The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Militant Moderate

April 26, 2010

Tea Party Enigma




A large majority reports anger with Mr. Obama.  Their reasons are: too much spending, health care reform, and opinions unrepresented.  Ninety percent think the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 92% headed toward socialism.  Two thirds believe Mr. Obama was not born in this country, and about the same number think he is Muslim.  Although it would affect only 2% of the population (over $200,000 income), eighty percent oppose a tax to support health care. 


Most blame Congress for the problems with the economy, and not the profligacy of Mr. Bush, deregulation of financial institutions, wars, and his tax cuts where most Americans look.  And, 57% of tea partiers have a favorable view of Mr. Bush, while 57% of the general voter population has an unfavorable view. 


Only 6% blame Bush for deficits, although his tax cuts benefitting the top 5% resulted in $3.9 trillion in deficits and his Iraq War added $1.8 trillion.  But then, 80% identify themselves as republican, and only 5% are self-identified as democrat. 


When half of the tea party group is 55 or over, half of them have incomes of $50,000 a year or more, and a third have attended college, it is hard to understand participation and support of a group with so little validity in truth.  While nearly all favor leaving Social Security and Medicare alone, 90% think Mr. Obama is socialist and heading the country wrong. 


Then there is the huge outcry for “taking my country back.” When one-fourth of tea partiers think the President favors blacks over whites, there is some tinge of race involved.  However, anger over losing the last election, and the longing for “the good old days” of republican control may loom as larger influences. 


Most of the issues claimed by the tea party folk do not hold up to logical scrutiny – hence the enigma surrounding this group.  It appears to be a mixed group of ordinary people who have been fed a steady diet of distortions by the television and radio channels to which they attend.  It appears that these folk have swallowed the republican party talking points hook, line, and sinker, without bothering to question these critically.  They have been stirred by party leaders into becoming a highly emotional crowd of ignorant, misinformed, and even delusional people with inflammatory rhetoric and dangerously loose control. 

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