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Tea Party: Life imitating art in Nashville

Am I the only one to notice the coincidence that the Tea Party Convention met in Nashville, which is also the title of a 1975 Robert Altman movie about (among other things) an anti-establishment presidential candidate? Hal Phillip Walker, the standard-bearer of the Replacement Party, would have felt at home last weekend in Nashville.

Walker's populist platform included forbidding lawyers from serving in Congress  ("Did you ever ask a lawyer the time of day? He told you how to make a watch, didn't he?"), taking on oil companies, abolishing the Electoral College and eliminating farm subsidies. Some of his positions, such as taxing churches, might not go over so well with some Tea Partiers, but the ethos of his campaign was distinctively populist/outsider. Consider this quote:

"Fellow taxpayers and stockholders in America. On the first Tuesday in November, we have to make some vital decisions about our management. Let me go directly to the point. I'm for doing some replacing. I've discussed the Replacement Party with people all over this country and I'm often confronted with the statement -- 'I don't want to get mixed up in politics,' or 'I'm tired of politics,' or 'I'm not interested.' Almost as often, someone said, 'I can't do anything about it anyway.' Let me point out two things. No. 1: All of us are deeply involved with politics whether we know it or not and whether we like it or not. And No. 2: We can do something about it. When you pay more for an automobile than it cost Columbus to make his first voyage to America, that's politics."

Also, he was capable of surreal Sarah Palin-esque rhetoric: "Have you stood on a high and windy hill and heard the acorns drop and roll? Have you walked in the valley beside the brook, walked alone and remembered? Does Christmas smell like oranges to you?"

Was "Nashville" prophetic? You betcha!

-- Michael McGough

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Mark E. GIllar

Here is the highlight reel from her speech:


The vid also contains a link to her full speech.

andrew nelson

In any grass roots movement, there is always going to be someone trying to race out front to where they think it's heading, to say what they think everyone generally believes, and to assume the leadership, since they think it requires a leader. The trick is not to let anyone have that mantle. We all know what needs to be done, we all know that party leadership protects party leadership first, then the party, then us, if we're lucky. Instead, let's just assume that we as a people know what needs to be done, and withstand the temptation of letting people assume leadership, or letting parties form that will usurp our representation. Nov 2, 2010, we vote these parties out, and we elect individuals, whereever we are, to do the things we need to get done, to represent us, we the people. Do not elect anyone with an ideology or doctrine that is outside our constitutional principles. Good luck, to all of us, in making the right decisions.

andrew nelson

Why are liberals so condescending? To quote Gerard Alexander's excellent editorial in the Washington Post, today, " American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration. Indeed, all the appeals to bipartisanship notwithstanding, President Obama and other leading liberal voices have joined in a chorus of intellectual condescension."


To: Everyone

Please sign the Tea Party Pledge


and tell everyone you know to sign it. Thanks.


Joseph W. Walden Jr.

Be serious why would I pledge myself a Tea Party that manufactures its own media, none of which is based on facts or a single shread of truth.
Hell I may as well re-elect George Walker Bush because he isnt x5 as dumb as Sarah Palin, if you wanna be taken seriously don't invite clowns to your parties.
To date health care has no regulations so are allowed to bill Americans out of house and home or deny proper medicare care completely, millions are without basic preventive healthcare which means the average American ages 19-55 suffers poor health issues as if living in a 3rd world country.
Children ages 1-18 benefit from government health care as do Americans 56+ and over, but those that remain ages 19-55 must purchase a PPO/HMO assuming they have a job and are not unemployed.
I'm not saying your completely stupid but just how many of you can afford a $600.00+ per month Cobra payment once you've lost the job and group health plan you started with.
Even if you have said health coverage a I.M.E. will low rate or deny your ailments to save the insurence company a buck at the expense of your life.
I want government regulated health care, I want a option besides a slow death or waiting years to afford proper coverage.
And will not any party of fanatics religious, militia, or otherwise to take that away from me.
I'm tired of being discarded like trash by corporate healthcare interest, American's deserve better and I pledge to support President elect Barrack Obama to get it done.

andrew nelson

Mr. Walden, let's take the conveniently ubiquitous word 'government' out of the middle of your 'want' for better healthcare. You 'want' the rest of us to subsidize your healthcare costs, so that you don't have to hustle to find a job and pay the COBRA fee, which is large, and in place as a disincentive to stay unemployed. We have government regulated healthcare now. You pay an insurance premium. It's up to you, and individual, to get what you pay for, and there are lawyers who specialize in do that. The problem with your 'want' is that it imposes slavery on the rest of us, to provide your 'want'. It enslaves healthcare providers to work at prices set by the government. It enslaves people to buy health insurance. It jails them if they don't. Thanks. But the rest of us will pass on your offer to be enslaved by the responsibility to take care of you. Good luck with the Obama thing.


