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Tea started brewing under Bush

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by basso, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    Long, but well worth the read, for those of you who continue to believe (or at least insist) that the Tea Party is motivated by racism, rather that an overwhelming disgust at the growth or government, and government spending.

    http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Tea-Started-Brewing-Under-Bush?offset=0&max=1

    ___________________
    By Timothy Dalrymple

    The tea started brewing under Bush. It’s important that Democrats and Republicans alike understand this. Democrats know that they are about to suffer a rebuke of historic proportions, but it’s important they understand the reason and not imagine themselves the victims of racism or irrationality. And it’s important for Republicans to understand that their legacy of government growth and deficit spending is also suffering rebuke. The Republicans will recapture the House (if they do) not because Americans love the GOP but because the Democrats doubled down on the Republicans’ big-government tendencies.

    Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before: “If the Tea Party activists were really upset about spending, where were they when Bush was running up the deficits?” The alleged inconsistency -- that conservatives were perfectly content with big government under Bush but are outraged now -- is a key component of the liberal argument that the Tea Party is actually driven by more nefarious motives. Since the conservatives who comprise the Tea Party movement raised no objection when Bush was expanding government, the argument runs, they must actually be angered by something else. They reject not spending but Democratic spending, not a big-government President but a black big-government President.

    This explanation for the motives underlying the Tea Party did not take long to form. Rick Santelli’s fateful rant against government mortgage bailouts on CNBC took place in February of 2009, and the loudest mouths in American liberalism swiftly divined what everyone was really upset about. Keith Olbermann declared in April that the Tea Party “is now petered out” and departing the American scene (Nostradamus he is not), and explained that the protestors do not care about “spending, deficits, or taxes” but simply “hate the President of the United States.”

    The enlightened Janeane Garofalo, who saw still further into the withered hearts of the Tea Party rabble, worried about the violence that would surely erupt from such an ignorant and bigoted bunch. “Let’s be very honest about what this is about,” she said. “It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up.” Tea Party activists are “nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks” who “hate that a black guy is in the White House.”

    This interpretation of the Tea Party movement, although few would put it as crudely as Olbermann and Garofalo, has become one of the primary obstacles to liberal understanding of the movement. Recent examples abound. Bill Maher claimed last month that “teabaggers” hate “when you call them racist,” and “the other thing they hate is black people.” He fleshed out the fuller argument on Bill O’Reilly: we know that Tea Party concern over spending and the size of government is merely a cover for racism because “nobody was angry about the deficit under President Bush.” Another line of argument claims that the Tea Party’s summons of “take our country back” secretly means to take the country back from the dark-skinned interloper in the White House. Versions of this argument have recently been made by Washington Post columnists Jonathan Capeheart and Richard Cohen, the Huffington Post, and the political genius Jon Hamm (who only plays an actor on television). Or as Cynthia Tucker, Andrew Sullivan, and Newsweek explain, Tea Partiers really wish to take our country back in time to a Rockwellian 1950s when whites were comfortably in the majority and straight white Christian males dominated the American scene.

    In one poll after another, Tea Party activists and sympathizers claim that they are primarily motivated by concern for the rapid expansion of government, for the mountains beyond mountains of debt accruing to our collective account, and for an economy that has been deeply damaged by such government mismanagement. In the liberal interpretation, however, what really motivates the Tea Party is the Black Man in the White House and the vanishing white hegemony.

    If the Democrats had properly understood the Tea Party movement, and if they had seen the water coming to a low boil during the Bush administration, they might have avoided their present fate. There are two steps to their misunderstanding of the Tea Party. First, the Bush administration was wrongly viewed as thoroughly and quintessentially conservative. Second, the public’s eventual rejection of the Bush administration was viewed as a repudiation of conservatism and a fundamental political realignment of the electorate (perhaps even the basis of a permanent Democratic majority in “America the liberal”). The important point is this: many who now comprise the Tea Party were not Bush die-hards, but disapproved or largely disapproved of the Bush administration’s big-government tendencies. Of course small-government conservatives and independents, when Obama took those tendencies and magnified them threefold, went from frustration to outrage.

