Tea Party

Are Tea Parties Just Another Baby Boomer Bummer?

|

That's the claim of this cheeky L.A. Times op-ed by political consultants and self-confessed "aging boomers" Jim Spencer (the slick-fielding first baseman, one can only hope) and Curtis Ellis. First the facty stuff:

[A] poll conducted by CNN gives us some hard data on the Tea Party Nation. […]

[T]ea partyers are more highly educated and wealthier than the rest of America. Nearly 75% are college educated, and two-thirds earn more than $50,000.

More likely to be white and male than the general population, tea partyers also skew toward middle age or older.

The authors then take that ball and run like hell:

Yippieeeeee!!!!!

Most came of age in the 1960s, an era distinguished by widespread disrespect for government. In their wonder years, they learned that politics was about protesting the Establishment and shouting down the Man. No wonder they're doing that now.

Look closely at the tea partyer and what you see is a familiar American genus: a solidly middle-class, college-educated boomer, endowed by his creator with possessions, opinions and certain inalienable rights, the most important of which is the right to make sure you hear what he has to say.

The tea party is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis. For men of a certain age, it offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence—underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares—all paid for with ample cash.

The partyers are essentially replaying the '60s protest paradigm.

The piece goes on to make fun of hippies and the Me Generation as a bunch of ineffectual showoffs. Whole thing here.

NEXT: The Latest Toyota Recall

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Waitaminute. So are Tea Partiers crazy warmongering racist baby eaters, or are they boring entitled college-educated… hippies, or are they astroturf laid and loved by the Republican Party?

    In any case, I’m over them. Incidentally, I’m also over the L.A. Times, but that happened a long time ago.

    1. “More likely to be white and male than the general population, tea partyers also skew toward middle age or older.”

      And in the 21st Century, this is a bad, bad thing to be. Perhaps even the worst thing.

  2. I’m glad that passions among the MSM seem to be evening out, allowing them to take a more sober view of the matter. I’m not a boomer myself, but now that the article mentions it, subtracting 40 years off the protesters would leave them looking like hippies.

    While they are still insulting, at least the insults are more sophisticated. I’m still not in support of them, and think they are giving libertarians a bad name. But, and I’m guilty of it too, that doesn’t justify below-the-belt attacks.

  3. I’m not surprised it took you kids so long to catch on. “Tea” Party, get it? Marijuana? The Mad Hatter? Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know!

    Seriously, the speeches were awful, but the acid was great.

    1. Thanks, bro.

      1. See? Not all your patrons have left you in the red.

    2. Did anyone think to save ME even the slightest bit of acid?

      No?

      Suck a teste, Vanneman.

      1. Dude, I wanted to save some for you, but Alan Vanneman took it from me and ate it all. He was 14 feet tall and had shiny scaly skin and was accompanied by an army of Blue Meanies, so I really couldn’t say no.

        Or maybe I ate it myself and just hallucinated that Alan took it. It’s all so hard to remember.

        1. Anyone who claims to remember the Tea Parties wasn’t really there.

  4. They are also net-tax-payers. But that gets to the crux of the problem and can’t be mentioned.

    1. Its funny (odd?) isn’t it: when government redistribute wealth in an effort to alleviate the strains, conflicts and gaps in class, you end up creating two classes. You end with net payers and net receivers. Net receivers of course don’t mind the government giving them something for nothing.

      That of course means that you have to keep a class of recievers viable. If too many join the payor class, they might become upset by the amount that the payee class gets.

  5. Somehow, I don’t think a large percentage of the 1960s protestors constitute the Tea Partyers. I’d love to see a poll done at a tea party, but I’m thinking its not as high as suggested.

    Maybe that is just my bias, though.

    1. I’m a boomer. I’ve been to a tea party and I went to a few anti-war protests in the 60’s. Not the same people. Sorry, but the boys’ analogy don’t hold water.

  6. Absolutely captures my father.

    You know; the ex-marine who served between Korea and Vietnam; the same guy that gave me a butch cut every couple of weeks until the early 70’s.

    More mindless crap from the left.

