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White people haven't gone crazy

Adam Serwer is a staff writer for The American Prospect, where he writes his own blog.

A few weeks ago Steven Thrasher wrote a piece for the Village Voice that I think speaks to the exasperation of many liberals who are confounded by the degree to which racialized, paranoid discourse, from birtherism to ACORN to the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy, has become the norm in conservative commentary, titled "White America has lost its mind." Thrasher's argument is that the current right-wing opposition is a result of irreconcilable demographic conflict between the whiter aging population and a more diverse younger generation, and that subsequently much of the anti-Obama opposition is driven by racial animus.

One alternative argument is the one offered by Kevin Drum, that the Tea Party movement is merely the periodic right wing resurgence that occurs every time liberalism is ascendant.

Historian Sean Wilentz, in a really fascinating walkthrough of the history of far-right writers like W. Cleon Skousen who have served as Glenn Beck's inspiration, draws some parallels between elements of the Tea Party movement and older far right groups like the John Birch Society. But Wilentz' argument is different from Drum's or Thrasher's. Wilentz writes that while there are some racialized elements to the Tea Party movement's dislike of Obama, their underlying philosophy isn't race based -- rather it represents something of an unprecedented mainstreaming of once fringe far-right ideas, which he blames on a lack of "forthright leadership" from the right or the left:

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy deplored the far right's "counsels of fear and suspicion." Today, Obama's White House is still struggling to make sense of its enemies. In the absence of forthright leadership, on both the right and the left, the job of standing up to extremists appears to have been left to the electorate. Candidates like O'Donnell may prove too eccentric to prevail, or voters may simply become disillusioned by politicians who campaign on their hatred of government. After the election, mainstream conservatives may well engage in what Richard Viguerie has forecast as "a massive, almost historic battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party." (Already, Rove and some leading Bush political operatives, including the former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, have been quietly supplanting the battered G.O.P. establishment in the effort to raise funds for this year's candidates.) But, according to a recent poll, more than seventy percent of Republicans support the Tea Party, and it seems almost certain that a Republican Party that has unstintingly appeased the far right will enjoy a strong and perhaps smashing victory in the coming midterm elections.

This comes closer to Drum's thesis, but it also recognizes a kind of historical significance to this moment in that "the extreme right wing is on the verge of securing a degree of power over Congress and the Republican Party that is unprecedented in modern American history."

The modern far right also lacks the same kind of clear, omnipresent foreign enemy that the Soviet Union represented, which makes the obsession with communism and the tales of a totalitarian threat from within more abstract. The closest thing they have is the "Stealth Jihad" of Robert Spencer, Frank Gaffney and Pam Geller. Reading Wilentz's piece I found myself wondering what William F. Buckley, who tried to purge the Birchers from the conservative movement, would have thought of National Review's Andy McCarthy alleging a vast conspiracy between the left and "Islamists" to undermine the United States. McCarthy's argument that Obama's copious use of drone strikes is merely part of a larger scheme to help the Muslim Brotherhood closely mirrors John Birch Society founder Robert Welch's insistence that John F. Kennedy was "helping the Communists everywhere in the world while pretending to do the opposite." I'm sure when the "stealth Islamists" took over for the communists in the state department, they made sure to exchange desks.

In any case, I don't think "white people have lost their minds," at least no more than when Clinton was president. Rather what's happened is that the right currently lacks a Buckley-like figure who could beat back the fringe while maintaining his conservative credibility. Wilentz was a Clinton partisan during the primaries, and I think his criticism of Obama is misplaced here -- a high profile effort to condemn "extremism" from the other side would merely have empowered them further. Outside criticism tends to unite even bitterly opposing factions by uniting them against an outside threat. Countering the conspiracy-minded right was a job for the kind of ideological ombudsman the modern right just doesn't have.

By Adam Serwer  | October 12, 2010; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Next: Pundits and Republicans agree: Dem attack on Chamber is a flop

Comments

I'm tired of Serwer's threads -- I will no longer be posting on them -- have fun, libs.

Posted by: JakeD2 | October 12, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Great to hear. Thanks Joke.

Posted by: Observer691 | October 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

SOME white people HAVE indeed gone crazy.

* Paladino Curses Eric Holder *

In a previously unreleased video obtained by Hotline On Call, Paladino has some choice words for Attorney General Eric Holder when asked about holding terrorist trials in New York City.

Questioner: "If you were the chief executive of New York, what would your response be to the attorney general of the United States deciding to hold terrorist trials in New York?"

Paladino: "F*** him. F*** him."

[...]

After Paladino's remarks about homosexuality on Sunday, this is another example of the Republican's unpredictability on the stump. It may also explain why former Rep. Rick Lazio (R) didn't take him seriously in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2010/10/paladino_curses.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Paladino strikes me as the neighbor every kid so afraid of they won't even go on his lawn to get a football because of the danger of him coming out of his house blasting away with a shotgun. The guy is seriously unhinged, not to mention a racist, homophobic, hypocritical scum bag.

