More Observations from the “Doctor’s Tea Party”

by on August 11, 2010 · 32 comments

in Culture, Economy, Popular, San Diego

tea party 8-7-10 birther-conspiracy ac

The "birther" conspiracy is still alive. (Photos by Andy Cohen.)

Editor: Here are Andy’s observations and more photos of the “doctor’s” tea party held last Saturday (08/07/10) at Spanish Landing near downtown San Diego. He did find that the “Birther” movement is still alive here in San Diego.

by Andy Cohen / The Politics of Football / August 10, 2010

I’m not sure what I expected to see when I dared to venture into enemy territory. I mean, I knew that, generally speaking, the Tea Partiers’ vision of America was not firmly based in reality; that they typically harbor a longing for “a simpler time,” and “the old days,” and their theories on the economy and politics and health care tend to be more theory and less actual, workable policy. And I know unequivocally that should the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party gain any real power in America then we’re all in for a long, slow descent into third world status.

And I’m not sure what I expected to see crowd wise: Would there be thousands upon thousands gathered to lend a full-throated roar to their anti-government rage? No. What I found was a modest gathering of about, oh, 700 or so people (maybe more, maybe less……I’m just guestimating here. But it wasn’t a huge crowd by any stretch of the imagination) that was rather tepid in their enthusiasm.

I must admit, though, that I walked into the festivities with a small handful of preconceptions:

  • The Tea Partiers tend to be older. Yet I was surprised to find a good number of twenty and thirty somethings. A few even brought their entire family.
  • The Tea Partiers have racist tendencies. This one I’m not unconvinced of, but then again, I’m not convinced that they are racist (or do lean to racist tendencies). One I can say for sure is that most of the signs they displayed were so far out of the mainstream and so detached from reality, and truly did not lend credibility to the views of this group. In fact, I really have to question the education most of these folks received.
  • The Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white. This one could not have been more true. There was a stunning lack of color in the audience. Now, those in attendance would argue that just because the audience was entirely white does not mean that they lacked diversity, I would argue that that is exactly what it means. All of these folks are white, middle class, have an irrational fear of government, and love to claim that they have a keen understanding of the Constitution, yet demonstrate every day that they clearly don’t.

tea party purge congress 8-7-10 acI must also admit that I half expected to walk into a steaming cauldron of hate. And while I did find the expected half-witted, half-brained bile coming from the speakers and the visual aids, I found it to be a rather well-behaved, if paranoid crowd.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t the expected delusional rantings about the evil government and the communist Barack Obama. About how those dreaded liberals are out to deliberately destroy the country and hand it over to the Chinese or Venezuelans, or whomever the enemy du jour is. That only comes with the territory for a delusional right-winger. After all, there has to be SOMEONE out there that we have to start a war with next, right?

“We are at war with Oceania. We have always been at war with Oceania.”

Ok, so maybe there wasn’t the cadre of wild-eyed crazies that I half expected (hoped?) to find. I mean, it’s just so easy to dismiss the majority of these people as plain ‘ol ignorant, malleable minions of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and El Rushbo.

And they are that.

That’s not to say that the crazies didn’t show up. They most certainly did, only most of them were featured speakers at the event.

First, I need to mention a prevailing sentiment at this gathering that I found rather disturbing: These folks view health care as a privilege, not a right. In fact, one of the first speakers I heard (sadly I did not arrive in time to hear Sharron “Obtuse” Angle speak……it’s probably for the better) was an obscure California gubernatorial candidate, Chelene Nightingale–Yeah…..I’d never heard of her either—came right out and declared it!

“Health care is a privilege, not a right.” Which essentially means that if you can’t pay for medical attention, you can just go ahead and die. You won’t be missed. You weren’t wealthy enough to really contribute to society anyway. I could dedicate an entire book to ranting about how wrong that sentiment is, but I’ll save it for another time.

