18 April 2011
Who keeps serving the tea?
Rachel Maddow was just on her show asking why the news media doesn't acknowledge the fact, apparent to her, of the decline of the Tea Party movement. Her latest proof is reported poor attendance at Tax Day rallies this year, compared to turnouts last year and in 2009. She didn't suggest a reason for this decline, but believed that it should be recognized and taken into account by politicians. In her view, the Tea Party has been the reason why Republicans have taken supposedly extreme positions on fiscal questions, and her hope seems to be that, were the TPs' dwindling power more widely known, GOP congressmen could no longer plead TP pressure as an excuse for their extremism. But Maddow seemed convinced that the media was missing the story, continuing instead to hype the TPs as a decisive force on the right. But before she or we blame the media, liberal, corporate or otherwise, for missing or ignoring a story, let's remember that the Republican party isn't the only entity currently staking a lot on the strength of the Tea Party movement. I get mail all the time proving the extent to which the Democratic party plays up the menace of the TPs in order to scare liberals into donating to various campaign funds. The Democrats want their own base, as well as moderates and independents, to understand that the lunatic TP tail is wagging the GOP dog, while the prospect of Tea Party rule from 2013 forward is expected to goad the fearful into offering all their treasure to the one power that might save them -- the Democratic party. Just as the Koch brothers are the Democrats' answer to the demonization of George Soros, so the Tea Parties take the place of the international communist conspiracy within the liberal persecution complex. If Americans are increasingly tired of partisan polarization, the Democrats will build up an enemy that arguably transcends partisanship, yet can be identified with a particular political party. If the Tea Parties don't continue to exist, the Democrats may have to sustain them, at least in the public imagination, for months or years to come.