Rand Paul, son of Ron Paul, and Tea Party candidate for Senator of Kentucky won the primary. He beat Trey Grayson in the Republican primary.
“I have a message,” Mr. Paul said, delivering a victory speech in Bowling Green. “A message from the Tea Party. A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back.”
Back from who? The black man in the White House? The bankers on Wall Street? The super rich people that horde all the money? The poor brown people who mow their lawns, pick their fruit, scrub their tubs, and burp their babies? Who?
I’ve read a few articles about the Tea Party over the last few days, and I think that Michael Kinsley summed them up best in his article “My Country Tis of Me” for The Atlantic:
Not only do TPPs not have one big issue like Vietnam—they disagree about many of their smaller issues. What unites them is a more abstract resentment, an intensity of feeling rather than any concrete complaint or goal.
If the Tea Party Patriots ever developed a coherent platform or agenda, they would lose half their supporters.
The Seattle Times ran a feature piece on a Tea Party leader in last Sunday’s Pacific Magazine.
IF THE TEA Party movement is about the rage of the pitch-fork-wielding masses toward a government run amok, then Keli Carender is its most unlikely heroine.
She’s 30, fresh-faced, Oxford educated and about as Seattle as you can get in her slacker wardrobe of plaid duds and Converse All Stars.
Like the brainy girl in the front row of civics class who rolls her eyes every time the teacher gets a date wrong, there’s a little snarkiness in her disposition, perhaps a tick learned on her night job as an improv comedian.
But as a leader in a movement full of people who only see dark clouds over America’s horizon, Carender manages to be pleasantly partly-sunny, her hopes set firmly on shaking up the November midterm Congressional elections.
The article quotes a 69-year-old Tea Party supporter, Betty Donovan:
“I’m tired of them taking money from people that earn it and giving it to people that don’t earn it,” Donovan says, referring to health-care reform.
She doesn’t specify who these non-earners are. The populism of the Tea Party movement makes targets of strange bedfellows, from welfare recipients to Wall Street titans. The one universal enemy, however, is Big Brother.
Yes Big Brother. The Federal Government. The same organization that sends her a Social Security check every month and provides her with medical insurance. What she and her gang of angry old white people object to is that Big Brother is running a deficit. I would bet that she voted for George Bush twice, and I am certain that she hasn’t thought about how, if the Bush Administration and the brownshirt Republicans in congress had not given away trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the super rich and had not started two unfunded wars that cost trillions of dollars, Big Brother would have been in pretty good shape going into this recession.
One more observation about this quote from Keli Carender in the Seattle Times feature:
“The difference between maybe a leftist group and our group is we are very much individualist,” she says. “It is a little bit harder to get a unified message.”
It’s probably harder because their “unified” message is about hate. It’s hard to just come out and say that because, well… it would sound hateful. Hard to rally around that.