I WON'T go so far as to call them principles, but let's say this blog has as a persistent article of faith the idea that Dick Fucking Armey is a Republican. And the Koch Brothers are Republicans.
And that the Republican party has been the Party of Mellon since the end of the Great War, when the Progressive wing of the party was taken out and shot because of Woodrow Wilson, who was neither Progressive nor a Republican. And this marked the end, at least to date, of the Republican party doing anything that made sense.
And you might say that, at least to some extent, I believe that history is, or more accurately, should be, composed of "facts". I like facts. I'm not head-over-heels in love, but I do prefer a sensible, responsible fact to the bad boy on the motorcycle with the sleeve tattoos.
So if you, in 2011, want to try to convince me that the Teabag Party, in 2009, was the creation of some teevee chatterer and a housewife in Florida, and represented something entirely unheard of in Republican politics to that point, then let's just say I prefer you do so with evidence, and not by recounting the Narrative.
Before [Santelli's] fiery speech, the right had been protesting President Obama but struggling for tractionSome of the groups that would drill the Tea Party into an electoral force, such as David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, were already campaigning against the $787 billion stimulus bill and the pro-union Employee Free Choice Act. But according to Jared Bernstein and other veterans of the White House’s economic team, Santelli’s rant and the subsequent rallies spooked the right people. Suddenly, a president who had entered office with a 70 percent approval rating had to explain why his policies made people so angry.
Before Santelli's speech, "mainstream" or "official" Republican leadership--which differs from the Republican donor list in that it's the faction in position to receive the largess and dole out the favors, and which differs from the Republican base in that it's the faction in position to receive the largess and dole out the favors, had gone to the President's Post-Partisanship Banquet, left the room, and vowed to never vote for a single thing the man proposed to do.
While he was enjoying that 70 percent popularity.
So let's conclude from this that either a) Republican intransigence was a forgone conclusion or b) Barack Obama seriously misplayed his hand, or displayed a weakness seasoned charlatans like John Boehner picked up on like a cat hears a can opener, or c) both.
(And if we could just repeat, here, that from our own lazy perspective, the Teabag Revolution imagery had been used in the Indianapolis mayoral campaign of 2007, in which a similar group of pretend grassroots irritants with an average net income of $250,000 ceremoniously and camera-readily dunked property tax bills in the Indianapolis Water Company Canal to protest the incumbent Democratic mayor, who had nothing whatsoever to do with the rise in those property taxes. *)
“The left had always protested,” explains Brendan Steinhauser, director of state campaigns for FreedomWorks, now one of the most influential Tea Party groups. “Conservatives getting out into the streets—that was a paradigm shift.
Previously they rented.
Now, insTead of fighting the GOP, a Party with a dingy brand and no credibility, the Democrats were fighting a new political force that voters kind of liked. If the Tea Party hadn’t caught on, the Obama Team would be fighting the same conservative movement that it had defeated in 2008. And a few more victories could have meant life for some legislation that died prematurely. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s “big bang” strategy of win after win after win could have happened — if it hadn’t been for all those people waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and panicking about “death panels” when members of Congress went back to their districts.
First, "fighting" is too strong a word here, unless its used in the sense of "Fighting fire with prone supplication and offers of unlimited buttsecks". Second, Republicans were--I think History will bear me out--the minority party in both Houses at the time, and thus incapable of defeating anything the Democratic party decided to do, as in "accomplish". And the Democrats called on their famous circular firing squad as a result. As with the Clinton healthcare debate twenty years earlier, the Obama legislative package wasn't defeated because the minority party's base was upset about something (what else is new?). It was defeated because the corporate masters of the GOP also control a sizable chunk of the Democratic party as well. Maybe a majority. Maybe all. The point is, it wasn't Teabagging killed the beast.
What bills could have passed in a Tea-Party-free America? For one, some kind of climate legislation to limit national greenhouse-gas emissions could have moved. One massive problem with the cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June 2009 was that Democrats faced angry crowds at home when they defended it. That happened again and again on other issues, too, as Tea Partyers — talking to each other online, tuning in to Glenn Beck — would learn of some nightmare moving through Congress and turn their muskets on it. The in-person pressure, tactics they’d seen the left use for years, slowed down the Obama agenda.
And, again, assuming this is what did it, and not the usual transfer of cash from vested interest to vested suit, all Democrats had to do was show some balls, or, at the very least, some recognition that a solid narrative beats a thousand little maybes. You can't be too careful in your choice of enemies.
But the Obama agenda would have had tough going anyway. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) was determined to block the Democrats, and the Tea Party only helped him do it. So let’s consider what the Tea Party prevented him from doing. McConnell wanted Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s capable, conservative secretary of state, to be the next U.S. senator from that state. But the Tea Party made sure that Grayson lost to the libertarian scion Rand Paul. It brought down Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah, and it almost beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska. For two years, it declared war on any Republican who had backed the bank bailout or suggested compromising with Democrats.
Bum disposal methods having been wholly unheard of in American politics to that point.
Fuck. I'm from Indiana, a state so Red it voted against FDR three times. There's always a Teabagger challenge or a religious nutjob in the wings here, ready to take some Republican incumbent's job. Religious cranks staged a mini-revolt in the Indiana House in 2004, the year of My Man Mitch, and it was kept from spreading only because the Big Money (at the top) clamped the lid down. Those guys got to bluster and badger and buffoon their way through successive legislative organization weeks, but they never got a bill out of committee, not before Mitch Daniels was a lame duck governor and a non-Presidential candidate. People now talk about this Murdock character's challenge to Dick Lugar, but Lugar's 109 years old, and he's still going to win his 64th term next year going away. In the meantime the nuts get him to lie about things their way, instead of some other way, for a while before it's back to business as usual.
