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I just couldn't let this one pass by without commentary.
The NY Times' had an op-ed on Tuesday by David Campbell and Robert Putnam describing and explaining their study of the Tea Party and it's relationship to the Republican Party. Here's the zinger paragraph that everyone needs to know about....
Of course, politicians of all stripes are not faring well among the public these days. But in data we have recently collected, the Tea Party ranks lower than any of the 23 other groups we asked about — lower than both Republicans and Democrats. It is even less popular than much maligned groups like “atheists” and “Muslims.” Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.
Believe me, in America, it takes quite a bit of unpopularity to sink below atheists and/or Muslims. It's been tough for American Muslims the last 10 years.....from the FBI's blanket roundup of Muslims in New York City after 9-11, to the "no mosques at Ground Zero" hatemongering, to Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) outrageous neo-McCarthy congressional hearings on the radicalization (or not) of American Muslims....American Muslims...ask a few of them...have been very unpopular with many Americans lately.
But the Tea Party...if you can believe it....is LESS popular than Muslims.
And atheists....what can I say about atheists? I mean, virtually every person in America is fearful or disapproving of atheists. Why is that? Atheists don't believe in god. Word is, that whoever this god is....whichever god it is....he/she is going to punish any human who doesn't believe in him/her. If not now...at least down the road on the, you know, Last Day. I have encountered more than a few folks who, once learning of my atheism, would just as soon remove themselves from any close proximity to my person....just in case the invisible one decides to send a lightning bolt down on me at that very moment to punish me for my unbelief.
Let me tell you....from one who has been an atheist for over 25 years now....atheists are not just unpopular. In my experiences, I find that believers, and even a few agnostics, are a bit afraid to even be in the company of atheists.
But the NY Times op-ed study reveals that the Tea Party is MORE disapproved of than atheists. That...is...astounding...disapproval.
A little over two years in from it's Rick Santelli-rant inception and teabag-draped Party uniform rollout, the Tea Party movement has now worn out its brief welcome onto the political landscape. Less approved of than atheists. I still can't get over that one.
What I have repeatedly described as a continuation of the wild-eyed followers of Sarah Palin in 2008...the Times op-ed writers have found to be the same old far right Republican base....
Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.
"highly partisan Republicans". Of course that's who Tea Partiers are. That's who they have always been. There's nothing new about Tea Party Republicans, except for possibly the teabagging costumes. What's been the message from Tea Partiers? Lowering taxes on corporations and rich Americans, more deregulating of industries, slashing all government to the quick, dismantling the New Deal, pretending to care about deficits and debt, and an almost hysterical desire to remove a Democratic president from office. Nothing new about any of that. SROP....Standard Republican operating procedure.
But wait, there's more....
..while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.
So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.
More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates.
That explains Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry's popularity with Tea Party members. Both GOP presidential wannabes have worn their evangelical-ness on their shirtsleeves....
Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.
Concern for debt, deficits and government spending may be the piece of the Tea Party puzzle which corporate Village media have zeroed in on at the behest of their many corporate benefactors who want to prevent any tax increases on their billions....but make no mistake....the Tea Party is, and always has been, simply a lipsticked (and teabagged) far-right Republican political pig now widely disproved of by the American people.
The Tea Party is but a modern twist on the old Moral Majority. The Tea Party is made up of Republican-voting, evangelical crusading, white Americans masquerading as something new and different on the political stage. They are not something new, they are not something different....and Americans, by a wide margin, disapprove of them...even more so than they disapprove of Muslims and....atheists.