Faux Populism… The Angry Affluent Instead of Oppressed Commoners

Dana Millbank notes that Grover Norquist fails in his role as a Populist.  Millbank lists the groups supporting the Tea Bag movement as: “British Petroleum, Fannie Mae, the Distilled Spirits Council and the Interactive Gaming Council.”

The Tea Partiers from Millbanks’ view are mainly the “angry affluent” who want poor people to “pay more taxes.”  Doesn’t sound like much of a populist cause, now does it?

I think the Millbankster nails it this time.  What do you all think?



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27 responses to “Faux Populism… The Angry Affluent Instead of Oppressed Commoners

  1. indypendent

    I really wonder if the average Tea Partier knows what they are against and why?

    I don’t like taxes either but I’m not going out holding up a hate-filled sign against our president.

    I don’t like bloated government but I know the Republicans kept all their Congressional Staff in 2008 when they lost many, many seats and we certain did not need to add that Congressional expense to the already bloated government.

    Unlike the Tea Partiers, I actually know what Socialism means and I’ve known for quite some time now, America has had some form of socialism intertwined with our democracy.

    Unlike the Tea Partiers, I am not on Medicare so I don’t really know how ‘evil that over-reaching nanny government health care is. But I am guessing it is not too bad because I don’t see any Tea Partiers refusing their Medicare benefits.

    So, I guess the only conclusion that I am forced to come to is this – these Tea Partiers are mostly older generations, overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly affluent, overwhelmingly Republicans (although they claim to be nonpartisan) and they are filled with anger.

    Angry over government or angry over government being run by the ‘other guy’?

    Is it really just a case of sore losers smashing those sour grapes?

  2. wicked

    The “angry affluent” is correct. Those colonial costumes and powdered wigs they wear don’t come cheap, even when rented from a costume shop. 😉

    And just who is it that prints (and pays for) all their signs? I’ve even seen professionally printed signs that had incorrect spelling. We won’t even discuss the grammar angle. You’d think a dictionary would be included in the price or at least someone who knows how to read one.

  3. I still think most of them are simply sore losers. If they were truthfully against what they say — bigger government, lack of respect for the Constitution, out-of-control spending — they would have been throwing their hissy fits during the time bush the lesser and the Republicans were in the majority and guilty of those actions!

    They didn’t.

    So, how can it be anything other than they are sore losers. The only thing they are really against is Obama and Democrats. If they manage to regain the majority in Congress and a person with the little “R” beside their name is president, then all will be well with the world like it was a few short years ago. Uh huh.

  4. I think most who support the tea party movement worry that someone might get something they don’t deserve. It’s what they talk about all the time — taking from them to give to someone else. So they have money but are too worried about someone taking it to enjoy it? Sad, isn’t it? Wonder how we could give them a helping hand so they could be happier and less worried?

    • indypendent

      Take away their television? Or block Fox News forever?

      I don’t know – those are the first two things I thought of to help these poor wretched souls.

  5. My theory on this is that you can’t lump Tea Partiers into one group that believes one thing. It started out with insincere behind-the-scenes Republican/conservative astroturfing but it has grown to encompass so much more than that. The famous open tent philosophy of the Republican party has welcomed white supremacists, conspiracy theorists, commiephobes, militia groups, UN haters, IRS haters, and Fed haters, along with the run-of-the mill conservatives and libertarians. The commonality seems to be anger, though.

    Does it seem to anyone else that the anger that is at the heart of the movement might be fracturing the movement before it can get a foothold?

    • indypendent

      I definitely think the movement is fracturing. I think that is why Rupert Murdock and Fox News have been trying to distance themselves from the Tea Party recently.

      Rupert said last week that he did not believe Fox News should be pushing the Tea Party or any party. And then yesterday Fox News executives made Sean Hannity leave the Cincinnati Tea Party where he was scheduled to broadcast his show live.

      In all sincerity, I think now is the perfect time for Ron Paul to break away from the Republicans and he will take many of the original Tea Partiers with him.

      And, that my friend, will drive a stake into the GOP’s heart.

      • indypendent

        Further on the Ron Paul story – didn’t you find it interesting that Ron Paul tied with Mitt Romney at last week’s straw poll at the Southern Republican conference?

        And if Republicans run Mitt in 2012, what will they say when the issue of repealing Obama’s health care reform bill based on the illegality of mandated health care when Gov. Mitt Romney pushed through his own version (alot like Obama’s health care bill) of the mandated health care in his home state?

        Republicans have painted themselves into a corner – yet again.

        I still think if Ron Paul was to break away from the GOP – this would be his chance to make a statement and just possibly draw from the biggest voter motherlode of them all – those Independents!

      • Ron Paul was born in August of 1935 according to wiki (one full year older than John McCain). That means he will be 75 this year. Reagan was 69 when he took office in 1981.

        Just for perspective.

        Other names you hear as potential candidates in 2012 —

        Mitt Romney was born March of 1947
        Haley Barbour was born October of 1947
        Newt Gingrinch was born June of 1943

        Some of these ‘leaders’ of the GOP are getting long in the tooth.

  6. WSClark

    I don’t like throwing the word “racism” around, and I don’t think all or even most of the opposition to Obama is race-based, but I have to wonder if the opposition would be quite as vitriolic if Barack was a white man.

    The right hated Clinton, but we didn’t see nearly this level of resistance to everything the president says or does.

    As I have stated before, the election of Barack Obama has brought out racism in America from the shadows, in my not so humble opinion.

