Random Thoughts on a Pointless Act


Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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107 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Regarding your first point about how people view the TP rings odd to me. Of course i don’t know your friends but the things Galston notes are teh same things i keep seeing in every place about the TP. They are largely socially conservative R’s who are struggling with the social changes in the country. There has been a group of grumpy white folk ( i’m a grumpy white person so i know what they sound like) who have been unable to handle the social changes in this country since the 60’s. The TP’s is down on experts and has a generalized dislike of DC. That also isn’t really news at all. They are against gov spending and benefits except for the stuff that benefits them. It might be put a little more harshly by others, but that is the view of the TP and it seems accurate.

    A key belief which Galston calls out is that the TPer’s are fine with gov benefits expect for those who haven’t “earned ” them. They don’t like immigrants and socialism, blah blah blah. But the focus on , you know, those kind of people who are just freeloaders and living off their fat gov checks is all about resentment at a class of people they view as just less worthy. That group does over lap with people of color and they certainly view the poor as somehow taking over.

    They are True Believer’s who think the country is going to hell unless we do what they want. The belief that the poor have it so easy and are just draining us dry pretty much defies reality. In the end they don’t like the unworthy poor, unworthy being defined as not being like them and they buy into stereotypes of minorities. That is most of Galston’s conclusion it seems.Report

    • Avatar Posing As Coke-Encrusted Hollywood Exec in reply to greginak says:

      And that’s the GOP’s “ideas factory”?

      Inspiring, no?Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to greginak says:

      I thought polling had shown the Tea Party — however it started — was exactly the same people that had always made up the GOP base.

      And that it’s ‘complexity’ was entirely the fact that it was a group of angry conservatives, who are angry about maybe a half a dozen different things.

      And man, if the Tea Party is your ideas group, you are screwed. “Get your government hands off my Medicare” and protest rallies waving the Confederate Flag…I think the you can only get ‘small government’ in there by redefining the term to mean “Small government where I don’t want it, massively intrusive where I do”.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        The Tea Parties began with outrage over the bank bailouts.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20 says:

        Oh, yes, blaise they did!
        The revolution was televised.
        funny that, ain’t it?

        Almost as if it was planned.

        Which, of course, it was.

        It was also funded.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to morat20 says:

        Blaise is correct on this, though technically speaking they can actually be traced as far back as 2003. A few years ago, I did an interview post with the guy who is arguably the original Tea Partier that may be instructive: https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2010/01/12/from-tea-to-shining-tea

        The thing is that Morat’s also correct that the Tea Parties are now largely dominated by the same people that have been the GOP’s base for 30+ years. That marriage, more than anything, is why the movement often acts incoherently, which was always my concern with it, as you’ll see if you read the above-linked interview.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        Kim, the Tea Partiers are not chumps. They’ve stopped being chumps and patsies, led along by the nose by the GOP, who neither loves them nor respects them. I live with a Tea Partier. We’ve been together three years now. Don’t presume to tell me Just Me is a tool of the Koch Machine. You need to meet a few of these people. They’re honest, hard working people who are sick to death of a nation which refuses to address the issue of a government so decoupled from reality that it will bail out Wall Street, intrude ever-farther into our lives, connive with every two-bit grifter and parasite, endlessly expanding itself at the expense of everyone but themselves.

        We may thank the Tea Parties for the partial rollbacks of the PATRIOT Act. They’ve proven instrumental in pushing back against government expansion. We might well argue about their schizophrenic approach to the problems but their argument will not be denied. This government, by fits and starts, has expanded into every facet of our lives. It will not listen to the voice of the people. It will not behave itself — will not even obey its own rules — has become a self-justifying, ever-growing tumour on America’s guts to the point where we need a goddamn wheelbarrow to carry it around any more.

        If the Liberals had any sense, and they manifestly do not, they would see the Koch Brothers for what they are, a pair of blind pigs who have found a trove of political acorns and are intent upon cutting that tumour out of Uncle Sam. They aren’t wicked people, any more than you or I, with our little prejudices and preferences. America has lost its mind, thinking government can solve its every problem. Let me tell you, as surely as the Free Market cannot solve our every problem, the Liberals are equally deluded in their constant fallback upon Gummint Solutions.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        Let’s remember that the media in general is not fond of the Tea Party, so is not inclined to display them in a particularly positive light (hence that one guy at a protest holding the sign to keep Government out of his Medicare becomes the message of the Tea Party that the media wants to show).

        Case in point, self identified Tea Party people are just a bit more scientifically literate than the norm..Report

        • Of course Kahan notes:

          Again, the relationship is trivially small, and can’t possibly be contributing in any way to the ferocious conflicts over decision-relevant science that we are experiencing.

          And that the p-score/r-score for the correlation is about the same as the negative correlation involved with right-left political ideology, so in the end the difference is more or less a wash.

          Further, the way the CRT questions are phrased make them into logic puzzles from the LSAT rather than a useful measure of actual scientific literacy, so might not map out into actual literacy per se in existing scientific controversies.

          That is to say, the whole thing’s a bit of a wash and likely the difference can be attributed to the difference in demographics between the two groups.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        @nob-akimoto : kinda goes the other way. The various entities styling themselves as Tea Parties are attempting to enlist the individual Enraged Populists to their banner. Would-be Mob-lets, if you will. They haven’t been very successful. Mobs require leadership and the Tea Partiers haven’t presented anyone with much cred, even in their own ranks. Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann have badly embarrassed them. Ted Cruz has overplayed his hand. Tea Partiers aren’t much on his naked grasping for the reins, then backing away under pressure from the Grand Olde Party.

        The mainline GOP has played divide and conquer with these moblets, attempting to bully them into line. If anything, this bullying has only made them angrier.

        By some measures, the ranks of the self-identified Tea Partiers are diminished. By others, including mine, they’ve grown. Rand Paul’s brand has improved considerably. Among the true die-hards, Ted Cruz’s brand has gone up as well, in a martyr-iffic sort of way.

        Everyone wants to capture some of this lightning in their bottle. Problem is, the Tea Partiers are sick of being co-opted by various movements. It will lead to their undoing, of course. They can’t achieve anything individually. But woe betide the folks who think a sufficiently charismatic leader can’t gather these moblets to himself.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to morat20 says:

        I think Blaise pretty much nails it here.Report

        • Problem is, the Tea Partiers are sick of being co-opted by various movements.

          This part to me seems a bit incongruent, because the roots of a lot of the rage they’re showing in public are by their very nature created from shysters and hucksters looking to channel populist anger. Everything from gold buggery to concerns about “constitutionalism” (which just happens to agree with everything they like) is partly fanned by people who keep telling them exactly what they want to hear: It’s someone else’s nefarious fault.

