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Friday, December 23, 2011
Robert Reich (Why the Republican Crackup is Bad For America)
The underlying conflict lies deep into the nature and structure of the Republican Party. And its roots are very old.
As Michael Lind has noted, today’s Tea Party is less an ideological movement than the latest incarnation of an angry white minority – predominantly Southern, and mainly rural – that has repeatedly attacked American democracy in order to get its way.
It’s no mere coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy. Of the Tea Party caucus, twelve hail from Texas, seven from Florida, five from Louisiana, and five from Georgia, and three each from South Carolina, Tennessee, and border-state Missouri.
Others are from border states with significant Southern populations and Southern ties. The four Californians in the caucus are from the inland part of the state or Orange County, whose political culture has was shaped by Oklahomans and Southerners who migrated there during the Great Depression.
This isn’t to say all Tea Partiers are white, Southern or rural Republicans – only that these characteristics define the epicenter of Tea Party Land.
And the views separating these Republicans from Republicans elsewhere mirror the split between self-described Tea Partiers and other Republicans.
In a poll of Republicans conducted for CNN last September, nearly six in ten who identified themselves with the Tea Party say global warming isn’t a proven fact; most other Republicans say it is.