But that’s not the only thing coming through the PA system that I found, well, to put it mildly, objectionable. One speaker accused Barack Obama of being a “Hugo Chavez Wannabe dictator.” And all the other “Obama as socialist, commie pinko” nonsense (actually, I did see a sign accusing him of being a “commie.” C’mon! That’s so 50’s!)

Then there was a “comedian” named Eric Golub. I put “comedian” in quotes because he obviously thinks he’s funny, and he apparently does have a standup act that he takes on the road. But I found the guy pretty sad and pathetic. Certainly not funny.

And he brought out his ‘A’ game for this event, let me tell you! Like the joke where he says he agrees “we need to be more bipartisan. We need to find compromises for our government to work. For example, gun control. We conservatives want LESS, those commie liberals want MORE gun control. So all we have to do is take all of the guns away from those liberals and give them to us. And the next time we have a disagreement, we’ll win ‘cause WE HAVE ALL THE GUNS!”

Or the one on tax policy. “We want to lower taxes, while those liberals want to RAISE taxes. So here’s what we do: We take their money and give it to us. What are they gonna say about it? WE HAVE ALL THE GUNS!!!”

Ha ha. I’m ROFLOL.

Or this gem: “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, BRING A BAZOOKA!”

What is it about Conservatives (big ‘C’) and those “2nd Amendment solutions” they are always looking to bring about? (Like the sign I photographed that said “The solution to 1984 is 1776!”)

Or his reference to the Speaker of the House as “Pelosiraptor.” And you should probably buy this guy’s book………ok, maybe not.

Or the rhetoric thrown around by Rickey Jackson’s daughter (why the hell did they ask her to speak?). “Obamacare,” she says, “threatens everything about our way of life.” A bit melodramatic, maybe, Candace? Of course, this is a woman who believes that the health insurance companies are the “victims” of “Obamacare.” And that progressive intellectuals “fell in love with Russian and German socialism.” Oh, and “Obamacare is unconstitutional!” Like she’s some sort of Constitutional Scholar or something.

One positive of the day was hearing the story of Nick Popaditch. Mr. Popaditch is running against Rep. Bob Filner of the 51st District. Now, I don’t think the guy is cut out for Congress just yet. I’m not sure he has a full grasp of just what it means to run a government and represent ALL of the people in a district. But he does have a compelling and inspirational story.

Mr. Popaditch is a Marine who was wounded in Iraq. He took shrapnel to his face, causing him to lose his right eye (he wears an eye patch). He also caught another piece of shrapnel that got lodged in behind his left eye, rendering him temporarily blind. The doctors were unsure if they would be able to save it, or if he’d ever be able to see anything ever again. They were forced to remove his left eye to get to the offending piece of metal and remove it, reinserting his lone remaining “good” eye afterward. Today Mr. Popaditch doesn’t see perfectly out of his left eye, but he can see. And for that he expresses his eternal gratitude to the doctor’s that worked with him.

But Mr. Popadtich has a warped view of the American healthcare system. He says “doctors are mercenaries.” And he doesn’t really have a plan or an idea for making sure the 43 million Americans without health insurance can get it. At least none that he proposed.

He also decries the evils of “Obamacare,” and insists that it should be repealed. But Popaditch is a realist, and knows that even as a member of Congress he’ll never be able to repeal the health care bill. But, he says, they can defund it, and by gosh, that’s just what he intends to do.

Popaditch also wants to “get rid of all those Czars” (never mind that George W. Bush appointed far more “Czars” than Obama has, but it didn’t seem to bother anybody back then). He insists that government cannot create jobs. He demands lower taxes (despite the fact that taxes are at their lowest in half a century—yes, that means we are paying less in taxes than we have in a VERY long time).

But perhaps the most disturbing thing about Nick Popaditch, and most dangerous, is that he views the world and its politics through his military service. He seems to believe that military force is the answer to all of our problems throughout the world. He would like to see a tougher approach to Iran and North Korea—we need to rattle more sabers and talk tough. His message: “America will always be able to out tough you and out fight you!” Like dropping bombs is the answer for everything. As if that will make us more secure.

