Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Understanding The Tea Party Movement..And Washington's Disconnect

One of the best explanations I have read of the tea party movement and why most of the political and media elites simply don't get it comes from the always scintillating Wretchard (AKA Richard Fernandez) at Pajamas Media:

Where one is on the totem is everything in Washington. The idea of hierarchy permeates every situation. Behavior is a question of knowing your place; when to say ‘thank you’ and never speaking out of turn. If you can’t understand the rules you’re a rube. Because of the default presumption that you are at Court; it follows that beneath every courteous speech ultimately you want something from the king or the duke or the duchess. And this is where Bill Clinton has got it subtly wrong.

The former President argued that political discourse had gotten so strident that certain individuals on the right have crossed the line between criticizing government officials and “demonizing them.” Things now remind him of the days preceding the Oklahoma City bombing when Clinton’s unpopular actions were unappreciated by an America lucky to have him.

CLINTON: I worry about these threats against the president and the Congress. … I just think we all have to be careful. We ought to remember after Oklahoma City. We learned something about the difference in disagreement and demonization.

ALLEN: You said that this time reminds you of — of that time. Politically does this year remind you of 1994?

CLINTON: A little bit. We passed the bill which reversed trickledown economics by one vote. Close like the healthcare bill. And it led to an enormous flowering of the economy in America. And that bill was responsible for, take is more than 90 percent of the weight of the balanced budget. But people didn’t realize its benefits.

I think the same thing is happening now with the healthcare bill. Where people are still reading into it all manner of dark things. And they haven’t felt the benefits of it yet. But America is a different country now. We are culturally a different country. We are more diverse. We’re more communitarian. That is, we understand we have to solve a lot of these problems together.

The point Bill Clinton is missing is that the danger doesn’t come from right wing ‘anger.’ The anger is just a byproduct. The voices he hears from the Tea Party crowds aren’t threats; they’re warnings. The real peril is coming from somewhere else: the demographic decline in industrial world working populations, the increasing cost of energy and the international movement in the factors of production. A whole generation of failed policy from both parties is coming to a head and it probably means that the welfare state, the European Union and by consequence the Chinese economy are heading for a cliff.

What’s driving the Tea Parties isn’t amorphous hate. It is concrete fear: worry that pensions have been devalued; medical care will become unaffordable; taxes are too high and jobs are gone, never to return. And a look around the world shows there’s no place to hide. When the wave hits it will be global. In the UK membership in political parties is at near historic lows. In America Congress’s popularity is lower than whales**t. The Eurozone is cracking up under its weight of debt. First Greece, now Portugal are being ripped off the cliff face like a zipper — and all the climbers are roped together. Japan is like a kamikaze sub heading for the depths and tapping out a sayonara. Russia was history long ago. And China, when it has used up its flowering moment, will face the consequences of its one-child policy. And Middle Eastern potentates, stuck in the same old, same old, are warning about a Summer War. The Tea Parties aren’t about putting some country club Republican in the White House, though Bill can’t help hearing it like that.

The media and academic elites live in their own sort of bubble of course, one that's self-created by a false feeling of superiority based on their impression that they are insiders and thus smarter, hipper and more enlightened that some knuckle dragging rube in flyover country. This is a fallacy based on yesterday's realities, and it's becoming more and more evident at least in the dinosaur media as viewers and readers vote with their mouses and remotes and the layoffs mount up. And academia isn't far behind. When the economy goes south, so do enrollments and alumni donations.

As Wretched presciently points out, when the Old Order falls apart, what matters is how people perceive themselves and their values, and which of those values and first principles are ingrained enough to stand by and hang on to..which is exactly the point of the Tea Party movement:

But perhaps the most unremarked thing about the Tea Parties is that they’re not calling for a repeal of the Constitution but for its enforcement. They are the complete opposite of what Clinton thinks they are; an affirmation, not a call to create “a different country” that Clinton congratulates himself in attaining. And that may be an advantage. If the world descends into a prolonged and tectonic crisis, the one clear advantage that America will have going into it is a clear and widely shared sense of the legitimacy of its foundational principles. That may not seem like much, but if a crisis impends a widely shared sense of legitimacy will be among the most precious things in a planet gone awry.

Yet politicians can’t see it. For perfectly natural reasons they fall into the habit of thinking everyone is a supplicant. It’s an understandable outcome of living in a world where someone is constantly asking them for something: photo opportunities, access to news releases, seats on Air Force One or Internet access. Nothing throws them for a loop more than something that doesn’t want anything they can bestow. The Tea Partiers already know the establishment is bankrupt. They don’t want to be the next Botox Queen, the next guest on Oprah or the man with Internet access on Air Force One; they only want their freedom and a chance to meet the crisis with common sense, if that’s not asking too much. It’s a novel idea which will take a little time for politicians to understand. But give them time and eventually someone will take credit for it.

Actually, some politicians have already gone fairly far in latching on to this energy. Sarah Palin comes to mind readily, and she's by no means unique..just one of the first ones out of the box.

Wretched hits the nail on the head. In the end, we will live or die in accordance to how we value the basic principles that made America the greatest nation on G-d's earth.

please helps me write more gooder!


Anonymous said...

Yes the Tea Partiers want the Consitution implemented nto torn down, but who are they choosing to follow-Ron Paul? Where do you see Consitution written on that man? I see a word on that man it is definitely not democrat...

Freedom Fighter said...

I think Ron Paul personally has a lot less of a following than you think.Although a number of people,myself included agree with SOME of what he has to say, some very dubious Lefty polls not withstanding.

His few followers are merely very vocal.