The Fightin' Side of Tea

We've seen two serious surveys of Tea Party opinion recently, one from the Winston Group and one from CBS and The New York Times. They certainly aren't the last word on the subject, and there's still a lot to be learned about a movement whose very identity is up for grabs. But these polls are what we've got, and the comments on the results are rolling in, notably in a symposium published yesterday on the New York Times site.

One essay there comes from the liberal historian Rick Perlstein, who dismisses the demonstrations as "the shrieking of a small minority." I can't endorse that opinion, but in the course of making his case Perlstein does raise an important point. Such movements, he writes, "accompany every ascendancy of liberalism within U.S. government":

"When was the last time you saw such a spontaneous eruption of conservative grass-roots anger, coast to coast?" asked the professional conservative L. Brent Bozell III recently. The answer, of course, is: in 1993. And 1977. And 1961. And so on.

This is true. And if the topic is Tea Party opinion, those recurring eruptions present a natural experiment.

Take the much-discussed subject of race. It's often noted that the Tea Parties didn't really take off until Barack Obama became president, even though the Bush administration pushed through some egregious interventions in the economy. The standard explanation for this is that many Tea Partiers are more alarmed by big government when the Democrats are in power than when the White House is held by a Republican. But some have suggested that the real issue here is Obama's skin color.

The way this usually plays out is (a) someone zeroes in on a Tea Party type who has expressed something racist, and then (b) everyone argues about how typical he is. It might be more fruitful, though, to try to compare the levels of prejudice in the Tea Parties and in those previous surges in conservative activity. Having been an adult engaged with politics both in the 1990s and today, I can report confidently that racial resentment was much more apparent in the right-wing activism of two decades ago than now, even though the president who took office in 1993 was white. You don't see a lot of people trying to rally the troops by invoking racial quotas these days, for example. There's much less of a racial edge to the discussions of welfare, too. The majority of the racism that you do see on the right today is aimed at Mexicans. That's bad, but it doesn't fit the "they hate Obama because he's black" narrative.

To judge from the historical record, the '90s right was in turn less racist than the right-wing surge of the '70s. (One rarely-noted fact about the Clinton era is that prejudice grew less popular not just in the mainstream right but on the radical right. There's a marked difference between the militias of the '90s and the far-right groups of the '80s and earlier.) I'd argue that this reflects a long-term decline in both overt and coded anti-black sentiment throughout American society. Other shifts on the right represent short-term changes. In the '90s, for example, grassroots conservatives reacted to the end of the Cold War by becoming much more suspicious of both military action abroad and the national security state at home. You can find such views in the Tea Parties today, thanks largely to the Ron Paul contingent, but the War on Terror has restored a lot of those old hawkish reflexes.

Back to the New York Times symposium. The worst entry comes from Alan Wolfe, who trots out the old "status anxiety" explanation for right-wing sentiment that was popular in the middle of the 20th century and has been rejected by most serious historians and social scientists since then. (For some background on the rise and fall of that school of thought, read Leo Ribuffo's "What Underlies Obama's Analysis of 'The People'.") But while I wouldn't look to Wolfe for insights into the Tea Parties, his comments do offer a glimpse into the mindset of a certain sort of Tea Party critic. Consider this passage:

These are not farmers thrown off the land by mechanization or workers stripped of their livelihood through globalization. In the great game of social mobility there are more winners among them than losers.

Yet despite their relatively comfortable private positions, these people are anything but content with the public life of their country. Ninety-two percent of them think the U. S. is on the wrong track. Over half of them (53 percent) are angry, but there is no agreement about them about what they are angry about.

They are no great fans of any particular leader because they distrust all leaders. Such response might make sense if we lived in a society that allowed little room for economic advancement, suspended elections when its ruling class did not like the results, or possessed no Bill of Rights. But we actually live in a country that people attracted to the right claim to love.

