Tea Party Profile
If you haven’t read Matt Taibbi’s excellent article on the Tea Party in the latest Rolling Stone, you should give it a look.
He descended into the Tea Party culture like an anthropologist traveling to the far reaches of the world — making observations about a completely alien way of life and thought.
Titled “Tea and Crackers” , Taibbi pulls no punches about what he found and makes many of the same observations I have made about this faux movement:
I’ve concluded that the whole miserable narrative boils down to one stark fact: They’re full of shit. All of them. At the voter level, the Tea Party is a movement that purports to be furious about government spending — only the reality is that the vast majority of its members are former Bush supporters who yawned through two terms of record deficits and spent the past two electoral cycles frothing not about spending but about John Kerry’s medals and Barack Obama’s Sixties associations. The average Tea Partier is sincerely against government spending — with the exception of the money spent on them. In fact, their lack of embarrassment when it comes to collecting government largesse is key to understanding what this movement is all about
Taibbi outlines how the movement — what there was of one — has it’s roots in Ron Paul’s run for president, and details how it has been co-opted by the Republican establishment.
The Rolling Stone writer suggests that the Tea Partiers (those who actually care about “out of control spending” etc) are likely to be disappointed when their candidates (most of whom are perpetual candidates who have taken up the Tea Party mantle to tap into the visible energy and anger of the movement) abandon all their positions — except for tax cuts for the wealthy.
Taibbi’s opening image of a Kentucky rally with dozens of Medicare-funded personal scooters and protesters on similarly-financed oxygen is at the heart of the Tea Party base. He argues that the Tea Party base is the same old Republican base:
So how does a group of billionaire businessmen and corporations get a bunch of broke Middle American white people to lobby for lower taxes for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street? That turns out to be easy. Beneath the surface, the Tea Party is little more than a weird and disorderly mob, a federation of distinct and often competing strains of conservatism that have been unable to coalesce around a leader of their own choosing. Its rallies include not only hardcore libertarians left over from the original Ron Paul “Tea Parties,” but gun-rights advocates, fundamentalist Christians, pseudomilitia types like the Oath Keepers (a group of law- enforcement and military professionals who have vowed to disobey “unconstitutional” orders) and mainstream Republicans who have simply lost faith in their party.
Addressing the accusations of racism, Taibbi states:
It’s not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It’s just that they’re shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority. That may not be racism, but it is incredibly, earth-shatteringly stupid.
I’m not quite so sure. I’m convinced that the Tea Partiers have a strong racist element among them. I do agree that many, if not a majority of these aging white folks holds the paranoid persecution mindset Taibbi describes.
Anyway, the article makes clear that the Tea Party folks are not people that can be reasoned with.
They are the fringe, conspiracy-minded base of the current Republican Party, and Karl Rove and friends have found a way to tap into their anger to keep their wealthy friends comfortable.
- The Tea Party Demographic (themoderatevoice.com)
- Sorry Tea Partiers, This Is No Revolution (newser.com)
- The Tea Party’s religious roots exposed | Sarah Posner (guardian.co.uk)
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