Posted by: Observer691 | October 12, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan

You live in the Empire State I do not. Can you possibly explain how Paladino got this far...I mean the emails alone..especially the bestiality pics would have turned off most folks. Considering many in the Tea Party are religious fundamentalists how did Paladino get through the cracks?

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Why do you consider Wilentz criticism of Obama to be "misplaced"? Does his support for Clinton make his reasoning suspect? Are Obama supporters the only people allowed to criticize this President?

Posted by: baptisa77ohio | October 12, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Why do you consider Wilentz criticism of Obama to be "misplaced"? Does his support for Clinton make his reasoning suspect? Are Obama supporters the only people allowed to criticize this President?

Posted by: baptisa77ohio | October 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"Can you possibly explain how Paladino got this far..."

Honestly? No. There is no rational explanation that I am aware of. There are plenty of rural/suburban Christian conservatives in upstate NY, so there is a Tea Party base from which a conservative candidate can grow, but I've never seen anything even remotely like this monster and I literally cannot imagine anyone supporting him.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

I always thought the white people thing was a tongue in cheek reversal of the popular GOP meme in 2008 that nigg...I mean African Americans would start rioting in the streets if Obama were to lose.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 12, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

"Considering many in the Tea Party are religious fundamentalists how did Paladino get through the cracks? "

I think it speaks volumes about the church.

Does that make me anti-Christian now or something?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 12, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

"Rather what's happened is that the right currently lacks a Buckley-like figure who could beat back the fringe while maintaining his conservative credibility"

Certainly, Buckley is missed. However, the left, and the Democrats, would be attempting to undercut a Buckley at every step, if he was part of the current political process, or use his words against conservatives and the GOP, or attempt to muzzle him under the broad brush of right wing extremism . . . so I'm not sure the Serwer's crocodile tears are particularly credible.

But, then, it's easy to flatter your ideological opponents once they have passed on, and such "flattery" can be used to cast a comparatively negative light on the current state of your ideological opponents.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Honestly? No. There is no rational explanation that I am aware of. There are plenty of rural/suburban Christian conservatives in upstate NY, so there is a Tea Party base from which a conservative candidate can grow, but I've never seen anything even remotely like this monster and I literally cannot imagine anyone supporting him.

Posted by: Ethan2010 "

There was a study done comparing conservatives from different regions of the country. It found that there was little variation in the views between right wingers in NY or in Cali or in Texas. Given that these primaries are driven by the more fringe members of the party and given the homogeneity of these people across the country, it's not a huge surprise that someone like Paladino gets the GOP nomination.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 12, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

@mikefromArlington: ""Considering many in the Tea Party are religious fundamentalists how did Paladino get through the cracks?"

Because the Tea Party is not a monolith, and there was probably more to getting the nomination that just the Tea Party.

"I think it speaks volumes about the church."

Which is also not a monolith. So I'm not sure if is speaks volumes about "the church". I'm expecting you'd find that Tea Partiers are members of many different churches, and no churches, across many different denominations. Probably not a lot of Episcopalians. But more Unitarians than you might think.

"Does that make me anti-Christian now or something?"

No, but it might indicate that you have difficult seeing the trees for the forest. :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Anyone interested in Wilentz's work should read his article for The new Republic: "Race Man, How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton."

http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/race-man

"To a large degree, the campaign’s strategists turned the primary and caucus race to their advantage when they deliberately, falsely, and successfully portrayed Clinton and her campaign as unscrupulous race-baiters."

"... More than any other maneuver, this one has brought Clinton into disrepute with important portions of the Democratic Party. A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the “race card” were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students. The Clinton campaign, in fact, has not racialized the campaign, and never had any reason to do so. Rather the Obama campaign and its supporters, well-prepared to play the “race-baiter card” before the primaries began, launched it with a vengeance when Obama ran into dire straits after his losses in New Hampshire and Nevada--and thereby created a campaign myth that has turned into an incontrovertible truth among political pundits, reporters, and various Obama supporters."

Posted by: sbj3 | October 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"White people haven't gone crazy"

Are you sure?

"You're a racist, vote for me" seems like such a compelling argument, the only explanation for everybody not voting for Democrats in droves is that they've gone . . . insane. /sinister

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"Certainly, Buckley is missed. However, the left, and the Democrats, would be attempting to undercut a Buckley at every step, if he was part of the current political process, or use his words against conservatives and the GOP, or attempt to muzzle him under the broad brush of right wing extremism . . . "

This is BS and you know it. There are conservative figures today who are considered intellectual voices. You and I both know that liberals do not treat these people anywhere close to what you described above.

It might be easy to flatter dead political opponents, but it's even easier to dream up unprovable conclusions. Although I will admit that it's harder to do when these conclusions are disproven by current parallels.

