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Tea Party on Education


College kids should get jobs, not Food Stamps

Young adults in college are not exempt from Tea Party suspicion. Montana GOP Congressman Denny Rehberg, a Tea Party favorite, was no doubt speaking to the choir when he recently denounced aid to college students as "the welfare of the 21st century." A similar point was made in an April 2010 blog posting on the Greater Boston Tea Party website, claiming that college kids are taking advantage of the Food Stamp program. "Call me crazy," the blogger opined, "but when I needed money for college, I got a job." The limited economic opportunities available to young people were not something Tea Party members mentioned to us. Nor did they express any concern about declining college attendance and completion for lower-income and lower-middle-income young people--a decline that has caused the US to fall behind in the global higher education sweepstakes. Instead, Tea Partiers condemned the behavior of the young in moral terms.
Source: The Remaking of Republican Conservatism, p. 73-74 , Jan 2, 2012

Dismiss objectionable intellectuals as over-educated elites

Although Tea Partiers dismiss intellectuals with harsh rhetoric, they are themselves usually well educated. Most of those we spoke to had a college education, and many had advanced degrees. One Tea Partier objected to a brief written survey we had provided, saying it did not allow her to list her full academic credentials. As with those deemed undeserving, the category of the "intellectual elite" is more politically symbolic than based on clear-cut empirical facts. In Tea Partyland, ideology and politics separate objectionable educated elites from other highly educated people.

Because of their supposed disdain for average Americans, liberal elites are imagined to be plotting new forms of regulation and control. They think "they know what's best for us," one Virginia Tea Partier explained. Regulations supported by liberals are perceived as a foreign moral code, an imposition of un-American ideals.

Source: The Remaking of Republican Conservatism, p. 80 , Jan 2, 2012

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Page last updated: Oct 11, 2013