Monday, March 01, 2010

Coffee, Tea or Hemlock

Beverage metaphors abound as liberal Coffee Party activists rise up to counter the Tea Party Movement while Nancy Pelosi suggests that some House Democrats may have to drink hemlock to pass health care reform.

"We're not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress," she said yesterday, pointing out Congressional opposition to Social Security and Medicare decades ago. "We're here to do the job for the American people."

Pelosi's followers face possible political suicide in November if they turn up the heat, as she urges, to produce "in a matter of days" final legislation to serve up, but the Speaker is undeterred.

"When we have a bill," she says, "you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell."

Whether voters are ready to swallow anything from Congressional ovens these days is iffy, even as public reaction to Tea Party conservatism arises in the form of Facebook exchanges and face-to-face organizing of Coffee Party chapters to channel discontent into another direction.

"You're dealing with a nation that's jaded, paranoid, distrustful, broke, angry," says an organizer, "it's like they just woke up from an eight-year meth binge. We've become so polarized. Once we say our political affiliations, everyone goes to their corner and then comes out swinging."

Coffee Partyers propose to offset with energetic civility what Frank Rich decries as "The Axis of the Obsessed and Deranged" that leads a Republican Congressman, fruitcake Steve King of Iowa, to celebrate the murder-suicide of a "tax protester" flying a plane into a Texas office building of the Internal Revenue Service, "an agency that is unnecessary," exulting that "when we abolish the I.R.S., it’s going to be a happy day for America.”

Whatever their beverage of choice, Americans going through this over-caffeinated time may want to look back at the Depression when Irving Berlin, who later wrote "God Bless America," offered up a cheerful anthem with a potable theme:

"Just around the corner/There's a rainbow in the sky/So let's have another cup o' coffee/And let's have another piece o' pie."

With the way things are going, some of us may prefer stronger libations, but let's get back to drinking stuff together rather than throwing it overboard.


Anonymous said...

Make my drink something with a lot of alcohol.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

The coffee party is a BO (or more likely Plough, he's the one with the brains) attempt to create a counter-movement. The trouble is that you can't "create" a movement or a counter-movement, they occur, spontaneously, in response to something of import, something they can get behind and care about. How long do you think these bitter beans will be able to sustain their "we hate the Tea Party" venom and channel it into an actual movement? It's just silliness and spite. And bitterness. Sad.