    1. By the way, my 74-year-old, ex-marine father is finally starting to question the wisdom of the drug war.

      1. My 65 yo dad has been convinced for a couple years now. Between me and my brother (not a total libertarian, but votes L), he finally gave in.

        1. 65 yo?

          He’s prolly the guy who sold me my first lid…

  7. Pretty accurate as far as it goes.
    The same could be said of many enviro and anti-war groups, too.
    Yet much was made of the young, student age elements at CPAC who rallied to Ron Paul, who is generally credited with sparking the Tea Party movement. Maybe the real divide isn’t between boomers and youth but between those who believe they own themselves and those who believe someone else owns them?

    1. Maybe the real divide isn’t between boomers and youth but between those who believe they own themselves and those who believe someone else owns them they own others?

  8. The tea party is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis.

    What a shit-addled idiot.

    Wait, that can’t be right. I forgot that liberals have higher IQs.

  9. Look closely at the [insert protest here] and what you see is a familiar American genus: a solidly middle-class, college-educated boomer, endowed by his creator with possessions, opinions and certain inalienable rights, the most important of which is the right to make sure you hear what he has to say.

    The [and here] is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis. For men of a certain age, it offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence — underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares — all paid for with ample cash.

    1. goddamnit I was only previewing I swear. Please amend this to the above:

      Which protests does that describe?
      PeTA
      World Trade
      GM Food
      Climate Change

      Any of the above fits better than the Tea Party, but somehow I don’t think you’ll be reading about what a bunch of self absorbed douche heads are following AlGore

  10. This is not only lazy, but an idiotic opinion from a MSM’r … the 60’s protests were against big government in one aspect, and one only – the war machine. The hipster protesters were all for expanded social government, and a large minority agitated for outright socialism. If anything, the Tea Parties are a long overdue counterrevolutionary force.

    1. Its wasnt just war, ending government enforced racism was a big chuck of the 60s.

      1. But not really a Boomer deal though was it?

  11. Many of them are just angry at the lack of cooperation in Washington(rightly so). Once we pass this much needed health care legislation and address climate change seriously they will relax a bit.

    The economy is recovering nicely now, all serious economist agree about this. Once the unemployed conspiracy theorist get over their midlife crisis and are able to get the new green jobs we are creating they will see that this was all a bunch of non sense.

    1. are you being sarcastic or are you really that much of an idiot? Do yourself a favor and turn off cnn and get some real facts before you start repeating the liberal media’s opinions
      the economy is shit, theres no such thing as global warming and the tea party does not want this ludicrous totalitarian/socialist healthcare bill to pass because if they wanted to live in communist society they would have moved to china, which is exactly where you can go if you hate the founding principles of this great country so much

      1. Ya finally got one, Gabe.
        Cancel my subscription.

  12. Some tea baggers seem to be really angry at Obama’s lack of toughness regarding foreign policy. This is where the conservative movement has a real chance to benefit. We are traditionally seen as the go-to party for defense issues and if Obama continues to appease the islamo-fascists then true conservatives will be back in power soon.

    1. A kochtopus ate my baby!
      Cancel my subscription!

    2. Maybe we can invade another random Middle East country. Iran? Maybe Jordan? How about Egypt?

      1. We do not “invade” countries, we only bomb the terorist villages there and spread Democracy. No Democacy has ever bee in a war, please study your history. I guess you’d rather see Sadam Hussein’s troops running through the hospitals and pulling tubes out of baby incubators like they did in Kuwait? If we can save another country from this inhumanity then why not try? I guess you don’t care about others freedoms huh?

  13. This shows a profound misunderstanding of the baby boom generation. I would be curious to see the percentage of boomers who are involved in the Tea Parties are veterans. There were two groups of boomers; those who went to Vietnam and those who didn’t. The ones who did are a totally different animal than those who didn’t. That is not true in every case but it true in most cases.

    1. One interesting fact about the boomers vs. the “greatest” generation: Vietnam had a higher percentage of volunteers than WWII.

      1. The Gulf War had a higher percentage than either!

        I think the percentage of population under arms was greater in WWII.

