Wednesday, October 20, 2010

By Elites, For Elites

Dana Milbank on the Tea Party’s “populists”:

There is genuine populist anger out there. But the angry have been deceived and exploited by posers who belong to the same class of “elites” and “insiders” that the Tea Party movement supposedly deplores. Americans who want to stick it to the man are instead sending money to the man.

Consider the candidates on the ballot next month who are getting Tea Party support. In the Connecticut Senate race, there’s Linda McMahon, who with her husband has a billion-dollar pro-wrestling empire. The challenger to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, is a millionaire manufacturing executive. The former head of Gateway computers, Rick Snyder, is spending generously from his fortune to win the Michigan governor’s race.

In New York, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is developer Carl Paladino, with a net worth put at $150 million. And Rick Scott, running for governor in Florida, has a net worth of $219 million from his career as a health-care executive. Then there’s California, where the Republican Senate nominee is former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina and the gubernatorial candidate is former e-Bay boss Meg Whitman.

So would it be elitist of me to tell all those cranky white people at the Tea Party rallies that they’re being ripped off — and probably laughed at — by a bunch of con artists for their own personal gain?

To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, no one ever went broke exploiting the greed, fear, and paranoia of the American public.