E.J. Dionne does a PRETTY GOOD JOB of defending himself against barbs from a Wall Street Journal columnist over the intellectual legitimacy of the Tea Party movement.
A few excerpts:
The Tea Party is just the latest incarnation of a strain of very conservative opinion that has always been part of the American political landscape. It’s the old American right with the additional advantages of a cable network of its own, new organizing possibilities created by the Internet, and expanded publicity that arises from the media’s fascination with Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Christine O’Donnell.
I “get” the Tea Party. I just disagree with much of what it’s saying and would insist that it’s neither as novel nor as large as its supporters and some press accounts would suggest. And I’d urge thoughtful conservatives…to apply the example of their distinguished forebears, notably William F. Buckley Jr., by challenging the sometimes exotic extremism that is now taking hold on parts of the right, including parts of the Tea Party.