Q: What do you think of the tea party?
A: First of all, there isn’t one “tea party.” There are actually several tea party organizations. Second, everyone should stop capitalizing “tea party” — and stop pretending it’s a new political force. Tea parties feature the same right-wing authoritarianism and agit-prop left over from the days of George Wallace and John Birch, which is why their stupid talking points sound exactly like the paranoid insanity of yesteryear. Tea party activism takes place in a closed universe where reality has been turned inside-out over a birth certificate. Enthusiasts constantly project their own minds on others. Anything they don’t understand about our complicated, globalized world becomes a new shadow on the wall of Plato’s cave. The activists represent perhaps 2% of the US population; sympathizers account for maybe another 25%. Altogether, they’re the same 27% of America that approved of Bush at the dead end of his presidency. What began as an online Ron Paul phenomenon has been morphed by K-Street money into a new brand name for the same old culture warriors and conservatives, only now they’re worse because they’re desperate.