Last month David Brooks suggested that the Tea Parties resemble the New Left. I don't know about that, but the Tea Parties' critics sure can sound like the New Left's foes. Up until that last sentence, Wolfe's words are indistinguishable from an angry conservative complaining about those overprivileged kids burning down the campuses, circa 1970. They love our milk and honey/But they preach about some other way of living/When they're runnin' down my country, hoss/They're walkin' on the fightin' side of me.

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  • Tony||

    The standard explanation for this is that many Tea Partiers are more alarmed by big government when the Democrats are in power than when the White House is held by a Republican. But some have suggested that the real issue here is Obama's skin color.

    Column A, meet column B. Let's not forget that a lot of the rage at previous white Democratic presidents and their governments was motivated by white racial resentment. It infuses conservative objections to social welfare spending and always has. Probably, it lessens as time goes on, but the fact that the president is black should add some extra spice to the protests and nobody should be surprised.

  • kilroy||

    Nice unfounded assertions, dipshit. Shut The Fuck Up!

  • PIRS||

    I meant to post what I wrote at 4.16.10 @ 6:14PM as a reply to this.

  • ||

    Tony, did you think Brooklyn's Finest would fail in the box office like it did? I did, but I've never been an Antoine Fuqua fan.

  • ||

    News flash! "Anti-racists" see racism everywhere! Film at 11!

  • Tony||

    Sorry I can't be as clearheaded as, uh, pro-racists?

    Actually, what's motivating people is, to me, a much less interesting question than who is being motivated. And if it's a group that's overwhelmingly racially homogeneous then race is an issue whether you like it or not and really despite what's going on inside their heads.

    What are you gonna say, virtually all black and hispanic people are on the wrong side because of some intrinsic flaw? Doubt it.

  • ||

    So because most people at Tea Party rallies are white (as are most people in the US), that makes race an issue? To you, maybe. But somehow I doubt if you applied that principle to, say, the anti-Iraq War demonstrations.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Worse than that, PSF... they're pro-racists.

    But not all of them. Wink.

  • Mikey||

    We are all now dumber for having read that.

    "...race is an issue...despite what's going on inside their heads."

    So white people voting similarly scares you? If I recall, BO carried roughly 90% of the black vote. Does that interest you as well?

  • Tony||

    Sure, but an entire minority race voting one way is not the same situation as one party getting only members of the majority race. There's something exclusionary going on, and you have to admit it otherwise you'd have to claim minorities are intrinsically able to be duped. If it were just about ideas you'd expect more crossover.

  • ||

    Ahem

    BULSHIT

  • MJ||

    The Tea Parties are not only getting white people, people of other races may not be in proportion to their numbers in the general population, but they are there. That is not any sort of proof that there is anthing deliberately exclusionary going on.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    No, Tony, virtually all black and hispanic people are on the wrong side because they've been bribed with handouts by very slick salesmen called "Democrats".

  • ||

  • PIRS||

    "Let's not forget that a lot of the rage at previous white Democratic presidents and their governments was motivated by white racial resentment. It infuses conservative objections to social welfare spending and always has."

    {{citation needed}}

  • Shannon Love||

    The 1994 election when rage at Clinton's tax hikes and attempt to socialize medical care swept the Republicans into control of the House for the first time in 40 years and establish a firm Republican stamp on the rest of Clintons Presidency.

    It was exactly like what is going on now except back then only ubergeeks had internet access.

  • PIRS||

    And what did race have to do with any of this? That is the acusation that I dispute.

  • ||

    Jesse Helms on line 2.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KIyewCdXMzk

  • PIRS||

    Racial quotas are themselves racist by definition. In any case, they are well within the realm of debate. Are you suggesting that debate about an actual law should not be mentioned in a political commercial? What point are you attempting to make here?

  • ||

    I never said that it was an unjustified feelings. Just that there were racial resentments.

  • PIRS||

    The resentment is toward the law, not the melanin in someone’s skin.

