LOW-INFORMATION VOTERS…. Most of the coverage I’ve seen today of “Tea Party” events have been a little scary, not because organized conservative activists have laid the framework for an effective and coherent movement, but because a lot of these folks are mad as a hatter.
Consider this CNN segment about a Tea Baggers’ event in Chicago, where CNN’s Susan Roesgen asked some protestors for their thoughts. The first gentleman (I use the word loosely) carried a picture of President Obama as Hitler. He kept telling Roesgen that the president is a “fascist.” When asked what leads him to believe this, the man said, “Because he is.” The protestor went on to explain why term limits are so important. Wow.
Realizing that she probably wasn’t going to get anything coherent from this guy, Roesgen then spoke to another man, who proceeded to ramble on about why Obama should be more like Abraham Lincoln, who didn’t try to take taxpayers’ money.
Perhaps now would be a good time to note that Tea Baggers should probably stop looking to Lincoln as a role model. Not only did Lincoln vastly expand the power of the federal government — up to and including suspending habeas — he also was the first president to impose an income tax. Worse, it was a progressive income tax, that charged wealthier taxpayers more.
Obviously, it’s not fair to suggest all of the far-right activists attending Tea Parties were as confused as the strange folks CNN talked to in Chicago, but the “movement” has a long way to go if these guys were in any way representative of the whole.