February 25, 2010
WHERE ARE THE HARD HATS WHEN WE NEED THEM?:
Most 'tea party' followers are baby boomers reliving the '60s: A poll debunks assumptions about the movement, showing that it's largely middle-class, college-educated, white and male. (Jim Spencer and Curtis Ellis, February 24, 2010, LA Times)
Neither "average Americans," as they like to portray themselves, nor trailer-park "Deliverance" throwbacks, as their lefty detractors would have us believe, tea partyers are more highly educated and wealthier than the rest of America. Nearly 75% are college educated, and two-thirds earn more than $50,000.
More likely to be white and male than the general population, tea partyers also skew toward middle age or older. That's the tell. Most came of age in the 1960s, an era distinguished by widespread disrespect for government. In their wonder years, they learned that politics was about protesting the Establishment and shouting down the Man. No wonder they're doing that now.
Look closely at the tea partyer and what you see is a famil- iar American genus: a solidly middle-class, college-educated boomer, endowed by his creator with possessions, opinions and certain inalienable rights, the most important of which is the right to make sure you hear what he has to say.
The tea party is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis. For men of a certain age, it offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence -- underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares -- all paid for with ample cash.
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 25, 2010 5:00 PM