The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican ConservatismBook - 2012
On February 19, 2009, CNBC commentator Rick Santelli stood on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and delivered a rant against government programs to shore up the housing market in the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression. Ridiculing "losers" who could not pay theirmortgages, Santelli invited America's "capitalists" to a "Chicago Tea Party." Less than a month after Barack Obama's inauguration, activists seized the opportunity to crystallize a nationwide Tea Party that has shaken American politics ever since.In this penetrating new study, Theda Skocpol of Harvard University, one of our leading political scientists, and co-author Vanessa Williamson go beyond the inevitable photos of protesters in tricorn hats and knee breeches to provide a nuanced portrait of the Tea Party. What they find is sometimessurprising. Drawing on extensive interviews in many parts of the country, they find that grassroots Tea Partiers - who are mostly white, older, and middle class - typically support Social Security, Medicare, and generous benefits for military veterans, despite their professed hatred of "biggovernment." Echoing longstanding conservative complaints, Tea Partiers are fiercely hostile to paying taxes to help people they consider "undeserving." They especially worry about claims by immigrants and younger people they believe have not paid their dues. Across America, Tea Party networks tiefree-market elites and funders to energized citizens who attend regular meetings, lobby legislators, and get out the vote. Although its popular appeal is limited to older conservatives, the Tea Party has shaken American politics by pulling the Republican Party sharply to the right. Public debatesare increasingly bitter; and government finds it harder to get things done. The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism combines fine-grained portraits of local Tea Party members and chapters with an overarching analysis of the movement's rise, impact, and likely fate. Thoughtful, perceptive, and impartial, it provides precisely the study we need as anotherpresidential campaign looms.
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, c2012
Characteristics: xii, 245 p. : ill., map ; 25 cm