Posted by: DDAWD | October 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I think you miss the point by a country mile. Somehow you and the good professor have constructed a reality where radical Right wing fringe ideas are devoid of any element of race. A light reading of our history proves that to be wishful thinking.

The rhetoric of today's Right is not very different from the rhetoric of the pro-secessionist fire-eaters of the 1850 or the anti-Reconstruction movement following the Civil War. The ant-immigrant language of today has rhetorical roots going back to 1776 and all the way forward.

The dark stain on America has always been the notion of White supremacy and in every period of our history where White supremacist felt threaten movements like today's Tea Party movement have sprung up. It is White people going crazy and our history is soaked in blood because of it. Thrasher was courageous to point this reality out. Your effort to push this back into the closet is cowardly at best.

Cheers

Posted by: dengre | October 12, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@DDAWD: "This is BS and you know it"

It's not and I don't.

"but it's even easier to dream up unprovable conclusions."

I'd love to be wrong about this, but I see no evidence that I am. Perhaps I missed it.

"Although I will admit that it's harder to do when these conclusions are disproven by current parallels."

For example?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@dengre: "The dark stain on America has always been the notion of White supremacy and in every period of our history where White supremacist felt threaten movements like today's Tea Party movement have sprung up. It is White people going crazy and our history is soaked in blood because of it."

And what sane white guy wouldn't vote for a pitch like that? Yet, they aren't--indeed, some of them actually act offended, or deny the undeniable truth of the inescapable racism of their pale, sallow skin. Ipso facto, white people have gone crazy. It's a self-evident truth.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, if the tea partiers are overwhelmingly self proclaimed part of the religious right then I'd say, yeah, it says a lot about religion in this country. Religion in this country is being hijacked by a bunch of charlatans.

And OT but cool none the less. Good to see Google broadening its horizons and forward thinking.

"Google is investing in an extensive network of deepwater transmission lines worth billions for future wind farms off the East Coast, the company said Tuesday.

The transmission lines, which could cost up to $5 billion over the next 10 years, would run as far as 20 miles offshore from Virginia to New Jersey. The initial phase of the project would be capable of delivering 2,000 megawatts of wind energy – enough to power about 500,000 homes.

Google, which will own more than a third of the project, has teamed up with other technology companies and investment firms."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/12/google-wind-power-project_n_759208.html

Posted by: mikefromArlington | October 12, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

To continue on the "history theme," Americans are extremely polarized today, just like France prior to WWII. Once France capitulated and signed the armistice with the Nazis, the Petain arch-conservative Vichy government did the Nazis bidding to the detriment of the Jew and democracy. We are on the cusp of a similar arch-conservative takeover (=spurred on by a very bad economy, a non-white President, and progressive legislation, aka, "the enemy"), whose hallmarks will be anti-immigrant, anti-LBGT, islamaphobic, anti-progressive, reactionary, isolationist. It will be Vichyesque, only in America.

Posted by: dozas | October 12, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"One alternative argument is the one offered by Kevin Drum, that the Tea Party movement is merely the periodic right wing resurgence that occurs every time liberalism is ascendant."
---------------------------------------------

I think I buy that. The John Birch Society (to which I think all modern right-wing radicalism arguably traces it's roots, right down to the shopworn cold-war red-scare paranoia that they're still out there flogging 60 years later) was actually born during the Eisenhower's presidency, but it was the Kennedy administration that turned it into a movement.

Posted by: CalD | October 12, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"the only explanation for everybody not voting for Democrats in droves is that they've gone ... insane"

What utter horse___t and you know it.

Kevin = white person who has gone crazy

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Any other insane white people here? Raise your hands and testify.

Posted by: sbj3 | October 12, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

REALITY CHECK


The Conservatives - the center of the country is with them.


It is the liberals that have lost their minds and gone for a far-left agenda.


The liberals STILL do not know how much their health care plan is going to cost - cost the Federal government, cost the states, cost in terms of premium increases for businesses and individuals. That is IRRESPONSIBLE.


This is like going shopping for a year, and NEVER looking at the prices of anything purchased.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | October 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "What utter horse___t and you know it."

Well, yes, but probably not in the way that you mean it.

"Kevin = white person who has gone crazy"

Crazy like a fox!

@mike: " tea partiers are overwhelmingly self proclaimed part of the religious right then I'd say, yeah, it says a lot about religion in this country."

Well, one might arguably assert that it says something about the kinds of religious folks who join tea parties, but the great majority of church goers in this country are not Tea Partiers. Also, religion in this country is not a monolith, so I'm not sure what conclusions you can draw about Buddhists in San Francisco by the way of Baptists from Murfreesboro.

Agree, re: Googles transmission lines. That is cool.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"It's astounding. Based on his anti-gay rant, any advice that I'm giving this guy is no longer having any effect."

-- Roger Stone, an adviser to New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino (R), in an interview with the Daily Beast.