Can anyone here tell me the real Reason that Obama is being opposed? No matter what he proposes, Anyony the real Reason...


Jimmy Carter explained the real reason the Republicans want Obama to fail: Deep-seated racism. If they love America, what else could it possibly be?


Are we as a people so sinsitive that no one in congress or the news can admit what is so very odvious, Instead we we get a bunch of propagada from the likes of palin, rush, beck and the rest of the fools that like to pile on with only criticism but no solutions, It's mind boogling.


love this movement love palin


love love this, hate the way america has become, i have cancer got no help, no one says it is their job, everyone ignores me, medicare won't give supplies, i get no where. toomuch waste the politicians are too rude dont listen,rude to us. here in calif.


did this go on, i hate the politicians today, they do not listen to us, theey are so rude, turn us away have staff to handle problems we get no where, esp Joe smitian sam farr and bill monning love sarah palin i have cancer had medi cal, third world care and doctors, it is the worst, no where to complain i had stage 3 cancer of larnex they told me i had asthema, oh!! you wil love oboma care if it is like medi cal, al filling srop off before you get home, i have a trache no trache in 5 years i have to glue or sew it, it rubbed i got cancer all around it and back in larnex now they ignore me, i have no help here now, i wil sit here and die.


where is an address for tea party's???


. To all those with the “I can't believe I ate the entire thing" syndrome, Sarah Palin should not be taken lightly. Don't do LOL LOL LOLs. She is serious. She is going after the Independents and those that are tired of Same Oh Politics. She is also working on the Fear Mongering aspect of Politics. She is also building her Fox News Ratings. You know ... say it enough and it becomes the truth. She and the other Fear Mongers continue to sing the same song … You know it is called the “Fear Monger’s Song”. The song includes some of the following …
1. The Security of this country is failing.
2. The prosecution of war criminals in federal courts is wrong.
3. Our captured terrorists are not telling us the entire story.
4. The Sky is Falling the Sky is Falling.
As Barack Obama was taken lightly by some and then became our President so to Sarah Palin should not be taken lightly.

Armchair Firebrand

Palin’s political perspective or, to employ her preferred, populist parlance, “that fear-y, status quo thingy,” seems to be working out just fine, at least for her. This self-centered strategy has proven extremely effective in the short-term, upping Ms. Palin’s media profile while lining her pockets at the same time.

However, appealing to people’s irrational fear of change generally brings out the worst in them (a fact demonstrated by the many misguided and offensive slogans spouted at tea party events last summer).

And assuring voters that we can continue consuming resources at or above our current rate is as reckless as it is dishonest. To use a tired metaphor, at a time when Americans must get leaner, Palin is scoring political points by telling us we can eat ice cream every night for dinner and never gain weight or run out of milk.

Read more @ http://armchairfirebrand.wordpress.com/

kirk wilson

I, unlike all the others who have posted thus far, actually saw Nashville. One of my all time favorite Robert Altman films. Your comments are spot on. I never tire of watching the movie. The teabaggers? Not so much.

Joe from Nashville

I definitely thought about the film this past weekend. The Tea Party was held in the big-haired suburbs though...nowhere near the Parthenon or downtown Nashville.

Erie Nadadora

Found your comments after watching Nashville again last night because I actually did a net search to see if anyone else had made the connection. One of my all time favorite movies and Altman's prescience is one of the reasons many of us love his work. In this case anyway, art seems truer than life-- or predictive at the very least. We don't want to end up where the movie did that's for sure.


Mr. Nelson, I hate to break it to you, but we are already subsidizing healthcare. Who do you think pays for the people who show up at the emergency room with no health insurance? I had a friend who had a business but no health insurance. He fell off a ladder and ended up with 50 or 60 thousand dollars in medical bills. He negotiated the bill down to 25 thousand. Who do you think picked up the rest of his bill? The rest of us did that's who. The health care industry managers are personally making 100's of millions of dollars on the sickness of others. It is about time the government did something about it. We set up the healthcare system in Japan, and Germany after the war. If it was good enough for them it should be good enough for us!


