It's difficult to watch the antics of the right-wing idiots who call themselves "The Tea Party" and not worry about the future of America. The thing is, though, that they are not all that new in America.
They essentially spout the same set of idiocies that the John Birch Society made famous in the late 50's and the 1960's. The historian Sean Wilentz offers an excellent essay on the intellectual roots of the Tea Party. Go read it.
But what Wilentz does not do is describe the conditions which have allowed these right-wing idiots to become so prominent, or at least not in depth. He does allude to the fear that the election of the African-American Obama as President has instilled in the American right wing, but that's only part of the story. The threat to America from the economic collapse we today call "The Great Recession" has also added to their fear, and it is built on fear of the many social changes which have included the disruption of the traditional American status where the White Race could be expected to dominate the government and the nation. It's not just the result of the civil rights battles, it includes the fact that within not too many years the so-called White Race will become a minority in America.
The automatic status that White conservatives have felt they had simply by being born White is inevitably disappearing. So they are reacting to both the social and the economic changes that are occurring to America. These factors have been key, in fact, to the political rise of the conservative movement over the last three decades.
The shock of the election of the backwoods President from Arkansas in 1992 was an earlier threat to derail the conservative effort to lock down their domination of American society. But after conservatives failed to impeach Clinton, they were able to recapture the White House with George Bush. Unfortunately, they do not have a governing coalition, only a coalition that can often elect their politicians. Once in office they are not allowed by their base to make the practical decisions required of a modern government. That left the conservatives with nothing else to do except start wars and to corruptly take as much money and as many contracts from government as they could.
Essentially the conservatives sold off the control of the American financial system to the Wall Street Banks, who promptly went about destroying what they had bought as Greenspan and his fellow libertarians watched and sat on their hands. By 2007 it was clear that a financial disaster was coming. (See my previous articles from 2007 and 2008 labeled Finance and economics.) The collapse of Wall Street in Fall of 2008 did more than threaten to destroy the world economy. Great Depression II was barely avoided by the panicky Bush Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson, whose belated actions were in fact carried out by the incoming Barack Obama and the bipartisan leadership of Congress. It also totally destroyed the credibility of the Republican party leadership.
It was this vacuum of Republican leadership that this year's Tea Partiers have stepped into. But the libertarian anarchists of the Tea Party could not have become as powerful as they have without the financing of the Libertarian ultra wealthy groups and individuals like the Koch brothers who have been actively financing the groups that funnel money to the tea Partiers to ensure that their rallies are organized and to bus the participants of those rallies to the party.
Then there is the other element - Rupert Murdoch and FOX. Murdoch is another of the uberwealthy who want to destroy American worker political power and recreate America as a nation ruled by the wealthy - a plutocracy. The government in his view should tax the masses and funnel that money to the wealthy who will dominate the society. The tea Partiers are the populist arm of this vision held by people such as the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, the Walton family, Erik Prince (who created Blackwater/Xe with his inherited wealth and who has used it to milk the government of overpriced security contracts) and so on. The political center of their power nationwide is the club of 100 millionaires called the U.S. Senate. Keep in mind that Glenn Beck is Rupert Murdoch's spokesman spreading the gospel. In the UK Glenn Beck has lost all of his sponsors, yet Murdoch's FOX has kept him on the air for nearly a year without sponsors. That is NOT a money-making action by Rupert Murdoch. It is purely political and quite expensive. (See the Countdown with Olberman that was broadcast Friday October 15th where he shows Murdoch explaining his political motivations.)
The public face of all this is the tea party with its rehashed John Birch Society ideology, but the core is the financial power of the uberwealthy American families and big business executives who were enabled to throw their money into American politics with the Supreme Court five gave them the Citizen's United decision that allowed the money to flow without any public record or reporting into political channels.
So go read Sean Wilentz's excellent article that explains where the Tea Party ideology comes from. But the real political threat to America is not the tea party idiots. It is the on-going effort by the ultra-wealthy to take political control of America and turn America into an out and out plutocracy where we are either members of the plutocracy or we are taxed by them to pay for their support.
The election is in slightly over two more weeks. Go vote. Defeat the corporations and the wealthy families trying to take America over.
[Just to point out how far back the economic crisis was recognized, go read my article Administration has admitted Recession in 2008 which I posted in November 2007. This was the Bush administration admitting that the Recession was coming.]