The Terrible Twos…er…TEAS

Author: February 10, 2013 8:05 pm

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Epiphanies slap you upside the head when you least expect them. Such is the nature of epiphanies.

Anyway, there I was quietly rambling through the grocery store when, down the aisle from me, one of those don’t-ask-the-body-count-sweet-jesus-oh-the-humanity explosions shoved its way into my consciousness. The devastation, of course, was horrific; but as much as I might have wanted to, I simply couldn’t chalk it up to the nefarious machinations of anonymously foreign malcontents. The proud little terrorist responsible for the day’s despoilment, lovingly enthroned in his poor mother’s shopping cart, was clearly a lone wolf and without a doubt, wantonly domestic. In another place and time he might have been described as sweetness itself; but not here, and certainly not now.

Ah, the Terrible Twos: nature’s great leveler when it comes to parenting. No matter how many books you’ve read or classes you’ve taken, it WILL happen. It’s unavoidable; the thing’s hard-wired, after all.

Did the vicious little thug want his binky? Did he need his diapers changed? Was he concerned about the regulation of derivatives and credit default swaps? No, strike the third possibility. He wasn’t rational enough to follow any of that hoohah. And then it hit me. It all came together in one of those blinding flash thingies. Whumph! Little Osama bin Oshkosh tamping his widdle feets so deafeningly was the very model of the modern Tea Partier!

Oh, fine, scorn my big eureka moment: The Terrible Twos = The Terrible TEAS! But you’ll know I’m right when you actually stop to consider it. To speed YOUR epiphany, I’ve gone and ransacked the web to bolster my argument…

As usual, was neat, precise and to the point:

“Characterized by toddlers being negative about most things and often saying ‘no’, the terrible twos may also find your toddler having frequent mood changes and temper tantrums.”


“To help you cope with this normal stage in your child’s development, you should always remember that your child isn’t trying to be defiant or rebellious on purpose. He is just trying to express his growing independence and doesn’t have the language skills to easily express his needs. This can also be the reason why your toddler frequently gets frustrated and resorts to hitting, biting, and temper tantrums when he doesn’t get his way.

By learning more about this normal stage in your child’s development, it can make it easier to get through it and make sure that you aren’t contributing to more battles than are necessary.”

Hitting, biting, and temper tantrums, indeed! Doesn’t that just perfectly describe three-term Senator Bob Bennett’s ignominious firing by the Utah State Republican Convention? Or mad hatter Allen West’s slap-down for wandering off the Tea Party plantation.

Dr. Greene notes:

“…children in this phase of development have a great deal of difficulty making the choices they so desperately want to make. You ask your child what he would like for dinner, and he says macaroni. You lovingly prepare it for him, and then as soon as it’s made he says, “I don’t want that!” It is perfectly normal for him to reverse a decision as soon as he has made it, because at this stage, he even disagrees with himself.”

Sound familiar? They’re furious about a so-called “guv’mint” takeover of healthcare, but at the same time don’t want anyone to touch their Medicare? They love the Arizona “SHOW US YOUR PAPERS?!” law, but think being asked to cough up a few measly property taxes to support public schools or sewage treatment is tyrannical overreach?

How about this from ivillage:

“The key skill you may need to develop is the ability to not react emotionally to her screaming, in this way not reinforcing it.”

Damn, if that doesn’t that sound EXACTLY like Obama’s strategy this last year? He’s had two kids for dogsake. Has he quietly made the connection?

Childzilla advises:

“The key to discipline in the terrible twos is: understanding. It will be very hard to remain calm when your child is outright defying you or throwing a screeching fit, but it is imperative that you focus on the issue and push aside your frustration and anger – punishing your child in anger may only serve to exacerbate the situation. This is the age at which you will want to begin incorporating discipline techniques such as time outs and the taking away of privileges, things that a child will understand.”

Hmmm…time outs for Tea Partiers? Sounds good, but how to enforce them? And what privileges could be taken away? Joe “The Stripper” Lieberman might want to strip them of their citizenship, but that’s a bit harsh. One shouldn’t over-react; when it comes to acting childish, the child will always win that contest. Perhaps limiting their access to guns and explosives, fertilizer, and fire-crackers?

