Tea Party

The tea party’s revolt against reality By Michael Gerson, Washington Post, September 30, 2013 — …this revolt is against anyone who accepts the constraints of political reality…composing less than 20 percent of the House Republican caucus…The tea-party faction holds the margin of victory in a slim Republican House majority…Conservatives now face the ideological temptation: inviting an unpleasant political reality by refusing to inhabit political reality.

Tea Party Radicalism Is Misunderstood: Meet the “Newest Right” By Michael Lind, Salon.com, posted on Alternet.org,  October 6, 2013 

The 1 percent played Tea Party for suckers

Washington Has Been Stopped in Its Tracks by Republican Tea Party Types, and It’s Destroying the Country By Robert Reich, RobertReich.org, June 10, 2013 – Conservative Republicans in our nation’s capital have managed to accomplish something they only dreamed of when Tea Partiers streamed into Congress at the start of 2011: They’ve basically shut Congress down. Their refusal to compromise is working just as they hoped: No jobs agenda. No budget. No grand bargain on the deficit. No background checks on guns. Nothing on climate change. No tax reform. No hike in the minimum wage. Nothing so far on immigration reform. It’s as if an entire branch of the federal government—the branch that’s supposed to deal directly with the nation’s problems, not just execute the law or interpret the law but make the law—has gone out of business…A great nation requires a great, or at least functional, national government. The Tea Partiers and other government-haters who have caused Washington to all but close because they refuse to compromise are threatening all that we aspire to be together.

The Tea Party’s Real Constitutional Philosophy, Drew Courtney/Miranda Blue, People For the American Way, January 5, 2011

The Strange Sexual Obsessions Driving the Tea Party Movement by David Rosen, CounterPunch, September 19, 2010

“Me” the People: A Day with the Tea Party by Alex McNeill. ReligionDispatches.org, August 30, 2010

Secrets of the Tea Party: The Troubling History of Tea Party Leader Dick Armey by Beau Hodal, Truthout, March 26, 2010…the troubling past of the man at the center of their movement: FreedomWorks chairman, former House Majority Leader and recently-retired lobbyist extraordinaire, Dick Armey.As chairman of FreedomWorks, the group credited with mobilizing the Tea Party movement, Armey is the movement’s de facto leader. Yet Armey’s years spent lobbying for a group recognized by the State Department as being a terrorist organization–should give Tea Partiers pause.…Armey was employed as a lobbyist by leading international “consulting firm” DLA Piper. In that capacity, from 2005 to 2009, Armey promoted the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, otherwise known as Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), which the State Department has branded a terrorist group. Armey lobbied his former colleagues on behalf of legislation that would have provided taxpayer support to the MEK. Armey’s work as a lobbyist–during which time he also served as chairman of FreedomWorks and organized Tea Party protests–is not mentioned in his FreedomWorks biography. 2007 was a banner year for Armey’s work on U.S./Iran relations. Ghaemi shelled out $400,000 for Armey and his team of Capitol Hill lobbyists…One of the bills Armey was lobbying for in 2007 would have directed the State Department to place the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on its list of foreign terrorist organizations…the bill would have in effect justified U.S. military action against Iran…

Holy Writ — Tea Party evangelists claim the Constitution as their sacred text. Why that’s wrong by Andrew Romano, Newsweek, October 17, 2010 The Founders’ masterpiece, O’Donnell said, isn’t just a legal document; it’s a “covenant” based on “divine principles.” For decades, she continued, the agents of “anti-Americanism” who dominate “the D.C. cocktail crowd” have disrespected the hallowed document. But now, finally, in the “darker days” of the Obama administration, “the Constitution is making a comeback.” Like the “chosen people of Israel,” who “cycle[d] through periods of blessing and suffering,” the Tea Party has rediscovered America’s version of “the Hebrew Scriptures” and led the country into “a season of constitutional repentance.” Going forward, O’Donnell declared, Republicans must champion the “American values” enshrined in our sacred text. “There are more of us than there are of them,” she concluded. By now, O’Donnell’s rhetoric should sound familiar. In part that’s because her fellow Tea Party patriots—Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the guy at the rally in the tricorn hat—also refer to the Constitution as if it were a holy instruction manual that was lost, but now, thanks to them, is found. And yet the reverberations go further back than Beck. The last time America elected a new Democratic president, in 1992, the Republican Party’s then-dominant insurgent group used identical language to describe the altogether different document that defined their cause and divided them from the heretics in charge: the Bible. The echoes of the religious right in O’Donnell’s speech—the Christian framework, the resurrection narrative, the “us vs. them” motif, the fixation on “values”—aren’t coincidental…
the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war…
as James Davison Hunter wrote in Culture Wars, the book that popularized the term, the conflicts of the 1990s represented something bigger: “a struggle over…who we have been…who we are now, and…who we, as a nation, will aspire” to be. Such conflicts, Hunter explained, pit “orthodox” Americans, who like the way things were, against their more “progressive” peers, who are comfortable with the way things are becoming. For the forces of orthodoxy, the election of a black, urban, liberal Democrat with a Muslim name wasn’t a panacea at all; it was a provocation. So when the recession hit, and new economic anxieties displaced the lingering social concerns of the Clinton era, political fundamentalists sought refuge in a more relevant scripture—one that could still be made to accommodate the simpler, surer past they longed for but happened to dwell on taxes and government instead of sinning and being saved.
The Constitution was waiting… Contemporary Constitution worshipers claim that they’ve distilled their entire political platform—lower taxes, less regulation, minimal federal government—directly from the original text of the founding document. Any overlap with mainstream conservatism is incidental, they say; they’re simply following the Framers’ precise instructions. If this were true, it would be quite the political coup: oppose us, the Tea Party could claim, and you’re opposing James Madison. But the reality is that Tea Partiers engage with the Constitution in such a selective manner, and for such nakedly political purposes, that they’re clearly relying on it more as an instrument of self-affirmation and cultural division than a source of policy inspiration.
In legal circles, constitutional fundamentalism is nothing new. For decades, scholars and judges have debated how the founding document should factor into contemporary legal proceedings. Some experts believe in a so-called living Constitution—a set of principles that, while admirable and enduring, must be interpreted in light of present-day social developments in order to be properly upheld. Others adhere to originalism, which is the idea that the ratifiers’ original meaning is fixed, knowable, and clearly articulated in the text of the Constitution itself…Every weekday on Fox News, Glenn Beck—“the most highly regarded individual among Tea Party supporters,” according to a recent poll…takes to his schoolroom chalkboard to rail against progressives like Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. “They knew they had to separate us from our history,” he says, “to be able to separate us from our Constitution and God.” ... True patriots, according to Beck, favor a pre-progressive vision of the United States…
Tea Party candidates have behaved in ways that belie their public commitment to combating progressivism. They’ve backed measures that…

The 1 percent played Tea Party for suckers 

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