Protests: Now & Then

The team at Fox News attacks the “radical left-wingers” and “nutjobs” currently protesting the fraud, corruption and lack of accountability on Wall Street (amongst other things the participants see as being horribly dysfunctional in America at the moment).

Do the malicious cretins at Fox News somehow think that Americans are so incredibly stupid that they won’t remember how, just a few years ago, their “news” channel actively promoted the Tea Party at every opportunity and enthusiastically revelled in its inchoate anger, outrage, and lack of any distinct leadership or single unifying message?

I’m hopeful that The Daily Show will juxtapose this flaming hypocrisy far more artfully in the days to come.

Bonus Feature: A rockin’ version of Fox’s schizophrenia.


Analyzing the Tea Party

A new study by professors David Campbell and Robert Putnam tracking the origins of the so-called Tea Party movement in America made a bit of a splash recently, after highlights of their findings were published in the New York Times.  Yes, imagine our complete and utter shock to discover that, contrary to their disingenuous mythology of being a spontaneous grassroots uprising, it was discovered that most Teabaggers were (and are) in fact predominantly long-time Republican activists and extreme right-wing social conservatives; or, as Jon Stewart neatly put it: “The moral majority in a tri-cornered hat.”

That characterization is perhaps a vast oversimplification of the movement, but one that may not be entirely unjustified according to the research looking into the subject. To more fully understand the dynamic involved, the following panel discussions from UC Berkeley conducted just prior to the 2010 elections cast a more in-depth range of insight concerning the origins and motivations of the Tea Party movement.

Obviously, the Tea Party movement cannot be labelled in a wholly straightforward manner owing to its disparate organizational structure (i.e., many different factions driven by various motivations) and the inchoate nature of its grievances, but what seems clear from these discussions is the recurring notion that whatever vaguely libertarian and fiscally conservative elements (e.g., people legitimately outraged at the bank bailouts and corrupt Wall Street shenanigans) that existed within the movement at its inception and powered much of its furious populist outrage at the outset, have since been overwhelmed by forces of the religious right to the point where the Tea Party has now been transformed into another vehicle for the advancement of a fundamentalist Christian cultural agenda.

The Crux of the Matter

No, I’m not referring to that incredibly silly person, but rather, the failed Vice-Presidential candidate, pseudo author of her own biography and ex-half-term governor of Alaska who now finds herself embroiled in a dispute concerning her allegiance to the Tea Party movement.

Palin’s shabby financial dealings aside, what’s interesting here in terms of the Tea Party insurgency is how they will deal with so-called RINOS that may get elected in otherwise Democratic held constituencies with their endorsement…

For all the wild exuberance amongst the right-wing chattering class about Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts the other week, the fact of the matter is that he’s a fairly moderate Republican, if not a liberal one. So how will the GOP cope with people like Brown that run counter to the extreme party-line on inflammatory cultural issues such as abortion and civil unions for gays? Will the Republicans perhaps be faced with a similar dilemma as that which has bedeviled the Democrats over the past year in trying to appease the so-called “Blue Dogs” in their caucus that managed to take office in ostensibly “red” states in the last election cycle?