Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is the Tea Party Dead? Hardly...

You may think that, like the Occupy movement, the Tea Party movement has dissolved and blown away. But despite what David Brooks might think or wish, we are alive and well. What Mr. Brooks and so many others who keep ringing the death knell do not see or understand, we have gone “local”.

I do not know how many people on Commentarama Isle who have participated directly in the movement. I am sure many of us have attended at least one rally and some meetings with local groups. I was an original member of TeaParty365.org, the first group to form in New York City in 2009. David Webb, a local radio talk show host and some others staged our first rally in February 28, 2009 in City Hall Park in lower Manhattan with about 300 participants. Sparked by TARP and newly elected Barack Obama's pending $700 billion "stimulus" package and auto bailouts, our burgeoning message was simple - WE, THE TAXPAYING CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY, THINK GOVERNMENT SPENDING IS OUT OF CONTROL AND WE WANT IT TO STOP. There were no other issues more important or urgent. It has been reported that on that day over 750 separate rallies were held around the country.

This was followed quickly by Tax Day Tea Party rallies, July 4th rallies, and an astounding 9/12 Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C. where upwards of over a million people from around the country showed up to voice their frustration and disgust at a government that we felt was spirally out of control.

After the great success at the 2010 mid-term elections (for which the RNC should be considerably more grateful), the Tea Party appeared to fade away. The left-wing pundits and perhaps the RNC began to breathe a sigh of relief that we appeared to lose interest. But these great knowers of all things political, failed to recognize that the only thing that had changed was that we were no longer interested in staging big rallies. Oh, they were great fun, but they did not really advance anything and only fueled the MSM and certain Congressional leadership to mock us mercilessly (and shamelessly). They did not understand that we realized what would advance our cause was...well, you know the saying "All politics is local"? Yeah, we went local. So, gone are the heady days of staging national rallies with funny signs and tri-corn hats. We are now working on the state, county, and local community level in a bottom-up overhaul of the Republican Party to try and move it back to its conservative roots and frankly, to save it from itself.

It has not been without trouble. Unlike other movements, we prided ourselves that we were “leaderless”. Because of that, the movement became quickly co-opted by national figures like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Dick Armey and many local and state politicians all claiming to be the leaders and voices of Tea Party. The problem is that no one consulted the boots on the ground.

In a certain respect, the original two million* who showed up in Washington on September 12, 2009 were naive. We did not WANT leaders and/or leader-politicians, but sadly, no movement can last indefinitely without leadership. On the national level, the Tea Party and affiliated groups – FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, the “Bigs” at Breitbart.com and others - have become mired in infighting, jockeying for national control and time on the national pundit shows. This is to be expected because this is what happens when two or more people aligned in a cause.

As I predicted after the 2010 midterm elections in which we aligned ourselves with the less hostile Republican Party, the Tea Party turned its sites toward (or against) the leadership in the Republican Party and began holding them to their promises. There is now a war brewing with the “establishment” Republicans and the Tea Party. If we are honest with ourselves, Rove has a point. We have helped nominate some real wack-a-doodles as candidates. But in the Tea Party’s defense, we have gotten no help from the RNC. For their part, they have refused to help fund campaigns or throw their considerable financial weight and any media savvy campaign organizer to help guide or groom our candidates. Support that they owe to our "boots on the ground" campaigners made available to them.

So where is the Tea Party heading? We will continue to work locally and let the national guys duke it out among themselves. At a recent meeting of my local group , Gotham Tea Party, we had a speaker from redstate.com Peter List who blogs under the name “unionlaborreport” – who admonished us to communicate and coordinate with other local groups rather than depend on any national groups. Very good advice. But despite all of the calls of our demise, rest assured that we are alive, and well, and meeting in some local pub plotting our next move.

*Well, 500 to 2,000,000 depending on the news source.

49 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Thanks for the article. There is a lot to think about here and I'll make some comments as I think them through.

I happy to hear that the Tea Party is still alive. Right now, most of the conservatives I know seem more interested in dropping out that fixing thing... gonna punch the next one who talks about moving to Singapore.

I'm happy to hear that you all are not connected to the national pretend-leaders, because they are a joke quite frankly.

I'm also glad the Tea Party people do recognize that they picked some whack jobs. That hasn't helped. I think the problem there is actually the "extremist" thing I've been talking about. I think the Tea Party needs to "get it" that supporting the most crazy sounding guy is not a good, but they should instead look for rational people who share their worldview. There's a huge difference between the two.

