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June 15, 2010

Re: Trying To Understand The Tea Party II

More from Sullivan.

...The cognitive dissonance and the obvious human misery behind it:

The pseudo-conservative believes himself to be living in a world in which he is spied upon, plotted against, betrayed and very likely destined for total ruin. He feels that his liberties have been arbitrarily and outrageously invaded ... he is the most bitter of all our citizens about our involvement in wars past but seems not the least concerned about avoiding the next one.

Brutally accurate, no? What you see is the predominance of acute alienation - the opposite of a natural conservative at peace with the world as it is - and the intensity of emotional rage it provokes. I would add one thing to this analysis. The Bush-Cheney presidency was, in some respects, the perfect pseudo-conservative administration. They waged war based on loathing of the experts (damned knowledgeable elites!); they slashed taxes and boosted spending for their constituencies, while pretending to be fiscally responsible; they tore up the most ancient taboos - against torture - with a bravado that will one day seem obscene; and they left the country in far worse shape than they found it.

Throughout all this, the Tea Partiers supported them. So how do they manage the cognitive dissonance that two failed wars, a financial collapse and a debt crisis have brought? How do they deal with the fact that their beloved president was manifestly the most incompetent and disastrous in modern times? They blame it on the next guy.

Yes, they are doing all they can to avoid facing the fact that they did all of this ... to themselves. And sometimes, the truly, deeply humiliated can only carry on through blind rage.

via andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com


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