Megan McArdle takes dishonesty to a new level. She actually seems to think that if she says tea-baggers are grass-roots, we will never discover that they are financed by corporations and led by Dick Armey's Freedomworks. See here, here, here, here, here, and here for a few sources on their relationships.
P. Suderman, husband of Megan McArdle, worked for Freedomworks and still works for a Koch-funded organization.
Mrs. Peter Suderman:
Your memory of how the people in the tea party viewed the bailouts is simply in error; while I supported TARP, there is a very good reason that the House initially voted against it. All of the conservative intellectual figures I know who now oppose TARP also opposed it when it passed; I was subject to a lot of their criticism. You may disagree with them (I do) but the accusation of opportunistic (or racist) hypocrisy is not borne out.
While I'm not particularly a fan of the tea parties, I can't say that I've noticed that the left's grassroots are a shining bastion of rationality. The left has inflated the crazy things that you can find *someone* saying at *any* event and made them the whole of the tea party, which is mostly a bunch of fairly boring middle class people who don't want the federal government taking a bigger share of the economy, and are organizing in a fairly boring way that most people on the left find utterly congenial when it's done in service of opposing wars.
I think the tea parties, like any populist movement, lack a coherent theory of how to govern a large country. But one could equally say that the antiwar protesters lacked a coherent theory of international relations. Did you think they were "unhinged"?
When you say that they didn't care until a black man was president, this is simply false; they cared before. Maybe the tea party would have formed under Hillary or McCain, maybe it wouldn't, but the view that it simply took the tea parties a little while to get their opposition organized is at least as consistent with the evidence. You are treating the most uncharitable possible interpretation as a fact; this is erroneous, and it serves to make any dialogue impossible, just as saying that antiwar protesters "just hate America" is neither accurate nor helpful. When you drag Obama's race into this, you are saying it's opportunistic.
As for the extent to which the tea party is driving the Republican party: care to place odds on actual radical action? (Defunding Obamacare doesn't count; I know YOU consider it radical, but defunding a law which was opposed by the majority of the population is simply not the act of a radical).
You have a persistent tendency to define yourself as part of the "reasonable" sphere, which amazingly skews much farther to the left than the American polity. You are not part of the moderate center; you're firmly on the left, and the majority of the population--even the majority of the educated, intelligent population--firmly disagrees with you.
This seems to be part of a much broader trend in discussing the tea party, where I find the ratio of sheer elitist snobbery to actual content distressingly high. Voters can be wrong without being crazy, unhinged, or otherwise worthy of disgust.
And nary a word about her tea-bagger husband. Oh, she might be forced to add a disclaimer in later. But she will continue to state that the tea-baggers are grass-roots when she knows very well that her husband helped Koch corporations fund, plan and carry out the tea parties.
What a strange time we live in; we are throught the looking glass. The only thing that matters is having enough money and power to get away with all your lies.