          The Rand Pauls, the Glenn Becks and the Alex Jones of the world feed off that stuff. And they keep feeding it.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        @nob-akimoto I did say “just a bit”, but the important take-away is that it damages the narrative that Tea Party people are just a bunch of ignorant mouth-breathers throwing a temper-tantrum.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        @nob-akimoto : it is a bit incongruent, isn’t it? Yet consider: who’s telling these people the truth about the fundamentals of their own belief structures? Who — besides me and a few other ex-Republicans — are telling them they have a long and surprisingly honourable past, in philosophy if not in modern politics?

        Not the Democrats. They’re out there, aw-shucks-ing and waving the Hand of Dismissment at their entirely justified concerns about a government gone out of control. Telling them they’re a bunch of racist know-nothings, happens a lot around here, too.

        While we’re on the subject of misapprehension and fearmongering, it’s been the Democrats and the elitist GOP who’ve been telling the most appalling lies about these Tea Partiers, dragging out every rotten filthy epithet in the lexicon of slime and chicanery to smear these people. Is it of any import that the USA’s debt load has risen to these staggering levels? When they exploded over the Wall Street bailouts, where were the Liberals on this issue? What has Obama done to prosecute even one of these bastards? What has Congress done to restrain them? Not Dodd-Frank. That’s just a cosmetic bandage: Wall Street has gone right back to its evil ways.

        If these people have genuine apprehensions about the scope and function of Obamacare, who took the trouble of explaining its basic principles to them? Those of us who have been paying attention to the details are horribly aware of Obamacare’s propensity to create yet another intrusive bureaucracy, rigged to the benefit of a few large insurance firms, a government mandate to buy some firm’s crappy product.

        These people want answers. If they gravitate to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, the Liberals have their own Glib Generalisers. Fear sells. Fox News routinely pulls down twice the ratings and share of its competition. If the Liberals wanted to welcome in these enraged populists, they’d reach out to them. They haven’t. They’ve turned up their noses at these people, most of whom are as honest as any of us here.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20 says:

        when I term them America’s blackshirts, I’m not trying to call them /racists/.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        While we’re on the subject of misapprehension and fearmongering, it’s been the Democrats and the elitist GOP who’ve been telling the most appalling lies about these Tea Partiers, dragging out every rotten filthy epithet in the lexicon of slime and chicanery to smear these people
        In all fairness, they make it easy.

        Is it of any import that the USA’s debt load has risen to these staggering levels
        Are you adjusting for inflation or measuring as a percentage of GDP, or just using raw numbers?

        When they exploded over the Wall Street bailouts, where were the Liberals on this issue?
        Occupying Wall Street on the one hand, and bailing out the banks to prevent economic collapse and trying like hell to hold the economy together and prevent this from happening again, while hampered by Republicans who wanted strings-free bailouts for banks and for Detroit to fail while the Tea Party wanted the whole thing to fix itself without effort, and also liberals were to blame.

        Since I was personally there, the mood from liberals was angry that they were having to save these idiots from themselves or see the whole economy crash.

        What has Obama done to prosecute even one of these bastards? What has Congress done to restrain them? Not Dodd-Frank. That’s just a cosmetic bandage: Wall Street has gone right back to its evil ways.
        That’s certainly the Democrats fault. You know how they hate regulation.

        If these people have genuine apprehensions about the scope and function of Obamacare, who took the trouble of explaining its basic principles to them?
        Like Palin did with Death Panels?

        Seriously, Blaise — you’re trying to hold the Tea Party up as something more than it is, and distorting recent history to do it.

        They’re angry, unhappy conservatives. For Pete’s sake, Blaise — the guy who coined the term did so while screaming about how the evil homeowners were to blame for taking out loans they couldn’t afford.

        Not the banks, not the lenders, not any of the corporations or businesses — the people you’d ordinarly blame for making bad investments — but the guys who got sold a loan they couldn’t understand by sharks, and then obviously couldn’t pay it.

        They were angry about bailouts, but didn’t want regulation and didn’t want to admit letting it fail would screw them worse. They’re angry about change, and gay people, and the fact that Obama won, and the fact that the price of gold has dropped, and they listen to way too much Glenn Beck.

        They’re the angry, incoherent base of the GOP and the only people they LISTEN TO are the GOP and conservative news, so if they’ve got a screwed up view of the world the LAST PEOPLE to blame are liberals, because the Tea Party don’t listen to no stinkin socialist Muslims like that.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        No, Kim. You’re using symbolism to infer fascism.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        In all fairness, a quality missing in pretty much everything you’ve written since you’ve gotten here, you don’t know a single person aligned with the Tea Party movement, Morat.

        Don’t play the Merry Idiot with me. The bank bailouts of 2008 and 09 amounted to something over a trillion dollars. Roughly three trillion dollars worth of debt assumption by the Federal Reserve. Six, seven hundred billion dollars deposited in banks. Morat, that’s the largest set of financial moves ever made in the history of the fishing world. Don’t come round here again to compare it to anything else.

        Occupy Wall Street was a dark comedy. Watching those earnest folks protesting in the park. Stupider than the Tea Parties, who at least could locate the source of the stench, Washington DC. A lasting embarrassment, like watching a flashmob trying to recapitulate some episode of Jackass.

        Dodd-Frank is the Democrats’ response to the deregulatory crisis. They didn’t dare touch the hankies in the breast pockets of these Wall Street suits. A bigger collection of craven eunuchs and catamites has not been seen since the late Byzantine Empire.

        What did I say about Sarah Palin? That little grifter came in on John McCain’s coat tails. Have you ever seen an older man — or woman — attempt to ape the fashions of twenty year old kids? That’s John McCain, trying to win votes among the populists.

        “Hey, John, the polls say you’re lookin’ kinda antique, what with all those previous runs for the presidency — what say we put this pretty little governor of Alaska on the ticket? She sure is feisty, stood up to the oil companies. Sorta like Bush ‘n Quayle, whaddayasay, nu?”

        Seriously, Morat, I’m holding up exactly one goddamn instance of a Tea Partier. My girlfriend. Who also happens to comment here. Now, dude, that’s 100% more evidence than you’ve got at your disposal and I argue politics with that girl every day. There’s one case where a Tea Partier is listening to a Liberal — and talking back, too. She’s not anti-gay. Her brother’s gay. She doesn’t hate Muslims, she works with Muslims, we both know an Egyptian couple as acquaintances. She knows I speak Arabic, that I respect Muslims. She reads Fox News and listens to Mark Levin sometimes, not as much as she used to. Now she reads Fox News and argues with me.

        Angry and incoherent are kinda synonyms. Chinese say when Anger pounds on the front door, Reason flees out the back door. Sometimes Just Me makes a lot of sense. Sometimes she doesn’t. I don’t see you beginning from a position of respect. For that matter, I don’t see much respect for these people from any quarter.

