You’re the radicals, wingnuts!

There’s actually less difference than one might think between the views of these tea party “insurgents” and those of establishment Republicans. If, as now seems possible, the Republicans recapture the House, two incumbent congressmen with an outsized say on budgetary policies will be Wisconsin’s Paul D. Ryan and Virginia’s Eric Cantor. Both already have signed off on a plan to privatize Social Security and to replace Medicare with a vague voucher system. Meanwhile, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey denounces Social Security as a fraud and a Ponzi scheme.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, who would replace Barbara Boxer as chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works if the GOP recaptures the Senate, believes that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” Then there’s presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, who fulminated darkly about anti-Christian liberal plots and wants to pass laws banning the imposition of Sharia law. (We’re all losing sleep over that prospect.)

Picture for a second an America without Social Security, Medicare or unemployment insurance.