On the Republicans, I have little good to say about them at this point. They are lost and if they win it will be dumb luck.

Commander Max said...

The Republicans sure could have taken it and ran.
It really shows where people are, when they turn down such an opportunity.

I thought the Tea Party never left, something that big just doesn't go away. Yes, they need leadership really badly. There was a real blow when Breitbart passed, he was a central figure. Who wasn't afraid to argue doing what was needed, not getting along. Limbaugh is the only one I hear publicly saying the same thing. But Limbaugh isn't on the left's home turf. Breitbart was right there and looking for a fight. So far I haven't seen anybody doing that. I think that's the only way it will ever get done. After all it's like being back in school, the whole place turns out to watch a fight. But people getting along?

Yawn, wake me up when it's time to go home.

Patriot said...

Bev...So who's the "leaders" of the Tea Party. Here are a few names to consider (in no particular order just nationally recognized names):
- Rush Limbaugh
- Rand Paul
- Sarah Palin
- Michelle Bachmann
- Steve King
- Glenn Beck
- Allan West
- Jim DeMint

That's just a few who appear to espouse the ideals and goals of the tea party.

Now, who makes up the Tea Party? I think they are the same Americans that so impressed de Tocqueville a two hundred years ago. Basically, the same Americans, and their heirs, that supported the Revolution. I remember reading somewhere that only around 30% of Americans supported the Revolution at the time. How many Tea Partiers do you think there are today? Probably around 30% (about the same who are true "conservatives").

So, to paraphrase Admiral Yamamoto, "They have awakened a sleeping giant, and it is filled with a terrible resolve." The giant is awake and is resolved to bring this country back to its original founders intent. We left Europe and other countries to come to America to escape the governments in our home countries, not to have them be re-branded and re-created here.

Once we start radically changing the direction of this government, then we will see the effect of today's Revolutionaries, the Tea Partiers.

Thank you for your historic patriotism and involvement in a movement that has endured in this great country.


"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
Alexis de Tocqueville

ScottDS said...

Bev -

I remember our first of two dinners and when you mentioned your involvement in the local Tea Party scene, I said the following:

"It sounds all well and good, though the idea of being surrounded by people dressed as the Founding Fathers singing 'God Bless America' makes me uncomfortable."

And your reply was something to the effect of, "Oh, they're not all like that!"

Other than that, I don't really have a dog in this fight. Just don't overplay the social issues card and I think things'll be okay. :-)

(I know social issues aren't the big priority but as we both know, the media will make a mountain out of a molehill.)

Tennessee Jed said...

The notion of the "tea party" who protested taxation without representation as a group of tax payers today who are frightened by out of control spending is wonderfully accurate. Many of the people described were law abiding citizens who had never before been political "activists" were attending local town meetings to let their elected officials understand their opposition to "obamacare" since it was one more huge spending entitlement. I suppose it only natural, that there would be attempts by politicians to harness that kind of enthusiasm. It actually very well describes myself, although I didn't attend rallys or run for office. It is just a philosophy that says a government that gains power by providing lots of benefits ought to be able to pay for them. It doesn't say that all benefits are bad. It is a philosophy that is concerned that historical attempts to spend our way to prosperity have generally not been successful. It is a philosophy that is concerned that entitlements can create an environment where it is too attractive to not work; the marginal improvement in one's standard of living through working is not enough to reward doing so. Governments can stay in power through providing popular benefits without paying for (raise taxes) by utilizing deficit spending. Eventually people feel entitled. It is a philosophy that is concerned that a government powerful enough to give people all they want is powerful enough to take it all away. It is a philosophy that states an out of control eventually crushes all sense of individual responsibility. There are a bunch of us who feel that way, and thought we were on to something in 2010. Didn't work out so well, though.

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks, Andrew. Don't get me wrong. There's a lot NOT right about the Tea Party too and I will do another article explaining what that is. And to pass it on the our Tea Party local group as food for thought...

BevfromNYC said...

Commander - YOu are absolutely right that losing Andrew Breitbart was a huge and shocking blow. He was fearless and for the most part stayed on message about fiscal responsiblity. But what his real legacy is and what most effected the Tea Party was giving them an on-line source to connect with each other. Being able to share information and ideas was key and still is. It is what made it easier to be "leaderless".