        When people start a-hatin’ on you that bad, you know you’re onto something important. These Enraged Populists have a lot more in common with those asinine OWS types than anyone else. Only one difference: OWS can’t find Washington.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to morat20 says:

        oh, not even. To infer fascism i’d actually have to provide facts that aren’t in evidence.
        I’ve had my say once, and I’ll have it again on who the Tea Party is.

        but later, I’ve gotta run.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Obviously, Blaise, because I disagree with you it MUST be because I don’t know anyone affiliated with the Tea Party.

        Certainly not my father (admittedly, he’s regretted that the last year or so. As have many, judging by the polls). Certainly not two of his friends, men I see and interact with and listen to rant about politics at least weekly. Oh know, they’re not the “real” Tea Party.

        Must be one of those knock-off groups. Maybe Tee Partee? Te Party? I guess only your anecdotal members are the real ones.

        Must explain those polls and studies, how they keep finding that the Tea Party is just a rebranding of the same ole GOP base, no matter what it started as — instead of polls and studies, they should have asked you.

        Thank God for you, Blaise, to know the only True Tea Party member who can shed light on it the way our experiences can’t. To pierce the idiotic media veil, which stupidly films people at Tea Party rallies and claiming they’re members of it who are, obviously, deluded posers. To set me straight, to let me know those angry, white, boomer gentlemen I now who claim (or did claim, for at least a good 20% of them) to be members or supporters aren’t the real thing.

        And thanks for setting me straight on Palin. I was deeply confused the way she happily wrapped herself in the mantle of the Tea Party, and the way she was so popular with self-identified Tea Party members.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        Your father now regrets being part of the Tea Party movement? Shall I gather he’s just Another Grumpy Republican? Thus goes your argument, from uncited polls and the Parliament of Grumps hanging around chez père.

        What did I say? There is no conflation of these Enraged Populists, they refuse to march under a single banner. Lots of these people are disenchanted Republicans. I love that word “Disenchantment”. It’s only used by stupid people getting an education, very much against their will, dragged kicking and screaming into the real world. If they’re mostly Republicans, that can only mean one thing, that many Republicans are getting wise to the ways of their party. Certainly happened to me.

        I wised up and left the Grand Old Party. Except my father wouldn’t talk to me for years. Good to see you’re at least on speaking terms with your Dad. Mine’s been dead a while. I still dream about him, sometimes. He was once my hero.

        You want to conflate your Dad and his buds and generalise them into some zombie mob, have at it, Morat. I’ve warned people against trying to goober these people into one lump and you seem intent upon doing exactly that.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Jesus Christ, Blaise, climb off your high horse.

        My father’s a Republican — a bit of a disgusted one, of late, and refuses to identify as Tea Party, but he’s a Texas Republican which already puts him a fair ways right of anything you’d call ‘moderate’. (My mother, on the other hand, has flown the GOP coup and did so after Katrina).

        And here’s what I’ll tell you about the Tea Party: They are the GOP base, however the ‘Tea Party’ started, that is what they now are. They are the same people that were GOP base in 2001 and 2004 and 2005. They are, on average, older whites. (Sure, there are exceptions.).

        And they are no more uniform or less uniform than the GOP base (you know, because they are). Perhaps you might be able to say they are more activist — more likely to vote in primaries, as such they might be better called the ‘more motivated’ segment of the GOP base.

        Treating them as if they are something new and special is stupid. They are not some “third way” of American politics, not some new grouping around some new cause. They are the same marriage of fundamentalists, uber-free market sorts, authoritarian law and order types, that the GOP cobbled together 30 odd years ago and kept marching in a straight line despite differing goals for decades.

        About the only thing the ‘Tea Party’ has that is close to a uniform belief or goal is a dislike of taxes (who likes them) and a deep distrust of Democrats (the hated foe).

        Other than that, they encompass everyone from practically libertarian to Christian Holy Warrior to the walking, gun-toting mess of paranoid delusion that is one of my father’s oldest friends — and whom I grew up calling ‘Uncle’ (and still do).

        Which is why the Tea Party is such a mess. They don’t HAVE a uniform goal, just a uniform enemy. It’s the same reason the GOP is struggling with a purpose beyond “cut taxes” because they’re chock full of purposes, far too many and often contradictory.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        I will not be schoolmarmed by you, Morat. You aren’t up to a tangle with me. You haven’t read a word I said. They are neither new nor special, a point I’ve made repeatedly. Your Dad’s collection of Disgruntled and now Re-gruntled Republicans are specimens of good ol’ American Populism.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Pot and Kettle, Blaise.

        My entire point was your girlfriend is not the final word on the Tea Party, and acting like you have a special insight because of it is ludicrous — especially when others, whether from reading interviews or news stories or meeting OTHER self-identified Tea Party members (such as myself) have similar, and contradictory, stories.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20 Sorry, but you do tend to have an almost allergic reaction to any political leaning that can be aligned in some regard to the GOP, so much so that from my POV you toss the baby out with the bathwater, damning people/groups who you may have common ground with just because they have common ground with some facet of the GOP.

        You may want some political anti-histamine, you’ll make more allies that way.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        Perhaps. I came of political age in Tom Delays district. In Texas. Which originated the no holds barred, no compromise, ever attitude of the modern GOP. On essence, I’ve lived with this strain of republican for longer than most, before it went national.

        And I felt admit areas of common interest. I voted for Bush senior and contemplated voting for Dole, after all.

        But what it comes down to is I don’t see anything that says the GOP, as a national party, is interested in compromise and finding common ground.

        Good Lord, I watched Obama practically beg to cut entitlements in return for moderate, 90s level tax hikes…and get rebuffed.

        And my experience with those calling themselves the Tea Party is that they take that further than average.

        The common interests I have with the GOP are, sadly, just a pointless fact given their scorched earth approach to government.

        Maybe being s Texan and setting the worst of the GOP for nearly thirty years now has left me jaded.

        But you have to admit…by and large, they’ve stopped acting like people looking to work together.

        Besides, get called a socialist for being Bush senior on the economic spectrum long enough, who wouldn’t be?Report

      • Avatar Morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        I guess a bettter way to put it: I know lots of Republicans. I like lots of Republicans. I have common ground — even political common ground — with plenty of Republicans. (How can I not? I’m a Democrat in Texas, I voted for Bush Senior and quite a few Republicans along the way).

        However, when it comes to the Republican party as a hole — I do not believe they are interested in finding common ground, and frankly would repudiate that common ground rather than share it with a Democrat or liberal. I’ve certainly seen them do it often enough. Which makes common ground, when talking about politics on the national level, somewhat pointless in my opinion. Compromise takes two sides.

        As for this particular sub-thread: Again, it started when I said the Tea Party was, basically, the GOP base and about all they had in common was being older and white. (Which has been noted by several other people and backed by polling). They are not especially libertarian or especially evangelical — more motivated, yes — in aggregate.

