Monday, April 19, 2010


I keep hearing that the tea party movement isn't focused on "values" the way the Republican base has been since the Reagan years -- and now an exit poll conducted for Politico at the recent tea party rally attempts to determine whether that's true. It turns out that teabaggers are relatively non-moralistic ... but you really need to put the emphasis on "relatively":

In general, those who turned out for the April 15 event tended to be less culturally conservative than national Republicans.

Asked to rate their level of anger about 22 issues on a scale of one (not angry at all) to five (extremely angry), the issue that drew the most anger: the growing national debt. The least: courts granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Twenty-four percent said they’re "not at all" upset about gay marriage.

While 73 percent are extremely angry about government intrusion into personal lives, only 48 percent express the same sentiment about "the moral direction of the country." For instance, only 50 percent of the tea partiers overall said they're extremely angry about the number of abortions performed each year (16th of 22). That’s less than the proportion extremely angry about bailouts, earmarks and frivolous lawsuits.

A general point here: If you give a group of people a list of 22 issues and offer them a range of reaction choices, from "not angry at all" to "extremely angry," and an item that gets half the group "extremely angry" is #16 on the list, you're dealing with a really, really angry group of individuals.

More specifically, if half of a group is "extremely angry" about the number of abortions in America, or about our general moral direction, then this a very "values"-oriented group. It's just somewhat less extreme than the GOP as a whole.

The Politico article makes the point that there seem to be two groups of teabaggers: Palinbots and Paulbots. Those who greatly admire Ron Paul aren't concerned with "values"; the Sarah Palin fans are. This is an interesting finding, and I'm sure it will be cited by many pundits as evidence that a tea party schism is coming any day now.

Don't hold your breath. These two strains have existed on the right for decades -- and the schism never comes. Hard-drinking, hard-drugging, porn-addicted libertarian billionaire-wannabes happily voted twice for that early-to-bed Bible-thumper George W. Bush; they didn't care how much money he gave to faith-based programs in the sticks, because he gave them tax cuts and ride-into-the-Danger-Zone war porn. Meanwhile, the residents of the fourth-most religious state in America are about to reelect their whoremongering senator, David Vitter. So don't expect a split anytime soon.

No comments: