History

Thunder on the Right, Again and Again and Again

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Kevin Drum wants to put the Tea Party movement in historical perspective:

When FDR was in office in the 1930s, conservative zealotry coalesced in the Liberty League. When JFK won the presidency in the '60s, the John Birch Society flourished. When Bill Clinton ended the Reagan Revolution in the '90s, talk radio erupted with the conspiracy theories of the Arkansas Project. And today, with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, it's the tea party's turn….

The growth of the tea party movement isn't really due to the recession (in fact, polling evidence shows that tea partiers are generally better off and less affected by the recession than the population at large). It's not because Obama is black (white Democratic presidents got largely the same treatment). And it's not because Obama bailed out General Motors (so did George W. Bush). It's simpler. Ever since the 1930s, something very much like the tea party movement has fluoresced every time a Democrat wins the presidency, and the nature of the fluorescence always follows many of the same broad contours: a reverence for the Constitution, a supposedly spontaneous uprising of formerly nonpolitical middle-class activists, a preoccupation with socialism and the expanding tyranny of big government, a bitterness toward an underclass viewed as unwilling to work, and a weakness for outlandish conspiracy theories.

I think Drum writes off the recession too quickly—the polling data he cites tells us more about the Tea Parties' armchair sympathizers than it does about the people who organize and attend the rallies. And there's a difference between a movement like the John Birch Society, which is conspiracist at its core, and the Tea Parties, which include conspiracy buffs but are hardly limited to them. But Drum is certainly correct that these eruptions on the right take place whenever a Democrat becomes president.

A Bircher tract from 1971

That doesn't make the issue "simpler," though, because such surges sometimes happen under Republican presidents as well. The John Birch Society may have flourished under Kennedy, but it was founded and had its first spurt of growth under Eisenhower. Nixon faced enough right-wing discontent that a Birchite presidential candidate, John Schmitz, got over a million votes on a third-party ticket in 1972. Under Ford conservative dissatisfaction spread far beyond the Birchers, to judge from Ronald Reagan's insurgency in the '76 primaries—a campaign strong enough that it still had a shot at the nomination when the Republican convention began. And while I wouldn't put it on the same level as those earlier rebellions, you could see the rudiments of what would become the anti-Clinton right assembling itself under the first George Bush. If Pat Buchanan's run in the '92 primaries didn't have the impact that Reagan did in '76, the flipside is that a lot of disgruntled Republicans preferred Perot to Bush in the general election.

So yes, right-wing anger tends to flare up under Democratic presidents. Obviously. But the really interesting question isn't why Obama is facing the same sort of opposition that Clinton did; it's why George W. Bush didn't face a rebellion of the scale that challenged his dad, let alone Nixon or Ford. I suspect the chief reason was 9/11. I'm sure there are other factors as well, which you can suggest in the comments.

NEXT: Is the "Free Market" Tea Party Anti-Trade?

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  1. Even though I hate Alice Cooper, I have to give you -1 for not posting this.

    “And he crawled out…of…his…hole”

    1. Alice is just now eligible for induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

      He deserves it. School’s Out, Billion Dollar Babies, and the stage show all adds up to rock legend.

      1. God, the Rock Hall is a joke. You know what’s the most totally rock ‘n roll thing I can think of? A fucking museum.

        1. In Cleveland!

          1. Come on now Cleveland is where they first played it on the radio. It clearly belongs there and not Memphis where it was actually invented and where all of the different forms of music that influenced it originated.

            And hey, Memphis wasn’t going to give us a fat tax subsidy.

          2. Cleveland is the the perfect place for it according to all the little kids growing up on the skids.

      2. Love Alice, grew up scared of him…then I moved to phoenix and found Coopers Town. To see him today is sad. there is NOTHING scary, satanic or shadowy at all…well except maybe his golf handicap.

        1. “A troubled man for troubled times.”

          We could will do worse than Cooper 2012.

  2. Thunder on the Right, Again and Again and Again

    “Now there you go again
    You say you want your freedom
    Well who am I to keep you down
    It’s only right that you should play it the way that you feel it
    But listen carefully to the sound of your loneliness
    Like a heartbeat, drives you mad
    In the stillness of remembering
    What you had, and what you lost
    what you had, and what you lost

    Thunder only happens when it’s raining
    Players only love you when they’re playing”

  3. But Drum is certainly correct that eruptions on the right take place whenever a Democrat becomes president.

    While we’re providing context, perhaps something about what happens on the left when a Republican is President?

