Grassroots Swagger

According to a poll released last week by CBS News and the New York Times, 84 percent of Tea Partiers believe that “the views of the people involved in the Tea Party movement generally reflect the views of most Americans.” The results of the same poll, however, suggest that only 25 percent of the “general public” agree that the Tea Party accurately reflects their views. Based upon these results, does this mean Tea Partiers are 59 percent more delusional than the general public?

Sadly, the new Tea Party bears little resemblance to the original. Beneath its populist grassroots swagger, the TP is a loose confederation of gullible alarmists lathered up by outlandish conspiracy theories and the fulminations of conservative talk-show gasbags looking to boost ratings. Still, history is being made. When else in history have we seen enraged citizens running around in Davy Crockett and Uncle Sam costumes—protesting oppressive taxation—right after 95 percent of the working U.S. population received a federally mandated tax cut? What is this all about really? Runaway spending and record deficits? If so, where was the outcry during the previous administration? I think there’s more to the Tea Party’s “Let’s take our country back” rhetoric than meets the eye, and it ain’t pretty.

Costumed theatrics aside, it probably is no laughing matter. To quote original Tea Party patriot Samuel Adams, “It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.”—Mike Mullins, Carpinteria


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