Anyway, I did get a chance to speak with Mr. Popaditch very briefly, and I do intend to take him up on his offer for an interview. I found him to be very personable and respectful. And I do think he means well. I just don’t think he has the right ideas about what life in this country is all about. And while I wish him the very best and thank him for his service, I sincerely hope that Bob Filner retains his seat in Congress next November.

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andy Cohen August 11, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Folks–I have to apologize for the rambling incoherence that is this piece. I meant well, but I was really tired and and my mind kept jumping all over the place, and the result is this mess. I have since edited it a bit–probably not enough–but hopefully you can get the idea I was trying to convey.

So, I’m sorry for making this so difficult to read. :-(


avatar annagrace August 11, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Hey Andy:) I appreciated your post. I appreciated you and Frank being there, because I decided that I was not going to spend my beautiful Saturday morning surrounded by the Tea Party Docs and listening to Sharron Angle. It was important that you conveyed to us the sentiment that health care is viewed by these individuals as a privilege not a right. That alone should make us sit up and take notice. How many of the people who read or post to the OBrag don’t have that “privilege” is worth asking. Thanks again!


avatar Andy Cohen August 11, 2010 at 8:52 pm

To tell you the truth, I’m kinda glad I went. I decided that it was important to see first hand what goes on at these events rather than just watching clips cable TV. I still think these people are completely detached from reality, living in the Faux News bubble. But I did get a pretty good laugh at the paranoia of these folks. They were nutty, but overall pretty harmless.


avatar Andy Cohen August 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Also, I have added more photos of the event to the Politicsoffootball site. I’m attempting to add videos, but the upload to my newly created youtube account is going excruciatingly slowly!


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 9:08 am

There is nothing like waking up with a warm cup of joe, and reading an article about delusional right-wingers, by a delusional left-winger (or vica-versa).

And the idea that health care is a “right” illustrates how deep the delusion runs. Let me ask you this, how can something be a right if it depends on another mans labor?

Think out our “rights” (look at the Bill of Rights, maybe) and show me one that depends on other mens (or womens) labor.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 12, 2010 at 9:22 am

Hi Ian, good mornin’ to ya. Now read this: “…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” How can a citizen be entitled to “life” if she/ he is facing death from lack of adequate health care? Health care is a right, pure and simple.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 10:39 am

Hi Frank, but sorry, that doesn’t mean eternal life, or life at all costs. There is one certain thing in life, and that is death. Everybody dies, and everybody suffers, it is just a fact of life.

What that statement means is that the government or other entities cannot TAKE AWAY your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, it doesn’t mean that they have to provide you with eternal life, liberty, and happiness.

With regard to health care, it requires other people’s work/labor (doctors, nurses, scientists, manufacturers, administrators, etc.), and if it is to be considered a right that means that those who cannot afford their own health care must have it provided to them by others. The implication of this being, that either you want the doctors, nurses, scientists, manufacturers, and administrators to all work for free (or force them to work for free? slave labor?), or you want other productive people in our society to work to pay for what they cannot provide for themselves.

If you want to consider something that requires other people’s labor a “right”, then you have created your self quite a conundrum (catch-22, rock/hardplace), because it means that you have to infringe on another persons “rights” to provide it.


avatar kenloc August 12, 2010 at 11:21 am

I don’t know if healthcare is a right or not.I’ll leave that to you legal types to debate.How about it just being the right thing to do? Can you turn away a dying man because he is poor when treatment is available? An injured child because he has no insurance? We send medical aid to other countries,we can’t help our fellow Americans with tax dollars?I work hard for my money too.I don’t mind some of my tax dollars going to help the less fortunate.Not everyone who needs help is bleeding the system.Surely there is some other form of wasteful goverment spending you could trash, why the spending that is trying to help people?Thank the Lord that you have the ability to work and are fortunate enough to be in the position to help others.Most of the folks at these rallies are just concerned with how long the wait will be at the doctors office because those damn poor people will be taking up all his time. CALLING ALL TEA BAGGERS….you want to be patriotic?Help your fellow Americans that needs to see a doctor.Your world will not come to an end.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ken, I pretty much agree. Even though health care isn’t a “right”, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t advantageous to the society as a whole, and the individuals within to provide some basic level of health care for all (especially the youth, elderly, disabled, and maybe the poor).

