Howard Steven Friedman

Howard Steven Friedman
New York, New York, USA
June 10
Howard Steven Friedman works as a statistician and health economist for the United Nations. He has been a lead modeler on a number of key United Nations projects including the ICPD @ 15 Costing, High Level Task Force on Innovative Financing, and the Adding It Up reports. He is credited with being the lead developer of the tool used for costing the health-related Millennium Development Goals. He is also an adjunct professor at School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Prior to joining the United Nations, Howard ran Analytic Solutions LLC, which provides consulting services in designing, developing and modeling data. This work also included teaching data mining and modeling techniques for major international corporations and foreign governments. Prior to that, he was a Director at Capital One, where he led teams of statisticians, analysts and programmers in operations and marketing. Howard is the author of over 35 scientific articles and book chapters in areas of applied statistics, health economics with recent publications in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, Current Medical Research & Opinion, Clinical Therapeutics, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy, Clinical Drug Investigation and Value in Health. Howard Friedman received his BS from Binghamton University in Applied Physics and a Masters in Statistics, along with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University. Please note that all comments on this blog reflect the opinions of the author and not those of the United Nations or Columbia University

Howard Steven Friedman's Links
Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 8, 2011 1:31PM

Time to Retire the Phrase "Tea Party"

Rate: 16 Flag

Every news outlet loves reporting about the activities of the Tea Party, the influence of the Tea Party, which candidate is most supported by the Tea Party.... Some talk about the Tea Party as being a great positive influence on American democracy and others mock the Tea Party and its shining lights -- either way, the media is talking. The fervent repeating of the phrase "Tea Party" has some people wondering why, when they went to the polls in 2010, they didn't see any candidates from this party on the ballot.

The answer is very simple: there is no Tea Party. If the key principles of the Contract from America, like low taxes, low debt, small federal government, repealing the Health Care reforms, etc. seem familiar, that is because these are core principles of the Republican Party.

Survey after survey has shown what everyone knows intuitively, that the vast majority of people who identify themselves as belonging to the Tea Party are registered Republicans.

So, why is the media going on and on as if this is a separate entity? Why are people in the streets repeating this phrase as if this is anything more than the passionate supporters of the Republican Party? Perhaps Americans have a basic need to convince themselves that they are not trapped in a 2-party system. Perhaps the media repeats this phrase because it succeeds at getting people's attention, which then helps sell advertising. Perhaps people feel the need to associate themselves with what they think is a new entity in order to arouse political passion.

Nobody expects that in 2012 there will be one presidential candidate from the Democratic Party, one from the Republican Party and a third candidate from the Tea Party.

If a separate political party called the "Tea Party" is formed, then I am happy to use that phrase but, until that day, I propose that we encourage the media to retire this phrase and, simply call this group of voters by their correct name, the Republican base.

Speech and behaviors can be changed one person at a time. You can start the momentum to retire this phrase in a very simple way -- the next time someone you are talking with mentions the "Tea Party," just cut them off immediately and say, "since it is not a third party, please call these voters by their accurate name, the Republican base." When you do this, you will notice that nearly every person will agree with you that it isn't a separate political party. Perhaps that speaker will start to ask themselves why they keep referring to a third-party that doesn't exist.


Follow Howard Steven Friedman on Twitter:

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I prefer to use tea party...when I mean the tea party...and the Republican base when I mean the Republican base.

I guess I could use the nutcase, extreme fringe right wing segment of the Republican base...but tea party is just easier.

Know what I mean?
On my feet applauding...well said!!
I like to hold actual tea parties with savories and sweets and this phrase has put a damper on my social life. Well said.
Because there was a grass roots movement against taxation, which has really focused the republicans on the economy and away from guns, gays, and God.

Sure, the Tea Partiers are all for guns and God and anti-gay, but their core interest less social and more economic. And less about the Republican's former perceived core strength, defense.

