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Keli Carender has a pierced nose.
February 28, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

You might mistake her for the kind of young person whose vote powered President Obama to the White House. You probably would not think of her as a Tea Party type. But leaders of the Tea Party movement credit her with being the first. “She’s not your typical conservative,”, “She’s an actress. She’s got a nose ring. I think it’s the thing that’s so amazing about our movement.” Her fiancé, Conor McNassar, urged her to channel her complaints into a blog, which she called Liberty Belle. It was not enough. She's been profiled by NPR. Some of her articles can be found in American Thinker.

Ms. Carender is less certain when it comes to explaining, for instance, how to cut the deficit without cutting Medicaid and Medicare.

“Well,” she said, thinking for a long time and then sighing. “Let’s see. Some days I’m very Randian. I feel like there shouldn’t be any of those programs, that it should all be charitable organizations. Sometimes I think, well, maybe it really should be just state, and there should be no federal part in it at all. I bounce around in my solutions to the problem.”
posted by VikingSword (226 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
She needs another hobby. Perhaps she could get a dog?
posted by killdevil at 11:01 AM on February 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


The Times has been looking pretty deep into the Tea Party. Based on what they're finding, I think a violent clash with authorities in inevitable, and will explode into national violence. The rhetoric of violent revolution has become common, is trouble, and isn't meant as metaphor or in jest.

Frank Rich has a few things to say too: The distinction between the Tea Party movement and the official G.O.P. is real, and we ignore it at our peril.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on February 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


is troubling.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:02 AM on February 28, 2010


Sorry, Salvor Hardin, I didn't see your second post :(
posted by VikingSword at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2010


DC Comics is kind of sensitive about their trademarks, and the industry as a whole may have a bit of an axe to grind with the teabaggers at the moment. I'm just saying.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fanatically obsessed with style and flash to the exclusion of a coherent, consistent ideology?

Sounds like a Teabagger to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:03 AM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion." -- Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism
posted by Avenger at 11:04 AM on February 28, 2010 [60 favorites]


A fat white person being conservative isn't really that surprising though.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 11:04 AM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Some days I’m very Randian. I feel like there shouldn’t be any of those programs, that it should all be charitable organizations.

Umm ... hey, nosering babe? Rand didn't believe in charity, either.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:05 AM on February 28, 2010 [56 favorites]


"Some days I say get rid of all this pesky government. And then other days my house catches on fire and I bounce around in my solutions. I mean, I don't really know any charitable fire putter-outer organizations in my area, so that makes it kind of inconvenient for me. But just on those days."
posted by sallybrown at 11:06 AM on February 28, 2010 [96 favorites]


“If you believe that it is absolutely moral to take my money and give it to someone else based on their supposed needs,” she said, waving a $20 bill to boos and cheers, “then you come and take this $20 and use it as a down payment on this health care plan.”

I don't think there's any hope of getting through to these people.

No, that's not true. There's hope. But damn if it doesn't seem dim at times.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 11:07 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been going to some local events dominated by Tea Party types in support of challengers to a Democratic congressman in my area and taping them. The one thing that always stands out at me is how old and white, and crazy these people are. When I see this young person in the TP, my gut reaction is: "traitor!"... but, then again, she's getting hers, and that seems to be what the TP is all about.
posted by ofthestrait at 11:08 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


So this is like Red White And Blond if Elle Woods was a noxious hatemonger?
posted by The Whelk at 11:10 AM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Dear god can we please get over this infantile boomer obsession with sartorial and stylistic proxies for ideological proclivities, it is not 1968 anymore, all the right wingers have piercings now, thank you.
posted by enn at 11:10 AM on February 28, 2010 [29 favorites]


>: Fanatically obsessed with style and flash to the exclusion of a coherent, consistent ideology?
Sounds like a Teabagger to me.


We don't want lower bread prices, or higher bread prices, we want Tea Party bread prices!
posted by dunkadunc at 11:11 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the articles posted, all her complaints seem to be about some group called leftists. Assuming she means Democrats and Democratic fellow-travelers, it's an awful lot of pent-up rage for a group that's held power for only a few years.

If she means actual leftists, then she's about two or three decades late. There are no credible leftists in American politics anymore.
posted by adoarns at 11:11 AM on February 28, 2010 [21 favorites]


Ladies and gentlemen, we are now entering the moronosphere.
posted by localroger at 11:11 AM on February 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


OH
MY
GOD

she's got a nose ring! How... how much more fucking diverse can the Tea PARTY GET?!!!! sqeeee

Yeah I say a tea party speech where they had a black dude out front and a half Latino giving a me-first speech... all in a sea of white white white.
posted by edgeways at 11:13 AM on February 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


Teabaggers: they're nuts in the head,
posted by MuffinMan at 11:14 AM on February 28, 2010


Maybe nose rings don't mean a thing after all.
posted by box at 11:15 AM on February 28, 2010


Ha ha ha, as much as I hate Ayn Rand she'd fucking kill herself if she were alive today and saw a political movement of literally the stupidest Americans using her as a patron saint
posted by Damn That Television at 11:18 AM on February 28, 2010 [52 favorites]


So this is like Red White And Blond if Elle Woods was a noxious hatemonger?

I object! I doubt Liberty Belle would never get an 179 on her LSAT, let alone spot half-loop stitching on low-viscosity rayon or ace History of Polka Dots.
posted by sallybrown at 11:20 AM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jeez, love that big blazing 'John Galt' sign in the first picture.

Some days I wish all of these Randist super geniuses and leaders of industry would just annex a few hundred acres of land or an island or something (really, this should be easy for them because they're the best and the brightest, y'know?) and then create their own country where they can all come together to collectively not give a shit about each other.

But then I realize that they don't really believe in Objectivism and they're just pissed that some of their money may go towards helping someone else. Then I go back to wishing that they'd get their own little country...
posted by Consonants Without Vowels at 11:22 AM on February 28, 2010 [29 favorites]


Oh look a conservative did a thing.
posted by hamida2242 at 11:23 AM on February 28, 2010 [36 favorites]


I doubt Liberty Belle would never get an 179

See, if I could write, this would have made sense and I would have gotten into Harvard Law.
posted by sallybrown at 11:26 AM on February 28, 2010


“Well,” she said, thinking for a long time and then sighing. “Let’s see. Some days I’m very Randian. I feel like there shouldn’t be any of those programs, that it should all be charitable organizations. Sometimes I think, well, maybe it really should be just state, and there should be no federal part in it at all. I bounce around in my solutions to the problem.”

It's becomes increasingly apparent to me that large swaths of political discourse revolve around the same philosophical concepts that my friends and I grappled with when we were teenagers. When talking to some of these people, I feel like I have to mentally revert to 19 years of age in order to listen to their ideas and go "sure, but the next step is..."

Look, small "l" libertarian would not be a bad description of my outlook, but if you're 30 and still dealing with Ayn Rand, I put you in the same category as today's Mao apologists.
posted by spaltavian at 11:27 AM on February 28, 2010 [47 favorites]


Pierced nose? Wow. That's all the thoroughly bumpin' RNC needs to elect her as their new head.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:30 AM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dang I was gonna snark about how a nosering must be proof positive that you're a librul but everybody else beat me to it.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:30 AM on February 28, 2010


Some days I wish all of these Randist super geniuses and leaders of industry would just annex a few hundred acres of land or an island or something (really, this should be easy for them because they're the best and the brightest, y'know?) and then create their own country where they can all come together to collectively not give a shit about each other.

How about an underwater utopia?
posted by Splunge at 11:33 AM on February 28, 2010 [47 favorites]


Spaltavian: "It's becomes increasingly apparent to me that large swaths of political discourse revolve around the same philosophical concepts that my friends and I grappled with when we were teenagers. When talking to some of these people, I feel like I have to mentally revert to 19 years of age in order to listen to their ideas and go "sure, but the next step is..."

My god, this is my sentiments exactly. I listen to them, desperately trying to understand their motivations in a way that helps me make sense of them. I mean I hear what they say about being angry and the government being big and nasty and yet the arguments only make sense in a world in which political philosophy is divorced from actual civics, economics, or social institutions. I don't want to dismiss the entire thing as being some product of the stupid, but when I read their blogs or hear them speak, their discourses replete with founding fathers and Rand, and it reminds me of being a Freshman and having inane, uninformed, but seemingly profound conversations about the nature of life with my dorm mates. And these TP discourses are just like that, except that the people are older and less inebriated.
posted by hank_14 at 11:36 AM on February 28, 2010 [15 favorites]


Splunge: How about an underwater utopia?

I can just imagine Tea Partiers playing Bioshock, slow tears sliding down their cheeks as they mourn for what might have been. "Oh Rapture, my beloved dream..."
posted by hank_14 at 11:39 AM on February 28, 2010


It would be very very interesting to know how many of these old Tea Partiers are collecting some kind of government money, from Social Security, to railroad pensions to Medicare or veterans' pensions. And I really wish someone reporting on this would ask them if they'd like to do away with such government agencies as the FAA, the military, the FDA, etc.
posted by etaoin at 11:39 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Tea Partiers claim to be against government regulation of private industry, but their namesakes opposed the loosening of governmental regulation on tea exports.

When you ask them about economics, they make appeals to common sense that's neither common nor sensible. When you ask them about social policy, they make appeals to the religious foundation of a country that explicitly prohibited religious government in its founding documents. When you ask them about climate change, they make appeals to scientific counterarguments that are neither scientific nor counterarguments. When you ask them about health care policy, they say they want to keep government hands off their Medicare.

"Oh god she has a nose ring what a contradiction" is some premium-grade bullshit when the entire party is founded on actual contradictions.
posted by Riki tiki at 11:41 AM on February 28, 2010 [46 favorites]


I read about her for the first time yesterday, and least rude thing I can think to say is that I'm not sure which use of scare quotes is fits more:

"American" Thinker

or

American "Thinker"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:45 AM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


“Well,” she said, thinking for a long time and then sighing. “Let’s see. Some days I’m very Randian. I feel like there shouldn’t be any of those programs, that it should all be charitable organizations. Sometimes I think, well, maybe it really should be just state, and there should be no federal part in it at all. I bounce around in my solutions to the problem.”

Woman who should, by all appearances, be regurgitating tired, ill-conceived liberal dogma is actually regurgitating tired, ill-conceived conservative dogma! FPP at 11:00.
posted by The Bellman at 11:46 AM on February 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


She looks nothing like the costumed woman in the blog painting. I've been masturbating to a lie!

I like how in her bio she brags about being college educated, scientifically literate, and world traveled. You know, like a liberal.
posted by 0xdeadc0de at 11:48 AM on February 28, 2010


What the hell is a pierced nose supposed to prove? A faitshare of the pierced-nose-owners I've known would've fallen under the too-stoned-to-care rubric politically.
posted by jonmc at 11:51 AM on February 28, 2010


Fanatically obsessed with style and flash to the exclusion of a coherent, consistent ideology?
Sounds like a Teabagger to me.


Of course; one could search high and low through Anarchists, Marxists, liberals, Democrats, and centrists, and never ever find any flaky know-nothing knowitalls ready and willing to foist their half-baked horsepucky on anyone who'll listen.

A fat white person being conservative isn't really that surprising though.

Please try not to be a scumbag.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ha ha ha, as much as I hate Ayn Rand she'd fucking kill herself if she were alive today and saw a political movement of literally the stupidest Americans using her as a patron saint
Q: What do you think of the Libertarian movement? [FHF: “The Moratorium on Brains,” 1971]

AR: All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies, except that they’re anarchists instead of collectivists. But of course, anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet they want to combine capitalism and anarchism. That is worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism, because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement.
She didn't like it then, either.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:56 AM on February 28, 2010 [30 favorites]


So looking at Hank_14 and Splunge's comments, I've been kind of keeping an eye open for the Randian Bioshock backlash and as of yet, I haven't seen a damn thing.

Is it out there? Did I miss it?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:57 AM on February 28, 2010


From the first article:

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years.

NO. SHIT.
posted by cereselle at 11:58 AM on February 28, 2010 [22 favorites]


I'm just glad the Republicans now have their own third party to divide their vote and make them useless and ineffective.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


So looking at Hank_14 and Splunge's comments, I've been kind of keeping an eye open for the Randian Bioshock backlash and as of yet, I haven't seen a damn thing.

There's not a lot of actual Randians running around, so outside of a handful of whining on websites, the most backlash I've seen has been about the game not being as deep as was advertised originally.

It's really better as a statement about choice and freedom in video games than it is an assault on Rand.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:00 PM on February 28, 2010


I'm just glad the Republicans now have their own third party to divide their vote and make them useless and ineffective.

Hey, it worked in 1992.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2010


She put out the word to some friends from the Young Republicans

Do they really have 30 year olds in the Young Republicans? How old do you need to be before you can graduate to grown-up party membership?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:02 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The daughter of Democrats who became disaffected in the Clinton years." Yeah, right. I believe it was Limbaugh that coined the term "porkulus," btw. Better headline: Conservative girl is conservative. (This is front page below the fold today - thanks, Times)
posted by Gilbert at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stupidity is not constrained by race, religion, ideology or culture.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 12:03 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


My friend Janet: "Christians, Republicans, and librarians: the three groups most pitifully dedicated to showing the world they're hipper and edgier than you think."

(Janet, incidentally, is a serials librarian and member in good standing of her Methodist Church. Not sure how she votes...)
posted by Ian A.T. at 12:05 PM on February 28, 2010 [31 favorites]


The rhetoric of violent revolution has become common, is troubling, and isn't meant as metaphor or in jest.

If the US hadn't had that first violent revolution, there wouldn't be any national story or patriotic imagery for violent revolutionaries to call upon.

Maybe once a state has been formed by violent revolution, this legitimizes violent revolution against that state. (NB: I'm using "legitimizes" in the specific political sense of "makes appear legitimate to the subjects of a specific polity", not as any moral judgement on my own part).
posted by jb at 12:06 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


My friend Janet: "Christians, Republicans, and librarians: the three groups most pitifully dedicated to showing the world they're hipper and edgier than you think."

I am stealing the hell out of that line.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:06 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


and I think I just misused the word polity -- I'm never sure about that one.
posted by jb at 12:06 PM on February 28, 2010


Of course; one could search high and low through Anarchists, Marxists, liberals, Democrats, and centrists, and never ever find any flaky know-nothing knowitalls ready and willing to foist their half-baked horsepucky on anyone who'll listen.

