Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Self Fulfilling Misery

Jon Chait notes something I've noted before.  The current Tea Party movement is much closer to the New Left of the Sixties than to what we think of as conservatism.

This is similar to the argument about Middle American Radicalism.  But he makes the point about the Teaturds being primarily an expression of grievance rather than a cohesive political movement centered around policy goals.  He writes (the reference to the video is about the Weathermen):

If you watch the video above, you’ll see familiar echoes of the recent events in Washington: far-fetched scenarios, confessions that the effort was worthwhile even if it was doomed, even the Gadsden Flag. Its adherents may have wanted to believe they would achieve their goal, but the lack of any plausible path by which the end might follow the means did not trouble them. The demonstration of outrage was a form of politics well suited for a movement that views itself as a hopeless minority in a democratic process rigged against them. It is a (notthe, but a) logical culmination of a movement that loses its now-or-never moment. Everything that has happened since then in Washington: the backlash against Republican efforts at accommodation, the ever greater frenzies of protest, the rejection of traditional notions of compromise and attainability — this is what never looks like.

Seen as a quixotic protest against a changing American, the Teaturd makes sense.  The political nihilism and the pointlessness of the shutdown becomes logical within the framework of protest.

The question is, will those who have policy goals from the political process put up with this nonsense?

Certainly, we've seen the collapse of support for both the Tea Party and the Republican party.  We've even seen guys like Mike Lee get in trouble at home in Utah.  Utah!  Will the Big Money change over to Democrats?  Probably not. But it could stay home or simply support Wall Street Republicans in primaries.  But 2012 showed that money can't buy everything and there is a critical mass of Teaturd voters in the GOP.

This is perhaps the real measure of the GOP civil war.  The Tea Party is already a losing protest against a changing world.  Will they drag the GOP down with them?

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