Tag Archives: Republican

Tea Party bait in the NYT: “You are white, Republican, and racist. Oh, and theocratic, too.”

I’ll admit it: just the fact that the story is coming  from the New York Times gives me pause.

But there it is: “Crashing the Tea Party,” by David E. Campbell and Robert D. Putnam, a couple of professors who think they have profiled Tea Party members based on some wide ranging research.

The results are provocative and, if they are in any way correct, indicate that Tea Party members are less naïve about politics than previously thought, tend to hold a low regard for immigrants, and very religious, even wanting leaders who mix religion and politics ….which explains why Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry are getting good reviews from the Tea Party.

Oh, also they are more likely to be Republican.

Whatever the characteristics, Campbell and Putnam suggest that it has contributed to giving the Tea Party a lower  approval among the public than atheists and Muslims. Ouch.

...because blondes have more fun.

But wait! There’s more: the Tea Party is not necessarily a creature of the recession. Tea Party members tend to have already been (as well as being white) very conservative and active Republicans.

Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

[…]

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

Hmm…so how about that ‘separation between church and state’ thing? The Tea Party does know that it was one of their darlings, Mr. Thomas Jefferson himself,  that was one of the first to actually phrase it that way, right?

I don’t know about you, Reader, but the last thing I think we need is a litmus test for an elected official the measures religiosity. I would rather an atheist that upholds the law and defends the practice of religion over a deeply religious nut job  person who discriminates in favor of his or her faith. Of course, if we could find a deeply religious person who upholds the law (and doesn’t err on the side of larger government), then I probably wouldn’t mind. But then, it has nothing to do with religiosity, and we’re back at my main point: religion is the wrong litmus test for a leader.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) led 30,000 Christians in prayer Saturday -- at an event that may boost his fortunes with the GOP's critical bloc of evangelical voters. Photo: Brandon Thibodeaux/Getty Images

And yet, Campbell and Putnam suggest that this very litmus test is the likely reason for Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry’s success in recent weeks with the Tea Party.

And what about the libertarians that are finding common cause with the Tea Party? I don’t see them reflected in the research discussion or results. In my experience, libertarians are just about growing on Republican trees these days, but they would be the last people to support increased religion in politics.

Which leads me to Campbell and Putnam’s method. The two professors (Campbell is an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame and Putnam is a professor of public policy at Harvard) interviewed 3,000 people in 2006 as part of continuing research into national political attitudes. They returned to the same people this year. They explain that

[a]s a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later. We can also account for multiple influences simultaneously — isolating the impact of one factor while holding others constant.

Perhaps. I’d like to take a closer look at the results to find out what kind of questions were asked, how the people were selected, and what the margins of error were.

In any case…

Even as a Republican, and a long time Republican at that, it would be disingenuous for me to dismiss these findings out of hand. While I don’t find them to be definitive, I do find the results descriptive.  Utah’s Tea Party may be distinct  in some respects due to some characteristics that are uniquely local, but in many respects the results seem to apply here.

On the other hand, could this just be Tea Party bait by New York Times liberals?

Religious litmus test or not, elections are not about rationality, but winning, and if it takes that to win, could we expect anyone but a deeply religious person to win the race for the Republican nomination?

Read the full article at “Crashing the Tea Party” in the New York Times.

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First Iowa, and now the worst ratings ever.

Last week, Republicans decided to “give Iowa a try.” Then T-paw, first man into the race for President, became the first man out of the race (unless you count this dufus). Then, with a nary a whimper (and a jet black bus), the President kicked off what Mitt Romney called the “Magical Misery Tour,” a bus tour of mid-west swing states.

“During his Magical Misery bus tour this week, it is unlikely President Obama will speak with unemployed Americans, to near-bankrupt business owners, or to families struggling to survive in this economy,” the campaign said in a statement released prior to Obama’s arrival in Minnesota Monday.

I don’t know about that…last I checked, the President wasn’t opposed to having a beer with a couple of regular guys.

Besides, President Obama knows what it looks like to have unemployment staring him in the face. It’s happening to him now.

Yep. It’s President Obama’s worst approval rating since his inauguration. Even with the election more than a year away, he can’t be relishing these kind of ratings. I’m not sure if there’s just a lot of news about the GOP due to Iowa (a debate, a straw poll, a Texan entering the race, and, of course, that butter statue) or if the country is really looking for someone to blame, but President Obama is taking a part of the hit (the economy is swallowing the rest of the malaise).

On the other hand, there’s a lot of politics between now  and the only poll that matters, and President Obama is not idiot. I suspect he’s ready for the next fourteen and a half months.

Grab yourself a cold one, put on your most comfortable shoes, and get ready: it’s going to be a magical ride, misery or not.

 (h/t Gallup and DBKP)

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The Placebo Effect: Is Bachmann a placebo?

If a placebo can increase or decrease pain just be convincing the placebo taker that this is the effect, is it possible that our country could use one?  Or maybe that’s what Bachmann is–ineffective as a legislator, but she makes people feel like she can make a difference, and that’s why she wins polls

That, or she just drives in supporters and pays the  straw poll cost for them. Why ever it is–whether it’s because she’s  placebo or because she can truck in more voters than Ron Paul (if barely), check out the video below on the placebo effect. Absolutely fascinating.

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GOP Raw: An unabashed review of the Iowa Republican Debate

Tonight was the GOP Debate in Ames, Iowa. Hosted by Fox News, it was pure entertainment.

Minnesotans Bachmann and Pawlenty returned tit for tat, Ron Paul waxed on about getting out of foreign wars, Gingrich whined about the press, Cain was questioned on his knowledge base, Huntsman distinguished himself as the moderate, and Romney walked away unscathed and still the front runner. Oh, and does anyone take Santorum seriously?  While the last debate was relatively blase, tonight the candidates took off the gloves and went at it with all the grace and subtlety of a grade school food fight.

Ok, they weren’t that messy. But they were none too kind to each other. If you missed it, you missed a good piece of cheap entertainment. I tried to offer some live commentary on Twitter and Facebook, but here are my thoughts on each candidate, in seven words or less, after a few minutes of effortless reflection.

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Gettin’ a little crazy out there…

Vice President Joe Biden L'68

* except this smiling man. He always seems to have something witty on the edge of his tongue. Image via Wikipedia

No default. But no matter. It’s still not enough to make anyone happy.*

In fact, just to read the headlines, I can’t help but think that it’s getting a little crazy out there.

Check out a sampling of them from this screen shot of Real Clear Politics this afternoon:

Among other things, here’ s a few things that one might glean from the headlines:

Also, if this wasn’t painfully obvious to anyone not in the employ of the federal government: we’re in a bear economy, right now, and the light at the end of the tunnel might be a train. Or a bear.  If bears reflected light. And looked like this. 
In short, what I see in just the headlines is that everyone is obnoxious and no one is happy with the way things are going. Even the Chinese are getting in on the action. (Because, hey–they own a substantial part of the debt we almost defaulted on).

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