"But they still think of themselves as rebels," I said.
And I think that may have been an important insight. Because if you mix slavish loyalty to your favorite corporation with the unshakable certainty that you're an individualist in a community of like-minded individualists, you've got the Tea Party and their ilk. Perfectly nice people (mostly) who manage to hold and act on terrible beliefs, secure in the knowledge that they have come to those beliefs through careful consideration, whether rational or intuitive.
And yes, in the last special election, the motorcycle people had a yard sign out against the district-heating plant, which is expected to trim $50-100K off the city's annual fuel bills. The slogan "No on Heat! Fix our Streets!". The idea that this investment (which is 90% funded by federal and state money) would result in more money available to fix the streets in question didn't seem part of the discussion at all.