Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tea Party Stuff
THE DOC HAS A COMPLEMENTARY TAKE. Does anyone know when the Tea Party phenomenon went from plural to singular? When the reporting of Tea Parties became discussion of The Tea Party? Of course you don't. The MSM did that in their usual invisible, instantaneous way. The conventional wisdom agreed that it was best to turn a grassroots movement into a third party that might conceivably threaten Republicans. Beneficiary? Democrats.
Republicans, being the boneheads they've always been, bit. So now they're afraid of The Tea Party. But that doesn't change the facts. There is no such thing as 'The Tea Party.' There are just a bunch of pissed off American citizens who have had it up to here with career politicians on both sides of the aisle. The punditocracy wants to make the defeat of Mike Castle in Delaware about an irresponsible populist cabal that insists on nominating a weak candidate with many political liabilities.
I'd like to turn the tables on the brainiacs for a moment. I'd like to ask them to look at things from our point of view for once. Hard as that may be.
I'm going to presume to speak for the tea partiers for a few minutes. Why? No particular official credentials. I just understand why they didn't want Mike Castle, even at the cost of a Senate seat. Which is characterized as self-destructive, even suicidal in the "real world" political context. Horseshit.
We're completely done with politics as usual. Generations of "moderate" Republicans have connived in the ballooning size of the federal government. Numerical majorities don't matter when tepid moderates betray you on critical votes time after time after time and doom you to the squishy middle where all the billions drain into the special interest bins. You think we're ignorant? That we haven't observed the treacheries of Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, Olympia Snow and her evil twin, Chuck Hagel, and Lindsey Graham? Delaware lives in what is here called the tri-state area but really amounts to a smallish region -- Philadelphia, South Jersey, and the Diamond State -- with common news and sports interests. Mike Castle is Arlen Specter is Frank Lautenberg, antique white guys who've played the political system to their own advantage for multiple decades. We don't believe in them anymore. And if their political opponents have personal liabilities, even scandals, we know at a gut level that the old white guys have far worse hiding in their briefcases, only infinitely more power to stonewall, intimidate, and deal their way out of exposure.
There's a power equation at work that might actually be changing. Maybe it's the scariest development of all for the old guard. Do you think ordinary citizens don't know what a dirty game politics is? We do. Many of us have been outraged in the past but failed to stand for election because of the horrors that would be visited upon by us by our own weakest moments. Everybody has skeletons in the closet -- debt, divorce, business failures, sexual indiscretions, human failings all. What most of us don't have is a power base that can silence the jackals.
Maybe the real frightening by-product of the Delaware election is that the people are expressing a renewed belief in the ordinary citizens who have the courage to stand for office despite their vulnerability to political attack. Maybe that's the truly revolutionary act. That we have reached the point of wanting real citizen government so much that we're prepared to overlook the garden variety sins only the richest and most powerful have the power to suppress. After all, we know that politicians are crooks, however squeaky clean they can keep their public reputations. What if squeaky clean has become an alarm signal all its own, what with all of us being human and fallible and sinful and all?
I repeat. There is no such thing as The Tea Party. What there are are Americans who have had it with slick careerist politicians in both parties who call each other "senator," "esteemed colleague," and "friend," while they all sell us down the river
It's only the MSM which reports this disgust with the Washington political system as a desire for 'bipartisanship.' The people out here in America, the real people who pay the bills, don't want collegiality and friendly elbow digs in the halls of congress. They want pitched battles over principle, fought by representatives who understand that their job is to serve the American people, not line their own pockets while fooling most of the people most of the time.
That's a position which is as far as you can get from self-destructive" or "cutting off your nose to spite your face." There's no point whatever in having another Republican majority like the last one, in which old guys plunged headfirst into the government trough immediately after winning a mandate to LIMIT THE SIZE AND REACH OF GOVERNMENT.
I urge you to continue scheduling your own little tea parties. No vats of tea required. Just the tidy dumping of all the little bagmen who want us to praise them for robbing us blind while they make grand speeches and express their entitlement to push us around.