I'm disposed just now to think that the worldview (stingy, sordid, narrow, unimaginative, seeing all value as money value, incapacity not to translate the money value into actual experience while at the same time cherishing the conviction that they have achieved all that culture achieved in their very own special exceptional persons--in a word, your basic Babbittry) predates the politics, it is deeply ingrained, it has been around for a long time, it's what for many years distinguished Americans from the rest of the world (see for example Edith Wharton's "The Custom of the Country" where she savages these traits in the character of Undine Spragg, or Trollope's "The American Senator"). Now they feel themselves to be under assault, and the politics is an instrument for the survival of their sense of the world and of their place in it. But there's even another layer to it, which is the desire to empty themselves of experience in order to sustain this world view, which is, at least now (if not in Wharton's time), a sort of mass-produced artifact that they think is a "personality," that is sort of churned and recycled endlessly out of this legacy of smug romanticizing self-regard.
My dad turns 90 in a couple weeks. He's pretty much sharp as he ever was, which means you adjust for a certain level of befuddlement, something I inherited, but we apply to different aspects of modern life. That befuddlement is the centerpiece of his gentle humor. He's a funny guy. He was the youngest survivor of eight children, and his sisters cooed over him, and petted him, until he was seventy-five. And it shows. He's sweet. He's kindly. He goes to church every week. He'd give you the shirt off his back.
He's a lifelong Republican, from a family tradition of Kentucky Union supporters. He's a racist. He's a captive of FOX News.
It colors, and it tempers (believe it or not) the things I have to say about his party and his cohort. I know he's a good man, and I grew up with a more-or-less overt racist stepfather after my parents divorced (my mother, too, was--is--considerably worse, and until the dementia confined her you had to try to steer her clear of any opportunity for blurting. In the early days I took her to the bank--before we realized she had a banking fixation--and she told the teller he spoke very well for a colored boy), so I've seen the difference intent makes. I understand, or I just pretend, that the pervasive racism of his generation, the racism I grew up with, was partly cultural. That doesn't mean I think it was excusable, just that I know that back then he wouldn't have donned a sheet, and would have helped the first African-American family on the block move in, right before he put up the For Sale sign. (Ten years later my stepfather--another lifelong Lincoln Republican--would have blamed the whole thing on Ted Kennedy.)
I've seen this close up. Those two men were both working-class kids. No African-American ever did them any harm, but both knew that the natural order of things required everyone--especially everyone else--to know his place. One lived long enough to have the Reagan Paradise he'd agitated for for years deny him Social Security benefits--"new rules, sorry"--and his twenty-year employer fire him to rob him of his health insurance when the cancer that would kill him in three years left him too weak to work, or walk much. The other's been cashing his Social Security checks, and charging his healthcare costs to Medicare, for twenty-five years. And he thinks Sean Hannity is a keen observer of the ship of state.
Now, maybe some ninety-year-old is not indicative of the Teabaggers, or maybe it's just mutatis mutandis. He had the Red Scare, and Goldwater, both failures; they had Reagan, who was too Great for his disasters to be attributed to him. He had Jim Crow; the next generation had to keep its powder dry until Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton said something in public, or Katrina wiped out a major American city, or a black man running for President garnered the sort of fawning support they themselves gave Nixon or Reagan or Bush II or Palin. My dad, it seemed, could simply assume that post-war white, American, and Christian hegemony was the natural order of the Universe. But as time passed, and as those were revealed as mere artifacts of a kaleidoscopic "reality", the "desire to empty themselves of experience in order to sustain this world view" became more and more necessary, until it became a badge of honor to complain about the PC police giving all the good parking places to cripples.
The attitude behind that sort of thing has been with us since we crawled out of the primordial soup, probably. But take a look sometime at Reagan's speeches from early on in his manufactured political career. Perpetual aggrievedness, perpetual demonization, I-was-a-Liberal-Democrat-before-FDR-went-to-Yalta, or King went to Birmingham, or Madalyn Murray went to Court. Or Darwin boarded the Beagle. Why people buy this may have more to do with innate attitudes than politics; it certainly tends to fly in the face of political common sense often enough. But one party has been willing to double down on Stupid for decades to take advantage of it. And, I blame it more than I blame my old man. For whatever reason.