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Venn Diagrams and Tea Parties April 15, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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The  New York Times/CBS News poll takes an in-depth look at the Tea Party “movement.” The results—tea partiers are very confused.

Of course they are opposed to the usual things conservatives oppose such as health care reform, government spending, and aid to African Americans. But when you get into specifics the ideology collapses like a deflating balloon.

Via Steve Benen:

[I]n follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

As Steve Benen said in a very memorable line:

If you were to make a Venn Diagram of the issues Tea Party members care about, and the issues Tea Party members are confused about, you’d only see one circle.

Benen goes on:

These folks claim to be motivated by concerns over taxes, but Tea Partiers tend not to know anything about the subject. They claim to be angry about the Affordable Care Act, but they don’t know what’s in it. They claim to hate expensive government programs, except for all the expensive government programs that benefit them and their families.

And there are some more fun facts in the poll. 57% have a favorable view of George W. Bush, and most absolve the Bush administration from responsibility for either the economic situation or current budget deficits. And a remarkable 84% of tea partiers believe their views “reflect the views of most Americans.”

Sincerity only goes so far. At some point strong beliefs have to bump up against reality.

But Tea Partiers have a long way to go before they are likely to encounter anything that looks like a fact.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com



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