        Honestly, I tend to think of “Tea Party” attached to a Republican to literally mean “Whatever my particular politics, viewpoints, and stances on issues are — I am hopping mad about it and it’s probably Obama’s fault, and if it’s not, he’s the one preventing it from being fixed”.

        Because that’s what each and every member of the Tea Party I’ve ever encountered has been like. Just like any other solid, deeply conservative Republican. Just…extra unhappy about things.

        But the only thing I’ll say for certain about the Tea Party is that it’s the base of the GOP (they are VERY influential in primaries and turnout heavily for the GOP) and that they’re older, whiter, and more conservative in general than the median GOP voter. And there’s a wealth of polls to back that up.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to morat20 says:

        when it comes to the Republican party as a hole — I do not believe they are interested in finding common ground

        Obvs. A hole is the uncommon absence of ground.Report

      • Avatar just me in reply to morat20 says:

        @morat20 You want to spot me some of those polls. From what I see the tea party is made up runs pretty close to the nation demographics. According to Gallop at least that is.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to morat20 says:

        Just Me, here’s the Wiki take on TP demographics.

        Several polls have been conducted on the demographics of the movement. Though the various polls sometimes turn up slightly different results, they tend to show that Tea Party supporters tend more likely than Americans overall to be white, male, married, older than 45, regularly attending religious services, conservative, and to be more wealthy and have more education.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to morat20 says:

        when it comes to the Republican party as a hole

        That seems a pretty apt description these days.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to morat20 says:

        the Republican party as a hole

        Is your ‘s’ key broken?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to morat20 says:

        For some reason, while I never click the “notify me by email” checkbox, the League occasionally does anyways.

        Which it did. While I was sitting in a restaurant, waiting on my wife to show up. So I posted it from my phone, using Swype, which is a tool of the Devil.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to morat20 says:

        Morat, Android phone? I find some of the keyboard apps more useful than Swype in particular. Specifically TouchPal and Swiftkey (the former is free, the latter costs money)Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to morat20 says:

        It’s not really surprising that Tea Partiers would be, on average, above the norm in intelligence and/or education. Less intelligent and/or educated people simply tend to not get that involved in politics, so nearly any group of politically active folks is likely to be, on average, at least marginally above average.

        A more interesting study would be how they compare to other groups of politically active folks, including, for example, the OWS folks. (I make no predictions–I’m not impressed with either group’s apparent smarts, but the study would be interesting, maybe.)

        I’d also like to see how they measure up on measures of mental stability, particularly with respect toward tendency toward conspiracy theorizing. I suspect that they’re above average on the latter, but of course that’s only a seat-of-the-pants hypothesis (and it doesn’t even remotely mean that every Tea Partier is a conspiracy theorist).Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to morat20 says:

        From what I saw in Eagan MN, tempered as these people were with Minnesota Niceness, they might have been smarter than your average bear but not one of them had heard of John Stuart Mill. That’s more likely a product of a weak education than any political proclivity — it still surprises me how few people have ever thought through the problem of Liberty and Authority on any meaningful basis.

        OWS and TP represent a failure of belief. I can imagine the likes of Madison and Burr, under the aegis of John Witherspoon, a remarkable man, by my estimation the intellectual godfather of the American Revolution. Signed the Declaration of Independence.

        That’s what’s lacking in both OWS and TP, a solid grounding in the philosophy of politics. It’s as if these otherwise-reasonably intelligent people are still fumbling around for the vocabulary to enumerate their complaints with our current system. It’s all there, most of the commenters here have the vocabulary to express themselves along these lines. But why aren’t schools teaching Civics any more? I would think it would be a required subject, and more than knowing the branches of government and a handwave in the general direction of the Constitution.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to greginak says:

      Wasn’t the term “Tea Party” originally an acronym for Taxed Enough Already? Or was that just made up after-the-fact?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

        Wiki says it’s a “backronym”, which is a most excellent new word. Also, TPers self-describing as “teabaggers” had too short a shelf life given the hilarity it produced.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

      Michael Lind made a similar comparison to the Tea Party as being Jeffersonian-Jacksonites in Salon.com last week or two weeks ago. Only he was not very kind in his analogy and did not intend to be. Michael Lind sees the Tea Party as being the old “Local notables” who are trying to reassert their power and privilege at the expensive of everyone else and all gains made by civil rights in the 1960s as you noted. These are not Koch Brothers rich people but they are the old local factory owners or owners of several car dealerships. Not so much professionals like lawyers and doctors. They are multi-millionaires instead of billionaires.

      I concur that they are grumpy white people unable to handle social change.Report

      • What percentage of Americans are multi-millionaires versus the percentage of Americans who have ties to the Tea Party?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        When I think about whose power and privilege is threatened by Civil Rights and social liberalism in general, multi-millionaires are not precisely who come to mind. Economic liberalism, on the other hand…Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        Fair point but polls have shown that Tea Partiers tend to be more affluent than the average American and also better “educated” though credentialed might be a better term.

        I think you can probably make distinctions in how people earn their income and their politics among the upper-middle class and above. Creative types and professionals (aka income rich) seem to swing liberal and democratic.* People who earn income from things like local businesses and profits/dividends (maybe they owned closed corproations) tend to swing right and be more socially conservative as well.

        *Though for lawyers, I wonder if you can break it down by the kind of law they practice. Trial/Plaintiff’s lawyers for the most part tend to be Democratic (though I do know a few exceptions.) I wonder if corporate lawyers tend to be more Republican. I also wonder whether it is a person’s politics that determine what kind of law they do or whether their practice informs their politics.Report

      • They’re also older and whiter than the average American and indeed older and whiter than the average Republican. Those two characteristics strike me as far more relevant, and they also are characteristics that on average correlate with greater wealth, income, and education even if the person has lived a solidly middle class life all along.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to NewDealer says:


        There is a difference between being threatened and perceptions of being threatened. Part of civil rights is employment discrimination protection and that does take away some power from bosses and business owners. Also civil rights laws about serving minorities.


        True. Ryan Lizza showed that the 80 or so Congressional Districts that make up the suicide caucus are older and whiter than the average Congressional district so they feel their world is ending as stated above. But there seem to be plenty of young(ish) conservatives out there. One of the Congresspeople who was part of the 20-30 people blamed for the shutdown is my age (33). Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and others are in their early to mid-40s. Late Gen Xers and Millennials tend to swing liberal but Peter Beinart noted that we are of a different political generation than people who were in middle or high school when Reagan was President. We are less enamoured of the Gipper.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to greginak says:

      i’m a grumpy white person

      Huh. Really? All this time I thought you were black.Report

  2. I think these are pretty good musings, although I think I agree with Greginak above that the features Galston notes are pretty much those I and most people I know identify with the TP. I say “think” I agree because I have for a while wondered if there’s more to the TP than just that. And maybe there is.