      2. Yes and Vietnam vets tended to, by most measures of adjustment, income level, divorce and suicide rates, education level and incarceration rate, end up better off than the non-vets of their generation. The whole crazed victimized by the war “Rambo First Blood” Vietnam vet myth, is just that; a myth created by Hollywood.

        1. Not entirely by Hollywood. The Vietnam vets are not bashful about self-promotion.

          I’ve noticed vets from Korea and WWII will almost never talk about their war experiences unless heavily proded. Viet Nam vets never shut up about them.

          1. Not the ones I know.

            1. Me neither.

          2. Generally speaking, the guys that really have been up in the middle of it and have the scars and awards to show for it don’t discuss it much. The guys who go on endlessly tend to embellish their service records. As anecdotal example, see John Kerry.

      3. I bow to no one in my respect for the people who have fought this country’s wars. But the way the media and the boomer generation gives a cartoon version of World War II and this country’s efforts drives me crazy. As you said, there were more volunteers in World War II. And there were lots of people who objected to the war. America wasn’t any more of a big happy family then than it is now. And also, the US military won and that is by far the most important thing, its effort was hardly perfect. There was some amazingly horrible screw ups that cost thousands of lives. That war like every other human endeavor had its share of morons and lunacy. It wasn’t all PVT Ryan staying in Normandy to be with his buddies. Yeah, there was a lot of that. But there was also a whole lot of insanity.

  14. While I agree with most of the Tea Partiers, my one big fear is that it will evolve into a mouthpiece for the war-mongering, platitude spouting conservative wing of the Republican Party. Thus, the Palin love fest a few weeks ago. The TP’s would be wise to separate themselves from such nonsense.

    1. Co-opted, more likely. The only problem I see with the partiers is that they seem to have a lot of positions incompatible with libertarianism; it seems more like a paleo-con movement than a libertarian one.

      Nevertheless, I could see aligning with them for short term goals. I doubt the people turning out at those rallies will support bigger government, R or D.

      1. Speaking from experience, it is ridiculously easy for libertarians to spend a little effort and end up being the Tea Party person who helps decide who speaks at rallies and gives media interviews.

      2. Paleos have been trying to regain power for awhile, Obama’s election and the Tea Parties are a gift they have been wanting for awhile. We have to make sure to show the facts that economic protectionism doesnt work.

        1. We have to make sure to show the facts that economic protectionism doesnt work.

          Tell that to China.

          1. For their people? I doubt it.

          2. Ran Shuang Kang? What is that a transliteration of (because it is meaningless in Chinese).

        2. ditto LibertyBill,
          Ever since the Paleos started us down the path of free market fundamentalism in the 80’s it was inevitable that we would have this crash. Now we have to make sure the Paleos never gain control again!

      3. The paleoconservatives…yes, that’s all Tea Partiers are in the end.

        Okay, they aren’t warmongers, I’ll give the paleos that. But, their views on race and economics leave much to be desired.

        1. Paleos are racists? That really isnt a new fact.

        2. Anyone who doesn’t support NAFTA is ignorant of basic economics. I wish the paleos would try reading a little Adam Smith instead of researching the moon landings.

    2. Here in Cincinnati a teabagger was on one of the morning talk shows. All I caught was the part where he said they are not intereted in starting a new political party because they worry about splitting the conservative vote. Lame.

  15. I am absolutely shocked to learn that tax protestors are upper income. Clearly the movement needs more diversity training to attract the underprivileged and dependent on government to its goal of less government.

    1. Amen. The poor suffer the most from taxes and inflation. Lower income people are the biggest savers; the low interest rates are poorly rewarding them for their prudence.

  16. Jim Spencer (the slick-fielding first baseman, one can only hope)

    Every time you bring up the old Angels, Matt, I tear up a little (sniff).

    1. Winston Llenas, never forget!

      1. Aurelio Rodriguez was my favorite (briefly!!), but it was Jim Fregosi that broke my heart.

        (OK, being an Angels fan at that point meant chronic broken heart…)

        1. Nolan Ryan hater, are you?

          1. Go Reds!
            Cancel my subscription!

          2. Well, it wasn’t obvious what a great trade it was at the time.

            The Angels were still looking for a barn door big enough for him to hit. Of course, when he did hit it, the ball went THROUGH the door…

  17. So wait. Before the TP was an extremist fringe of the Right and, as everybody knows, the Right is a bunch of uneducated redneck idiots that have lower IQs.

