Last week I wrote that the Tea Party is a dead end, mainly because its members don’t seem to understand they’re serving the rich and powerful, and surrendering power in the process. They love the idea of a “maverick” Republican presidential nominee, but they are going to get Mitt Romney, and most of them are going to vote for him. And if Mitt’s campaign implodes, they will end up with someone owned by the same monied interests that Mitt represents.
The thing that’s most pathetic about the Tea Party crowd — mostly middle-aged, formerly middle-class white men — is that they’re too blinded by ignorance and fear to see their actual enemies.
Robert Parry was lucid on this point in a recent essay. Here are the final paragraphs, but please read the whole piece:
When the Tea Partiers dress up in Revolutionary War costumes, they apparently don’t know that their notion of a weak central government and state “sovereignty” was anathema to the key framers of the Constitution, especially to Washington who had watched his soldiers suffer under the ineffectual Articles of Confederation.
And, when the Tea Partiers wave their “Don’t Tread on Me” flags of a coiled snake, they don’t seem to know that the warning was directed at the British Empire and that the banner aimed at fellow Americans was Benjamin Franklin’s image of a snake severed into various pieces representing the colonies/states with the admonishment “Join, or Die.”
Nevertheless, false narratives and false arguments can be as effective as real ones to a thoroughly misinformed population. Thus, many middle- and working-class Americans still cheer when Newt Gingrich references Ronald Reagan and his “supply-side” economics.
But the failure of Reagan’s economic strategy should be obvious to anyone who is not fully deluded by right-wing propaganda. Not only has the national debt skyrocketed over the past three decades, but whatever economic benefits that have been produced have gone overwhelmingly to the wealthy – while the nation as a whole has suffered.