BevfromNYC said...

Patriot - Alan West is probably the only one on your list who was truly "Tea Party". The others had/have their uses Frankly the first time I saw Michelle Bachmann at the 3/20/10 Obamacare DC rally (this was the rally where John Lewis/CBC accuse us of yelling racial slurs and spitting on him), I knew there was going to be trouble with legislators "co-opting" us for their own gain.

Mike Kibbe and Dick Armey of FreedomWorks are in a battle to the death over control of their group. Armey was ousted in a hostile takeover, that if I believe the rumors, guns were involved. Hey, the headquarters are in Texas, so it wouldn't surprise me.

I have not heard much about Glenn Beck since he moved to Dallas (I think?)and frankly, Rush Limbaugh needs to STFU. He is not doing us any favors. But both used their national forums to spread the word about rallies and causes, but they also did an equal amount of harm.

BevfromNYC said...

Scott - I believe you said something to a friend defending the Tea Party because you had met one and she wasn't so crazy. I also remember feeling kind of sad that I was thought of as "not so crazy"...;-)

But seriously, we quickly became very aware of how we were being played by the MSM. Out of 100K signs, they picked the 10 that were the bad even to us. At local rallies we started screening signs to make sure people stayed on point.

It was really obvious when the Occupy movement started Occupying everywhere. The MSM downplayed the crazies and out of 1000's of crazy hatefilled signs, they would publish the one that was reasonable and "on point"...

BevfromNYC said...

TennJ - I imagine that there were millions who never showed up for a rally who were sympathetic. But I also think that many were put off by the backlash from the left. Nobody likes being perceived as a wacko racist. It doesn't much bother me because I have lived with that moniker all my life simply because I am a Texan (wacko) and grew up south of the Mason/Dixon line (racist).

T-Rav said...

Nice article, Bev! And personally, I have no objection to being surrounded by people dressed as the Founding Fathers.

K said...

Out here in the PRK (People's Republic of Kalifornia) we actually had a couple of Tea Party rallies and some protest activity. Mainly in the OC and San Diego but also San Francisco (!).

Personally, I'd like to see more training for protest ala the left's Ruckus:

LINK

There's going to be a large body of retired (or laid off) conservatives out there and getting them activated into political protest could be a large impact on the nation. It would do my heart good if every time the LA Times published some transparent lie about conservatives a group of 50 elderly protesters showed up in the editor's office demanding more conservative reporters. At least they'd know we were pissed.

rlaWTX said...

good to hear!

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I'll be in and out today, I need to run to Denver (no, that's not a pot reference).

Do you know what would help? If the Tea Party adopted a platform. That could give you the "leader" you need without actually attaching a person to it.

This is not self-interest, but when I finally get this long promises agenda done, check it out and think about maybe seeing your people would adopt it.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev and Patriot,

On the leaders, read my comment above... I think I may be onto something. In fact, as I wrote that, it suddenly hit me that this might wipe out the need for a leader if you can get all these groups across the country to adopt a platform. Then your "leaders" would need to follow the people and not vice versa.

As for the people you mention, I agree.

1. Beck is a self-promoting nut who has gone messianic. You don't want him.

2. Bachmann is a religious zealot who hates gays and knows nothing about fiscal/economic issues.

3. Rush has become an angry child who needs to SOTU.

4. Armey is an insider from Big Business who has staffed his board with corporate sponsors from the health care/insurance industry. He's a trap.

5. Palin is a self-promoting idiot who is only interested in celebrity and profit.

6. Steve King gets lost in social issues, particularly related to Muslims.

7. DeMint, Rand Paul and Allan West I like, but again, this isn't a movement that wants a leader to tell them what to do, they should be a movement that tells their leaders what to do.

BevfromNYC said...

"...this isn't a movement that wants a leader to tell them what to do, they should be a movement that tells their leaders what to do."

Andrew - That is exactly the problem. We want to tell THEM what to do, not the other way around.

As for the platform, we had a very specific platform of fiscal responsibility at one time. But it seemed to get muddled with a creeping social issues.

Oh, yeah, and about "need to run to Denver"...right...gotcha...the lips are sealed...;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, A platform would help you all a lot. BUT it needs to be a genuine platform, not just an ode to theoretical fiscal responsibility. Take a look at what I produce. It might help you.

