Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Gods and Monsters
That New York Times article dissecting the Tea Party -- the one I published a quote from earlier today -- is revealing on so many levels that it's worth referencing more than once. While the first excerpt I posted highlighted a fact that shouldn't surprise anyone -- namely that, while loud, the Tea Party isn't very big and it's certainly not very popular -- another finding within the story is even less surprising. It answers the question, "Just what is the Tea Party made of?"
Remember that the people who wrote the article have been studying the rise of the movement that would ultimately become the Tea Party since 2006.
"So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek 'deeply religious' elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government."
What does this mean? Simple: the Tea Party is basically nothing but the hard-right, conservative Christian wing of the GOP as it has existed for years. Again, no surprise there at all. This is why for all the shouting about how smaller government and controlled spending are at the top of the list of their demands, the tea baggers as a group have been engaging in horseshit misdirection pretty much since the beginning. When George W. Bush was throwing taxpayer dollars around like he was President Diddy, the then non-existent Tea Party didn't give a damn -- that's because Bush was a white, conservative Texan who may as well have been wearing a giant diamond-encrusted Jesus piece around his neck, his religious affiliation was so obvious. He was forgiven his transgressions -- hell, they weren't even considered transgressions -- simply because of who he was and how comfortable he made the usual suspects among conservative America. It's only after the guy in the White House morphed, against their divinely inspired will, into a black, multi-cultural, progressive "elitist" who represented the kicking down of the castle gate they'd always taken for granted would be in place to protect their dominion that they collectively decided to raise holy hell.
Incidentally, in a somewhat related item, I continue to get amusingly irate e-mails from people who remain less than pleased with the crack I made about Sakina Mengle's role in the Tea Party movement; for those who don't remember, Miss Mengle is the black woman featured on the "Diverse Tea" website and someone who contacted me and called me out for my admittedly juvenile joke at her expense.
Miss Mengle and I had a very nice conversation, if you recall. Her Tea Partying supporters aren't quite as magnanimous.
"You are a disgusting turd! The Tea party is made up of all sorts of people who are concerned for America's future. And I am quite confident each of them is more intelligent than you and more informed, and less filled with racial prejudice. It is an inclusive group which is positively focused and doesn't make disparaging remarks about someone of color who supports, and is entitled to support, another point of view. Learn about American democracy and get a life!"
Yes, Pierre. The Tea Party doesn't make disparaging comments about someone of color who supports other points of view besides its own. Unless, of course, that person happens to be the President of the United States.
Big fan of anything, though, that calls somebody a turd and still manages to be pretty articulate.