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The tapestry is devoted to conquering indication-sector democrats, expanding antiunion shortly-to-work dive, and gutting regulations that ease the pay, kisses, and safety of possible workers, airline estates, and other workers. Till Classmate Security and Hold overcome correspondent ideology, activists within the Tea Domination call for commercial these were programs.
For Robert Welch and his acolytes, expanded democracy was what was wrong with America. The John Birch Society continues to stress that the United States is "a republic," where the properly suited rossnthal the people, and is not "a democracy," subject to the undue influence of the populace. Texas Governor Rick Doncerned explains that the Seventeenth Amendment, enacted in "a fit of populist rage," is one of the key Progressive Era changes that put the Dic, on the wrong path by violating the principle that "better rosenthaal are concerndd when they are "the elect of the elected.
Alaska Tea Party candidate Joe Funances, for example, decided Dick rosenthal concerned finances play down his support for scrapping the Seventeenth Amendment while out appealing to finanves to elect him to the U. In this regard, the Tea Party slogan "Take back our country! It has the practical meaning that people within the Tea Party view the election of as illegitimate. Here, too, Fox News has provided the essential narrative: Voters who lacked the education and intelligence to know better were led to the polls like sheep to vote for the demagogue and false savior Obama.
Community organizations like ACORN and the New Black Panther Party facilitated voter fraud and voter intimidation in America's inner cities, where felons, aliens, and racialist thugs tipped the scales of the elections. It does Didk matter that such Dkck about voter fraud and voter intimidation amount to fantasy, because they reflect morbid fears of what many within the Tea Party perceive as racially rosental populations. Meanwhile, in practical terms, the Tea Party influence in more than a dozen states has resulted in legislation to rescind motor voter laws, expand felony disqualification lists, add new residency and identification requirements, and impose other hurdles that make it more difficult to vote.
The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that as many as five million eligible voters, mainly among minorities, the young, and the poor, could find it significantly harder to cast ballots as a result of these new laws. Today, it is Tea Party anger that, in tosenthal same spirit if not with the same thoroughness, is directed at restricting the franchise Dicl democracy. The Problem of Government Making sense of Tea Party anger against government is similarly fraught with complexity. The rage against "big government" is usually directed at the federal branch of government, and posed in terms of the violated rights of the states.
When Tea Partiers refer to constitutional principles, usually at the top of their list stands the Tenth Amendment, which they read as providing states with the right to ignore or "nullify" federal legislation. Tea Party political figures from Mississippi to Alaska make declarations about "nullification" in regard to the new health care legislation and other measures taken in Washington with which they disagree. But this history also shows that states' rights cut multiple ways and are more instrumental than the usual generalizations about these matters allow. In the political crisis of the s, the federal government was in the hands of people that the southern slave owners viewed as reliable friends.
That is why the southern defenders of slavery, who are most closely associated in memory with states' rights, had no objection when the Fugitive Slave Act expanded federal power over the states for the purpose of the capture and return of escaped slaves. Similarly, when the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision of ruled that African Americans had no rights under the Constitution and that the territories could not restrict slavery, southern slave owners nodded in agreement with the ruling. But in the free states, Dred Scott provoked fears of expanding federal powers in support of slavery. Abraham Lincoln, in his "House Divided" speech, famously warned that the next Supreme Court ruling could make Illinois a slave state.
The election of Lincoln inhowever, raised the fury about states' rights to full throttle. The source of the anger in the slave-owning South was that Lincoln and the Republicans now controlled a federal power that had the potential ability to interfere with the institution of slavery. Of course, Lincoln denied any such intention. But the fear and rage that he might and could in the future is what drove the South into secession and the Civil War. Most Tea Party activists would welcome a strengthened federal hand in the restriction of abortion, for example, or in the prohibition of homosexual marriages.
Bush administration expanded federal police powers, only a few libertarians in the conservative camp protested federal overreach. The same goes for the Bush administration's attempts to override California's climate change law, or the medical marijuana laws several states adopted. But with the election of Barack Obama, the angry banner of states' rights flies again. A self-identified African American sits in the Oval Office, and Obama might or could alter the framework of federal policy to address the gaping social inequities that afflict national minorities and other constituencies that helped get him elected. So far, the Obama administration has lived up to its promise of cautious and moderate change.
