Is The Tea Party Really All About Alger Hiss?Roundup: Historians' Take
tags: Tea Party, Alger Hiss
Walter Russell Mead is the Henry Kissinger senior fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World. He also writes a blog for the American Interest.
Unde malum et quare? Where does evil come from and why does it exist? That has always been one of the big questions; over at Bloomberg News, former White House macher and Samantha Power super-spouse Cass Sunstein says he’s solved at least one part of the riddle: he’s figured out the from whence and why of the Tea Party.
The Tea Party is a huge intellectual problem for blue model liberals. It sprang up out of nowhere, it lacks a formal leadership structure, and despite many obituaries in the MSM, it remains a significant force in the Republican Party and in American politics as a whole. It is everything Occupy Wall Street hoped to become, and the MSM did everything possible to make OWS flourish. It was hailed as a movement of historic impact, the start of a global trend, one of those epochal developments after which nothing will ever be the same—and it guttered out ignominiously.
The Tea Party, on the other hand, has flourished despite non-stop efforts to smother it in the media. While its record is mixed and, from a Democratic point of view not all bad (arguably, without unqualified Tea Party-backed candidates, the GOP would now have control of the Senate), its persistence annoys. It is almost as if the MSM’s power to shape American politics is on the wane.
Professor Sunstein (he teaches at Harvard Law) has a theory, though, about where the Tea Party comes from. It all goes back to Alger Hiss, a State Department official under Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. After playing an important role in US policy in the Middle East and East Asia, he chaired the international committee that established the United Nations. On leaving the government in 1946 he went on to head the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, then as now one of the most respected institutions of the foreign policy establishment....