As for the social issues, yeah, that will be a problem. The social issues are a disaster. They can't be passed into law, so they are a waste of time, and they are needlessly provocative because the vast majority of the public simply doesn't want to hear about them. It's an obsession, and people don't like obsessed people.

T-Rav said...

K, I hear tell those Tea Party ralliers in San Fran were three of the nicest people you will ever meet. ;-)

There are some very conservative areas in CA, they just get outvoted by the wackos on the coasts.

Commander Max said...

The reality about the taking the leadership of the Tea Party, nobody wants it. That's why I brought up Breibart, he didn't give a rip and wanted to punch people in the face.
Everybody on that list has been attacked, misaligned, or perceived as damaged goods. All of this was done by the media, I think Palin would be a heck of a choice. But the media took her and created a such a false image. Nobody really knows what she is about. That's my point, nobody wants the job because of the meat grinder they face.

We can only hope someone shows up. Sadly I'm not confident.

BevfromNYC said...

Commander - My fear is that if a leader does appear, then they will split off into a third party. The mistake is that we have engaged in party politics and not policy politics.

But it is hard to tell WHAT is really going on because each group in each district has a different agenda. The problem we have in NYC is that we have a very visible (or used to) TP group, but separate groups also formed in each of the boroughs too. And they didn't coordinate very well (still don't, but I will talk about that at another time). Manhattanites are snobs when it comes to the other boroughs, so we thought we should be the top dog group with the others as our sallelites. As you can imagine, that didn't go over so well in Brooklyn and Staten Island...

BevfromNYC said...

Here is a perfect example - Rand Paul gave the "Tea Party" response to the STFU...er SOTU address. Who made THAT decision?? I don't remember being asked to weigh in on who will speak for me.

Tennessee Jed said...

I have always felt the so-called social issues were, at best, a distraction. Of course, I might feel differently if I were more directly impacted by them. I tend to vote my pocketbook, but Andrew is correct in that regard. It is one thing to say, rightly, that Obama-care is a disaster. But the Republicans seem to have been unable to make the case: "this is not the right way to do it, but here is the right way to do it. We realize there is a real problem with health care affordability in this country, so here is what WE are going to do to help YOU to EARN your vote. I admit, I thought Obama had been so bad that the traditional "soft" approach would be good (attack the incumbent's crappy record, and don't get tied down to anything too specific so the incumbent can get off defense and back on offense.) In retrospect, that wasn't enough. It may mean that while history can be a good indicator, things change. Some things that worked in the past won't work now (apologies to warren Zevon in order.)

Patriot said...

Bev and Andrew.....The reason for the names on my list was these are the "leaders" that have been identified as "Tea Party." Some are more influential than others. And Andrew, I know you don't particularly care for Rush Limbaugh, but even you must admit he has probably done more to spread a (not THE) conservative message since Reagan than any other "leader" or "personality." I don't agree with everything he says, but on the whole, I find him entertaining from a more or less conservative perspective. As he says, he's an entertainer, not a politician. Therefore, we should judge him as an entertainer not a politician. Similar to Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and all the other entertainers that use politics and politicians as their entertainment schtick.

Beck, Bachmann, Palin are toxic due to their positions and snark/hate from the Left. They will thrive or die on their own without any support from any group. If some Tea Partiers follow those positions, then so what? We definitely don't want group-think from our side do we? We should have the "big tent" shouldn't we? Because the media focuses on single, sometime inane comments (and makes up meme's BTW! Bachmann's a Gay hater...Bachamnn's husband is Gay!) we shouldn't let that drive our opinions of them. If some look to them as Tea Party leaders (self-described I might add) then so what? Like I said, I don't, I was just naming names (I have here a list!).

I think the idea of a "Tea Party Platform" of policies would be great. Here's one I'd like to see on it (and for your ideas also):

Gun Violence - We the Tea Partiers believe in gun control for everyone. We support the use of technology, current and/or not invented yet, to prevent the use of guns falling in the wrong hands. Current technology allows for biometric signatures for all manner of guns. We propose that the government fund R&D to develop a simple, common sense technology that can be applied to every firearm that prevents its use by anyone other than the legally, lawfully identified owner. This would have prevented the horrific mass murder that took place at Sandy Hook, and would not inconvenience gun owners should the need arise to use them for personal defense.

There you go.

Commander Max said...

