Michael Lind does a good job contextualizing and historicizing the Tea Party movement.  He demonstrates how this moment has some deep continuities with longstanding political realities in the South, which won't be at all surprising to anyone who has studied the region and especially its politics (see below).  I liked this line "By using a semi-filibuster to help shut down the government rather than implement Obamacare, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is acting rationally on behalf of his constituency—the surburban and exurban white local notables of Texas and other states, whom the demagogic Senator seems to confuse with “the American people.”"


"While each of the Newest Right’s proposals and policies might be defended by libertarians or conservatives on other grounds, the package as a whole—from privatizing Social Security and Medicare to disenfranchising likely Democratic voters to opposing voting rights and citizenship for illegal immigrants to chopping federal programs into 50 state programs that can be controlled by right-wing state legislatures—represents a coherent and rational strategy for maximizing the relative power of provincial white elites at a time when their numbers are in decline and history has turned against them. They are not ignoramuses, any more than Jacksonian, Confederate and Dixiecrat elites were idiots. They know what they want and they have a plan to get it—which may be more than can be said for their opponents."

Meanwhile, over at Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall throws tenured history professors under the bus:

'As an historian, though not a practicing one, I would only say that I don't think historians are necessarily the best ones to address the issue, either substantively or politically. In other words, I don't think many Americans care to hear what tenured history professors have to say and I'm not sure I blame them. But on the broader point, I agree with FN's point. The real issue, as I see it, is the marquee DC journalists and pundits, who refuse to speak plainly about what's happening and won't go beyond the pablum of false equivalence."

Of course, I know that virtually nobody cares what historians have to say, tenured otherwise! But this doesn't mean that their political or substantive perspectives aren't important. Just sayin.


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