Tea Partiers Are Not Hippies

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Mar 08, 2010 10:42 AM
Are tea partiers similar to 60's leftists?

That's what David Brooks said last week in his column, "The Wal-Mart Hippies," where he explains patiently that because the tea parties are organizationally scattered, they are similar in nature to the disorganized hippies of the 1960's. Brooks even draws parallels from the 60's conspiracy theorists who thought the world was "manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks," to tea partiers, who blame "the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters," on society's ills. If you didn't notice, that's directly referencing the FBI and Pentagon suicide killers. Who, in David Brooks' world, represent the average tea partier.

Jonah Goldberg largely sidesteps the conspiracy stuff in his well-worded rebuttal to Brooks over at NRO.
...unlike the New Left, they do not believe in starting over with a plan hatched from a new cultural avant-garde. They believe in getting back to basics. They take the founding, the Declaration, and the Constitution seriously. ...They believe, perhaps too conspiratorially at times, that the Left has taken the country down the wrong path (and I basically agree with them, by the way).
I'd add two cents: age demographics, and frequently of political participation. Tea partiers certainly have young people among them, but there are far more middle-agers. That's the opposite of the 60's hippies, and a good indication that people participating are a) mature, and b) have some perspective on the current state of affairs.  As Goldberg points out, they're the types of people who focus on the Constitution rather than flip flops and peace beads. To them, political protests are an obligation, rather than a a preferred form of recreation.