The Tea Party has become one of the driving forces in American politics today by mostly keeping it simple– no central leadership, no rigid principles outside from a demand for less government intervention and lower spending. Not all believe this message, however. Take Rachel Maddow, who acknowledged on her program today that not being socially conservative is integral to the Tea Party’s identity, but then wondered why the “Tea Party tidal wave” that came to power in November has resulted in a surge of anti-abortion legislation.
“The common wisdom appears to be wrong,” Maddow noted regarding the Tea Party. The fact that the Tea Party has branded itself as “straight from Barry Goldwater” fiscal conservatives, according to Maddow, has clouded the fact that they appear to be the same Republican base in practice that Republicans have been working with for years. The belief that they are somehow different, she argues, “is leading to the pundit class and the Beltway press being really surprised by some stuff they really shouldn’t be surprised about.”
To prove her point, Maddow looked at the number of anti-abortion laws passed in the past years compared to 2011, while the numbers remained stable, up to 34 in 2010, 2011 saw 80 bills passed by legislators on this matter. What’s more, polls also show that the “anti-interventionist” Tea Party is also “slightly more in favor of the war in Afghanistan” than the average American. “There is nothing new under the son,” she concluded, using by way of example the fact that Newt Gingrich is still around and running for office. To make sense of the Tea Party, Maddow concluded, it must be understood as the same “traditional Republican conservative base” pundits have known and analyzed for years.
The segment via MSNBC below:
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