President Obama says he finds the Tea Party movement's complaints amusing. Bill Clinton thinks some of the language of the movement is dangerous. And Time magazine's Joe Klein thinks two Tea Party favorites, Sarah Palin and Fox's own Glenn Beck, are bordering on sedition.
The president says the Tea Partiers ought to thank him because many if not most of them got a tax break courtesy of his stimulus package. In his condescension, the president seems not to grasp that the Tea Partiers see the mountains of debt piling up under this president and Congress as a threat not only to their own prosperity but even more so to their children and grandchildren's. They see huge tax increases ahead and who can blame them?
Clinton is engaged, meanwhile, in a replay of his post-Oklahoma City comments of 15 years ago when, as president, he cleverly linked the political anger that months earlier had stripped him of his majorities in Congress to the extremism of the Murrah Building bombing. But Clinton apparently saw no such parallels later when George W. Bush was subjected by anti-war protesters to vicious attacks including depictions of him as Hitler and posters showing him with a bullet hole in his forehead. None of this seemed to bother Klein either.
The president's amusement and the alarm of Clinton and Klein are two sides of the same coin: A refusal to see the Tea Party movement as serious and legitimate.
— Brit Hume is the senior political analyst for Fox News Channel.