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Chuck Pinkey

August 16, 2011

Tea Party values will help fix U.S. credit rating

"Look at the history of this _ the fact of the matter is that this is essentially a Tea Party downgrade. The Tea Party brought us to the brink of a default."

_ David Axelrod, top political consultant to President Barack Obama, in an appearance on "Face the Nation."

"I believe this is, without question, the Tea Party downgrade."

_ Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in an appearance on "Meet the Press."

Yep! The downgrading of the United States credit rating is the Tea Party's fault. If it hadn't made such a fuss over government spending, the debt ceiling would have been quietly raised and our AAA rating preserved.

This "bunch of rabble" has caused nothing but trouble. There would have been no protracted congressional battle, and everything would have gone on as before. Our federal government would continue to spend, spend, spend ... with no clue how to pay for it.

Ah, the Tea Party. The evil Tea Party! Just who do these people think they are, and what exactly is this organization?

It is not a political party like the Democrats or Republicans. It has no national chairman, nor does it nominate Tea Party candidates. It does endorse nominees, but you will not find the Tea Party name listed in any voting booth. There are no membership rolls or national conventions.

The Tea Party holds rallies locally, nationwide and in Washington. (And when done, not an empty can or gum wrapper litters the area.) The participants exercise their freedom of speech with class and dignity. Someone once asked me, "Where do I sign up, and how do I join the Tea Party?" I replied, "You don't; just come to the rally."

We are plain, everyday Americans who believe in the Constitution and want to limit the growth and spending of the federal government. What an outrageous idea. We are "radicals and rabble" to the elite in Washington, but we are "patriots" to millions more.

We are grandparents, fathers and mothers, businessmen and businesswomen, and veterans who have fought for our nation. The Tea Party people have spent their lives working, paying their dues, raising their families, running businesses, paying their taxes and "balancing their checkbooks."

The bottom line is we are proud to be Americans, and we love our nation, our culture and the Constitution. We are loosely organized, poorly financed, and demonized by the press and politicians. But, we are volunteers, and as then Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle said on the eve of the Tokyo raid, "Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer."

But, is the downgrade our fault? Of course, it is! We called attention to the runaway spending, corruption and wealth transfer. With our nation $14.5 trillion in debt, and going deeper in debt to the tune of $4 billion per day, the Tea Party had one hell of a nerve to say, "Whoa!" We pointed to the purple elephant in the room, and the manure hit the barn fan.

As expected, the administration and its spokesmen blame us, the Tea Party. They say we caused the downgrade. It's certainly not the $7 million per minute spending by our federal government or another proposed trillion-dollar stimulus package. Of course not. It was the Tea Party's fault for pointing out the problem.

A talking head on TV said, "To blame the Tea Party is akin to blaming a fire on the person who calls 911." But, if being demonized, name-called and blamed will turn our country onto the right course and lead us back to fiscal responsibility, we can take the heat. It will be a small price to pay.

It is sad and embarrassing to have our nation's credit rating fall below that of Australia, Canada _ and good grief _ France! The first time in history that we do not have a AAA rating. Yes, sir, another first for Team Obama.

Thankfully, some sanity is beginning to seep into the system, but we have a long way to go. Our nation is on the brink of bankruptcy, and that didn't happen overnight. We have the strength and patience to turn the corner and change course. The journey has begun.

Those in Washington and the media should take note. We will be the men and women left standing. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in the movie "Gran Torino," "We are not the kind of people you should mess with."

Note: As this article is being written, cities across Great Britain are in flames. England has recently made cuts in spending and reduced entitlements. Are the children of this "nanny state" going to burn it down if they don't get their handouts?

Is this more of what we saw in Greece? Did we see the beginning of the same thing in Wisconsin? Will President Obama's class warfare against the "rich" and "corporate jet owners" incite similar chaos? Is the stock market sending us a message, as did S&P with its downgrade? As a nation, we must return to Tea Party values, before we all go over the cliff.

Chuck Pinkey is the owner of River Valley New Holland Inc. in Otego. He can be reached at

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