It's not like the people you describe aren't everywhere, but from all evidence, even commentary from the people who are, apparently these people leaders, it's like the sole criterion for admission is to be that guy who buttonholes people so that he can make them understand HOW IT IS and what MUST BE DONE but mostly seems like he's off his meds and read one political thriller too many.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:14 PM on February 28, 2010


Wait, that wasn't the first article in the FPP, it was the first article in AZ's comment. Still.

A fat white person being conservative isn't really that surprising though.

Most of the fat white people I know are liberal. Including me.
posted by cereselle at 12:19 PM on February 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Holy shit. I know Keli; we were in an improv group together at university. Bit of an unpleasant shock to find out she's now the face of the Tea Party Youth.
posted by inire at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


“If you believe that it is absolutely moral to take my money and give it to someone else based on their supposed needs,” she said, waving a $20 bill to boos and cheers, “then you come and take this $20 and use it as a down payment on this health care plan.”

The complete Tea Party philosophy in three words:

I GOT MINE
posted by ook at 12:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [29 favorites]


A year ago, frustrated that every time she called her senators to urge them to vote against the $787 billion stimulus bill their mailboxes were full, and tired of wearing out the ear of her Obama-voting fiancé, Ms. Carender decided to hold a protest against what she called the “porkulus.”

...the stimulus bill that was passed on Feb. 2009. The $700 billion Bush passed in Oct. 2008 was okie-dokie, though, right?

She’s an actress.
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 12:26 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey I'm just glad she's found something to do after that MTV gig. Looks like this tea party thing was good for something after all!

Wait, we are talking about Kennedy, right?...right?
posted by washburn at 12:28 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


A fat white person being conservative isn't really that surprising though.

Michael Moore is SHOCKED!
posted by klanawa at 12:39 PM on February 28, 2010


ook: The complete Tea Party philosophy in three words:

I GOT MINE


Needs one more word:

FUCK YOU, GOT MINE.
posted by hangashore at 12:45 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do they really have 30 year olds in the Young Republicans? How old do you need to be before you can graduate to grown-up party membership?

Ooh, I know the answer to this one! You can officially be a Young Republican through age 40 (40!). Young Democrats cuts you off after 35 (which is still pretty old, I admit).

To be fair, plenty of the Young Dems I know are also very active in grown-up party stuff too. I assume the Young Republicans are the same way.
posted by naoko at 12:53 PM on February 28, 2010


What a lot of people are ignoring is the Frank Rich argument: the nascent Tea Party movement isn't going away, and it's not the same as the Republican Party. It's new and undefined and largely un-coopted by an established set of elites. It could turn into anything, especially for the generation who doesn't remember the fall of the Berlin Wall or Iran-Contra or Nixon or Vietnam, some of whom could vote for Obama but then swing as wildly in a new direction if the mood hits them because all they want is CHANGE but they don't know what it is they want to change or how.

Everybody who thinks that they have the political world all figured out has to remember that there's a new generation every decade trying to figure out the same set of problems under all new circumstances. Every year there's a new set of freshman who think Ayn Rand is hot shit and don't understand how it can be just for the government to tax us to spend money on the preserving the welfare of others. Every year every one of us becomes a little bit more the establishment to be ousted rather than the radicals doing the ousting.

These are folks who're getting their history of the Progressive Era from Glenn Beck, whose first vivid memory was planes crashing into the World Trade Center, and who spent their teens having daddy issues with George W. Bush: "I love him, he makes me feel safe!" "I hate him, he violates my privacy!" The thing about daddy is you can never stop yourself from loving him in the end.

Remember: the 20th Century didn't get off the ground until World War I began in 1914. The 19th Century didn't take on its characteristic traits of industrial revolution and civil foment until the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1814. We ain't seen nothing yet.

It's going to be an interesting decade.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:57 PM on February 28, 2010 [31 favorites]


One of the ideas in the NY Times piece here seems to be, hey, the Tea Party has got lots of smiling, young, bespectacled (i.e. Very Thoughtful!) nose-ring and funky snow-bunny-earflap-hat and piercing-wearing young folks, not just old people.

Whereas, as an LA Times op-ed piece I read this week points out, the common denominator of the Tea Party composition seems to be a lot of 60s-era boomers who missed out on the revolution in 1968 (or dropped out of it, or shied away from it, or were too scared of its consequences to deal with it, etc., etc.) and see this, consciously or not, as a chance to re-stage the revolution.

The fact that Keli Carender and her ilk are involved is irrelevant. They may merely have similar romantic feelings about the 60s, even though they were born long after the fact, and even if they vociferously denounce the horrid effects of the 60s on the United States, because the culture that has permeated their minds since the time of their toddlerhood has been obsessed with the 60s, either blatantly, indirectly, or peripherally, with everything from Jimi Hendrix' performance at Woodstock (a performance that most people who were actually there never even saw) to Timothy Leary's pronouncements to Janis Joplin's navel to Strawberry Alarm Clock having been endlessly and repetitively idealized and and recycled and re-imagined in music, movies, and TV since at least the mid-80s.

The politics are almost secondary to the sense of entitlement and the Richard Heene-like craving for constant and public attention. (Look at how mesmerized and enraptured Keli looks at being surrounded by mics and cameras in that NY Times photograph.)

Or the politics would be secondary -- if the ideology weren't so dangerous.
posted by blucevalo at 1:06 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rand didn't believe in charity, either.

You tell her Cool Pappa! Don't let these wussy teabaggers water down Objectivism with their misplaced sympathies and their charity. She is weak, weak! But you are strong. Feed one Bolshevik and there will be a thousand more at your door demanding to fed as well.
posted by aquathug at 1:07 PM on February 28, 2010


Ha, that's funny. They have their own pet young person. I hope they love her and hug her and feed her and call her George. Or something to distract her from being a shill for the country's most poisonous and idiotic ideology.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:08 PM on February 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


You tell her Cool Pappa! Don't let these wussy teabaggers water down Objectivism with their misplaced sympathies and their charity. She is weak, weak! But you are strong. Feed one Bolshevik and there will be a thousand more at your door demanding to fed as well.
He was responding to the subject of the article thinking its Randian/Objectivist to say charity should be doing certain things instead of the government, which is incorrect, as Objectivism holds private altruism to be as evil as the government variety.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:15 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's as if the South Park Republicans had a baby with the Family Guy Libertarians.
posted by y2karl at 1:27 PM on February 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


She’s an actress.

I have to wonder if she's someone's sock puppet...
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 1:29 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Tea Partiers claim to be against government regulation of private industry, but their namesakes opposed the loosening of governmental regulation on tea exports.

Can you clarify this? My knowledge of history is woeful, but I thought the Boston Tea Party was held by a bunch of Whigs who resented the Crown's taxation of tea imported into the States. Did I fall for someone's spin here?

Per Wikipedia, the Tea Act let the East India Co. import tea directly to America without paying a duty, but left in place the 3p/lb tax Americans paid to the Crown, and that's what pissed off Sam Adams.
posted by nicwolff at 1:31 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whereas, as an LA Times op-ed piece I read this week points out, the common denominator of the Tea Party composition seems to be a lot of 60s-era boomers who missed out on the revolution in 1968 (or dropped out of it, or shied away from it, or were too scared of its consequences to deal with it, etc., etc.) and see this, consciously or not, as a chance to re-stage the revolution.

Or they were on the winning counter-revolutionary Nixon Youth team the last time and now feel, that, with the election of Barack Obama, the hippies have finally won. These folks were never for peace, love and interracial understanding. And, too, the tea bag crowd in general looks a little too old to be baby boomers. More like Bitter Tail End Greatest Generationers--call them the Andy Hardy Party.
posted by y2karl at 1:44 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Topically in all things Tea Party: Rumor-panic, defined. Interesting times, yep.
posted by Drastic at 1:48 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


The complete Tea Party philosophy in three words:

I GOT MINE


This is not true. Reading the linked NYT article, I got the sense that the Tea Party movement is fueled by people who have been affected by the devastating recession of the past few years, and that if there were more jobs and more "hope" (to steal a word from Obama), this movement would dry up.

Start making working capital available to small businesses again, and you would solve a lot of problems.

On one hand, it's great to see the Republican Party divided (that is, if re-electing the Democrats is perceived as a good thing); on the other hand, it's frightening to think that the Tea Party movement will eliminate any moderation in the Republican Party.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:52 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also: why is Glenn Beck self-consciously wearing a crypto-fascist uniform on the cover of his new book?

When I saw the book on the rack, I thought someone must be parodying the guy, but he really seems to enjoy looking like a Nazi. He just gives me the creeps.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:54 PM on February 28, 2010


Well, one thing I found out after encountering this thread is that there are seven Stewie Griffin Twitter accounts. Which reminded me of when I was working customer service at Amazon and received an email from Psycho2879@Aol.* People can be so darn imaginative sometimes.

*Well, not exactly--address changed for reasons of consideration, you know...
posted by y2karl at 2:01 PM on February 28, 2010


The pic from the NPR link reminds me of Microsoft's recent Laptop Hunters campaign to take back Apple converts. Everything from the hair and glasses to the dollars-in-hand imagery.
posted by marco_nj at 2:07 PM on February 28, 2010


nicwolff: your "Per Wikipedia" described what I'm referring to. I'm no historian so please correct me if I'm mistaken about any of the following, but this is my understanding of it:

The East India Company had previously been prohibited from exporting tea directly to the colonies, and the Tea Act removed that restriction because it was bad for business. (cue Republicans: "yay for the free market and deregulation!")

However, what was bad for legitimate business was great for smugglers, who had established quite a lucrative market for contraband tea. If I understand it correctly, allowing the EIC to legitimately export tea to the colonies would have caused the price of tea to plummet (and the quality to soar, incidentally).

The original Tea Partiers were protesting the effects of the Tea Act, but the principle they were defending ("no taxation without representation") was really more applicable to the Townshend Acts, which established the precedent that Britain had the authority to tax the colonies. The Tea Act didn't create any new taxes, but it created a new market that would be subject to the Townshend taxation.

So in defense of the original Tea Party principles, buying smuggled tea was more expensive but sent no money directly to the crown. Buying EIC tea after the Tea Act would have been cheaper but would have been a tacit acknowledgement that Britain had the power to tax the colonies.

On the other hand, as I understand it, some of the organizing elements of the Boston Tea Party had a direct financial stake in tea smuggling (John Hancock is the famous example I've heard), so defending the principle was conveniently in their personal interest.
posted by Riki tiki at 2:09 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I see this young person in the TP, my gut reaction is: "traitor!"... but, then again, she's getting hers, and that seems to be what the TP is all about.

I live in DC. We have so many thousands of young, pierced (and unpierced) liberal activists that the New York Times is never going to come and profile them as anything "special," and if you are one of that crowd, the pay is lower and you'll get a lot less individual attention.
She put out the word to some friends from the Young Republicans

Do they really have 30 year olds in the Young Republicans? How old do you need to be before you can graduate to grown-up party membership?
I don't know if you mean this in a tongue-in-cheek way or not, but the truth is that young Republicans range all the way up to 40. The head of the young Republicans, Audra Shay, is at least 38 years old.
posted by deanc at 2:17 PM on February 28, 2010


These folks were never for peace, love and interracial understanding.

I didn't mean to imply that they were. If I did, I misspoke. I was trying to say that they saw appeal in (or felt on some level that they missed out on) the sturm und drang of the revolution, the excitement, the notoriety -- not the politics, which they generally abhorred.

You may well be right that they are probably much more likely to be what you termed Bitter Tail End Greatest Generation-ers, part of the pro-Nixon "Silent Majority," than they are boomers, although it's fair to say that there were probably boomers who loved Nixon and everything he stood for, though some may not have been old enough to vote when he was in office, and they later transferred that love to Reagan and his political descendants.

I still think that many (not all) of these Tea Party types have a secret longing for the revolutionary upheaval of the 60s, even if they vocally and heatedly disavow the politics, the dirty hippies, and the social implications of the movement itself. That would seem doubly true for people like Keri who weren't there and long (if only subconsciously) for the turbulence that people in her parents' generation experienced directly.
posted by blucevalo at 2:22 PM on February 28, 2010


Get yourself a brand new scene,
Keep your collars white and clean,
It's time to come and join the young conservatives.
posted by Ian A.T. at 2:41 PM on February 28, 2010


"I bounce around in my solutions to the problem." Let's tear down the government and replace it with - well, I haven't decided yet. Cuz that's a hard question!

Brainless twit.
posted by wadefranklin at 2:45 PM on February 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Start making working capital available to small businesses again, and you would solve a lot of problems.

I think that the politics that animates these folks goes way beyond capital or the lack thereof. As Frank Rich points out in the piece that Astro Zombie links, the Tea Party is a culmination of a lot of seething hatreds and disgruntlements that have been brewing for years, since at least Bill Clinton was in office, some but not all of which have to do with the recession. The John Birch Society has booths at Tea Party events, for Pete's sake. The problem is not a simple function of injecting capital, and merely injecting capital would not make the Tea Party go away.
posted by blucevalo at 2:47 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


At work a large number of copies of the Eau Claire Journal, a local Tea Party rag, have been left out. The copy I read was highly xenophobic, at times racist, biggoted and juvenile. The most horrifying thing I read in it was an attempt to rally support for Uganda. Now normally this would seem like a good thing but the support in question was to help them defeat the 'loud mouthed homosexual lobby' who aren't too happy about legislation that criminalizes homosexuality with penalties up to and including life imprisonment.
posted by substrate at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also: why is Glenn Beck self-consciously wearing a crypto-fascist uniform on the cover of his new book?

When I saw the book on the rack, I thought someone must be parodying the guy, but he really seems to enjoy looking like a Nazi. He just gives me the creeps.


Actually, that uniform would work as a Soviet one just as well. Totalitarian in any case. Authoritarianism is always in fashion with a certain segment of the populace.
posted by VikingSword at 2:53 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem is not a simple function of injecting capital, and merely injecting capital would not make the Tea Party go away.

I disagree. I think many of these people have legitimate grievances, having worked hard and "done everything right all their lives", only to see their wealth disappear the past few years while the government bails out big banks and big business. Many of these people are pissed off at the same things that piss of the MetaFiltertariot. They're just (IMO) misdirecting that rage.

