Tea Party Unbound
For several years now it seems to me that voters throughout the country in a perfectly peaceable way have demonstrated their revulsion at the ruling class's political , academic and media elites, and the media's disparagement or utter refusal to cover this civil revolution has not succeeded in killing it. Instead, as more people join in and see how the media distorts or refuses to report what they see with their own eyes, the sooner all of the major media will be joining Newsweek and CNN and the NYT and the Washington Post in their death throes. (This week it was so bad the far left Ford Foundation was granting media like the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times substantial funds to keep these half dead publications afloat.)
A. The Beginning of the Ongoing Revolution
The revolution began in 2009 when voters were sickened by the Congressional and Presidential power grabs, government waste and huge spending bills and, taking a leaf from the early colonists, called themselves The Tea Party. Watching the weak-kneed Republicans, upset with the Obama-Reid-Pelosi troika running roughshod, they realized that the "opposition" party was too unreliable to carry freedom's torch. The preposterous Senator Voinovich bawling at the John Bolton hearings when a real hero was being attacked and could not bring himself to effectively defend the nominee, was the capper:
And then there was the inability of the McCain campaign to actually run as if they meant to win the race rather than the NYT's Miss Congeniality contest.
So, from every state and county and city people organized themselves. While it started out as a largely Republican development, its sincerity and effectiveness keeps winning more independents to its side.
CNBC's Rick Santelli probably did more than anyone to make the movement national when he criticized the government plan to refinance mortgages and suggested traders revolt by dumping derivatives in the Chicago River. By September 12 of that year, tens and tens of thousands of citizens came to the Capitol from around the country to respectfully demonstrate their unhappiness. The media seriously undercounted the extent of the gathering, ignored the way the participants had organized themselves to make sure everything was done legally and the grounds were kept spotless despite the huge number that gathered there. Instead, they focused in on a truly damned lie that charged some tea members with spitting and calling out racist epithets at Congressional Black Caucus members who with Nancy Pelosi had deliberately tried to provoke them.
B. 2010 Election
While the media drew the wagons around the Democrat politicians and protected them from having to fully and honestly face the anger of the voters, that anger grew. Low information types might have believed the cock and bull story about the racist epithets, but everyone who was there knew it was false. Even without the aid of the corrupted press, they told their friends and family and neighbors what had really happened, and they did what real Americans are better at that anyone in the history of the world: They lawfully organized themselves to get rid of those who had ceased to represent them.
As Wikipedia summarized the event that followed:
[T]he Democratic Party suffered major defeats in many national and state level elections, with many seats switching to Republican Party control. The Republican Party gained 63 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, recapturing the majority, and making it the largest seat change since 1948 and the largest for any midterm election since the 1938 midterm elections. The Republicans gained six seats in the U.S. Senate, expanding its minority, and also gained 680 seats in state legislative races, to break the previous majority record of 628 set by Democrats in the post-Watergate elections of 1974. This left Republicans in control of 25 state legislatures, compared to the 15 still controlled by Democrats. After the election, Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships.
Political analysts in October 2010 predicted sweeping Republican gains this election, but despite a reported "enthusiasm gap" between likely Republican and Democratic voters, turnout increased relative to the last U.S. midterm elections without any significant shift in voters' political identification. The swaying views of self-declared independent voters, however, were largely responsible for the shift from Democratic to Republican gains.
C. The Media Kept Announcing the Tea Party was Dead, but like the Movie time Zombies, it did not Perish
The tea party went to work after 2010 at the state and local levels. This movement is a bottom up one, and unlike the multiple phony "grassroots" ops on the left (remember the hilarious ersatz "Coffee Party"), this one is genuine, responding as it must to the demands of the average citizen, not some overpaid apparatchiks operating out of fancy offices in the capital, handing out money and placards to moogs on the ground.
The most dramatic of the state efforts was that in Wisconsin, where despite an enormous infusion of Democrat and union money, extensive bullying and illegal conduct by the opposition, and outrageous shenanigans in the local courthouses, Scott Walker beat back an effort to recall him, and the Republicans seem to have largely succeeded in legislative and executive acts designed to make the state's management affordable and responsive to its citizens. Interestingly enough, the unions not only lost that race, but in beating them so thoroughly in such a leftwing state, Wisconsin created a template for other states to cut back on the public union stranglehold on their treasuries and politicians.
In case you forgot how the media played this, Scott Walker has created this wonderful video to remind us:
D. The Rebellion Has Now Expanded to Include A War Against the Cultural Elite
For some time now the cultural elite have played mind games with people. By declaring views contrary to theirs to be "hate speech," with the full complicity of academic leaders and media style setters, they have precluded debate on things important to voters. Your thoughts are simply made unspeakable in public.
This week's stunt, surely another Democrat "look squirrel" diversion from the wretched performance of the President, was over the statement of the CEO of Chick-fil-A that he supported traditional marriage. You will not find a less hateful company in America. It is a model of a good business and a good corporate neighbor but for that remark, the company was targeted with calls for buycotts and dopey pols hoping to ingratiate themselves with yet another Balkanized bit of the voting public started threatening the company's right to do business as well.
The public was not buying it. Why?
Protein Wisdom's Jeff Goldstein said it best on Facebook I think:
Remember when Bill Clinton signed DOMA, and Barack Obama ran as being a proponent of traditional marriage? Well, now that Obama changed his stance -- without doing anything about it with respect to the law -- suddenly holding the position he held until a few months ago is a "civil rights violation" -- and any religion that supports only the traditional notion of marriage is a "hate group" soon to be condemned in courts of law. Tolerance = unequivocal acceptance for someone else's views. Hate = disagreeing with leftist orthodoxy.
So this time the politically correct gimmick of suddenly announcing contrary views to be beyond the pale and hateful speech, which must be shut down, didn't work.
From everywhere in the country that Chick-fil-A operates, people reported long lines outside the company restaurants. The company wouldn't reveal the total uptick in business as a result of this stunt, but the best guess was over a 200% increase of business as a direct result of the "buycott."
(Don't say there's nothing booming in the US economy. As far as I can tell ammunition, guns, freeze-dried survivalist food and Chick-fil-A are setting new sales records.)
If you didn't know how successful the anti-buycott was, don't blame yourself. Michael Warren in the Weekly Standard:
...you wouldn't know anything about the national phenomenon by reading the front pages of most of the country's leading newspapers. There's no mention of Chick-fil-A on the front pages of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and the Boston Globe. The front pages of USA Today, the Dallas Morning News, and the Houston Chronicle have small headlines about the restaurant, while Chick-fil-A's hometown paper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, fits in a story below the fold under the heading, "Chick-fil-A Controversy." And the front pages of major news websites are quiet in their coverage as well.
I'm not sure how philosophers answer the question "If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound". But there's ample evidence that when the public is angry and organized against the ruling classes and the media ignores the phenomenon, the rebellion does not die.
Jeff Dobbs looks at the latest Rasmussen poll, the most reliable national poll there is, and reports:
Minus 23 at Raz today.
Today marks the first time Obama has found himself at minus 23 in 2012. It is also the first time Obama has had a Strongly Approve as low as 22.
Today also marks the fourth time in 2012 that Obama has found himself with a higher Strongly Disapprove than Total Approve -- with Total Approve at 44 and Strongly Disapprove at 45. The other three times were June 22-24.
Welcome to August, Mr. President. Time to get wee wee'd up.