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Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America First Edition Edition
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About the Author
Kate Zernike is a national correspondent for The New York Times and was a member of the team that shared the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. She has covered education, Congress, and four national elections for the Times and was previously a reporter for The Boston Globe. She lives with her family outside New York City.
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Noting that the movement "had failed to attract nonwhites in proportion to their numbers in the country at large" (Pg. 5) they are "Almost uniformly white... disproportionately older than the general public, more likely to have a college or advanced degree, and more likely to describe themselves as fairly or very well off." (Pg. 6) Although conservative about issues such as abortion, "they were more likely than ordinary Republicans to say that they wanted to focus on economic issues." (Pg. 7)
Although the movement is often traced to the 2009 rant on the floor of the Chicago Merchantile Exchange by financial commentator Rick Santelli, Zernike considers the origin of the movement as from a 29-year old woman named Keri Carender (who is "Half-Mexican, with a pierced nose"). (Pg. 13-14)
She asks along with the critics, "If these new grassroots protesters were so upset about deficits and the national debt, why hadn't they massed on the streets during the Bush administration as the numbers soared?" and suggests that "their complaints about fiscal responsibility and big government (was) just a thin disguise for their revulsion against the nation's first black president." (Pg.Read more ›
What is America's Tea Party: a "constitutionalist" libertarian surgence? The reactionary rump of the GOP, struggling to remake itself after it's dreadful performance in the 2008 general election? A mass movement of angry white traditionalists resentful of every socially progressive notion from racial and gender equality to religious tolerance? A gaggle of decerebrate "Birthers" irremediably dedicated to the notion that our forty-fourth President is a Sumatran orang-utan, and worse, a Muslim to boot? Is it some of these, or all of these?
Whatever else it may be, the Tea Party is 'sui generis,' wholly in a class by itself: it is the first large-scale political movement of the twenty-first century and, along with the struggle for democratization in the Mideast, it along with the epochal the movement for an "Arab Spring" may set the tone for national and international political life for years to come.
The Tea Party burst on the scene at the height of the Great Recession and on the eve of the election of the first Black man to the highest office in the land: angry, white voters gathering by the hundreds of thousands to protest bank bailouts and big government. Evoking the Partisans of the Revolutionary War and the framers of the Constitution, they called themselves the Tea Party.Read more ›