None of us live in a bubble, and allowing people to wither away and die isn’t good for anyone.

I just find it disappointing, that there are so many people who lack the intellectual fortitude to actually think about what these ideas/concepts mean (what is a right?), before they declare how they should be applied. There are dire (unintended) consequences when people begin to think that they are owed something from society, and from the requirement other peoples labor. This attitude of entitlement lowers aspirations, minimizes personal responsibility, and is very harmful in the long run.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 12, 2010 at 11:50 am

People have been thinking about health care being a right for a long time, dude. I worked for a non-profit medical clinic in the beach area in the early seventies, and one of our slogans then was “healthcare is a right, not a privilege.” It applied then and it applies now.


avatar Terrie October 31, 2010 at 1:53 pm

You worked at the Beach Area Free Clinic?! I used to go there in the 70s myself. I just woke up and coffee cup in hand, wanted to read up on the tea party here as even though I, too, have preconceptions, I believe Andy provided a taste of the events, and I wasn’t surprised as to what he outlined.

I’m with Ken et al on the “right thing to do” aspect. The difference between legalities and ethics. . .What is ethical to one person doesn’t seem to “always” be to another. . .Given that there are many people who work who don’t receive medical coverage (me, for existence. . .but I quit a job where I had Kaiser that I didn’t use, choosing instead to pay my acupuncturist out-of-pocket), I do believe that there should be more options. I waffle back-and-forth between national medicine programs, not because I don’t believe care isn’t a right, but because I become concerned about how these programs might be administered. I’ve know enough people from Canada to know that sometimes they have to wait and wait for attention, unless, of course, it’s a very immediate need (e.g., car accident, etc.).

So, I don’t know much about “all this”, but strive to learn more.


avatar kenloc August 12, 2010 at 3:03 pm

If someone works for 20 years, pays into the system, loses their job and falls ill,Society does owe them something. You seem to be taking the stance that the people that will benefit from “Obamacare” are only those that have never worked,don’t want to work, and want the government to take care of them. In some cases that may be true, but there are many people that need a hand at a low point in their lives. They weren’t always ill and broke with no insurance.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

Nope. that is not my stance.


avatar doug porter August 12, 2010 at 11:39 am

things that government provides/funds that routinely require labor:
Public Education
are they rights? No. But it is the RIGHT thing to do.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 11:54 am

Lets stick with the debate Doug. “Rights” and “the right thing to do” are very different things. You are correct that none of the things you list are rights, and neither is health care.

To turn you list on its head:
Defense- Is our military industrial complex the “right thing to do”? Are the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the “right thing to do”?
Highways- Are roads to nowhere, earmark and pork belly politics the “right thing to do”?
Public Education- Is “no child left behind” the right thing to do?


avatar Frank Gormlie August 12, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ian, thanks for your measured and thoughtful approach. Of course you’re wrong, but hey! who is noticing? Never mentioned “eternal life” – gee, is it available? If the government cannot protect your life because you keep getting sick, ill, or injured – then it is “taking away” that right.

Don’t know where you get this “if it requires other people’s work/ labor” thing. The right to bear arms requires someone else’s labor to make the gun and the ammo, right? Freedom of press requires someone elses labor. Hell, this blog requires labor (just kidding – but I threw that in there for a chuckle – I must be in a good mood). How do other countries manage in providing universal health care? France? Canada? No one – besides you – is talking about forcing doctors and nurses to work for free. If everyone had health care, then everybody can afford it. So?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp August 12, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Frank, the “right to bear arms” is not the same because it is not a requirement to bear arms, if you want to bear arms you can, if you don’t want to you don’t have to. Gun makers are not forced to make guns for free, and taxpayers are not forced to finance the manufacture of guns for everyone.

