So I understand why the Tea Party has been such a big phenomenon this year. No, I really do.
You see, people get mad when there's 10% unemployment and a quarter of mortgages are underwater. They get even angrier when they see their government bail out the gigantic financial institutions that got us into this mess in the first place. And furthermore, they get super-duper-wicked-pissy-forever mad when the government decides to spit directly into our faces and tell us that we've entered a glorious Recovery Summer.
And when people are this angry at their government, they simply don't give a damn how crazy the opposing party is -- they're gonna vote for them anyway. David Brooks, in a rare insightful column, makes this point well:
This doesn’t mean that the Tea Party influence will be positive for Republicans over the long haul. The movement carries viruses that may infect the G.O.P. in the years ahead. Its members seek traditional, conservative ends, but they use radical means. Along the way, the movement has picked up some of the worst excesses of modern American culture: a narcissistic sense of victimization, an egomaniacal belief in one’s own rightness and purity, a willingness to distort the truth so that every conflict becomes a contest of pure good versus pure evil.
The Tea Party style is beginning to replicate itself in parts of the conservative world. Dinesh D’Souza’s Forbes cover article, “How Obama Thinks,” contained the sort of untethered assertions that have become the lingua franca of this movement. Obama got his subversive radicalism from his father’s grave, D’Souza postulated: “He adopted his father’s position that capitalism and freedom are code words for economic plunder.” The fact that Newt Gingrich embraced this offensive theory is a sign of how severely the normal intellectual standards have been weakened.
But that damage is all in the future. Right now, the Tea Party doesn’t matter. The Republicans don’t matter. The economy and the Democrats are handing the G.O.P. a great, unearned revival. Nothing, it seems, is more scary than one-party Democratic control.
Here's the analogy I'll use:
Let's say you've found that your spouse has been secretly cheating on you for years on end without your knowledge. Your first instinct is to head down to the nearest dive bar and hook up with every sleazy person you can find, all the while relishing the angry revenge you're taking on your wayward partner. Sure, you know that the people you're shacking up with seem to scratch themselves a lot and some of them seem to have severe mental illnesses, particularly the one that keeps mumbling about the coming onslaught of sinister mice people. But that's not important, see, because you've been wronged and this is your time to seek righteous vengeance.
Two weeks later, of course, you're itching all over and rushing to the doctor to get an STD Value-Pack treatment.
So America, what I'm trying to say is this: I understand why you want to boot out the Democrats and I understand that you don't care who you have to vote for. But dudes, you're gonna wake up with crabs. Just be ready for it.