As many of its activists depend on unemployment for inspiration and government benefits, can the Tea Party movement survive an economy on the rebound? “At rallies, gatherings and training sessions in recent months, activists often tell a similar story in interviews: they had lost their jobs, or perhaps watched their homes plummet in value, and they found common cause in the Tea Party’s fight for lower taxes and smaller government. The Great Depression, too, mobilized many middle-class people who had fallen on hard times. Though, as Michael Kazin, the author of ‘The Populist Persuasion,’ notes, they tended to push for more government involvement. The Tea Party vehemently wants less — though a number of its members acknowledge that they are relying on government programs for help. Mr. Grimes, who receives Social Security, has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with the literature of the movement, including Glenn Beck’s ‘Arguing With Idiots’ and Frederic Bastiat’s ‘The Law,’ which denounces public benefits as ‘false philanthropy.”
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