Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I think Sullivan might call this an "Yglesias award nominee"

From Danny Fisher at ORR:

I want to believe in these tea parties, I really do. But they bug me just a little bit. First of all, the Boston Tea Party was an act of outright rebellion by fed up colonists, this is a planned rally by the dorkiest segments of the GOP.

Already, organizers are trying to preempt any liberal backlash by saying “it’s coming, they’re going to call us racists.” This is exactly what Obama did in the campaign by “predicting” that conservatives would try to scare voters because he was “different.” It might have worked, he did get elected after all. The thing is, the vocal part of the anti-tax crowd overlaps with the lock-and-load gun lovers, the Jeffersonians and the John Birch Society. I hate taxes and government excess, but I would never trust any of these people under any circumstances. There’s internet kooks, then there’s the REAL kooks!

Glad to see some good folks on the Right are giving these things some consideration.



Anonymous said...

Well, since when do Democrats and liberals have a problem with protests? It just seems strange because Republicans and conservatives are not joiners by nature; that's not who they are or profess to be and yet there they are just like liberals of the last 4 decades letting it all hang out.

They just *look "dorky" because they've never done it. But maybe in 2008 they realized that the Democrats' virtual and practical organizational skills far exceeded theirs and it finally caught up to them.

I agree with the point on the spontaneousness of the original tea party versus these though. I've been thinking the same thing. I think the idea that the Brits more or less took over the tea trade and crowded out the Americans was an important point but how is that happening here? Is it the governmental de facto takeover of GM & Chrysler? Well, ok, then dump some cars in the water. Is it the de facto takeover of financial institutions? Ok then, burn some money. Don't just raise the name of the Founding Fathers in vain, what are we really talking about here?

Me said...

There is an ominous tone to this protest, even in its dorky invocation of revolutionary imagery, that deserves attention.
I was listening to Hannity today (opposition research) and the theme for the Atlanta protest, that Fox will cover, was sounded by Hannity as: "Ten percent of us pay 90% of the taxes. Obama has created a majority constituency that lives off the federal government while hard working americans pay the bill for the people who don't work and the Wall Street bankers. We descended from people who didn't think the government owed them health insurance, a job, or a roof over their head. They worked for what they got."

If you are familiar with 20th century European history, this will sound familiar with its "producer class" opposed to the parasitic "underclasses" and the non-productive, parasitic capitalist sector (banking). This is also the classic "parasitic/producer" language of the fascist right in the 1970s--the "producer class" versus the "parasitic class" which was restated as white people versus people of color. They left out the capitalists that time around because capitalism was in good repute at the time.

Again, their argument was that the liberal Democrats had created a political majority of "minorities" and immigrants on welfare who were using democracy to unfairly tranfer wealth from the productive classes.

I think the new emerging radical right is going to use this theme and that it is coming out of the mouths of the mainstream right is not encouraging. You can only imagine in this racialized world who the "parasitic" capitalists will turn out to be.

jeffrey said...

And so once again, here we are. Conservatives generate faux "populist" political points by defending the "hard working" rich against the lecherous rest of us who "live off the federal government"

Same as that ever was.

The anti-dote should be an actual populist movement which holds the bankers and owners accountable... but since such people are being protected by a party and a President ostensibly elected to lead that movement... well... the matter gets confused.

Same as that ever was as well.

E said...

I think that's the irony of all this. By attempting to capitalize on the tea bag thing, Republicans aren't making the opposition to Obama seem more mainstream, they're making themselves seem more fringe.

That young thoughtful conservatives are too embarrassed to show up at a Fox News (i.e. conservative mainstream) protest event... I mean the right and the GOP are in deeeep trouble.

There is something ominous about these protests, but not that much more ominous than any of the paramilitary rhetoric coming out of the fringe right since Election Day. If anything, getting Fox News and co., involved probably helped prevent the neo-nazi contingency from totally dominating these events.

jeffrey said...

I don't see it that way. I think this is a sort of "legitimizing" moment for the nutcases. I don't think as many conservatives are "embarrassed" as you say.

Because Obama and Geithner are defending the banksters, conservatives are able to conflate the AIG bailout with the stimulus plan and label it all "big government"

E said...

'I don't see it that way. I think this is a sort of "legitimizing" moment for the nutcases. I don't think as many conservatives are "embarrassed" as you say.'

Well I think it does a little bit of both. It takes a group of really fringy people and makes them 'mainstream' but it makes that 'mainstream' increasingly irrelevant.

It depends how you feel about this sort of equation...

Essentially, what was once a party representing 35-45% of the population is now only representing the interests of the 7% fringe. So does it increase the power of that 7% fringe? Yes. But overall what was once a movement capable of putting together electoral majorities is now really only speaking the 7% language, which maybe only half of the original 45% can really relate to.

Those are made up numbers but I'm just trying to illustrate.

jeffrey said...

Yeah I understand. I guess what I'm saying, though, is that less has changed than people like to think. I still see the same conservatives making the same argument while the elected Democrats are too tied to moneyed interests to do a coherent job of refuting it.

In the past, this scenario has translated into electoral gold for conservatives. Since I don't think anything has changed, I expect it will again in the mid-terms.