By Alan Bean
Chris McDaniel, a Mississippi Tea Party candidate vying for Thad Cochran’s senate seat, wants to turn back the hands of time.
“There are millions of us who feel like strangers in this land, an older America passing away, a new America rising to take its place,” McDaniel said this past week. “We recoil from that culture. It’s foreign to us. It’s alien to us. … It’s time to stand and fight. It’s time to defend our way of life again.”
This revealing remark is the frontispiece for an AP story that was picked up by the Huffington Post and Breitbart.com, suggesting that conservatives and liberals attach significance to McDaniel’s words, though for different reasons.
We often distinguish liberals from conservatives using an economic metric: liberals think capitalism works best when checked by government regulation supplemented by public projects and a robust social safety net; conservatives think capitalism works best without regulation and see unrestricted free markets as want to privatize every public initiative, with the partial exception of the military.
On the surface, Chris McDaniel’s rhetoric fits this pattern. He says the government has no constitutional right to educate the nation’s children. On the stump, he sounds like a typical small government, low tax conservative.
But there is more to the Tea Party phenomenon than low tax-small government conservatism. (more…)