    And how they’re “more educated than average”?

    And they’re also now demonized as being white males. So maybe, just maybe, what this is really all about is an affirmative action back lash?

    Anyway whatever it is, we know for sure these people can’t be serious and it can’t really mean anything and there’s nothing to see here but morons. Even the libertarians agree with that.

    1. They’re not all smart and wise like liberals, so no need to take them seriously.

      The bit about them having higher IQs must be agitprop, yeah?

      1. Cut it out; I’m a libertarian, but I generally agree with that study. If only because, I think, libertarians would score higher. I’m with Ronald Bailey on that.

        Libertarians aren’t left or right; I get sick whenever people try to get me on a one-dimensional scale.

    2. More than two scottsmen white men in one place is defacto treason racism.

  18. The baby boomer thing explains why they don’t want to actually get rid of entitlements.

  19. Umbrage,
    I agree we don’t need these stupid old extreme-right-wing conservatives spouting off at the tea parties.

    Ideally we would get some some charismatic leaders in the tea party who would be able to put forth some reasonable adjustments to our foreign policy without radically altering our most important goals of spreading democracy throughout the world. We do not need to regress into isolationism.

  20. 1. Many young people in the ’60s were anti-establishment protesters.

    2. Many of the Tea Partiers were young people in the ’60s.

    3. THEREFORE, the Tea Partiers were anti-establishment protesters in the ’60s.

    Oh Dear Heaven, the fallaciousness — how it hurts!

  21. TARP: $700billion
    Stimulus: $787 billion
    Cap & Trade: $TBD
    Health Insurance reform: $1 trillion (*cough* bullshit *cough*)

    Fabricating a cause for dissent: Priceless

    1. I don’t get it; cap-and-trade was once promoted by libertarians. Would you prefer a tax?

      1. I would prefer neither.

      2. What Libertarian would support an anti-free market thing like Cap and Trade???!!! Are you high?

        1. There are plenty of educated Libertarians who understand that the science proves the need for carbon taxes. If you would stop praying to your paultard god you might be able to see what is really happening out there in the big scary world.

          even glenn beck is giving up his denialism.

          see
          shouldn’t you as well?

  22. How about just ditching that horrifying tool of corruption? Or have you determined how to make money on the carbon-credit scam market? If so, please let us know – we want to screw the rubes too!

  23. According to Howard Dean, they’re racists.

    http://dailycaller.com/2010/02…..is-racist/

    1. I guess all the blacks in the shots I saw of the teaparty demonstrations were the slaves of the white people there, huh, Howard?

      Even the guy that was carrying the rifle (Howard Dean would probably call it an “assault weapon”).

      Also I’m pretty sure the guy who got beaten up by the SEIU goon was black too.

  24. Libertarians aren’t left or right; I get sick whenever people try to get me on a one-dimensional scale.

    AMEN YES THANK YOU.

    Plenty of people even on this board fall into that trap.

    1. You say that only because you’re a leftist hippie that doesn’t want to be exposed, so you deny the existence of the left-right axis. We’re on to you, X.

    2. We’re complicated (just a psycho ex-girlfriend).

  25. The left-right paradigm denialist are getting high on the gateway drug of conspiracy theorism. We need to nip this in the bud right now.

    No serious thinker can really say that there are not huge differences between Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney. Just listen to their campaign speeches. One is for free markets and solid national security and the other is for terrorist apeasement and socialism. Anyone who wastes their time by ignoring this FACT is not to be taken seriously and is probably going to tell you some absurd conspiracy theory.

  26. “Raaaaacist!!”

  27. A note: the protester in this picture with the pig nose wasn’t really part of the DC Tea Party. He was part of a group of counter-protesters dressed up as billionaires. After mingling for a few minutes they met up with a camera man and started chanting something about how they were against the bailout because it helped the poor.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.