    To take the first point, President Bush was alternately viewed as a scheming arch-conservative or else a congenial dunce manipulated by scheming arch-conservatives. In his famed “Case for Bush Hatred” in 2003, Jonathan Chait (in spite of the fact that Bush had increased government spending in his first three years at a rate unseen since Lyndon B. Johnson) wrote that “Bush would like to roll back the federal government’s spending to something resembling its pre-New Deal state.” James Traub concurred in the New York Times magazine, writing that “today’s Republican party is arguably the most extreme -- the furthest from the center -- of any governing majority in the nation’s history.” Examples could be added, but anyone who remembers the Bush administration will surely recall that he was painted as conservatism’s avatar.

    The point is not exactly that President Bush was not a conservative, but that his administration precipitated a crisis of conservative identity within the Republican coalition. While Bush could identify with conservatives culturally from Kennebunk to Crawford, and while his judicial appointments and stances on ethical issues gave conservatives reason to support him, he took an activist view of government in the foreign sphere, leveraging the American military to transform the world order in pursuit of democracy, and in the domestic sphere, leveraging the American government to transform the social order in pursuit of conservative virtues.

    When Governor Bush articulated his vision for “compassionate conservatism” at a speech to the Manhattan Institute in 1999, he rejected the typical Republican “disdain for government,” and sided with Benjamin Franklin, arguing that “the general opinion of the goodness of government” is foundational to America. The government must concern itself with the “human problems that persist in the shadow of affluence,” and conservative ideals should be utilized in the interest of “greater justice, less suffering, more opportunity.”

    Bush even criticized the Republican-controlled Congress for “balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.” Instead, the showcase for his compassionate conservative government was to be his education plan, which would not shrink or dismantle the Department of Education but would use it to deliver substantial sums of money to vouchers and charter schools, spurring competition for federal dollars in order to fund a free market reform of the American educational system.

    This was not mere posturing. Compassionate conservatism was put into action. The Bush administration achieved its most notable domestic victories in Congress -- from the tax cuts to No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefits for seniors, support for faith-based organizations, and its expansion of the national security apparatus -- with substantial Democratic support, and all save the tax cuts expanded government influence. As Fred Barnes noted in 2003, Bush was forming what Irving Kristol called “the conservative welfare state.” Or as David Brooks wrote in 2005, Bush will “spend heaps of federal dollars” if he can direct them to “programs that enhance individual initiative and personal responsibility.” The conservative ends justified the liberal means.

    Still, members of the liberal intelligentsia believed Bush’s governing philosophy is that “the government can have no positive role in its citizen’s [sic] lives.” Deficits were seen not as evidence to the contrary, but as part of a plan “to rid social programs of their funding.” It is difficult to overstate the profundity of the misunderstanding when George Lakoff writes that Bush represents the quintessentially conservative commitment “to get rid of protective agencies and social programs” and establish a government “limited to security and maintaining a free market.”

    At its best, compassionate conservatism is as Michael Gerson defined it: “the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself.” What would distinguish liberals and conservatives, with regard to government spending, would not be their commitments to large government and small government respectively, but that the Democrats would use big-government mechanisms to grow the federal bureaucracy and perpetuate dependency on the federal dime, while the Republicans would use those same mechanisms to promote competition, innovation, and independence.

    Such, at least, was the theory. What emerged from the legislature was often a hodge-podge of compassionate conservatism, accommodations to Democrats, and gifts to favored constituencies. The result was government growth and deficit spending even as the country was cutting taxes and prosecuting two wars. Whether this approach was right or wrong, however, it is completely and demonstrably false that “nobody was angry about the deficit under President Bush.” Bush’s big government did arouse substantial opposition within conservative ranks.

    Liberal politicians and their fellow travelers in the media seemed to assume that Americans disapproved of Bush for the same reasons they did. Yet many rejected Bush because he was not their kind of conservative (or, they might say, no conservative at all). William F. Buckley was tactful in 2006 when he said that Bush suffers from “the absence of effective conservative ideology -- with the result that he ended up being very extravagant in domestic spending.” And George Will wrote in 2004 that “Republicans are swiftly forfeiting the perception that they are especially responsible stewards of government finances.” The President had recently proposed some cuts, but the $4.9 billion saved “would pay less than six days’ interest on the national debt.” These deficits were apparently “one way ‘compassionate conservatism’ defines itself.”