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/10/12/bonus_quote_of_the_day.html

Okay...

You KNOW you're crazy when the ultimate smear-master ROGER STONE thinks you've gone too far.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Two observations:

First, watching the cable news this weekend, I had a brief flashback to 2003. This was the year of the "smoking gun/mushroom cloud" BS, Bush had approval ratings in the 80+%, French fries were "freedom fries", America was passing up opportunities to improve itself at every turn, there was a sustained controversy over Paula Zahn's show on CNN because on the commercial it "sounded like someone unzipping their pants", and America had just passed the Patriot Act. This weekend we had controversies still simmering over the "Ground-zero mosque", Halal soups made by Campbell's, a suspicious murder on the Mexico-Texas border turning into a jihad against brown folk, and a Carl Paladino claiming that he is somehow the "family-values" candidate in New York. Man, the Right-wingers are good at this nonsense. But look how it turned out for them.

Second observation is that the Republicans are going to be in a very difficult position if/when they take over the Congress. How do they reconcile the crazy TP-party wing with the normal crazy GOP? Will TP-partyers lose interest if the GOP decides not to shut down the government and conduct endless inquiries into Obama's citizenship? What happens after they pass their tax cut? What if the economy starts to improve? Sure, they'll still have their crying white blond women on TeeVee to make us mad about some issue du jour, but once the John Birchers realize that John Boehner has no desire to start a civil war with Obama, their fire could be extinguished quickly.

Posted by: klautsack | October 12, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

"Rather what's happened is that the right currently lacks a Buckley-like figure who could beat back the fringe while maintaining his conservative credibility"

Hmmm, for what it is worth there are thoughtful conservative commentators out there. Andrew Sullivan and David Frum come to mind. But you are right, they haven't been able to maintain their conservative credibility.

The difference is, in my opinion, that the Conservative media infrastructure has pulled off a stealth coup. How many conservative pundits can stand up to Rush Limbaugh? We've seen a few attemmpts, but it seems like they end within 48 hours with an abject apology and a set of right wing lips pressed against Rush's fanny.

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 12, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

All, pundits and GOPers asserting that the White House/Dem assault on the Chamber and Karl Rove is a failure, despite possible evidence to contrary:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/pundits_and_republicans_agree.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 12, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

While I'm no JoeyS fan, he is, when the urge strikes, willing to stand up a little. Not to anyone important to the GOP, like Rush Limbaugh, but to a bit player wacko like Newt Gingrich? Sure.

"The same politician who once saw himself as a latter-day Winston Churchill — sent by God to save Western civilization — now gets rich off political hate speech. These days, Newt Gingrich’s modus operandi is to smear any public figure who fails to share his worldview. His insults are so overblown and outrageous that after the rhetorical dust settles, the reputation most damaged is his own. The former speaker seems oblivious to that fact. Or maybe he knows that in a political landscape driven by talk shows, their childish insults resonate in Washington as nowhere else. In a recent New York Magazine cover story called 'Cable Ugly', Gabriel Sherman noted that among most prime-time cable hosts, 'schoolyard rules rule.'"

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43428.html#ixzz12A0Rm3Le

h/t Sullivan

Posted by: PaciolisRevenge | October 12, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I think what is missing from this analysis is any mention of the connection between the rise of the right wing fringe and its behind-the-scenes funding from Freedom Works and Dick Armey.

The Tea Party is not a grassroots uprising of Americans who are fed up with big government. It's not a natural historical reaction to liberalism. It is a carefully orchestrated and carefully contrived shadow movement that has been created and funded -- not by government outsiders -- but by longtime Beltway insiders who are itching to get back. The media, for the most part, seems unwilling or unable to keep this fact in perspective.

There is no historical precedent for this, at least in terms of the massive funding and elaborate scheming to dupe the media and the American public into believing that regular citizens are rising up in protest. And so this is why no William Buckley-type figure is around to hold the conservatives in check. Those conservatives have already been drummed out of the GOP, not because of lack of leadership by the Republicans or Democrats, but because the Freedom Works people understood that such moderate conservatives would merely stand in their way.

Ten years ago, it was the fundamentalist Christians who were used to prop up the GOP. Today, the GOP is using the far right fringe and those who still hold prejudices against anyone who has a different ethnicity or sexual orientation. These people are historically very easy to manipulate.

Follow the money. As we are all about to learn, "beating that back" may be next to impossible.

Posted by: elscott | October 12, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

We are governed by the most extreme radical leftist POTUS and Congress ever, and it just ain't enough for the radical left. They remain obsessed with tarring mainstream conservatives as extremists.

And stop taking WFB's name in vain. The left hated him when he was alive. He was a friend and patron of the Evil Rushbo (horrors!) and said he would rather be governed by the first 200 people listed in the Boston phone book than by Harvard's faculty. He mounted the campaign to run Lowell Weicker out of office -- perhaps the first precursor to the Tea Party rebellion. WFB: the original anti-RINO. I read everything he wrote for 40 years, and I gurantee you he wouldn't be on your side.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 12, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"Agree, re: Googles transmission lines. That is cool."

