I have to admit that the teabagger candidate in NY-23 is polling better than I expected he would. Though, in retrospect, it makes a reasonable amount of sense: the teabag movement appeals largely to the old and the district is old. But I’m wondering if there’s even more to it. It’s my sense that the basic tenets of teabaggerism are:
- Low taxes!
- Small government!
- Get off my lawn!
Conspicuously absent are
- Fight the new Hitler!
In particular, the Dick Armey outfit FreedomWorks seems to be about promoting freedom (I guess from taxes and regulations) here as opposed to freedom (to be a quasi-western American puppet state) abroad. And they don’t seem to talk about Jesus much. Obviously, all kinds of crazy people showed up at the 9/12 festivities, mean of them Hitler-obsessed and heavy into Jesus. But some of that is just that, to paraphrase James Carville, if you drag a Fox News crew through a retirement home, there’s no telling what you’ll find.
I think that a Jesus-reduced, Hitler-reduced conservative message might work reasonably well in some parts of the country, including the rural northeast. It’s probably too anti-union to really work in New York State at large and too anti-immigrant to really work nationally, but if teabagging is traditional wingerism with more Rand and less religion, more Galt and less GWOT, it may end up less fringey that I originally thought.