Academic Study Confirms Tea Party Dominated By Far Right Xenophobic And Racist Theocrats

Polling data has made it clear that the Tea Party movement is just the latest manifestation of the portion of the Republican base dominated by far right-wing extremism. While officially stressing economic issues, they also tend to promote the agenda of the religious right. David E. Campbell, an associate professor of political science at Notre Dame, and Robert D. Putnam, a professor of public policy at Harvard, have studied  the Tea Party and have come to similar conclusions:

Beginning in 2006 we interviewed a representative sample of 3,000 Americans as part of our continuing research into national political attitudes, and we returned to interview many of the same people again this summer. As a result, we can look at what people told us, long before there was a Tea Party, to predict who would become a Tea Party supporter five years later. We can also account for multiple influences simultaneously — isolating the impact of one factor while holding others constant.

Our analysis casts doubt on the Tea Party’s “origin story.” Early on, Tea Partiers were often described as nonpartisan political neophytes. Actually, the Tea Party’s supporters today were highly partisan Republicans long before the Tea Party was born, and were more likely than others to have contacted government officials. In fact, past Republican affiliation is the single strongest predictor of Tea Party support today.

What’s more, contrary to some accounts, the Tea Party is not a creature of the Great Recession. Many Americans have suffered in the last four years, but they are no more likely than anyone else to support the Tea Party. And while the public image of the Tea Party focuses on a desire to shrink government, concern over big government is hardly the only or even the most important predictor of Tea Party support among voters.

So what do Tea Partiers have in common? They are overwhelmingly white, but even compared to other white Republicans, they had a low regard for immigrants and blacks long before Barack Obama was president, and they still do.

More important, they were disproportionately social conservatives in 2006 — opposing abortion, for example — and still are today. Next to being a Republican, the strongest predictor of being a Tea Party supporter today was a desire, back in 2006, to see religion play a prominent role in politics. And Tea Partiers continue to hold these views: they seek “deeply religious” elected officials, approve of religious leaders’ engaging in politics and want religion brought into political debates. The Tea Party’s generals may say their overriding concern is a smaller government, but not their rank and file, who are more concerned about putting God in government.

This inclination among the Tea Party faithful to mix religion and politics explains their support for Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. Their appeal to Tea Partiers lies less in what they say about the budget or taxes, and more in their overt use of religious language and imagery, including Mrs. Bachmann’s lengthy prayers at campaign stops and Mr. Perry’s prayer rally in Houston.

Yet it is precisely this infusion of religion into politics that most Americans increasingly oppose. While over the last five years Americans have become slightly more conservative economically, they have swung even further in opposition to mingling religion and politics. It thus makes sense that the Tea Party ranks alongside the Christian Right in unpopularity.

Their study confirmed what we knew all along. The Tea Party is dominated by far right xenophobic and racist social conservatives. Their goal is theocracy–the opposite of what the Founding Fathers desired.

Rick Santorum on How Same-Sex Marriage Destroyed The Economy

There was once a time when the country-club Republicans controlled the party and they would laugh off the religious right as a bunch of nuts. Sure, they would pander to them during elections and throw them a few bones while in power, but the old GOP leadership didn’t feel comfortable with them.

During the Bush years the religious right began to dominate the party. Today it is very rare to have an economic conservative who is moderate on social issues. (By economic conservative I’m referring to today’s extreme views in the Republican Party, not fiscally conservative Democrats  or independents who have entirely different views). Increasingly, conservative leaders are arguing that it is necessary to be socially conservative in order to truly hold economically conservative views, as they blame variation from their backwards social code for the destruction of society.

An example of this trend can be seen in a statement from Rick Santorum on how same-sex marriage destroyed the economy:

Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life. Those lead to a society that’s broken…

If you think that we can be a society that kills our own, and that disregards the family and the important role it plays, and doesn’t teach moral values and the important role of faith in the public square, and then expect people to be good, decent and moral when they behave economically, if you look at the root cause of the economic problems that we’re dealing with on Wall Street and Main Street I might add, from 2008, they were huge moral failings. And you can’t say that we’re gonna take morality out of the public square, morality out of our schools, God out of our schools, and then expect people to behave decently in a country that requires, capitalism requires some strong modicum of moral consciousness if it’s gonna be successful.

Rick Perry and the Anti-Science Right

Science is the way in which we seek to understand the universe around us in an objective manner, based upon evidence as opposed to relying on personal opinion or superstition. Republicans have been increasingly promoting ignorance as a virtue, ignoring science whenever it disagrees with their personal opinions or political platform. Rick Perry, who has suddenly become a front-runner from the GOP nomination, displayed his view of science in this comment on global warming:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday told a New Hampshire business crowd that he harbors major doubts about human contributions to global warming, questioning the motives of scientists who have warned about accelerating climate change and arguing against expensive “anti-carbon programs.”

Fielding audience questions after brief remarks that dwelled largely on fiscal and economic issues, Perry encountered one skeptic who said he was quoting from Perry’s 2010 book, Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America From Washington, then asked whether misgivings about climate science fueled distrust of federal research in general.

“I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized,” Perry answered. “I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”

Pegging the global cost of implementing “anti-carbon programs” in the billions or trillions of dollars, Perry said, “I don’t think from my perspective that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money on [what is] still a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is more and more being put into question.”

Perry is also a creationist who also says that evolution is a theory, repeating the common error of the anti-science right of failing to distinguish between the word theory as used in science as opposed to by the general public.

Perry is, of course, wrong, but this is what no-nothing Republican voters want to hear. Saying nonsense such as this undoubtedly does give Perry an advantage over Mitt Romney, who has agreed with the proven facts that human action is affecting the climate.