    I would be curious to see a similar survey of lefty activist “eruptions” for Reagan and the Bushes.

    Limiting the survey to conservative grassroots backlash is, well, oddly limiting.

    1. They don’t do that sort of thing, or something.

    2. Standard partisan blindness. The eruptions on the left are always fully justified reactions to the crimes of the right. Similarly, just as the Tea Party demonstrations are simply ignorant boobs funded by shadowing right-wing forces, left-wing demonstrations are always genuine, grassroots outrage that should be taken very seriously.

    3. Yeah, we’ll have to see if the Tea Party vanishes overnight when a Republican takes the oaf of office like the anti-war movement did on 1-20-09.

      1. the oaf of office

        Good one.

  4. The chief reason was 9-11 and the war and Democratic stupidity. We know now that John Kerry wouldn’t have changed a single thing about the war or the war on terror had he won the election. Yet, allowed George Bush to paint him as the surrender candidate thus allowing Bush to shore up his base.

    And further it is not like Bush was popular with his base for anything other than his handling of the war when he left office.

    Let me make a observation of my own. Every time a substantial number of people stand up and try to say no to the ever expanding reach of government, they are created by a chorus of sneering snot nosed hipster morons writing for long forgotten rags like Mother Jones questioning their motives and sanity.

    As Joshua Corning once said on this blog. You go into places like Williamsburg and there a lot editor and writer jobs that are gone and they just are not going to come back. So these people cling to their socialism, their fashion, and their bizarre fantasies about everyone on the other side.

    1. Every time a substantial number of people stand up and try to say no to the ever expanding reach of government, they are created by a chorus of sneering snot nosed hipster morons writing for long forgotten rags like Mother Jones questioning their motives and sanity.

      God, yes, thank you.

  5. Good retort Jesse!

    Here’s just one idea: you get this kind of eruption during Democrat presidencies because, while both parties trample the Constitution, the Democrats tend to tell you right in their party platforms and rhetoric that they have total contempt for the Constitution as written and originally understood, while the Republicans pay lip service to the Constitution, and then trample it anyway. The former actually is easier to fight politically because it’s at the level of principle.

    A Democrat I worked with once asked me how I could vote for Republican XYZ because in the past he had violated laissez-faire again and again, and I said “but you want me to vote for your guy who tells me to my face that he hates laissez-faire and wants to do away with it.”

    1. I like being lied to, too.

    2. How do you know his guy isn’t lying too? Maybe the only way to get something is to vote for whoever promises the opposite.

      Seriously, if it makes sense for someone to lie to appear to be for laissez faire, wouldn’t it make sense that there’d be people who’d lie to appear to be against it?

  6. When FDR was in office in the 1930s, conservative zealotry coalesced in the Liberty League.

    You let that slip by you, Jesse. That quote is just inaccurate to the hilt. Recall Raimondo’s defense of Koch.

    Contrary to Rich’s assertion that the Liberty Leaguers were a bunch of reactionary Republicans, in fact they were mostly dissident Democrats, such as League chairman Jouett Shouse, a GM executive, former chairman of the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party. The leadership included two former Democratic presidential candidates, Alfred E. Smith and John W. Davis, and John Raskob, another GM executive and former Democratic national chairman. Contra Rich, they were a bit more thoughtful than their alleged legatees in the Tea party, who think Obama is a ‘socialist.” It was Al Smith, who declared:

    “Don’t let anyone tell you that President Roosevelt is a Communist. That is not so. Or don’t let anyone tell you he is a Socialist. That is not so. He is neither a Communist nor a Socialist?any more than I am?but something has taken place in this country?there is a certain kind of foreign ‘ism’ crawling over this country. What it is I don’t know. What its first name will be when it’s christened I haven’t the slightest idea. But I know it is here, and the sin about it is that [Roosevelt] doesn’t seem to know it.”

