The uninformed, or purposefully deliberate distortions, of what the Tea Party is and represents in the comments on Tea Party Equals American Taliban? post are disturbing. It reveals a blatant misunderstanding of the movement that can only come from getting one's "news" from sources like MSNBC and fictional news broadcasts like Newsroom.
Before we can have an honest discussion about one of the most effective populist movements in US history you are going to need to get informed on the subject. Here's a few links to help you out:
The history and formation of the Tea Party:
Actual images from Tea Parties in the Kansas City area, taken by yours truly, who attended these events and knows first hand what they are/were about:
If after you check those out you are still inclined to believe the propaganda you've been fed, then please, point out to me the religious zealotry or xenophobia present in any of those galleries of images linked above.
Now, let's run down the list of characteristics attributed by the Tea Party by Sorkin.
In what sense? I've already provided you with definitions of the Tea Party from both the New York Times and Wikipedia, the latter of which is fully sourced, so feel free to read further if Wikipedia isn't academic enough for you.
The only ideological purity I see within the Tea Party, if you could even call it that, is an adherence to the rule of law defined in the US Constitution and sound fiscal policies that do not enslave future generations under a mountain of debt. To the contrary, the evidence is clear that the Tea Party consists of far more than partisan ideologues something that can not be said for another recent political movement.
4 in 10 Tea Party activists are Democrats or independents. Source: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/90541-survey-four-in-10-tea-party-members-dem-or-indie
"The national breakdown of the Tea Party composition is 57 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent and 13 percent Democratic, according to three national polls... Two-thirds of the group call themselves conservative, 26 are moderate and 8 percent say they are liberal."Compromise as weakness
I suppose it depends on your definition of compromise. For Tea Party activists compromising your prinicples is a dirty word, but compromise itself is not. Republicans, establishment, tea party, and evangelicals in Congress have put forth numerous bi-partisan, compromise bills only to see Harry Reid refuse to allow them a vote in the Democrat controlled Senate. One commenter claimed that congress' low approval rating is attributed to Republicans. I say hogwash.
The approval rating cited is for both the House and Senate. In addition, one can not discount the anger from the American people directed towards the Democrat controlled congress that forced through the largest expansion of federal government history against their will. Yes, congress has failed under a lack of presidential leadership to reach any useful compromises, but that is hardly the fault of the Tea Party. On the contrary, it is Democrats who have continued to obstruct progress by refusing to hold votes on a host of bi-partisan bills from the House.
But let's not stop there. During the 2007-2008 congress, the one controlled by Nancy Pelosi during the Bush administration had horrible ratings, worse than Bush even. In august 2007, Pelosi's congress had an approval rating of just 18%. Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/102829/congress-approval-rating-20-bushs-approval-32.aspx
Not longer after, while still under Democrat control, it dipped to 14%. It's hovered there ever since. Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/congress-approval-rating-all-time-low-gallup-poll_n_1777207.html
Fundamental belief in scriptural literalism
Again, show me a Tea Party sign or imagery that says anything about religion, let alone a strict scriptural literalism. Liberals want to paint every viewpoint they disagree with as part of the Tea Party because they fear confronting the economic and Constitutional principles advocated by those who call themselves tea partiers. Let me put this in as easy as terms as possible for your libs to understand. Tea Party does not equal Evangelicals. Sure, some evangelicals may consider themselves Tea Party activists, but Tea Party activists in general do not consider themselves evangelicals. One can want Constitutional government that protects the rights and freedoms of the people without adovacting Biblical morality. Likewise, people who do advocate Biblical morality can still advocate Constitutional rule of law and sound economic principles. Clearly, the two idealogies can work together without being dependent on one another.
Since religiosity is clearly not a tenet of the Tea Party, I can only assume this comment is directed towards Tea Party opposition to Cap and Trade, a policiy that would drastically drive up the cost of energy while literally doing nothing to combat global warming. You see, cap and trade does not reduce emissions, it merely creates a market for Al Gore and his buddies to profit off of. If Democrats were serious about global warming, the policy would be just cap, not trade, because trade ensures the same growing amount of so-called poluting CO2 emissions. They do not want to curb these emissions, they just want to take a piece of the action.
Let's also not forget that a large portion of the science community does not buy into the global warming pseudo-science that is the basis for cap and trade. The scientist central to the theory have had their work thoroughly discredited by their own words when it was discovered through a serious of email leaks that they have thrown out and manipulated data in order to fit their hypotheses. Tea Party advocates don't deny global warming, they simply do as science teaches and ask for definitive proof before we implement policies that would economically devastate the living standards of poor and middle-class Americans.