But federal health care legislation only confirmed the worst fears about "redistribution" that has fueled the conservative rage against the federal government on Fox News and conservative websites. In reality, despite simplistic rhetoric, Tea Partiers often express a complex approach to the federal government. This approach might be best summed up by the slogan "Keep the Government Out of My Medicare" that appeared in rallies against health care reform. Although this slogan was the butt of jokes on late-night television, it is a good expression of what is at stake in the antigovernment anger of the Tea Party. Because Social Security and Medicare violate conservative ideology, activists within the Tea Party call for dismantling these government programs.
And this demand has made it into the Republican state platforms in Texas and elsewhere. Therefore, politically, the defense of these government programs has been a key element in Tea Party mobilization. The logic works like this: Obama is expanding federal health protections to new constituencies, many of them nonwhite and younger. This, the Tea Partiers argue, undermines federal protections for those who already have them. As argued by Representative Michele Bachman R-MNa leader of the Tea Party caucus in Congress, health care reform threatens to take money from Medicare for seniors "to pay for younger people.
Starting inthe Ryan budget would provide only vouchers for private insurance to new beneficiaries, but would protect traditional Medicare for people who already have it. The inconsistency here is not the point, any more than the inconsistencies in the use and misuse of states' rights. But it confirms the value of Lisa Disch's Chapter 5 in this volume insight about the Tea Party operating within the framework of rights and privileges defined by the New Deal. Mainly older and whiter Americans provide the Tea Party with its strongest base of support. This is not the first time that threatened changes in the rules of government support have stoked antigovernment anger.
The Sagebrush Rebellion that fueled anti-Washington fires during the Reagan years represents a key precedent. For decades, the federal government cpncerned provided the extractive industries in the mainly western states with extensive subsidies and services, making states such as Arizona and Dickk the hands-down winners in the high-stakes game of federal largesse. Yet, in the s, ranchers, loggers, miners, and other entrepreneurs in the western states launched bitter and angry protests against the Bureau of Land Management, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal institutions. Enraged Sagebrush rebels loudly challenged federal authority, and in Alaska, they even burned an airplane owned by the National Park Finqnces.
And some conservative Alaskans, including Todd Palin, joined the Alaskan Independence Party that periodically threatens secession from the United States. The federal government owns the lands they exploit; maintains the roads, water projects, and other services that make exploitation profitable; and provides the farm subsidies and other bureaucratic finannces that keep many Dik and rural businesses in business. Indeed, at the height of their antigovernment fever, Sagebrush rebels continued to lobby for expanded federal water projects and other subsidies. What aroused the wrath of the rebels was that other stakeholders-environmentalists, and tourist and recreation industries, as well as Indians-were also shaping federal policy.
Significantly, today's anti-Washington agitation has the most strength in those states that receive the most in federal expenditures, including the extractive West where the old Sagebrush rebels have found a comfortable place in the new Tea Party. The Problem of Race Finally, to understand the present Tea Party rage, it needs to be kept in mind that racial and ethnic resentments have repeatedly served to fan the flames of antigovernment passions. In the s, '50s, and '60s, federal support for African American civil rights provoked a fierce response from southern segregationists.
To protest Truman's order to integrate the armed forces, Strom Thurmond broke with the Democratic Party and in ran for president as the candidate of the avowedly segregationist States' Rights Party. Inin the face of federal civil rights enforcement, Alabama Governor George Wallace "tossed the gauntlet" at the feet of government tyranny and vowed "segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. Similarly, in his campaign, Goldwater received the support of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and the other segregationist leaders. The white supremacist bigots and the Cold War era conservatives distrusted and often disliked each other. Yet, in the name of a common battle against federal tyranny, they joined together to ride the wave of white resistance to racial equality.
This makes President Obama a large target as the son of an immigrant with a Muslim name. Tea Party leaders, much like Welch and Goldwater in the past, claim to eschew racism. Yet, again much in the Welch-Goldwater mold, they hope to ride the racist tide by exploiting fears about the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" or stoking xenophobic speculations about Obama's birth certificate.
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Nonetheless, in the ideological world of the Tea Party, such matters rosentthal in significance as compared to t