Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Matt Taibbi winces in the face of idiocy so you don't have to

Don't miss Matt Taibbi's newest Rolling Stone article, "Tea & Crackers." He goes on the long, pointless excursion to find out just what is up with Tea Partiers, and finds that they're pretty much being led around by the noses. Duped, if you will.

Along the way, Taibbi hits on exactly my explanation for all the "anti-government" fronting these Medicare beneficiaries do.
Early in his campaign, Dr. [Rand] Paul, the son of the uncompromising libertarian hero Ron Paul, denounced Medicare as "socialized medicine." But this spring, when confronted with the idea of reducing Medicare payments to doctors like himself — half of his patients are on Medicare — he balked. This candidate, a man ostensibly so against government power in all its forms that he wants to gut the Americans With Disabilities Act and abolish the departments of Education and Energy, was unwilling to reduce his own government compensation, for a very logical reason. "Physicians," he said, "should be allowed to make a comfortable living."

Those of us who might have expected Paul's purist followers to abandon him in droves have been disappointed; Paul is now the clear favorite to win in November. Ha, ha, you thought we actually gave a shit about spending, joke's on you. That's because the Tea Party doesn't really care about issues — it's about something deep down and psychological, something that can't be answered by political compromise or fundamental changes in policy. At root, the Tea Party is nothing more than a them-versus-us thing. They know who they are, and they know who we are ("radical leftists" is the term they prefer), and they're coming for us on Election Day, no matter what we do — and, it would seem, no matter what their own leaders like Rand Paul do.
I was going to make this a short post, but the article is too full of flavor bursts of awesome.

Taibbi mostly focuses on the Tea Party's inevitable cooptation into the Republican party, especially as illustrated by Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul's change from opposition to embrace of the Republican establishment.

But I savor the Us-versus-Them-isms. Here's one where Taibbi has asked a Tea Partier, whose wife is on Medicare and who as a tax appraiser has received check after check from the government, why he's anti-government spending.
"Well," he says, "there's a lot of people on welfare who don't deserve it. Too many people are living off the government."

"But," I protest, "you live off the government. And have been your whole life!"

"Yeah," he says, "but I don't make very much."
Them. The undeserving and ill-defined them!. When will True Americans be free of their tyranny?
It would be inaccurate to say the Tea Partiers are racists. What they are, in truth, are narcissists. They're completely blind to how offensive the very nature of their rhetoric is to the rest of the country. I'm an ordinary middle-aged guy who pays taxes and lives in the suburbs with his wife and dog — and I'm a radical communist? I don't love my country? I'm a redcoat? Fuck you! These are the kinds of thoughts that go through your head as you listen to Tea Partiers expound at awesome length upon their cultural victimhood, surrounded as they are by America-haters like you and me or, in the case of foreign-born president Barack Obama, people who are literally not Americans in the way they are.

It's not like the Tea Partiers hate black people. It's just that they're shockingly willing to believe the appalling horseshit fantasy about how white people in the age of Obama are some kind of oppressed minority.
I'll go one further and say that calling the Tea Partiers racist is lazy and short-sighted. Sure, a lot of their attitudes amount to racism, but that's just a fragment of their whole oppositional outlook.
"They're [the medical death panels are] going to look at your age, your vocation in life, your health, your income. . . ." says a guy active in the Northern Kentucky Tea Party.

"Your race?" I ask.

"Probably," he says.

"White males need not apply," says another Tea Partier.

"Like everything else, the best thing you can do is be an illegal alien," says a third. "Then they won't ask you any questions."

An amazing number of Tea Partiers actually believe this stuff, and in the past year or so a host of little-known politicians have scored electoral upsets riding this kind of yahoo paranoia.
Go give it a read!

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