  • MJ||

    You are talking about laws and policies that treat people differently based on race? That people who object to such laws have a racial issue? Really?

  • ||

    Are you saying that people who had problems with racially discriminatory laws were doing so because of 'racial resentments?'

  • Random Dude||

    Excellent observations.

  • ¢||

    I recommend Leo Ribuffo's essay "What Underlies Obama's Analysis of 'The People'."

    You shouldn't. It's creepy. And it's dumb when it's not playing dumb. But mostly it's creepy.

    [Obama] neither reduces the behavior of “bitter” Americans to psychological symptoms nor regards their “symbolic politics” of guns and God as unrelated to their economic circumstances. In reiterating “what everybody knows is true,” Obama shows a respect for voters unusual among candidates with a chance to win. He believes that “the people” can accept embarrassing truths at least some of the time.

    I mean...Jesus Christ. That's like a blurb for Mein Kampf. Obama fans are fucked up.

  • PIRS||

    "Obama fans are fucked up."

    Yes, I agree. We saw this during the campaign. I have never seen political iconography like this in the Untied States before - not for a living person anyway. “Fan” is not strong enough of a word in fact. They are more like worshipers. The iconography resembles the iconography of saints in the Western Tradition or deities in polytheistic religions. It was and still is creepy.

  • Random Dude||

    Yes.

    I don't want a president who has his own logo.

  • ||

    Wisdom.

  • ||

    Yeah, but there is an unintended benefit of this: as Obama relentlessly proves to everyone that he's not going to deliver on anything he promised, it will crush his worshipers. And fuck if they don't deserve it.

  • ap||

    you aren't familiar with the history of religion?

  • ||

    Astute.

  • ||

    I am noticing a dwindling number of Obama bumper stickers in San Francisco. There are still some, but far fewer than a year ago. And lefties here often leave such things on cars for years after elections.

  • Apostate Jew||

    It's the mirror image of Reagan worship. Many people have a need to believe in leaders. Get over it.

  • PIRS||

    When Ronald Reagan was alive and healthy did you see commemorative plates celebrating his election? Did you see his face on t-shirts to the degree you see Obama's today? Did Ronald Reagan have his own logo? Neither did I.

  • boomshanka||

    You don't have much of a grasp on the history of this country, do you? The election of the first black president was a pretty big deal.

  • PIRS||

    "The election of the first black president was a pretty big deal."

    You mean because it gives his supporters the opportunity to say that if you disagree with him this automatically means you are a racist?

  • boomshanka||

    Uh, no. Just think for a moment, I'm sure it will come to you.

  • PIRS||

    Because it makes the alphabet networks more likely to overlook his many flaws (because they don't want to be called racist)?

  • boomshanka||

    I gave you too much credit.

  • PIRS||

    So, tell me, why then is the melanin content of his skin at all "a big deal"? Didn't Martin Luther King Jr. say we should overlook skin color and pay attention to the content of a person's character?

  • PIRS||

    And I am far from impressed by the content of Barack Obama’s character.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    That's true, boomshanka... it was a pretty big deal, and Obama should be lauded for breaking that barrier.

    But that is ALL he has done that is positive.

  • boomshanka||

    thanks TLG. and his performance is a legitimate matter of debate, so you're free to espouse that opinion even if i completely disagree.

    but for others to ignore or re-write the most shameful part of our history is pretty destructive, imo.

  • PIRS||

    "but for others to ignore or re-write the most shameful part of our history is pretty destructive, imo."

    Who is doing that?

  • boomshanka||

    Gov. McDonnell for starters, Haley Barbour, and certain commenter here on this particular thread chose to play dumb rather than concede a pretty narrow and uncontroversial point.

  • PIRS||

    What "pretty narrow and uncontroversial point" would that be?

