The Tea Party movement has attacked America's relatively middle-of-the-road president with surprising ferocity, writes EJ Dionne. Parts of the movement seem to be motivated by racism, but the main force seems to be "anti-statism," or a fundamental distrust of the federal government. This vein of anti-statism dates from the earliest days of the nation and counts perhaps a quarter of Americans among its adherents, Dionne writes in the Washington Post.
The anti-statists oppose the federal government as a matter of principle, Dionne writes, making it pointless to try and sway them with facts. Many, including Ron Paul, would have preferred an economic collapse to a government bailout of banks. "For now, their fears of Obama are enough to tether the Tea Partiers to the GOP," Dionne concludes. "In the long run, establishment Republicans are destined to disappoint them." (Read more E.J. Dionne stories.)