Since I saw Nashville when it was a new film, the plot has long since faded from my memory. Spot on. Thanks.

The First Dud

Difference is Walker actually believed what he was saying. These teabaggers, a few of them MAYBE are serious, but most are just sore loser whining adult babies with pea brains. Why you guys continue to cover them as a real story is beyond me. Did you ever cover a miniscule group of "protesters" this much during bush years? Republicans are fantastic at getting their fit throwing on TV and discussed by talking noggins. Palin is a complete and utter notes on the palm of her hand joke.


I get it. I believe in FREEDOM, but not EQUALITY, therefore I MUST be a racist. I don't believe in big government solutions, I believe in people being responsible and doing things for themselves, therefore I MUST be a racist. I have no love for SOCIALISM, therefore I must be a racist. Liberal pundits tell me I am too dumb to understand Obama, therefore I MUST be a racist. These are the same pundits who can't find a substantive criticism against Sarah... except that they don't like her.

I like Sarah. Not sure she is ready for the big job. I am not afraid of the environment. I am not afraid of H1N1. I am not afraid of spanking my children when they need it. I am not afraid to die of natural causes - death is not the enemy. Liberialism is the enemy of freedom.


I actually find it disgusting that these people are pretending to be "anti-establishment"....considering they were all for "the establishment" when republicans ran the house, senate and white house. They also don't seem to mind politically activist judges, but only when those judges share their spin.

I think the media should do a hatchet job on anyone who claims to be a politician representing these "tea baggers" Take a look at their history and put out they hypocrisy on tv.


Can we PLEASE stop the Sarah Palin focus.

She is a highly dangerous and hypocritical voice of the large oil and financial industry who has her sheep running scared.

can anyone recall the fact that she quit her obligation to run the state of Alaska to be that opposing voice for green energy? She rants about the Pres using a teleprompter however she has been view a number of times reading notes off of her palm.

I'm starting to loose faith in the american public who agrees with this horrible person.

YES, taxes and governmental elected officials are way out of hand, however she and this so called "tea party" are NOT on the side of this great country.

Her only concern is her bank account.

Theodore K

I am all for taxing religious institutions. They are run like businesses. Why should they not be taxed like businesses? This is particularly true for those "Prosperity Churches". The way we deal with non-profit organizations must also be overhauled.



Gag me with a spoon.

I'm all about grass roots movements and reforming Washington...


Are you kidding me?

Everyone in America knows she is incompetent. Completely unqualified for ANY public office.

She couldn't finish her term for Governer, and these bufoons want her for president?

we have deeper educational issues than I thought.



Sarah Palin is just a breath of fresh air. I was skeptical about her knowledge and experience level to run for a national office, but having now seen several interviews, she is moving up in my estimation. She is saying what a lot of Americans are thinking: we don't need big government "solutions" to our problems. We need common sense, free enterprise and the freedom that made this country the most prosperous nation on earth.
Those who are against a bloated federal government, skyrocketing debt and the nanny state aren't racist. We are those who hold the founders' vision of this country above the "progress" in progressivism.

Hugh Curtin

I'm part of the Purple Party. The Tea Party is the death knell for the GOP. It may take years for the Dems to match their stupity, but I'm sure they will. Remember the class of '94. STUPID!


What I want to know is this. Why cant these Muslins and Atheirsts just admit that Jesus is Lord. Is that asking to much? I am so sick of all you libs. Your just scared of Sara! Well, I say Go Sara Go!


Andrew Nelson- I'll tell you why liberals are so condescending. It's because you conservatives are either: a) smart but ruthless, unscrupulous, ravenous in your desire for competition, victory, and domination - or b) really, really stupid and unable to even effectively paraphrase a pedantic intellectual slob like Ayn Rand.

Vivian your posts break my heart- because the solution to your problem isn't what the Tea Baggers are pitching. They wouldn't even give you MediCal if they had their way. Just read Mr. Nelson's posts- you would get nothing according to him because you haven't earned it. Obama actually is trying to do something that would help you, if you only you would listen with an open mind. He and I think that's it is criminal for those of us doing the best not share our wealth (yeah, I said it!) with the lowest of us, those people whose circumstances have gotten the better of them. Obama and I and other liberals know that ultimately America succeeds or fails together, all of us, together. Unlike Palin I don't see some people as being more 'real Americans' than others. We're all on the same team, even those who would punch me in the face for saying that. But Vivian here's a start to getting hip to what's really going on: stop watching Fox News. Really, do yourself a favor. I hope your cancer goes into remission because it sounds like you're running out of other options, and lord knows Sarah Palin isn't going to do anything to help you- she'd fighting Obama tooth and nail to prevent his helping you.



