Professor Paul Rahe is the prominent intellectual historian who took a look at the Tea Party in the excellent Commentary essay “How to think about the Tea Party.” When the Web editor of the Boston Review drew our attention this afternoon to a column on the alleged impotency of the Tea Party by Harvard’s Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder, Jr., I asked Professor Rahe if he would take a look. He comments:
This is silly. It confuses the broad Tea-Party movement with a couple of organizations that were formed under its influence or in imitation of it. This is a nice rhetorical trick. But the larger reality was the defeat of RINOs in the candidate selection process and a huge shift of the voters in the direction of Republican candidates toeing the Tea-Party line. The fact that Stephen Ansolabehere and James M. Snyder, Jr are professors at Harvard tells us less about the validity of their “findings” than about the sad state of political science at the university at which they teach. One has to study for years and get a Ph.D. to learn not to recognize the nose on one’s face.
Ansolabehere and Snyder title their essay “Weak tea,” which seems fair enough as a description of their own column.