A couple of months ago I was driving home from work, about 530pm, and saw a group of idiots on the corner with Obama/Hitler signs and megaphones, and all I could think was "get a job". Kind of mean-spirited, and probably the same thing these same people thought about anti-war protesters.

I know I feel strongly about health care reform, but as someone busting his ass just to keep his job all I end up doing is donating some money. If I wasn't employed I'd be out there pounding the streets too.

The lines of credit that small businesses depend on just arent there anymore. And I know more than one small businessman who has had their credit card company lower their limit, jack up their rates, etc. People are hurting, and the banks are making it worse, after we bailed them out to the tune of trillions of dollars. I'm seriously pissed off and would be more pissed off if I was a small businessman. Something needs to be done to get banks lending again if we're going to have a real economic recovery (meaning people back to work, not just the DJIA going up).
posted by kableh at 2:59 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. The anarchist is the scum of the intellectual world of the left, which has given them up. So the right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the Libertarian movement.

Pope Guilty, you have just blown my fucking mind. Ayn Rand said something that actually kinda makes sense? Fuck me.
posted by Jimbob at 3:08 PM on February 28, 2010


Also: why is Glenn Beck self-consciously wearing a crypto-fascist uniform on the cover of his new book
?


Four cans, a six pack does not make.
posted by y2karl at 3:09 PM on February 28, 2010


Many of these people are pissed off at the same things that piss off the MetaFiltertariot.

Macs and declawed cats ?
posted by y2karl at 3:11 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


the best part about the tea party is that literally the only thing you need to do to move up the ranks is to not be a gross looking old white guy

stop the presses i got a hot story it's another uneducated white person who thinks systemic poverty is exclusively the fault of the poor but this time it's a g-g-g-g-g-GIRL!!!!!
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:14 PM on February 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


nice freudian slip in the filename too
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:15 PM on February 28, 2010


who spent their teens having daddy issues with George W. Bush: "I love him, he makes me feel safe!" "I hate him, he violates my privacy!"

... And a love of the rack and the screw.
And I said I do, I do ...

She looks nothing like the costumed woman in the blog painting. I've been masturbating to a lie!

This will come as a shock, but Pam Geller doesn't look like her photo, either.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:29 PM on February 28, 2010


JimBob: Ayn Rand, for all her many, many, many flaws, pretty frequently said some pretty smart things. You need to assume in advance that it'll be blown hilariously out of proportion and it'll be horridly egocentric and she won't have thought it through, but those combined aren't a terrible set of traits — though I certainly wish fewer people hailed it so.

Quotes of her that I rather like:

"A culture is made — or destroyed — by its articulate voices."
"The only thing worse than not defending the good is to defend it poorly."
"When I die, I hope to go to heaven, wherever the hell that is."

I will always have a fondness for her. She's not often right, but her wrongnesses are so adorable.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:32 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ayn Rand said something that actually kinda makes sense?

She might have, if she knew the first thing about the history of politics. She's old enough to know that anarchism is a leftist ideology, but not educated enough to understand that the self-professed "anarchists" of the Libertarian Party had almost nothing in common with the historical anarchist movement.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:34 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


ook: The complete Tea Party philosophy in three words:

I GOT MINE

hangashore: Needs one more word:

FUCK YOU, GOT MINE.


In a few years' time:

FUCK YOU, I'M EATING.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:39 PM on February 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


A(narchist) is A(narchist)! being the main confusion, I suspect.
posted by Drastic at 3:39 PM on February 28, 2010


Single issue famewhore. Fuck her.
posted by djduckie at 3:41 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


@ Lentrohamsanin

I know, I was taking the piss out of Cool Pappa. I thought it was rich that he was correcting the pierced conservative on such a narrow point of Objectivist philosophy while simultaneously attempting to remain a closeted Randroid.
posted by aquathug at 3:54 PM on February 28, 2010


as Objectivism holds private altruism to be as evil as the government variety

I mostly only remember this from Anton LaVey stealing it, but I think the idea was it's evil because people only give to charity to falsely make themselves look better in the eyes of others and it's all a big bullshit game of appearances that helps nobody, essentially. I always thought that was completely stupid, even when I agreed with a lot of other Rand-ian crap as a kid.
posted by DecemberBoy at 3:55 PM on February 28, 2010


Teabaggers and conservatives, making the world safe for bigots and corporations!

I don't think "enemy" means what these idiots think it means.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:01 PM on February 28, 2010


FUCK YOU, I'M EATING.

CAN'T TALK, 'BATIN.
posted by The Whelk at 4:06 PM on February 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


CAN'T TALK, 'BATIN.

I LIKE MONEY
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:11 PM on February 28, 2010


On a more serious note--I think the rage in question is in part an inchoate rage, formless and not entirely of the realm of waking consciousness. The tea baggers are folks faced by the end of their sense of entitlement and they're mad as hell about it.

As individuals, we have an instinct for destruction, which we usually rein in before the end of childhood--in groups, and especially in mob situations like riots, the collective instinct towards property destruction can be amplified to something greater than the sum of its individual parts. The psychoanalytic writer Joseph Berke referred to this as the tyranny of malice--oversimplified, he contends that envy, greed and jealousy are what drives us in the context of groups and as individuals and that we need to study the dark side of human nature and respect its role in political struggle. Although, as a writer, he is far too Freudian for my tastes, all the same, I think he is on to something.

But we don't call it the dark side for nothing--the problem of our dark sides, alone or together, is that it is hard to see, let alone confess to selfishness, greed and an appetite for destruction in ourselves as individuals, we just don't like to look at it. And collectively, we can be swept up by mob emotions and steal and destroy property in a narcissitic catharthis. The short version: we are motivated by malice, by selfishness, greed and envy and sometimes, in groups, we just like to bust shit up, for no good reasons and plenty of bad ones.
posted by y2karl at 4:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


narcissistic, that is...
posted by y2karl at 4:22 PM on February 28, 2010


I live in DC. We have so many thousands of young, pierced (and unpierced) liberal activists that the New York Times is never going to come and profile them as anything "special," and if you are one of that crowd, the pay is lower and you'll get a lot less individual attention.

It's called "dog bites man." There aren't enough pages in the nation's newspapers to profile all of the young, pierced liberal activists. Also, for the most part, they aren't anything "special."
posted by Slap Factory at 4:31 PM on February 28, 2010


The psychoanalytic writer Joseph Berke referred to this as the tyranny of malice--oversimplified, he contends that envy, greed and jealousy are what drives us in the context of groups and as individuals and that we need to study the dark side of human nature and respect its role in political struggle. Although, as a writer, he is far too Freudian for my tastes, all the same, I think he is on to something.

Goodbye Wiemar! *clink*
posted by The Whelk at 4:35 PM on February 28, 2010


Just so we're clear, Keli Carender is not from Seattle. Her Jet City Improv bio lists her hometown as El Paso, she graduated from Mercer Island High School, and she's registered to vote at her parents' home in Bremerton. She may live here now, but she's not from here, as a number of profiles of her have said. It's a little thing, but it bugs me.
posted by hades at 4:40 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know, I was taking the piss out of Cool Pappa. I thought it was rich that he was correcting the pierced conservative on such a narrow point of Objectivist philosophy while simultaneously attempting to remain a closeted Randroid.

And you thought this would be a good contribution to the thread because...?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:52 PM on February 28, 2010


Actually, that uniform would work as a Soviet one just as well. Totalitarian in any case. Authoritarianism is always in fashion with a certain segment of the populace.

Umm, wasn't Beck dressed in the uniform meant to be somewhat satirical, a la Colonel Klink?
posted by Think_Long at 4:55 PM on February 28, 2010


Ayn Rand said something that actually kinda makes sense?

Even a stopped clock tells the right time yadda yadda yadda
posted by KokuRyu at 4:56 PM on February 28, 2010


Consonants Without Vowels: "...[Randians should] create their own country where they can all come together to collectively not give a shit about each other."

You owe me a keyboard. The funny thing is Randians and Tea Baggers can't see past this fundamental irony of their philosophy.
posted by zardoz at 4:58 PM on February 28, 2010


I'm still wondering what is possibly of interest in this story. Hipster-style-affecting conservative young person in Seattle? Anyone hear of the Mars Hill Church? (And, really, she's only a little bit further on the kewl kidz continuum from Meaghan McCain.) I'm not seeing a lot here besides a minor talent for getting attention. And getting attention from a newspaper that's eager to replenish its constantly-shrinking readership by any means necessary isn't quite the mark of distinction that it used to be.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:13 PM on February 28, 2010


I know, I was taking the piss out of Cool Pappa. I thought it was rich that he was correcting the pierced conservative on such a narrow point of Objectivist philosophy while simultaneously attempting to remain a closeted Randroid.

I'd really love to know in what universe a reading of my posts ends up at "closeted Randroid." Is that Earth 2 or Earth 616? Which one is the one where Lex Luthor is the good guy?

Bah dum bump, khssss. Just remember kids, you can't spell Cool Papa Bell without three Ps. Oh wait, you totally can...
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:22 PM on February 28, 2010


I'm still wondering what is possibly of interest in this story.

That times 10.
posted by aquathug at 5:22 PM on February 28, 2010


I'd really love to know in what universe a reading of my posts ends up at "closeted Randroid."

OK, I'll bite. This is you, right?

Spineless managers ... forced to negotiate under rules determined by the National Labor Relations Board, an independent government agency originally formulated not by election, but by executive order, because the Supreme Court tossed out its predecessor agency. An agency that hasn't even had a board quorom in...

The problem with Superman Returns wasn't Superman. It was the same problem that all superhero stories have.

It's the villain. The villain, the villain, the villain. The villain always has to be the most interesting character. A superhero story lives and dies based on its villain, and to a lesser extent, it's supporting characters' interaction with the villain.

WHERE THE FUCK CAN I GET A JOB LIKE THIS? I mean, seriously. I want to fail upward. Sign my ass up. How many pints of blood do you want for this deal?

Said it before...

The argument that "there's no supermarkets in the 'hood" misses a colossal point, which is, if there were money to be made, someone would be making it (or trying to make it).

The fact that you don't see supermarkets in the bad parts of town is indicative that the people running supermarket chains have looked at the numbers, and simply don't like what they see.
arket chains have looked at the numbers, and simply don't like what they see.


I could keep going, but why?
posted by aquathug at 5:36 PM on February 28, 2010


Oh, punk, please. While your grubby little fingers were doing Google searches, I was making a plea for people to tip waitstaff correctly. Does that sound Randian to you?

Ess. Tee. Eff. Up.

Look, I'm going upstairs to cook dinner for my autistic son. The one that needs the special education teachers. That I get from the government. Which I don't think does enough for the disabled, like him.

Does THAT sound very Randian to you? I guess in your mind's eye, I'm constantly looking around for cliffs to throw him off of, so he's not a drag on society?

Jesus, don't you have better things to do with your time?

Fuck, don't I have better things to do with my time? "Remove from recent activity" button, here I come.

And what the fuck does film criticism have to do with anything? Dude, go show your red ass to someone else.

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:49 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok. You're BOTH not Randian. Can we go back to letting people make fun of the girl in the story and her views now?
posted by Slap Factory at 5:58 PM on February 28, 2010


I'm curious what nonprofit she works for and where its money comes from.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 5:59 PM on February 28, 2010


That NPR profile blows my mind. You can gain national media attention for being the "rising star" of a political movement and still make statements like:
"I tried to boil down in essence what makes me so angry about it," Carender says. "And it was this idea that he and other people decide what the needs are in society. They get to decide. But in order to fund those things, they have to take from some people in order to give to the other people."
So what you are saying is that what makes you so angry are, respectively: (1) representative democracy, and (2) the concept of taxes. Talk about some hard-hitting political insight!!! !!! !!!

For fucking out loud, I guess trying to come up with some internally-consistent argument for why it's okay for the government to take money from some people to build highways for other people or to crank out more comically expensive fighter jets for literally no reason, but not so that people can afford not to die senselessly, is one of those Tough Questions that she and the rest of her buddies will just have to "bounce around" on. In between all of the free publicity she's getting for being a conservative who wears glasses.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2010 [13 favorites]


Hey I'm just glad she's found something to do after that MTV gig. Looks like this tea party thing was good for something after all!

Wait, we are talking about Kennedy, right?...right?
posted by washburn at 3:28 PM on February 28 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


searched for but could not find a link to the early 90s Details magazine interview with Kennedy in which she says she wants to have a slumber party with Louis Farrakhan -- "We could give each other facials and trash whitey."

this is that kind of joke, right?
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:18 PM on February 28, 2010


I swear if political news coverage doesn't give me a stroke in the next two years, there is a good chance it will drive me to feed myself to a goddamn shark and pay somebody to run over the remains with a steamroller made out of magma
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:22 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ayn Rand, for all her many, many, many flaws, pretty frequently said some pretty smart things.

No, I don't think so. Even where she sounds right, she was being being strictly platitudinous: "individuality is good," "freedom is good," "reason is good," etc. But, in fact, everything else in her philosophy suggests either that she didn't believe her own platitudes or she didn't understand them. Rand could sloganeer with the best and she had a real talent for self-promotion, but she was never "smart" in the sense of being profound.

"The only thing worse than not defending the good is to defend it poorly."

This assertion is a perfect example. Yes, it sounds rousing, but it asks us to believe that defending "the good" poorly, or by half-measures, is actually worse than to choose to not defend it at all. If we will not devote every minute of our lives to defending "the good"--whatever that is--then we may as well not defend it at all. This is a recipe for producing fanatics and nihilists. It certainly isn't any way to run a human polity, because that polity will be made up of people who, mostly, want to believe in "the good" but who will inevitably defend it poorly (if they defend it at all). Randroids, Stalinists, some lefties, the Teabaggers, none of them have any patience with this fact.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:23 PM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


LOL ANTI-STATISTS
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:24 PM on February 28, 2010


This assertion is a perfect example. Yes, it sounds rousing, but it asks us to believe that defending "the good" poorly, or by half-measures, is actually worse than to choose to not defend it at all.

