by Max Brantley
Good column in Newsweek on the media's failure to ask Tea Party followers some more probing questions beyond the rote mad-at-government stuff. For instance:
Most of them think their taxes have gone up; Obama has cut them.
Most of them angrily reject suggestions of racism in the movement, but polling shows they tend to have a much more negative view of blacks and immigrants.
They hate government, but they want to use government regulation to stop things they don't like. (Mosques, for example.)
In battling deficts, what would the budget hawks cut? Defense and related spending, which accounts for more than half of federal spending?
The closer you look, the more the Tea Party just looks like any other right-wing populist movement: it is motivated by fear of immigration, fear of new religious modes of expression, racial resentments, opposition to gay rights, and claims about taxes and spending that often don't add up under scrutiny. Isn't it time that we stopped treating the Tea Partiers like a curious sociological phenomenon and starting holding them to the same standards we should hold all mainstream politicians to?