Weak Tea: Teabaggers are more panic than populist

Marc Cooper says, don’t ignore the teabagger protest in DC this past weekend but don’t exaggerate its influence either. I agree. They aren’t just isolated rednecks livings in doublewides, as FireDoglake implies. Nor are they the leading edge of fascism, as CrookandLiars fears.

I am not particularly worried about what happened in the mall and I absolutely do not think it symbolized a resurgent Right. Quite to the contrary. What I think we are seeing is an emotional and somewhat emotionally-driven aggregation of a decidedly minority sentiment. We’re watching the frenetic rallying of a political sector that suffered an historic defeat in November and is very much on the verge of suffering another staggering body blow when some sort of national health care plan (whatever its weaknesses) WILL get passed in the coming months. Because it is going to pass. And it will be signed into law.

As usual, in any protest – and this one was good-sized, no question – the opposite side takes pictures of the looniest of the loony then portrays them as being the norm. Some of the more centrist people there probably have genuine philosophical beliefs that government should be small. But they’ve no place else to go now except to hard right events like this. Just like how, Cooper explains, Iraq antiwar protesters had to go to except to protests controlled by hardline Marxist groups.

As for those waving the Obama Nazi signs.

This IS dangerous. But no so much to the Republic as it is to Republicans. Associating the party mainstream ever more with the Beck-oids and the thinly-veiled racists birthers and deathers is not, in the end, going to serve them well. By the time the 2010 election rolls around, some folks are going to be able to say they voted FOR health care improvement while others are going to have to explain they didn’t because they were too busy partying with folks holding up Swastikas and Hammers and Sickles.

  • DJ

    Y’all ought to get out more. In my neighborhood, the sentiments behind the teabaggers are more than just “a decidedly minority sentiment.” It may look like that from your (or Mark Cooper’s) window, but beyond the city limits things look a little different. I talked last night with an independent who voted for Obama (a minority in Utah, where Obama got 36%) who expressed much the same concerns about where we’re going.

    As for those waving Obama/Nazi, communist, and Joker placards, what they really saying is that they see Obama’s health care agenda as unAmerican. Ironic, since the agenda on the table really isn’t his anyway– all he wants to do is pass a reform package, and he doesn’t seem to care much what’s in it.

    It’s also problematic that Cooper says the bill’s going to pass anyway, despite the fact that it won’t do what they say and will cost far more than predicted (see your earlier post on Doug Henwood’s comments.) In other words, Cooper sees this as a freight train– damn the merits, here it comes. Welcome to Bush III.

    • Well, you do live in a rural area of the most conservative part of the most conservative state. I’m not sure that’s representative either. Sentiment might be different from your area in the rural areas of Sonoma County (but then their major cash crop is marijuana…) 🙂

  • Out here on my corner of The High Desert – the decidedly “red”, and far larger, part of a “blue” state in March named by Forbes The Housing Hurricane – most folks don’t quite know what to make of it. The common refrain seems to be don’t they have anything better to do?

    Of course we’re hangin’ at a U6 measure of twenty-two to twenty-five percent unemployment – closer to thirty to my five and a half decades here – number two in the nation (we’re number six in the nation in homelessness), and earlier this year the second largest medical provider in the area cut off the state’s largest “insurer”, Blue Cross, so maybe it’s a bit more up front and personal around here. Ideology seems to fall to the wayside in the realization that we’re all in this together. And as a region with a long history of degradation by the multinational corporations – the only thing that hasn’t changed here is the employment – damned few around here hold Obama responsible.

    • I was just about to ask what was happening in your area, and already did it. Thanks!

      For anyone else here who lives in rural / semi-rural areas, what’s the sentiment where you live?

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