The sans culottes were the radical French militants of the lower classes, typically urban laborers. Though ill-clad and ill-equipped, they made up the bulk of the Revolutionary army during the early years of the French Revolutionary Wars. As more conservative elements took over after the over throw of the French Monarchy and Robespierre was executed they were forcibly and permanently suppressed.
Fast forward to 2010 – The Tea Party has taken control in the House and seems to have much of the power in the Republican party. While the sans culottes got much of their of the energy from hatred of the King – the Tea party gets theirs from hating Obama.
I suspect that many of the Tea Party members are still fighting the Civil War.
The Tea Party members are also the ones most likely to show up at the Republican primaries and caucuses and may end up deciding the Republican nominee for President and other offices. Their ideolgy is not in line with independents or even many Republicans.
The economy will still be really bad in 2012 which historically should mean Obama and the Democrats will lose. But for the Republicans to win they have to nominate candidates that a majority thinks will do a better job than Obama. Will the Tea Party make it impossible for the Republicans to do that?
Big business and Wall Street have been big supporters of the Republicans. But the Koch brothers and the Chamber of Commerce don’t like lawmakers they can’t control which would be most of the freshman class of Republican lawmakers. And this from David Frum:
Isn’t it conceivable that Obama’s real end-game in these budget talks is to destroy Republican presidential fund raising for 2012 by goading congressional Republicans in 2011 into appearing maximally reckless and irresponsible?
If so, you have to say: the plan’s working brilliantly.
Now I doubt that Obama had that plan but it seems to be working out that way. There is a lot of talk about Rupert Murdoch’s legacy. Could it be his creation of the Tea Party? And you have to wonder what Dick Armee is thinking right now. The Tea Party combined with incredibly unpopular governors in the swing states of Ohio and Florida make an Obama win likely. Even if the Republicans nominate the relatively sane Romney he is going to have so much crazy baggage from the nomination race it may be hard for him to win. On top of that the Republicans will be forced to throw a VP bone to the Tea Party once again making a lunatic one heart beat away from the presidency.
Cross posted at Newshoggers with a great comment by anna missed:
The democratic party had a similar problem back in the 20′s – when the second iteration of the KKK infiltrated the party. The influence of the klan became so great (literally taking over some state party apparat’s, such as Indiana) that the democrats had to force a vote at it’s 1924 convention to remove an official recognition of the KKK agenda from the party plank. The vote barely passed, but in doing so initiated the long slow decline of political nativism associated with the klan. And especially it’s associated taint with the democratic party, that by the end of the decade had reoriented itself into a formidable force against all nativist inclinations and cleared the way for the Roosevelt “social(ist) revolution” and 30 years of democratic political domination.
If the republicans ever expect to win any more national elections, they’ll have to do something similar with the teabag variant.