    What the Liberty League and its successors opposed was the centralization of all power in the hands of the State: they saw the New Deal as an assault on the Constitution, and the distinctly American idea that government must be strictly limited, as opposed to the European concept of the Total State, which was fashionable among intellectuals at the time. When Roosevelt plotted to get us involved in the European war, the anti-New Dealers joined with many Democrats and progressives, such as Burton K. Wheeler, the LaFollettes, and Norman Thomas, the Socialist party standard-bearer, in organizing the America First Committee, which campaigned against the President’s largely covert efforts to drag us into the conflict.

    1. Sorry eating lunch so I shorthanded my comment and forgot to add the link:

      http://original.antiwar.com/ju…..kochtopus/

    2. Which Rich was that — Andrea, Howie, or another?

      1. Some guy who for some bizarre reason takes Broadway musicals seriously, named Frank Rich. Just as mysteriously, The New York Times allows him to pen on matters politic in their column space.

  7. Kinda makes sense when you think about it.

    http://www.complete-privacy.es.tc

  8. Ever since the 1930s, something very much like the tea party movement has fluoresced every time a Democrat wins the presidency . . .

    I had no idea that right-wing movements re-emitted light after absorbing it, especially under Democratic presidents! Wow, you learn something new every day!

    1. Pedantic troll is pedantic.

      1. I have a theory. This shoulder-poker is really Dave Weigel.

  9. I think Jesse is correct in not bothering to talk about left-wing anger, since they are pretty much angry all the time. It’s the right wingers who actually seem to calm down when their guy gets in office; look at Bush: he was fucking horrible, yet right wingers seemed to be comfortable with him.

    I don’t know whether that says right wingers are idiots, or that left wingers are. I’m going with both.

    1. Plenty of right-wingers hated Bush, but they shut up about it because he killed furriners, which is what is really important to them. I have no idea what would make the Village Voice crowd happy.

      1. Maybe if Gatien came back and opened the Limelight again?

      2. I have no idea what would make the Village Voice crowd happy.

        Waterboarding CEO’s.

      3. Moving the donkey shows from Tijuana to Manhattan and have the taxpayers fund them via NEA grants.

      4. No, I think they shut up because they saw him essentially tie with Gore, and realized this was the best they could get, and that they were lucky to get even that. Sometimes the tide is against you and you have to cling to anything.

    2. It just says the right wingers are not willing to cut off their noses to spite their face. Would it have been better to have Obamacare and trillion dollar deficits in 2005? What are going to do?

      And also there is a difference between conservatives and legitimate right wing nuts. The right wing nuts, like the left wing nuts, are pissed off all of the time. The militia movement and the whole “new world order black helicopter” stuff started under Bush I. The real crazy paleo right is always pissed off. The difference is unlike the crazy left who are a large part of the Democratic Party establishment, the crazy right is marginalized from both parties.

      1. Unlike the mainstream right with their happy pappy Wall Street cheerleader squad rooting, the nutzoid run for the hills right got it right.

        1. It would be so awesome if AEP actually were a Reason commenter.

      2. I utterly hate Bush and everything he stands for. However…if Kerry wins in 2004, the spots on the SCOTUS occupied by Roberts and Alito would have gone to doctrinaire liberal justices.

        And the collective right interpretation of the 2nd amendment would have become the law of the land, along with a campaign finance exception to the 1st amendment.

      3. And why do you think they passed prescription drug benefits? It was a release valve to appease those who wanted total socialized medicine. Remember, conservatism is about losing as slowly as possible.

    3. I think Jesse is correct in not bothering to talk about left-wing anger, since they are pretty much angry all the time.

      Yeah, that’s why the weekly anti-war rallies have become annual ones since 1-20-09…

      1. They’d actually been petering out for years previous. Stuff like that wears out, stops being news. Fewer and fewer attended, so they bowed to reality.

  10. Sure, the Birchers had a growth spurt under Eisenhower, but he was a commie dupe.

    What really drives the tea party dimwits is the fear they’re going to be paying for hospital rooms for blacks and Mexicans. It drives them nuts. Forget the the expansion of government. Tea partiers aren’t big on getting rid of Social Security or Medicare; they don’t want to pay for stuff for people who aren’t real Americans. The tea party is all about the divisions in American society. If Obama has proposed universal health care exclusively for white Americans who had jobs or were retired, the tea partiers would be all for it.