  • boomshanka||

    "that the election of the first black president was a pretty big deal." *sigh*

  • PIRS||

    I am an anarcho-capitalist and do not consider holding any political office to be much of an achievement, quite the contrary. Do you know what I DO think was a pretty big deal? How about the first black person to head a Fortune 500 Company?
    http://www.black-collegian.com.....ines.shtml

  • PIRS||

    I did not see his face on any plates however.

  • pmains||

    Why would you have your own logo?

  • Shannon Love||

    I think its safe to say that in any political grouping of Americans, right or left at least 10% of the participants are in the grip of racism or some other form or irrational bigotry.

    Leftists today quite often use "white" and "white male" in the same semantic slots that racist used in the past. In many cases where the actions of a white person are questioned, such as the cop vs rich professor incident last year or the Duke rape hoax, even well educated leftists automatically assumed the white person was to blame just like racist in the past used to assume that in any white versus black conflict that the black person was to blame. The behavior is exactly the same.

    Leftists are even more prone to racism and other forms of bigotry because they don't look out for it the same way that non-Leftists do. Leftists spend all their time telling each other what great and wonderful people they are and they never spend anytime questioning their own moral rectitude.

    I do think a lot Leftists believe that racism motivates the Tea Party movement because they have no intuitive grasp of the concept of the importance of scale. (Certainly, nothing in your average liberal arts education gives such a understanding.) Instead, they think in terms of Aristotelian natures.

    For the leftist, deficits are a scaleless concept. Any particular deficit is equal to all other deficits despite any differences in scale. Since Bush had deficits and Obama had deficits (and all deficits are equal) then a honest rational person should have been just as motivated to protest against Bush as they are motivated to protest against Obama. Since, they did not protest against Bush and are protesting against Obama it must be for some other reason other than the perfectly equal deficits. Therefore, the Tea Party must really be motivated by a difference between the two men, so it must be that they're upset about Obama's race. Q.E.D.

    Unfortunately, for our overly miseducated leftists, the rest of us don't live in a world of Aristotelian/Platonic ideals but in a material world governed ruthlessly by scale. A deficit that that is four time larger than another becomes an entirely different phenomena requiring a different degree of reaction. Likewise for expansions of state power into health care. Scale matters to the people that actually make the world work and they respond forcefully to sudden changes in the scale of economically significant factors like taxes, government spending and government regulation.

    There is no reason to evoke racism as an explanation because the shift in the scale of taxes, government spending and government regulation provides more than enough reason if you understand the importance of scale.

    I like to be able to say that leftists are just cynically using race but after many discussion on this topic I have to believe that 90% of them simply lack the understanding that scale of phenomena is intrisically important to how the rest of us judge its significance. It's a huge intellectual blind spot for them and since they never question themselves, I don't see them seeing the light any time soon.

  • Rusty Shackleford||

    IIRC the Tea Party movement was born because of the Bush Bank Bailout.

  • ||

    Yep, hence why all the vitriol directed at republicans during the tea parties last year. I remember everyone I talked to was really upset with Bush.

  • Steff||

    Thank you. This comment was exceptionally enjoyable.

  • ||

    I think you're onto something, but another factor is simply dated thinking. The left is obsessed with fascism, though it hasn't been a real threat, or had any intellectual credibility, since 1945. They think the Nordic countries are socialist utopias, which hasn't been true for decades. They think teachers are horribly underpaid, when the average salary is now over $50,000. They think racism and air and water pollution are huge and pressing problems in the US, when all have been declining for decades. Etc.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    But... but... every problem we have is directly attributable to rich, fat, old white people. Just ask any MSNBC show host.

  • mr simple||

    I don't understand why people think this is just a suddn shift and not a long term growing reaction that's come to a head. Maybe it's just become so obvious that no matter which party people put in power they are going to get screwed over in increasing amounts that people feel like it's time to do something to be heard. Maybe, just maybe, Obama and this government is the tipping point and not the sole cause. It's not like Bush left office with high ratings. Also, Obama won just about every demographic in the election. Anyone who claims that people who disagree with the president is a racist, like Wanda Sykes, is an idiot.

