A woman attends a Tea Party rally on tax day 2009. (Photo: bvcphoto)
"Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama"
by Will Bunch
Will Bunch, the author of the brilliant Reagan biography "Tear Down This Myth," has done it again. His latest book, "Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama," is an extraordinarily readable, vividly real-to-life and broad-in-scope view of the Tea Party movement - this book could have been a movie. Bunch's writing style is so evocative that he brings every sense - sight, smell, sound etc. - to Tea Party movements and activities all across the United States, bringing to life in all its insane glory this bizarre, right-wing phenomenon sweeping our nation.
This is not, of course, a new phenomenon. In a current issue of Mother Jones magazine, an article titled "Recycled" by Kevin Drum quotes a journalist's description of the American Liberty League, which emerged in 1934 in opposition to FDR's New Deal. The article that is quoted, written by historian Frederick Rudolph, observes:
"It supports with worshipful intensity the Constitution of the United States; it places itself on the side of the individual and of liberty in opposition to an encroaching government bureaucracy; it respects the judgment of the founding fathers who had so wisely incorporated the separation of federal powers and the rights of states into the great national document; it defends the American right to enjoy the sweat of one's own labor and the rewards of one's own ability."
Also see: "Backlash in the Age of Obama"
The New Deal produced the Liberty League, the Clinton presidency produced the Arkansas Project and the Obama administration is now confronted by the Tea Party. While Republican presidencies tend to produce not much more than fawning coverage from a corporate and monopolistic media, Democratic presidencies draw out of the woodwork billionaires and their institutions to fund groups dedicated to the destruction of any Democrat in the White House.
"Backlash" is a brilliant overview of this most recent incarnation of the phony grassroots movements that arise or are funded - like the John Birch Society against Jack Kennedy and LBJ - to destroy Democratic presidents. From Tea Party to Tea Party, from Fox News to the reactive corporate media, Will Bunch has done a brilliant job of taking us inside this newest movement to preserve the rights, powers and wealth of the very, very rich.
What's perhaps most brilliant about Bunch's book is how he gives us the view from both 30,000 feet and on the ground. You get to know individual and truly dedicated, genuine believers, the mostly baby boomer followers of hucksters like Dick Armey, and you get to know the hucksters, hustlers and puppet masters themselves, too.
In addition to buying a copy for yourself, be sure to get an extra book for your Tea Party friends, coworkers or relatives.