I don't think she's saying "Don't ever do something if you're not going to do it well". She is, however, saying that if you're going to do something, you learn to do it well. This is backed up by countless scenes in her novels wherein characters suck at something, are mocked for being bad, but in the process improve to the point where eventually those same people wonder how they ever got good.

I first read The Fountainhead in 2006, and found Rand. There was an incident wherein right before the election, John Kerry said something — I forget what — meaning well, but his words aroused a tremendous hatred toward himself and, vicariously, the entire Democrat party. So I had that saying by Rand in my mind, and it seemed to apply perfectly.

It's not enough, in other words, to be on the "right side". You also need to put effort into furthering whatever cause you believe in. That's a lesson I think every passionate person ought to take to heart. You only start helping your cause when you mature your beliefs and your skills enough to really be competent. Before then, you need to understand that you're probably hurting more than you're helping.

Why am I defending Ayn Rand quotes on the Internet
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:35 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the stopped clock is right twice a day, the clock running backwards is right twice as often.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:38 PM on February 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Time for a new term to describe 'opinion leaders' like Carender: Teapotheads
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:40 PM on February 28, 2010


"Sometimes I think, well, maybe it really should be just state, and there should be no federal part in it at all."

So basically a states' rights facist, like Ron Paul. Isn't it funny how the ones who've never had their civil liberties threatened want to do away with federal protections?
posted by Eideteker at 6:41 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


the entire Democrat party.

Democrat-ic, party, please. Only Rush Limbaugh and the Freepers have ever used the locution "Democrat party."

I don't think she's saying "Don't ever do something if you're not going to do it well". She is, however, saying that if you're going to do something, you learn to do it well.

Which is all good. But she's also saying--if your quote is accurate--that trying to do good badly is worse than choosing not to do good at all. Which is, frankly, silly. There may be times where pursuing a course of action badly is worse that doing nothing at all, but as individuals, in our day-to-day moral lives, we mostly pursue "the good" half-heartedly. Rand's formulation makes the good the enemy of the best. In politics and life that almost always leads to the pursuit of purity for its own sake (as, in fact it did in Rand's own life).
posted by octobersurprise at 7:01 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't think she's saying "Don't ever do something if you're not going to do it well". She is, however, saying that if you're going to do something, you learn to do it well.

While I think you made a fine effort at justifying it, if what you say is true then Ayn Rand is either horribly inept at expressing pedestrian sentiments or willfully obtuse.

There are two reasons that Ayn Rand is usually picked up and discarded in one's teenage years:

1. The ARI Essay Contests
2. Objectivism appeals to people who are narrow-minded or stupid enough to buy the notion of a utopia emerging from everyone treating each other like shit.
posted by uri at 7:06 PM on February 28, 2010


Maybe nose rings don't mean a thing after all.

For what it's worth, I decided not to get one. Nose rings carry meaning, as Keli Carender's ring demonstrates, and I'm not sure whether the positive connotations that some people have of them outweigh the negative.
posted by pecknpah at 7:08 PM on February 28, 2010


Oops, that's meant to be italicized. Edit window, please!
posted by pecknpah at 7:08 PM on February 28, 2010


Keli Carender is not from Seattle. Her Jet City Improv bio lists her hometown as El Paso, she graduated from Mercer Island High School, and she's registered to vote at her parents' home in Bremerton. She may live here now, but she's not from here, as a number of profiles of her have said. It's a little thing, but it bugs me.

Man, Seattlites can be such snobs about their city. Yet another person shunned because she wasn't, I dunno, conceived and born in the middle of Farmer's Market downtown. I guess living in Seattle (well, Bremerton) from high school isn't good enough. Funny thing is Seattlites are otherwise so nice, aside from their cold shoulder to outsiders. It's a little thing, but it bugs me, too.
posted by zardoz at 7:20 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are two reasons that Ayn Rand is usually picked up and discarded in one's teenage years...

Disturbing trend possibly worth noting (and which I have no systematic data to support): it is my impression that Rand is increasingly *assigned* reading in public high schools.
posted by washburn at 7:23 PM on February 28, 2010


Ayn Rand, Hugely Popular Author and Inspiration to Right-Wing Leaders, Was a Big Admirer of Serial Killer
posted by Skygazer at 7:25 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I read this this morning and thought that she strikes me as the most lothesome of the teabaggers, the contrarians. I spend way to much of my spare time reading political blogs and the teabaggers are an uneasy alliance of the crazy libertarians, crazy John Birch-type right wingers and contrarian knuckle heads.
Carender doesn't sound like a woman with well thought out beliefs, but a contrarian attention hog, in love with the sound of her own voice and the glint of her groovy nose ring in her mirror. I can't wait to see how the tea baggers do attempting to come to an agreement on anything, as to date all they have been able to do is yammer on about what they dislike. They all deserve a President Palin, rolling back all taxes, letting big oil and other corporations do whatever they want and then praying for divine intervention when the shit hits the fan. The rest of us don't deserve such a fate, and common sense will win, so we won't get to see these dopes get their deserved comeuppance.
posted by readery at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


and common sense will win

You are a very optimistic person.
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 PM on February 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mother Jones: Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason
In the belief that the government is already turning on its citizens, they are recruiting military buddies, stashing weapons, running drills, and outlining a plan of action. For years, they say, police and military have trained side by side in local anti-terrorism exercises around the nation. In September 2008, the Army began training the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team to provide humanitarian aid following a domestic disaster or terror attack—and to help with crowd control and civil unrest if need be. (The ACLU has expressed concern about this deployment.) And some of Pray's comrades were guinea pigs for military-grade sonic weapons, only to see them used by Pittsburgh police against protesters last fall.

Most of the men's gripes revolve around policies that began under President Bush but didn't scare them so much at the time. "Too many conservatives relied on Bush's character and didn't pay attention," founder Rhodes told me. "Only now, with Obama, do they worry and see what has been done. I trusted Bush to only go after the terrorists. But what do you think can happen down the road when they say, 'I think you are a threat to the nation?'"

In Pray's estimate, it might not be long (months, perhaps a year) before President Obama finds some pretext—a pandemic, a natural disaster, a terror attack—to impose martial law, ban interstate travel, and begin detaining citizens en masse. One of his fellow Oath Keepers, a former infantryman, advised me to prepare a "bug out" bag with 39 items including gas masks, ammo, and water purification tablets, so that I'd be ready to go "when the shit hits the fan."
posted by cashman at 7:43 PM on February 28, 2010


After reading through much of this thread I have to chuckle a bit. There's a lot of derision, snarky commentary and knee jerk reactions to a topic which probably should be taken a bit more seriously. First of all, there is a tendency to focus on fringe members of political groups. In this way PETA and Greenpeace are made out to be the 'face' of the environmental/socialist/loony left. Abortion doctor murderers, evangelical preachers, Dick Cheney and Bernie Madoff are the 'face' of the reactionary right.

But Metafilter knows better than this, right? We're smart enough and saavy enough to know that these people don't necessarily represent the entire group, right?

That said, the teaparty movement seems to be attracting a lot of people who are, for better or worse, best classed as 'pissed off'. These are people who at one end have had their manufacturing plant moved to Mexico or China, whose best job opportunity is Wal-Mart, who served their country and cannot find work outside of the armed forces, who truly believe that America is special and great...but can't seem to get ahead. They may not be able to express it eloquently or understand the nuances of the policy governing them, but they feel that 20 years of politicans have used them, lied to them and stolen their livelihoods. These guys may not understand the nuanced definition of "socialist" or that medicare and medicaid are indeed government run programs, but they do know when they just plain don't trust someone any longer, and that someone is Washington, DC.

At the other end you have the professionals who worked hard, saved, invested and lived within their means. They have watched government become increasingly captured by a sickening corporatist mentality that privatizes profit and socializes the risk. They've watched as the financial system collapsed due to crony politicians working in concert with fraudulent financiers and they've seen nobody indicted, nobody held accountable, nobody taken to task. In many cases they've struggled to keep their mortgages current even though the value has fallen so far as to make it a lost cause and now they have to look around and wonder if they're just the big suckers who keep it up while everyone else cashes out. These guys have played by the rules, paid their fair share and now looking ahead don't see a happy retirement, but worry.

People are starting to realize that our way of life these past 30 years is financially unsustainable. Yes, this includes social and environmental issues as well, but in typical fashion we don't move on things until we begin to feel it financially. People are.

In short, there is a deep, vague sense of unease at how the country is running right now. There are many tributaries feeding this unease, but at the root it is a sense that we have a lost a sense of FAIRNESS in this country. This isn't the same as the stereotypical middle American crying "This country's goin' straight to hell, son...pass the Budweiser," this is something much, much more and I think we do a disservice to ignore or to mock this sentiment.

The reaction to the original Bush TARP program ran 700 to ONE against in polling. The auto bailouts, cash for clunkers and Obama stimulus program ran similar polling numbers, and yet Washington rammed through all of those pieces of legislation. The administration bungled healthcare by not listening to the electorate on issues of both substance and style by trying to push the bill through at the same time that voters were starting to feel agitated. The subsequent watering down and clear corporate influences in later legislation sure as hell didn't help to quell things.

Say what you want about the teaparty, but dismiss it at your own peril. It's almost like a modern day "awakening" where people are now coming to the realization that you cannot sell your industrial base to foreigners, de-regulate to benefit only one small group of special interests, mislead the public and fund it all through debt forever.

I think that people sense something big is coming and that the last two years were merely the prelude. While they may not be able to express it eloquently or clearly, that sentiment must be addressed, lest it be pounced upon and marshaled by a demagogue.
posted by tgrundke at 7:43 PM on February 28, 2010 [16 favorites]


Umm ... hey, nosering babe? Rand didn't believe in charity, either.

Cite?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:49 PM on February 28, 2010


Can someone just start another Ayn Rand thread already? Maybe there's a Rand forum out there somewhere you could all join?
posted by The Hamms Bear at 8:16 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


ZenMasterThis:

"My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong in helping other people, if and when they are worthy of the help and you can afford to help them. I regard charity as a marginal issue. What I am fighting is the idea that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."

Ayn Rand in 1964 Playboy interview.
posted by webhund at 8:40 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


These are people who at one end have had their manufacturing plant moved to Mexico or China, whose best job opportunity is Wal-Mart,
...
The auto bailouts, cash for clunkers and Obama stimulus program ran similar polling numbers, and yet Washington rammed through all of those pieces of legislation.


It's pretty rich for you to claim that the nation is simultaneously angry at the fact that we have no manufacturing base and that the US tried to save the auto industry and its manufacturing subcontractors.

All I know is that the tea partiers were pretty darn unconcerned about the fact that the previous president squandered the surplus handed to him by clinton, were totally gung-ho about invading Iraq, and were convinced that John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 are secretly plotting to engage in a foreign-backed socialist plot to undermine America.

they feel that 20 years of politicans have used them, lied to them and stolen their livelihoods.

That's true. And the same politicians that have used them, lied to them, and stolen their livelihoods are doing it again because they see the tea partiers and figure that votes can be gained by ginning up some traditional agitation against the fact that a Democrat is president.

It's almost like a modern day "awakening"

Did you sleep through the 1990s? This is just a modern day "awakening" to the fact that a Democrat is president and thus must be a drug dealing murderer hellbent on undermining America while corrupting the purity of essence of our precious bodily fluids.
posted by deanc at 8:42 PM on February 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


These guys may not understand the nuanced definition of "socialist" or that medicare and medicaid are indeed government run programs, but they do know when they just plain don't trust someone any longer, and that someone is Washington, DC.

But isn't it convenient that that "mistrust" happened to find its loudest and most outraged public expression approximately a few weeks after a man named Obama was elected to highest office in the land. And it didn't limit itself to mere expressions of mistrust -- it expanded to include questions about why that damn charlatan didn't produce a legitimate birth certificate proving that he wasn't born in Kenya or Indonesia, among other things.

The administration bungled healthcare by not listening to the electorate on issues of both substance and style by trying to push the bill through at the same time that voters were starting to feel agitated.

Listening to the electorate? Or listening to Glenn Beck, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, and Laura Ingraham? The last I checked, public opinion was still pretty much divided on the health care reform agenda. You make it sound like it was 90-10% against from day one. And who "agitated" the "electorate," exactly? It couldn't have been the noble Tea Party Patriots!

Also, the "bill" has never been "pushed through." The Senate and the House both voted on the bill. It passed in both houses. The other side didn't have enough votes to prevent it from passing. That's called democracy, not "pushing it through."

It's almost like a modern day "awakening" where people are now coming to the realization that you cannot sell your industrial base to foreigners, de-regulate to benefit only one small group of special interests, mislead the public and fund it all through debt forever.

It's not an awakening. It's a falling asleep. It's narcolepsy. It's sleepwalking. It's zombie politics.

While they may not be able to express it eloquently or clearly, that sentiment must be addressed, lest it be pounced upon and marshaled by a demagogue.

You seem to believe that demagogues are not already marshalling the sentiment (they have indeed been doing so since the Tea Party sprung into view). Where do you think these people get the money and organization to put on their theater other than from demagogues? As for eloquence and clarity, it's not a matter of either of those things -- it's a matter of a blind refusal to accept reality and a deep-seated desire to re-organize reality to fit their schema.
posted by blucevalo at 9:12 PM on February 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


tgrundke: That said, the teaparty movement seems to be attracting a lot of people who are, for better or worse, best classed as 'pissed off'. These are people... who truly believe that America is special and great...but can't seem to get ahead. They... feel that 20 years of politicans have used them, lied to them and stolen their livelihoods. ... They have watched government become increasingly captured by a sickening corporatist mentality that privatizes profit and socializes the risk. They've watched as the financial system collapsed due to crony politicians working in concert with fraudulent financiers and they've seen nobody indicted, nobody held accountable, nobody taken to task.... People are starting to realize that our way of life these past 30 years is financially unsustainable.

You know what? The people who feel this way have legitimate beef, and I sympathize with their plight. I really do. But I think the reason for all the "derision and snarky commentary" is that, from this reasonable professed starting point, they launch off into crazyland.

I mean, if you're sick of fraudulent financiers with no accountability, wouldn't you be protesting in the streets to demand increased regulation? If the livelihood of the average guy is being stolen, wouldn't you want to be able to rely on a safety net for when it happens to you, assuming it hasn't already?

