The Tea Party Without Their Hoods

David Campbell, professor of political science at Notre Dame University, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on Wednesday titled, Crashing the Tea Party. He and his colleagues have been studying a representative sample of 3000 voters for the past 5 years. Campbell learned quite a lot, but his focus in this op-ed is the so-called Tea Party. It really is an expose’ of a group of far-right Republicans dressed up in ‘costumes.’  The hoods of the KKK come to my mind as I try to visualize the idea of a clutch of people pretending not to be obvious.

Campbell says, Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.”

Thus, the facade that they are ‘independent thinkers’ is bull. They ARE the far right-wing of the GOP.

Additionally, Campbell found more characteristics of  “Tea Party” members. “So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do. ”

Campbell also found that “Tea Party” types “want to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates.”

Well, well.  My ‘journey’ into the right-wing blogs in the past several weeks confirms David Campbell’s findings. This set of bloggers fit each characteristic that he laid out perfectly. They are just bigoted, hard core right-wingers- a group of people who have been around nipping at the heels of minorities and immigrants for a hundred years or more. And quite the Bible-thumping bigots, too.

Back in the 1920’s these people wore white conical hats and white robes and taunted, hunted and killed minorities on Saturday evenings and then donned choir robes for Sunday morning church services. Today’s group dons Independence Era costumes, pretending to be uber patriots and outstanding citizens.

Professor Campbell, like Dorothy’s dog Toto, has now pulled the curtain back on these ‘patriots’ and has exposed this set of charlatans for what they really are.  The ruse is over. White supremacy and racial intolerance in any costume is the same ugly mark and permanent stain on our democracy. We ought to refer to them by a more appropriate name from now on: Tea Klansmen.


12 thoughts on “The Tea Party Without Their Hoods

  1. You will recall, M_R, that Texas Governor Perry held a christian prayer
    meeting in Houston. If it was a christian prayer meeting, why was no
    Catholic or Jewish religious person invited to attend and offer prayers?
    A second question is what does this say about the GOP?

  2. Ah, Rick Perry! That gaggle of Tea Klanners to whom I referred above is in love with Perry. Imagine that! Is he the new George Wallace? Or Bull Connor? Will the South rise again?

    Did you catch his latest idiocy? He doesn’t believe in global climate change. Meanwhile, Dallas registered it’s 41st day of +100 and his sate is turning into desert in many areas. By the way. didn’t I hear that Perry prayed that god would end the Texas drought?

    Apparently god doesn’t give a damned about him nor his state. Is that because he didn’t invite Muslims, Jews and Catholics???

  3. A few thoughts …

    1. I agree that the TEA Party movement is not new … it’s a result of the Internet Age where like-minded people can communicate … repackaging and exploiting facts to fit their views. Yesterday, there may have been someone in Sylvania Ohio silently cheering on the latest Rush attack while someone else was in Tiffin Ohio reading The Drudge Report … today, those people get together online as the Toledo Tea Party Patriots …. using FreedomWorks3.0 … “an online software program that will blow away what uses to communicate with it’s sheep herd… FreedomWorks is coming to Columbus Ohio – details below – to show a group of activist leaders how the program will work and we would like for you to come to the event – and – help us get in touch with some other activist leaders in north west Ohio. We have organizers from cleveland tea party, westshore tea party, northshore patriots, a number of 9-12 group organizers primarily from Ohio, although we do have one from WV and another from Pittsburgh coming as well.

