Teabaggers Survey: A Racism To The Bottom

birthers forgot racism

If the signs Teabaggers routinely display at various gatherings aren’t proof enough of their deep seated racism, a new NY Times / CBS survey should seal the deal.  But before getting to the meat of the matter, some related stats to better understand who we are dealing with. According to the survey, Teabaggers…

…are 18% of Americans and tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.  More than half (54%) identify as Republicans, and another 41 percent say they are independents. Just five percent call themselves Democrats, compared to 31 percent of adults nationwide.

What a shock. Teabaggers are largely the same old rich white guys that have traditionally dominated the Republican Party.

…hold more conservative views on a range of issues than Republicans generally. They are also more likely to describe themselves as “very conservative” and President Obama as “very liberal.”

Which means they are just a little to the left of Genghis Khan, and way to the right of Mitch McConnell, John McCain and just about every other Rethug Congressman.

…are wealthier; 56% make more than $5ok per year.

Unless their AGI was over $250k last year, they’ve already realized their signature issue–  personal tax cuts. Last week, Teabagger darlin’ Sarah Palin was railin’ that it now takes 100 days to reach what the Tax Foundation annually designates as “tax freedom day…the date when Americans…have earned enough money to pay this year’s tax obligations at the federal, state and local levels.”  Actually, it was 99 days, one day later than 2009, but more than two weeks earlier than occurred in 2007 under the Bush Administration.

…are more well-educated than the general public; 37 percent are college graduates, compared to 25 percent of Americans overall.

Better educated doesn’t mean better informed. Teabaggers admit they get the majority of their “news” from Fux News, a political pornography channel whose business model depends on ever more obscene amplifications of people’s emotions and fears, the facts be damned.

Appetizers served, we proceed to the main dish:

The overwhelming majority of supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves.

More than half say the policies of the administration favor the poor, and 25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general public.

“People like themselves” are, of course, overwhelmingly white.  “Poor” is code for blacks and other minorities. Percentage wise, over six times as many black and Hispanic children live in poverty than whites.

Twice as many Teabaggers as the population as a whole believe that Obama favors blacks over whites. Everything from subsidizing health care to settling discriminatory bank loans originated by the Department of Agriculture are cited by Glenn Beck and other right wing demagogues as proof that Obama is all about “reparations.” That Obama seems to care about poor people somehow justifies  Beck calling him…

…a racist…with a deep seated hatred for white people.”

Geographically, a plurality of Teabaggers, 36%,  are concentrated in the South, while only 25% come from the West, 22% from the Midwest, and 18% from the Northeast.

The country they scream about wanting “to take back” looks more like the segregated South of the ‘fifties, a time when “sophisticated” blacks like Obama (code for uppity) knew their proper place.

Earlier this month, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell (R) , a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University, indulged in a little neoconfederate triumphalism by proclaiming Confederate History Month. Initially, McDonnell omitted any mention of the slaves that help build his state, saying it was insignificant, a sentiment shared by former Republican Party Chairman and current Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour a few days later. Barbour, who was attending the Southern Republican Leadership Conference at the time, referred to the omission as just a ‘nit.”

But let’s get back to your ordinary average Joe the TeabaggerJerry Johnson is a white, 58 year old lawyer, obviously better educated and presumably wealthier than the average American, thus fitting the Teabagger demographic to a T.  Asked at the D.C. rally last week why he was so strongly opposed to President Obama, he replied:

“It’s not just because he’s black…”

He probably doesn’t like illegal immigrants either, and not just because they’re overwhelmingly non-white.

Teabaggers want to bring down the deficit by eliminating entitlements programs, excepting the ones that benefit them directly, like Social Security and Medicare.  As for programs like Medicaid that benefit the poor, why those people can all just go back to Kenya or wherever the hell they came from.

The corporatist media has been lavishing attention of the Teabaggers for over a year now, as if they were a sudden reincarnation of the Founding Fathers and the anti-colonial militias rather than a group of ex Rethugs who could no longer suffer the embarrassment of being led by dolts like John McCain and George W. Bush, who just weren’t conservative enough.

And then’s there’s the irony of using the original Boston Tea Party as their inspiration when they are being funded in large part by the same kind of corporate interests that precipitated that signature, revolutionary event. The British East India Trading Company, the prototype of modern corporations that concentrate huge amounts of wealth into a few, greedy hands, had monopolized the tea trade, leading ultimately to the American Revolution.

Nowadays, it’s huge private corporations like  Koch Industries that have assumed the British corporatist mantle. But instead of screwing the honest tradesmen of 18th century Boston with tariffs and exorbitant taxes, they have, with the help of media moguls like Rupert Murdoch, manipulated their descendants  into burning down their own shops.

Neat trick, that.

Brings to mind this irony tinged line from The Urantia Book:

Such a life on such a planet.


8 Comments

  1. human of days

    The sub human can’t be informed, the true human can’t really be deceived. A fancy animal might at best have a pleasant temperament, only a true human is personal / progress-able. In this context, the school is irrelevant without true teachers and students.

    Until the truth is written in the hearts of men, keep your powder dry.

  2. Seeing Eye Chick

    Pretty much. I wish I could say I have a college degree. But alas, I was interrupted in my Junior year. But I accomplished a lot during that period and I decided to keep educating myself in the absence of a magickal piece of paper. I also decided that my difficult early life would not be forgotten, but drawn upon for every lesson that could be gleaned from it, especially the ugly, hard lessons. I have military training, I have held a variety of jobs, some considered skilled labor and others barely worth mentioning. I won’t say that I never fall for anything, I will just say that I do my best to learn from my mistakes and pay attention to what is going on around me. I disagree with the statement about education being indicative of propaganda swilling tendencies.

