I am a little worried Siriusly long seems to moving in their direction. Yikes
SUN AUG 14, 2011 AT 10:00 AM PDT
The Tea Party: the conspiracy branch of the Republican Party
Throughout recent American history, the Republican Party has been made up principally of an uneasy alliance between religious conservatives and corporate interests. The two have not always gotten along, and generally the religious/cultural conservatives have always gotten just barely enough to keep them begrudgingly happy, while the major spoils went, reliably, to the corporate wing. Whatever you want to call the arrangement, it has definitely been successful.
After Bush's brand of hard-right conservatism failed spectacularly, however, we went through the usual once-a-decade-or-so rebranding of the word "conservative" so that the usual suspects could peddle the same wares, but this time without the stink of failure surrounding them quite so much. As with every such effort, it masquerades as populism: the American people really want—no, demand— this series of ridiculous things that resulted in abject failure the previous times they were tried but which we must try again. It is so tired a trick that it has long had a specific name: astroturf. But it very often works.
In this latest incarnation, this new rebranding of the same conservative ideologies has been renamed the "Tea Party". It was largely started and funded by the lobbyist/corporate wing of the GOP, and promoted by Fox News to such an extent that it was beginning to look like a national sport. The premise was "average citizens" who just happened to be against raising taxes on rich people or regulating what corporations could do to the rest of the country (what are the odds, right?) and who were simply "not going to take it any more."
I think most of those who follow politics closely were impressed at just how quickly this movement could (ostensibly, anyway) sprout from grassroot seed, but at this point, even that rather remarkable achievement is overshadowed. The "Tea Party", or whatever you want to call it, quickly broke free from their initial Republican handlers, and this rather ragged form of populism now finds its center in an entirely new place.
It is, to be rude about it, a magnet for the crazy and the ridiculous.
Dick Armey, free buses, and Fox News coverage that at times rivaled that of some moon landings all played a profound role in the formation of the new Tea Party "movement". It is hardly controversial, however, to note that at this point those ties are much more strained, to say the least. Michele Bachmann may at this point represent the Tea Party more than Dick Armey ever did, and all she did to be Dutchess of the Movement was to be more rigidly (and rabidly) conservative than most of her colleagues would dare.
Tea Partyism is about extremism at this point, and quite proudly so. Cooperation with Democrats over any issue, no matter how previously uncontroversial, is grounds for being (successfully) primaried out of office. Government assistance with health care is an abomination; the debt ceiling, an abomination; any taxes, an abomination; environmental rules, an abomination, etc. There is no apparent nuance within a Tea Partier. We may see shutting down the government as something that might perhaps have a bad side to it, the Tea Party sees it as a glorious achievement, and something they are at this moment rather bitter to have lost out on.