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.
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.