    These are hardly figures on the fringe, and they object to Bush’s government growth and deficit spending. Another example from the same year is Richard Viguerie, a pioneer of conservative strategy, whose Conservatives Betrayed: How George W. Bush and Other Big-Government Republicans Hijacked the Conservative Cause, is a clear precursor to the Tea Party movement.

    Yet the rejection of big-government conservatism, amongst libertarians, reaches further back. A Cato Institute article from 2003 calls Bush “the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter.” It was not possible to blame this on the wars alone, since non-defense discretionary spending had increased by even more (20.8%) than total spending (15.6%). “Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 and 65 percent respectively.” While some expenditures are matters of political expediency, this only means that Bush “spends like Carter and panders like Clinton.” The chairman of Cato even hoped for a divided government, and Doug Bandow at The American Conservative lamented the Republican majority that was “promoting larger government at almost every turn.”

    Further examples abound, reaching back as far as 1999. Or witness Robert Trancinski in 2001: “the heart of conservatism is dead” when “its leaders endorse a total surrender to the welfare state -- and announce that, if we can’t beat the Left, we should join them at the federal trough.”

    What this means for Democrats is that they cannot dismiss the Tea Party’s concern with federal spending as a mere justification for racism and irrational hatred. Many of the leaders in the Tea Party movement presently did protest the big-spending habits of the Bush administration. As I have noted elsewhere, the very same FreedomWorks that undergirds the Tea Party movement pushed hard to "Stop the Wall Street Bailout" in late 2008, at the same time as Dick Armey was declaring that “compassionate conservatism was a mistake” and Republicans should return to the effective compassion of small government solutions. And when the Heritage Foundation objected that TARP exceeded the enumerated authorities given the federal government in the Constitution, they gave the same reasons they give now for their support of Tea Party objectives.

    Democrats misread the moment of their ascendance. They thought Bush represented conservatism itself, rather than a particular strand of conservatism, and they interpreted the electorate’s repudiation of Bush as a repudiation of traditional conservatism. Whether the Democrats would have done anything differently, if they had better understood the world outside the echo chamber, is debatable. But they might at least have known that the American people as a whole were not ready for a rapid expansion of government amidst debts and deficits unseen since the Second World War. America as a whole has remained center-right, and it is entirely natural that those who rejected Bush for his government growth and deficit spending would become, when
    Obama exploded that growth and spending, the leaders of the Tea Party movement. Further, for many conservatives there was some amount of trust that Bush would not go too far, that his policies were pro-growth, that his deficits were more sustainable. Obama came along and tripled the rate at which the debt is growing, budgeted for trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye could see, and punishes the very same private sector that he so desperately needs to create jobs. This alone, without reference to racism or bigotry or irrational hatred, is sufficient explanation for the Tea Party movement.

    For the GOP, the lesson should be sobering. If all goes well for the Republicans on November 2nd, in the midst of their celebration they should remember that their victory comes only because the Democrats took what the Republicans were doing and doubled and tripled down. And they should know that the Tea Partiers who are largely responsible for the enthusiasm gap will hold them accountable to their promises. Many Americans, and not only the Tea Party activists, feel that rapid government growth and the national debt constitute severe threats to the health of our economy and our nation. Republicans will be expected to take action, to fulfill their promises of financial responsibility, or to suffer a similar repudiation in 2012.
    The tea started brewing under the Bush administration, and now it’s scalding hot against the Democrats. But it may burn Republicans too if they don’t change their ways.

    Dr. Timothy Dalrymple writes weekly on faith, politics, and culture for Patheos’ Evangelical Portal.
     
  2. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    tl;dr
     
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  3. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    this is silly

    first of you are the perfect example of a so called deficit hawk now who had no problem with spending

    second of all yes, we know true conservatives were concerned with bush's spending, true conservative like will and buckley. WTF do they have to do with the tea party?

    lastly, I will throw a bone, the house republicans drew a line in the sand on TARP, while bush was still president. for me, I will admit that's when the over spending sentiment started, but hardly any before.

    and the article doesn't address issues like birthers, which it on the other hand ignores
     
  4. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    what do birthers have to do with the tea party?
     
