I was intrigued by the news that a counter-Tea Party movement was formulating on the Left, calling itself the Coffee Party. I envisioned a group perhaps better educated than the misguided Tea Partiers, though driven by a comparable populist angst. After all, many on the Left feel royally duped by their supposed change-agent, President Barack Obama.
He has broken A LOT of promises — ones which were VERY IMPORTANT to his once energized supporters, leaving them thoroughly demoralized. Here are just a few of Obama’s broken promises:
- He would not come to Washington and cut back door deals with entrenched interests — there would be complete transparency during health care negotiations (on C-SPAN), and everyone would get a seat at the table. Nope.
- He would not allow lobbyists and those with conflicts of interests to serve in his administration.
- A public option would be a key component of any health care bill, and he promised not to mandate that Americans purchase health insurance from ‘for profit’ health insurance companies. He then did the very opposite once elected.
- Americans would be able to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and priced lower outside the U.S., and to allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices. Nope, instead he cut a back door deal with the Pharmaceutical Industry agreeing to ban it.
- As President, he would recognize the Armenian Genocide (he used very strong language on this matter). However, once elected he refused to acknowledge it as genocide (when asked by reporters) in Turkey, and he then proceeded to lobby Congress this week to deny a vote on Resolution 252 that would have made such an acknowledgment.
- He would close Guantanamo Bay immediately, and to restore habeas corpus. Nope, he plans to keep suspects imprisoned indefinitely without trial, and Guantanamo Bay remains open for business.
- He would reject the Military Commissions Act, which allowed the U.S. to circumvent Geneva Conventions in the handling of detainees. Nope.
- In the spirit of transparency he would amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. Nope.
So naturally, I would have expected to see some of this mentioned on the site of this new ‘grass routes movement’ calling itself the Coffee Party. On the contrary, they don’t seem to advocate for a single issue or policy proposal; the group seems completely void of substance.
Take the Coffee Party’s Mission Statement:
The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.
“Cooperation”?! That sounds A LOT like “BI-PARTISANSHIP” to me. You know, the term Obama uses as a means to promote corporatist (anti-populist) policies under the cover of “a need to compromise with Republicans or ‘Centrists’.” Let’s face it, President Obama has rhetorically opted for bi-partisanship as a means to crush meaningful change since the very first day he took office. And yet this Coffee Party is ironically parroting Obama’s key talking point in their ‘grass routes’ mission statement? Could this group be shilling for Obama’s political arm — the now crumbling Organizing For America?
There’s nothing in that Coffee Party’s mission statement that suggests a move towards populism or an effort to pull Obama further to the Left (back towards the promises he ran on). Wouldn’t that be the equivalent to what the Tea Party is trying to accomplish from their end? Aren’t Tea Partiers, as delusional as they may be, trying to pull Republican politicians towards populist policies important to them?
Whereas Tea Partiers seem disenchanted with both the Republican party and the government, Coffee Partiers seem contented with the Democratic Party and the government. The only issue that seems to resonate with the Coffee Party is Republican obstructionism. In fact, I couldn’t find a single criticism of the President, nor a mention of Democratic betrayals on their entire site. Some ‘grass routes’ movement!
The group asks every Coffee Party member to sign the following Civility Pledge:
As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.
It appears this group is more interested in making a statement about the ugliness they see at Tea Party gatherings than they are in actually promoting policies that might improve Americans’ lives. Their elected Democratic representatives (who control all branches of government) have been selling them out for one year now by putting entrenched interests above their own, and Coffee Partiers don’t have a single thing to complain about with regards to their own party?
Watch this video (off their home page) which the Coffee Party is using to sell themselves, and then tell me if you believe these people are issue-driven:
If this were a Tea Party video, you’d hear a lot of passionate — admittedly crazy-sounding — angst about how their party and government is disappointing them. Tea Partiers joined together as a ‘grass routes movement’, because they feel very strongly about specific issues. The Coffee Party doesn’t seem to stand for anything, beyond getting together to sip lattes.
Surely they must have a strong feeling about some issue of importance to Americans (in the midst of two wars, a horrific recession, and a government that is no longer responsive to the people)? Issues drive movements, not Kumbaya coffee gathering. It’s as if the DNC itself has choreographed a “grass routes movement” void of the populist fervor that once drove Organizing For America.