Yes, but how long before these disgusting corporate types grab the reigns of power in Washington and start passing laws designed to make their venture profitable? Why, I'll bet they've already got lobbyists sneaking around Capitol Hill scheming and directing our poor, innocent legislators to do their dirty work. Greedy, capitalist scum!

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was the evil lefties that were proposing incentives for alternative energy, Scott. Did I miss some change of heart from the right?

Posted by: pragmaticstill | October 12, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

elscott:

"There is no historical precedent for this, at least in terms of the massive funding and elaborate scheming to dupe the media and the American public into believing that regular citizens are rising up in protest."

So, your theory is what, exactly...that all thos people at the Tea Party events are not regular citizens? Or are not really protesting? Or are just faking their apparent objections? Please do tell.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"It is a carefully orchestrated and carefully contrived shadow movement that has been created and funded -- not by government outsiders -- but by longtime Beltway insiders who are itching to get back."

CORRECT.

Beltway insiders with connections to MASSIVE amounts of money from the corporate elite.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Q.B. "We are governed by the most extreme radical leftist POTUS and Congress ever, "

Again you make my point. Your posts have zero credibility because you just fire off some obviously absurd...I hesitate to call it an opinion because I don't wish to insult you...surely you are brighter than some of the BS you post.

MOST EXTREME RADICAL LEFTIST...

As compared to....the moderate R's who existed during Clinton's presidency and responded to Hilary's HCR proposal with a proposal of their own that basically mirrors Obamacare. Perhaps it's that known lefty Mitt Romney who also enacted an HCR plan in Mass that is also eerily similar to Obamacare as was pointed out by plenty of R's.

Perhaps compared to G.W. Bush who gave us TARP to bail out the banks...money for the wealthy bankers is NOT leftist but a stimulus with the largest tax cut for the MIDDLE CLASS is "the most extreme radical leftist" proposal..in YOUR words EVER!!!!

You have lost all credibility Q.B. You are nothing more than a knee jerk reactionary so consumed by your ignorant hate that you end up posting foolishly!

The only words that fit you Q.B. come from Mr. T. "Pity the fool". You have foregone rational intellectual discussion for partisan hyperbolic demagoguery!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sure, ScottC3, they are regular citizens, but they are being manipulated by moneyed interests. Their fear, their prejudice, their ignorance is being exploited by powerful political insiders. Dick Armey is the consummate Beltway insider.

Glenn Beck made 32 million dollars last year. And what was he doing? Rallying these easily duped regular citizens by stoking their fear and their anger.

I don't understand how any thoughtful conservative doesn't see this going on, unless they are also blinded by their own fear and prejudice.

It's your own party that is being destroyed.

Posted by: elscott | October 12, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"You are nothing more than a knee jerk reactionary so consumed by your ignorant hate that you end up posting foolishly!"

HAHAHA!

Go RUK.

QB is a dining room table.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"I don't understand how any thoughtful conservative doesn't see this going on"

elscott, that is a principled position.

ScottC has no principles or morals, as he is only interested in profiteering. He supports the massive fraud you are discussing.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Scott....Love the way you wish to cherry pick other's posts like Elscott.

Perhaps you're having a rough day but your response failed to address Elscott's ACTUAL point. Not that they weren't citizens, not that they weren't protesting or that they were faking their objections....

The point was they weren't simply a grassroots uprising. They were organized by DICK Army and his ilk including Fox News. Fox literally ran many of the original tea party "gatherings" as any TV or radio station might run a "promotion".
They highlighted the most clever costumes they literally had producers standing on the other side of their cameras telling the crowd when to cheer, when to yell, and when to relax..as they would on any late night program. They ran incessant promos pointing out time and place and how to contact organizers.

DICK and his boys did their part by providing buses to the events, creating press releases that appeared to be "grassroots" when they were actually nothing more than paid right wing propaganda.

Nobody is suggesting that there is not real concern out in our nation...both left and right and center too for that matter.
Your R stooges left this country in shambles much as they did 60 years ago for the Great Depression. Is there any doubt there is resentment and hostility in the nation. The tea party simply got the most coverage...the squeaky wheel got the grease..all aided and abetted by their organizers at Freedom Works and Fox fake news.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Democrats/liberals dwell in denial is such fun.

All these elaborate explanations of the genesis and intent of their political opposition is just a means of self distraction. Rather than admit that their agenda is being rejected and their leader is being measured up and found wanting, the left tries to convince itself that what's driving the dynamics they see is racism or media manipulation or beltway schemes. Just too funny.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 12, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Skip,

Why can't you buy a car without SEATBELTS?