These people say they're vehemently opposed to government spending, but they draw the line at fucking health care reform. They are fighting tooth and nail against a process that was at some point in the distant past intended to force fat cat corporations into treating people with some minimum level of care and use competition to drive down middleman profits waste. Why do you never hear about these people marching against spending that doesn't actively help their fellow citizens, such as massive military aid to Israel, or the TSA? Are they too naive or dumb to notice that their positions are glaringly inconsistent, or are they just dishonest about their real motivations (e.g., the "got mine, fuck you" mindset mentioned above)? As far as I'm concerned, the latter warrants derision, and the former snarky commentary.

(It's amusing how many articles point out that Tea Party activists weren't upset about the invasion of Iraq. Of course they weren't -- that was a test run for the kind of non-sequitur political action they're demanding today. "Hey, aren't you upset and scared about what happened on 9/11? Let's go bomb the shit out of a nation of people who had nothing to do with it!")
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:21 PM on February 28, 2010 [10 favorites]


She might be new to the blogging or whatever, but she should know that a point by point rebuttal of some random dude's email is the boringest thing ever.
posted by bam at 9:29 PM on February 28, 2010


sorry, it's not a random dude, and it wasn't an email.
posted by bam at 9:30 PM on February 28, 2010


but still
posted by bam at 9:31 PM on February 28, 2010


FUCK YOU, I'M EATING PEOPLE

The Road was a prophecy and you don't want to know who was in the basement...
posted by afu at 9:50 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


People are starting to realize that our way of life these past 30 years is financially unsustainable. Yes, this includes social and environmental issues as well, but in typical fashion we don't move on things until we begin to feel it financially. People are.
No.

That is incorrect.

Some people are starting to believe that the socialists and the fat cats are ruining a good thing for the good capitalists, and unless the patriots are put in charge things will change for the worse. "Our way of life is fundamentally unsustainable" is precisely the sort of statement that they attack as liberal fear-mongering.

I agree wholeheartedly with many of the things you've said: the "wave of anger" that is part of the Tea Party's fuel is far more complex than guns n' god n' racism. There are legitimate grievances that many Americans have against the way the past several decades has gone. And the Democratic party has, without a doubt, suffered because it has been unable to articulate or implement anything resembling modern populism. Instead, they have coasted on a reputation for populism that is tied to old fights and past victories while reaping the benefits of corporate affiliation.

In the same breath, though, you give too much credit: I know a number of Tea Partiers and this sort of anger isn't new or focused. Isolationism, xenophobia, desperate classism, and a wild, angry inferiority complex are all part of the mix. Debts and deficits are a perfect example: they are not angry because the country is going deep into debt: the same crowd hated the last president to keep the country out of the red, and loved the guy who put us back in the hole. They are angry because they believe the country is going deep into debt giving money to the less fortunate.

This is not an attempt to slander or mis-characterize. I just think that it's very, very important that both sides of this are acknowledged and understood. There are legitimate grievances that fuel the Tea Party movement and those who nod thoughtfully when its figureheads speak. But those legitimate grievances are only the surface of a roiling cauldron of resentment, anger, and class hatred that pushes at the lid every chance it gets.

America isn't a Conservative nation or a Liberal nation. It is a Populist nation. The Tea Party movement grew out of party politics, and has metastasized, much to the Republicans' dismay. Democrats woudl be fools to ignore or mock it.
posted by verb at 9:50 PM on February 28, 2010 [14 favorites]


Democrats woudl be fools to ignore or mock it.

Fools to ignore it, assuredly. But fools to mock it? Why? Are these Tea Party Patriots some form of new sacred cow immune from mocking because they are (on the surface) Populists with a capital P? If they deserve mocking, they'll get it, with any luck -- and the more the better as far as I'm concerned.
posted by blucevalo at 9:58 PM on February 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


About two years ago, I happened to read Thomas Frank's "What's the Matter with Kansas?" It has been of enormous help in understanding the Tea Party movement and its rapid growth. As you read it, substitute "Tea Party" for "Moral Majority" and similar conservative movements of the 80's/90's. I'm not saying they're the same; just that there are some very interesting parallels - especially the degree to which the corporate/moneyed interests are able to co-opt the vigor and enthusiasm of the fundamentalist movements described in the book. The Tea Party movement is still fairly nascent, so it remains to be seen if this happens to them, but it all smells the same to me (just more overtly racist/xenophobic) so far.

On the other side of the aisle, if the progressives/liberals ever figure out how much they've been f*cked by Clinton (NAFTA, DOMA, DADT, etc..) and (perhaps) Obama (health care) in the interests of "centrism" ......
posted by webhund at 10:01 PM on February 28, 2010


It's weird, but I know a decent number of conservative people. Well, maybe not conservative as in they believe in an ideology like a stanch Republican, but more like those that identify with the Tea Party Movement. They're not ideologically pure; most of them are somewhat apolitical. The thing that links all of them is this belief in responsibility. Not to say that they are responsible people individually or collectively, or that they support people that are responsible, but they are deeply concerned with it as a virtue. And it's understandable. The responsible person says, "It was my fault. I'll pay for it." The responsible person takes care of their kids. The responsible person puts money away so they don't have to borrow from their friends chronically. The responsible person is not wretched.

And what do these people see when they look around them? They see politicians, which by their nature don't apologize unless they know that it's a way up in the polls. They see corporations that get massive bailouts when they were acting reckless with other peoples money all the while normal joes like them don't have a house any more. They see the State as a crutch for the irresponsible. Why give out welfare for people who are on drugs? Why pay for medical care? That's a person responsibility for them.

And they burn, they burn so hot because they don't know what to do. They weren't political before. They just lived their lives until the world exploded on them and everything became strange. They rail against the same government that makes everything they've done possible, because they honestly can't articulate their ideas and rage into anything. They don't likecorporations, but corporations were never suppose to be accountable to the People. They're paranoid now, not because they are going to be so much poorer because of an extra 1% in taxes, but because they lost control. They never had it, ya know, but they thought they did. They thought they had responsibility, they thought they had the system figured out.

Of course, the funny thing is that the people guiding this pent up rage aren't part of it at all. A Republican rep will shout to Tea Partiers about government spending while he just authorized the stimulus bill. Glen Beck will carefully guide this fear into something toxic.

The thing is, many of these people could be our allies (If you're part of Metafilter, you're at least partially and usually very socialist. There are no other acceptable political ideologies. Every so often you get a few Communists, but that can be explosive too.) Many have lost everything. Many fear they could be about to lose everything. This is where the evangelism comes in. Tell them that there's another way. That the world isn't changing; it's always been like this, especially for the poor. Now that we have 10% unemployment, we can convince them that not everyone who doesn't have a job is a lazy bum, and not everyone who is poor, is there because they didn't work hard enough. We have to channel that same language of responsibility, but we must both focus on the personal aspect and the collective aspect. This isn't some sort of rage-against-the-machine individual vs. The State.

Or we let far worse people capture that rage and turn it into a giant cannon and then let them aim it our society and culture. One way or another, these people are getting pissed.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:47 PM on February 28, 2010 [17 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, you feeling OK, big fella?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:06 PM on February 28, 2010


I think the idea was it's evil because people only give to charity to falsely make themselves look better in the eyes of others and it's all a big bullshit game of appearances that helps nobody, essentially.

Nah, Rand was against altruism because she massively misunderstood Nietzche and bastardized his concept of slave morality. To Rand, altruism is evil because it is an unnatural concept which is forced upon the strong by the weak in order to drain them of their strength and wealth.

Rand idolized the strong and the self-interested; the ideal Randian Man would be strong and smart and care only for his own interests. Since she fundamentally associates a person's wealth with that person as part of her fucked-up ideas about property, to give away your property and get nothing in exchange is, to Rand, to voluntarily make yourself a weaker person, and to not even get anything for it! That, to Rand, is an awful concept.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:14 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I believe that the New Right's waving of Rand as their standard is just punishment for the Left's flirtation with Lenin, Stalin, and Mao back in the 60's. We will all look back at days like that and realize that we were total morons for it.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:19 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


(If you're part of Metafilter, you're at least partially and usually very socialist.

Liberalism is not socialism- they are different political tendencies which are want different things and go about getting them in different ways. Government providing social services, regulating industry, and building infrastructure isn't socialism, for crying out loud- these are things that Adam fucking Smith laid out as valid functions of government. Buying into the right-wing frame that any function of government which is not the cops or the military is socialism feeds their narrative and gives strength, within the greater political context, to the Glenn Becks and Ron Pauls and Tea Partiers.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:19 PM on February 28, 2010 [11 favorites]


They weren't political before. They just lived their lives until the world exploded on them and everything became strange.

Yes, but they say strange, and it's really, really easy to suspect they mean, well, black Muslin socialistic birth-certificate-less devilish anti-christ, or whatever. Because their world didn't seem to explode until one guy moved out of the White House and another moved in.
posted by sallybrown at 11:21 PM on February 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


Well, do remember that several things happened at once: the economic downturn happened right in with the election. So as much as it would be nice to paint them just as racist, it isn't that helpful.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:23 PM on February 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What have we here?
Mysterious scribblings?
A secret code?
No, poems, no less! Poems, everybody!
a poet!

Money get back,
I'm all right, Jack.
Keep your hands off my stack.
New car,
caviar,
Four star daydream.
Think I'll buy me a football team.

Absolute rubbish, laddie.
Get on with your work
posted by Sparx at 1:58 AM on March 1, 2010


From the Frank Rich column:

"...at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)... The most rapturously received speaker was Beck, who likened the G.O.P. to an alcoholic in need of a 12-step program to recover from its “progressive-lite” collusion with federal government. "

Conservatism can never fail: it can only be failed.
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:03 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lord Chancellor: Very well put summary. I think you nailed it.
posted by tgrundke at 5:17 AM on March 1, 2010


And what do these people see when they look around them? They see politicians, which by their nature don't apologize unless they know that it's a way up in the polls. They see corporations that get massive bailouts when they were acting reckless with other peoples money all the while normal joes like them don't have a house any more.

I think you misunderstand the anger here. The tea partier anger isn't coming from people who find themselves, as regular joes, poor, unemployed, and out of a home. The tea partier anger is directed at the people who are poor, unemployed, and out of a home who are getting attention from the government. The tea partiers are primarily made up of people who still have their jobs and their homes and fear that the government is taking their money to help those who aren't "deserving."

The Santelli rant is a case in point here. He's there, on the floor of the stock exchange, surrounded by stock speculators cheering him on, and he's complaining about the immorality of loan modifications and bailouts for underwater homeowners, not about the bank bailouts.

The tea partiers aren't people upset and worried because unemployment is 10% and they're facing the reality of being poor and unemployed for the first time. They're angry that the government is trying to prevent job losses among those who are considered "undeserving and irresponsible."

The average joes who are unemployed losing their homes? They're not the tea partiers. They're one of the main targets of anger and hatred from the tea partiers, egged on by the tea partiers enablers from the right wing propaganda mills.
posted by deanc at 5:52 AM on March 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Because their world didn't seem to explode until one guy moved out of the White House and another moved in.

Very true.
posted by anniecat at 6:35 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


That she's an actress heartens me. I prefer to think of the Tea Party movement as a massive act of performance art; it keeps me from crying myself to sleep at night.

If you're part of Metafilter, you're at least partially and usually very socialist.

I took one of those silly FaceBook "What's Your Political Orientation?" quizzes and it defined me as "Slightly to the right of Ghandi." Sounds about right to me. That was my FB description of "Political Beliefs" until it started giving me pro-Scott Brown ads since the word "right" was in there.

I have also since gotten so annoyed with politics in the US (both sides), that I changed it to "Say what you will about democracy, at least it's an ethos." *sigh* The only thing keeping me from abandoning all hope is my secret affair with Rachel Maddow.

Ooops. I've said too much.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:37 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And they burn, they burn so hot because they don't know what to do. They weren't political before. They just lived their lives until the world exploded on them and everything became strange.

For all "black president" values of strange, of course.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:38 AM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Maybe we should call these people "Teapot Domes."
posted by Biblio at 6:43 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The average joes who are unemployed losing their homes? They're not the tea partiers. They're one of the main targets of anger and hatred from the tea partiers, egged on by the tea partiers enablers from the right wing propaganda mills.
You underestimate the power of double-standards.

My father in law is an interesting case in point. He and his wife live in an unheated rented farmhouse, hovering at the poverty line. They haven't had health insurance. ever, because he is self-employed doing "honest work" like house painting, wallpapering, and landscaping work. As a consequence, they are dozens of thousands of dollars in debt from decades of shortfalls, health emergencies, and missed rent.

He is, of course, rabidly deeply and antagonistic towards "liberals." When we visit he takes me aside to explain how Europe is collapsing due to their "cradle to grave welfare," and expresses his anger at the government "taking his money to give to people who won't work."

In the same breath, though, he is angry because a friend of his from church that has been unemployed for over a year has to jump through 'so much red tape' to continue getting unemployment benefits. The issue is not the unemployed getting aid. Rather, it is that our people! are being taxed to give those people! money for not working.
posted by verb at 6:57 AM on March 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


Fools to ignore it, assuredly. But fools to mock it? Why? Are these Tea Party Patriots some form of new sacred cow immune from mocking because they are (on the surface) Populists with a capital P? If they deserve mocking, they'll get it, with any luck -- and the more the better as far as I'm concerned.
I should clarify: I think that Democrats would be fools to simply mock this movement, just as they would be fools to simply mock Conservatism's appeals to legitimate virtue.
posted by verb at 7:01 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I teach college students at a pretty expensive private university, and I asked this morning if anybody would be willing to talk to me about the Tea Party. I've just concluded a discussion with one woman, not necessarily representative, but very interesting:

She's majoring in anthropology and wants to "research human rights" by going to graduate school in the humanities or law. Her senior thesis is going to be on linguistic determinism, Sapir-Whorf and Chomsky. Her family is Republican. Her boyfriend is libertarian. She attends Tea Party rallies because she believes that the stimulus bill was irresponsible and the economy would have righted itself without adding to our considerable debt. She believes that Barack Obama is a citizen and describes herself as "socially quite liberal," which means that she "supports gay marriage."

She calls the Tea Party a coalition of "fiscal conservatives." Her biggest concern is that: "When I'm 40, the government will be bankrupt." She claims that disagreements in politics are about fundamental values, not facts, so if she prefers "liberty to equality" that's not a claim that anyone can "disprove."

