Today in America's Worst Opinion Section: lots of important thoughts about The Tea Parties, from confused old people who have been regurgitating blinkered DC consensus garbage for almost 200 years between them.
Perhaps you've already read David Broder's amazing column on how authentic and popular Sarah Palin is, that ran the same day his own newspaper reported that her favorable numbers have dipped to an all-time low and a majority of self-identified Republicans don't think she's qualified to be president. (The column was dumb enough on its own before the poll numbers, of course. You have to be incredibly cynical about the idiocy of the electorate to think petty, nasty Palin appeals to anyone but a subsection of an enraged political minority. Like, even more cynical about the idiocy of the electorate than we are.) "Take Sarah Palin seriously," the Dean of the Washington Press Corps told his colleagues, who always have taken her far more seriously than she deserves to be taken and who show no signs of stopping now.
But that was just one column! The whole section had Tea Party Fever today, despite the fact that these grizzled old pseudo-moderates have no fucking clue what this "tea party" thing is.
The reliably inoffensive E.J. Dionne devotes his column to explaining the Tea Party thing to fellow old people in Washington. See, it is just Anti-Federalism, pretty much. The column also patiently explains to Those Dumb Liberals that the Tea Parties are Not About Race. Sure, they're exclusively white. Sure, their conference featured Joseph Farrah ranting about Obama's birth certificate. Sure, Dionne writes this passage before explaining that the movement is not about race:
In an astonishingly offensive speech, cheered by the Tea Party crowd, Tancredo declared that "people who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama."
Even worse, if that's possible, Tancredo harkened back to the Jim Crow South that denied the right to vote to African Americans on the basis of "literacy tests" that called for potential black registrants to answer questions that would have stumped PhDs. in political science.
"But," Dionne writes after writing of tea partiers literally cheering the return of Jim Crow, "it would be a mistake to see the hostility toward Obama only in terms of race."
Memo to everyone: no one sees hostility toward Obama only in terms of race! Al fucking Sharpton has not ever said "people only hate Obama because he is black." What's idiotic is to dismiss the idea that race plays any part in the hysterical level of hostility toward Obama.
Yes, the Tea Party movement has historical parallels to other anti-statist movements. Many of those were also made up of nativists, know-nothings, and proud racists. White populism! It's kinda scary sometimes!
Yeah, they might be a little nervous about a nativist right-wing populist movement, out in Europe.
(What he means is that Tea Partiers would force Europe to be more "fiscally responsible." As usual for a Washington Moderate [we used to just call them Republicans!], Ignatius hates "Fiscal Irresponsibility," which always—always!—means "spending money on the social safety net." Stupid Europe! Why can't you just let your poor people starve, like we do! Investors would be so much more confident in you if you stopped letting the unemployed go to "doctors"!)