Sunday, February 27, 2011


How distinct is teabaggers' reality from objective reality? Well, consider what Tim Pawlenty said yesterday at the Tea Party Patriots confab in Arizona:

"I'm here today to say, 'Thank you.' Thank you for standing up to the ruling class. Thank you for standing up to the liberal power brokers, guardians of the status quo and the royal triangle of greed: big government, big unions and big bailed-out businesses."

Yes, he said "ruling class." But the Koch brothers and BP and Rupert Murdoch aren't in this "ruling class." Teachers in Wisconsin are.

I assume few people still cling to one belief that was commonplace during the rise of the tea party movement -- that progressives and teabaggers might be able to work together, because both groups hate the fat cats who destroyed the economy and got rewards instead of punishment -- but this should clear it up: only bailed-out businesses are bad. Implicitly, they're bad only because they were bailed out by government. They have the infection. The Wall Street banks, in particular, weren't bad before they were lavished with government largesse, back when they were destroying the global economy. That was fine. Their only sin is being bailed out. They're running with the government, which is a bad crowd.

(Routine government aid to corporations isn't relevant to this discussion, by the way, because it's invisible to the tea crowd.)

I've assumed for a while that T-Paw's presidential dreams were a delusion -- but I think he's really mastered the teabag mindset better than, say, Mitt Romney. This, on a possible federal government shutdown, seems fairly convincing as well:

We've got to get back to certain principles and responsibilities and starting with getting the budget balanced and if it takes a dramatic moment or a dramatic week or a dramatic month, those kinds of line-in-the-sand moments are what we need to get politicians back up against the wall and have them make the tough decisions. They all talk about making the tough decisions and never do.

Actively rooting for a shutdown is probably going to become a litmus test for GOP candidates, and Pawlenty not only is right there, he's savoring the confrontation aspect of it, which is the real point for the voters he wants. Most of all, they want a fight. He gets it. He's beginning to strike me as a skilled student of teabag thinking and teabag talk. I'm starting to believe that -- especially if A-listers like Palin and Huckabee don't run -- he may have a chance.


UPDATE: Thers, in comments, traces the "ruling class" meme to this American Spectator article. Thers says the riff has been flogged by Limbaugh -- and what do you know, here's a post I wrote shortly after the Spec piece was published in which Limbaugh was calling Lisa Murkowski a "ruling-class RINO" for not falling on her sword in deference to Joe Miller and the teabaggers.

But there you go: Pawlenty is going deep into the wingnut back catalog and covering the equivalent of a fairly obscure non-LP B-side. T-Paw's fanboy status may a cynical stunt, but if he's faking, he's faking with real commitment.

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