15 April 2010


In politics, as in so many other aspects of our lives, when one encounters outspoken views on issues which affect us, it pays to know a little something about the people espousing those views. In recent months the Tea Party Movement has been getting a lot of attention for their unfounded, emotional street theater protesting the policies of the Obama administration.

It should be sufficient commentary to note that a certified airhead like Sarah Palin is one of the Tea Party's stars. But let's look a little deeper into the rank-and-file members promoting all this drama. According to a poll published in the NYTimes, "the 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45 ... More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites." Further, although most are adamant about reducing the size and influence of government, nearly all support Social Security and Medicare. In other words, "don't spend tax money unless it is on me."

More specifically, of Tea Party supporters --

~ 59 percent are male.
~ 89 percent are white.
~ 75 percent are 45 or older.
~ 54 percent are Republicans who wish to see the party become even more conservative.
~ 73 percent identify themselves as somewhat or very conservative.
~ 50 percent attend church regularly.
~ 70 percent are married.
~ 68 percent are middle to upper class.
~ 97 percent are registered to vote.
~ 56 percent are employed.
~ 37 percent graduated from college.
~ 56 percent make $50,000 per year or more.

Is it just me, or do these figures appear NOT to fit the self-portrayal by Tea Party members as regular folks, middle class, a cross section of the American public? News flash -- the Tea Party is a group of ultra-conservative, reactionary, racist Luddites who in no way represent the values of the majority of Americans. Their melodrama rings hollow in the absence of substantive evidence for their views. I'm reminded of the old joke -- how many Republicans does it take to change a light bulb? Five. One to actually change the bulb, and four to sit around and reminisce about how good the old bulb was.

The good news is that the more the Tea Party acts out, the more the progressive policies of the current administration are revealed in contrast as being rational and aimed at the greater public good. So sail on, Tea Partiers -- you are your own worst enemy.

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