Who's in the Kitchen?
Last Sunday, The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan offered this:
I think one of the fascinating things about this presidential campaign is that ... [t]here is a sense out there that the American people are up to something we don't know about ... and might just be about to hand us some surprise they've been cooking up, that lots of people just don't know about ... there's just something going on. (Face the Nation, October 21)
It's actually not a mystery, and what is "cooking" is the same delicious dish that the American people served up during the midterm elections a couple of years ago.
Since the 2010 election, the dynamic in America hasn't changed to favor the policies emanating from Washington, D.C. If anything, antipathy toward the White House and Capitol Hill has intensified. Whether media types are blind to this problem or just choosing to ignore the giant elephant in the room is ultimately inconsequential.
On Monday, MNBC's Joe Scarborough explained:
All in all though, you look at what the Tea Party has done over the past three years. You look at how they have put the president on the defensive over health care, you look at what happened with the mid-term elections, you look at Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts taking Ted Kennedy's seat. It's undeniable. And the reason why the press doesn't see it, the reason why Democratic candidates don't see it, is there's a huge cultural blind spot. If Occupy Wall Street, had done one-tenth of what the Tea Party did, my God they would be statues in Manhattan[.] (Morning Joe, October 22).
The media continues to overlook the greatest story never told in recent American history: a vast, unbridgeable chasm exists between Washington's Political Aristocracy and Main Street America. A 2010 Rasmussen Poll revealed an inescapable truth: Main Street and the Political Class view things in polar opposite ways. While 83% of mainstream voters were angry at the government's current policies, 76% of those in the Political Class were not. Seventy percent (70%) of those in the mainstream thought the leaders of both political parties lack a good understanding of what is needed now, but 68% of Political Class voters disagreed.
In surveys since September 2009, those angry at the government have ranged from 66% to 75%. Those who are very angry have run from 33% to 46%.
In a later Rasmussen Poll, fifty-five percent (55%) of mainstream voters agreed with the following statement: "The gap between Americans who want to govern themselves and politicians who want to rule over them is now as big as the gap between the American colonies and England during the 18th Century."
A nearly unanimous 95% of political class voters rejected that view. Stated differently: the Political Class is incapable of comprehending and agreeing with Main Street USA values. The Political Class remains a small "... coterie of politically and culturally non-indigenous leaders whose rule contravenes local values rooted in our national tradition. It is as if the United States has been occupied by a foreign power, and this transcends policy objections."
At the same time, just 22% of voters believe that the federal government has the consent of the governed (Rasmussen, June 2012). All of these numbers add up to a grim indictment against politics as usual in Washington. The massive Washington bureaucracy, and those at the top at the helm, have lost the trust of the American people and are unlikely to regain it any time soon.
What else has the media missed about the Tea Party Movement? By promoting their own false narrative about the Tea Party, they have missed a lot. Because the truth about the composition of the movement represents an existential threat too horrible for the Political Class to endure, they chose to create and maintain their own false narrative. However, early polling told the true tale.
The typical Tea Party participant is anything but a crotchety old racist white male.
A Gallup Poll taken in 2010 found that 43 percent of Tea Partiers were independents, and 8 percent were registered Democrats, for a combined 51 percent. At 49 percent, Republicans were in the minority.
A Quinnipiac University poll published in March 2010 found that 55 percent of Tea Partiers were women.
According to another USA Today/Gallup Poll, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Hispanics combined to make up nearly one fourth of the movement's members, roughly reflecting the ethnic makeup of the general population. Not surprisingly, the NAACP's announcement in 2010 of a resolution condemning racism within the Tea Party sparked an avalanche of statements of support for the movement from African-American Tea Party members across the country. The NAACP chose to allow their ill-conceived effort to simply fade away.
The AP/GFK poll shows that 31% of likely voters consider themselves Tea Party supporters. With 131 million votes cast in the 2008 elections, that translates into an incredible voting bloc of 41 million Tea Party supporters waiting to cast ballots. These voters have already made their voices heard in Wisconsin earlier this year, as well as in Republican primaries in Texas and Nebraska.
That 31% of likely voters figure is greater than the 19% who described themselves as either strongly or somewhat liberal. Surprisingly, liberals have escaped media characterization as being a small, fringe-like group with little power or influence. At 19% of likely voters, self-described liberals would have a turnout of 25 million voters, some 16 million fewer voters than the Tea Party.
Something big is going to happen in November. It involves tens of millions of Tea Partiers and their sympathizers. It also involves 17 million Christian Evangelicals who chose not to vote in the 2008 election. And what about the 24% of Americans who are Catholic -- approximately 68 million members -- who have seen their religious liberties trampled, who feel threatened by our government's overreach? And what about black Christians who are very uneasy about President Obama's embrace of same-sex marriage?
The press, along with the rest of the Political Class, doesn't see what is coming because of their "huge cultural blind spot." They can't smell the aroma of the dish being cooked up, but rest assured: Main Street America has been cooking up a storm for several years now. Those of us who live outside the Beltway, and inland from the coasts, have savored that aroma for a long time and can't wait to dig in.