This is confusing fact with Cherished Narrative. Teabaggers won some seats! Teabaggers changed some legislation! Teabaggers almost comically defeated Lisa Murkowski, before even more comically losing to a write-in candidate. So what? Some Ayn Randian or Rand Paulian intractable idiots get elected. Some bump in the road is navigated, some bridge to nowhere is painted Red not Blue. So what? Six Republicans voted against the Iraq War resolution. Anybody think if any of their votes--including the other Paul dingbat--was crucial they wouldn't have gone the other way? Backwoods religious troglodytes are an important constituency, too. Backwoods religious troglodytism was the New! 100% genuine grassroots political game-changing formerly-not-Republican movement from 1980-1992. If people who talk to dead carpenters who rule the universe can be co-opted, anybody can be co-opted. You think there's going to be a Teabagger Let-the-Gol'Durn-Gubmint-Default revolt with a Republican in the White House? If it's even more contrary to large-scale election prospects than the last one was? Yeah, sure there will. Like Republicans voted against the Iraq war.
The 2010 primaries—the wins and the threats—kept Republicans honest.
"Kept the Republicans honest? Ten thousand comedians are out of work, Dave.
In 1995, the GOP briefly fought a debt-limit vote but then balked. In 2011, there were rallies and new conservative power brokers demanding concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit.
Yeah, and in 1962 Charlie Manson was knocking over 5 and 10 cent stores. We don't consider what happened afterwards to be a measure of his progress.
Without the Tea Party, Paul, Lee and Patrick J. Toomey (Pa.) wouldn’t have been in the Senate to give the debt standoff form and focus.
And as a result, what? Default is now a better idea?
That is where this alternative history starts to look good to Republican leaders. The debt fight hit both parties, but it knocked the most out of the GOP. As the party has turned its attention to the presidential race, it has watched the man with the most endorsements—Mitt Romney—spar with pretenders, candidates who shouldn’t be competitive, given their fundraising and organizing limitations. Why is Herman Cain relevant? Because the Tea Party learned last year that it can demand the world—and nearly get it.
The definition of "demanding the world" being "put a wholly unqualified crank who, frankly, it must now be asked how he came to manage a Godfather's franchise, let alone run something, then congratulations are in order. I guess. The Republican party has found a way to make itself more incoherent with each passing day. It's not an accomplishment.
And it's not new. The current incarnation surely dates to the nomination of George Herbert Walker Horrible Sperm Factory Bush, which was according to Hoyle, or the laws of coronation. George H.W.Whatever Bush was hated for proclaiming No New Taxes, and then, well, Taxes. He was a politician who lied. Okay, that didn't narrow it down any. He lied rather dramatically, and stupidly, to a national convention audience. Everybody says, "Then he went and raised taxes, the dolt." Nobody ever mentions how Republican politics, in the Age of Reagan canonization, made him posture in a way which wasn't good for the country, and made him pay for daring to do what was right. Then, of course, Clinton Scandals, Inc., during which time Doubling Down became the Republican Strategy version of No Taxation: Real Republicans do it, every time. Real Republicans don't look around--let alone look at the fucking facts--and say, okay, losing proposition, let's move on. No, they start another investigation, and another, and they find a man who'll buttfuck a diseased rodent corpse if that's what it'll take.
We know where the rest of this goes. And look, if there was a Teabagger Revolution, explain why Mitt Romney turned into the World's Greatest Panderer in 2007. Explain Sarah Palin. Herman Cain? Herman Cain is a crackpot. Crackpots rule the party. This is only something new if you consider Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Newt Gingrich to be classical scholars.
A world without the Tea Party would have been a little brighter for the Republican establishment. But it wouldn’t have been so bright for conservatives. They learned that there’s nothing like a megaphone-blaring, flag-waving populist movement to move the country your way. That’s why the Democrats now embracing the Occupy movement are kicking themselves for not getting into the streets sooner to protest Wall Street. Why did they ever imagine a world without it?
Because they're Democrats, and because they're as disinclined to reward their base as Republicans are inclined to give theirs smacking good lip service. And the reason in both instances is that's what the money masters require.
Money created the Teabaggers. Money created the Occupiers, too, but in the reverse sense. A lot of us have seen that movie before, and think we know how it ends. But, then, a lot of us feel the Spit Bubble of Reaganism should have disappeared by 1987, and think it's partly a shame that modern humanitarian notions precluded jacking up the S&L looters on poles and leaving them to this day on bridges across America, which, on top of everything else, would probably be better maintained as a consequence. This shit has gone on far too long, far too long without an acknowledgement of its fallacies, its failures, its consequences, and the real populism now turning to the Occupy protests with admiration, not dirty hippie jokes. Maybe someday Decency and Sense might just happen to win one, and all you babblers and flunkies and fellators and facilitators better hope we run out of bridges before your number's called.
*Slight exaggeration. Bart Peterson, the Republican-Democrat, had exercised a local-option tax provided for by the Republican legislature in order to pay existing police and fire pensions, whose plans were in poor shape. The incoming Ur-Teabag Republican replacement left the option tax in place. You were sitting down, right?