Despite Jon Stewart’s attempt to restore sanity recently, Americans showed up at the polls and hopped on the crazy train, overwhelmingly supporting Republican candidates across the country. As a conservative leaning young professional, I couldn’t be happier with the new direction America chose.
However, like most people under the age of 30, my friends typically identify more closely with the crowd that gathered on the mall with Jon Stewart than the "tea partiers" who swarmed the polls. While the geniuses at Reason have done an excellent job satirically highlighting the reality that all crowds have their outliers, the truth of the matter is perception is reality. And as long as Tea Party remains a derogatory term in the Mainstream Media, I expect to spend a lot of time answering the question, "how can you support them?"
While your gut instinct, like mine, is probably to be annoyed with how narrow minded that question is, I’ve come to accept that this is a great question. It’s a question that allows Republicans to re-brand a movement that has become dominated by Anderson Coopers despicable “tea-bag” comment. And more importantly, it’s a question that many moderate Republicans will have to answer in 2012 when trying to win over a wider ideological spread of voters sure to turn out for the Presidential election.
For my answer, I’ve turned to a Hollywood analogy that every 20 something in America can appreciate –
At the end of the day, I believe whole heartedly that the values expressed by the Tea Party movement – greater personal autonomy and responsibility, more transparent governance, and fiscal restraint – appeal to the majority of this country. But I also respect and acknowledge that the personalities that play in Peoria are not always the best fit for Connecticut, or even the best fit for the younger folks in Peoria for that matter.
So next time you hear about witches from Delaware around the water cooler, resist the temptation to take the bait. Instead, start talking about the child of Cuban exiles now representing Florida or the son of a bar owner who will preside over the Republican controlled House this January. If the tide is to continue in 2012, we need an Owen Wilson to our Will Ferrell.