Poll-Dancing Tea Party Types

When the Tea Party types helped Republicans take control of the US House last November, they loudly proclaimed that they would be listening to the “voice of the people.” (You can still buy a Tea Party wristband with that catchy phrase on it.)

They have now been in office five months, and perhaps it’s time that they check the batteries in their hearing aids: Not long ago, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed that the Tea Party is as deaf as a post when it comes to listening to the “voice of the people.” In the poll, the number one issue that Americans said they were most concerned about was job creation and economic growth. But Tea Party types in Congress have focused much of their time and energy on repealing health care reform (a measure that would increase the deficit); crippling consumer financial protections (a measure that only helps big banks get more of your money); defunding Planned Parenthood (making preventive care health care much harder to get for millions); defunding NPR; and restricting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. Not a single jobs bill has passed to date.

More than 60 percent of poll respondents — including key swing-voter groups — said that they are concerned that the Tea Party inspired budget cuts would impact their lives and their families. But the Tea Party doesn’t want to hear any of that.

The poll showed that 74 percent of Americans supported a proposal that would help cut the deficit by eliminating tax credits for the oil and gas industries. The Republicans weren’t listening and defeated the proposal using a filibuster.

Sixty-seven percent of Americans said it was totally or mostly unacceptable to cut the funding for Medicare. But the Republicans won’t listen. The Paul Ryan plan not only cuts Medicare — it slashes, burns and trashes it.

A slight majority of the people polled said that government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of people. But the Tea Party types won’t listen to them and have made it clear that they plan to do less to help people. A lot less.

And despite what Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and his Tea Party supporters might believe, only 14 percent of poll respondents said it was totally acceptable to eliminate the right of public employees to collectively bargain over health care and other benefits. The Tea Party is totally ignoring the voice of the majority of the people.

And when Republicans were asked by pollsters if they would be more or less likely to support a Republican Presidential candidate who said that the GOP should focus more on economic issues and less on social issues (i.e. gay marriage and abortion) Republican voters said they would be more likely to vote for someone who focused more on the economy and less on implementing the social agenda of the far right — by an eight to one margin. The Tea Party Republicans will not even listen to the majority of the people in their own party. And even though a new poll shows that the majority of Americans now support gay marriage, the Tea Party is pushing Congress to spend at least $500,000 defending the Defense of Marriage Act that a federal court has already ruled un-Constitutional.

When they talk about listening to the people, they really don’t mean “the people” as in “the majority of the people in the country.” They just mean they will listen to “some of the people who agree with me.”

And finally, it’s worth noting this in the NBC/WSJ poll: President Obama’s positive rating was about twice that of Mitt Romney’s. And Egypt’s positives were about 50% greater than John Boehner’s positives. Egypt, you may recall, is that country where they recently had a revolt against leaders who would not listen to the real voice of the people.

I wonder if Mr. Speaker heard about that poll. And I wonder if it made him cry.