  5. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    tea party ascended when republicans started throwing a ton of money into it and FOX News started giving it headlines all over the place. Until then it was nothing.
     
  6. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    I can't wait for election results, its going to be interesting how the tea party influence is spun. if Reid wins, that's a race the republicans blew pushing some nutty tea partier
     
  7. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    Call em the base of the base.
     
  8. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    I see these articles every so often, and while they're right, they are missing the point. I think the tipping point was the TARP vote, but when I went out and protested it in front of the Houston Federal Reserve Branch, maybe 50 people were there with me, and we got 15-30 seconds on the local news (I was interviewed by Channel 7). Fox News analysts were all over the place in their views on TARP, none of them were adamantly against it, and Glenn Beck was railing against it, but just to his few radio listeners and 6 viewers on CNN Headline News.

    The calls were much more adamant. A friend of mine was able to talk to Senator Cornyn about it because he was a Republican Convention delegate, and Cornyn admitted that he had never got so many calls, and they were 200-to-1 against.

    Fast forward a year, and the one Tea Party rally that I've been to gets 3,000 people in Beaumont with no major legislation being debated. Fox News and Glenn Beck promote enormous rallies with hundreds of thousands attending. The Tea Party group gets 100 people at their weekly planning meeting.

    I think there are two factors in play. First, after that many people had their voice ignored on TARP, they were more motivated to get out and protest however that looked. Second, and more importantly, Obama and a Democratic Congress gave people a target for anger. When "their guy" bailed out the banks against their will and the economy had started down, people felt frustrated. When a Democratic Congress passed a healthcare bill that they didn't want and the economy really sucked, they felt anger and they had a target for that anger.

    So my point is that, while there were Tea Party-style protests with Bush and the seeds for the anger that created the Tea Party was sown under Bush, it wouldn't be the same if not for Obama and a Democratic Congress.
     
  9. gifford1967

    gifford1967 Contributing Member
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    weslinder, it's well reasoned writing like this that make you the best conservative poster here, by far.

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to weslinder again.
     
  10. weslinder

    weslinder Contributing Member

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    Thanks. I'd post more, but I've been busy (less busy right now), and I've been making a concious effort to pay less attention to politics lately, except for my friend's Tax Assessor race.
     
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  11. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost not wrong
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    The TEA Party pre-Obama is LONG gone.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/tea-party-founder-slams-tea-party/

    Tea Party ‘founder’: Palin, Gingrich a ‘joke’

    A financial blogger and ex-CEO credited with being one of the original "founders" of the Tea Party has come out against the movement, saying it has been hijacked by the very people it was protesting and is now obsessed with "guns, gays and God."

    In a "message" to the Tea Party Wednesday, Karl Denninger declared that he "ought to sue" anyone who uses the Tea Party name "for defamation."

    "Yeah, that's a joke," he writes. "But so are you. All of you. Especially Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bob Barr, and douchebag groups such as the 'Tea Party Patriots.'"

    Denninger writes: "Tea Party my ass. This was nothing other than the Republican Party stealing the anger of a population that was fed up with the Republican Party's own theft of their tax money at gunpoint to bail out the robbers of Wall Street and fraudulently redirecting it back toward electing the very people who stole all the ****ing money!"

    Denninger runs Market Ticker, a financially-focused blog that has been strongly opposed to bank bailouts and has railed against excessive government spending. He founded the group FedUpUSA in early 2008, shortly after the collapse of investment bank Bear Stearns

    In January of 2009, Market Ticker bloggers including Graham Makohoniuk and Stephanie Jasky suggested "mailing a tea bag" to Congress to protest the planned $800-billion stimulus package and $700-billion bank bailout. Denninger followed that up with a call for a "tea party" protest to coincide with President Obama's inauguration, thus helping to unofficially launch the political movement.

    “I saw everybody fawning over Obama with the inauguration and yet here he was appointing people like Larry Summer and Tim Geithner to his team who were all part of creating the problem,” Denninger said in a media interview.

