Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hijacking the Tea Parties

Here's a post I put up at the Register's Orange Punch blog today about the likelihood that what began as a libertarian idea was hijacked by establishment Republicans. A commenter asked why the antipathy to conservative Republicans. Well, not all, but most of them followed Bush blindly down the path to a needless war, violations of civil liberties and the biggest increase in domestic discretionary spending since LBJ. And they want us to take them seriously as advocates of limited government?

There has been a fair amount of grumping that today’s Tea Parties were originally the idea of various libertarian-oriented grassroots groups, many circling around Ron Paul’s candidacy, but that the idea was hijacked by more establishment-oriented Republican hacks as a way to try to demonstrate some kind of populist resistance to the Obama onslaught. To be sure, it is more than a little grotesque to see people like Newt Gingrich (the New Newt?), who lobbied his old buddies to get the Medicare Part D monstrosity passed, and Fox News lowlifes like Sean Hannity, who cheered Bush’s warmongering and overspending for eight years and denounced those who questioned the Holy Writ of Bushism as traitors as headliners at what are deemed to be anti-tax rallies. And it’s also the case that the rallies are being used a vehicles for anti-immigrant and anti-gay louts, people who question Obama’s citizenship and various other distasteful loonies who never questioned big spending during the Bush Ascendancy and still want to wage more wars overseas.

As a libertarian who has never been any kind of organizer, however, I have to say that insofar as this is the case, libertarians simply got out-organized. The Paulistas pioneered (well, the Deaniacs pioneered and the Paulistas took it to another level) Internet organizing, but the standard conservatives learned — and had the advantage of Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Reynolds, Pajamas Media and other institutions to push it to a level the MSM had to notice.

I still don’t think this event will be enough to revive the conservative movement or the Republican Party. It’s still too unfocused. Look for more years wandering in the wilderness. Shucks, they may not even be ready when people finally figure out how counterproductive the Obama program is.

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