    The pols in Wshington DC (Hear the sneer, Jesse?) just don’t get it. Well, maybe Ron paul does.

    1. SHUT UP DANNY DEVITO

      1. Would it be needlessly repetitive of me to sing, “Max! A-ah!”?

    2. This is strangely verbose for Edward, but unstrangely retarded.

    3. It’s not paying for other people’s hospital rooms that pisses me off, it’s paying for their regular doctor visits or their arthroscopic surgery so that can keep playing racquetball at 45. But since the President has declared that major medical coverage “isn’t insurance”, I guess we have no choice.

    4. As a mouth-breathing right-wing maniac who doubtless pays for health care for blacks and Mexicans (not to mention Indians, Pakistanis and Vietnamese) now through my private insurance, I can say I haven’t given it a moment’s thought until you mentioned it just now. That moment’s thought can be summed up with a sincere “okay, so what?”

      What doesn’t seem to penetrate that vast expanse of concrete that is the left-liberal consciousness is that the issue is being forced to pay for blacks’ and Mexicans’ (and Indians’, Pakistanis’, Vietnameses’ and, heck, Anglo honkeys’) health care at the point of a gun. Unless and until you understand that, Max you’re going to keep coming off the rails in this discussion.

      1. I understand that that’s how doctrinaire libertarian Tea party sympathizers see it. To “stay on the rails” in this discussion, you have to have swallowed the Kool-Aid.

        1. So you’re essentially saying that your veiled accusations of racism and ethnic hatred were knowingly false, yes?

            1. Uh, yes.

              Every time I think you’ve hit bottom, Max, you just keep on diggin’.

              1. Max, like herpes, is a gift that keeps on giving.

    5. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Tea Party form under Bush’s presidency in response to Bush’s policies namely TARP and the bank bailouts?

    1. No, that is way too late in the game of attribution. Everyone knows it was General Nathan Bedford Forrest who started the tea party.

      1. He got there fustest with the mostest.

        1. I knew that one would not be lost on this crowd!

    2. There were precursors in the Ron Paul movement and elsewhere, but the movement really took off after Rick Santelli’s call for a Tea Party in February 2009.

      1. The first tea party was December of 2007.

        1. Well, first this time around.

        2. That was a “tea party”-themed protest, but those have been around for ages. I’m not aware of any direct ties between it and the big burst in early 2009. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

          1. There’s a political party that started in 2006 (prior to the election) called “Boston Tea”. (Go to bostontea.us to read the platform and whatnot.)

            They ran Charles Jay in 2008. That’s the earliest reference that I’m aware of…

            1. That was a breakaway group from the Libertarian Party. Marilyn Chambers was involved with it.

          2. I’d set the start at the FedUp protest in 9/08, since they shortly after melded the same issues and the explicit Tea Party imagry together with the tea bag mailing campaign for 2/1/09 (http://tickerforum.org/cgi-ticker/akcs-www?post=79282&page=1) – I’d say FedUp is the first organization that could be identified as part of the Tea Party movement distinct from earlier anti-big goverment movements like Paul’s primary campaign. There were also a series of mid-Feb protests that didn’t use the Tea Party theme as centrally, but where based around the same groups and issues that later would. I’d say the Santelli rant marked the point of the Tea Party becoming the dominant image and when the protests started becoming a bigger draw, but the groups and events started coming together between 9/08 and 2/08.

      2. Thanks Jesse. That’s what I was thinking of. I knew there was a “Tea Party” movement while under Bush, just couldn’t recall that it was for Ron Paul’s presidency bid. I was thinking the movement was already there but really took off in response to TARP.

      3. This is unfortunately true.

    3. Yes. People really started to get pissed off when TARP happened.

    4. I think the initial “Oh my FUCKING GOD how much do you want to spend on WHAT!?!?!” anger happened under Bush with TARP. The official nickname “Tea Party” didn’t happen until Obama.

      Because they’re all racists of course.