The federal gubbmint is STEALING YOUR FREEDOM to buy a car without seatbelts!!!1111!!1

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

elscott:

"Sure, ScottC3, they are regular citizens, but they are being manipulated by moneyed interests. Their fear, their prejudice, their ignorance is being exploited by powerful political insiders."

So is it your contention that only fear, prejudice, and ignorance can explain the positions taken by Tea Partiers? That no educated, non-prejudiced regular person could possibly be a part of the tea party movement?

Also, when you say "manipulated", what do you mean. really? Are you saying that the regular people who are going to these protests do not genuinely oppose the things they say they are opposing, but have somehow been tricked into opposing them?

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@Skip Were you here on this blog to laugh loudly when YOUR side's views were rejected soundly as your President Obama ran all over the R's and took many Dems with him on his coattails.

No didn't suspect you'd be here to acknowledge that you are a loser Skip!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "Skip Were you here on this blog to laugh loudly when YOUR side's views were rejected soundly as your President Obama ran all over the R's and took many Dems with him on his coattails. No didn't suspect you'd be here to acknowledge that you are a loser Skip!"

Is there something wrong with your comma key, Ruk? ;) That was very hard to read. That being said, I gave Democrats their due when they won in 2006:

http://www.kevinwillis.net/viewarticle.php?artID=196

Cuz they won, my side lost, and there weren't no two ways about it. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 12, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin.....Sorry for the missing comma's.

You really didn't even need to document that for me...I accept your word since you seem to have an almost journalistic compunction to be honest...I could say fair and balanced but that has become a pejorative thanks to Faux News. You are one of the sane righties here...there are others...Scott sees the world a little too black and white for me..I can't ever recall him posting with nuance...I'm sure he has but it is infrequent...but I do respect Scott's brain if not his views. I suspect sold2u also votes R but he is no ideologue. And I haven't figured out the Blade yet? I would have put him on "your" side until that dissertation about the Jersey Tunnel and Gov't capital projects. He may be a closet libtard, moonbat, slave or whatever your side is calling us these days. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

"So is it your contention that only fear, prejudice, and ignorance can explain the positions taken by Tea Partiers? That no educated, non-prejudiced regular person could possibly be a part of the tea party movement?"

Frankly? Yes, that pretty much sums it up.

And while that seems like I'm painting with a broad brush stroke, one only needs to listen to what the "leaders" of the Tea Party say. When you have people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann as the leaders of these regular citizens, you have to assume that their followers are living in some kind of alternate reality. None of what they say is based in fact.

And that doesn't even speak to the latest round of Tea Party favorites -- the Christine O'Donnells, the Carl Paldinos. Do you believe what these people say?

And in answer to your question about what I mean when I say the tea party faithful are being manipulated, I would refer you back to rukidding7's excellent commentary at 1:33 pm. He expressed it perfectly.

I didn't know you were a Tea Partier, ScottC3. Somehow I thought you were more grounded in reality.

Although, I do appreciate Ethan's explanation of where you are coming from.

Posted by: elscott | October 12, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

the reality of it is, RUK, that I was part of the group that fired the Republicans. If you listen to many influential Republicans in congress you will hear them note the fact that the party was indeed fired by the electorate.

Here in Ohio Mike Dewine is trying a comeback as Attorney General. While Portman, Kasich and many other republicans are doing well in the polls, DeWine is trailing badly. We just haven't forgiven him for his antics while in the Senate.

The republicans got the message.

so no I didn't cheer the Democrat victory. But I understood its genesis. My point for the Democrats is that they must stop all this denial and face what is happening soberly if they wish to mount a prompt comeback.

Convincing themselves that they are losing because Whitie has gone made won't get it done.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 12, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@elscott Way to stick to your guns. I agree with you btw. Again simply look at the HCR debate when these folks first got wound up...Government takeover? A former Republican plan..Mittens plan for Mass..not Medicare for all...death panels...puhleeze...
rationing? we already ration and always have.
And of course we haven't even addressed birthers, he's a Muslim, yadda yadda.

I don't have as harsh an opinion of Scott as Ethan, but I do understand WHY Ethan feels that way. Scott has a tendency to take something that is applicable or true...a very large % tea partiers ARE demonstrably ignorant and then try to deflate it by making it an absolutle...are all tea partiers ignorant, or racist..no but a significant % are as revealed in their words and actions. As I posted to Kevin, Scott rarely deals in nuance, he has a mathematical mind that seems to want precision and specificity....nice when you are solving an algebraic equation, or in his case figuring out derivatives, not so useful in trying to determine what kind of society we wish to inhabit.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"And that doesn't even speak to the latest round of Tea Party favorites -- the Christine O'Donnells, the Carl Paldinos. Do you believe what these people say?"

Can you imagine if a Democratic candidate for governor said about one of Bush's sitting Attorney Generals:

"F*** him. F*** him."