    2. A little Minnesota perspective.
    A few years ago, I got a random call asking if I would participate in a “research survey” … they asked some questions to ensure that I was aware of issues and politicians to make sure that I was not just coming for the free lunch and $20 bucks to “cover my gas”. The “researcher” was from Maryland and the camera rolled the entire time … they asked questions about how Minnesota should resolve its budget shortfall (yes this was during the Pawlenty years, thus we had shortfalls) and the suggestions were pretty good, ranging from raising taxes, tapping county budget reserves, reduced spending to promote tourism, etc. Then it was on to national issues … “what were our concerns?” Iraq and the unwise Bush tax cuts was the most common answer … the “researcher” kept trying to change the subject and then finally said, “Why aren’t you concerned about illegal immigration ?” “Other survey groups have always voiced concern about illegals in their schools, running up hospital bills and taking jobs.”
    So there it was the “chicken or egg question” … how much is immigration a problem that people cite versus an exploited issue designed to appeal to certain voters ?
    It was pretty obvious in the end that the “researcher” was paid from by some Republican group. After the session ended, I took the business card and did a little research myself and confirmed my thoughts. When Pawlenty ran for his second term, he was touting how he would protect Minnesota from illegal aliens.

    3. It was no surprise that Tim Pawlenty did so poorly in his attempt to garner the Republican nomination. He was not viewed favorably by hardcore Minnesota Conservatives … I recall how they bashed him during the 2008 MN-GOP convention even though he was not on the ballot (at the same convention, Norm Coleman’s speech was greeted with silence as he broached immigration, Artic drilling, SCHIP, fuel standards … BTW, Coleman lost because the hardcore Conservatives threw away their votes to a third party candidate [if every McCain voter also voted for Coleman, Coleman would have won by over 63,000]).

    4. In summary, I don’t know if today’s TEA Party is new … it’s just more visible. Isn’t it the some hardcore religious, gun-owners, “patriotic” Americans that Reagan tapped into … the ones that saw “others” getting something for free or taking their jobs.

    5. While your “Tea Klan” may be a good “slogan”, I don’t know if it applies. If you define the KKK as a secret society willing to use violence to accomplish its goals and discriminated against Catholics and blacks, then that does not work as today’s TEA Party members are quite visible (heck, they carry guns to their rallies), proudly wear t-shirts proclaiming their views and they appear to be open to all religions and races … albeit there may be few African-Americans at the rallies … But the composition of Catholics in TEA Partiers range from 18 percent to 28 percent, which compares favorably to the size of Catholics in American society.

    IMO, the better slogan may be “Tea Bircher” … remember the Koch brothers are big-time funders of the movement and their father Fred Koch was a Founding Father of the John Birch Society. Check out this Wikipedia presentation … including this description of the typical Bircher “One survey in the early 1970s found the typical John Birch Society members were middle or upper-middle class, Republican and Protestant. They were also fairly young and well educated: the majority of the sample was under 40 at time of recruitment and had completed at least three years of college. A later survey in the mid 1980s found the membership then was disproportionately from the Southwestern United States, young, urban, male, and Catholic. They were consistently conservative on secular issues, antigovernment… Doesn’t that compare favorably to today’s TEA Party ?

    IMO, the 2010 elections were more of a case of angry voters showing up and dispassionate voters abdicating their civic duties … the result was that a vocal group of new elected representatives have dominated the political course … leading to the question : Do you think that Rob Portman really likes having Rand Paul dictate policy ?

    1. Thank you, Minnesota for the facts you detailed about the plague descending upon Ohio. Whether Ohioans will be fooled twice in a row [Gov. Kasich!] is debatable. If the Teabaggers harp on race, immigration, god, and taxes exclusively, then the vast majority of Ohioans will ignore them because that is not what Ohio is about. We may have been fooled once [not all of us] but not twice.

      Regarding the suggestion, Tea Bitcher,’ I fully agree with that. When I ‘visit’ these right-wing blogs, all that I read is bitching, moaning and attacks on Obama. I actually don’t believe that they have an agenda outside of hatred, bitterness and a longing for the ‘good old days.’ Of course, those good old days probably refer to the Jim Crow era when ‘they’ knew their place. Of course, with the 24/7 professional propagandists poisoning their minds, what other outcome could one expect?