Inspired by, I offer those in government five simple strategies for dealing with the Terrible Teas.

IMPOSE A REGULAR ROUTINE. The sweet Teas desperately want structure and, irascible anarchists that they are, they are quite unable to provide it for themselves. “Oatmeal for breakfast, lunch at the Senior Center, shuffleboard at three, prune juice cocktails at five-thirty.” Don’t mention that the Senior Center is funded by tax dollars. They might get worked up and try to burn it down. The fire department (also funded by tax dollars) will get mad at you. Firemen are pretty burly; it is unwise to make burly people angry with you, trust me on this.

OFFER LIMITED CHOICES. This gives the Terrible Teas an excellent opportunity to feel like big kids since they will think they are actually making decisions. But, by limiting their options you can limit the horrifically inappropriate alternatives they WILL come up with if left to their own devices. Stump them with confusing questions like: “Which of these wild-eyed Socialists should be run out of town: Michelle Bachman, Jim DeMint or Scott Baio?” Do not mention throwing rocks or spitting, even as a joke. Terrible Teas have no sense of humor. Have you seen their attempts on protest signs? Shudder.

SET BOUNDARIES. Yes, they will test those boundaries so set boundaries you can easily defend. Choose your battles wisely. Do not say, “No throwing rocks or spitting.” That will inevitably produce in them in an irresistible urge to throw rocks and spit.

NEVER GIVE IN TO TANTRUMS. This is the most difficult thing to ask a politician to do. It’s not in a politician’s nature to say “No” to anyone they think might be a potential voter. Even if that voter is demonstrably wacko. Dear wavering politicians, even if you do exactly what the Terrible Teas demand of you, given the opportunity, they will still turn on you as viciously as an overgrown pet crocodile. And trust me, an opportunity always arises; remember Bob Bennett, Allen West and poor Charlie Crist?

USE TIME OUTS AND THE TAKING AWAY OF PRIVILEGES FOR DISCIPLINE. Yelling and screaming, while immensely fun, are neither helpful nor calming as carefully thought-out and dispassionately delivered discipline. Avoid threats of violence unless you are willing to follow through. (They know if you’re bluffing, they can read you like the badly spelled little pamphlet you are.) If you do follow through on a threat of violence, it will not be to your advantage. You will be seen as a big bully and whatever credibility you might have had beforehand will utterly vanish. Stick to time-outs and loss of privileges; it’s the safest for you and the Terrible Teas, who are far better armed than anybody else in the country, including the military. Even suggesting you’re going to shove Jell-O down their shorts counts as a threat of violence and likely to provoke a bloody reprisal.

And finally, CHILD-PROOF THEIR ENVIRONMENT. As wisely reminds us,

“It really isn’t fair that your toddler should get in trouble for playing with something he isn’t supposed to if you left it within reach.”

Please, please, PLEASE, do not let them play with an actual copy of the Constitution. Although it has survived more than two hundred years of all-too-often boneheaded tinkering, it’s still a pretty fragile document. Show it some respect, thank you, and put it in a safe place; they’re not Icelanders, for dogsake?!

Want to show your frustration with the tea party and their temper tantrums? Click here.

Edited By: Alexis Atherton


facebook comments:


  • The difference being that two year olds eventually scream themselves hoarse, fall asleep, and act reasonably afterwards.

    The Tea Klux Klan, has yet to act reasonably.

  • My dear Mr. Husa – you have a lovely way with words.
    I will be printing this off and placing it inside a Christmas card for a relative whose spouse has suffered greatly these last few years from a newly discovered form of dementia known as TPS (Tea Party Syndrome.) She & I both pray a cure may be found which will reverse the damages caused by this dreadful malady.

  • Just like a LeftLibProgg, with the mind of a child, defining things in childish terminology. But who cries the loudest when she can’t have her dirty socialist way?

    Here’s what the TEA Party REALLY is, as defined by an adult:

    The TEA Party is an impediment, one that the professional political class needs to see weakened, if not entirely marginalized. And that’s because the TEA Party is threatening the mechanism of cheap grace, power, and perks these politicians live on.