  • ||

    The racism charge is stupid and you know it if you know enough Tea Party people. But if some racist does like smaller government, does that mean you're therefore against it. Racists like smaller government, they like beer, pop tarts and fillet mignon too, but I'm not dropping those either.

  • PIRS||

    Pop tarts are racist!! Anyone who likes pop tarts is racist!!!!

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Can anyone doubt that the entire world will be better off when we humans finally reject the archaic, un-scientifc concept of "race"?

    ... Hobbit

  • Tony||

    Yes.

    But there's no point in ignoring what characteristics members of certain economic classes tend to share. Trying to explain it isn't necessarily racist (it is if you try to explain it genetically, of course). I'd argue that ignoring race can be more racist because you may be blind to the prejudices of others alive or dead that might be having socioeconomic effects.

  • ||

    How about the possibility that the left's focus on race has bad socioeconomic effects? E.g. poor blacks thinking that every bad aspect of their lives is the fault of "racists," and thus demotivating them and creating feelings of helplessness?

  • Jeffersonian||

    I'd argue that ignoring race can be more racist because you may be blind to the prejudices of others alive or dead that might be having socioeconomic effects.

    What a perfect encapsulation of the Left's obsession with race and their deep need to keep racial tensions high. In the end, it doesn't even matter what people say and do, because what's acted on is the Official Narrative as espoused by the racial grievance industry.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    OK, according to people who believe in race ("racists" according to the correct definition) would call our president half "white" and half "black" which would make him, by racial definitions, a "mulatto". Shall we start referring to him as such?

    ... Hobbit

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Aw, crap, fix grammar errors as appropriate.

    ... "Embarrassed" Hobbit

  • Tony||

    There's a difference between race consciousness and racism, you know. You're not more sophisticated on this issue because you pretend it doesn't exist.

  • ||

    Some try to use "race consciousness" to excuse their own racism.

  • qwerty||

    Trying to explain it isn't necessarily racist (it is if you try to explain it genetically, of course).

    So saying that groups of people are different for environmental reasons isn't racist, but saying that groups of people are different for genetic reasons is? Either groups of people are different or they aren't. First, settle that question. Then go about answering the causes in an open-minded way.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Wow, Tony, I'd better tell the black woman I've been dating the past three months, that I've been a racist all along and she had no clue. I'm slicker than I thought.

  • ||

    "The majority of the racism that you do see on the right today is aimed at Mexicans."

    Mexican is a nationality not a race.

    Accuse me nationalism and I will in reply call you an "America hating traitor."

    Call me a racist and I will call you a "lying sack of crap."

    I am an American who would like to see our language, borders and culture defended by a government that respects the Constitution.

    If they can't or won't, then screw it! Every man for him self.

  • ||

    Another retard escaped from the school, guys. Somehow he got onto a computer.

  • ||

    hellerj@brandeis.edu someone with a university e-ddress ought to be able to respond with more than insults.

    Please explain how I have it wrong on the topic of race vs nationality?

  • ||

    Oh you're perfectly correct that Mexican is a nationality. You're a retard because you think that somehow letting Mexican immigrants into this country would do harm to it. There is no reason for the government to "defend" our language, borders, or culture. Our language is whatever the people of this country speak. If you want to speak English, you are free to do so. If you want to speak Spanish, you should also be free to do so. Our borders are not being threatened by immigrants. If they cross our borders, they are in America. Our borders don't change because we Mexicans living near them. I find it especially ironic that you want to "defend" our culture. Our culture consists mostly of immigrant cultures. It is idiotic to suppose that more immigrants will somehow harm this culture.

  • cynical||

    "Mexican is a nationality not a race."

    Ah, so you're cool with the Puerto Ricans and Hondurans, right?

  • ||

    I am cool with anyone who enters through the front door with proper legal permission.

