Hal Crowther ’66 writing last year:

There’s no national conscience and damn little national memory, but there’s a furious national movement they call the “Tea Party,” which rapidly backtracking historians describe as the first right-wing street-protest movement in the modern history of the United States. Just when you thought the Republican Party had camped as far to the right as the laws of physics allow, here was a voice, a howling from way beyond its right perimeter—and were those gunshots? The Tea Party is depressing, embarrassing, most of all mystifying. It’s also considerably smaller than the media might lead you to believe. Of the roughly one-fifth of Americans who claim to support Tea Party principles, only one-fifth, or 4 percent of the general public, have ever sent money or attended a party event. And only half of them, it seems, think party poster girl Sarah Palin is fit to be president.

The Party is small but unaccountably rabid, in the fullest sense of the illness known as rabies and the violent, irrational behavior of its victims. Though 98 percent of Tea Party supporters are white, though 92 percent identify President Obama as a socialist (a harder core also identifies him as a closet Muslim or as the Antichrist, and a Tea Party website calls him “the reincarnation of Pol Pot” (?)) and a third subscribe to the wishful-thinking myth that he was not born in the United States—I won’t take the wide, easy road and dismiss the whole movement as a racist renaissance provoked by a non-white president.

Thanks! I think . . .

Has Crowther ever had a conversation with a smart Tea Partier like me? I doubt it.

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