As a 20 year-old, she wasn't old enough to have a say or an opinion on the war in Iraq, but it generally troubles her, and her parents. However, her parents supported President Bush until they began to realize that he had been corrupted by the politics-as-usual of Washington, DC.

I was mostly in listening mode, because I didn't want to start an argument but rather gather more data. It was enlightening. She's smart and a good student generally. Her primary concern in class is human rights, not the economy or even domestic politics: perhaps that's a safer position to take with an obviously liberal professor. From here on out, that's the face of the Tea Party for me.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:34 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I should clarify: I think that Democrats would be fools to simply mock this movement, just as they would be fools to simply mock Conservatism's appeals to legitimate virtue.

That I agree with 100%, verb.
posted by blucevalo at 8:20 AM on March 1, 2010


From here on out, that's the face of the Tea Party for me.

That profile is interesting -- as you say, not necessarily representative, but it helps put a face on the younger part of the movement for me (in a way that the profile of "bouncy" Keri Carender absolutely did not). Thank you for that -- very enlightening.
posted by blucevalo at 8:23 AM on March 1, 2010


deanc's summary of Teabagger-ism is more to the point than Lord Chancellor's.

The thing is, many of these people could be our allies

I don't see how. On the whole, people who strongly sympathize or identify with the Tea Party movement are not, as others have pointed out, people who wish Obama was governing to the left. They don't want single-payer health care, or tighter regulations on Wall Street, or a new WPA to repair the nation's infrastructure and put people to work; they want even less of that sort of thing than we have now. You can't make "allies" of them because they aren't motivated by policy, they're motivated by rage and fear. What policies they do endorse are counter to everything traditionally championed by the center-left. Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog addressed this, accurately, I think, here.

Democrats do need to work on their populist appeals, but it won't appeal to the Teabaggers. I'm pretty sure that their minds are made up.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:35 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should call these people "Teapot Domes."

Only if they're bald.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:36 AM on March 1, 2010


The thing that links all of them is this belief in responsibility. Not to say that they are responsible people individually or collectively, or that they support people that are responsible, but they are deeply concerned with it as a virtue.

If they aren't "responsible" (whatever that means) individually or collectively, and they don't think any politicians are responsible either, why should it concern them as a virtue? Is virtue some unattainable shining ideal on a hill that only holy people and ascetics have? Is virtue something that the US once possessed that it no longer possesses? I'm not being facetious. Why would these people believe in a virtue that nobody practices or has practiced in their lifetimes?

If you're part of Metafilter, you're at least partially and usually very socialist. There are no other acceptable political ideologies. Every so often you get a few Communists, but that can be explosive too.

You lost me there. Although I'm sure there are some on mefi who'd identify as socialists, there are also many who identify as Democrats; some who'd identify as Republicans; some libertarians; some anarchists; and many who decline to identify with any particular convenient political label.

So as much as it would be nice to paint them just as racist, it isn't that helpful.

You're right -- except that nobody that I can see is doing that here (i.e., painting them "just" as racist). Looking through the thread, I see them painted as many different things, some of which are "helpful," some of which are not.
posted by blucevalo at 8:40 AM on March 1, 2010


The thing that links all of them is this belief in responsibility.

No, the thing that links all of them is a belief that other people need to be held responsible for minor sins, whereas they and theirs will never be held responsible for anything at all, no matter how awful.

If they really cared about responsibility, they'd be screaming for trials for the previous administration, for the Wall Street mavens who deliberately misled everyone and then collected trillions of the taxpayers' dollars(*), for the people who lied to us about Iraq and led us into a pointless war, for the people who failed to do their jobs on 9/11.

Fact is that I don't see any of these people calling for responsibility for anything real. What you see as "responsibility" I see as "an excuse to destroy their enemies".

(* - yes, I note that they do sometimes complain about Wall St - but I have yet to see them actually ask for new laws or enforcement of the existing laws...)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:50 AM on March 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


From here on out, that's the face of the Tea Party for me.

A vague desire to do good combined with an inchoate anti-authoritarianism, a fear of the future, and a troubling sense of guilt over crimes committed before your birth. This is the face of every reasonably bright 20 year-old ever born in America.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:00 AM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


(* - yes, I note that they do sometimes complain about Wall St - but I have yet to see them actually ask for new laws or enforcement of the existing laws...)
One of my favorite conversations with a Tea Party friend revolved around that very issue. He explained to me that if financial institutions weren't regulated they wouldn't have to resort to all the crazy tricks to make a profit -- and we wouldn't have these terrible crashes...
posted by verb at 9:00 AM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Democrats do need to work on their populist appeals, but it won't appeal to the Teabaggers. I'm pretty sure that their minds are made up.
Like any movement or group, the "Tea Party" crowd is made up of a core of die hards and a larger cloud of people who think, "Huh, I can see that point," when the die-hards rant about fiscal responsibility and populism.

One might as well say that anyone who has voted Republican 'has their minds made up' and Democrats shouldn't bother talking to them.
posted by verb at 9:18 AM on March 1, 2010


This is the face of every reasonably bright 20 year-old ever born in America.

That's my point: this woman is not crazy. She does not believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim who is destroying the country. She's an ordinary conservative young woman. Apparently, she doesn't feel welcome in the Republican Party and along with some of her friends would like to start her own.
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:18 AM on March 1, 2010


deanc - I'm not disagreeing with you 100%, but the way you are arguing your point above is to turn this into a class/race issue, which is not really how I see it. I know a *lot* of very well educated people who acted too smart by half thinking they could get away with an interest only or adjustable rate mortgage, only to have it blow up in their face. In some cases it was the only way to afford a house, in others it was "because everyone else is doing it."

As for Santelli - sure I can see the irony in the on-screen rant. That said, Santelli has repeatedly gone on the record against the bank bailouts. The issue with mortgage modifications is that by and large they fail to prevent foreclosure: the math shows that these are generally people who never should have been given a mortgage in the first place. The other problem is that as more homes go underwater the propensity to strategically default (eg: I bought the house for $500,000, it is now worth $300,000 and I will never see a return on this investment) increases, and mortgage mods offers will now bring in people looking to get their share of the pie even if they can afford the payments. It's not just anger toward the homeowner, it's against the bank which ultimately wins because in many cases the bank is offloading the burden of the bad loan onto the government.

Putting this into class/race terms simplifies things like when the right classifies the environmental movement as an ivory-tower, holier-than-thou, elitist coup. It ain't that simple.
posted by tgrundke at 10:20 AM on March 1, 2010


Optimus - I think you oversimplify. Correlation isn't causation, and just because Bush moved out and Obama moved in when the tea partiers gained notoriety doesn't mean it's because he's black. As I said, there was 700 to one polling against the original TARP plan and Bush's initial backing of the automakers was incredibly unpopular.

For what it's worth, the big catalyst seems to have been the healthcare debate last year. For right or wrong, that's what brought people out and made them vocal. What I'm saying is that this anger with the federal government has been a long time brewing, ironically I think you can trace the resistence to the Bush administration directly. These people, by and large, are against foreign intervention, they're against a sprawling military-industrial complex due to the corruption inherent in that nexus, and they were vehemently against the Wall Street and related bailouts. The Patriot Act? Enough to make their heads explode.

Bush was and still is extremely unpopular with this group, so trying to boil it down to "they're pissed we have a black man in the White House" is simplifying things too much.
posted by tgrundke at 10:27 AM on March 1, 2010


tgrundke, I understand what you're saying, but I think that the tea partiers are really more of a "bourgeois-populist" movement, motivated by a bunch of relatively well-off people angry that some people, somewhere, might not "deserve" something that may or may not be getting. So you've got middle class white collar tea partiers upset that union workers still have jobs or that stimulus funds kept the local government from engaging in massive layoffs. I see it as a politics of resentment... if it were a populist, anti-bank movement you'd see them flooding into Greenwich Connecticut to humiliate some IBank Managing Directors, but you don't see that at all. Instead, you see the hostility and resentment directed at... well, the typical group of people that right-wingers have always resented for "taking" stuff from them-- the poor, union workers, public employees, Democrats who have the audacity to get elected president, etc.
posted by deanc at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2010


These people, by and large, are against foreign intervention, they're against a sprawling military-industrial complex due to the corruption inherent in that nexus, and they were vehemently against the Wall Street and related bailouts.

Where the hell were they between 2001 and 2009? Specifically, where the heck were they in 2004? I seem to remember them specifically in a spittle-flecked rage about how French-looking John Kerry was.
posted by deanc at 10:37 AM on March 1, 2010


blucevalo and lupus: Actually, I think you will find that a lot of the members of these groups are strongly anti-Bush and socially, relatively liberal. If you want a good idea of the sentiment, head over to Mish's Global Economic Analysis and read through a bit.

If you head over to Naked Capitalism, you'll find in Yves Smith a former Obama supporter who has discovered that his administration, and government writ large, has become completely captured by special interests. Check out Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture, or for a more colorful and forceful take, Karl Denninger at The Market Ticker.

These bloggers should give you a good sense of what a lot of followers feel, think and are upset about. It's primarily about the benjamins (or lack thereof).
posted by tgrundke at 10:39 AM on March 1, 2010


Use of the term think so many times in a topic concerning persons who don't must have some deeper meaning. I've noticed, also, that the term feel very often appears when the topic actually does indicate some real thinking. Isn't that curious? I wonder what to make of it.
posted by RoseyD at 10:42 AM on March 1, 2010


That's my point: this woman is not crazy.

Obviously not. She could be any number of twenty-ish Obama volunteers; or any number of twenty-ish Palin volunteers; or any number of twenty-ish Ron Paul volunteers; or any number of young Peace Corps volunteers, etc. That tells us something about 20 year-olds; not so much about the so-called Tea Partiers.

she doesn't feel welcome in the [fill in name] Party and along with some of her friends would like to start her own.

Your young woman is practically a cross section of the American public.

One might as well say that anyone who has voted Republican 'has their minds made up' and Democrats shouldn't bother talking to them.

By all means talk to them, but I have yet to see evidence that any of them are willing to listen.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:51 AM on March 1, 2010


deanc -

Good point, but I think that the media has done a very good job of capturing only one side of the movement: the disaffected, angry white man. It would be as if the only image of the Democratic party were union members and tree huggers. We both know that's not indicative of the entire party.

These people are furious that government let the financial system get so out of whack and abdicated its responsibility to properly regulate. I know of and have spoken with the fringe members who have also tried arguing that the reason for the excesses on Wall Street can be traced to government intervention, but I believe that to be complete hogwash.

The problem is that both the Republican and Democratic parties do not appeal to these people because these people see both parties as two heads of the same beast. Democrats enabled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to extend loans, Republicans dismantled the financial regulatory system and laws that kept these kinds of collapses in the history books. Both parties fell over themselves to push through the associated bailout measures and both parties failed to recognize the financial crisis for what it was/is: a solvency crisis, not a liquidity crisis.

Yes, you do see LOTS of anger directed towards the big banks, so I think you're focusing too narrowly on one subset of the group. The Republicans would not have nearly the problems they are having with the tea party movement if they would have gone after the bankers and held them responsible, instead of lightly rapping them on the knuckles.
posted by tgrundke at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2010


Where the hell were they between 2001 and 2009? Specifically, where the heck were they in 2004? I seem to remember them specifically in a spittle-flecked rage about how French-looking John Kerry was

Again, I think you are confusing "the right/Republicans" with the tea party movement. This movement is something very different and draws on a different pool of people than the current Republican party does.

Trying to ascribe the same traits, tendencies and biases to this group as to the former is going to leave a lot of people frustrated because it is NOT the same. That's why you see the Republican party trying to court these people as much as they have been. In many ways they represent the core of what the Republican party at one time stood for: small, local government and sound monetary policy. The last 8 years proved that the Republicans have strayed faaaaaaaaar from those roots.

It's a worry for the Republicans who will see their platform left with the loony Christians, and a worry for the Democrats who will see the independents who put Obama into office bolt.
posted by tgrundke at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2010


That's my point: this woman is not crazy. She does not believe that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim who is destroying the country. She's an ordinary conservative young woman. Apparently, she doesn't feel welcome in the Republican Party and along with some of her friends would like to start her own.

Exactly my point. I would bet that a large number of these people in the movement could care less about Obama's birth certificate. They just want to be sure the man is governing properly. The Republican Party of Bush became the epitome of hypocrisy in its expansion of government, reckless spending and profligate moral lapses.
posted by tgrundke at 11:07 AM on March 1, 2010


Just so long as she enjoys the double entendre. ;)
posted by jeffburdges at 11:35 AM on March 1, 2010


Man, Seattlites can be such snobs about their city. ... I guess living in Seattle (well, Bremerton) from high school isn't good enough.

The thing is, a news story about a tea party founder whose permanent address (and polling place) is in Bremerton and who calls El Paso her hometown would be a non-starter; it's a "dog bites man" story. Clearly, Keli doesn't consider herself a Seattleite. Why should I?

Ok, so Bremerton's part of the greater Seattle metropolitan area. But by that measure, so is Tacoma, and there's been serious Seattle/Tacoma rivalry since the two cities were founded. Mercer Island? Ok, that's fair. I personally consider it more a part of Bellevue than a part of Seattle, but there's room for discussion about that. But Bremerton's a Navy town with a distinct feeling of its own. It's no more Seattle than, I don't know, Oakland is San Francisco. (NB: not comparing Seattle to San Francisco here. It's just the first "two distinct cities separated by a relatively small amount of water" scenario I thought of. NYC and Hoboken come to mind, too.)

None of which is particularly relevant, I guess. It's just that if you're going to call Seattleites snobs about their city, you could maybe acknowledge that some of that is a reaction to the many people who move to Seattle and then complain incessantly about the ways in which wherever they came from was better.

Where was I going with that? Huh.
posted by hades at 11:36 AM on March 1, 2010


I think that the media has done a very good job of capturing only one side of the movement: the disaffected, angry white man.

Or maybe the Tea Partiers have just done a very poor job of promoting the side that isn't all disaffected, angry white men. Or maybe they've done a good job of showing the world exactly the side they wished it to see.

I don't doubt that there are smart people who share the concerns you've raised, tgrundke, but from where I sit it looks like the Tea Partiers have gotten exactly the kind of publicity that they wished for.