    Now Denninger says the whole movement has been steered away from its mission to demand fiscal responsibility from government and financial institutions.

    The following video, of Karl Denninger appearing on MSNBC with Dylan Ratigan, was broadcast Oct. 19, 2010.

    <object width="640" height="390"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/-XdhI6bwyL4&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/-XdhI6bwyL4&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&version=3" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" allowScriptAccess="always" width="640" height="390"></embed></object>
     
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  12. BetterThanI

    BetterThanI Contributing Member

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    Reasonable post, but I disagree with this part of your statement. It's not a case of "it wouldn't be the same". It's a case of "it wouldn't be...period". The "Tea Party" was a direct response to Democratic control, not Bush economic policies. If, by some miracle, John McCain had won, Faux News would have never given economic protesters the platform from which to garner support, and their message would've been drowned out by the 24hr news narrative. There would be no "Tea Party" at all if it wasn't for Obama's win.

    Which, of course, makes one wonder what they're really protesting: the policies or the person. Perhaps Garofalo was closer to the truth than many would like to admit.
     
  13. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    yes and no- the movement did not spring from whole cloth because of TARP, but dissatisfaction with W on spending had been present for many years. and as the piece made clear, some conservatives accepted, or at least acquiesced, to the increase in spending because it served conservative goals (investment, etc).

    other conservatives looked the other way because W had conservative bonifides on other issues, and still others felt that Bush understood that there were perhaps more important issues facing the nation, and exhibited a dogged focus on external threats that were of greater import that social/economic issues (ie, he got the central issue of the age right, even while mismanaging other issues); i count myself in the latter group.

    with the economy collapsing and TARP both occurring in the 6 weeks before the election, that "coalition-of-the-willing-to-overlook" collapsed.

    and then the wall street bailouts and Santelli's rant, and Obama's dismissal of all the good things W had accomplished (or at least stood for) crystalized the issue for many.

    but that was just the beginning. Obama, as the article notes, doubled and tripled down, rammed through an unpopular healthcare bill while ignoring popular sentiment and demonizing those who would object as racists, or worse...

    ...and you have the seeds of a popular rebellion.
     
  14. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    what's worse than being a racist?
     
  15. pgabriel

    pgabriel Educated Negro

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    you're truly unbelievable, when did Obama demonize someone as racist?

    and obama's dismisal of all things bush did good, lord have mercy. that's a classic line even for you
     
  16. across110thstreet

    across110thstreet Contributing Member

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    they're all morans?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Committing some kind of crime or being abusive in some other manner. Or being publicly proven a racist. Telepathic racism is the (historical) backbone of suburban property values, road construction and probably every public school honors program ever (did they even exist before the '70s?).
     
  18. CrazyDave

    CrazyDave Contributing Member

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    Understatement of the year. The timing was impeccable.
     
  19. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Remains even truer today than last month:

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904?RS_show_page=1

    It's funny that this thing has been deconstructed so finally yet to see some clumsily making the same dumb arguments as their Medicare scooting brethren...maybe they just want to get theirs while they still can.
     
  20. basso

    basso Contributing Member
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    across the pond, "some" get it.

    money quote:

    This could be a seminal moment in American post-war history, when popular rage against the political elite brings about realignments within parties which change the whole nature of the country's democratic choices.
    [rquoter]More than three centuries ago, the residents of America staged a rebellion against an oppressive ruler who taxed them unjustly, ignored their discontents and treated their longing for freedom with contempt. They are about to revisit that tradition this week, when their anger and exasperation sweep through Congress like avenging angels. This time the hated oppressor isn't a foreign colonial government, but their own professional political class.

    In New York last week I was struck by the startling shift of mood since my last visit, during Barack Obama's first year in office. This phenomenon took varying forms, of course, depending on the political orientation of my interlocutor, but the underlying theme of despair and disgust was almost universal. Liberal Democrats (who hugely outnumber most other factions in that city) were despondent and disappointed with the collapse of Obama's popularity. A few of them (remarkably few, actually) were ready to blame this on a "Right-wing conspiracy" of vaguely racist motivation. But most of them were frankly critical of the strategic mistakes they believed the White House had made, and the baffling inability of their President to connect with the people in an engaging way. His shocking lack of emotional expression during last month's commemoration of 9/11 – a point of particular significance to New Yorkers – was remarked upon by a number of people I met.

