“‘We’ve seen more threats and actual attacks in the past 18 months than we’ve seen at any given period over the past 15 years,’ claimed Potok.

“Potok said he blames some public personalities and conservative politicians for inciting fear.

“Potok cited talk-show host Glenn Beck for stoking fears that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is running concentration camps, former CNN host Lou Dobbs for incurring fears about supposed Mexican plots to take over the southwestern U.S., Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for making statements about secret political reeducation camps, and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin for referring to Obama ‘death panels’ during the health care debate. Bachmann and Beck are also cited by name in the SPLC’s report, but Dobbs and Palin are not.

“‘These people help to bring completely groundless conspiracy theories from the margins into the mainstream,’ said Potok.”

“I hate these folks but I also understand them. And, well, uh, I also empathize with them. They share the same psychology as the paranoid patients I treat every day. The only difference is that the paranoid beliefs of the Tea Party movement are political while those in my consulting room are of a more personal nature. The causes and dynamics, however, are the same. And so just as I have empathy for my patients, I have come to have empathy for the Tea Partiers, even as I despise their influence and work hard to defeat their ideology. It’s crucial that the Left does likewise because if we don’t understand the ways that decent, god-fearing, and victimized people can come to espouse such a dangerous ideology, we won’t be able to fight them effectively…

“The ‘problem’ is that Tea Party activists move from legitimate feelings and normal longings to paranoid political positions that are dangerous and cruel. But because these positions serve an important psychological function, because they resolve an emotional dilemma, they can’t be changed by rational argument. I have never been able to help a paranoid patient even a little bit by arguing with his or her view of reality. Not one bit. The only way I have been able to make any headway is using our relationship to provide real experiences that have a shot at providing an alternative and more satisfying ‘solution’ to their underlying fears. Only then can I begin to offer a counter-narrative, one that acknowledges their pain and innocence, but enables them to more accurately identify its sources and, therefore, its antidote.”

“Even as Perry successfully tapped into the raw anger toward Washington, other Tea Party-inspired candidates found little success.

“Debra Medina, the third GOP gubernatorial contender and the most authentic outsider in the contest, garnered only about 19 percent of the vote…

“While 86-year-old Rep. Ralph Hall had the closest contest, he still bested his nearest challenger, a self-proclaimed ‘Tea Party Republican,’ by a two-to-one margin.

“Of those Republican incumbents who supported the TARP legislation in 2008 – Reps. Kevin Brady, Mike Conaway, Kay Granger, Lamar Smith, and Pete Sessions – Granger got the lowest vote percent. And she took 70 percent against two opponents.”

“Memo to the Left: New Rules. We will no longer sit by and tolerate your taunts of ‘racist’ and ‘Nazi.’ If you want to have a substantive, respectful discussion about the best direction for our country, fine. But from this moment on, every time you call us Nazis — every time — you’re going to get another one of these gentle reminders about the origins and personalities of the National Socialist German Workers Party until you stop.”