Due to the extraordinary alignment of our Gregorian calendar, Election Day falls just hours after Halloween this year, a poetically and politically ironic juxtaposition, as this year it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate between the platforms and people running for office. The reason for this confusion is simple. Apparently, the hot new costume this year is “Tea Party Candidate,” an affiliation designed to keep politicians out of hot water, and which now comes in Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, and Momma Grizzly. Just like football’s “Wildcat Offense” and Wall Street’s “Mortgaged Backed Securities” before it, being connected with the Tea Party is now considered as hip as Tweeting that you’ve un-friended you ex-boss on your Facebook page, and have now been crowned Foursquare Mayor of Strongsville’s Panera Bread restaurant.
Not since the signing of the Declaration of InTEApendence and the ConsTEAtution has there been such a groundswell of support for a water-based beverage. According to legend, the spark that ignited the wildfire fanning this grassroots movement can be traced back to Rick Santelli’s impassioned 2009 rant airing on New York-based CNBC (so perhaps it should have been called the Long Island Tea Party) which was directed at Obama’s misguided stimulus policies, essentially claiming that the new administrations’ idea of “checks and balances” was writing massive bailout “checks” without any “balances” in the governments’ checkbook to pay for them. Santelli’s outburst seemed to crystallize and galvanize our national sentiment, arguing that when America’s unsustainable economic path came to a T in the road and required a dramatic change, we elected President Obama – who grabbed the wheel (and the House and Senate) and immediately took a sharp Left, dragging America in a direction (and at a speed) she didn’t want to go. It also taught us a lesson – the next time we vote for “Change” we need to specify, “Change…for the BETTER!”
So what does all of this have to do with the price of Tea in China?
Like the Whig Party in the mid-1800’s, and the Weave Party shortly thereafter, the Tea Party’s rallying cry for lower taxes, limited government, and the couplet of personal freedom and personal responsibility has resonated with the masses in a way not seen since Joe Lieberman captured the imagination of the “individual rights” movement with the launch of his “Liebertarian” Party back in the mid-1990’s, or its more recent reincarnation in the person of Joe the Plumber. Tired of lobbyists, broken promises, and being dictated to by career politicians on both sides of the “I’ll” (as in, “I’ll televise healthcare reform on C-SPAN” or “I’ll have bipartisan cooperation”) the Tea Party’s populist revolt represents America’s British-equivalent of the “House of Commons” wrenching control back from the incumbent “House of Lords” and forcefully returning the Power to the People, who are now demanding heightened levels of transparency, authenticity, and integrity from all governmental officials. Pundits have already declared this election a referendum on the current administration, with polls indicating a majority of Americans want to “Cap and Trade” Obama (or at least put him on waivers for a player to be named later).
According to the National Retail Federation, about 1 in 4 Americans are planning on dressing up this Halloween, and chances are many of them will be coming to your door to ask for candy, votes, handouts…or to see if you want to connect on LinkedIn. Therefore, to provide some clarity and illumination, I have enclosed the following legend describing the various factions and agendas of the groups associated with the Tea Party, enabling you to decide witch to trick and which to treat on Halloween and at the polls:
Green Tea Party: A group of holistic environmentalists – an offshoot of the more obscure Tree Party
Tee Party: An unholy alliance of golfers and football kickers
Fits You to a Tea Party: Collection of high-end clothiers in the garment and tailoring industry
T-Shirt Party: A creative coalition combining a love of slogans and short sleeves
Ice-Tea Party: An odd collection of futurists concerned with global warming, melting glaciers, and 80’s rap
Tea Leaves Party: A shrinking guild of horoscope writers, plus Nouriel Roubini
T Him Up Party: A “technical” group comprised of basketball referees and the infamous Latrell Sprewell (and anyone else who wants to give Obama a Time Out)
Decaffeinated Tea Party: Retired soccer moms and hippies who want change, but aren’t quite so hyper about it (see also Tupperware Party)
Nancy Pelostea: Don’t go there
Mad Tea Party: Disgruntled group with no concept of reality and living in a Wonderland (a favorite with kids and Disney characters)
T-Bill Party: Proponents of Ben Bernanke and the Fed (what they lack in bonds they make up for in maturity)
Democrateac Party: Hardcore liberals wrapping themselves in a Tea Bag to get elected
Teapublican Party: Centrists smart enough to ride this wave into Congress and eventually the White House
Inteapendent Party: Spoilers no more, they are the reincarnation of Ross Perot, the true puppet masters
Mr. T Party: I pity the fool who doesn’t support this group
Do Re Mi Fa So La Tea Party: Official party of Glee and “gleeks” everywhere, featuring a platform promising to air the show 7 days a week (plus weekends), bring back Britney, and perform the State of the Union address as a Rock-opera (“No Lie.”)
Yes, it’s only a mid-term election, but just like in college, it should provide a pretty good sense of whether the final grade will be passing or failing. My guess is that, just like LeBron, America has already made The Decision, and is just waiting for primetime on November 2 to announce their intentions.
So remember, just as you answer the door and ask those Trick-or-Treaters, “Who are YOU supposed to be?” always remember when you listen to the debates and go to the polls to look behind the mask — it might surprise you. And one final thing — you should probably start preparing your children NOW for the impact that our sluggish economy will have on the distribution of Halloween treats. I’ve already warned my kids to expect individual M&M’s.
Author and artist, bodybuilder and businessman, cereal entrepreneur and everyman, soccer Dad and MBA grad, he is a realist, idealist, and surrealist, who considers his job done when he has blended high tech with high touch into an easy to swallow Digital Casserole, which is, ironically, also the name of his blog. He is currently working on his new novel, a sequel to The Titanic.