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Teabags vs. Douchebags Why this May Not be the Second Coming of the New Deal After All.By David Sirota (about the author) Permalink (Page 1 of 2 pages)
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Hiding douchebaggery inside a teabag
Progressives remained the dominant rabble-rousing teabaggers from the Great Depression until the 1970s, winning battles not only for the New Deal, but for civil rights legislation and the end of the Vietnam War. Slowly, however, through icons like William F. Buckley, Barry Goldwater and ultimately Ronald Reagan, conservatives figured out how to package their Establishment agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and privatization in the argot of outsider populism. By claiming "extremism is no vice," railing on "welfare queens," and insisting "government is the problem," the Right discovered how to wrap corporate douchbaggery in a teabag.
With the help of conservative think tanks, columnists, television pundits and talk radio hosts, this sleight-of-bag created the politics of perpetual outrage predicated on the contradictions detailed by Thomas Frank in What's the Matter With Kansas?: impoverished rural states electing Senators on promises to cut inheritance taxes on millionaires and blue-collar workers supporting lawmakers who back job-killing trade deals--as Frank puts it, a country "nailing itself to that cross of gold."
Today, Republican congressmen champion a flat tax and embrace anti-immigrant xenophobia, media voices like Glenn Beck infuse their rhetoric with violent themes, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) endorses the concept of secession--all while a so-called "tea party" movement against government is manufactured via Fox News and a team of lobbyists from FreedomWorks, a corporate front group in D.C.
David Sirota is a full-time political journalist, best-selling author and nationally syndicated newspaper columnist living in Denver, Colorado. He blogs for Working Assets and the Denver Post's PoliticsWest website. He is a Senior Editor at In These Times magazine, which in 2006 received the Utne Independent Press Award for political coverage. His 2006 book, Hostile Takeover, was a New York Times bestseller, and is now out in paperback. He has been a guest on, among others, CNN, (more...)
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