Quick Quiz: According to an ABC News/ Washington Post survey, what percentage of Americans are active in the Tea Party?
The correct answer is (E) 2%. Yes, that’s TWO, with zero zeroes, and not (as Fox “News” might have you believe) 200%.
I know, I know. You thought it was much larger, didn’t you? And certainly you can always quibble about the accuracy of this or any other poll. But the point is that the group is actually much smaller than you’re led to believe by its unceasing media (over)exposure.
Now it should be obvious that such a tiny faction, even if it had an army of the world’s mightiest propagandists at its disposal (which it does), wouldn’t be able to have much of an impact without the cooperation of a fairly large number of relatively normal people. And in fact, according to that same poll, 27% of the American public say they in some way identify with the Tea Party, whatever that means.
What it apparently means is that 27% approve of the group’s CLAIMED objectives, which primarily are (as stated on the Tea Party Patriots website) “fiscal responsibility, limited government and free market(s)”. Well hey, that’s pretty hard to argue with. Just about every politician CLAIMS to have goals similar to these. It’s like running on a platform of mom, apple pie and free oxygen. Only 27% support these goals??? Maybe too many people have listened to what else the teabaggers have said.
They’ve vowed to “take back our country” from the other 98%, and to apply “Second Amendment remedies” if they don’t get their way. They’ve called the president a “Niggar” (sic) and they’ve called him a racist. They’ve called him a Muslim and they’ve called him an atheist. They’ve called him a wimp and they’ve called him a bully. They’ve called him a communist and they’ve called him a Nazi. They’ve called him a foreigner, they’ve called him Hitler reborn, they’ve called him a terrorist sympathizer, they’ve called him the Anti-Christ, they’ve called him the love child of Malcolm X and Elvis. (Sorry, I just made up that last one. Guess I was overcome by the tea fumes myself for a moment.) And oh yes, they’ve called him hateful and divisive.
They’ve claimed he wants to take away our guns and hike up our taxes, that he wants to institute death panels to kill off our seniors, that he wants to destroy America and restrict free speech, and even “outlaw fishing”. (No no no, I did NOT make up that one.) And no, these are not just the actions and utterances of a few isolated elements of the group; even the leaders of the TP have been saying such things. These have included candidates for office, some of whom ran on a pledge to “shut down” the big bad guvmint they were campaigning to be a part of (presumably AFTER making sure it first ordered women to bear the babies of their rapists), but they somehow forgot to pledge they’d shut down the hefty paychecks they’d then be receiving for doing nothing.
Just for good measure, they’ve chanted in unison that “global warming is bullshit.” Now you may say that vilifying science for ideological reasons is an earmark of cult mentality, but these people just can’t be fooled. They know that scientists, including Nobel laureates, are all just a bunch of quacks, and the only place to get reliable info about science is from a trustworthy, totally honest expert like Glenn Beck.
But hey, these must be the sentiments of mainstream America, judging by the election results, right? Haven’t the media been telling us that the TP just pulled of a major revolution of cosmic proportions? Hmmm… Better hold the tea biscuits for a while. There are at least four reasons (which is a thousand by Fox math) to suspect that maybe the revolution was not quite so revolutionary as we’ve been repeatedly told.
First, voters rejected the nuttiest among the nutty of the TP candidates. It’s one thing to say you’ll eliminate Social Security and Medicare; and even if you babble about “socialized medicine” and “death panels” and birtherism, a lot of people might grimace but still vote for you anyway. But when you start advocating “Second Amendment remedies” and equating masturbation with adultery, most folks will start carefully backing away.
Second, California, which has a long tradition of being the crystal ball for how the rest of the nation will look a few years in the future, went as blue as ever if not more so.
Third, the Tea Party candidates really just won races that Republicanoids probably would have won anyway. Can you think of a single exception?
Fourth, and perhaps most significantly, they LOST several races that Republicanoids were clearly expected to win. This includes at least two Senate seats (Nevada and Delaware) where the Democratic candidates was presumed to be thoroughly dead donkey meat before being miraculously revived by someone else’s tea. In other words, it’s probably fair to conclude that because of the Tea Party, the GOP blew a golden opportunity to take the Senate. For what is being hailed by the media as a tea “tsunami”, that’s an awfully weak brew.
Back to that poll once more if we may. It also indicated that as people learn more about the Tea Party, they are more likely to oppose it than to support it. Thus, the TP propagandists have the unenviable task of trying to keep its real objectives concealed. They have had at least a degree of success so far, but it’s going to get harder as time goes on, particularly now that some of these characters are actually going to be governing. Not impossible, mind you, but harder.
It will be interesting to see how the propaganda plays two years from now when the tea has been drained from the cup and we are left with the leaves to read.