Randall Stephens is a reader in history and American studies at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. He is currently completing a book titled The Devil’s Music: Christianity and Rock since the 1950s.
Last week college economics professor David Brat trounced House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia's seventh congressional district. Prognosticators thought that Brat, a favorite of Tea Party supporters, was a long shot. How could he win? Hadn’t the Tea Party been on the wane? Now, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson warns, the Tea Party “should no longer be thought of as just a faction of the GOP. It’s calling the shots.”
What's clear is that Tea Party voters turn out in droves and care passionately about politics. Many of those Teapublicans are also fervent Christians of the evangelical stripe.
"Open conversation that leads to nothing." That's how Jon Stewart summed up his interview with popular right-wing historian David Barton. He was right: After 30 minutes of glib back-and-forth with Barton (ten of which made it onto TV), Stewart was flummoxed, worn down, unfunny.
To European visitors in the first half of the 19th century, Americans were like their newfangled steamboats: noisy, combustible, always on the move—and dirty. "I hardly know any annoyance so deeply repugnant to English feelings as the incessant, remorseless spitting of Americans," Frances Trollope reported.
Long before the shouting contests over national health care and decades before Tea Partiers raised a collective ARGHHH!, a conservative, antigovernment movement was forged. The problem with government, these activists said, is that there is too much of it.