Wankers. That’s what Bruce Bartlett calls right-wing Republicans (on his Twitter account, at least). An apt expression. (Pour mémoire, Barlett is a one-time conservative Republican and who served the Reagan and Bush 41 administrations, so knows the beast intimately). I’ve read a fair amount on the Republican/Tea Party right over the years and particularly of late, with the shutdown psychodrama and all. Of the many analyses and commentaries I’ve come across since my last post on the matter, let me recommend just one, a short piece on the Foreign Affairs website by Michael Kazin, “American unexceptionalism: the Tea Party is special – just not in the way it thinks.” Kazin compares the Tea Party GOP to right-wing populist movements in Europe, including the French Front National—on which he is particularly well-informed for a non-specialist of France—, and sees similarities. In this, he seconds my long-standing equation of the GOP right-wing and the French FN. Some conservatives may not like the parallel but it’s the truth.
Another article, this in Rolling Stone: “Inside the Republican suicide machine,” by Tim Dickinson. The lede: “It’s open warfare within the GOP – and all of America is caught in the crossfire.” The piece is long but worth the read.
UPDATE: The always interesting Michael Lind—who, like Bruce Bartlett, is a one-time conservative—has a pertinent article in Salon (October 22) on how the “Tea Party is an anti-populist elite tool [a]nd…has progressives fooled.” The lede: “This is not some spontaneous uprising. It’s the newest incarnation of a rich, elite, right-wing tradition.”