Beyond the tea party's antigovernment slogans lies white angst over lost political power.
Recently, I was fishing for trophy trout in this northeast corner of Georgia. When fellow anglers learned I live near Washington, the derisive remarks and sneering about “the government” started rolling like trout to a mayfly hatch.
The rants of the upscale fly fishermen echoed those of the “tea partyers.”
“The government is out of control,” one fisherman said. “I’m so angry. The existing administration is taking us toward socialism, like France.” I asked him how he felt about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Proudly, he told me he collected checks from all three and they paid for his regular trips to the Mayo Clinic.
He’s a Florida businessman who builds condominiums, yet he tried to persuade me he was on the way to the poorhouse and that he was one of those “little guys” worthy of the government’s help. “Obama’s stimulus package is doing nothing for Main Street,” he complained.
Amid his grumbling about “big government not helping the little people,” I asked him why, with a house in Paris, a bigger house in Florida, and his ability to pay more than $350 a day to fish a private trout stream in Georgia, did he qualify as “one of America’s little people?”
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