    FYI: Puerto Ricans are US citizens.

  • Organic Act of 1900||

    Dan is correct that Puerto Ricans are US Citizens.

  • ||

    So why do some people not get permission?

  • ||

    Because its illegal for them to, unfortunately due to quotas.

  • pmains||

    Language, Borders and Culture, huh? You left out Blut und Boden.

    Seriously, why is that slogan so popular with the Michael Savage crowd? If they're afraid of being called a racist or a fascist, don't pick something so Third Reichy as your tagline.

  • ||

    Michael who?

  • pmains||

    Also, this:

    I am an American who would like to see our language, borders and culture defended by a government that respects the Constitution.

    directly contradicts this:

    If they can't or won't, then screw it! Every man for him self.

    You can't have it both ways -- wanting the government to stay out of your way, then having daddy government come save you when some scary foreigners are diluting your pristine culture in some ill-defined way.

  • ||

    It's not a contradiction, it is a choice. If the government cannot or will not follow the laws it supposed to follow why the hell should I bother to follow the laws which they lay down for us.

  • PIRS||

    +10

  • ||

    For another good comparison between the reaction of the modern left to conservatism and the reaction of the old right to the hippies, compare Gary Trudeau and Walt Kelly. Kelly was a brilliant comics writer until he got old. Then he sounded really shrill and out of date raging against the hippies. Trudeau sounds a lot like Kelly and has for about ten years.

  • Jesse Walker||

    You're thinking of Al Capp, not Walt Kelly.

  • ||

    Well, if he hated hippied he couldn't be all bad.

  • OGRE||

    The Tea Party came about due to the combination of the economic contraction and the bailouts that were rammed through Congress against vast public opinion. It was further fueled by increased awareness of libertarian ideals through the internet and the Ron Paul campaign, together with the election of Barack Obama amid promises of expanded government.

    I'm pretty certain that if Obama were white the Tea Parties would still have formed.

  • Max||

    Yeah, Jesse, the Tea Party people are a lot like the New Left and their critics are a lot like the old right. Fuck, you just can't come to terms with your right-wing identity, can you? Give up this slithering around and embrace you right-wing market fundametalist ideology like a man. Even the fucking racist parts, you simpering pretend leftist wimp.

  • pmains||

    I hope you're being sarcastic. Otherwise, you should have just written,

    "Moooooommmmmmyyyy! Jesse's not being a good straw man!"

  • PIRS||

    +googolplex

  • ||

    "Yet despite their relatively comfortable private positions, these people are anything but content with the public life of their country. Ninety-two percent of them think the U. S. is on the wrong track. Over half of them (53 percent) are angry, but there is no agreement about them about what they are angry about."

    It hasn't been articulated well by any of the constituent groups. It hasn't been generalized well, but there is a common thread through just about everything they all stand for.

    It's all about us as individuals not being subservient to the greater good of society.

    I don't care what you're talking about, whether it's neo-confederates, libertarians, social conservatives, or middle of the road swing voters who don't want ObamaCare--they all have that one ideal in common.

    And everything about the progressives and liberals in the Obama Administration rubs against that ideal. In fact, to the Obama Administration? The idea that people imagine themselves as more important individually than the greater good of society is the enemy.

    How dare you insist on paying for your own healthcare! ...and no one else's! But you're all going to need healthcare! And we all need Social Security! How dare you refuse to participate!

    Anyway, that's the unifying theme. From the odd neo-confederate racists to the middle of the road Tea Party swing-voter... We don't want to lose the ability to make decisions for ourselves. We don't want to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of someone else's vision of society.

  • Steff||

    Exactly. Absolutely dead on the money kind of exactly. I'm tired of the government telling me I have to sacrifice my finances, freedoms, etc. for the so-called good of a society that has not benefited all that much from previous generations sacrificing their finances and freedoms. In fact, in terms of poverty, minority citizens and many others, it's gotten worse, not better.