Likewise, the freedom of press doesn’t require someone else’s labor, if you want to report on something you can, but you are not required to do so. News outlets are not forced to provide free press, and the tax payers are not required to finance news outlets.

As far as, my simplification (I am just trying to make a point) of saying it “forces doctors to work for free”, of course that is not what actually happens, what happens is we force the tax payers (through their labor) to fund health care.


avatar RB August 12, 2010 at 10:42 am

A government requirement for individuals to purchase health care from a private company impedes ‘liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. I believe this will be overturn by the states and the courts.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

The mandate may be overturned or slip into history, don’t know. But health care is a right, and we need and deserve universal health coverage – like most of all the other industrialized countries have. As a side note, the state government forces us to buy car (medical and property) insurance from private companies. I know, I know, driving a car is a “privilege” not a right.


avatar RB August 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I stand by my opinion that it is illegal, but you’re the lawyer.
I also am concerned with the moral issue of wealth transfer between generations. The older generation gets the expensive health care, Cadillac pension plans and government debt paid for by young health adults, children in school or not yet born.


avatar bcsy August 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

what abou the pursuit of happiness? I could come up with a million things that prevent mine and are therefore illegal. I absolutely support reform and Obamacare is a start, but you Frank and many at the rag, in my opinion, are as out of touch as the conservatives you attack. Both claim to know what America really wants and needs. Both insult the other and cheapen the debate by implying the other side is ignorant. We can point out people who are racist, stupid, angry, but bs generalization serves a selfish and short-sighted purpose, dismissing our neighbors’ beliefs and desensitizing us to those we oppose. You sound much like congress. It seems that you have no interest in real discussion of this or any other topic in the rag and you would rather complain with like mined sympathizers.


avatar mongo August 12, 2010 at 11:05 am

nice article, i’m glad i finally found you guys! I want to print copies of obama’s birth certificate and shove them up their, i mean give them to these delusional racists. I’ve coined a term recently i love and obviously don’t mind tooting my own horn: down with the klu klux republiKLAN party! funny huh! if they are gonna be elitist racists, let us term them appropriately
thanks again!


avatar RB August 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

I don’t know if name calling is a good way to go through life.
And I don’t know if you have studied the history of either parties. There is much shame originating from both parties, IMO. By the way, the Klan was a product of members of the Democrat Party in the south and the late Democratic Senator Byrd was the last know member of the Klan to serve in the Senate.


avatar mongo August 13, 2010 at 12:39 am

nice. like you know i go through life calling people names. amazing telepathic skills you have. it must be tough going through life all knowing. anyway, what i would really like to do to the republiKlan party is against my moral code. so somehow calling them the republiKLAN party puts me at ease, and allows me to laugh off their complete ignorance.

thanks for your history lesson again knowing everything must be difficult, nice again. hey since you know everything president Lincoln was a republican who freed the slaves, so go twist someone elses words pal. what it means to be democrat and republiKLAN obviously shift throughout history, but i’m sure you already knew that and just left that part out. nice. i was making a joke, trying to bring humor to a sometimes near civil war situation in our country(with the racist chants at the rallies, to the people that have rammed their cars into people with obama stickers). but then you know everything and already knew i was having fun and making jokes. furthermore, calling them Klans persons is being nice, i’m sure we all can generate some terms a little more offensive. i’ll be sure not to post here again, but you knew that


avatar RB August 13, 2010 at 9:06 am

I do get the humor of you taking such great umbrage to my post while characterizing and stereotyping others as the Klan.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 13, 2010 at 9:59 am

Mongo, some of us (maybe a lot of us) appreciate your comments, so don’t be frightened off, my friend. Come back soon and often.


avatar kenloc August 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm

When my daughter was born we were given a certificate of live birth. She must be from another country as well. I knew something was up when the delivery took so long…… now we will have to have the documents sealed when she runs for President.


avatar Andy Cohen August 12, 2010 at 3:35 pm

1) I’m not sure where this came from, but it has been going around throughout various media outlets that this group, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, claims among its membership only two doctors from San Diego. Two!