What would the Republican Tea Party apologists say?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 12, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@Skip Well you tell me...how do we face the fact that the Bush admin lost more jobs than the previous 50 years combined...how about two unbudgeted wars...how about the incompetence of Katrina reponse...well this list could go on...but by all means bring back the R's we can't wait to have our economy go even deeper into the sh&tter!

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives always see something, anything under their beds.

Posted by: jckdoors | October 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Conservatives always see something, anything under their beds."

They're just hoping against hope that this time it's Sarah Palin.

Posted by: klautsack | October 12, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm not surprised that the milquetoast media forgets the history of this country so quickly. In the 1920s, this country had a huge Klan movement that had political control of states like Indiana, not just the far south. Even HBO shows are addressing this fact with recent episodes of Boardwalk Empire. How about school busing, which tore up northern cities like Seattle and Boston? I would argue that these far better represent the basis for the teabagger uprising than any cockamamie story about taxes, government spending, or freedom. Not one teabagger complained about Medicare D under Bush. Not one gave a damn about the Patriot and Military Commissions Acts. Not one peep when the Bush administration, put in place by judicial fiat and supported by criminals like Tom Delay, decided to declare war on Iraq and Afghanistan to the personal profit of the vice president. Not one peep when it was finally officially revealed that Nixon sabotaged the Paris peace talks to extend the Vietnam war. Not one peep when it was revealed that Reagan sent Bush to negotiate with Iran to hold the hostages until the inauguration.
It's all about keeping the colored people in their place and it has never been about anything else.

Posted by: sparkplug1 | October 12, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@sparkplug

Hang around. LMAO Since Greg moved to the WaPo the site has become infested with trolls. Some have been a wonderful addition, alas many are the kind of mindless idiots you have just described.

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I think the long years of GOP war against decent education is paying off. Is spite of what the demographics say about the TP, by their signs, their dress, their demeanor, their confusion about Social Security, Medicare, unemployment civilian led government, and for that matter Liberty and Justice; they appear to be woefully and willfully ignorant. Think about it; right now the thinkers and message makers on the Right are Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, New Gingrich, and John Boehner. There is no answer to this kind of stoopid, these people carry it around like a shield to ward off those evil liberals with their college educations and snotty elitistism.

Posted by: bcinaz | October 12, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty obvious that Obama and his administration began the racial hate spew. I'm a registered democrat and these people have hijacked the party. Get ready for something big if you keep supporting this hatemonger kiddies!

Posted by: juliathemechanic | October 12, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I think it's pretty obvious that Obama and his administration began the racial hate spew. I'm a registered democrat and these people have hijacked the party. Get ready for a brave new world if you keep supporting this hatemonger kiddies!

Posted by: juliathemechanic | October 12, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah julia like we BELIEVE you are a registered Dem. I guess Obama painted Dale Robertson's Nig7er sign, or sent all the emails of witch doctors and watermelon patches on the front yard. Do you have a brain julia?

Posted by: rukidding7 | October 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

elscott:

"Frankly? Yes, that pretty much sums it up."

Kudos for your honesty, if not for your hubris. It is rare that someone is
so upfront about their utter contempt for such a significant swath of the
citizenry.

"Do you believe what these people say?"

Not always, but then again I don't believe much of what Obama says either.
That doesn't mean that I think only manipulated ignoramuses could be
Democrats.

"I would refer you back to rukidding's..."

ruk didn't really demonstrate or explain how the Tea Partiers are being
manipulated, unless you strangely think that providing transportation to a
protest constitutes "manipulation" of people. He did suggest that some of
the coverage of the events had been manipulated, but that is not the same
as manipulating the people to actually involve themselves.

"I didn't know you were a Tea Partier"

I'm not (although I am sympathetic to some of the concerns they expresss).
It's just that I don't see any cause to treat them with such elitist
contempt and derision as you do. I suspect that your whole "manipulation"
theory derives simply from the belief that your own political opinions are
so manifestly and self-evidently correct that only fools or knaves could
possibly have different opinions. Hence the Tea Partiers are necessarily
either fools (most of them) or knaves (the organizers), just as the night
follows the day.

"I do appreciate Ethan's explanation of where you are coming from."

What have you ever seen me say here that would lead you to "appreciate" the
notion that I have "no principles or morals", am only interested in
"profiteering", or am supportive of "massive fraud" of any kind? I am
genuinely interested.

I suspect that in fact this is simply yet another manifestation of your own contempt for anyone who disagrees with you politically. Afterall, the
only thing you really have even the slightest bit of knowledge about with
respect to me is my politics (which do not agree with yours).

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"Scott rarely deals in nuance"

Hmmm. I object when someone else dismisses the Tea Party movement as nothing more than the product of the manipulation of a bunch
of ignorant fools by another bunch of charlatans, and yet I am the one lacking in nuance.

The mind boggles at what goes on in that noggin of yours.

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"a very large % tea partiers ARE demonstrably ignorant"

Roughly speaking, how large is "very large"? 20%? 50%? 80%?

