A few weeks ago former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin visited the River City to deliver a speech in front of a gospel quartet group about who the hell knows what.
Besides the “array of Christian music artists, vendors and other assorted merchandise-hawkers” that our intrepid Jonathan Meador observed while providing a blow to Palin’s puffy face, he met Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, who was also in the house.
Taibbi’s visited Kentucky three times in pursuit of Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul. The result is an article that throws brick through the Tea Party movement’s window called “Tea & Crackers”. The story is from the upcoming October 15 issue, but is available online.
Scanning the thousands of hopped-up faces in the crowd, I am immediately struck by two things. One is that there isn’t a single black person here. The other is the truly awesome quantity of medical hardware: Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters. As Palin launches into her Ronald Reagan impression — “Government’s not the solution! Government’s the problem!” — the person sitting next to me leans over and explains.
“The scooters are because of Medicare,” he whispers helpfully. “They have these commercials down here: ‘You won’t even have to pay for your scooter! Medicare will pay!’ Practically everyone in Kentucky has one.”
A hall full of elderly white people in Medicare-paid scooters, railing against government spending and imagining themselves revolutionaries as they cheer on the vice-presidential puppet hand-picked by the GOP establishment. If there exists a better snapshot of everything the Tea Party represents, I can’t imagine it.
These sort of observations about the Tea Party ultimately rip the scab off their hypocrisy about government spending and the national debt. In the article, Taibbi runs across people who are “anti-government, anti-spending” except for the federal programs that directly benefit them. Like say, Medicare.