"Against the Tide" by Rob Colvin.
"Shorter NYT: Tea party is out of the mainstream because members are white, religious and socially conservative," twitter buddy Hale Razor writes re Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell's inadvertently self-revelatory New York Times op ed, "Crashing the Tea Party," a fact-challenged, politically correct dismissal of us and our fellow constitutional conservatives as "less popular than much maligned groups like 'atheists' and 'Muslims.'" A couple of paragraphs, and then some analysis:
GIVEN how much sway the Tea Party has among Republicans in Congress and those seeking the Republican presidential nomination, one might think the Tea Party is redefining mainstream American politics.
But in fact the Tea Party is increasingly swimming against the tide of public opinion: among most Americans, even before the furor over the debt limit, its brand was becoming toxic … Interestingly, one group that approaches it in unpopularity is the Christian Right.
Swimming against the tide, indeed. Redefining mainstream American politics is what the tea party has always been about, gentlemen, notwithstanding the last-gasp efforts of the powers that be like you and your fellow travelers in Sarah Palin's "lamestream media" to demonize us into oblivion. Can you say Tea Party terrorists? The Anchoress explains in her must-read review of Mark Steyn's After America:
But Steyn is not writing solely about the social unrest and the hooliganism that so often comes with economic distress. After America warns that an over-regulated, bureaucracy-laden society, dissuaded from conceiving and achieving great things because too much has come between an idea and its execution, is a society dumbing down and numbing-up, growing not just stagnant, but inert, like Chesterton’s “dead thing” that “can go with the stream,” while “only a living thing can go against it.”
Oh, the irony that Harvard's Robert Putnam, author of the iconic "Bowling Alone," trapped in his tribal Pauline Kael bubble, is blind to what's right there before his eyes. As Hale Razor twittered:
Putnam sees social isolationism and decreasing church attendance, yet can't spot a nexus, while ripping social conservatives.
Putnam's "groundbreaking book based on vast data," published just over a decade ago before blogs and twitter and facebook and other social media reshaped and re-energized the public square, seems sadly set in amber today:
Putnam warns that our stock of social capital – the very fabric of our connections with each other, has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities.
Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbors less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often.
Signing fewer petitions and belonging to fewer organizations? That is so yesterday, Mr. Putnam. You and your co-author need to get out more. You shoulda interviewed people like ourselves before writing that New York Times relic. Tea Partay!
Update: Doug Ross of Larwyn's Linx links.
Crossposted at Riehl World View.