The Insufficiency of the Tea Party Narrative

Ironically highlighted by the hope of so many of its number… an Atlas Shrugged movie!!!

When you get right down to it, the dream of the super-rich, to stay super-rich, just doesn’t make good television. That so thoroughly caught on — with the lipstick of “values” applied to the pig of “destructive retrograde 19th century capitalism” — is a triumph of modern messaging. But with this, will they finally realize this is what the various tea party movements have been fighting for?

Update: the best quote on the subject, ever —

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs.

Burn. But accurate. Atlas depends for its moral force on an oversimplified world that can never exist in fact.




  1. So it’s your contention that all of these people were marching so the rich could stay rich?

  2. I think they think they’re marching for “freedom.” But the dress-up of deregulation as the essence of Freedom and Liberty is a monstrous snow job.

    1. So they’ve all just been duped by the super-rich?

      1. pretty much. Think about it – Republicans had 6 years when they controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House. They could have passed and gotten signed into law any number of changes to the regulatory regime of the U.S.; they could have made massive cuts to the size of government; they could have reduced the Deficit instead of inflating it; they could have undone all the social policy they say is the big drag on American freedom.

        But they didn’t. Now they are trying to take back power by fomenting unrest on the Right side of the Right, aimed squarely at all the things I just mentioned. I have no faith that IF we returned a Republican to the WH,a nd handed the Senate back to the Republicans, thy would actually do any of the things they are whipping the Tea Party into a frenzy about. Thus, I conclude that it is a snow job, because the super-rich have managed to get and stay super-rich in spite of that “oppressive, socialist” government.

        1. For that scenario to work it would mean that the GOP controls the Tea Party. Is that an accurate assessment? I don’t think these marchers are taking orders from Mitch McConnell. McConnell can’t even control Rand Paul.

          1. NO, but if you look at the people funding the major Tea Party groups (and they get funds from a few large donors) those folks are at the top of Republican donor and operatives lists.

            And for the record, I don’t think Mitch McConnell controls the Party.

            1. So is the DNC controlled by its donors?

              1. Yes. Any thing else I can help you with?

                1. I’ll have to remember that when Obama’s donor list rolls out next year : )

  3. Who ever said the GOP controls the Tea Party? The GOP is using them, the way one might use a dupe, and there’s no guarantee it won’t backfire if/when the dupe wises up.

    1. I don’t even think they are using them. Take Rand Paul for example. He ran as a Republican in the primaries but he never had the support of the state party or McConnell. There was a little bit of playing nice in the general election but it was clear he was calling the shots.

      I just don’t see the TP being used by the GOP. If anything I see it as the other way around.

      1. If the Tea Party isn’t being used by the GOP, then why isn’t the GOP “Establishment” willing to tell them to sit down and shut up when its called for?

        1. That’s just it – they can’t control them. They’re just hoping to appeal to them enough toget their votes.

  4. Regardless of who controls who, it must be recognized that the influence of the mostly middle-class TP movement has in effect led to the adoption of some policies that do not actually benefit them very much, but are very positive for the “super-rich”. In particular, it would have been much more to their benefit if a tax hike on the latter had been used to fund further breaks for the middle class.

    And you have the opposition to health care reform along the same lines. Because, which group is more at risk of ending up in financial trouble because of e.g. under-insurance for medical problems? (Hint: It’s not the rich.)

    1. Isn’t it possible that some people don’t only support policies for personal gain? I’m not rich, nor am I a Tea Partier yet I don’t want to see tax hikes on the rich.

      1. Oh, I’m sure that they’re out there fighting for liberty and opposing socialism and that whole narrative, but I’m just observing that they’re working against their own best interests. And considering the somewhat sorry state of the American middle class, maybe they should consider those interests a little more carefully, rather than those of the very rich who, being very rich, are not really at any immediate risk.

        I also think it’s more than a little tragicomic that the struggle between liberty and tyranny has now apparently been reduced to whether the very rich should pay 35% or 39% taxes. I’m sure Thomas Paine would be proud. (Or maybe not, considering how he promoted a progressive tax to alleviate poverty. Wonder how the TP’ers feel about that.)

        1. Tax policy is just one part of the tea party formula and probably one of the smaller parts. The bigger issue is the size of the federal government. Most TP folks are small government conservatives and believe in a Grover Norquist, ‘starve the beast’ policy. A large government represents all sorts of potential ills for them from personal liberty intrusions to socialized medicine. That is really what they are fighting against.

          1. Such as the personal liberty to go bankrupt when the insurance company refuses to cover the medical bills.

            1. How many people with existing coverage are really being denied payment on medical bills? Is this really a huge problem? I thought the ax liberals were grinding was insurance for the uninsured?


                This 2006 article mentions “17.6 million adults with private insurance reporting substantial problems paying their medical bills.” And I guess the problem hasn’t gotten smaller with the economic crisis.

                1. It’s an interesting statistic and I’m not disputing it but I would be really interested to see what caused this debt and how much of it was elective medical procedures.

      2. because you loose what,exactly by having people who make more mney then you pay 4% more in income taxes?

        1. It’s not about what I lose if we tax them…it’s about what i lose if we don’t. What are we going to have to give up if we don’t take more money from the rich?

    2. Because, which group is more at risk of ending up in financial trouble because of e.g. under-insurance for medical problems? (Hint: It’s not the rich.)

      Correct, the group most at risk of ending up in financial trouble because of under-insurance for medical problems are the worthless pieces of shit who don’t deserve insurance and who get medical problems, and in both cases deserve to die, and THAT is the take-away from the however-many-hundred-pages of craptacular writing that is Atlas Shrugged: draconian meritocracy is the only morality, and most people don’t deserve to live, because most of us are weak scum who deserve to have our skulls bashed in like baby seals.

      1. If you want a meritocracy, that’s a little inconsistent, because illness does not respect merit. Even the most capable people can get sick.

        On the other hand, if good health is a determining factor in itself, that’s not really a meritocracy. Perhaps rather a “hugieinocracy” – a “rule of the healthy”.

        (I knew those ancient Greek lessons would come in handy one day!)

        1. (By the way, it appears that this is the first time ever that the word “hugieinocracy” has been used on the Interwebs. I hope Ames appreciates the innovation going on at his blog!)

        2. Good health is part of merit. Illness does respect merit: if you get ill, you were flawed and clearly not meritorious.

          1. Surely you can be meritorious in many different ways. With apologies for the cliché example, Stephen Hawkins is not exactly what you’d call a healthy individual, but on the other hand, he’s one of the most brilliant scientists ever. How is there not some “merit” in that?

          2. Dear opposition researchers in future Senate campaigns: let the record state that I do not agree with all commenters on this site, generally, and specifically with Steve’s above comment :).

            Sorry Steve!!

  5. The Atlas Shrugged movie will be fascinating, though. I understand it is to be a trilogy, so I guess the remaining two parts will consist entirely of Galt’s monologue.

    Certain to be a crowd-pleaser.

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