NYT: Tea Party didn’t get what it wanted — but it did unleash the politics of anger

“In the late summer of 2009, as the recession-ravaged economy bled half a million jobs a month, the country seemed to lose its mind,” The New York Times is reporting.

“Lawmakers accustomed to scheduling town hall meetings where no one would show up suddenly faced shouting crowds of hundreds, some of whom brought a holstered pistol or a rifle slung over the shoulder. One demonstrator at a rally in Maryland hanged a member of Congress in effigy. A popular bumper sticker at the time captured the contempt for the federal bailout of certain homeowners. ‘Honk if I’m Paying Your Mortgage,’ it said.

“Organizers convened mass gatherings across the country called “tea parties,” and they had a specific set of demands: Stop President Barack Obama’s health care law; tame the national deficit; and don’t let the government decide which parts of the economy are worth rescuing.

“Ten years since that summer of rage, the ideas that animated the Tea Party movement have been largely abandoned by Republicans under President Trump. Trillion-dollar deficits are back and on track to keep growing. The Affordable Care Act has never been repealed, and Republicans concede it may never be. When Congress approved $320 billion in new spending this month as part of its latest budget deal, most Republicans in the Senate voted yes, prompting a lament from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was first elected in 2010 as a slash-and-burn fiscal conservative.

‘“The Tea Party is no more,’ he said.

“But Mr. Paul and others who have signed the Tea Party’s death certificate overlook one way it continues to define the country today. It ignited a revival of the politics of outrage and mistrust in government, breathing new life into the populist passions that continue to threaten the stability of both political parties. Even if the Tea Party’s ideas are dead, its attitude lives on.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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