Well, not that much, apparently. At least if sales figures for the latest raft of books penned by Tea Party icons are any indication of that group’s appetite fer book learnin’…
Despite widespread media hype, TroubleMaker, by vacuous non-witch and failed Senate Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, sold a paltry 2,200 copies nationwide during its first week – of which 1,500 were actually purchased by aides working for O’Donnell. The audio version fared even worse with total sales of just 12 copies. Yep, count ‘em, twelve!
While O’Donnell may be the most epic failure of the bunch, authors of other Tea Party books aren’t faring much better.
According to Neilsen’s Bookscan, as of last month, Rand Paul’s memoir, The Tea Party Comes to Washington, had sold just 6,000 copies and Boiling Mad, a highly-touted study of the Tea Party by reporter Kate Zernike, had only sold around 2,000. Last year’s manifesto Give Us Liberty, by FreedomWorks’s Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe has managed to move more than 20,000 units to date, but it has to be kept in mind that much of that came through bulk purchases by right-wing interest groups and friendly PACs (the usual method of gaming the “best-seller” lists).
Perhaps there is some hope to be gleaned from these numbers that the Tea Party is becoming an increasingly unpopular aberration, but of course that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be any less influential. Consider that while in a recent poll the Tea Party ranked lower in approval than any of the other 23 groups asked about, another group approaching it in unpopularity was the Christian Right, which nonetheless remains a key driver in American politics.