Tea Party Could ‘Potentially Become a Violent Movement'

Susan Jones | August 4, 2011 | 11:06am EDT
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(CNSNews.com) – Tea party conservatives are “pursing goals that can’t be achieved,” they are “delusional,” and they belong to “a very angry movement’ that “could, potentially become a violent movement.”

That’s according to a Stanton Peele, a psychologist and addiction expert interviewed by liberal MSNBC host Martin Bashir on Wednesday afternoon.

The Weekly Standard blogged about the interview, as did Newsbusters.

Among other eye-popping exchanges, Bashir asked the psychologist about the “effect giving people their way all of the time.” That’s a reference to tea party Republicans who stood on principle and demanded a deficit-reduction deal that included no tax hikes but offered real spending cuts.

In fact, tea party Republicans are not happy with the compromise deal that did exclude tax hikes, but did not include real spending reform.

Nevertheless, Bashir framed his question as though the tea party conservatives got their way in the debt negotiations: “How does it shape our thinking, behavior, if by being adamant and we get our way?” he asked.

Peele responded, “Well, the way I think about it is, they are pursuing goals that can't be achieved. It's sort of like a child who has some kind of fantasy, and they keep asking you to give them things to acquire that, but it's impossible to arrive at the goal that they want. The idyllic paths that they are pursuing probably never existed and certainly (are) not something we can reach right now.”

Bashir continued: “So you're saying that they are delusional about the past and adamant about the future?”

Peele: “They are adamant about achieving something that's unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things: It reminds us of delusion and psychosis. It reminds us of addiction because addicts are seeking something that they can't have….”

Peele then mentioned “the Norway situation” as an example of what can happen when people are “thwarted at obtaining something they can’t have.”

Bashir brought the conversation back to the tea party, asking if “having achieved their goal” of no new taxes, conservatives would be more inclined to avoid compromise in the future.

Peele said tea party conservatives “want no new taxes because they seek some kind of idyllic past. No new taxes won't bring them…economic recovery, so they will have to turn their attention to some other supposed method of attaining that -- until they go through all of them. Perhaps they can push through all of them. Perhaps people …will become discontented, and people are likely to get riled up, and it could become a very angry movement could, potentially become a violent movement.”

Bashir, a British journalist, is openly scornful of Republicans in general and conservatives in particular. Last week, Bashir complained about House Speaker John Boehner's handling of the debt negotiations:

"Mr. Boehner goes on, singing his nursery rhyme of more cuts, no taxes, of Cut, Cap, and Balance, of cut this, cut that, and don't you dare raise revenues. I've been thinking, maybe it's time for Mr. Boehner to hand over responsibility to Harry Reid and the president and for himself to go off to sleep," Bashir said on his MSNBC afternoon program.

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