A Guide to the Tea Party Crazies

NOTE: This post is from August when the Town Hall meetings were raging but it seems appropriate after the protests on Wednesday during the State of the State. If nothing else, check out the pug video at the bottom.

The Town Hall meetings that our senators and representatives often hold during the August recess have produced a bumper crop of crazies this summer. Fertilized by the manure spread around so freely by Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Bill O’Reilly, the conservative crazies have blossomed into the equivalent of political crabgrass, threatening to crowd out what little is left of civility and reasoned debate in our culture.

Most of our East Coast pundits don’t get out here to the hinterlands enough to recognize the more common varieties of crazies we grow out here, so I humbly offer my personal field guide:

The Race Haters – The angriest of the mob, these are the folks who, in a previous era, would have showed up for a lynching with a picnic lunch. They are the descendants of the folks belonged to the KKK in the Twenties, which claimed 20% of the white male vote back then. Now that a black president has succeeded in installing a new Hispanic Supreme Court justice, they are the first in line at the gun stores expecting Obama will take their guns away (I wish).

The Fundies – These folks are the authoritarian fundamentalists, desperate to find easy answers to tough questions. Whether it’s the Constitution or the Bible (or both), they cling to the belief that following the revealed word will provide them a black and white path through a gray and frightening world. They are relatively easy to identify because they reek of self-righteousness.

Militiamen Redux –  The Southern Poverty Law Center sees a rise in militias. As someone who lives in Michigan where camouflaged crazies in the woods are not a new phenomenon, all I can say is that, like leftover salmon, they will smell even worse the second time around.

The Throwbacks – Trapped in a hazy Happy Days time warp of America in the Fifties, when men were (white) men and women were kept subservient by being denied access to any of the good jobs, these guys want us to return to an era that never really existed.

The Losers – These are the folks who look at the educated and successful members of our society and seethe with resentment. What isn’t that me? Unwilling or unable to read anything other than the latest Ann Coulter screed, they spend much of their time writing emails IN ALL CAPITALS (the electronic equivalent of crayon).

The Dummies – Rivaling the losers as the largest category of crazies in the crowd, the dummies are continuing proof that the American educational system ran itself off a cliff years ago. If you doubt their ignorance, consider that Investors Daily yesterday ran an editorial saying that Stephen Hawking would be dead if the socialized medicine in England had been in charge of his care. Dr. Hawking does, of course, live in England, whose National Health Service has done an excellent job of keeping him alive for decades after he was stricken. As Keith Olbermann said last night, apparently the conservative editorial writer didn’t realize Hawking didn’t live in England because his voice synthesizer doesn’t have a British accent. (Investors Daily has since pulled the Hawking reference.) If you need further proof, remember that many of the folks railing against allowing government a role in health care are also on Medicare.

True conservatives – If you look hard enough, you might find one or two thoughtful, civil and educated conservatives at the Town Hall meetings. But, then again, maybe not. Chances are, they stayed home knowing the crazies would outshout them.

Here’s a video that shows what conservatives look like listening to Rush and Glenn



Bonnie Bucqueroux retired from Michigan State University's School of Journalism to experiment with online publications, including Lansing Online News. She is also co-president (with Susan Masten) of Lansing Area NOW.

9 responses to “A Guide to the Tea Party Crazies”

  1. gary

    i would like to meet with some lansing, mi tea party members. i’m retired and enjoy discusing issues with other. i enjoy panera’s in frandor but other places work well as well.

  2. Birt

    Let’s go over this “list” that Bonnie has been so kind to provide for us –

    The Race Haters – Using Wikipedia to make your point is pretty weak. And apparently, calling our President a black man when he was birthed by a Caucasian women doesn’t improve your credibility either. As for our new Hispanic supreme court justice, do you think she was selected because of her accomplishments and character or on the basis of her skin color and political leanings?
    The Fundies – Do you have a problem with the Constitution of the United States or is the tyranny of the majority more your bag?
    Militiamen Redux – Yeah, anyone who wants to take the responsibility of protecting himself or his family is someone to be feared. It’s better to pay a policeman $50,000 a year to handle that inconvenience for you.
    The Throwbacks – Would these also be the folks who lived through the great depression, saved our western liberal civilization from the tyranny of Nazism and Japan’s militarism, and transformed the standard of living of post-war America? Pick your color, Bonnie.
    Losers & Dummies – Are these the folks who don’t pay any income tax and are totally dependent on the State for their very existence? Who rely on public schools for their education? You know, the ones who would rather be subjects then citizens, eager to be the serf to the lord in the White House Castle? Who actually enjoy being slaves of the State, and expect the State to force other people to pay for their wants.

    Maybe you should just stick to storytelling rather then editorial comment on a subject you know absolutely nothing about, because your guide was pretty good fiction.

    A Tea Party Member

  3. Tommie

    The Libs haven’t figured it out yet, but BO is spending our country right off a cliff. He’s too high maintenance. Can’t afford him. You can be sure that the more people learn about BO the more they will disagree with him. Meanwhile the Libs should be as shrill as they can be. Let’s see your BO tatoos.

    Plus, with the internet the Libs will have to account for themselves in the future. Meanwhile, for pretty much any complaint that BO makes the answer can simply be – “Stop complaining and do your job. Enforce the law!”

    I predict a meltdown. A Jimmie Carter moment. Like with the killer squirrel, but better documented. In the meantime the right has to produce a candidate. But maybe Newt will do.

  4. Gustav Brunson

    There’s no such thing as Tea Party, I went to vote and the only party I saw in the ballots , was the old and tricky Republican party…

  5. Bonnie Bucqueroux

    Good point, Gustav. The only amusement I have now is thinking about how much fun the Wall Street Republicans will have trying to thwart their Main Street friends without making it obvious who really runs the show.

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  7. Diane

    Thanks for the field guide, Bonnie. It’s helped me peg the few people I know – and it is thank goodness only a few – who are tea party or tea party potentials. The first four groups I really don’t know. But the “losers” and “dummies,” pegs them to a T. Pardon the bad pun.

  8. greg carter

    LOL. Birt you proved him right on almost every point.

    But the losers and dummies were two separate groups and you only addressed the losers. hmmm. On the other hand the whole of your post covered the dummy thing fairly well.


    “From my cold dead hands!”

  9. Claudius II

    Am a Registered Republican and was Googling info on the tea party to see why they are labeled as “Crazies”. Found the crazy labelling here but few factual comments. The photo of the bulldog puppies is cute but saying “Those are TeaPartiers” is not factual nor particulary helpful.

    Could it be that reason has left the Democratic Party?

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