Once you've provided this rough number, would you mind demonstrating their "demonstrable" ignorance?

Posted by: ScottC3 | October 12, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Contrary to the claims Kevin Willis is making, the Tea Party movement supporting demographic is rather homogeneous according to research. About 40% are evangelical Christians, with Catholics second most prominent. About half are over 45, and a quarter over 65. More than 90% are white. Forty percent or so believe President Obama was not born in this country or is otherwise ineligible to be President.

The WaPo's own research supports these findings.

Posted by: query0 | October 12, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

"You have lost all credibility Q.B. You are nothing more than a knee jerk reactionary so consumed by your ignorant hate that you end up posting foolishly!"

Yawn. I guess you are still smarting from the schooling I gave you on your "Fox lies about a health care 'take over'" schtick.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 13, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

"Forty percent or so believe President Obama was not born in this country or is otherwise ineligible to be President."

There is a good argument that he isn't eligible regardless of where he was born. But liberals would have to bother themselves with learning about the issue to understand that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 13, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kevin Drum and others that the Tea Party is nothing new. It is simply the re-branded and re-packaged Radical Right that has been waging a 50 year Civil War going back to Joe McCarthy to take over the Republican Party as a first step toward acquiring a monopoly of power through which to impose its far right agenda. This is why the nominal leaders of the misnamed "independent" Tea Party are such long-time GOP leaders like Dick Armey and Jim DeMint and why ultra-rich oligarchs like the Koch Brothers believe they can buy their way to power by co-opting the Tea Party's energy.

We know from Republican Party history that every time the GOP loses, as it did in 2006 and 2008, the far right elements of the GOP coalition abandon the party in disgust and blame its "liberal" elements for betraying conservative principles. Even Goldwater's landslide of 1964, when the far right achieved control of the party, was blamed on those liberal and moderate elements of the Rockefeller Wing who were accused of stabbing the GOP in the back.

After the Radical Right has abandoned the GOP it then tries to win back power within it by purging the party of those RINO elements it considers to be heretical, as Tea Party candidates did in recent GOP primaries. This is why time after time the GOP moves even further to the right after losing elections when the conventional wisdom is that it should move toward the political center.

The evidence for unmasking the Tea Party as merely the latest iteration of this Radical Right revolt is only circumstantioal, but the connection is strong. Undercutting the notion that the Tea Party was a spontaneous grassroots revolt against deficits is the fact that the Tea Party rebellion began within a few short weeks after Obama took office at which point a $700 billion stimulus -- half of which was tax cuts -- was the only action the administration had taken. Further casting doubt on the reason for the Tea Party forming was the fact that the the previous Republican administration had doubled the national debt, from $5 to $10 trillion in just eight short years without a single Tea Party protester taking to the street.

The Tea Party movement, in other words, behaves exactly as the half century old Radical Right has, and for exactly the same motivations using precisely the same radical rhetoric about socialist takeovers by aliens and the like.

Posted by: TedFrier | October 17, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Kevin Drum and others that the Tea Party is nothing new. It is simply the re-branded and re-packaged Radical Right that has been waging a 50 year Civil War going back to Joe McCarthy to take over the Republican Party as a first step toward acquiring a monopoly of power through which to impose its far right agenda. This is why the nominal leaders of the misnamed "independent" Tea Party are such long-time GOP leaders like Dick Armey and Jim DeMint and why ultra-rich oligarchs like the Koch Brothers believe they can buy their way to power by co-opting the Tea Party's energy.

We know from Republican Party history that every time the GOP loses, as it did in 2006 and 2008, the far right elements of the GOP coalition abandon the party in disgust and blame its "liberal" elements for betraying conservative principles. Even Goldwater's landslide of 1964, when the far right achieved control of the party, was blamed on those liberal and moderate elements of the Rockefeller Wing who were accused of stabbing the GOP in the back.

After the Radical Right has abandoned the GOP it then tries to win back power within it by purging the party of those RINO elements it considers to be heretical, as Tea Party candidates did in recent GOP primaries. This is why time after time the GOP moves even further to the right after losing elections when the conventional wisdom is that it should move toward the political center.

The evidence for unmasking the Tea Party as merely the latest iteration of this Radical Right revolt is only circumstantioal, but the connection is strong. Undercutting the notion that the Tea Party was a spontaneous grassroots revolt against deficits is the fact that the Tea Party rebellion began within a few short weeks after Obama took office at which point a $700 billion stimulus -- half of which was tax cuts -- was the only action the administration had taken. Further casting doubt on the reason for the Tea Party forming was the fact that the the previous Republican administration had doubled the national debt, from $5 to $10 trillion in just eight short years without a single Tea Party protester taking to the street.

The Tea Party movement, in other words, behaves exactly as the half century old Radical Right has, and for exactly the same motivations using precisely the same radical rhetoric about socialist takeovers by aliens and the like.

Posted by: TedFrier | October 17, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

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