    I believe that [from my humble observations] buying shit {whatever shit that may be] is more about personal preferences, psychological predispositions. Some people feel like they need to be told what to do. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but it makes that person, ripe for the picking.

    I am not afraid to hear other perspectives and points of view. Certainly what you have posited here Propagandee has gotten my attention. And I will be watching to see if things point more towards your ascertion or mine, or in some other direction entirely.

    Sarah Palin went to college and got a degree. She didn’t do anything with it. She satisfied the requirements to get her magick piece of paper, but it didn’t broaden her mind, it didn’t open her horizons or spur her imagination towards some kind service oriented life. I would have jumped through my own ass to have the opportunities she had. I had to serve to get my college money and It still didn’t happen. But what I got from that incomplete journey has been far more edifying, and inspiring. I felt infused, privileged to be there, even for the time I could attend. And perhaps that is the biggest difference.

    Approaching opportunities, as a gift, some kind of grace, rather than approaching them as one’s due.

    I suspect there are similar differences in the way I and Palin see civil service, and patriotism as well.

    1. Propagandee Propagandee

      I think Ellul’s point about the education-propaganda relationship is more along the lines of: ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, especially considering that our current education system values rote memorization of subject matter dictated by “authorities” then towards critical analysis and creative thinking.

      For instance, when I watch Glenn Beck do his chalkboard thing, weaving wildly divergent reference frames into yet another wacky conspiracy theory, I find my head begin to spin. But to certain people of a certain psychological mindset– good point, there on your part– it all makes perfect ‘sense.’

      Now, neither you nor I would dignify these kind of paranoid perceptual gestalts as evidence of an educated being in the classical sense of the word. But once people are ‘educated’ to think along authoritarian lines, it does require a certain kind of Bizzaro World intelligence to make sense of the kind of anti-government narratives they’re being inundated 24/7 by the right wing propaganda machine.

      The scary part is the point where such propaganda galvanizes individuals and groups to take specific actions. These range from intimidation, as we saw last summer during town hall meetings to discuss health insurance reform; to outright murder, as we saw in the case the Tennessee man who walked into a church during a kids’ performance of Annie and killed two adults with a shotgun, citing his hatred for liberals. Police found books by Michael Savage, Shawn Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Bernie Goldberg in his home, along with piles of ammunition.

      In my estimation, we have crossed the line from what Ellul called the educational ‘pre-propoganda’ stage to the activation stage, at which point remedial education is hardly possible.

  3. Propagandee Propagandee

    Hi SEC:

    Actually, if you consider Jacques Ellul’s thesis on propaganda, the fact they are better educated makes perfect sense.

    From the introduction to Ellul’s Propaganda– The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, by Konrad Kellen (emphases mine).

    A related point, central to Ellul’s thesis, is that modern propaganda cannot work without “education”; he thus reverses the widespread notion that education is the best prophylactic against propaganda. On the contrary, he says education, or what usually goes by that word in the modern world, is the absolute prerequisite for propaganda. In fact, education is largely identical with what Ellul calls “pre-propaganda”—the conditioning of minds with vast amounts of incoherent information, already dispensed for ulterior purposes and posing as “facts” and “education.” Ellul follows through by designating individuals as virtually the most vulnerable of all to modern propaganda, for three reasons: (1) they absorb the largest amount of secondhand, unverifiable information; (2) they feel a compelling need to have an opinion on every important question of the time, and thus easily succumb to opinions offered to them by propaganda on all such indigestible pieces of information; (3) they consider themselves capable of “judging for themselves.” They literally need propaganda.

    No wonder they cite Fux News as their main source of information.

  4. I think the numbers regarding racism are even higher. Obviously we all know how to lie about our bigotry and no doubt plenty of the tea baggers do just that. So I think the numbers are even higher. A good thoroughly worked post. Thanks for all the info!

    1. Propagandee Propagandee

      Hi Sherry.

      Thanx for the kudos.

      And I agree with you that answering questions about one’s own racist tendencies should be treated with a large grain of salt.

      From the age of 7 (when my dad divorced my mom and left four young sons fatherless) to the age of 17 (when I moved out), our family home included my mom’s parents, a three generation household. While I loved my grandparents and valued their contribution to their raising of me and my brothers, they were typical of people of their generation; i.e. far more prone to racism than subsequent generations.

      (My grandpa even had a thing about ‘lefties’– not of the political stripe, but people who were left handed! Individuals who expressed unorthodox beliefs were ‘coming out of left field’, etc. All of which tended to repress my natural inclination for things like batting from both sides of the plate and playing two handed ping pong. Intuitively, I guess I figured that since we are born with two hemispheres– why not use them equally? )

      But given my upbringing, and notwithstanding my conscious rejection of all things racist, I can’t assume that I am totally free of its influence. But I guess what differentiates me and other progressives from so-called conservatives is that we are ready to admit that racism is still as a latent possibility, embedded deep in our psyches. Which might explain why I felt moved to write about it as I did after reading the NY Times/CBS Teabagger poll.

  5. Seeing Eye Chick

    More Educated than the general public? You mean no one lies on these polls? The other side of that coin is, I don’t consider Bob Jones U or Liberty U or Regents U to be on par with the lowliest of Community Colleges. Those are ReProgramming Centers for Wingnuts and nothing more.

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