  4. From the senior editor of Fortune, Allan Sloan, in an article he titled, American Idiots: How Washington is Destroying the Economy:

    Our current mess is different from the Lehman-related horror because it stems primarily from politics, not economics. The previous fear-fest came about because Lehman’s bankruptcy disrupted financial markets in unanticipated ways. Today’s crisis was completely avoidable. You can blame it directly on the fools who brought our country to the brink of defaulting on its debts in the name of saving us from … I’m not sure what. Yes, the Tea Party types bear primary responsibility –

    Later in the article Sloan said, Some policies and statements you hear from Tea Party types about the economy and the debt markets are utterly insane. Any competent economics instructor would give you an F if you asserted the same sort of nonsense on an exam.

    Well, that’s not a bit surprising and I hope that the regular readers of this blog are not shocked by what Sloan said. We already knew this. More and more Americans in leadership roles are condemning the Tea Party for their, and I will use his words, idiocy. Yet, who doesn’t believe that this junta that has control of the House has no agenda other than destroying government, the middle class, and President Obama specifically?

    After all, the professional propagandists on AM radio are stooges of the Corporate World and the uber wealthy. The Tea Party are their goons, mindless zombies scaring the hell out of normal Americans and squeezing every last dime from their pockets.

  5. Hello Muddy,
    As you know I have said many times in the past that the Teabaggers here in Maryland were nothing more than those who were former Klansmen or had sympathies for the viewpoints of racism. This does not come as any surprise to me.

    The Volunteer Fire Department in Cambridge, MD had to have a court order with judgment before penalties imposed before they allowed a single black man join. Before this….and really they still are….A Good O’l Boys “Whites Only” Club.

    But of course they are also good conservative Republican Tea Party Members who listen to Rush Limbaugh as if it were a Sunday Sermon voice straight from God himself.

    I should also add that none have anything above a high school education if that.

  6. I apologize for having neglected commenting on your recent posts, Muddy. I’m trying to get back in the swing of my usual reading and comment patterns.

    Two of my most recent posts address topics in either your original post here itself, or comments on it.

    I wrote just this afternooon about the apparent disaffection within the Republican party as evindenced by the recall elections in Wisconsin. There seem to be a greater schism among sane conservatives and the far right represented by the current crop of GOP presidential candidate wannabes, and an even greater disaffection with the republican policies in 2011. A particularly interesting development to me is that Ohio governor Kasich is now looking to cooperate and compromise with unions re Ohio SB5.

    1. Meant to tack this on:

      Re the latter post, I just don’t see the mainstream electorate supporting the views of the far right wing candidates. They are supported largely by nut jobs and right wing billionaires, not ‘real people’. I just don’t see a lot of voters turning out for someone who allies with folks that think the statue of liberty is idolatry, or that Oprah Winfrey is the biblical whore of Babylon, or that we have demons sneaking into our houses, or that the Japanese earthquake disaster was caused by the Japanese emperor having sex with a Japanese mythological sun godess. (Seriously. Read the list of crazies attached to the second post, it is by turns hilarious, and scary.)

  7. “Our current mess is different from the Lehman-related horror because it stems primarily from politics, not economics.” I can’t agree with that statement, M_R. “Our current mess” is economics. Wall Street and the big
    banks put the country into this “mess”. Again, last night HBO presented
    their movie “TOO BIG TOO FAIL”. I highly recommend that every one see
    this movie. I mean, why would the editor of Fortune not deny that economics
    is the causal factor, certainly not a conflict of interest…..

  8. more later…reality rears it’s ugly head…but I sort of welcome the involvement of Bachmann, the more he speaks, the deeper the hole he has to climb out of. Americans are not going to elect a presidnt who needs an official new cabinet post…The Ministry of Spin to ingterpret every ignorant or ugly utterance coming out of their mouth.
    As one prominent Texan Republican politician said of Perry…”The higher the monkey climbs, the more you can see of his behind.”

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