    By the way, Galston’s reference to the “Jacksonian” tradition is perhaps more accurate than his article acknowledges. It’s possible to trace an explicitly racist, pro-slavery and anti-Indian apologetics to at least some parts of the original Jacksonian tradition, or at least such has been argued (very poorly) by scholars like David Roediger and (very well) by scholars like Alexander Saxton.Report

  3. Avatar Damon says:

    The Establishment needs to figure out how to deal with the Tea Party….There has to be some way to channel their energy into far more constructive ways…..

    for the Establishment, yes. But that would be the death of the TP and needs to be avoided by them at all costs. The TP are the insurgents. For them to continue to be sucessfull (re-elected) they must continue their “political terrorrism”.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    I keep wondering what in the world just happened.

    Wake up sheeple!Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Glyph says:

      That outburst was quite something. When was the last time someone ranted against freemasons? 1840?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to NewDealer says:

        There’s somebody in Deseret ranting about it right now. I learned more about the Freemasons there than I ever had in the past, due to the Freemason-LDS connection.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to NewDealer says:

        My college roommate silk-screened some awesome ‘FEAR THE MASONS’ shirts that I remember quite fondly.

        I don’t recall if he was wearing one, the time that he handed out homemade fliers on campus promoting the “Gay Policemen’s Union”, which detailed things like how you could identify fellow union members by their (standard cop) mustaches and sunglasses. This was, of course, done when the Sherriff’s Office was on-campus doing their annual recruitment/outreach thing, where they show the students all their gear and dogs and stuff. He’s lucky he didn’t get the business end of a baton upside his head.

        That man is now working in Washington, D.C., helping to craft enviro policy.

        I think we’re in good hands.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to NewDealer says:

        Well, they have been keeping the metric system down and rigging every Oscars night for decades.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to NewDealer says:

        But thank god they’ve failed in their efforts to keep Steve Guttenberg a star.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to NewDealer says:

        Who do you think hired James Franco to host the thing?Report

  5. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    I share a bed with a Tea Partier and sometimes her dog. I do understand the Tea Parties, insofar as I know her. You might listen to what this Liberal has to say about them. This is not a cartoon description.

    The Tea Parties are not the idea factory for the Republican Party. They are the Freudian Id of the GOP. The Tea Parties represent one half of the GOP identity, the populism of the old Jacksonian Democrat. There is nothing new in them. Their ideas are as old as the Republic itself.

    William F. Buckley charmed and bamboozled these populists into thinking they shared some commonality with his half of the Grand Old Party, the elitists and industrialists. And while that Saruman still had a voice, the populists thought themselves very grand and philosophical, in the company of gentlemen. Buckley thought them a bunch of mouthbreathers. His racism was more genteel than theirs. It was the damnation of faint praise, of lowered expectations. Buckley cut the populists with a straight razor, a shave so clean their heads came off.

    Douhat is a would-be Bill Buckley, without the charm. He is the Smart Teenager of which you speak, an unctuous Young Fogey. His column of 21 Sept is nothing but cud-chewing of the most tendentious sort. Douhat would tell us of Mike Lee’s enlarged child tax credit. Douhat is a liar by omission, Mike Lee is intent upon eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Didn’t tell us that, did you, Douhat, you hewer of wood and drawer of water. I used to read Douhat. I don’t any more.

    Allow me to tell you of the Tea Party I know and love. It is an angry reaction, the outburst of a toyed-with lover. It is the populism of old, grown tired of empty promises.

    Do not think you will channel these people’s energy into what you might think to be Productive Ways. These are Nixon’s Silent Majority, that’s when they started voting. They are sick and tired of being channeled into what others think are Productive Ways. It’s their children gone to fight and die in our recent wars. They are sick of government living beyond its means. They are scorned lovers enraged to the point of political arson. Do not think anyone can reason with them. They are rather beyond all that at this point.

    The Establishment needs to figure out how to deal with the Tea Party, all right. These are not the ground troops of the GOP. They don’t take orders from the GOP. They’re giving the orders now. The failures of the Obamacare website were loudly trumpeted on Drudge and Fox. Small potatoes compared to the failures of the GOP to obtain so much as scrap of gain for their intransigence. The Obamacare website was poorly constructed, making too many external calls, causing the web servers to overload. Not uncommon in a much-used website, to find such design problems. The parallels to the GOP’s failures are exact: the GOP’s load balancers failed for the same reasons.Report

    • Avatar Damon in reply to BlaiseP says:


      Blaise, I think you’re 100% spot on here. Nicely done.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to BlaiseP says:

      My much shorter summary of actual Tea Party Republicans (As opposed to well funded “Tea Party Groups”) is that they are the logical conclusion of 50 or 60 years of Republican politicians telling their base that Government is The Problem. Tea Party folks actually expect Republicans to finally deliver on Grover Norquist’s promise to shrink the “Beast” so it can be drowned in a bath tub.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Philip H says:

        The problem is rather more complex, at least viewed through the lenses of my own relationship with a Tea Party Girl. They’re not Libertarians, the Tea Partiers I’ve known, that is to say, roughly a dozen. They do share some of the Libertarian concerns about the nature of government itself but they don’t believe Government is the Problem. They’re really Classical Liberals in the mould of John Stuart Mill, with all of JSMills’ shortcomings.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Philip H says:

        Well Blaise, if they don’t believe government is the problem, then how come they let government get shut down in their name? Seems you don’t tolerate that sort of thing unless you believe it leads to the end you want.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Philip H says:

        The Tea Parties want an end to deficit spending. We might argue the merits of that goal. I’m no fan of ultimatums, either. Turns out, everyone likes deficit spending.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Philip H says:

        Especially the Chinese.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Philip H says:

        Ok Blaise, so they want an end to deficit spending. Given that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid don’t contribute to deficits, then we take them off the table. That leaves tax policy and discretionary spending including defense. Best I can tell, the Tea Party wants to solve the problem with out cutting defense discretionary or raising taxes, so that leaves the rest of the federal government. which won’t get cut fully because they want to keep the FBI, NSA, CIA, etc. So now you’re down to a part of government that, if eliminated tomorrow, wouldn’t actually get the deficit eliminated, because they don’t close that gap. Which leaves increasing taxes,which no one save me apparently wants. So even IF we follow the deficit reduction rabbit, we can’t get there from here without destroying a significant prt of the federal government, and we really can’t get here from here without tax increases – either through rate increases or an end to tax loopholes (which need a better name the Tax Expenditures).Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Nice comment.

      At least in my recollection, the local Tea Party organizations here were clearly populist in origin. They championed small businesses. Social Security and Medicare were one thing, since they were “earned”; programs that they viewed as give-aways were quite another thing. If you asked pointed questions, they weren’t opposed to the EPA as a concept in general, but thought that the sheer volume of EPA regulations had reached the point where it was bureaucracy for the sake of bureaucracy.