Unmoved by facts
Please review the previous point. If anyone is unmoved by facts, it is the left. Despite the inept economic data resulting from their failed policies, the continued slide in quality of public education, or the disastrous state of inner cities which have been controlled by Democrats for generations, they refuse to deviate from their ideology. For them, no amount of proof is enough, ever relying on the "what if's" and "what might have been's."
Undeterred by new information
By now I am sure you have been presented with a whole host of new information your friends at MSNBC have kept from you, yet, I am willing to wager it hasn't detered your opinions one iota. So, I have to ask you to reflect on who truly it is that is unmoved by new information.
Hostile fear of progress
What progress? Under Obama real wage levels have fallen the most in history. I'm not just talking post 2008 economic meltdown, which can be and should be rightly attributed to Bush and congressional Democrats, but post Obama "recovery". Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/household-income-is-below-recession-levels-report-says/2012/08/23/aa497460-ec80-11e1-a80b-9f898562d010_story.html
What progress are we talking about? Because the only progress currently being made is that towards a socialist democracy like that of Greece.
Demonization of education
Where's the proof? Who is demonizing education? Are you talking about Tea Party activists who think the government should not have illegally seized control of all student loans, stripping them from the private sector while making sure people can't write them off through bankruptcy in hard economic times? That doesn't seem to be a demonization to me.
Maybe you are talking about school vouchers that give school choice to those living in the most dangerous, poorest, and worse schools in the country? Helping kids find a good education, doesn't seem like a demonization to me.
Or, maybe you are talking about demanding students get good quality teachers by holding them to performance standards like every other profession in America and rewarding those quality teachers with better pay and benefits? Doesn't seem like demonization to me.
A need to control women's bodies
Huh? Again, we have a deliberate confusion of the evangelical/social conservative movement with the economic and Constitutional Tea Party movement. As previously stated, they may form coalitions from time-to-time based on the similarities, but the two are not synonymous.
The only time I have heard anyone in the Tea Party talk about abortion is in reference to the most basic right as described in the Declaration, that of life. The only time they have talked at all about contraception, is not to prevent it, but to prevent the government from forcing others to violate their first amendment right by forcing them to buy contraception for others. To borrow a tactic from Sorkin, The US Constitution: Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free expression of religion.
This is getting just comical. I can only assume this references the immigration debate. For the Tea Party the issue is providing freebies and benefits to illegals that are not provided to every American. You tell me, xenophobic or just plain commonsense fairness?
Illegal immigration is the slavery of our day. Those who encourage it and employ illegal immigrants are supporting endentured servitude, plain and simple. Illegals are exploited for the sex trade by coyotes, enslaved by their illegal employers, and die making the dangerous journey here.
Curibing illegal immigration is not just about a drain and public finances or the safety of the immigrants, its also about jobs. Illegal immigrants take millions of low-skilled jobs that would otherwise go to teens and low-skilled workers. These jobs are a vital stepping stone for low-skilled American workers to learn skills and advance their lot in life. Illegal immigration robs them of that opportunity.
Really, like camping out together in parks? Squating on other peoples lands? Raping women and pillaging private businesses? Seems you have confused the wrong movement there.
Intolerance of dissent
Seriously? The Tea Party isn't even a formal movement. It has no central organization and no one need apply for membership. To be a tea partier all you have to do is proclaim yourself to be and go out and fight for your beliefs. I don't know any movement that could be more tolerant of dissent.
Pathological hatred of the US government
Once again, it sounds like you are describing the Occupy movement or far left progressives that seek to tear down the government built by Washington, Jefferson, and Adams and replace it with a social democracy akin to Europe. If wanting America to remain the freeest and most prosperous nation on Earth is anti-US government, then that shows just how far we have strayed as a nation from those founding principles.
I would like to remind you commenters and Sorkin, that it is not the Tea Party that defecates just door steps from private residence. It is not the Tea Party that rapes and assaults women. It is not the Tea Party that vandalizes innocent, private businesses. And it is not the Tea Party that plots terrorist attacks on bridges.
If any political movement in this country is the equivelant of the American Taliban, one need look no further than Occupy Wall St who did do all of those things and went even further by making anti-semetic claims and calls for violence against Jews.
Update 2:27 pm: I had intended to include the following link with this post and forgot. So, I am doing so now. Here is a Democrat operative who admits the claims of racism against the Tea Party are completely made up but are a useful tactic to distract Americans and the Tea Party from making economic points.