WASHINGTON -- Whatever happened to the mainstream media's high regard for "anger" in politics? From roughly the midterm elections of 2006 through the presidential election of 2008, the "Angry Left" seemed to grow in stature with the media. Liberal pundits spoke of it with a hush of awe. By the election of the Prophet Obama, the Angry Left had acquired a hallowed public status similar to that of the "muckraker" or the "consumerist," though no consumerist whom I ever have known has been agreeable company. Would you want to sit down to tea with, say, Ralph Nader? Certainly Ralph never has been known for his hearty laugh or elegant manners.
Yes, I said "tea." The word has become something of a red flag among the bien-pensants. Tea brings to mind Tea Parties, which for the bien-pensants means angry political activists, not angry political activists of the noble variety but angry political activists of the alarming variety. That is to say, activists variously inveighed against as members of the "extreme right," the "far right," the Reagan administration. The Tea Partiers supposedly are crazed and provincial -- or, as a recent chronicler of the Tea Party movement, John Avlon, puts it, "wingnuts."
Well, gratefully we now are getting some solid information about the Tea Partiers; and, though they are angry, they are apparently not homicidal, as one member of the Angry Left proved to be recently. I am thinking of professor Amy Bishop, who blew her top at a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and, police say, shot six of her colleagues, killing three. Years earlier, she shot her brother to death in an outburst that she survived free of criminal charges, possibly because of her family's political influence in her Braintree, Mass., hometown.
Between that shooting and her recent run-in with the law in Huntsville, Bishop came under suspicion of mailing a pipe bomb to a Harvard University medical doctor and was convicted of assaulting a woman in an International House of Pancakes in Peabody, Mass. Reports the Boston Herald, "a family source" described Bishop as "a far-left political extremist who was 'obsessed' with President Obama to the point of being off-putting." For obvious reasons, the identity of this "family source" has not been revealed. The source could be accused of having Tea Party sympathies.