Personal ResponsibiliTEA

..."Personal responsibility” has been a great conservative theme in recent decades, in response to the growth of the welfare state. It is a common theme among TPPs (TEA Partyers)—even in response to health-care reform, as if losing your job and then getting cancer is something you shouldn’t have allowed to happen to yourself. But these days, conservatives far outdo liberals in excusing citizens from personal responsibility. To the TPPs, all of our problems are the fault of the government, and the government is a great “other,” a hideous monster over which we have no control. It spends our money and runs up vast deficits for mysterious reasons all its own. At bottom, this is a suspicion not of government but of democracy. After all, who elected this monster?..."

Read My Country, Tis of Me at the Atlantic.


Fringe On The Right

"...What most animates the tea partiers, it seems, is their fear and loathing of the federal government, a government they believe taxes and spends too much, and is trending under President Obama toward “socialism.” No surprise there, given the rhetoric emanating from their rallies. More particularly, the tea-party faithful are angry about Democratic Washington’s supposed excessive concern with helping racial minorities (especially blacks) and the poor, who neither need nor deserve help, and with its wasteful and unnecessary efforts to create jobs and expand health care. The tea types self-righteously view such actions as running counter to their own moral imperative: cutting the budget and reducing the size of government...

One inconvenient truth revealed by the Times survey is that the broad groundswell of national indignation the doting mass media see in the tea-party uprising just doesn’t exist. Americans who identify as tea-party supporters make up, according to the polling data, only 18% of the population (barely one person in five), and only 4% of our fellow citizens have either contributed to the cause or attended its rallies. Moreover, those who have imbibed the Kool- Aid, so to speak, are overwhelmingly concentrated in the Republican party. Interviews reveal three-quarters of the tea partiers to be self-described conservatives who regularly vote for the GOP; contrary to the media-generated image, only a minority are independents, and only a tiny minority are Democrats. Most telling, fully 57% hold a favorable view of George W. Bush, nearly the exact percentage of the general public holding an unfavorable view of the former president. Based on their political views, tea partiers are essentially the far-right fringe of the Republican base..."

Read more @ Progressive Populist.