      Unfortunately for the populists, a considerable number of other outraged groups have attached themselves to the movement. Theocrats. Racists. Rural secessionists. Gun nuts. Small-government types who oppose any regulation, any tax, any safety net program. I use the word “unfortunate” because those add-ons are the ones who are most often now the public face of the Tea Party movement.

      The ease with which the rural secessionists and their ilk have merged into the Tea Party convinces me that the TP is not going to be a source of important new ideas. It makes me believe that the TP is locked into an anti-urban mindset. At the same time, the country is becoming more urban, and new ideas will have to reflect that. To a consideable extent, the “Occupy” movement is the urban counterpart of the Tea Party, and the TP has largely rejected that entire group.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The point about “earned” and “unearned” social safety net programs is that people often perceive the benefits of “unearned” social benefits and entitlements as being “the other” or “those people”Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Many thanks. Coming from you, that means a great deal. As I’ve said upstream, various would-be organisations have been trying to recruit the populists into some organised whole but they’ve been resisting.

        It’s been a while since the USA has seen a serious populist on the stump. They appear from time to time, Huey Long probably the most significant. It’s as you say, though, these populist movements are always infiltrated by the Usual Suspects. Yet from what I’ve seen — and again, I’ve got one working sample here, consisting of one woman, with all the attendant biasses of a friend and lover entailing — and a gaggle of them in Eagan MN, where I taught a little guerrilla class in JS Mill in a nice microbrew pub — these people aren’t racists, aren’t theocrats, aren’t secessionists, (though they do favour strong local government), quite sensible about Second Amendment, taxation and the need for some safety netting.

        They differ among themselves. The first bunch in Eagan confronted me when I said, “You’re not really Republicans. You’re really old-line Classical Liberals, arising more from the Democratic Party of old. The GOP has been screwing you over for five decades and more.” Got quite a hot reception from that, let me tell you. But I persisted with them, handed out copies of On Liberty and made very considerable headway with them. They are respectable people, the ones I know. Emphasis on ones. Any attempt to conflate them is doomed to failure, unless some unscrupulous rogue can whip them up.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Michael Cain says:

        “The point about “earned” and “unearned” social safety net programs is that people often perceive the benefits of “unearned” social benefits and entitlements as being “the other” or “those people”.”

        I agree with this.

        To some extent, I think some of this is human nature.
        If I’m late to a meeting, well, I usually don’t look down on myself for it. I know why I was late. I know there was a good reason for it. I’m intimately aware of my actions and the context in which they occurred and thus can make sense of them.
        But that guy? The one who just strolled in? What a jerk? Why was he late? What was his reason?

        However, I also think this mindset is cultivated and promoted by people who seek to benefit from it. The common portrayals of this group or that group by politicians seeks to further the divide between “this group” and “that group”. The more “other” the other group seems, the easier to demonize them.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain says:

        I’m really strugling to understand why social security, medicare, and agriculture subsidies are fine social safety net programs because they are “earned” but food stamps, medicaid, and now Obamacare are bad because they aren’t earned. The entire point of the social safety net is to catch people when life happens. You aren’t supposed to earn them, your supposed to be entitled to them simply by virture of being alive or at least a citizen.Report

      • At least theoretically social security is something you have to buy into, while food stamps are based on need. Unemployment, Medicare, and agsubsidies are in between to varying degrees.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The point about “earned” and “unearned” social safety net programs is that people often perceive the benefits of “unearned” social benefits and entitlements as being “the other” or “those people”

        What’s with the scare quotes around “unearned?” These are programs that you literally don’t have to do anything to qualify for—in fact, doing things can actually disqualify you. How is characterizing benefits from these programs as unearned even the least bit controversial?Report

      • Avatar Dan D in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Social security and Medicare were designed by FDR and LBJ to be perceived as earned; that’s why they each have a separate tax when they could be paid out of the general fund and why social security sends out periodic statements. If you want to blame some one for the perception the social security and Medicare are earned blame FDR and LBJ.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Brandon- You don’t have to do anything to get “unearned” benefits except be a living human being. For some things like medical care and basic food needs, just being a person is “earning” it.Report

      • I’m really strugling to understand why social security, medicare, and agriculture subsidies are fine social safety net programs because they are “earned” but food stamps, medicaid, and now Obamacare are bad because they aren’t earned.

        People have touched on SS and Medicare. Let me say something about the ag subsidies, where the original motivations were somewhat different [1]. When most of the farm subsidies were put in place, there was a very real possibility that rural America was going to slip into permanent second-class status. There were lots of other non-farm-specific subsidies added over time for the same purpose. RUS (formerly REA) makes cheap money available for rural infrastructure — my 86-year-old mom has a nice story about waiting for the promised arrival of REA electricity on Christmas Eve in a very small town in rural Iowa. The whole point of the TVA was to generate electricity for delivery over REA-subsidized distribution networks. We levy a fee on phone service that is used to subsidize rural communications services. Over the last few decades, most states have implemented subsidies (hidden in various ways) for rural roads, education, and health care.

        You can debate whether subsidizing modern tech for those who live in rural areas is good or bad. If you decide to do direct subsidies then directing them to farms and farmers is probably a reasonable decision, since the farmers will spend the money largely in their local economy. That such subsidies continue to be necessary is almost certainly true. One of the sore points that spawned Colorado’s current rural secession movement is that the legislature passed a law requiring rural electric cooperatives to meet a renewable energy standard. The amount is much less than what was imposed on for-profit electric utilities (who serve the urban/suburban areas) several years ago. The rural complaints all basically boil down to “We’re poor, we can’t afford renewable electricity.” When I’m in a curmudgeonly mood, my response tends to be, “Look at the size of the existing subsidies; don’t you mean to say, ‘We’re poor, we can’t afford electricity at all on our own, thanks for helping.’?”

        [1] Although to the same point as SS and Medicare, to get direct agricultural subsidies you do have to own/operate a working farm.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Michael Cain says:

        we dont’ need to cut SS. we just got done cutting Medicare. It’s called Obamacare. I know, you’ve heard of it.Report

      • @leeesq

        The entire point of the social safety net is to catch people when life happens. You aren’t supposed to earn them, your supposed to be entitled to them simply by virtue of being alive or at least a citizen.

        Well, that’s how you and I see social safety nets. But I can imagine people who insist on the earned/unearned distinction begging to differ, and being consistent in doing so. I’ve noticed some of this among relatives Y and Z of mine when another relative, X, had to go on food stamps. Y and Z would say “oh, that’s okay, because X is a hard worker.” The unstated assumption was that “most” (usually rendered as “90 %”) don’t actually deserve it.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Michael Cain says:


        Maybe once upon a time agricultural subsidies made sense. Now much agriculture is done by large businesses and corporations. I don’t have a big problem with this, they feed a lot of people pretty efficiently. They shouldn’t get subsidies though.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Michael Cain says:

        To often “earned” vs “unearned” divides along ethnicity, racial or regional grounds. It seems just different words with an implied justification for saying Us vs. Them.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Michael Cain says:

        Ag subsidies are market distorters. I would argue crop insurance is justified, though some might view it as a distortion.Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    I’m not convinced about #2; the Tea Party didn’t shut the government down over NSA spying, they shut the government down over health insurance. There was no hailing Snowden a hero from the tea party that I noticed. No pulling out of hair over Manning or Assange.