Bev I'm afraid that's what the Republican leadership wants. After all if you want people to go away in politics, send them the libertarians way. The biggest mistake the Republicans have made. Was not including all of it's splinter groups under one banner, united to defeat the Dems at all costs. But that's just what the Dem's have done against us.

The only problem is the Tea Party is a very different type of situation. It's a direct reaction against Washington. The last thing either party wants is to take the position against their own self interests. But I think this will only grow, over time more people are going to reach their limit. Eventually your going to have a situation where the political class(who have been pulling all this nonsense) is going to have their backs to the wall. Hopefully it will not get that far.

The best strategy in this situation is to keep sending Tea people up there. The last true revolution was back in 94, that was easily stopped. But if it keeps happening the leadership will tire. But I think the situation will break before then. I can't say which way it will favor. At the rate O-f-e-ma is taking over, I don't like to think about it. If he does take it over the cliff, we can say hey Dems he is your dictator, we never wanted that. Enjoy your Nazi party, losers(that's all that's going to happen in the end).

tryanmax said...

Tangentially topical: This is a blog post at another site I frequent that says generally the same thing Andrew has been saying about conservatives tearing each other down. I especially like the "crabs in a bucket" metaphor. The idea is out there. That's the beginning.

BevfromNYC said...

Commander - You are absolutely right about the stupid mistake of denying the Libertarians a slot at the convention and otherwise. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But as I said, after the 2010 midterms, the establishment Repubs got a rude awakening when the TP'ers put THEM in the hot seat along with the Dems. They (big surprise) thought we were just activated Republicans and not activated against DC in general. I think that is where all of the rancor is stemming with Rove too.

BevfromNYC said...

"crabs in a bucket" is a perfect metaphor!

K said...

T-Rav: Re T party in SF LINK

This was from the Huff Po, so you know they were underestimating the crowd. I heard from a friend that it was well over 1000 people.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot,

1. I like your gun violence approach. :)

2. On Rush, if you’d asked me 5 or 10 years ago, I would have been Rush’s biggest fan. But since about 2010, he’s gone off the rails. Right now, he’s pushing the absolutely worst ideas. He’s pushing the idea that conservatives are blameless victims who need to circle the wagons and hug each other because we’ll never beat the big bad media machine. This is like telling an alcoholic, “you’re fine, everyone else is conspiring against you.”

Unfortunately, we can’t just dismiss him as only an entertainer either because too many people in his audience look to him as the cult leader right now.

3. Beck, Bachmann and Palin are toxic because they are nuts. Beck has gone messianic and never really did have both oars in the water. Palin is a moron, who craves celebrity. She’s Honey Boo Boo. Bachmann is a grandstander with a gay-hate fetish. She’s shown that she has no concept of what conservatism means except that it involved screaming about gays and Muslims destroying America. These are not people you want to rely upon, they are at best clowns, at worst snake oil salesmen.

That said, “I have here a list...” LOL! Nice! Bravo!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I'm starting to see people wake up to the things I've been saying. Unfortunately, none of the famous conservatives "names" are among those people. Those people have decided to put their heads in the sand and just keep right on attacking everyone else as disloyal and insufficiently pure.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I do have to say, however, that having read the article you linked to, I disagree with just about every word. This is just another call to purity and to groupthink.

- Rush gets it...

- We should defend Sarah Palin because she's qualified.

- The media controls the public.

- We need to band together and stop criticizing each other.

All wrong.

AndrewPrice said...

Also, look at the things she's upset about -- we are told we can't hate gays and Muslims, but "God" is being taken out of everywhere.

Fringe.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I did find it ironic that the author was holding up Rush and Palin, but I shared it b/c of the part about conservatives not supporting other conservatives and being one-track minded on politics. I suspect the author just had an eye-opener (prompting the article) but hasn't yet caught on that Rush and Palin are part of the problem.

I didn't really read the article as saying that the media controls the public. Rather, I read it as saying the media drives the culture which in turn drives politics. I agree with that assessment which doesn't suppose that people are brainwashed but that they are systematically misinformed.

As far as banding together goes, there's a fine line between circling the wagons and circling the firing squad. I'm not sure how to define that line in words.

The person might be fringe in the specifics that she is upset about, but the part I am most keen on is her realization that conservatives are more likely to leave each other out to dry rather than support one another. With the "make-it-on-your-own-or-don't-make-it-at-all" mentality dominating the right, is it any wonder that only reality-show-type freaks like Palin and Akin get all the attention?

tryanmax said...