    But what they don’t seem to understand about the TEA Party is that it isn’t an actual party. Instead, it is a mindset, a counter-revolutionary impulse to the counter-revolutionary coup of Big Centralized Government against the founding and framing of this country.

    They can’t kill the TEA Party. Because the TEA Party can disband only as a descriptor. The attitude and beliefs that give it its most visible shapes, from time to time — be it as the revolutionaries who broke from a King, or as the Reagan Revolution, or as teh TEA Party — cannot be disgraced or marginalized. Because the attitude and beliefs that give rise to iterations like the TEA Party are the attitudes and beliefs that in a very real sense are this country and, insofar as we really do believe in the words of our own Declaration of Independence, are the beliefs and attitudes shared by all men and women who wish to break free of tyranny and live their lives not as subjects, but rather under a set of natural rights that governments exist solely to protect.

    The TEA Party the establishment ruling class is hoping to marginalize and destroy here is a kind of mist: it can disperse and then reappear in new forms, under new names and descriptions, but it is always the same, and it always has the same goals and desires. It is, in that sense, the very atmosphere of this country.

    The establishment politicians are now battling a climate. And if they can’t sense the very real dangers of the storm clouds on the horizon, they’re in for an awakening of stunning proportions.

    • The Boston Tea Party was made up of REAL patriots. Today’s tea party is just the reinvention of the “Southern Strategy” (look it up, because I’m SURE you’ve never heard of it) on a national level.

      Your description of how YOU view the tea party did nothing to discredit the assertions made in this article. By refusing to challenge those assertions you are admitting that you don’t have a well-reasoned argument to discredit them, which is why you started rambling instead of ACTUALLY addressing the points made.

      You uneducated goons are the REAL threat to our Republic.

    • “her dirty socialist way” so one can safely assume you and your family do not use public roads and highways, never drink tap water, only breathe from oxygen tanks, have never ever needed the police or fire fighters, are well armed enough to defend yourself from all foreign invaders, grow or catch and cook all of your own food, build all your own appliances, have never received a single vaccination shot, have never used any medicine of any kind ever, never walk on public sidewalks, drive a car you personally built from scratch, never went to public school or a community college and certainly never EVER intend to collect Social Security or use Medicare. In fact, you’ve probably sued the government to opt out of those programs. And, of course, you’ve never used the internet developed by the government usinf Socialist tax payer dollars.

      What a magnificent specimen of individualism you are! You are just the rugged, self made, totally independent, never rely on anyone for anything, awesome patriot that ALL Tea Partiers aspire to be!

      Of course, if all of these things are not 100% true, that you regularly engage in socialist activities and are either a raving hypocrite or a total fucking imbecile. Which might it be Serrated (like a knife! So manly!)?

    • The tea klux klan is indeed an astro turf entity, founded by the health insurance lobbyist FreedomWorks, funded by the Koch Bros and ‘fronted’ by other Koch groups like Americans for Prosperity.

      Your ‘concerns’ would’ve been more credible had they been voiced when the GOPers were screwing us big time under W.

  • I’ve never heard of a two-year old throwing a temper tantrum because their parents are spending too much money. Have you ever considered that the politicians in Washington D.C. are the spoiled brat kids passing out money that’s not theirs? Finally, it’s actually the grown ups that are saying, “enough! Quit spending wealth that hasn’t even been created, yet!” Free people, free markets, in a civil society. -Or, I guess elitists could just design utopia for us.

  • Yes I’ve seen this for a while. A tea Partier I debated with over health care reform was dead set against the public option. After the current reform passed he actually said that we should have had a public option. I pointed out that that’s what he railed against when it was proposed. He hasn’t spoken to me since.

  • During the debt ceiling ‘negotiations’, I was struck by the fact that just like whiny kids, they have only two negotiation strategies – hold their breath until they turn blue, or pick up their ball and go home. Unfortunately, they’re a bunch of kids in charge of one of the houses of Congress and we have to deal with them. If Daddy Boehner weren’t afraid of them, he’s the one that needs to give them a time-out.

  • I have always said that the GOP/Tea Party people act like 2 year olds in the grocery store line throwing themselves on the ground and beating their little fists till their faces turn beet red, all because Mommy wouldn’t buy them something…

    Glad to see others see it too, and its not just me.

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