    Screw that. I'm all for helping people. But I want it to be my choice, not the government's.

  • boomshanka||

    Should I expect to see you at the next anti-war protest then?

  • PIRS||

    boomshanka,

    I will assume you are new here. This is a libertarian site, not a conservative one. Most libertarians were and still are against the Iraq war. Some libertarians are against all wars on principle. You may very well see many of us at the next anti-war protest.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Yeah, but don't forget... if you're a hair past right-of-center, you might as well be Rick Santorum.

  • boomshanka||

    haha, no i was hanging out here during the bush admin (though under different psuedonyms).

    But H&R made a rightward shift after the election to better align with the anti-majority. I'm sure when the next Republican takes office they'll try to rehire Weigel.

  • PIRS||

    Right and Left are meaningless in the political context. What has happened is that the topics they write about are now different. New laws being proposed by a new administration and their position appears to have changed - it has not.

  • boomshanka||

    and i know many libertarians are against the wars. but for some reason the tea partiers as a whole have omitted that from their agenda. a philosophical belief in smaller gov't it would give anti-war sentiment equal priority with hcr.

  • PIRS||

    "but for some reason the tea partiers as a whole have omitted that from their agenda."

    And the American Cancer Society has also omitted it from thier agenda. The focus and central there of the tea parites is economic. Many Ron Paul supporters are at these things as well as the standard GOP types and libertarians and some anarco-capitalists. They are bringing together a broad coalition which is the whole point.

  • boomshanka||

    I'm referring to war opposition based mostly on economic grounds, in particular to Steff's comment above.

  • PIRS||

    If you want a broad coalition of people you need to understand what will piss off a large segment of the population who might agree with you. That is all that is going on here.

  • Patriot Henry||

    "I'm all for helping people. But I want it to be my choice, not the government's."

    Charity comes from the barrel of a gun. Compassion comes from the bottom of a boot. Help comes with handcuffs. Welfare comes from the institutionalization of poverty. Kindness comes from the poorly written cold uncaring rules of a bureaucracy.

    The beliefs of the warfare state supporters diverge very widely from reality, but usually not quite so far as those of the welfare state supporters.

  • boomshanka||

    "The beliefs of the warfare state supporters diverge very widely from reality, but usually not quite so far as those of the welfare state supporters."

    I just read this on the internet so it must be true.

  • qwerty||

    well said

  • Patriot Henry||

    "Such response might make sense if we lived in a society that allowed little room for economic advancement"

    In light of the tax code and the political code (of pull/connections/who do you know) and the legal code (obey this thing you can't ever understand) - we have such a society.

  • JB||

    Walker, I know you are a rube and all, but here is the big difference:

    http://blog.heritage.org/2009/.....-pictures/

    Get it? Hint: one is a lot worse than the other.

    Also, many people were pissed with Bush and his spending (although he did cut taxes, a huge positive in my eyes). Many independents and conservatives stayed home in 2006 for those reasons.

    People are protesting because the bailouts (of stupid banks and retarded car companies) and spending has finally reached a tipping point. People said: enough is enough.

    And Obama the cunt campaigned as a centrist, but is governing as a Leftist. Not to mention the economy is in trouble and his response is to push healthcare and increase expenses for businesses.

    It's like the bus goes out of control and the bus driver's response is to set it on fire. Even rubes can see that level of retardation.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Also, many people were pissed with Bush and his spending (although he did cut taxes, a huge positive in my eyes). Many independents and conservatives stayed home in 2006 for those reasons.

    Yes, they did. But they didn't start marching until right after Obama became president. Somehow TARP didn't serve as a tipping point but the "stimulus" bill did. I have no sympathy for the stimulus, but TARP was clearly much worse.

    That said, my criticism is mostly aimed at the first wave of Santelli-inspired Tea Parties. Once the ball was rolling and the crowds started gathering, it would make sense for people who didn't think protest would accomplish anything to change their mind. And of course, the health care bill was another tipping point for a lot of people.