I think you are confusing "the right/Republicans" with the tea party movement.

If that's so it's only because "The Tea Party Movement™" hasn't made much of an effort to distinguish itself from the Republican Party.

This movement is something very different and draws on a different pool of people than the current Republican party does.

I'm reminded of the Green Party's old claim that they "were neither right or left, but out in front." That wasn't any more true than this is. At best Tea Party-ism draws on "fiscally conservative independents" who have always leaned Republican. They may be smart enough to want to distance themselves from the joke that party has become, but I don't see any evidence that Tea Party-ism has any significant draw among demographics that haven't been voting for Republicans for the last 50 years already.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:36 AM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


At best

And at it's worst, it's exactly the same kind of people the current Republican Party caters to along with several extra helpings of hucksterism.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:48 AM on March 1, 2010


I think some have confused motivation with legitimacy. Saying that Tea Party members are obsessed with personally responsibility doesn't mean anything about the coherency of their ideas, those that tend to be muddled and varied. It merely explains the wellspring of emotion that brings it into politics. For example, they don't want single-payer health care because they have been convinced it's dangerous, fiscally irresponsible, and takes away choice from the individual and gives it to the government. However, if you talk to many of them, you'll realize a lot of them are worried about health care and believe that it's broken. Their distrust is a visceral response against their own needs. These aren't the guys that are lobbyists for the insurance industry; single-pay would actually help them. So although they're against it as a policy, they're very much for it as far as the solution to the problem they're having. They just don't know it. Many of the other policies are like this.

As said, I'm talking about those who identify with the principles that I personally know, so to say that they're all just upper-middle class white folks who are secure in employment isn't true on a personal level.

As for the socialism statement that Pope Guilty called me out on, I apologize. I was thinking of the word Social Liberalism and socialist is all that came out. I didn't mean to denigrate either socialism or liberalism by doing so. I do believe that we (as Metafilter) sometimes establish this political position as orthodox from the dog-pile and ridicule that libertarians and anarchists get here. I'm personally a federalist socialist liberal, so I'm part of the orthodoxy here.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:58 AM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Case in point: "According to Andrew Breitbart, [Is he a Republican? Find out--ed.] Bill Clinton and James Carville are planning personal 'deep opposition research on 7-8 national leaders' active in the tea party movement." And, you know, when Bill Clinton comes around trying to peak in your window, only a last ditch effort at recording "I am Spartacus!" videos can keep him from your daughter's nubile flesh.

Hilarity ensues. Especially, this one.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:04 PM on March 1, 2010


For those wondering where I have been getting my opinions of what the "typical" tea party type is like, it's been here:
A new CNN poll sheds light on who makes up the Tea Party movement. According to the results, tea partiers are richer, more male and have more education than the general population.

Eleven percent of respondents to the poll said that they had in someway participated in the tea party movement, either by going to a rally, donating money, or "taking some other active step to support the movement." The demographics among that 11% are much different from the rest of the U.S. population.

"Of this core group of Tea Party activists, 6 of 10 are male and half live in rural areas," CNN reports. "Nearly three quarters of Tea Party activists attended college, compared to 54 percent of all Americans, and more than three in four call themselves conservatives."

Sixty-six percent of the tea party activists reported an income higher than $50,000 per year. Among the overall sample in the poll, that figure was 42%. The group is 80% white, as opposed to 71% among all respondents to the poll.

Politically, the figures are not a surprise. Forty-four percent of tea partiers called themselves "Republican," while 52% said they were independent. Among all those polled by CNN, 25% were Republicans while 44% were independents. A third self-identified as Democrats.
posted by deanc at 12:25 PM on March 1, 2010


Jim Bunning: Teaparty Hero or the face of the "Marie-Antoinette GOP"?

I'm speechless. The sense of privilege and cold, entitled heartlessness. This is a man, who hasn't worked a real job his whole life. From baseball all-star to Hall of famer to Senator for Kentucy. And he does not see the grotesqueness of his beahviour.

Was someone saying something about violence in this nation, because I think this guy should be beaten to within an inch of his life.

Now, excuse me while I go puke in a bucket.
posted by Skygazer at 1:51 PM on March 1, 2010


She's definitely attention-seeking without much substance, like many actors.
posted by anniecat at 1:54 PM on March 1, 2010


hades, first of all, the woman went to Mercer Island High, which, though a bit of a jog from Capitol Hill, can fairly be considered Seattle. It's one thing to not care about her claimed place of origin, and another to actively bitch about her not being one of "you."

It's just that if you're going to call Seattleites snobs about their city, you could maybe acknowledge that some of that is a reaction to the many people who move to Seattle and then complain incessantly about the ways in which wherever they came from was better.

I don't know about that, all I know is I lived in Seattle five years and really loved it, and a good percentage of my friends weren't originally from Seattle, either. All of us transplants agreed without question that part of the character of the city is oddly exclusionary and snobby. And some of my native Seattlite friends emphatically agreed.
posted by zardoz at 2:00 PM on March 1, 2010


Skygazer, there's been speculation for some time that Jim Bunning might be getting kind of senile. Or something. But don't worry, looks like there's a fair chance that his successor may be just as crazy.
posted by dilettante at 2:48 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that the media has done a very good job of capturing only one side of the movement: the disaffected, angry white man.

It should be noted that since a sizable percentage of the support for the Tea Party phenomena comes directly from pundits at Fox news, the reason that the media portrays them as angry white men, is because the message is coming from angry white men who work in media.

In a lot of ways, this isn't much different from televangelism: you have people on TV, speaking from positions of authority, selling a message to a scared population looking for answers. (For the record, I'm not going to follow that metaphor any further, because it won't lead anyplace good.)
posted by quin at 3:14 PM on March 1, 2010


The thing that links all of them is this belief in responsibility. Not to say that they are responsible people individually or collectively, or that they support people that are responsible, but they are deeply concerned with it as a virtue.

"Responsibility," as the Tea Partiers use it, is a talismanic idea that they believe will protect them, personally, from harm. If all the people who are in trouble and need help are responsible for their own problems, then the Tea Partiers, not being that sort of person, are safe from that sort of danger. Never mind that they are just as likely to be caught by a catastrophic illness or lose their jobs, so long as they believe that the people who have had those things happen to them have no one to blame except themselves, the Tea Partiers can reassure themselves that they are safe from the dangers they feel hovering over them.

It's the worst sort of magical thinking, the same sort of thinking that makes The Secret a best seller.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:32 PM on March 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


Oh, and both the Republicans running for Bunning's seat support his position, it seems. Rand Paul is even supposed to have a rally outside Bunning's office to show his support tomorrow.
posted by dilettante at 4:35 PM on March 1, 2010


It's the worst sort of magical thinking, the same sort of thinking that makes The Secret a best seller.

Jeebus will perteck me.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:19 PM on March 1, 2010


"Responsibility," as the Tea Partiers use it, is a talismanic idea that they believe will protect them, personally, from harm. If all the people who are in trouble and need help are responsible for their own problems, then the Tea Partiers, not being that sort of person, are safe from that sort of danger. Never mind that they are just as likely to be caught by a catastrophic illness or lose their jobs, so long as they believe that the people who have had those things happen to them have no one to blame except themselves, the Tea Partiers can reassure themselves that they are safe from the dangers they feel hovering over them.

Holy shit, man, that's a brilliant way of phrasing it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:27 PM on March 1, 2010


Some of the comments here are really disheartening. Snark about her being fat among them. Many of us work in tech and I think that industry is a little out of touch with what is actually going on, hence the snarky dismissiveness.

I too work for a non-profit and so do most of my friends. Disillusionment with how our government spends money is widespread, ESPECIALLY among those who work with the poor. We see the government bailing out fat cuts while a frail 79 year old lady gets rejected for food stamps because she went to the hospital and the rule is she has to wait several months to reapply. Private charities are essential because out government drops the ball.

The anger is especially widespread in the sustainable food movement. Onerous regulations structured for industrial farms that are impossible to comply with, raids on small farms, and government subsidies for industrial farms make government the current enemy #1 among small local farmers.

Contrast that with when I lived in Sweden. Yes, the government takes quite a lot of people's income and there is some fallout from that, but the place is beautiful, quality of life is high, and the services are mostly top notch. It would be hard to forment a tea party there. Contrast that with NYC when I look at my taxes I wonder what the hell they are spending it on...
posted by melissam at 6:25 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


What do people make of her "Sampling of the Places I Go Online to Quench My Thirst for Knowledge"?

They all seem pretty hardcore conservative/Republican sites to me - e.g. Big Hollywood, Front Page Magazine, Cato daily podcast, Conservative exile etc.

Much of the rhetoric on her site seems pretty traditional conservative as well - she presents herself as a heretic and a rebel, which fits in well with the modern conservative tendency to embrace causing offence to liberals. (At one point, she has a video of a toddler having a tantrum, which she calls a "pretty good example of progressives", whom she implies are "slurping it up at the public trough").

Am I just missing something? Because the only thing that seems new about her site is that she (and others like her) are distancing themselves from the Bush administration - and that just looks like a tactic to make themselves look legitimate.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:49 AM on March 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I too work for a non-profit and so do most of my friends. Disillusionment with how our government spends money is widespread, ESPECIALLY among those who work with the poor.

Non-profit social service organizations get somewhere in the neighborhood of 60% of their funds from government funding. The Tea Party and its principles are supposed to help non-profits do their jobs more successfully? How about doing away with any sort of social safety net altogether and relying solely on community charity for social services, which a lot of folks in that movement seem to believe should occur? Where would non-profits (and the poor) be then?

Contrast that with when I lived in Sweden. Yes, the government takes quite a lot of people's income and there is some fallout from that, but the place is beautiful, quality of life is high, and the services are mostly top notch. It would be hard to forment a tea party there. Contrast that with NYC when I look at my taxes I wonder what the hell they are spending it on...

There are no onerous government regulations in Sweden? I find that hard to believe. Sweden is also 3% the size of the United States and is for the most part a homogeneous society, with a parliamentary democracy and a firmly established tradition of a generous social safety net (supported by levels of taxation that if implemented in the United States would create movements that would make the Tea Party look like a bunch of toddlers playing with toys in the backyard).
posted by blucevalo at 7:28 AM on March 2, 2010


lucien_reeve: One thing I see as unique about the current incarnation of conservatism is the rejection/dissemination of leadership. One of the worst things about the Bush-era incarnation of conservatism was the weird attachment to strong authority figures, whether it be Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Bill O'Reilly, or George W. Bush. That over-trusting attitude towards older white men created a scary resemblance between conservatism and proto-fascism.

The Tea Party as it currently stands has more in common with traditional conservative and modern progressive efforts in its rejection of centralized authority, representative strongmen, and traditional masculinity. Of course, much of this depends on parsing the relationship between the party and Glenn Beck: he seems at once an uncharismatic leader and a drama-queen sideshow. A lot of this got organized through his 9/12 Project, and he certainly represents the scariest, most emotionally manipulative side of the movement. We'll see if he succeeds in dominating the whole thing and redirecting the energies into the post '94 Republican neo-con/theo-con/paleo-con convergence. Based on what I've been reading lately, I'm beginning to think he lost control as the movement grew larger after that first rally, but it's clear he plays an important role still from his bully pulpit on Fox. Some of the same goes for Sarah Palin.

Peter Levine, who thinks much more about civic engagment than I do, has this to say:
The Tea Party consists of fellow citizens whose participation is welcome. I reject treating them as dupes of shadowy corporate lobbies or as racists. (Since racism is intermingled with ideology and economics in the United States, no movement is simply innocent--but I would need a lot more evidence before I would uniquely indict the Tea Partiers on that score.) All that said, their brand of politics seems the opposite of what we need. They interpret standard economic policies--like a stimulus during a recession--as signs of immanent tyranny, thus turning our mainstream debate into a struggle for our national survival. That creates a very difficult environment for governance and problem-solving--even if one happens to favor a smaller role for government.
Unfortunately, I think the momentum is against civic engagement and citizen participation again. The relentless drumbeat of campaign seasons just keeps bringing us back to us-vs-them electoral proceduralism.

Nor does it help that conservatives are divided while Reid and Pelosi continue to play the right off the far-right. We all know what happens to third parties in a first-past-the-post system. This divide-and-conquer strategy is at the forefront of the thinking of many Democratic political strategists. But I think Levine is right: the result is increased attention to strategy and away from policy substance, except in an ideologically unhelpful way.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:00 AM on March 2, 2010


Oh, and speaking of Jim Bunning:

"We're all in support of Sen. Bunning," says Wendy Caswell, the founder of the Louisville Tea Party. She says Tea Party activists believe that Bunning is being fiscally responsible, and that's a core Tea Party value. "He is kind of one of our models of a good representative of the people of Kentucky."
posted by blucevalo at 12:50 PM on March 2, 2010


blucevalo, Sweden does have onerous regulations, but for someone paying high taxes, they see very easily that their money is being put to make Sweden a nicer place. In some ways Sweden is more free- for example, they have a school voucher system.

I'm not a tea partier and I understand how the government supports non-profits, but I totally understand disillusionment with our government's spending. The reason I am not a tea partier is that I believe the government should be more transparent about its spending and spend better, unlike some tea partiers who simply seem to want the government to spend less. But I can sympathize with them! It's very hard watching out government spend our own money on bailing out fatcuts and killing people in foreign countries.
posted by melissam at 2:33 PM on March 2, 2010


But I can sympathize with them! It's very hard watching out government spend our own money on bailing out fatcuts and killing people in foreign countries.
posted by melissam


Teabaggers don't give a shit about spending trillions of dollars killing foreign people. Seriously. Go find one who actually thinks we should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The only difference between the Tea Party and the Republican Party is that Teabaggers will actually say things like "spearchucker" and "sand nigger," whereas Republicans at least try to pretend to be race-neutral (lol, I know).
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:42 PM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Isn't it 'fat cats', not 'fat cuts'?

Also, frustration with the way government money is spent has probably been one of the primary complaints of citizens since Washington's inauguration. No one was happy with the bailouts, but everyone agreed that it was a necessary evil. I'm not sure we all need to hold hands with the Tea Partiers because a shitty thing was a shitty thing.
posted by Think_Long at 2:45 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


...bailing out fatcuts and killing people in foreign countries.

