Dr. Eugene T. Paslov: Senate Republicans band together in opposing ... everything?

The party of "no (now 'hell no')" continues its downward spiral to lead our country to a restoration of failed Bush policies.

On April 16, a New York Times blog reported all 41 Senate Republicans signed a letter saying they would not support tighter regulations to prevent future catastrophic failure of our nation's financial system. This was the same day that the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman Sachs with massive fraud, allegedly helping some investors capitalize on the collapse of the housing market to make billions.

It seems these 41 R's are in the pocket of Wall Street and the big banks. They are obviously not concerned about those on Main Street.

There are currently many Tea Party demonstrations around the country. One may be curious about who these new Tea Party organizers are.

According to a New York Times/CBS News Poll, about 18 percent of the American public supports the Tea Party. When you compare this group with the general public, one finds some fascinating facts.

Among all adults, the percentage who are men is 49 percent. The percentage of Tea Party male members is 59 percent. The percentage of the population that is white is 77 percent. The percentage of Tea Party members who are white is 89 percent. The percentage of the population with a household income more than $100,000 is 14 percent. That percentage of Tea Party members is 20 percent.

Only 25 percent of the population has a college or post graduate degree, in the Tea Party that percentage is 37 percent. And finally, only 23 percent of the population relies on Fox News for most of their news - but among the Tea Party group that figure is 63 percent.

The Tea Party, which claims to be a grass roots organization, is very white, quite well off, well educated and ideologically conservative (Fox News and Glenn Beck rank high). The leadership of the Tea Party looks more like the 41 Senate Republicans - the ones who support Wall Street and the big banks - Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich and other ideologically conservative Republicans. Tea partyers do not look like most Americans who are concerned about jobs, health care and dignified retirement.

Let's watch and see if the current Congressional Republicans squirm their way out of the Goldman Sachs scandal and avoid banking reform, and if the Tea Party organization will begin accruing billions of corporate dollars (The Supreme Court recently allowed this "freedom of speech" provision) to buy what's left of our democracy.

I encourage readers to "watch the pea under the shell."

• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.


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