Tea Party Is Nothing More Than G.O.P. Fringe

We came across an insightful column in yesterday’s Boston Globe which analyzes the true makeup and possible impact of the Tea Party. Lynnrockets’ Blast-Off could say it no better, so here is that column. After reading it, please review Scott Lehigh’s other well written work by visiting The Boston Globe.

“AT TIMES, the Tea Party movement has seemed less an authentic expression of grass-roots outrage than a counterfeit crop seeded by well-connected conservatives and nurtured in the hospitable hothouse that is Fox News. And yet the movement, which doesn’t have particularly deep roots in New England, has turned out some impressive crowds, including a sizable gathering on Boston Common in mid-April.

Will the Tea Party will be a lasting force in mainstream American politics? Or, like most American protest movements, is it destined to fade away after an election cycle or two? That question has been difficult to answer, in part because it’s hard to bring the movement into sharp focus.

If you’ve looked for a unified field theory that explains it all, you’ve no doubt been frustrated. As New York Times reporter Kate Zernike writes in “Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America,’’ her new book about the movement, the phenomenon doesn’t lend itself to one simple explanation. Instead, the movement is the complex sum of many different parts and motivations.

Zernike (full disclosure: she’s a former colleague and a friend) persuades me that it shouldn’t be written off as just a synthetic creation, despite the energetic involvement of FreedomWorks, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s corporate-cozy conservative nonprofit, which includes Astroturfing tricks among its organizing tactics.

In part that’s because of the everyday American faces “Boiling Mad’’ puts on some of the Tea Party activists. For example, there’s Tom Grimes, a jovial 65-year-old laid-off stockbroker who adopts the satirical title of “bus czar’’ as he arranges transportation for Tea Party protests. And Diana Reimer, a gregarious 66-year-old who got involved as a way “to get your frustrations out’’ after her husband, a former Navy man, lost his job and she had to take a low-wage post at Macy’s.

Zernike’s reporting gives you a good sense of the camaraderie the Tea Partiers enjoy, as well as the anger, fear, and frustration they feel. I found myself impressed by their energy, commitment, and passion.

And yet, “Boiling Mad’’ also reinforced something I’ve experienced in my own exchanges with Tea Party types. Their views often betray a gut-level emotional element or a lack of policy knowledge or inconsistencies or contradictions that would hinder any easy or long-term translation into a governing philosophy. (Unity, as any political tactician can tell you, is far easier in opposition than in support of something.)

Grimes, for example, rebuts the pro-Obama arguments of friends this way: “The problem is, you guys are trying to sell this on facts. You can have all the facts, but if you don’t trust the mind-set or the value system of the people involved, you can’t even look at the facts anymore.’’

Reimer, meanwhile, wants smaller government, but not cuts to Medicare or TRICARE (the military health care program), on which she and her husband rely.

There, she’s hardly alone. Despite their anti-government bent, half of those who considered themselves Tea Party supporters either benefit from programs like Social Security or Medicare or have someone in their immediate family who does, according to New York Times polling.

Further, one can’t help but be struck by the solipsism that marks the movement. Eighty-four percent of Tea Party supporters think their views reflect those of most Americans, according to that same polling. (Perhaps they’ve watched too much of Glenn Beck’s coverage of their events.) That’s just silly. Among a larger sample of US adults, only 25 percent thought Tea Party sentiments typified the majority’s thinking, while only 18 percent actually called themselves Tea Party supporters.

In sum, Zernike’s book leaves me more confident in the idea that the real effect of the Tea Party won’t be in the middle of American politics. Rather, it will be within the Republican ranks, where the newly minted activists are engaged in a power struggle with the establishment.

It’s a struggle that may well drag the GOP even further out of the mainstream. If so, some who celebrated the protests as the start of an anti-Obama backlash may find the movement has boomeranged on them in ways they never imagined.”

Please remember to click on the song link below to familiarize yourselves with the tune and to have more fun singing along with today’s topical song parody.

Garden Party song link:  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x89fev_ricky-nelson-garden-party_music

TEA BAG PARTY

(sung to the Ricky Nelson song “Garden Party”)

I went to a Tea Bag party hoping to make some brand new friends
But they became my enemies, those right wing racist men
When I got to the Tea Bag party, they all looked the same
That really surprised me, and no one had a brain

But its all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

Crazies there from miles around, mostly with white hair
Locals brought their shotguns, there was hatred in the air
‘n’ over in the corner, not to my surprise
Sarah Palin sportin’ F-me pumps while just winking her eyes

But its all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so they can go to hell

Lot-in-dah-dah-dah, lot-in-dah-dah-dah

Told them they were so wrong, Glenn Beck is insane
Drill Baby, Drill’s stupid,  and Palin is to blame
I said Rand Paul is crazy too, best not drink his tea
Then I told them things about Michele Bachmann they would not believe

But its all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so they can go to hell

Lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
Lot-in-dah-dah-dah

Someone opened up a closet door and donned a white pointy hood
Punching his railroad ticket to Hell and just the way he should
If you’re goin’ to a Tea Bag party, I wish you a lotta luck
Bring a misspelled sign, use racist slang and drive a pick-up truck

But its all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

Lot-dah-dah-dah (lot-dah-dah-dah)
Lot-in-dah-dah-dah

But its all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

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Posted on August 26, 2010, in Fox News, Republican, Songs, Tea Party and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. They are organizing thanks to a number of techniques outlined in this article below:

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/article;jsessionid=842F0ADFCC240146F687CC8FCF1156BF.w6?a=649289&f=19

  2. Herding cats

    The teabagger rebellion began with the realization by ordinary Republicans that they’d been duped by the GOP. The Bush era’s degenerate orgy of tax cuts for the rich, war profiteering, and Wall St. bailouts, left ordinary citizens to clean up the mess of a wild party to which they had not been invited.

    The solution- have Pox promote the uprising in order to control it’s message. The pitiful rabble are now miraculously in favor of cutting their own Social Security and Medicare benefits (Big Government bad!) in order to balance the budget (deficits bad!) and keep taxes low (taxes bad!) for Murdoch, Beck, Bachmann and Palin.

    We’re now told that teabaggers also abhor the EPA and net neutrality!

    • Don’t tell anyone about the Cat Whisperer.

      • Tea Party Patriots

        The Kochs are longtime libertarians who believe in drastically lower personal and corporate taxes, minimal social services for the needy, and much less oversight of industry—especially environmental regulation.

        http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer

      • Yeah, read that and everyone else should, too. Making the world a better place for billionaires, so please vote against your own interests, ’cause dammit, they need more of your money, small people.

        If they both die this year, their heirs wouldn’t be subject to estate taxes since they expired. Goodness knows, these billionaires couldn’t afford to live on ~50%.

      • Conservative Group Accused of Abusing Tax Status

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/us/politics/28irs.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

        Yesterday, just for spite, I was hoping something with their foundations and charitable trusts or other organizations would blow from a tax standpoint, and it looks like this may be the start of some Al Capone-like scrutiny. Couldn’t happen to a couple of more deserving chemical engineering nerds, IMO.

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