  • Random Dude||

    "I have no sympathy for the stimulus, but TARP was clearly much worse."

    700 billion in blown money vs. 787 billion in blown money is still blown money. There is no difference except one was passed under a president of Team R and one was passed under a president of Team D.

    "Yes, they did. But they didn't start marching until right after Obama became president."

    The only reason that the protests consolidated after Santelli is because there was a unifying event for people to protest at: FUCKING TAX DAY--APRIL 15th. This was after the massive phone-jamming effort to try to prevent TARP from passing in the House. It failed the first time and Republicans were livid that there were defectors to jam that through at the behest of Bush.

    I take back what I said about your excellent observations, as your critiques were not apparent in your article.

    From what I can tell, you are just another leftist douche with a severe case of confirmation bias and the inability to connect obvious cause and effect together. Clearly, in your world, all those tea partiers are Obama hating racists and hypocrites.

  • Jesse Walker||

    The only reason that the protests consolidated after Santelli is because there was a unifying event for people to protest at: FUCKING TAX DAY--APRIL 15th.

    The first batch of tea party protests came in February, not April. And as I wrote, "Once the ball was rolling and the crowds started gathering, it would make sense for people who didn't think protest would accomplish anything to change their mind."

    Also, surely TARP could be a unifying event? There was right-wing opposition to it, and my criticism doesn't apply to the people who pressured their representatives to oppose the bill. But you didn't see marches in the street. There's a sudden leap in activism in February 2009, and I think the chief reason for that is the fact that Republicans feel more comfortable protesting a Democratic president. It's the inverted equivalent of the antiwar marchers who started staying home after Obama was inaugurated.

    I take back what I said about your excellent observations, as your critiques were not apparent in your article.

    Yeah, they aren't there in the blog post. But I've made them elsewhere.

    Clearly, in your world, all those tea partiers are Obama hating racists and hypocrites.

    Speaking of confirmation bias. Reread the comment.

  • ||

    There was a delayed reaction to TARP, and part of that was because of its bipartisan nature.

    It was like the delayed reaction to Iraq and some of the Bush Administration's excesses during the War on Terror.

    People look to the loyal opposition for opposition first, and if it never shows up, then it comes up from the grass roots.

  • JB||

    Jesse, I agree with Ken here and it was coalescing.

    People were furious about TARP (though many people understood the government might have needed to do something small to clear some of the financial logjams that were piling up).

    The stimulus heaped on top of that was fuel to the fire. And Santelli's rant resonated with a lot of people...even then there was much talk about paying for other people's mortgages.

    The Tea Party crowd are not the type of people that take to the streets. It took a lot of anger to get them there and that built up over time.

    TARP faced serious opposition from Republicans, conservatives, and independents. They took to the streets once it became obvious Leviathan was more out of control than usual.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Jesse, I agree with Ken here and it was coalescing.

    I don't think the two theories are inconsistent with each other. There's essentially two main currents in the Tea Party movement (along with a bunch of smaller strains). One is a grassroots, basically libertarian opposition to bipartisan big government that had been coalescing for a while, and the other is an attempt to co-opt public anger for the GOP. Things never break down so easily in real life, though; there's a lot of people who were grumbling under Bush but didn't start protesting until Obama was elected, when some Red Team heavies put their weight behind the demonstrations and gave them more legitimacy for rank-and-file Republicans.

    I stopped by the Tea Party demonstration in Towson on April 15. You had the Libertarian Party there, the Campaign for Liberty, guys with Gadsen flags. You also had the local GOP out in force urging everyone to "support our candidates" and campaigning to make Bob Ehrlich governor again. I don't think the demo would have been as big without the Red Team types, but I also think a number of the people they brought out are sympathetic to the sorts of ideas the C4L and LP advocate. This is one of the reasons I say the movement's identity is still up for grabs.

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