Friday, September 17, 2010

Tea Party Zeitgeist

Peggy Noonan takes a stab at explaining the Tea Party movement today. She does as good a job as anyone so far, illustrating how individual voters became so frustrated with their tepid GOP representation that they struck out on their own.

The Tea Party has no central leadership, despite the best efforts of Sarah Palin and Dick Armey. And it has massive "sympathy" from the electorate; Noonan cites the statistics that while a full 20% of voters identify as "Tea Party members", more than half of voters "favor" the Tea Party. More than half! That bodes well for Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell, and others who are being praised - and tarred - as Tea Partiers.


Mr. Dough said...

Chops, I have been thinking about the strategy of those opposed to the Tea Party movement to paint the latter's sympathists as "extremists"; I think that is the strategy we will see played out in left-leaning talking points in coming days. I'm not sure that's such a good strategy in light of the acceptance you noted above. Especially considering the positive connotations of the term "extreme" in modern American jargon:
- Extreme Sports
- Extreme Programming
- Extreme Chocolate Milk
- Extreme Makeover...
- Extreme Fitness
- Extreme just about anything else people do.

Maybe Americans are extreme people, or at least like to think of themselves that way.

BTW it would be interesting to track the frequency of use of the word "extremist" in our various news organs over the next couple months, kind of like you did with the number of gogle hits on various candidates prior to the last presidential election.

Chops said...

Ooh, that would be an interesting phenomenon. I'm afraid we might have already passed the key milestones (Tea Party candidates winning important primaries), but I'll give it thought.

Chops said...

Also: putting the >50% favorability rating of the Tea Party in context, just 29% of Americans have a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin.

Carol L. Douglas said...

Mr. Dough also pointed out to me that “reactionary” means “of, relating to, or characterized by reaction, esp against radical political or social change.” It has come to be associated with conservatism, but in today’s instance, who is the reactionary?