      1. I’m pretty sure it happened with Rick Santelli’s CNBC rant about, as I recall, a mortgage bailout program.

        1. It wasn’t just one thing, it was all the giveaways together: TARP, stimulus, larger stimulus, mortgage bailout, ridiculously fucking huge stimulus. It was a goddman race to see who could think of the most wasteful project. Santelli’s point of ‘enough’ had an amazing motivating effect, but he wasn’t the start.

      2. Since I first heard of these, my mental picture of a Tea Party always had a crowd around a raised temporary platform (possibly made of crates) and a succession of speakers coming to it, each one punctuating hir speech by ending it pouring a cup demonstratively from a tea pot and drinking it. Just the picture I get without seeing one.

  12. I’m sure there are other factors as well, which you can suggest in the comments.

    My guess is that it’s seen as heartless to pick on the mentally disabled.

    1. Good guess, but they pick on Obama don’t they? If you couldn’t pick on the retarded, you pretty much couldn’t criticize the government.

  13. All I’m hearing from Democrats is:

    “Waaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! There’s mean people cwiticising ouwah pwesident!!!!!! Waaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!

    1. I think a fair number of Democrats are criticizing him too.

  14. http://www.teapartypatriots.org/HC.aspx

    IMPORTANT – Tea Party Patriots is Fighting Government Take Over of Our Health Care

    Sign: at a Tea Party rally:

    Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare!

    1. http://www.teapartypatriots.org/HC.aspx

      IMPORTANT – Tea Party Patriots is Fighting Government Take Over of Our Health Care

      Sign: at a Tea Party rally:

      Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare!

      I taught them so very well!

    2. Hey Max! Suck my dick again!

      http://www.zombietime.com/zomb…..llbush.jpg

      http://lh4.ggpht.com/_ZxcZ33CX….._18A-1.JPG

      1. I actually am really Max’s mother, and I have to tell you, that he is a very sensitive boy, and all your childhood playground insults really hurt his feelings. You should all be ashamed of yourselves!

      2. I am intrigued by your ideas, and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. And blow Ron Pa…wait a minute…

  15. That was a “tea party”-themed protest, but those have been around for ages. I’m not aware of any direct ties between it and the big burst in early 2009. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Since we’re talking about a decentralized, bottom up, networked kind of a deal, I’m not sure it makes any sense to look for “direct ties.” What would they look like?

    Hell, you probably couldn’t find “direct ties” between a lot of the components of the current Tea Party movement.

  16. When Bill Clinton ended the Reagan Revolution in the ’90s,…

    Clinton ended the Reagan Revolution? My god, that’s fucking high-lairi-us.

    Jesus Christ, people voted for Clinton because they saw more of Reagan in him than they did in Bush.

    Just as in 2000 people voted for Bush because they thought he would be more like Clinton than Al Gore would be.

    When will people stop the rah, team blue and rah, team red shit and realize that D and R are just two factions of the single political party that rules the USA.

    When I listen to npr, I get the feeling that there’s almost as much angst over what the Tea Party is doing to the approved Republicans as there is about the Democrats.

    1. NPR is just as disturbed about the Tea Party whacking people like Bob Bennett and Mike Castle as they are anything else. The want a nice tame surrender slowly and easily in the name of statesmanship Republican Party. Watch David Brooks’ temper tantrum after Bennett’s defeat to see what I am talking about.

    2. Clinton ended the Reagan Revolution? My god, that’s fucking high-lairi-us.

      You’re right, of course. Though in fairness, speaking as someone who was reading the conservative press in the early ’90s, there were a lot of people on the right who were expecting a George McGovern instead of a Tony Blair.

    3. “When will people stop the rah, team blue and rah, team red shit and realize that D and R are just two factions of the single political party that rules the USA.”

      This is borderline nutty. There are great reasons to dislike each party (and more to dislike the slime we call politicians), but the idea that they’re indistinguishable is laughable.

      Clinton & Bush both governed to the center domestically, but this was constrained by events. Clinton tried to take over healthcare, and would never have reformed welfare with a Democratic congress. Even forgetting this, look at the Dem reaction to Bush: they took his willingness to compromise on spending as their right to add a zero to all of their future plans. Dems attacked Bush’s medicare drug plan as not generous enough.

      Obviously neither party has been good on spending, but Dems are far worse than Reps.

    4. When will people stop the rah, team blue and rah, team red shit and realize that D and R are just two factions of the single political party that rules the USA.