    There was a general sense that his personality was over-controlled and repressed, and that this was perhaps a function of his self-invention: the effect of having made a conscious choice to adopt an identity and a history (the Chicago black activist) which was unconnected to his real past. It occurred to me that, in an odd way, he was a Gatsby-like figure who had reinvented himself but whose new persona could be sustained only with a tremendous act of will. This psychological analysis seemed not unconnected to the political one, which revolved around his peculiar inability to sense what most Americans would regard as alienating and contrary to their own values and culture.

    My Republican friends, perhaps surprisingly, were not gloating. They were too furious. But contrary to the superficial British assumption (heavily promoted by the BBC), they were not devoting their excoriation exclusively to the Obama Administration – or even to its clique of Congressional henchmen, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. That they were opposed to the Big State, European social democratic model of government which Obama had imported to Washington went almost without saying. But they were at least as angry with the leadership of their own party for having conceded far too much of the argument.

    And this anger – again, contrary to the general understanding in Britain – is not new: it goes all the way back to the Bush presidency. It was widely known in Europe that the American Left hated George Bush (and even more, Dick Cheney) because of his military adventurism. What was less understood was that the Right disliked him almost as much for selling the pass over government spending, bailing out the banks, and failing to keep faith with the fundamental Republican principle of containing the power of central government.

    So the Republicans are, if anything, as much in revolt against the establishment within their own party as they are against the Democrats. And this is what the Tea Parties (which should always be referred to in the plural, because they are not a monolithic movement) are all about: they are not just a reaction against a Left-liberal president but a repudiation of the official Opposition as well.

    Nor are they simply the embodiment of reactionary social conservatism, which has been the last redoubt of the traditional Republican Right. There were plenty of people in New York who wanted to believe that Tea Partiers were just a new incarnation of the gun-totin', gay-bashing right-to-lifers whom they found it so easy to dismiss as risible throwbacks. This is a huge political miscalculation, which quite misses the point of what makes the Congressional midterm elections this week such an interesting and historic political event. This is so much more than the predictable to-ing and fro-ing of party control midway through a presidential term. What the grassroots rebellion is really about is an attempt to pull the Republican party back to its basic philosophy of low-tax, low-spend, small government: the great Jeffersonian principle that the best government is that which governs least.

    One of the more electorally far-reaching effects of this is that Republicanism could become the home once again of a plausible political and economic programme, rather than simply an outpost for those who seem to reject many of the features of modern life. The gun-toters and gay-bashers and pro-lifers may have jumped aboard the bandwagon, and Sarah Palin may be frantically attaching herself to the parade, but this is not their show: the Tea Party protests began (as their name suggests) as a campaign against high taxation and the illegitimate intrusiveness of federal powers. That is what they are still about.

    As some astute commentators have observed, the ascendancy of the Tea Parties has meant that fiscal conservatism can replace social conservatism as the raison d'être of the Republican cause. So rather than being a threat to Republicanism, the election of Tea Party candidates might be its salvation. It represents a rank-and-file rejection of what many Americans see as a conspiracy of the governing elite against ordinary working people. All of which makes clearer the appeal of even the naivety and inexperience of some of the Tea Party contenders who have challenged incumbent Republican candidates. If what you are rebelling against is a generation of smug, out-of-touch professional politicians, then a little dose of amateurishness or innocence might strike you as positively refreshing. (In a poll last week, more than 50 per cent of voters said that they would be more willing this year than usual to vote for someone with little political experience.)

    The Democrats, too, are experiencing internal turmoil, with the Blue Dog congressmen (who represent conservative Democratic states) having to fight all their natural instincts to support Obama's healthcare and cap-and-trade policies. If they are annihilated in these midterm elections, their resentment against the White House will be terrible to behold. This could be a seminal moment in American post-war history, when popular rage against the political elite brings about realignments within parties which change the whole nature of the country's democratic choices.[/rquoter]
     

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