Book: “Mad as hell: how the Tea Party movement is fundamentally remaking our two-party system” by Scott Rasmussen and Doug Schoen

I am currently (during my commutes) reading this book on my iPad.

The main author, pollster Scott Rasmussen of rasmussenreports.com, actually strikes a similar note as Angelo Codevilla in his seminal essay “The ruling class” (an expanded version of which is now available in book and eBook form). That is, of a large group of Middle America that feels ever more alienated from a political class (Democrats and establishment Republicans alike) that is both more internally homogenous than ever and more out of touch with the rest of the country in every way.

Rasmussen reiterates time and again that: (a) the Tea Party includes a substantial number of Independents and ex-Democrats alike; (b) the fact that it is likely to support Republican candidates over Democrats in elections is essentially on a “they both suck, but the elephant sucks less than the donk” basis; (c) that the GOP would be sorely mistaken to take Tea Party support for granted. Establishment Beltway GOP types know this, which explains much of their ambivalence towards the movement.

While Rasmussen does not skirt some shady and ugly things/characters that have hitched their wagon to the Tea Party train, he points out time and again that these are unrepresentative and that it in fact expresses the all-too-real concerns of a large swath of Middle America.

Rasmussen extensively quotes sources that nobody would think of as Tea Party or even small-government sympathies (such as Frank Rich [!] or Glenn Greenwald [?!?]) expressing sentiments surprisingly similar to what one can hear from some Tea Partiers.

The book appears to have been rushed into press (commercially a very smart move, as the subject matter could not be timelier), and it shows here and there in poor editing. Yet I warmly recommend it for Tea Party advocates and detractors alike — in fact, for anybody seeking to understand what is going on in American politics these days.

Hopefully, I will be able to update this mini-review once I shall be finished with the book.
And on that note, I wish my Jewish readers a spiritually fulfilling Yom Kippur and an easy fast.

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