Much of the punditocracy has snubbed the Tea Party attendees as a bunch of ill-informed rubes… Angry malcontents! Out of touch! But perhaps they are representative of the country’s majority on key issues. Bill Schneider writes:
In a CNN poll taken this month by Opinion Research, more than three-quarters of Americans said that if GM and Chrysler need more government money, Washington should rebuff them. In other words, let’em go bankrupt. That is the same thing most of the public is saying about banks and financial institutions: No more bailouts.
That was perhaps the most widely heard complaint at the rallies: no more bailouts, let the chips fall where they may and get back to personal responsibility. And although Robert Reich derided the protesters, he shares their view that corporate welfare and bailouts should end. So perhaps the Tea Party protesters are right where the public is — which places the Obama bailout policies on thin ice, politically.
Another source of ire from the attendees: the Fed running financial policy outside of any appropriated funding by Congress. (Yes, the rubes are quite concerned with the Constitution and keep referring to it on signs and in speeches and interviews. Apparently the nation’s educational system isn’t a complete failure yet.) Some fairly well-school people on the Left take exactly the same view, especially with regard to the toxic asset purchase plan. Once again, the Tea Party folks seem to have seen through the financial and constitutional thicket to discover that Tim Geithner’s plan is a gift to a select few, delivered at the taxpayers’ expense and specifically designed to avoid congressional — and hence public — input.
So perhaps there is a popular majority for at least some of what brought out hundreds of thousands of protesters. Whether it will have any influence on the Obama administration remains to be seen. But it might impact those 435 congressmen and 1/3 of the Senate that have to face voters in nineteen months.