2) Also making its way through the mediashpere (yes, I just coined that term): Although there were plenty of attendees were wearing white doctor’s lab coats, very few of them, if any, were actual doctors. They simply needed some white coats to make it look legit. That’s the rumor, anyway, unsubstantiated yet believable as it is.

3) Regarding healthcare: If EVERYBODY pays into the healthcare system through taxes–and yes, that mean a higher tax rate for EVERYONE–then whatever health care we need is GUARANTEED to be there whenever and wherever (within the U.S.) we need it. We wouldn’t have to worry about buying health insurance, or whether the insurance company will deny our claim, or that we’ve gone over our limit for the year and are on the verge of bankruptcy because of an unexpected serious illness (it happens all too often, you know). We would actually probably all be better off because we wouldn’t be stuck paying exorbitant premiums to the Insurance Bandits.

Pay a little more in taxes, pay a LOT less or nothing in insurance premiums.

Medicare is already one of the most successful, efficient, and popular public programs in history. Is it perfect? Certainly not. But with a mere 3-4% overhead, compared to the insurance companies’ 15-20% overhead, and the fact that there is no worry about making a profit for Medicare (only off of Medicare–i.e. gouging the system in the name of the almighty dollar) it means that costs are much lower.

The for profit medical system in this country has turned out to be completely disastrous, and has caused the cost of healthcare to skyrocket through the stratosphere. And it’s only getting worse. There has to be a better way.

Put it this way: What does it say about our country when a significant proportion of our society is literally left to die simply because they weren’t rich enough? What does it say about us when other countries have found a way to thrive economically AND provide decent health services to their populace? And don’t believe for a second the Republican hype about the “godawful socialized medicine” of countries like Britain, Canada, France, and Germany. Ask anyone who is from there if they would be willing to give up that system in favor of one like our current system and the answer would be a resounding “HELL NO!”

There has to be a better way. Maybe “universal healthcare” is not the end all beat all answer. I think it is, but I could be wrong. I would even settle for a publicly funded system that provides a baseline of services–up to a certain level. That would leave the for-profit insurance companies to provide supplemental coverage to fill in whatever gaps the public plan does not. Or something along those lines. I’m no expert, so I am unable to get into specifics. But just about ANYTHING would be better than what we have now.

Or are we the kind of society that doesn’t mind allowing tens of thousands of people to drop dead around us because they didn’t have access to even the most basic level of care?


avatar GLK August 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

The idea that you were trying to convey was extremely biased, judgmental, and lacking any semblance of unprejudiced thinking. It was sophomoric, valueless opinion piece with zero mind expanding value. In fact it is so lacking in balance and diversity it could be summed up as a cheap attack steeped in the very biases you claim point out in others. It was junk. Do better next time.


avatar o.b.dude August 12, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Andy–I was at the TP rally w/ my 11-year-old son and was glad he got the chance to see what crackpots these folks really are. And don’t bother trying to reason with them; I found no one willing to have a rational discussion about issues, only a desire to demonize anything Obama/Democratic/liberal et al. To attend once was a revelation; to go again would simply be an exercise in futility. As for Nick Popaditch, he went on & on about what great care he got from military doctors after he lost an eye in Iraq. I’m not sure what his point was, but I imagined that if the military care for wounded vets is so great why not offer it to everyone? It IS government-sponsored health care, after all.
But Tea Partiers are nothing if not inconsistent. And hypocrites.
‘Nuff said.


avatar Andy Cohen August 12, 2010 at 11:09 pm

I was thinking the same thing regarding Popaditch. He seemed to imply that his military doctors were better BECAUSE they weren’t mercenaries. You and I know what the logical conclusion would be, but we both know that would be completely unthinkable for the right wingers. After all, how could military medicine POSSIBLY be up to par with non-military medicine? Like you said, it is government health care.

Hhhmmmmmmmm………maybe I’ll ask him about that.


avatar RB August 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

“Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and the deficit and instead stressing a promise to “improve it.” by Ben Smith

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