Tuesday, January 05, 2010
John Hawkins ranks the "20 biggest stories of the year," presumably from a right-wing point of view. If we are going to consider stories that might possibly reflect favorably on the current administration, I would have added the year's rally in the stock market (which was remarkable under the circumstances) and the foiling of the Maersk Alabama piracy caper off the coast of Somalia, in which the ghost of William Bainbridge finally got his justice. The repayment of virtually all the TARP money stuffed in to the big banks along with a profit to the American taxpayer probably also deserves a place on the list.
CWCID: Right Wing News.
Any number of Hawkins' "biggest stories" are really just aspects of one story, big government. The so-called "stimulus" bill that has been such an economic disaster for us, the new entitlements that will destroy our economic future, the "cash for clunkers" spendathon that added insult to injury, the bizarre faux worry over budget deficits by Democrat leaders-- all of these are about big government.
One impact of all those stories has been to foster the growth of the Tea Party movement, another of Hawkins' big stores for the year, and I think the Tea Party story has the most potential to impact 2010.
The tea party folks are worried about big government and the Congressional predilection for borrowing and spending. The Republicans take a lazy " they'll love us because we're the lesser problem" approach to marketing their message to Tea Party supporters. That's not just patronizing, but really an almost unbelievably risky political move given how deep the political hole is the Republicans are in. Cemocrats so far have been insulting and dismissive of Tea Party supporters, even going so far as to call them Teabaggers, but that could easily change. One survey I saw the other day said that "Tea Party" draws more political support than the GOP, and would win some elections were it an actual party. That'll get some attention from Democrats desperate to keep their offices.
The movement is now so pronounced that in fact the Democrats and even the far left are taking note. Populism got Obama elected, after all, and they must know it can certainly get him unelected. A way must be found to get Tea Party supporters to support GOP candidates, before the Democrats fill the void.
Here's Matt Taibbi (an unredeemed communist in all probability), in a fascinating blog post, searching for a way for the left to take over the populist Tea Party mantle,
" For what we’ve learned in the last few years as one scandal after another spilled onto the front pages is that the bubble economies of the last two decades were not merely monstrous Ponzi schemes that destroyed trillions in wealth while making a small handful of people rich. They were also a profound expression of the fundamentally criminal nature of our political system, in which state power/largess and the private pursuit of (mostly short-term) profit were brilliantly fused in a kind of ongoing theft scheme that sought to instant-cannibalize all the wealth America had stored up during its postwar glory, in the process keeping politicians in office and bankers in beach homes while continually moving the increasingly inevitable disaster to the future.
The essentially complicit nature of the two ruling political parties was in this way covered up for decades, as the crimes of the Democrats were greedily consumed as entertainment by the Limbaugh crowd while the crimes of the Bushies became hot-selling t-shirts and bumper stickers for the Air America listenership. The abiding mutual hatred the red/blue groups shared consistently prevented any kind of collective realization about the structure of the overall scheme."
Get it? It's almost like he's saying "Hey, yes I hate the ruling class because I'm a communist but you hate them too because they've looted your country. Let's work together!" The GOP better make start taking substantive note of populist anti-big government concerns, or the Deemocrats will move into the breech.
Don't apologize, Anonymous. You had a lot to say, and you said it well. The takeaway point is that Country Club Big Government Republicans should not take Tea Party support for granted.
It is worth remembering that Ross Perot, running essentially on a platform of "I'm not those other two guys" at one stage was leading Bill Clinton in the opinion polls and ended up with over 20 Million actual votes. There are a lot of citizens who are highly exasperated with "those other two guys".
Barack Obama, like many presidents, was elected by the votes of only about 1 citizen in 3. The largest "vote" in most elections is the group who don't vote at all -- usually outnumbering those who voted for the winning candidate.
There is a substantial constituency out there that does not relate to either Party. A definite opportunity for whoever (new party, existing party) is first to find a way to mobilize them.