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MSNBC Host, Guest Consider Whether Tea Partiers Are Addicts, 'Delusional'

4:52 PM, Aug 3, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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MSNBC host Martin Bashir interviewed Stanton Peele, a psychologist and an "expert on addiction," this afternoon. Bashir urged Peele to psychologically evaluate supporters of the Tea Party. "It reminds us of addiction because addicts are seeking something that they can't have," Peele said. "They want a state of happiness or nirvana that can't be achieved except through an artificial substance and reminds us of the Norway situation, when people are thwarted at obtaining something they can't, have they often strike out and Norway is one kind of example to one kind of reaction to that kind of a frustration."

Bashir later asked: "So you're saying that they are delusional about the past and adamant about the future?"

"They are adamant about achieving something that's unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things. It reminds us of delusion and psychosis," Peele responded.

Here's video of the exchange:

Yesterday, Democratic House members and Vice President Joe Biden reportedly called Tea Partiers "terrorists," apparently following the lead of many liberals. And Maureen Dowd in today's New York Times compared supporters of the Tea Party and their allies in Congress to "cannibals," "vampires," "zombies," and "the metallic beasts in 'Alien.'" 

Here's Bashir's full exchange: 

BASHIR: What is the effect giving people their way all of the time? How does it shape our thinking behavior if by being adamant and dogmatic we get our way?

PEELE: 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 not something we can reach right now.

BASHIR: 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. They want a state of happiness or nirvana that can't be achieved except through an artificial substance and reminds us of the Norway situation, when people are thwarted at obtaining something they can't, have they often strike out and Norway is one kind of example to one kind of reaction to that kind of a frustration.

BASHIR: But going back to the Tea Party in this country. Do you think that having achieved their goal, no new taxes. instead of this actually making them think about compromise in the future? It's actually simply going to harden them so this kind of battle this, kind of standoff, this kind of face-off is just going to become routine in Washington.

PEELE: Well, i'm looking at one beyond. they want no new taxes because they seek some kind of idyllic past. No new taxes won't bring them, 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 become discontented and perhaps they 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.

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