The Populitists

Man, that whole Tea Party narrative is just looking more and more threadbare. The "spontaneous outpouring of patriotic concern by ordinary citizens who are totally not funded by corporations or GOP operatives in any way, nope" myth got blown up almost immediately, and now it looks like the "working-class heartland Americans who are worried about their finances and sick of the government always choosing corporations and rich people over the little guy" story is on pretty shaky ground too:

Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

(…)

Tea Party supporters’ fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves. More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.

So instead of being blue collar just-folks frightened by unemployment and uncertainty, and outraged by the inequity of the government bailing out fatcats while the poor struggle, it turns out that the teabaggers are moderately-stocky cats who are outraged by the government’s feeble and inadequate attempts to help the poor out. Especially when the poor are those people.

Those of us on the left (myself included) who thought there was some slim chance of making common cause with them against a shared corporate enemy, well, we were completely wrong. The teabaggers are just the latest media-darling flavor-of-the-month iteration of the archetypal I-got-mine-fuck-you conservative. They’re populist only if your idea of populist is a bunch of upper-middle-class people who want to cut off the poor, and the only common ground we have with them is our dislike of Harry Reid and Blanche Lincoln.

We were right about them being mostly racist old white guys, though.

(Cross-posted at Multi Medium)

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