Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea Party Roundup: Poll Reveals Split Personality

(Still from The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, via)

I written twice before (here and here) about how the Tea Party movement contains an unstable, unsustainable alliance between the Libertarian types on the one hand, and the "family values" Christian crowd on the other. Politico polled the participants at the most recent DC tea party, and the results nicely underline this phenomenon:

The results, however, suggest a distinct fault line that runs through the tea party activist base, characterized by two wings led by the politicians who ranked highest when respondents were asked who “best exemplifies the goals of the tea party movement” — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a former GOP presidential candidate.

Palin, who topped the list with 15 percent, speaks for the 43 percent of those polled expressing the distinctly conservative view that government does too much, while also saying that it needs to promote traditional values.

Paul’s thinking is reflected by an almost identical 42 percent who said government does too much but should not try to promote any particular set of values — the hallmarks of libertarians. He came in second to Palin with 12 percent.

That's quite a fault line, and neither of these groups are known to play well with others. It's hard to see how just hate (for Obama) will keep them together. The tea party movement, for now, is existing in a political fantasyland, one with neither a platform nor candidates. Their laughable new "Contract with America" contains no "social issues" whatsoever, and obviously this isn't going to sit well with the Jesusy folks indefinitely.

Of course, given the advanced years of most of the tea partiers, they're going to die off soon enough anyway. Next movement!

EDIT - By the way, if you want some delicious Tea Party in-fighting schadenfreude see here.


Fran said...

Bravo! Great post - I could not agree more.

As I read your post I am listening to a piece on NPR about trust in government. I am also reflecting on an on-going discussion that I have participated in with one of my co-religionists. She claims to be both fiercely Libertarian and devoutly Catholic. As a Catholic, I find those two positions incompatible beyond belief.

My own assessment is that these people are crazy and paranoid, suspicious and petty. The two wing(nuts) of these movements that have conflated for the moment are bound together by skepticism and hate. It won't be long perhaps before they feel that way about each other.

We are in a pitiable moment of history. I continue to blame George Bush for much of it. I mean, he was the boy king of big gubmint! Hire your friends! Talk stupid! Get high! Rely on Condi.

Condi. *sigh* All roads do somehow lead back to her, don' they?

Matty Boy said...

I wasn't aware that the Paultards are considered the originators of the Tea Party movement. I thought it was mainly the Sarah Palin-Glenn Beck crowd with a whole gumbo mix of other weirdos, including LaRouchies, neo-Confederates and John Birchers.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

Matty Boy said...

Apropos of Sarah, Danielle Crittenden has this review of a Sarah dinner speech for a charity in Canada. If you do the math, well over half the cash raised that night went into the pockets of hillbilly grifters.

It's an interesting read and I actually laughed at loud when Crittenden called Sarah's speaking style the "familiar carpool-mother-with-Tourettes-syndrome".

It's worth checking out.

Anonymous said...



Matty Boy said...

Anybody else terrified of the viruses you could put on your computer if you click on Ralph's link?

samael7 said...

I can't tell if it's parody, sometimes.

To me, the biggest fault in what appear to be large swaths of the movement isn't merely Paul/Palin conflict, but cognitive dissonance in things like "Government hands off my Medicare!"

I think it will take patient, strong-willed people to explain the inherent contradiciton of these sorts of positions to this group to get them to move on, but until the anger is played out, that's not going to happen. Unfortunately too, there are people who have a stake in anger, who are good at stoking it, and who are making money off of it, and so it's in their best interests to perpetuate it.

On the other hand, my adopted state of CA still gets through elections wanting to expand programs and introduce new ones, without cutting others or raising taxes. I can't tell if it's lingering disbelief that the tech bubble is long over and the money there is gone, or if it's an infantile sense of entitlement without consequences. But I sense a strain of that running through the 'Baggers.