It's a pity that the current field is so pathetically devoid of ideas for economic growth. End Obamacare (yep, ending a program that isn't going to be in effect for another two years is a sure fire way to fix the economy now), End social security and let the states take care of their seniors, just like the great state of Texas helps those who can't afford health care. And of course, that wonderfully vague, but ever present promise to get the economy moving, as if a red-blooded, white-skinned Texan's exhortations will work so much better than blue-blooded, Harvard-educated Obama's pretty speeches.
I'm with you...same leopard same spots.
re-rated to stick this time.
I still insist that it should be a third party and they should have to choose...split them up, make them be honest (well as best they can). You should not be able to claim you belong to both the Republican Party and the Tea Party.
Wow--"they" FINALLY gave you an EP and cover. Makes you wonder what took them so long . . . sheesh. Congratulations.
Interesting post, tea party sounds more refined to me: I wonder if they actually serve tea and cookies (or crumpets.?) at their meetings? Rated.
I wish you every success in your effort because it will be of substantial assistance to those who are determined to bring the disastrous Obama Era to an early close.

For reasons well expressed by LSD above, the media's inflation of the Tea Party phenomenon is precisely designed to split the opposition to Obama. Divide and conquer and all that.

Obama is so incredibly vulnerable that I doubt if in the end it makes much difference whether the Tea Party designation survives or not, but I'd rather play it safe, acknowledge with thanks your strategic contribution to the right, and wish you well.
Interesting story. Of course, the Republicans of say, 1960, would be appalled to be lumped in the same category as this tea party. Or base.
I have had issues from day one with calling this group by the moniker "Tea Party". Originally, they were trying to suggest that they were protesting in the same way as the original group in Boston. But, that damn word "party". Somehow by its usage it conveys the far different connotation that it is a political party and is deserving of legitimacy. I refuse to bite at that baited hook and choose instead to use the term "Teabaggers" especially since I doubt that they truly understand what the original "tea party" was all about. The "teabaggers" notion of "taxation without representation" is anything that might help someone else live just a little bit better. To me it's a philosophy which reads "I've got mine or I'd like to get mine and I don't want anyone else to get anything." In a word: assholes.
I was a volunteer for the Republican Party for many years, and in 2006, there was a lot of discontent with the Libertarian part of the Party base. The volunteers were unenthusiastic, and it showed in the election results. Perhaps the realites of first past the post voting will keep them in line, but, that division is quite real, and under the cirsumstances, it wouldn't be shocking if there was a third party candidate, most likley Ron Paul, something the Democrats should actually like, although more than likley, they will incoporate more of his platform to keep that from happening. But that's a constituency every bit as real as the "progressive" wing of the Democratic Party, a different matter than saying they are correct, but not just to be dismissed either, especially among the young and Ron Paul.
I agree that there is no "formal" TEA party (the initials standing for taxed enough already) I can also see some of their points. The problem is that while most of those persons who identify with that particular sentiment are absolutely right about their own level of taxation, they are unable to understand that they are backing a movement which has at its heart a desire to help the extremely wealthy reduce their already infinitesimal contribution to the nations coffers. They have grasped the misleading concept that all taxes be reduced, but when the reductions are suggested they are in trivial amounts for those who are not wealthy. An overall reduction in income taxes of ten percent might give the average person $500.00 a year in tax relief, that same amount applied to a person making ten million a year gets a half million. It isn't hard to see that the difference is astounding and unfair in reality since the portion of each income that is REQUIRED to pay the bills and buy the food and utilities is no different for Mr. ten million than it is for Mr. ten thousand. The price of food is not adjusted for income, nor are energy costs so how is it that so many are fooled into believing that any of this nonsense will substantially help them?

I for one don't call them either name, what they are is fascists. So, that is what I will use.
"help the extremely wealthy reduce their already infinitesimal contribution to the nations coffers."

I assume you're either kidding or totally innocent of the statistical facts. Either way, it underscores the silliness of your political points.
How's the weather in Brazil Gordo? Oh and that free government health care? Ignorant? I'm really not sure what you mean, are you saying that a ten percent across the board income tax reduction won't provide a greater amount of money in proportion to wealth? Are you saying that the billion or so a year that the upper ten percent of incomes pays to tax attorneys doesn't relieve them of more tax burden than a man with ten grand instead of ten million? Politically speaking the people who inhabit the ranks of the so called TEA party are not going to see a significant reduction in their taxes nor will they receive a substantial cash gain. The truth is we are in the hands af a manipulative minority that uses greed and prejudice to fatten their wallets at the expense those who have the least. Why you find that acceptable is beyond me. Aren't you living as an expatriate to escape taxes and get cheap health care in Brazil?
Actually, I don't think the so-called Tea Party is a political party so much as an "astroturf" movement put together by folks who think the government taxing them for things that support poor people is an injustice. A lot of those folks fall into the category of the Ludwig von Mises/ Frederick Hayek category--which believes in a separation of commerce and state. Tea Party hearkens back to the Boston Tea Party, referring to a radical movement to eliminate what they think are "unfair taxation" and "excessive government regulation".
Words like "Tea Party" are simply means via which the media spectacularizes the same old B.S.
The Tea Party is nothing other than the Libertarian Party reborn. I was present at the 2004 Libertarian convention (by accident, I assure you. I was at the same hotel running a blood drive.) Once there, I saw many of the same actors present who are now leaders of the Tea Party, including Ron Paul, who sounded like a complete idiot to me. The Libertarians themselves are nothing more than Ayn Rand acolytes in training.

