“It’s no mere coincidence that the states responsible for putting the most Tea Party representatives in the House are all former members of the Confederacy,” says Robert Reich in a 12.21 Alternet column piece. “Of the Tea Party caucus, twelve hail from Texas, seven from Florida, five from Louisiana, and five from Georgia, and three each from South Carolina, Tennessee, and border-state Missouri.
“Others are from border states with significant Southern populations and Southern ties. The four Californians in the caucus are from the inland part of the state or Orange County, whose political culture has was shaped by Oklahomans and Southerners who migrated there during the Great Depression.
“This isn’t to say all Tea Partiers are white, Southern or rural Republicans — only that these characteristics define the epicenter of Tea Party Land.
“America has had a long history of white Southern radicals who will stop at nothing to get their way — seceding from the Union in 1861, refusing to obey Civil Rights legislation in the 1960s, shutting the government in 1995, and risking the full faith and credit of the United States in 2010.
“Newt Gingrich‘s recent assertion that public officials aren’t bound to follow the decisions of federal courts derives from the same tradition.
“This stop-at-nothing radicalism is dangerous for the GOP because most Americans recoil from it. Gingrich himself became an object of ridicule in the late 1990s, and many Republicans today worry that if he heads the ticket the Party will suffer large losses.
“It’s also dangerous for America. We need two political parties solidly grounded in the realities of governing. Our democracy can’t work any other way.”