File this under the "Duh" column:
Though it's not true for all of its supporters, the "tea party movement" itself is just a Republican movement -- the standard-issue type that blindly cheered Bush and Cheney. It's all the same nationalistic militarism and warmongering, Wall Street-subservient economics, and religion-based policy-making that has defined the GOP forever. There's nothing new here. If anything, it represents a demand for even greater allegiance to the Bush/Cheney mindset, for a more purist and even less restrained version of the national security insanity, civil liberties assaults, massive increases in the rich-poor gap, control of Americans' lives through "social issues," and endless wars which the Republican Party has long rhetorically claimed to embody. Other than a Medicare prescription plan here and an immigration reform plan there, from what Bush/Cheney orthodoxies do they dissent? None.
This movement is nothing more than the Republican Party masquerading as a grass-roots phenomenon. In 2000, the GOP found a cowboy-hat-wearing, swaggering, "likable" Regular Guy spouting "compassion" in domestic policy and "humility" in foreign policy to re-brand itself in the wake of the Gingrich-led branding disaster. Sarah Palin and the "tea party movement" are just the updated versions of that, the re-branding in the wake of the Bush/Cheney-led image disaster. They're every bit as extremist, radical and dangerous as the last decade revealed standard right-wing Republicans to be, but the one thing they're not is new or innovative.
Remember that Simpson's episode where oil was discovered under Springfield Elementary, and Mr. Burns walks into Principal Skinner's office dressed like a teenager? That's basically the Republican Party. Every time their disgraceful policies turn off the voters, they return in a new set of clothes, and we're supposed to play along. If you look at it that way, then Sarah Palin makes perfect sense. It's Mr. Burns' latest scheme to sucker the rubes. Unfortunately, this sort of thing usually works, so we'll have to be on our guard.
(In the photo, Democrats and Republicans hash out their differences.)