Proving once again that no power on earth can force the “newspaper of record” to recognize what it is determined to ignore, the New York Times tonight released the results of a major survey of the teabagger movement. The paper’s considered judgement:
Their fierce animosity toward Washington, and the president in particular, is rooted in deep pessimism about the direction of the country and the conviction that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.
The original headline on the web version of the story:
But, that particular piece of misinformation has since been flushed down the memory hole, to be replaced by the more anodyne (though still dubious) heading:
Poll Finds Tea Party Backers Wealthier and More Educated
Which, if true, would be a terrible indictment of our national diploma mills and matchbook cover mechanical academies, but more likely is another example of the now-familiar tendency of teabaggers to claim things (diplomas, in this case) that are not, in the strict technical sense of the word, true – in this or any other universe.
What’s particularly comic (sinful would be the better word, if American corporate journalism still had a soul with which to sin) is that the truth (and the lead) is right there in, well, Times Roman. It’s just buried in the seventh paragraph:
More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent, compared with 11 percent of the general public, think that the administration favors blacks over whites. (emphasis added)
They are more likely than the general public, and Republicans, to say that too much has been made of the problems facing black people.
Considering the administration spent the better part of its first year in power shoveling money into the Aid for Dependent Wall Street Banks program it inherited from the Bush Administration, or rebuilding public infrastructure that primarily benefits suburban commuters and long-distance truckers, or promoting middle-class tax cuts, or pushing Congress to enact an elaborate and very generous system of subsidies for working-class and middle-class people who can’t afford (or like to pretend they can’t afford) health insurance, you’d think Obama would get a small break here. God only knows what the teabaggers would be saying about him if he really did try to do something big and expensive specifically to help those people.
Whatever it is, I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that it would include some fairly generous helpings of the “N” word.
What we have here, in other words, is the bedrock, indestructible, and apparently timeless conviction of white conservatives that the federal income tax is a device for stealing their hard-earned (or not) dollars and giving them to crack whores and their pimps (or ACORN, or all three) so that they can go out and buy shiny new Cadillacs and Kentucky fried chicken. Nothing – and certainly nothing factual, like the actual allocation of tax revenues by the federal government (that “insurance company with an army,” as Krugman calls it) – is going to disabuse them of this belief.
Here is the thing: EVERYTHING in this article is applicable to The Netherlands. In the US, they call themselves Tea Party. Over here, they vote for Geert Wilders, but the rhetoric and the sentiments? Identical. We always talk about globalization in terms of its effects on commerce and corporate related practices, but there also seems to be an undercurrent of political globalization going on. A uniformed stance mostly on matters of race (and the class related baggage they carry) that is permeating almost all of the so called Western world. The burqa ban in France is a direct example of this, the chance that Wilders will hold a prominent role in our next government is part of the same puzzle (and not exactly a small piece). Immigrants (almost always brown people) are being killed in the south of Italy in race related struggles. I could go on with more examples but these are definitely not isolated phenomenons to be analyzed as localized incidents. The constructions, denominations and connotations of race might be local but the associated reactions have too many common denominators to dismiss as domestic.
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