Everyone knows that the Tea Party was a spontaneous, populist uprising of ordinary Americans who were fed up with taxes and regulation and who, without national leadership or direction, created in 2009 a potent national force dedicated to “taking the country back.” According to a new academic study of the Tea Party’s origins, what everybody knows is wrong.
Of course, the Tea Party’s Creation Myth has never rung true to anyone with a passing familiarity with what it takes to organize a family reunion, let alone a national movement. Where did all those busses come from, we wondered as the plain people gathered in their thousands to demand the government keep its hands off their Medicare. Where did the money come from for all those professionally printed signs and the goofy hats? To rent those enormous and expensive venues for populist rage? Continue reading