I think I have to stop reading Dave Weigel now, because the premise is that he can deliver insight into the tea party movement and the forces shaping it, when we have the most incontrovertible evidence yet that the movement is composed of the same angry losers who think a Democratic President is by definition illegitimate. They’re old, angry conservative men – John McCain without the war-hero status and (some of the) traditional media fluffing. And they have a McCain-like understanding of public policy:

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

The key sentence here is “They do not want a third party and say they usually or almost always vote Republican.” Why we’re even talking about a “tea party” as anything new is ridiculous. In fact, far from the Ron Paul movement, the actual seeds of the tea party come right out of the grassroots activity against an immigration bill in 2006:

Tea Parties Against Amnesty announced in March that they would organize rallies across the country, April 15-17, to show their opposition to any proposed legislation for comprehensive immigration reform.

Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), an anti-illegal immigration group, today made an announcement to supporters defending the Tea Party against accusations of racism and applauding the upcoming rallies.

They’re just Republicans. They already have a “movement,” and this latest iteration is meant to distance themselves from the horrors of the last time we had unfettered Republican governance in this country. They think they’re the only “real Americans” in the country, and they cannot abide by “the other” having any political power. As Digby puts it “They are mostly a bunch of cranky, white men with money who are trying desperately to hang on to their privileges. Same as it ever was… They are what we have called “Republicans” for at least the last 30 years.”