Monday, February 22, 2010

Quote of the Day: Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Tea Party "movement"

The Governator, yesterday on This Week:

[Republicans are] the party of no, and at the same time, I think that there are a lot of people that are disenchanted and dissatisfied and they're angry and this is why you have the Tea Party and all of those things. The Tea Party is not going to go anywhere. I think the Tea Party is all about just an expression of anger and dissatisfaction and I see it in California when people come up to me and says, you know I'm angry that you guys don't get along in Sacramento. I'm angry that they're not getting along in Washington. I'm angry that nothing gets done. I'm angry that I'm unemployed. I'm angry that people are losing homes. I'm angry that businesses are losing their businesses and all of those kind of things. And the economy is down.

But that's only the case in California. That's not only the case in America. That's the case all over the world. If you read six newspapers from different parts of the world, you will see the headlines are pretty much the same. They're all angry at their leaders because the economy is down and the world basically has one-third less wealth right now. And so that makes people angry.

It's not exactly artfully put, but it's right on. There's a lot of anger out there at the moment, both in the U.S. and around the world, and it's anger that to a large extent explains the flourishing anti-incumbent sentiment (including in Massachussets, where Scott Brown rode the wave) and Obama's sagging approval ratings, as well as the popularity and intensity of Tea Party "movement." People are scared and pissed off, and, as we learn from history, when people are scared and pissed off, all sorts of nasty shit can happen, not least when they're being riled up by demagogues, as the teabaggers are by conservative rabble-rousers in the media as well as by some Republicans looking to co-opt the "movement" for their own electoral purposes, or to merge Republicans and teabaggers in an increasingly rightist GOP.

I'm just not sure the "Tea Party" isn't going "anywhere," as Arnold suggested. He may be hopeful that that's the case, but today's Republican Party isn't exactly his Republican Party, or what he wishes the Republican Party would be. In today's Republican Party, moving rightward, with the extremist fringe the mainstream, he appears to be an outcast, a stranger, a heretic. There is certainly a lot of tension between the teabaggers and the Republican establishment, but Republicans on the whole are embracing the far-right populism of the Tea Party "movement," even as they continue to be the party of Wall Street, and, for from going nowhere, these populist teabaggers are coming to play a major role in the GOP whether Arnold likes it or not.

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