Senator Charles Schumer has a great piece up on the Tea Party which is a nice front loader to the SOTU tonight. Here are some of the highlights.
The tea party elites -- with little rebuttal -- have been able to make "government" the boogeyman. They have convinced too much of America that government is the explanation for their ills. Even though most Americans and even most tea party adherents like much of what the government does, the tea party elites proclaim that everything that is wrong, even non-economic and private sector problems, can be blamed on the government.
Yep, it's all the government. And don't you forget it, mister!! In fact, I think it's somehow the government's fault that conservatives have such poor relationships with their parents:)
So, how why are they really like this?
The first and most important force is a phenomenon that Democrats have recently begun to address: the decline in middle-class incomes. It's time we deal with the reality that, for the first time in American history, middle-class American incomes have declined for almost a generation. If middle-class incomes continue to decline, we will have a dramatically different America, a less optimistic, more sour America.
The second deep-seated force that fueled the emergence of the tea party is the rapid pace of change in America's cultural, technological and demographic makeup. Tea party adherents see an America that's not reflective of themselves, and the America they have known, and they just don't like it. We have entered "the second machine age," a transformation of work, leisure, and life that wouldn't have been recognizable when Reagan entered the White House. The distribution of power is changing to include more women, more African-Americans, and more Latinos.
Those two issues have created the atmosphere we have today. As Senator Schumer notes, we are doing something about the first point. Of course, the resistance to his first point speaks volumes. Take away this inequality and you take away what little raison d'etre the leaders of the conservative movement have. The second point is where the fear comes from. They just can't accept change of any kind and the new world is very, very frightening to them. Schumer draws a correlation to the shift from an agrarian society to a industrial one and I think he is right on the mark here.
Look for the president to hit inequality hard tonight in his speech, touching on the points that Senator Schumer mentions in this piece.