1. Where were all the TEA Party people under the BUSH ERA of BIG GOVERMENT/BIG BROTHER "PATRIOT ACT" Establishment?

2. Is OBAMA our WARTIME PRESIDENT, Yes? Then, as I recall, PROGRESSIVE could not question BUSH & HIS REGIME because that made us ANTI-AMERICAN...So I, say the same to you republicans..ARE YOU ANTI-AMERICAN? DONT BASH MY WARTIME PRESIDENT!!!


love love this, hate the way america has become, i have cancer got no help, no one says it is their job, everyone ignores me, medicare won't give supplies, i get no where. toomuch waste the politicians are too rude dont listen,rude to us. here in calif.

Posted by: vivian | February 08, 2010 at 11:47 AM
That's because you have the only kind of health care system the Tea Baggers and Republicans will allow...and if they get their way, you'll be getting even LESS help than you're getting now. So long as life and death illnesses are used to make hundreds of billions of dollars in profits, vivian, people like you AND me will get nothing better than what we now have but most likely will be getting even less than that if the Tea Party Revolution puts Congress in their hands.


Every criticism of the "Tea Party" can be also be said for the other two parties (Democrats and Republicans). Each party has their own agenda and truths.

Dan Haas

Yes Kirk, you are the only one to notice that. Is your life really that pathetic ? If you still don't get it, you will come November. Americans are finished with the entire liberal movement. We gave you a try and you FAILED......again.


This country was founded by Progressives, this country was made GREAT by Progressives. The true definition of a Conservative is someone who believes that by nature all men are evil and therefore they should be kept on a very short leash; the exact opposite of liberty or freedom.

If people would wake up and just pay attention to things they would quickly realize that most politicians at this point are corrupt because our entire system is corrupt. We allow corporations and lobbyist groups run Washington. This is NOT the government OF the people BY the people and FOR the people...this is the government OF the corporations BY the corporations and FOR the corporations.

I think the reason that most so-called Conservatives feel that Liberals are condescending is because Conservative leaders dumb down most of what they say so that it can be posted in 160 characters or less. Today's Republican Party is the Twitter society, if we can't say it in less than 160 characters let's just forget about it...OMG a 1,000 page healthcare bill there has to be something wrong...it's too long.

Wake up, follow the money and realize you are being played by politicians. Unless you believe the world is 6,500 years old in which you are truly infantile in your thought processes in which case the only solution is for BIG SCARY GOVERNMENT to ensure that our next generation receives a decent education so that they are not as retarded as their parents.


Let's not get too worked up about the "Tea Party Movement". This is a "movement" searching for an issue.

In truth there are some serious Republicans in this country. While I disagree with him much of the time I enjoy reading George Will. I think Tom Campbell is a serious individual running for the Senate in California.

However, every time the Republican Party ends up in the minority they go searching for some loony group with undirected anger. 15 years ago it was evangelical Christians. Now it is rural blue collar white men.

Don't get me wrong, these people have been left behind and have a good reason to have an ax to grind. As we've moved from being an industrial society to an information society, these people have lost out. Today unemployment for people with a college degree is 4%, while it is well into the double digits for those without. More women are working today than men for the first time ever. To top it all off, to speak of the elephant in the room, for the first time ever the President is not a white man and when he speaks he speaks of improving education and making America more competitive in the economy of the future.

Hence, these people are looking for someone to blame. There is no one to blame for their problems. Being a white male factory worker today is like being a silversmith when the industrial revolution breaks out. You were a pillar of your society making good money, and now you aren't. You're pretty angry about that. The party in power which got there with the votes of the young, minorities and those with a college education is an easy target for those who want to direct you anger, even if they have nothing in common with you.

The problem with the tea bag movement at the end of the day is no one is going to undo the forces of history, and while the movement makes for great protest signs, they make for a pretty empty political platform.


Dan Haas: Not sure what you are talking about. The folks in power aren't particularly liberal. Liberals aren't a movement. Neither seems to have failed: we had a 5.7% annualized GDP growth rate in Q4, whereas when Obama was elected it was negative. The recession is over.


