Waiting for Righty: Hey, Kids, Three Fun Books on Conservatives!

Categories: OC Bookly
Finally, in The Rise of the Tea Party, Anthony DiMaggio does a Social Science take-apart, arguing that the Partiers, inspired by a screaming cable television business news reporter to defend, yup, day traders (!) as the real victims of the economic collapse, are not in fact a social movement, much less a "genuine social movement" but rather a front for top-down GOP revanchists. Big news. Me, I am not even sure they are a "movement" as that suggests cooperation and mutual aid. After all, if everybody is a heroic John Galt, an independent uberman who doesn't need the collective, well, you see the problem. They don't. In a section called "Tea Party Business Elites and the Manipulation of the Masses," DiMaggio helpfully reviews the sordid CV of one typical Galtesque con artist, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, a key Tea Party leader, and founder of Freedom Works. Armey simultaneously created himself a terrific new job as anti-big guv organizer (with a big salary) while moonlight, incredibly, as lobbyist for TARP bailout dough. Corporate welfare, okay. Social welfare, not so much. Best of all is profiting personally, as bait-and-switch poster boy Ralph Reed of the Christian Coalition, who organized churchy anti-gambling tent meetings while hustling with Jack Abramoff for Indian casinos.  None of this matters to Righties, who can always feel resentment at somebody, good Indians or bad Indians, in their march backwards.
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I've recently attended meetings of a local community group where a stooge for our State Senator, Mimi Walters, blamed an unnamed "San Francisco liberal" for insisting on high fire assessment fees, another where Villa Park Tea Partier Deborah Pauley showed up, ostensibly campaigning for Supervisor but instead solicited signatures for the anti-Dream Act proposition. Recently, local property owner types came out to defend development. Asking wilderness property owners to pay their share for public fire protection, trying to educate Mexican kids, and protecting open space represent big-time potential failures for the Right, and the chance to continue to flail, vigorously, against history. Here's hoping they get plenty more chances.

Pity the Billionaire:The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right. Thomas Frank, Metropolitan Books: 240 pp.,$25.00

The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism From Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. Corey Robin, Oxford: 290pp.,$29.95

The Rise of the Tea Party: Political Discontent and Corporate Media in the Age of Obama. Anthony DiMaggio, Monthly Review Press: 287 pp.,$18.95

Andrew Tonkovich hosts the Wednesday night literary arts program, Bibliocracy Radio, on KPFK 90.7 FM in Southern California.

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