By Josh Sager
Note: I am biased against these social and economic regressives and won't even try to pretend otherwise but I believe that my assessment is depressingly accurate. They are essentially a caricature of themselves and I cannot comprehend an extreme which they wouldn't conceivably go to.
The Tea party is a very new political denomination relative to the others, founded essentially the day after a black Democrat was elected into office. They are a strange brand of right wing extremists, who are not only extremely vocal and intense, but have the bizarre habit of dressing up in revolutionary war era clothing and mangling the word/intents of the founding fathers. As far as I can see, they exist simply to serve the corporations that fund their buses and donuts as well as to remove the scary black socialist, Muslim, Marxist, fascist, etc. president from the White House. In addition to corporations and the top 2% economically, Fox news was instrumental in the organizing, stoking and mainstreaming of the Tea Parties. Fox News was probably motivated by its administrators' ideological extremism, coverage acting as a very effective way to pander to their audience, and increased ratings. If you look at any of the tea party gatherings that are televised, I suggest that you look for any non-middle-class middle-aged white person that you can find in the crowd; it’s fairly telling just how homogeneous the crowds are.
I am of two minds on the subject of the Tea Party in that I kind of feel bad about insulting them but they insist on intruding into the political debate and thus open themselves up to judgment. It feels kind of like you are making fun of the special education students who ride the short bus to school, but then, those people don't insist on making national policy decisions in the most powerful country on earth. In a battle of wits and facts, the Tea Party has unilaterally disarmed, but they do make up for it with nastiness, dedication and decibels.
The Tea baggers are essentially a distillation of the white, old, middle class right wingers of the Republican Party. Tea baggers as a group know nothing and are perversely proud of it leading them to act like right wing political lemmings (I seriously question the intelligence of any political group which accidentally names itself after a sex act and is surprised when people mock them). Corporations, notably the Koch brothers and various Karl Rove affiliates bankroll these gullible people to act against their own interest in order to help the rich. Ironically, the Tea baggers are just the people who would stand to benefit from the policies that they are hell-bent on opposing.
In the short term, I see the Tea party as an extremely irritating roadblock and a force pulling the debate to the right but ultimately, in the long term the Tea party is unsustainable. The tea baggers are like the synthetic elements which burn brightly for a short time but decay in a blink, and in my opinion they will gradually be reabsorbed into the right wing of the Republican Party.