The hard-core right of the Republican Party is espousing the same EXACT platform I heard espoused at that Libertarian convention.

Then, as now, however, there was a widespread acknowledgment that a strong campaign by a Libertarian candidate would split the Republican vote and guarantee a Democratic victory in 2004. The fact that there was a Republican incumbent, however, took much of the wind out of those sails.

We can, however, look back to the 2000 election, when Ralph Nader did split the Democratic vote in three key states, winning just enough votes to cost Al Gore his presidency, along with his truly stupid choice of vice presidents, which cost Gore his home state and probably Florida as well.

The American system of government cannot survive a third party movement because it is extremely susceptible to disruptions from a minority party that holds the balance of power between two larger parties.

During the budget debate, we saw precisely how an entrenched and obdurate minority can take control over the government and, in that sense, I think you might want to re-think your position. The Tea Party is a stupid name but, regardless of what you call them, these people are operating outside the two party system and have effectively taken control of the government from the two major parties, both of which have to dance to whatever tune they choose to play.
"The Libertarians themselves are nothing more than Ayn Rand acolytes in training. "

From your lips to god's ears.
Good, thought-provoking post. I feel the need to provoke at least one more thought: Why do you suppose the individuals who join (few) and root for (many) the tea-party movement don't just embrace the term 'Republican?'

Give it a moment's thought.

My guess: It's because they are, in fact, very dissatisfied with the Republican Party, and don't want to label themselves as "Republican" any more that I want to label myself "Democrat."

And (heading further out on the limb) many of the things that turn them off about the Republican Party establishment are the same things that turn us off about both parties: Decisions made behind closed doors before public debate even starts; politicians using code words, jargon, and focus-group-tested phrases when they talk to us instead of being straight about what they are really trying to do, and for whom. The individuals who identify with the Tea Party have the same BS detectors that you and I do, and many (not all) of the same things set them off.

My sense is that it's not an organized political party because the intent of its founders/funders was not to expand the Republican Party or to compete with it, but to pull it farther right without having to work with the Republican Party establishment. My sense is that the individuals who join or support the tea party movement dislike the idea of joining any nuts-and-bolts working political party (with all the practicalities and hard realities that entails.)
Just as in Christianity, we have Catholics and Protestants there is the extreme fringe of the Rethuglican party. They like to call themselves the "Tea Party" I call them Nazis, but I get criticized for it. No matter what they are called, they are the extreme right wing fringe nutcases. Just like the Libertarians. They are still one and the same, but we need to differentiate just who we are talking about.

I am still confused as to why anybody would think a Democrat would like Ron Paul! He is anathema to just all that Democrats believe in. The Libertarians are Rethuglicans taken to one extreme. The Tea Party is the same group taken a step further into absurdity!
I have a question for Gordon.
Why are you living in Brazil anyway? Could it be, because you have it better down there, than you would at home? Just curious why "God" chooses to live outside the country he seems so proud of.
I say mostly yes, but not quite. I think the Tea Party is *mostly* the Republican base, but the furthest right. I don't think it's the entire "base" of the party. It's certainly a large part of it.

I think calling Tea Party part of the Republican party, right on the money. Calling the Republican party the Tea Party, not quite.
Rethuglican party

Wonderful name. It so aptly describes all those Republican union members that were trashing property in Washington State.

