Palin and the Tea Party get a lot of analysis today as they gather in Nevada for 'the Conservative Woodstock'. Healthcare reform passed. 24 is being cancelled. Conservative racists are making headlines. But the most important factor is the simplest.
Joblessness. And the New York Times examines the issue, in all its anti-government-handout-protesters-on-benefits glory. It turns out that some of the most fervent tea party activists were laid off, or forced to retire, or otherwise flattened by the economic downturn. The movement is filled with discontent older people "who do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact." Who'da thunk it?
One activist, Tom Grimes, was a financial consultant until he lost his job 15 months ago. Now he's on social security. While campaigning for an end to government handouts. He told the Times that such minor hypocrisies don't matter. "If you don't trust the mindset or the value system of the people running the system, you can't even look at the facts anymore."
The AP and others have built the Palin rally in Harry Reid's hometown up as a watershed for the Tea Party. If they can muster numbers and avoid ugly scenes, the movement may have legs, it's argued. Crap. If these people got jobs they'd have better things to do than froth at Fox News, be happier and have more money to spend on things that provided other people with jobs. And then Sarah Palin would go away.