You've done this twice now, so ... just checking... you know it's Fat Cats.. right?
posted by odinsdream at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2010


odinsdream, yeah, I'm dyslexic, not sure how you correcting me contributes to the discussion. Wish it were fat cuts instead of fat cats. Pretty disappointed in the status quo attitudes of people here. "but everyone agreed that it was a necessary evil" yeah, who is everyone?
posted by melissam at 5:05 PM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"but everyone agreed that it was a necessary evil" yeah, who is everyone

The whole "too big to fail" actually has some meaning to it, there was reasoning behind the bailout - it wasn't just DC types saving the skins of the bank types at the taxpayer's expense (okay, there was a lot of that too).

Anyway, TARP is really a separate conversation to be had. I actually do get what you're saying, and I think it's what a lot of people have been saying - that most tea partiers are angry, and have every right to be angry. It's the direction that their anger is taking them that concerns me.

I haven't really looked into the idea that most of the tea party is made of higher-earning individuals; I'll be honest, that fact surprises me, although it maybe shouldn't.
posted by Think_Long at 6:20 PM on March 2, 2010


blucevalo, Sweden does have onerous regulations, but for someone paying high taxes, they see very easily that their money is being put to make Sweden a nicer place.

I don't disagree that Sweden must be a very nice place. My point is that Sweden is a very different society than ours and it would be difficult to turn the US into a larger version of Sweden, even if there were a supermajority of the electorate and the elite who wanted that to happen.

Also, I have serious doubts that many people within the Tea Party movement or outside it would be willing to pay higher taxes (let alone the level of taxation that exists in Sweden) even if they knew that doing so would make the US a nicer place. It's been demonstrated over and over again that lower taxes are seen as an inviolate virtue by much of the US electorate even when there's strong evidence that lower taxes will tear holes in the social safety net and make the community and the country much worse off.
posted by blucevalo at 7:46 PM on March 2, 2010


Who died and made David Brooks king? The pundit heaps scorn on the Tea Party rubes he has to share a party with, and not even for the right reasons
posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on March 5, 2010


Who died and made David Brooks king? The pundit heaps scorn on the Tea Party rubes he has to share a party with, and not even for the right reasons

I think Brooks has a veryromantic ideal of what the Republican party was and what he hopes it will be again, and he wants it to be a party that is centered on intellect and discipline and isn't swamped by social issues. It's a more traditional definition of the party and one that was probably a good balance to the Dems at times in history.

I definitely see a parallel between the Tea Baggers and the Hippie generation. The Hippie/Love generation was the apotheosis of the progressive new Deal, and it also staked a claim at being a final and total sweeping revision of the definition of "America." And it was really the beginning of the end of the golden era of the progressivism. Similarly, I think the Tea bagger movement is the apotheosis of the golden age of social conservatism that began with Goldwater and matured with the ascent of Ronald Reagan into what it is today, but it really is about nostalgia. It's about a fantasy that now blames the government but fails to see that that very government has a solid and considerable base of support.

The hippie movement fell apart in violence, the weather underground: The Manson killings, the overload of Woodstock and the baby boomers hitting adulthood having been rejected by a country who elected Nixon and the further escalation and nightmare of Vietnam.

And I have no doubt that the Teabaggers, who's language is one of revolt and violence in the name of liberty ("watering the tree"), and deep paranoia and gun rights and a righteous sense of "true America" will find their end in a similar expression, it's just a matter of the right trigger for it. It could be the passage of healthcare, it could be a disappointing turnout for them politically in 2010 and 2012. But the Teabagger movement is scary not because it wields amazing politicaly power but because it is a movement based on fear and desperation and sense of having "run out of options."
posted by Skygazer at 4:33 PM on March 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just to clarify, I don't think the Tea Baggers wields great political power. If anything their political power is almost rigged to implode under the weight of it's own hubris and need for a Reagan-esque "Purity"-- and Reagan was a LOT more moderate than they seem able to understand.
posted by Skygazer at 4:40 PM on March 6, 2010


The Hippie/Love generation was the apotheosis of the progressive new Deal, and it also staked a claim at being a final and total sweeping revision of the definition of "America." And it was really the beginning of the end of the golden era of the progressivism.

Oh, for Christ's sake. The Hippie/Love generation was a cliche created of magazines and TV news. They had cool hunters way then, too, kids. There was no self identified "generation"--there were people the same age who read the same magazines and watched the same shows and wore the same fashions, thinking they were being the rebel outsiders. In their own mind. Maybe some of them smoked dope or dropped acid when they were young. Maybe some kept at it. But they all grew up, had kids and--cue John Hughes montage--became their parents.

This it also staked a claim at being a final and total sweeping revision is such a crock. That's a movie being projected on the clueless past by the clueless present, boiling the complex warp and weave of history down into easy to digest nutrition free cliches. I know--I was there. No one who considered themself hip back in the day claimed the title of hippie except in--making quotation signs with fingers--irony. Or as a term of derision. Except maybe in San Francisco for a year or so there around 1966--and remember they had the funeral of the Hippie there by summer of love's end in 1967. Nuh uh, the cool kids didn't call themselves hippies back in the day. And the joke was on them, too, thinking that they alone were the true blue rebel outsiders who bought the true blue rebel outsider gear and read the true blue rebel outsider books. And those with a finger in the wind cashed in big selling these things to them. Just as they are doing today.

You want hippie ? -- try REI. Try high end audio equipment. Try SUVs, the safe to drive VW busses.

Tea Baggers maybe have more of a group identity than that partially digested cow midway in the generational American Anaconda aka the Baby Boom ever did. But not much--and again, they are the creatures of mass media, a short hand for an imaginary group instantly co-opted by moral entrepeneurs within and Republican operatives without, all whipped into a frenzy by FOX news and the whole emotional going to camp bonding experience of showing up with a bunch of like minded yahoos to wave signs and listen to speeches.

Yeah, they're a phenomenom alright--like the Perot party minus the chief nutball, only this time with every man and woman his or her own Perot. And you remember how he and they turned out. Oh, he was on TV all the time when people took him seriously but that was because he was on TV all the time.

Not unlike John McCain nowadays. Or today's famous for being famous political celebrity, Sarah Palin. And people take them seriously, right ? Well, not really, not if one reads the polls. But they're great for the horse race, boxing match oppositional politics of cable talk shows.

The Tea Baggers are like the Hippies only in the sense that they are shorthand for something that exists more in the imaginal world than the real one. A symbol for an Eden, for the good old days that never were, perhaps. But, puh-leeze, don't give me this mass grass roots generational movement crapola. Wasn't true then, isn't true now.
posted by y2karl at 10:17 PM on March 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


But, puh-leeze, don't give me this mass grass roots generational movement crapola. Wasn't true then, isn't true now.

I see similarities: They're both consumer demographics mythologized and exploited by the media (Fox and it's attendant wingnut blogosphere) and by businesses (Gold anyone? Guns? T-shirts etc..)

-They're both exploited by political entities who want to leverage the narrative into VOTES. EG: Freedom Works pumps major monies into Tea Bagger events and it's run by Dick Armey.

-They're both utopian...

-And if the Tea Baggers follow through it's going to descend into violence.

They're fake grass roots movements. I think I state clearly that the Tea Baggers are about nostalgia for the Reagan era...(Which is the maturation of the Goldwater era of the new Conservatives).

The boomer sex and drug movements devolved into chaos and violence and 'acts of revolution" that led to a huge public backlash.

The Bagger demographic has threatened violence and had that idea reinforced from day one. The end of Tea Bagger fad is going to come at the end of an horrific act of violence that even FOx won't stomach, but who knows...Ailes has been grooming that shit for so long.

One last thing, the Tea Bagger movement has it's zeitgeist from the explosion of fear and trauma that came from 911 and all the attendant conspiracy theories.

I hope it's clearer now.
posted by Skygazer at 12:15 PM on March 10, 2010


The boomer sex and drug movements devolved into chaos and violence and 'acts of revolution" that led to a huge public backlash.

First of all, the sex and the drugs were transgenerational activities--the so-called greatest and the so-called silent generation got in on those, too. Think Playboy magazine. Think James Bond and Matt Helm movies. Sex and drug movements, my eye. Consumers indulging in recreational activities in twos or threes or fours are not the same as movements, if by movements, one means entities like the feminist movement or the civil rights movement.

As for the chaos and violence and 'acts of revolution' -- there were so many things happening at once. There was an unpopular war on, campus unrest due in no samll part to this thing called the 'draft,' a racial struggle going on in the post-Civil Rights act South and urban north, one of the results of which were riots in multiple cities by 1965. For all the above, a little fear mongering saw the political shift in the South, and, therefore, nationally, from Democratic to Republican control by using the code words 'Law and Order.'

(As an unintended result, by the way, police forces everywhere were granted permission to apply force long before any demonstrations had occurred requiring such a response. I was at a party in the University district in Seattle in 1970 which was broken up by the TAC squad--the predecessor term for what became SWAT teams--using tear gas and batons. We're not talking about the 60s equivalent to the Battle in Seattle, we're talking about a bunch of college kids at a summer party smoking dope, drinking beer and playing records too loud inside and talking too loud outside. The TAC squad announced the party was over and then, wham! For no reason at all except the kids weren't leaving at a run in an instant. You think today's local TV news adulates the police. You should have seen the rah-rah they deserved it jingoism that was on the news then. Then--they were lauded as heroes. But today -- even after 9/11 and the Battle of Seattle -- police using such tactics would be fired and sued in a heartbeat. )

They were both utopian.

Nuts. At least, not then. A lot of younger people had an incredibly optimistic attitude about the future in early 1960s America. Most got over that well before mid-decade and definitely over it by 1969, what with the war in Vietnam, the multiple assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the election of Richard Nixon, among many things--none of which produced or supported any utopian idealism.

Utopian then: like communes? Young people were over that as soon as they supposedly signed on, for the most part. People who rented a house together found out fast the work involved and how few were willing to do what it took to make such an enterprise a success. Which should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever shared a house with unrelated adults. Oh, there were the exceptions that proved the rule but, all the same, even those so-called communes were fewer and farther between than one would think, at most a handful in their hey day. That was an imaginary cliche of the magazines--not a movement.

The tea bagger movement is much the same thing--many separate strands and social groups with their own axes to grind being lumped together by people who want to over-simplify complex historical events. And it is a transgenerational movement. To talk about teabaggers as a single entity is like calling the Democratic party a hotbed of socialists when the Democratic party is a whole lot of smaller groups with their own agendas.

History is something one can generalize a bit about but to come up with gems like [t]he Hippie/Love generation was the apotheosis of the progressive new Deal, and it also staked a claim at being a final and total sweeping revision of the definition of "America" --ding! ding! ding! Wrong!

Now that is utopian, but, unfortunately, a cartoon you have projected upon the past, and a very simple cartoon at that. History is not Barney the dinosaur on acid. What really happened was a warp and woof of extreme complex strands. As it is now. Honking off a bunch of fantasy cliches does neither past nor present any justice.
posted by y2karl at 12:47 PM on March 11, 2010


I'm looking for parallels. I want to know when and if the tea bagger time bomb is going to explode into violence or wheeze out in a mosquito-fart of hubris and hyperbole. OR...OR turn into a viable political party.

Care to comment on that Mr. I-WAS-THERE-AND-I-SAW-THE-WHOLE-THING and get the hell off my lawn etc..etc...
posted by Skygazer at 8:18 PM on March 11, 2010


you guys still talking about this?
posted by bam at 9:06 PM on March 11, 2010


The wheeze out in a mosquito-fart of hubris and hyperbole--plus a slide into the ad hominem--appears to have already happened. Here. But, thankfully, at least the grand sweeping fantasies about the Sex and Drugs Revolution seem gone.

As for the potential for violence, well, that seemed apparent in a matter of weeks after Barack Obama won the election, what with the rise in gun registration and the rhetoric around it thereafter. My snap judgment at the time was a lot of white people were fearing retributive justice for the sins of a racist past--that Obama was going to stick it to the whites. I certainly heard that theme more than once when passing conversations on the street or from some of my friend's parents before the last election.

I do fear the potential for violence. But that has more to do with crazed loners and the militia movement than the tea party folks. There is far more overlap between the first two than the last two to my mind. But, whatever the source, I fear the results of such violence far more than the origin. Because I have already been there and do remember the whole thing.

Right now, I just don't see the tea party as being that great a political force. What frightens me more is how extreme the polarization between left and right has become with each side reciting the same talking points past each other and each side demonizing the other. For this, I blame the right for starting it, but, all the same, the demonization is on both sides. now.

I remember reading something--I think I saw it in a post from Virginia Postrel linked here long ago--about political research which showed how political polarization and the potential for violence is highest when there is no clear majority between two sides. And that we have. With all the gerrymandering that has gone on in drawing up congressional districts, it is codified into the system. Only a fraction of the seats in the House are going to be contests--ninety odd percent of the incumbents will be re-elected. So, the whole tug of war seems doomed to continue. And we are going to need to make some huge changes very fast if we are to survive this century.

And as much as I fear the potential for violence, I fear the apathy of the youth vote will spell doom in the next election. Young voters were a big factor in Obama's election, but, since then, they have disappeared as a political force. If they do not turn out for the mid-terms, we could very well see the return of a Republican House and Senate and good bye to any response to climate change whatsoever. Not to mention who gets on the Supreme Court--and isn't that bad enough already ?

So, I hope this whole coffee party response to the tea party has some legs. But, in either case, it is going to take more than just adding water. People are going to have to get involved. And, so far, that seems to be happening on one side only. At least, according to TV news and talking heads--which are not the most trustworthy sources. And, obviously, a propensity for projecting fantasies on historical events is not limited to them alone. But it ought to be. Things seem bad enough as they are.
posted by y2karl at 7:51 AM on March 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Justice's wife launches 'tea party' group: The nonprofit run by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is likely to test notions of political impartiality for the court.
posted by homunculus at 9:07 AM on March 15, 2010


pretend i made a "pubic hair on the teacup" joke
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:32 AM on March 15, 2010


I'm of the opinion that both Thomas and Scalia are legally vulnerable to impeachment because of their failure to recuse themselves in Bush v Gore, since they both had family members working on the Bush campaign. Having Thomas's wife with the Tea Party could bring him under more scrutiny in future cases.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2010


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