I tell you, when the Democrat collectivists get it wrong, they REALLY get it wrong.
F RIch is right...they are the libertarians. and in their way a very separate entity. they'll throw out the traditional republican meat and throw their support behind their own nut cutlet. they're a wing of the Rs with their own agendas. it's all under the fat monied elephantine umbrella, but it's a separate group of arm twisters and crazy talkers and they're not going away until they obliterate obama. whether they REALLY believe half the shit they throw out there is questionable.
The Tea Party name has been given to Republicans who are fed up with the moderate wing of the party. You often hear the Tea Party being chastised by the establishment Republicans, such as McCain, Rove, etc. There is a real war going on within the party, and it has to be recognized in the media. Tea Party is as good a name as any, since that's the one its members chose. Now the contest for the GOP presidential nomination is crystallizing around Perry, who is Tea Party through and through, and Romney, the most popular of the moderates. This is not an illusion.
How many times must it be shown that this supposedly Anti-Taxation party was birthed (nearly one of their other descriptives) during the lowest tax rates since Eisenhower? So, what does that mean?

It means (OK, cue the clueless) that TV news is decayed to near death as all the smart folks are on OS (I mean online ... ;) and the online news game is, in a word, CLICKS, das hows dey gets PAID!

Ask a Republican- and don't pay attention to any who lump poor Hayek in with this crowd- a real Buckley Republican (has to be pre-Civil Rights Act: since then Repubs are simply former Dixiecrat haters, more on that in next paragraph) who the Tea Bagged are and they will tell you, as William the Great once did when holding court over the Goldwater types, that these folks are THE VULGARIANS and those are Buckley's words, not mine, so Gordo, read em and weep!

But, that was coming from just Mr. Buckley who had only the goal of keeping haters and lunatics out of his blessed Party- if you want the actual and unvarnished truth, then listen to Amelia Boynton Robinson, who, at 100 years young and still sharp as a tack and filled with actual knowledge and experience as opposed to rhetoric and Koch-bought propaganda, when she says, and I quote, "The Tea Party is just the Klan."

Disagree? Then ask yourself, who would you listen to if your life depended on it- a bought and paid for Koch/Astroturf flunky like Mr. Armey of Dicks? Or, a 100 year old woman who was born during the nadir? The answer to this question tells all, eh Sao Paolo? No fo-get Gordo, us Hawaiians going be in your town again for the next round of Tidal Bore Surfing on that old black River, and not the Mississippi where the Klan still run the Governor, but the basin where me, and all your mixed race social medicined neighbors hang out and surf!

Linguiça and Malasadas for everyone! Even Gordo tho it may break the old Tennis diet ;)
"Tea party" gives some people permission to be right-wing extremists and bigots and feel good about it--because the media has, in effect, lent credence to this dangerous entity...
Bravo! I couldn't agree more. The attempts by Republicans to paint the Tea Party as some cross ideological group including liberals and "independents" is completely disingenuous. They are the same libertarian base who don't want their liberties to be infringed, but want to limit yours by forcing you to accept their values.
Hear hear!! I'm surprised no one has written this before. It's understandable. Our news media need spectacle. Flash. Excitement. Sensation. Even public radio and television, which have to cohere with their commercial counterparts to a certain degree, hype the notion of the "Tea Party."

The "Tea Party" came to Madison in April, and it was a bizarre scene. They were met with a crowd of Madison counterprotesters, who managed to make enough noice to drown out the guest speaker Sarah Palin ( I mingled among the Tea Partiers, and found them to be a goofy bunch of disgruntled xenophobes. Their vibe was diseased, and I became nauseated, and had to get away from them.

Maybe this is a beginning. If enough pressure and reproach can be brought against the news media, they might be shamed into changing their hype of the "Tea Party."
Trust these morons to idolize a woman who was a Jewish atheist and had nothing but contempt for all religion, and nothing but a passing knowledge of economics or psych0logy, who mothered a bizarre cult whose members now include a cross section of our irrational leadership. Ayn Rand's objectivism is anarchy dressed up in Capitalistic Clothes. Her obsessions were rooted in her experiences during the Russian revolution, in which her family lost everything, which left a sour taste in her mouth that she was never able to wash out. Isn't it enough to say that the two men who are most responsible for our economic malaise, Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan are lifelong Rand acolytes themselves.

Oh, yes. I went through my Ayn Rand phase, but I was 13 at the time. Then I grew up and put away childish things.
I don't think Tea Partiers consider themselves loyal Republicans. And the Tea Party types around me are very focused on guns, gays and God and they're scary as hell.
Howard, your wicked smart , and let's hope that trumps all types of tea.
Howard, your wicked smart , and let's hope that trumps all types of tea.