United States

Aug 23, 2011

Inside the Tea Party: why these culture wars are personal

The Tea Party’s wildfire success has fundamentally changed US politics and sown the seeds of its own undoing, writes Harley Dennett in Washington DC.

Stop looking at the polls giving Barack Obama a clear lead over the Republican 2012 presidential field. Stop dismissing the “crazy” backlash against climate science, evolution and cyclical economics as unelectable. They only tell a small part, possibly the wrong part, of the story of how the Tea Party’s wildfire success has fundamentally changed US politics and sown the seeds of its own undoing.

Soon after arriving in the US I was adopted by a loud and proud Tea Party couple, the Guernseys of Annapolis, Maryland. They stuffed me full of home-cooked turkey and pumpkin pie — extra helpings — as if I’d returned from a famine region rather than a G20 country outperforming the US on most development indices. All it took was one night of sharing stories about our respective countries, and I don’t think we agreed on a single topic, but Neil stood up and made it official: “It’s settled; now you’re family.” Americans … that’s how they roll.

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3 thoughts on “Inside the Tea Party: why these culture wars are personal

  1. Peter Ormonde

    Excellent observations Harley ….

    Seems like it’s still true: power corrupts.

    It forces nasty compromises like eventually saving the largest economy on earth.

    I hope the Guernseys don’t feel too milked by this inevitable vote farming.

  2. Andrew McIntosh

    None of this inspires any confidence. Every article I’ve read about the Tea Party movement and every indication I’ve got from contacts in the US do not paint a very positive picture of these people as a whole. Not only their regressive and in some cases bizarre politics, but the fact that they refuse to engage in any kind of dialogue with anyone they are opposed to. It’s the sheer lack of compromise I find disturbing as it strikes straight to the heart of a pluralistic democracy; the ability to have sides, to debate and engage and to come to the kind of compromises that make a more stable society. The US needs a pro-democracy movement.

  3. Caruben

    More evidence that it really is only a matter of time before this empire implodes.

    Can we really believe that their already stagnant economy – in the face of rising oil demand/prices, 0% interest rates and increasing environmental disasters – will recover enough to pull them out of the debt trap in time?

    Political paralysis and division on this scale and with so much debt is a recipe for disaster whichever way you look at it. The question is how long do they/we have left?

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