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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The tea party rolls on « Previous | |Next »
September 17, 2010

It would appear that the Tea Party movement in the US is on a roll within the Republican Party, in the US, as it continues to remove incumbents or establishment backed candidates in primaries to stand in the congressional midterm elections in November.

This upheaval in the Republican Party is in the context of millions upon millions of Americans slid into security-destroying poverty following the financial collapse and the anti-big spending movement that began last year is pushing the Republican party to the right. What we are witnessing is the death of moderate Republicans by the tea party express of rightwing populists.

Michael Tomasky asks:

..the historically situated question is this: is the Tea Party movement a flash in the pan, or is it a historic fulfilment of an urge that has been building for 230 years and is on the cusp, with the help of Rupert Murdoch's "news" channel, of becoming a permanent fixture in American politics?

I have no idea. In American Prospect Paul Waldmann says that:
The central divide within the right now, as it has been for some time, is between economic conservatives and social conservatives. The former are essentially libertarian, believing that government action is harmful almost by definition. The latter are quite happy to have government making decisions in people's lives, so long as it makes the right ones -- about whom you can marry, whether you can get an abortion, and what public schools will teach

This is similar to the composition of the right in Australia with economics always on top. That means a libertarian economic agenda: low taxes for the wealthy and corporations, looser and lighter regulations, and opposition to any legislation to address climate change.

Glenn Greenward says that the Tea Party extremism isn't an aberration from what the Republican party is; its representative of the GOP, and its politics is expressed in a less obfuscated and more honest populist form. It is plain speaking right wing politics. Greenward describes the Tea Party thus:

it is dominated -- in terms of leadership, ideology, and the vast majority of adherents -- by the same set of beliefs which have long shaped the American Right: Reagan-era domestic policies, blinding American exceptionalism and nativism, fetishizing American wars, total disregard for civil liberties, social and religious conservatism, hatred of the minority-Enemy du Jour (currently: Muslims), allegiance to self-interested demagogic leaders, hidden exploitation by corporatist masters, and divisive cultural tribalism. Other than the fact that (1) it is driven (at least in part) by genuine citizen passion and engagement, and (2) represents a justifiable rebellion against the Washington and GOP establishments.

This right-wing populism is an eruption that will shift the Republican Party further to the Right.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 1:36 PM | | Comments (9)


I pretty much don't give a tinker's cuss about the actual direction of the Republican's drift. What bothers me is that the WHOLE BLOODY system has (in recent years) raced to the right. HERE... in Australia!

The Republicans are splintering under the stress of economic insecurity and are shifting to the right in order to restore America.

The Liberals are shifting to the right in Australia but they are not splintering. They did under Malcolm Turnbull's leadership. At the moment Abbott' Liberals are united by their antagonism to the Independents for denying them government.

It worries me that, quite often these days, I'm finding Fraser and Hewson taking a position to the LEFT of Labor.

It REALLY worries me that things are going to get worse!

I would argue that the Tea Party is the leading edge expression of a collective psychosis that infects all of what is now called "conservative" in the USA.

With Fox "news" via the rantings of Beck & Limbaugh etc being the yahoo/hooligan cheer-leaders.

Another example is the now infamous essay/rant How Obama Thinks by Dinesh Dsouza, published by Forbes magazine.

Dinesh is widely admired as an apologist for both old time religioisty and paradoxically the use of reason.

How Obama Thinks in Forbes magazine sure is a rant. Dinesh Dsouza says:

From a very young age and through his formative years, Obama learned to see America as a force for global domination and destruction. He came to view America's military as an instrument of neocolonial occupation. He adopted his father's position that capitalism and free markets are code words for economic plunder. Obama grew to perceive the rich as an oppressive class, a kind of neocolonial power within America. In his worldview, profits are a measure of how effectively you have ripped off the rest of society, and America's power in the world is a measure of how selfishly it consumes the globe's resources and how ruthlessly it bullies and dominates the rest of the planet.

In other words Obama is a Marxist who wants to work to wring the neocolonialism out of America and the West. This is qualified thus:
Rejecting the socialist formula, Obama has shown no intention to nationalize the investment banks or the health sector. Rather, he seeks to decolonize these institutions, and this means bringing them under the government's leash.

Theh U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son.

It is crazy, racist logic. Because President Barack Obama is the son of a decidedly anti-colonial Luo tribesman, then Obama is an anti-colonial Luo tribesman, too.The president is a foreigner who has a deep anger toward white people, who is out for revenge against whites and who will destroy the country in the process.

I understood Obama to be a center-left Democrat (eg., health care) who supports mainstream Democratic policies. The white Republican conservatives just see a black President, and they choke on it. They become the mad hatters in the process.

D'Souza is a partisan hack doing pop psychoanalysis based on Obama writing a whole book about not knowing his father. So when or how did Obama senior inculcate these "anti-colonialism" beliefs? D'Souza doesn't say. He just paints Obama as the Other--“Obama isn’t one of us”. Anti-colonialism is code for anti-American.

This is smear journalism in a Republican magazine, that is supposed to be one of the three big mainstream financial magazines.

I think Greenwald has a good point.

The Tea Party movement is an example of Richard Hofstadter’s “ paranoid style” in American politics that is coupled to an antagonism towards liberalism.

William Hogeland in the Boston Review says that Sarah Palin:

assails the Obama administration and the Democratic Party for being out of touch with what she defines as the lives and aspirations of ordinary Americans; and some Republican elected officials. They not only reject Obama administration policies, and political liberalism in general, but also cast their rejection in questing, confrontational language as an epic battle for the soul of American democracy, which they accuse liberalism of defiling.

The populist case is that liberalism is elitism.

My goodness there is an Australian Tea Party movement --its a libertarian movement--free markets small government, low taxes, individual freedom---whose talking point is we're taxed enough already.