Posted by: Rick | Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wingnut Déjà Vu

I’ve never had any use for the Tea Party. I’ve seen their kind before. Early on I wrote:

A teabagger is simply the desiccated carcass of a nineties-era Clinton-hater reanimated by massive injections of Glenn Beck’s crazy-ass revolutionary gobbledygook.

A new book — The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson — shatters (for all time, I hope) The Myth of the Noble Teabagger:

[Newt Gingrich] has . . . tapped into what we identified as Tea Partiers’ most fundamental concern: their belief that hardworking American taxpayers are being forced to foot the bill for undeserving freeloaders, particularly immigrants, the poor and the young. Young people “just feel like they are entitled,” one member of the Massachusetts Tea Party told us. A Virginia interviewee said that today’s youth “have lost the value of work.”

These views were occasionally tinged with ethnic stereotypes about immigrants “stealing” from tax-funded programs, or minorities with a “plantation mentality.” When Gingrich talks about “inner-city” children having “no habits of working,” he is appealing to a widely held sentiment among the Tea Party faithful.

Of course, big government is just fine when the teabaggers are getting theirs:

Tea Party activists are not uniformly opposed to government social programs, however. Our interviewees were very anxious that Social Security and Medicare be maintained. “I’ve been working since I was 16 years old, and I do feel like I should someday reap the benefit. I’m not looking for a handout. I’m looking for a pay out of what I paid into,” one Tea Party member explained.

And let’s not forget the main reason the Tea Party exists in the first place:

Republican primary voters, including those in the Tea Party, want to win the 2012 general election. As one Tea Partier told us, Romney is “not quite conservative enough — but we have to get Obama out.” They will overlook past heresies, even “RomneyCare,” in a candidate they believe can win the general election.

The Tea Party will begin to disintegrate a few nanoseconds after Mitt gets the black guy out of the White House.

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