    I think concerns over government’s ability to spy on people runs deeply in folk who understand how the web works, and I don’t see all that great a representation of this crowd in the Tea Party.

    Same with marijuana legalization; though there’s perhaps more overlap here; I know there’s a good segment of ‘get the government off our backs’ folk who are this weird strain of evangelical dead heads.

    So I think you may be mistakenly counting folk who support some of Paul’s policy positions as full-fledged Tea Party members.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to zic says:

      I concur. Rand Paul does play lip service to civil liberties every now and then but he also gives a lot of speeches about how their is war/conspiracy against Christianity going on.

      This was about Obamacare and progressive legislation. James Fallows published some letters he received from Tea Partiers who seemed convinced that financial apocalypse was the only thing that could save the United States from the doom of ACA.Report

      • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to Kolohe says:

        Right. They hailed Snowden as a hero, are taking up goldbuggery and conspiracy thinking to the tenth power while they’re at it.

        Just a brief read through the Oathkeeper site’s blog gives you some sense of how far off the reservation these folks are.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kolohe says:

        And anti-war protests back in the day always had someone going on about Mumia (if they weren’t going on about the Israel Palestine quagmire). Which in any case has nothing to do to what I responding to.

        Zic stated that she did not notice any hailing of Snowden as a hero from the Tea Party. I offered examples of those that did, with signs that were on the platform of a DC area mass transit station – which one would, of course, not notice unless one was a DC area commuter.

        Furthermore, tea party stalwart Justin Amash from the Michigan 3rd, who has been pro-shutdown, anti-raising debt ceiling throughout the last month (including and up to last night), had heretofore been *the* leader in Congress in protesting NSA policies and procedures.

        One can’t rely on a convenient fiction that the tea party doesn’t care about the NSA, that they don’t have “concerns about the government’s ability to spy on people.”Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Kolohe says:

        @kolohe I wasn’t attempting to create a fiction that there was no anti-government spying amongst some members of the Tea Party, I was pointing out that that sentiment was spread around, some members? Sure, but a lot of other folk, as well. It certainly was not a driving topic of the government shutdown and debt ceiling talks the way anti-Obamacare was specifically a rallying point of the Tea Party.

        The same with pot; some anti-drug law, but not a huge talking point.

        In both cases, I think you’d find other Tea Party folk on the opposite side of both issues, depending on how you frame questions. Law and order and put criminals away? Stop muslim terrorists? Lot of Tea Party seem strongly rooted in both camps and opposed to civili liberties. Certainly they’re opposed to women’s civil liberties when it comes to lady parts.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

        Throw a dozen random Tea Party folks in a room and you’ll only get a few points of commonality:

        1) They’ll be almost totally white, and on the older side of 50.
        2) Democrats are the enemy.
        3) They’re very, very unhappy with the way things are going. What they’re unhappy about will vary widely, but as to why see point 2.
        4) They vote Republican, have voted Republican for at least a decade.
        5) They represent ‘real’ America.
        6) The problems facing America would be fixed except for Democrats and RINOs.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Kolohe says:

        Morat20, honestly? I’m a lot more interested in policies people hold in common that can be used to increase civil liberties than in sketching cartoons of a large and diverse group of people.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

        I’m a lot more interested in policies people hold in common that can be used to increase civil liberties than in sketching cartoons of a large and diverse group of people

        I JUST flat out said that other than being angry, mostly white, and Republican voters they had nothing in common — not even what they were angry about!

        Some about banks and bailouts, others about terrorists, others about this and that. They’re just as diverse as the Democratic base on issues and motivations. They’re held together basically by a common enemy or scapegoat more than common goals.

        Which means Bob the Tea Party guy might be all pro-legalization whereas Tim might be a major drug warrior and they’re BOTH Tea Party guys.

        Unless you’re denying the generally white, older, conservative bit. Which means you’re denying basic polling. Sure there’s outliers, but we’re talking about a group here. I mean, I know a black Republican but that doesn’t mean the GOP is getting the black vote in 2014.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Kolohe says:

        being angry, mostly white, and Republican voters

        Over 50, too.

        But that’s the point. I’m white. I’m angry, I’m over 59. I miss out on Republican voter, though I have voted for Republicans.

        Someone how feels like the tea party is in their best interest who also has a problem with internet data mining would have some common ground with me; I’d much prefer to talk to them there then to dismiss them because they fit a stereotype of tea party.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

        But if you want my honest opinion, the Tea Party is composed of at LEAST three separate groups with at least three competing motivations: Evangelical fundamentalists, massively free-market de-regulationists, and security/law and order types.

        They all hate taxes — who wants to pay taxes — but they’ve got competing goals with some overlap, but even then it’s like two legs of the stool yanking on the third. Law and order types might join with the religious fundamentalists over terrorism issues because of the whole ‘Muslim’ religious angle, but not the free-marketers.

        You’ll find smaller groups — libertarian-lite sorts, objectivists, people who watch too much Glenn Beck and are scared about their SS checks, flat-out racist xenophobes, whatever.

        In short: It’s the same sort of dynamic and tension the GOP has been struggling to keep harnessed for decades now, and their primary carrot (tax cuts and scapegoats) is becoming problematic, which is why the Tea Party’s goals and methods are often incoherent. There’s something of a primal, internal struggle there.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Kolohe says:

        Someone how feels like the tea party is in their best interest who also has a problem with internet data mining would have some common ground with me; I’d much prefer to talk to them there then to dismiss them because they fit a stereotype of tea party

        I was describing them, not dismissing them. You think I shun my father and his friends? I admittedly don’t talk politics with any of them but my father, but I do listen and other than gently the mock the guy who carries two guns (so he doesn’t have to reload. The most dangerous situation he’s ever faced was a slipped club on the golf course), I don’t even dismiss them as idiots.

        I get why they’re angry or fearful. I don’t think some of it’s logical, and I certainly don’t agree with many of their proposed solutions, but I’m also not gonna lie: They’re white, over 50, and have voted Republican since Reagan, minimum.