RE: Rush is part of the problem. I was just musing on that and thinking of how Rush routinely pontificates on how he made it in radio "all on his own." He usually recounts a fabled series of events wherein he accomplished Herculean feats of broadcasting while everyone, even his own boss, was out to see him fail. Now, maybe all that is true in Rush's case, no matter how implausible, but this is the story he often repeats and I'm sure that's left a mark on the collective psyche of all his listeners suggesting that the only legitimate way to the top is via the path of most resistance, so by being hard on fellow conservatives, they are only doing their part to ensure only the best rise. In other words, Rush has made the perfect the enemy of the good.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I don't disagree with you. It's possible that she's had her epiphany moment and just hasn't worked out the details yet. But to me, right now, it still reads like it's pointed in the wrong direction. It reads like she's saying, "we need to focus more on hard-core social issues and everyone needs to stop criticizing us for doing that." I could be wrong, but that's how I take the article at this point.

tryanmax said...

I've read other blogs (this ones more like a rant) from that particular poster, so I may be drawing on that to gain a different sense of the words. In any case, what caught my attention and what I wanted to focus on are the parts that are similar to things you've mentioned about conservatives not helping each other.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree to a degree with your Rush point, but I think that's just an offshoot of two other issues that have beset conservatism.

First, conservatives have increasingly given themselves a victim mentality. We are the oppressed people, attacked by open and secret conspiracies everywhere.

This is classic conspiratorial thinking, and this is something talk radio in particular has gotten good at selling because it makes people comfortable because it makes each listener special: we are superior because only we haven't been blinded by the lies. That makes us better than everyone. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking breeds all the bubble problems.

Rush's story just reinforces this idea because he's had to overcome the conspiracies and the blind to find "the truth." If you listen closely, you'll find that most all talk radio people do this because it builds audiences.


Secondly, conservatives for reasons I still don't fully understand simply hold conservatives to a higher standard. I think this is related to the idea of grading on a curve. When people watch films, for example, they will be much harsher on mistakes in a high quality film than they are on even worse mistakes in a low quality film. I've even seen them rate really high quality films below far lesser quality films over minutia. That makes no sense, but people do it. I think there is the assumption that when you aim to be high quality, any failure makes you totally unacceptable, but if you only aim for mediocrity, then we're fine with overlooking lots of flaws.

I think conservatives are grading people ideologically on a curve and thus they are holding conservatives to a much higher standard in everything they do.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Could be. I just read the one article. I would need to read more to fully judge what they are saying. And, like we said above, this could just be the begging of the epiphany.

But just reading the article, I would tend to see that more as "stop blaming the Religious Right and start defending us... we need to win the culture war" than anything else.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I definitely see conservatives grading on a curve. If there is one thing all humans abhor, it is proportionality.

The narrative of Rush's that I was reflecting on is hardly a new one. He's repeated it since his earliest national days. In that sense, you could say that Rush is the original right-wing victim. Irony has an acrid flavor. Originator or reinforcer, it's all chicken and egg stuff. I was just reflecting on evidence that demonstrates how Rush is part of the problem.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true. And in Rush's defense, I don't think he's ever (at least until recently) intentionally pushed the idea of being victims. Other talkers certainly have -- even outside the world of politics. But Rush didn't push it. It was there, but it was more subtle.

I think the problem is that the same way the culture has coarsened through the death of a million insults, conservatism has drifted firmly into conspiratorial/victimhood by having so many of its spokesmen and politicians claim the victim mantel and play martyr. Little by little, this has dragged the conservative mentality in that direction.

And I think Rush reflects that much more now because he's reflecting the mindset of conservatism more these days than he is leading it like he used to. Thus, while his story plays perfectly into that mindset, I don't think it was intended that way originally -- at least, I never got that sense. Whereas other people, like Beck, have always cynically claimed to be victims of vast conspiracies.

tryanmax said...

I agree, in the earliest days, it was a bootstrapper's tale, nothing more. But in recent years, Rush's entire tone has changed, and so has that of his stories. The irony is simply that Rush was early in identifying the left's victimology and now he has succumb to it.

