Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Taking Tea?

Would this be the same Tea Party insurgency that put Scott Brown into the Senate?

What are the Tea Parties actually in favour of, rather than against? Not pro-life or the defence of traditional marriage, neither of which they ever mention. Catholics pretty much gave up on the GOP and went home in 2008, and white Evangelicals would already have done the same if Obama had played his cards right and appointed one of their number to the Supreme Court, something that the Republicans have no more done than they have ever done anything about abortion.

The Tea Parties are something else entirely, and it is not at all clear, even to themselves, what that is. Where are the Tea Parties against the fiscal irresponsibility, and the wildly anti-conservative social and cultural effects, of neoliberal economics and neoconservative foreign policy? For that matter, where are the May Day and Labor Day events against the anti-worker intentions and effects of mass and illegal immigration?

Where are the Tea Parties against Pat Toomey, with his Club for Greed slogan, "Invade The World, Invite The World, In Hock To The World"? The Tea Parties may have been at least partially responsible for the nomination of Rand Paul, but whatever happened to Peg Luksik?

And where are the Tea Parties against Sharron Angle, unendorsed by an NRA with a good name to protect, and angling for Scientology to take over where the loss of The Washington Times has forced the Moonies to leave off? Does Middle America now mean Scientology but not the NRA? Or maybe, just maybe, does a fake-spontaneous movement called into being by Rupert Murdoch actually have nothing to do with Middle America, still less constitute its bespoke voice in the present age?

1 comment:

  1. The Tea Parties may have started off as a genuine right-populist movement with some good points, but now it is being bankrolled and controlled by the same sort of right-wing billionaires and millionaires that always funded the American Right.

    At my most cynical, I think this is just a way to rebrand the GOP and the "war" between the "Establishment Republicans" and the "Tea Partiers" is either a media-generated farce or just a battle between different factions in the GOP that are, at the end of the day, not too different from each other.

    As for why some people don't see the whole thing for what it probably is, I have to ask, can one reason with folks that think that Obama is simultaneously a radical Muslim/Godless Communist/follower of Radical Black Liberation Theology who is planning to steal money from hard-working white folks to give it to lazy black folks and other minorities? People who hate government employees, even while practically worshiping police officers, firefighters, and soldiers? People that hate unions and the policies of the New Deal consensus era, yet want to return to the more family-friendly social conditions of the 1950s, while failing to realize that those conditions would have been impossible for much of the population without strong labor unions, government employment, and a strong social safety net?

    I know I am being quite unfair here, but I think this is perhaps closer to the mark than some folks would like to admit. On a better note, I think you are right about the Tea Partiers being less representative of Middle American than the media lets on. In fact, the Tea Party might be good news for the beleaguered Democrats, as most Americans don’t want to destroy all the populist reforms, as imperfect as they are, that are the legacy of the New Dealers and others.