I found this over on the Huffington Post. It's the progressives' new, new really, really cool attempt to answer the Tea Party movement led by Van Jones. What strikes me about all of these attempts to counter-balance the Tea Party is what they all have in common. Each of them is manufactured by the progressive establishment, that and each lack any genuine spontaneity.
The Tea Party, on the other hand, was founded by the citizenry, drawn together by a common cause at the grass roots level. Not by the GOP or its established affiliates. And I think that's why none of this nonsense will work for the progressives. The members of the Tea Party were not coerced into becoming members, they demanded membership.
This new attempt by Van Jones starts with the premise that the established progressive agenda is the answer, and they just need to tweak the message. And what is that message? According to Van Jones, America doesn't have an, ahem, debt problem ($14.5 trillion and counting), no, the problem with the country is that we have a lack of growth problem (Really why do you think that is?). So, as you will see below, Van Jones' premise is clearly that the federal government is not big enough. Here is their 10 point Contract For the American Dream to solve America's woes (my interpretation in parentheses):
1. INVEST IN AMERICA'S INFRASTRUCTURE (Code speak for - Government spending, e.g. more stimulus. That's worked really well so far)
2. CREATE 21ST-CENTURY ENERGY JOBS (Code speak for - Hamper the economy and energy production even further by subsidizing eco-friendly programs that would have no chance of competing on their own in the market place)
3. INVEST IN PUBLIC EDUCATION (This one really ticks me off. This is code speak for effectively subsidizing the Teacher's Unions with no real effect on student improvement)
4. OFFER MEDICARE FOR ALL (Yep can't forget this one. FREE medical care for all. This one is the most dangerous due to the addition of trillions of dollars to an already strained entitlement programs)
5. MAKE WORK PAY (This is newspeak at its best. This is for the unions and their right to organize, period)
6. SECURE SOCIAL SECURITY (Here they simply want to remove the Social Security tax cap so those who make more pay for virtually all of the SS outlays. Read: wealth redistribution)
7. RETURN TO FAIRER TAX RATES (More newspeak - Here they want to end the Bush era tax cuts and loop holes for corporation. This so that the 51% of Americans that are paying taxes now, can pay more! What a deal)
8. END THE WARS AND INVEST AT HOME (This is just typical anti-war nonsense)
9. TAX WALL STREET SPECULATION (Here they want to of 1/20th of 1% on each Wall Street trade presumably to discourage anyone doing business in America even more)
10. STRENGTHEN DEMOCRACY (A bit of a throw away here. Rhetoric about 'clean/fair' elections. Immigrant reform, end corporate money, the usual)
The Tea Party came together over one issue and one issue only. Stop the government from spending our children' and grandchildren's money. They have been singularly focused on that issue because if the government can't spend what it doesn't have, intended consequences, can take shape. Consequences like smaller government, lower taxes, and better business environment both domestic and abroad
Van Jones' Rube Goldberg machine outlined above is just progressive's business as usual. My guess is that it will be just as successful as all the other attempts and the Tea Party will be stronger for it.
I think the reason we see all these attempts to find a balance to the Tea Party is that they, the Tea Party, have shaken the progressive elites to their socialist core. Not since the revolution had a group of people become so influential so quickly. Add the fact that these people stand on principle first and any party affiliation second has to scare the pants of these guys because, just like our founders, the Tea Partiers will not compromise with injustice.