Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Left and Right of (and right to) Tea Parties


TPI has some good thoughts here on Tea Parties (despite his support of Yglesias, who confounds all by calling tax protestors stupid).

Conversely, Douthat also does a good job of fleshing out thoughts from a less-than-extremist conservative on what the Tea Parties represent.

Personally, I think what liberals like Yglesias are forgetting is that in 2002-2003 when they were all boldly marching against (and chaining themselves to the Bush Ranch in opposition to) the War in Iraq and liberal extremists talked of planted explosives in the Twin Towers and of missiles shooting down planes, the Right collectively called the protesters stupid, and said the conspiracy extremists who were extolling government's hand in the terrorist attacks were undermining the self-confidence of the country and helping the terrorists win. Then, when it became slowly clear that the War in Iraq was...ill advised to say the least...the Left "grassroots organized" and collectively gathered to themselves the ever increasing masses of people who disliked the Republican Party and elected Barack Obama.

So there's this potential parallel going on here. You had 9/11 early in Bush's term when he was uber-popular and then things didn't go well and protesters were all over the place, then he slowly lost the country and became a laughingstock and the lamest duck in 30 years. Now you have Obama as the uber-popular one, preaching and enacting major change (of a different kind than Bush but no less invasive to civil liberty) and protests and rallies are breaking out (three different Tea Parties in Kansas City drew an estimated 10,000 people between them), you have people using stronger anti-leftist rhetoric than ever, and you have Obama's approval rating standing strong...but starting to wane towards the median. Could it be we will all face collosal tax increases in 4-6 years to pay for the uptick in debt from the current Administration's agenda, and the whole thing will blow up into another "I told you so" swing, this time massively to the Right?

I find it highly possible.


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1 comment:

Benjamin Dueholm said...

The similarities between the protests of 02-03 and the "tea parties" have been noted, and they're intriguing. The major difference, as far as I can tell, is that high-ranking Democrats stayed as far away from the Iraq protests as possible--and even Obama, who as a state senator spoke at a protest in 2002, did so in super-butch terms. When Obama ran for president, he was able to organize a lot of those people while completely stiff-arming the rhetoric and aesthetics of the protests. If he hadn't done that, he would not have won the presidency. What remains to be seen--apart from the course of events--is whether the GOP remnant will tolerate such a move by its future standard-bearers.

I'm curious though: in what way is Obama's agenda destructive of civil liberties? Bush asserted the right to detain people indefinitely without charge or legal counsel, and to kidnap and torture their children for the purposes of interrogation (I'm not making this up). He coined a foreign policy doctrine claiming the right to invade another country not against an imminent threat but on the suspicion that they might one day pose an imminent threat. That's pretty radical stuff. I don't see any analogues to that right now.