      Seems like a banal observation. As long as we have democracy, what would you expect? To be major political parties, they pretty much have to adopt close to the same positions. So the answer is “never”, because they’ve always known it — except you, to whom apparently it’s news or unexpected.

      Can you think of any countries with free elections where the major parties aren’t pretty much alike, and don’t reflect close to contemporary policy?

  17. What I still don’t understand is why every editorialist out there is so desperate to label the Tea Party as right wing or Republican. The Tea Party was stirred up by the governments response to the economic meltdown which started under Bush with the first TARP and the Auto bailouts. People were extra pissed off at the Auto GM’s taking private jets to senate hearings, if I recall correctly. Obama was the final match to the powder keg that was brewing under Bush when he exacerbated the spending exponentially.

    The Tea Party isn’t a homogenous group no matter who says it is, and “It’s The Spending, Stupid” is a common war cry regardless of who’s in the white house.

    1. Branding. Dems have spent a generation demonizing Reps for their social conservatism, often accompanied by faux laments that ‘if only the fiscal conservatives had power we’d be willing to engage them’. This last is necessary because moderates, centrists, and independents (swing voters) know Reps who don’t resemble the Dem caricature. Dems have to allow space in the narrative for these types of Reps or they lose their credibility.

      Now a fiscal con group is asserting power, and it puts this historical branding plan at risk. Admitting fiscal cons aren’t scary would be political suicide. Nor can they change and assert the fiscal cons are scary lest they lose hold of those fearful of the social cons, plus be branded hypocrites in the process.

      So what’s the solution to the dilemma? Pretend the new enemy is the same as the old. In short, they do it because it’s all they can do. And with media support it will hold most cultural libs / Dems even if they are fiscal cons.

  18. threadjack. this is the strangest thing I have ever read.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2267815/

    1. I take it then, that you have never read The Sound and the Fury.

    2. When did The Onion columnists start writing long-form pieces?

  19. These surges under Democrats aren’t necessarily exclusively “right-wing”, unless you consider the following to be some sort of exclusively right-wing set of concerns: ” a reverence for the Constitution, a supposedly spontaneous uprising of formerly nonpolitical middle-class activists, a preoccupation with socialism and the expanding tyranny of big government, a bitterness toward an underclass viewed as unwilling to work, and a weakness for outlandish conspiracy theories.”

    The framing of the article implies that these are trivial matter that only this right-winger wing-nuts should care about. I.e. good decent NORMAL people don’t care about big government tyranny, socialism, welfare, the constitution and so on. On those crazy right-wingers that hate everything Democrat care about such stupid matters.

    It’s just possible that America has an individualist streak that is inherently incompatible with the social-Democratic economic policies that most Democrats (and a few Republicans) have pursued.

    It’s just possible that whenever America’s fundamental cultural commitment to individual liberty and free enterprise is threatened you get a mass popular reaction.

    1. These surges under Democrats aren’t necessarily exclusively “right-wing”

      I agree. The Clinton and Obama oppositions in particular included a fair amount of left/right crossover alliances. But it’s fair to say that there have been surges on the right, along with surges in areas that are harder to classify.

      1. Left-wing conspiracy loonies exist and sometimes make common cause with right-wing conspiracy loonies. Other than that, educational levels are too different to allow for much collaboration.

        1. Aw, Max, lefties aren’t that uneducated. Most can carry their half of a conversation if you talk slow enough and don’t mind the occasional ranting idiocy.

          Why, look at you–you’ve got at least a what—50 IQ to play around with? Since we’re online, we don’t really mind that you don’t have enough brain function for bowel control, so you get to ‘talk’ with actual people.

    2. “It’s just possible that whenever America’s fundamental cultural commitment to individual liberty and free enterprise is threatened you get a mass popular reaction.”

      Nah…..then we’d have to argue merits. It’s more fun to throw mud.

    3. The other day some concerned leftist complained about how Tim Cav. used the word ‘deadbeat’ as if it was a trope invented by hate mongering right wingers instead of an expression that goes back many generations and commonly understood for what it means in all English speaking cultures. I’m currently rereading an old LeCarre novel from the seventies that described the protagonist character as such. Thirty years ago, it would have been impossible for even a half educated leftist to not know that but now their heads are jammed so far up their collective ass of insularity, I expect them to miss a common signifier like that more often than not.

