“More likely to be white and male than the general population, tea partyers also skew toward middle age or older. That’s the tell. Most came of age in the 1960s, an era distinguished by widespread disrespect for government. In their wonder years, they learned that politics was about protesting the Establishment and shouting down the Man. No wonder they’re doing that now…

“The tea party is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis. For men of a certain age, it offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence — underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares — all paid for with ample cash…

“Ah, tea partyer, we know ye well. One of your signs says ‘Listen to ME!’ That’s all that’s ever really mattered — the original ‘me generation’ grabbing the spotlight and the world’s attention by whatever means necessary. The rest, whether beads, bell bottoms or birther slogans, is just a means to the same end.”

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