        The Tea Party IS the conservative base. Just with a new label. And certainly I DO have common areas with Republicans.Report

  7. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Dennis, I hope you can expand a bit on your prediction that the Tea Party is the “ideas factory” of the GOP. Specifically on how these ideas end up working their way into the GOP mainstream and into policy. If this is indeed the case, it seems like the culmination of the long, slow split between the GOP and academia. Perhaps I’m generalizing, but the way things used to work is that there would be a number of major universities with major conservative theorists churning out scholarly work, which was then taken by think-tanks and popularized (or Gladwell-ized, really, in the way it makes complex problems appear to have simple solutions) for general consumption by the party, and eventually into policy. In the past few decades, it seems like the link between academia and think-tanks has withered away, with the latter (or weird hybrids like The Mercatus Center) taking on the roles of both academic and Malcom Gladwell. Now it appears that the Tea Party has decided to rid themselves even of this hint of academia, with new ideas coming directly from the people. Does that make sense?

    If so, I think this would be a significant loss to the party, perhaps an irreparable one. Anti-intellectualism has already hurt the GOP in more observable areas like political strategy and Get Out The Vote. Romney’s campaign was almost a decade behind Obama on technology and strategy for GOTV, in large part because the GOP no longer attracts young academics. If this pattern extends to actual policy-making I see the GOP/Dem opposition becoming even more a struggle of ideologues versus technocrats. And I don’t believe history tends to favor the ideologues.Report

  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Here is another article that compares the Tea Party to the far-right populist parties of Europe like Le Pen’s party in France.


  9. Avatar just me says:

    I am outdenting here. I grabbed the Gallop poll off that same wiki page. It seemed like the least partisan poll on there. I tend to actually look at the polls and not just what someone wrote in the summary section of wiki. They may be right, I don’t know, but even wiki says 45 not 50. I found one poll in 30 seconds that did not fit what Morat said, now it is up to someone else to refute it with hard facts.

    I had a pretty big response to morat written on here, but then I realized it was ginormous and not appropriate in length for a response. The gist of it was that if you take any of the statements people on this blog make about Tea Party people and changed the words to any other group people would be standing up in arms denouncing the stereotypical rhetoric being used. I know some people who are xxx therefore all of xxx are just like them people.

    I also am amused by how much some would like all of the Tea Party people to be just the same. Seems diversity of thought and ideas is frowned upon.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to just me says:

      Did you save that comment? Post it. It’s an important topic.Report

      • Avatar just me in reply to Stillwater says:

        Most of it I said this morning to Blaise. Was pretty funny coming home from work and seeing this topic being discussed. We had a pretty lively debate before I left for work about it. I had mentioned how ticked I was that pork was added into the “let’s push any hard choices a couple of months down the road” bill. He mentioned how they were from Repubs. I was not amused. I don’t care who they are from, I hate the well it’s a dem or it’s a repub. I DON’T CARE. They all work for us, regardless of their party affiliation. None of them are the second coming of anything. They each have the opportunity to do the right thing or not. Granted my idea of the right thing and theirs may be two different things. I told Blaise how he feels about race is how I feel about politics. I hate with a passion how much politics is like a sport. With winners and losers. The funny part is that in the end we are all the losers. The “fans” lose, not the parties.

        Anyways, I’m a little ranty on this topic if you can’t tell. So I guess Morat has that part right, TPers are just a tad angry. Angry with the same old same old. IMHO the TPers he thinks he is talking about…those in the general population, not the ones who are being elected to national positions. They are the ones who are just as fed up with both parties, they don’t hate Obama, they don’t hate Dems, they don’t Love the Repubs.

        They are sick of having smoke blown up their butts and being told that if only they were more knowledgeable they would understand how beneficial that smoke is. They are not only being told that by the politicians but by the party die-hards on both sides.

        So why go on the side of Repubs then? What, would you rather we decimated the Dem primaries instead? No? Well then I guess if one side is more likely to vote for you it probably makes sense to try and get their votes and not the side that thinks you’re a bunch of racist homophobic nationalistic tools.

        As for the other comment it’s on the other computer which is having a nap after an overheating episode. I shall see if the comment survived the unexpected shutdown. Notepad++ auto save may have worked.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to just me says:

      I also am amused by how much some would like all of the Tea Party people to be just the same. Seems diversity of thought and ideas is frowned upon.

      Do you mean diversity within the Tea Party, or the diversity that the Tea Party represents? If you mean the former, then I’d like to see some evidence of the diversity of thought within the part itself. If the latter, I think you’re wrong: it’s not the diversity of thought that bothers people, but advocating policies which they disagree with.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

        And then there’s the whole methodology thing, exemplified in the Shutdown fiasco.Report

      • Avatar just me in reply to Stillwater says:

        I mean the diversity of what has those who self identify as Tea Party upset. I mean if I’m upset with NSA spying and I don’t think that Obama Care solves the problems it needed too why can’t I be in the same “party” as someone who is upset with government spending and Benghazi or with immigration and bank bailouts? I don’t understand the concept that we have to have a “laser focus” and all be upset about the same things. I mean if there is x percent of the population that was angry on the Tea Party side and another x percent on the OWS side doesn’t that seem like an awful lot of angry people. People who cross many demographics.

        Do I like Cruz or some of the other crazy dudes in the house and Senate? Nope, but then I didn’t vote for them either. I didn’t know that I was responsible for every person who says they are a Tea Partier. Am I the person who held up the confederate flag at the White House? Nope, didn’t know that I was responsible for his actions or that his actions reflected on me.

        It seems only acceptable to hold all of one group responsible for the actions of the few if that group is the Tea Party. I guess we have a collective responsibility thing going on that I didn’t know about. I’m not even responsible for the actions of my brothers and sisters I sure as heck ain’t gonna be responsible for the actions of people I don’t even know.Report

        • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto in reply to just me says:

          If you’re willing to share self-chosen identifying markers with people who are upset about Benghazi for patently frivolous and absurd partisan reasons, or go off on about “defending the constitution” through thinly veiled racist crap like Birtherism, or crackpot lunatic theories like the Alex Jones illuminati crowd (as the Oathkeepers seem), at what point are identifying those signifiers as being part of a specific movement no longer simply stereotyping, but noting a form of acceptance?

          Well then I guess if one side is more likely to vote for you it probably makes sense to try and get their votes and not the side that thinks you’re a bunch of racist homophobic nationalistic tools.

          This impression doesn’t come out of a vacuum.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater says:

        trust me, anonymous gets the same treatment.

        OWS pulls a different sort of people than the Tea Party does.
        The Tea Party pulls the overseers, the foremen, the people
        who know, deep in their bones, that they’re supposed to be
        better than everyone else, get to boss people around.
        And they see that eroding, crumbling around them.

        Blaise says the Tea Party isn’t a patsy, isn’t a chump.
        I say anyone voting for Scott Walker is doing the devil’s work
        for him. Or at least, close enough for government work.

        As to me wanting you in the Democratic Primaries?
        You betcha! Anyone’s welcome, and the more the merrier.
        [I live in a democratic area. the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (Scaife)
        contributes to democratic primary candidates around here.]Report

      • Avatar Just Me in reply to Stillwater says:

        @Kim….I guess I did the Devil’s work then. Twice.Report