  20. But Drum is certainly correct that these eruptions on the right take place whenever a Democrat becomes president.

    It’s only true when a democrat becomes president and tries to govern as a hard left winger.

    These eruptions didn’t happen when Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson became president. In fact, LBJ routinely took far more of a beating from the left than he did from the right.

    1. These eruptions didn’t happen when Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson became president.

      Yes, they did. The ’46 Congress was the ’94 Congress of its day. And the left may have been noisier under LBJ, but the right was angry too.

  21. If you want real stimulus, then we’ll need to elect a Republican president. The giant, paper-mache protest puppet industry has been hard hit with the election of a Democrat, throwing many gainfully employed liberal arts majors onto the dole for the first time in their lives.

    So, the next time you’re in the voting booth, think about the poor, unemployed giant protest puppet makers and pull the lever next the R candidate. We need those anti-war protests to resume ASAP.

  22. Please. This is just another in a long line of attempts by the Left to convince itself that the Tea Party movement is not an expression of anger and exhaustion by American citizens who are tired of, and scared by, exploding deficits and ever-growing entitlement programs we can no longer afford, but is instead, in rough chronological order (1) an artificial “Astroturf” movement created by the “Party of No” GOP, (2) racists who can’t handle a Black president, (3) misinformed people being told lies by “shadowy organizations with innocent-sounding names,” (4) dupes being brainwashed by Fox News, and now (5) heirs of fringe groups like the John Birch Society of the 1960s. Anything but admit that the Tea Party movement may actually be populated by real citizens raising valid concerns that actually need to be addressed on their merits!

  23. What’s this about a new Tea Party? Never heard of it.

  24. Young Americans for Freedom conservative student activist group – 1960, Eisenhower was president.
    Modern day libertarian movement, including Reason magazine – early 70’s, Nixon was president.

  25. Guess who is the son of that guy (Gary Allen) who wrote the Bircher tract on Richard Nixon?

    Mike Allen, of Politico!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04…..ewanted=11

  26. Uh huh. Well, guess whose turn it is now?!

  27. And oddly enough, you can find that Nixon book online:

    http://www.whale.to/b/allen_h.html

  28. It seems everyone has forgotten about the ‘Bush derangement syndrome’ of the early ‘aughts.

    1. Polyester was hot in the ’70s. Michael Jackson was big in the ’80s. The Internet took off in the ’90s. And Bush Derangement Syndrome existed in the ’00s.

      Not “the aughts.”

      (And definitely not “the ‘aughts.”)

      1. Polyester is hot whenever you wear it, not just the ’70s.

  29. When FDR was in office in the 1930s, conservative zealotry coalesced in the Liberty League. When JFK won the presidency in the ’60s, the John Birch Society flourished. When Bill Clinton ended the Reagan Revolution in the ’90s, talk radio erupted with the conspiracy theories of the Arkansas Project. And today, with Barack Obama in the Oval Office, it’s the tea party’s turn….

    Wishful thinking. The Liberty League represented a very tiny minority in the Republican Party. The John Birch Society was always a joke. And the Arkansas Drug Running Conspiracy was essentially a one man show fueled by far right radio stations desperate for late night content.

    The tea parties are a completely different beast, and that there are considerably more participants. By a few orders of magnitude.

  30. Drum’s completely wrong. Tea Partiers aren’t upset about the recession, they’re upset about the government reaction to the recession. Therefore the data that TPers are better off than average isn’t contradictory. It’s consistent with resistance to taxing the productive to give to others simply because a large number of people are effected.

    Drum uses this misunderstanding to create a need to search for the “real” reason the TPs exist (because he posits the actual reason doesn’t). But once you eliminate this misunderstanding his theory becomes just another unsupported attempt to delegitimize the TPs.

  31. Tea Party won’t last long beyond the next GOP Presidency.

  32. Seems like Bush 43 got a pass because of his evangelical bona fides. Jesus can make a lot people look the other way when the federal government is ballooning.

  33. Sorry, real late to the party on this one:

    What did GWB do to bail out GM?

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