More Americans Dislike the Tea Partiers Than Ever Before

This article first appeared on the Loop 21.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll suggests that whatever populist hypnosis many Americans were under when the Tea Party folks first came onto the scene may now finally be wearing off. The poll says that now the percentage of Americans who hold an unfavorable view of the movement has jumped from 39 percent to 50 percent. The group that has led the drop has been a collapse in support from 18 to 29-year-olds. In March, they had a positive, 43-38 view of the Tea Party. But now they've shifted in the other way, to a negative view, 27-60.

Who can we thank for that? Perhaps it was Rand Paul and his insanely unrealistic worldview that government cannot police racism, and that parts of the U.S. Civil Rights Act should be repealed. Perhaps, it’s because the Tea Party is losing some of its independent luster, as people realize that folks like Dick Armey are behind the curtains pulling the purse strings.

What I really think: We can both thank and blame the media. When the previous poll was taken you could not turn on your television without being hit in the face with Tea Party lunacy. But the media has effectively out-hyped itself on the Tea Party and now some folks are disgusted and tired of seeing the angry-old-white-guy movement just as we are tired of seeing the incompetent-old-white-guys in Washington, D.C.

I also credit the economy, the economy is recovering. The jobs are returning, the recovery, low and behold, is working after all. It’s hard to muster up anger when you’ve got a job to go to.

But the biggest credit belongs to the Tea Party itself. You see this whole mantra of small government and freedom only works in a society where there is corporate altruism. That place does not exist. If the BP oil spill has proved one thing, that is you cannot have a government that is intimately connected to industry. Think of the BP oil spill and all of those secret meetings that former Vice President Dick Cheney had with the oil industry in developing energy policies. Think of the fact that Cheney went from being the top brass at Haliburton, who is actually partly to blame for the leak in the Gulf coast to running the country. Think about the fact the Bush and Cheney-era Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson was a former executive at Goldman Sachs.

For the Tea Party folks to appeal to most reasonable-minded people, you have to accept that industry, that corporations are less threatening than government. You could make the argument that government is perhaps incompetent when it comes to policing corporations, you can also make a damn good argument that they are too influenced by corporations, but you can’t really say they are more threatening.

The truth is, it ain’t your guns and the government you need to fear, but Haliburton, British Petroleum, Bank of America, etc. And they could care less about your guns, they are coming for your life’s blood: the air you breath, the ocean, the land. They want it all.


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