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article imageOp-Ed: Obama and Democrats responsible for Tea Party populism

By Michael Krebs     Sep 19, 2010 in Politics
The meteoric rise of Tea Party populism is a reflection of the Democratic Party's inability to read both the ideals of the U.S. population and the impact of the economic downturn on the mobilization of fiscal conservatives.
American voters identifying themselves as Conservatives have far outnumbered those identifying themselves as Liberals in 1992-2010 trends, with 42% defined as Conservative and only 20% defined as Liberal in Gallup's 2010 half-year update alone. Even during the peak of Liberal fervor - in 2008, as the country moved toward electing Barack Obama to president - Liberals numbered just 22% to the 37% identified as Conservatives.
The composition of the American political spectrum was either entirely misread by President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in congress or it was arrogantly ignored in order to push through - in the manner of an autocratic regime - the policies that the vast majority of Americans did not want. In any democracy, this broad mismanagement will lead to a backlash among the voting population - and in this gross mismanagement we have the germination of the Tea Party populism that has swept in an array of social and fiscal Conservatives.
The Tea Party movement can be likened to the Reagan revolution, where huge swings toward Conservative principles and candidates were set in motion in response to the inept presidency of the Carter administration. It is this kind of feeble inability to understand the core needs of the country that American voters are rabidly turning against currently.
For their part, Tea Party candidates are falling back on the principles of the U.S. Constitution - although there is a markedly Christian social overtone among some of these candidates, and this overtone seems to overlook the ideas governing the separation of church from state. But populism tends to reflect the face of society, and America remains a God-fearing people - 78% of Americans are affiliated with Christianity alone, and 92% of Americans believe in God.
But these interests and perspectives among ordinary Americans should have been well known among those piloting the policies of the Obama administration and the Democratic establishment. The rise of the Tea Party is the end result of these ill-conceived and poorly-timed policies. Tea Party signs began emerging in earnest when ordinary Americans showed up in large numbers to protest against Obamacare and the Democratic congressional drive to force the healthcare overhaul down the collective throats of the country.
The healthcare reform bill was forced through at a time when the global economy continued along its fragile course. And as the American economy continues to shed jobs - unemployment remaining stubbornly at nearly 10% - the gravity of the bailouts has just begun to settle in. It is now looking like taxpayers could be on the hook for $400 billion on the Fannie and Freddie bailout alone. This disastrous governance has drawn fiscal Conservatives into the ranks of the Tea Party phenomenon.
Democracy sometimes behaves like a pendulum, and its swing can be a dramatic thing to experience. The caution one might give to the Conservatives - particularly those that believe they have God on their side - is to keep in mind that there remains the notion of the fiscal-conservative-and-social-liberal among many voting Americans, and this population does not like to be too tethered to the social constraints of the Christian coalition.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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