    • indypendent

      I find it interesting that Tea Partiers were all but silent about being labeled racists or bigots until the day health care reform bill was passed and there were reports of some Tea Partiers yelling the N-word at some black Democratic Congressmen.

      Ever since that time, seems the Tea Partiers are really touchy about being labeled racists or bigots and will go to great lengths to try to convince me that they are not.

      I guess carrying signs is one thing but when actually using the N-word by some of their own, is a different story or a different fitting hood?

  7. If the tea party movement is made up of all kinds of different people, who have differing concerns and goals, when will they coalesce behind some idea to move toward?

    And if they don’t have a plan of action they agree about will they all just vote for whoever is the candidate with the little “R” beside their name?

    So, aren’t we back to the fact they are simply sore losers?

  8. I did hear yesterday they drew up a list of candidates to support and another list of candidates to oppose. Maybe that’s as far as they’ll go with ideas.

  9. wicked

    Are the Tea Parties unions?

  10. indypendent

    I know Ron Paul is the oldest in the bunch but with that said, I think if he ran and got a decent amount of Independent voters, he could run with a much younger man/woman and still give both parties a run for their money.

    I’d rather have a good 75 yr old man in the White House for 4 years than a 69 yr old man just interested in furthering his wealthy buddies to get even richer off the taxpayers.

    Besides, look at the choices the GOP has to offer – Romney, Barbour and Gingrich? All 3 of those men combined could not hold a candle to Ron Paul.

    And Ron Paul is correct about our financial house – it does need to get in order and the sooner the better.

    Seriously – why would anyone even want to be president in 2012? With all the mess we have right now and the outright hatred and division?

    I like Obama and I will vote for him again in 2012 – but really, I do not see why the man should even care to help us with all the grief he has gone through just in the past year and half.

    There is only so much one person can take.

    Maybe Ron Paul will be the Ross Perot in this cycle of history repeating itself?

    Now, that would be funny!

    • Zippy

      but really, I do not see why the man should even care to help us with all the grief he has gone through just in the past year and half.

      Because it’s his country, too? And his world as well?

  11. klaus

    Oh, boy.

    Ron Paul believes in the Gold Standard.

    That is like believing in bleeding as a medical procedure. It’s an idea whose time is long, long passed, and it didn’t work the first time.

    His ideas of getting our financial house in order would have made sense to Andrew Mellon and his whole method of (not) fighting the Depression.

    Going back on the Gold Standard was a major factor in the Panic of 1873, and countries that stayed on the Gold Standard recovered much more slowly from the Depression than those who jumped off more quickly.

    It’s a very bad idea, but very dear to Ron Paul

    • indypendent

      But in today’s world, would Ron Paul even have a chance of doing his preferred method of gold standard?

      I think that ship has sailed a long time ago.

      But I do think Ron Paul is more of a threat to the Republican Party than to the Democrats. He is a potential fragmenter and could – if chose to do so – break away and split the GOP vote.

      And for that, he would be helpful?

    • “Ron Paul believes in the Gold Standard.

      “That is like believing in bleeding as a medical procedure.”

      Given that Ron Paul is a physician this is especially scary to me!

  12. Zippy

    I think Jon Stewart laid down the right gauntlet: instead of focusing on the whether they’re patriots or insane (interesting), examine the stated positions of the “movement”–and even better, give the typically ignorant rank-and-file a chance to expound their views, and see how much they match the “party”‘s official positions.

    If the Washington protesters are any indication, there is a negative correlation in this group of affluence to intelligence. But the poll you presented earlier was interesting–I suspect the Tea Party is the ultimate confluence of “no,” brought into existence by John McCain’s bizarre choice for a running mate (ultimately), but no real coherent position, other than a pastiche of anger, selfishness, prejudices and fear.

    As for the “greater educated, more income” thing I keep hearing, great! Let’s hear them. They’ve done a great job of keeping under the radar, via Roger Ailes (Fox News), of course. But I’ve known plenty of the educated dogmatic types–they know enough to think they know everything.

    Substance makes the average Fox devotee’s head hurt. I think they are type that believes they’ve earned enough to stop thinking (along with the standard Thomas Frank against-your-own-interest types).

    At this point, maybe we can wake up some of the latter, but I wouldn’t bet my legislative agenda on appeasing them.

    As for those who some, aptly enough, accuse of “taking over” the Tea Party movement, well, here’s to Grover-Fucking-Norquist:

  13. Zippy

    About Ron Paul: I think he has a fair shot of getting the nomination, by default.

    I supported his heresy from Republican party orthodoxy, but if he wants his own nutbar orthodoxy to take the stage, I say bring it on.

    This isn’t just political convenience or some partisan crap. From 1998 to 2008, I was not affiliated with a party (before then, well, mostly Democratic).

    But I remember Ron from way back. He’s not consistent, except on the crazy stuff.

    I welcome that debate.

  14. klaus

    As for whether Paul can get nominate, good points, both.

    IMHO, the GOP is in the process of splintering badly. A movement based solely on negative perceptions and incorrect information is not apt to remain cohesive. After that, what happens is anyone’s guess.

    Or, if I’m honest, maybe this is what I’m hoping for: a GOP so splintered that it can’t mount any sort of serious national campaign. I think (hope?) we’re looking at another Goldwater election, followed by 20 (40 would be both preferable and have more of a literary resonance, esp with the christians) years of wandering in the wilderness. Until the next Reagan arises.

    Palin in ’12!! I’m tempted to send a check!!

  15. 2012 is a long time off. For now, I see no one from the GOP that could successfully compete at the national level.