Since you mentioned Beck again, I will say that in my opinion, he is something worse than a cynic. I think he is what I can only describe as the "sincere hypocrite" which is to say that he strikes me as genuinely incapable of recognizing in himself the faults he so readily spots in his enemies. He is, I think, the worst thing to have happened to the Tea Party movement with his messianic 9/12 Project and all these rallies with his cadre of religious leaders. Maybe it's my Missouri-Synod Lutheranism showing, but my default mode is to be leery of ecumenicism.

AndrewPrice said...

Those are some mighty big words for near-midnight, my friend! LOL!

I think you are right about Beck. For a while I thought he might be an opportunist, but he's not. He's just a nut who projects his own misbehavior on everyone else and sees evil everywhere but himself. And when he went from trying to organize the Tea Party to trying to create a new religion with himself as its profit... er, prophet, he became a genuine menace to the movement.

On Rush, I agree. I think it was originally an embellished bootstrapper's tale. But he's drifted, which is in truth something that happens to everyone. The key is to keep checking your course year after year... I think he hasn't done that in a while.

Commander Max said...

It's funny to see how effective the mainstream media was with Palin.
Andrew even your calling her a moron, that was the number one Dem talking point about her. Reality is we are so heavily influenced by the media. We really do not have a chance, if they find a hook. Like Quail misspelling potato, he must be stupid.

The quote, "I can see Russia from my house", didn't originate with her. It was SNL, the media amplified it until it became truth.

We were seriously misled about her, they will throw everything they have at anybody who pops their head up. Which is Obama's way of doing business, take them out early. Makes me wonder what ends he will go to, to get rid of any challenger. So whatever you do don't drink water, it's a career ender.


AndrewPrice said...

Max, I agree about the media. They are very biased and they target up-and-coming conservatives. And too often conservatives fall for their game.

BUT...

Palin IS a moron. And I don't base that assessment on any of the left's smears. I base that on her shocking demonstration of a lack of basic knowledge which even our dumber high schoolers possess. AND, then, when her flaw was exposed for all the world to see, she didn't vow to fill the gaps and show us that she could be trusted... she quit her job (after lying about her legal fees), wrapped herself in the victim cloak, wrapped herself in the "reel 'merkan" cloak, and became Reality TV Mom.

At that point, she cashed in the same way as every other infamous celebrity. The only thing missing was the sex tape. But instead, we got her daughter's various unwed pregnancy issues.

If the left hadn't attacked her, conservatives would hold this woman up as an object of scorn. "Look what our culture is coming too!" But the left overreached and she played the victim card so well that conservatives become obsessed with defending her.

Soon normally rational conservatives were actually saying things like claiming that moron Katie Couric was an evil genius who somehow tricked the supposed genius Palin in a Kasparoff v. Karpov-like interview match for the ages with stunningly impossible and unfair questions like, "What do you read to stay informed?"

Seriously, Palin is a dud.

BevfromNYC said...

The MSM is trying to water board Rubio right now about taking swig of water during his speech, but they may have overplayed it. Since it is obvious that they are trying to divert our attention from the substance of his rebuttal.

tryanmax said...

Bev, the water attack are an obvious distraction (I hope). I've even heard comparisons to the Kennedy-Nixon debate, which is absurd. Can any of the current crop of "journalists" even remember that debate?

Commander Max said...

Andrew, keep in mind that is just what the Rep leadership thought of Reagan.
That really wasn't my point, it was that regardless of someone's intelligence. The press will do their best to destroy them. Just like Bush, they said he was stupid.
I do know from friends of his, that is no where near the case. But then leadership doesn't require intelligence. I know an awful lot of smart/educated people, who could barely outdo a doorknob.

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I agree, but my point is that conservatives need to be MUCH better at picking their friends. In the last few elections in particular, we've backed some real fruitcakes who don't do our brand any good, especially when we let them wrap themselves in the "genuine conservative victim" cloak and we rally about them and defend them in irrational ways we would never accept if the left made the same claim. People like Akin, the witch in Delaware, and Palin are great examples of people we needed to throw away because they are just not good for us on any level.

And again, we shouldn't judge their worth by the fact the left attacks, we should judge their worth by asking if these are people we really want representing our ideas.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev and tryanmax, That's just the media being too inside baseball. They do it too. And so long as conservatives laugh it off at media stupidity, it will go away. I suspect it will actually be a net positive for Rubio in the end if he sells it like... "so this is all the MSM/left has to attack me by, huh?"

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