Last January, after the tragic attack on Rep.
When the deficit and debt limit debate first began, so did name-calling and wild accusations against the
Consider this excerpt from "The tea party's terrorist tactics" by William Yeomans, published in Politico late last month: "It has become commonplace to call the tea party faction in the House 'hostage takers.' But they have now become full-blown terrorists. … Tea party members must reassess their distorted vision of patriotism and join true patriots in Congress in raising the debt ceiling promptly until 2013, without inflicting further economic harm on already struggling Americans."
Mr. Yeoman's view enjoys some good company. Thomas Friedman of
According to another report in Politico, Vice President
Vituperation has been ratcheted way up inside the Beltway because Washington's political aristocracy senses a palpable threat from the tea party movement.
Recently, House Minority Leader
Then there's Rep.
Richard Cohen of
Dwayne Wickham, writing for
Along the way, there have been plenty of other colorful snipes at tea partiers. Maureen Dowd described them as "towel-snapping Tea Party crazies … who hate government." Tea partiers hate government? Ouch!
And it's not just the left flank of Washington's aristocracy that expresses animosity toward the tea party. Many on the right do as well, because tea partiers are not easily controlled by the
To sum it up, drawing upon the combined wisdom of esteemed members of both houses of Congress, the vice president and the most elite pundits and members of the press: Tea partiers are totalitarian, anti-religion, racist, towel-snapping, terrorist Hobbits who would be at home in the company of Hezbollah and al-Qaida. Wow.
Members of Washington's political aristocracy are worried, and not because they feel threatened by a small, right-wing "lunatic fringe." On the contrary, Washington is worried precisely because the tea party is not a tiny movement of extremists and radicals. It is not even right wing, in the traditional sense. It is Main Street America — a huge coalition that rejects the very concept of an American political aristocracy. It stands in judgment against Washington's hubris, unaccountability and profligate ways.
A vast, seemingly unbridgeable chasm exists between the political aristocracy and Main Street America: According to a Rasmussen poll in March, 83 percent of mainstream voters are angry about the government's policies while, 76 percent of the political class are not. Main Street can't comprehend the utter lack of common sense exhibited by Washington. By the same token, the political class can't believe that ordinary Americans no longer blindly accept their every word.
A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in January showed that a whopping 71 percent of Americans said it's important that the new Republican-controlled 112th Congress take into account the objectives and positions of the tea party movement when it comes to dealing with the problems facing the nation. This was true of 88 percent of Republicans, 72 percent of independents and 53 percent of
Over the last 21/2 years, the tea party has proved to be the most visible expression of the political will of Main Street America. Its appearance represents a growing, massive, permanent populist opposition of millions of Americans against the statism of