What? Was that all you had? Your opinion was that an real-life event was similar to an event in a movie. Wow, you put some time into this one. Really, you gave only one parallel, they were both held in Nashville. You were wrong about the Tea Party, they are nothing close to a populist movement, other than an internal Republican movement with a more populist tone than the one they used to take. In fact, nothing you wrote about at all reflected on how the Tea Party movement is a populist one; as least try to make a case, one way or the other. This reads more like an endorsement to watch the movie you referenced. Do you own stock in NetFlix?


As an independent not connected to either the democratic or republican party I can speak objectively. The republicans lost the 2008 election because people wanted change from the usual, and independents had a lot to do with it, the democrats lost Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts because they would not listen to what people were saying, and again it was primarily the independents who had a major part in this. If the present administration does not listen to movements such as the townhalls and tea parties that are going on now, they will lose in the mid term elections and ultimately a republican administration will win in 2012 and it will be the independents who swing the vote in both cases.


am i the only one to notice that BHO looks an awful lot like jimmy carter nowdays?

liberals like freedom of speach like they like that "freedom" to kill unborn babies: safe but RARE.

i love how they are so scared of free speach. doggone if they just had a super-majority, they could just ram everything they want thru. and they'd be happy. maybe leave the 70% of the rest of us alone. oops.

Nomo Stew

Andrew, what exactly are liberals supposed to do when rightist positions are all fatally fact-challenged? Pretend they have merit just to get along? Love tea-partier demands that we 1) cut taxes and 2) balance the budget. Flunk math much? Hint: we tried this already, for about 20 of the last 30 years. Doesn't work. We have proof. The idea that anyone who is really interested in this country or in fiscal sanity wants to hand things back to the people who, hello, wrecked the economy, just tells me America really might be too stupid to survive.


Obama was, and is, like The Manchurian Candidate. No one really knew who he was or how he would actually govern. Now we know. I feel duped.


Jimmy Carter explained the real reason the Republicans want Obama to fail: Deep-seated racism. If they love America, what else could it possibly be?

Posted by: Jolie | February 08, 2010 at 10:27 AM

hey jolie, let's do an experiment. you can DO this. rather than just listen to someone else, and eat the crap sandwich they feed you, i have FAITH you can figure stuff out yourself. now, go to someone who wants obama to fail and ask one question: do you want clarence thomas to fail? michael steele? lynne swann? walter e williams? ken blackwell? jc watts? ask 'em. see what they say. now if they say "no! i love those guys". what would that say about jimmy carters theory?? would you like to test it?? try it. i know you can do this. and then you wont look so stupid. in public. i appluad your self-identification of your stupidity, and jimmy carters. but for your sake, you can do better. try the test.
here's a bonus question to ponder: when the dems wanted bush to fail in iraq, did they not love america either??
oh goodness, this is too easy. nitey nite jolie.


Which of the founders' vision are you trying to live up to? Jefferson, Adams, Hamilton, Madison? They all disagreed amongst themselves about the role of government as much as people do today. That is why they created a Constitution that allows for people to continue the debate that they began over 200 years ago. If anything, the closest thing the founders had to agreement on anything was that the role and size of government would be a debate for every generation to have through the representative democracy created by the Constitution.

I'm pretty sure they would also agree that anyone who thought that their respective visions for our nation stand in contrast to "progress" didn't really understand their visions.



Can you help me to understand why you think liberals are against free speech? If Congress or the White House has done anything to censor public speech, I haven't heard about it.

If you think liberals are against free speech because they criticize some of the dumb things that people use their first amendment rights to say, then I think you don't really understand what free speech is. Freedom of speech doesn't equal freedom from criticism (or ridicule, when appropriate).


fredCPA: I don't think Republicans are racist. However, the problem is "Republicans are racist" is a straw man. It's easy to say "I have many black friends" (though KC Watt hasn't been in office for over a decade, Ken Blackwell was basically a local politician, and I don't even know who Walter E. Williams is).

The bottom line is this: all racists are stupid but not all stupid people are racists. The right these days does everything to appeal to the lowest common denominator of intelligence and political discourse. That means they are appealing to stupidity. They pick up some racists in the process, but plenty of other non-racist people who simply don't think through the issues.

Gill Bates

Tax ALL churches - that will help the deficit.

I'm all for taxing churches.


--------Forwarded Message--------

To: Everyone

Please sign the Tea Party Pledge


and forward this to everyone you know.

Thank you.



I say that churches can be taxed if and only if they have sheltered illegal aliens. Once they have harbored a Third World invader, they should lose all tax shelters.

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