Tea Party still the philosopher’s stone of political analysis

In a simpler world, this post could begin with, “There’s no denying the popularity of the Tea Party,” but even that aspect of the movement is up for denial. Even after several high-profile primary victories, the size of the Tea Party—composed of disparate groups with neither national hierarchy nor local registration—joins the movement’s platform, origins and political impact in the realm of conjecture. The Tea Part isn’t even a party. It is either a grassroots uprising of constitutionally-minded Americans or a series of puppet shows by Republican flacks or a fringe movement exaggerated by a desperate media or some combination of the three, and no one will really know until the midterm elections, if then. Meanwhile, we have analysis. As with any inquiry into the totally unquantifiable, that analysis has taken on an element of the aesthetic.

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Friday links! How can I miss you when you won’t go away edition

Goddammit, no.

It’s Friday, and that means it’s time to look back on that which is about to become the week that was. Peculiarly, it’s been a week of nostalgia for the man pictured above. You might remember him from such bold leadership initiatives as turning a budget surplus into a multitrillion-dollar debt, deregulating the financial industry, awarding no-bid contracts to corporate cronies in two wars whose duration currently exceeds that of World War II, and arguing passionately in favor of torture. Or you might just remember that he talked like you and wasn’t black. It all depends on your perspective, and for a president who left office with a 38% approval rating, George W. Bush has enjoyed a surprising resurgence lately. It’s almost as if the good people of America articulated their political thoughts entirely in terms of being against things, and/or had no recollection of events beyond the past year. Of course, it’s also possible that the whole thing is made up; you probably also remember the national media that told us the war in Iraq was going to be quick and easy, then told us that no one could have predicted the problems in Iraq, then pilloried the Bush administration for messing up Iraq before alleging that Obama’s presidency is foundering on his inadequate commitment to same. It’s all a rich tapestry, which has fallen from the wall into a pile of rat feces, and we serfs can only peer upward and try to deduce the movements of the heavens using our astrolabes or whatever. It’s throwback time. Won’t you shudder in ignorant terror with me?

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