives.

So now we have Trump instead, who tells people to punch counterprotesters instead of picking up their trash.

When politeness and orderliness are met with contempt and betrayal, do not be surprised if the response is something less polite, and less orderly. Brooks closes his Trump column with Psalm 73, but a more appropriate verse is Hosea 8:7 "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” Trump’s ascendance is a symptom of a colossal failure among America’s political leaders, of which Brooks’ mean-spirited insularity is only a tiny part. God help us all.

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Comments

The media still doesn't want to see that the Tea Party arose first and foremost as a protest of unsustainable government spending, not merely the bailout of the banks and Wall Street. Learning this would only have required attending one of the protests, which were conducted safely and responsibly. Polite protest just doesn't get the attention of our media.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Mar 21, 2016 5:51:52 AM

Unsustainable government spending as the primary stimulator of the Tea Party? Really? You mean like the kind of government spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Veterans' benefits? And the military? Also known as the lion's share of federal spending, which dwarfs everything else? I haven't heard anyone from the Tea Patsy movement who wants to reduce Social Security benefits, Medicare ("Keep the government's hands off my Medicare!!!"), Veteran's benefits or the military. No Mr. Reynolds, your case is unsustainable.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Mar 21, 2016 7:40:34 AM

The tea party was started in reaction to the prospect of paying billions in poor relief to a bunch of banksters and folks who lost out speculating on a housing bubble. No one was going around looking to repeal the welfare state, despite the fact that we all know it will ruin our country in the long run.

Posted by: teapartydoc | Mar 21, 2016 3:43:26 PM

Easy Publius,
The "Tea Patsy" wasn't entirely off-base in their paranoia. After all, they were correct about all the death-panels. You know that's what's really behind the increased mortality of the white working class, but the "lame-stream media" is hiding the truth.

Posted by: Cent Rieker | Mar 21, 2016 4:58:16 PM