The Tea Party's epitaph has been written. A confident Republican establishment is now prepared to possibly take the Senate in 2014 and then lose it again in 2016 to another wave of historical change.
In its defense the establishment, a motley collection of men paid by special interest groups whose future involves lucrative lobbying and even more lucrative consulting for the midterm election of 2018 where they will run on opposition to HillaryCare, can point to all the stupid and flaky Tea Party candidates who lost winnable elections. And they have a point.
We wouldn't have to put up with Harry Reid or Chris Coons. Though we would still have Barack Obama in '08 and '12 because the establishment ran two men with no ability to appeal to people worried about losing their jobs and homes against a man who could do the "Feel your pain" dance.
The left didn't start with Obama. It was willing to run a roster of bad candidates with silly beliefs for higher office. And it watched as those candidates crashed and burned outside their urban safe havens. But the left didn't stop. It didn't sit back and accept that the Democratic Party's mainstream candidates would be the best it could get. Instead it doubled down and kept on doing it until it paid off.
It didn't matter if they became national jokes. It didn't matter if for a while the left seemed as likely to take higher office as Superman. The left thinks long term.
It built a coalition of its base groups and got them to agree to a single agenda. It got the unions and the NAACP to back illegal immigration and gay rights. It got the environmentalists to back illegal immigration. It got the unions to back the environment. There are tensions, but everyone falls into line even though the single agenda cuts the throats of their own working class voters.
Meanwhile the GOP has no idea who its base groups are and would like them to go away.
The GOP celebrating a victory over the Tea Party is like NBC celebrating a victory over its own highest rated shows. Finally the experts who gave us the Romney Presidency and the De Facto Amnesty talking point will, hopefully, drag the Senate out of Harry Reid's dead claws long after Obama and the Democratic Party discredited themselves with their own voters and even the media.
And they won't have to credit the Tea Party for it.
The Tea Party's role in politics has been flawed, but then how could it have been otherwise. Politics is a professional sport and in the age of television and Twitter, it's most easily played by people who have been polished by media experts and consultants, who know how to recite talking points and nothing else. And the people most likely to take over have their own agendas.
The left was willing to accept multiple defeats in the short term to build a machine and a momentum that would take it through the system. And it succeeded.
Of course the left had advantages that the right does not have. No matter how much of a mess the left made, the Democratic Party would hang on to racially gerrymandered districts and it would be buffered against any major national changes by a judiciary, academia and bureaucracy that was largely in its pocket.
Reagan might win the White House, but business would continue as usual in Washington D.C. and the entertainment industry would push social change its way. Obama is a disaster for traditional Americans, but Reagan was only a setback for the left. It could afford to organize around opposition to him because it knew that his ability to undo everything they had set into motion was very limited.
The right doesn't have those buffers. It couldn't afford eight years of Obama even after eight years of Bush. And it's easy to look around and see why. And yet it also can't afford the GOP establishment.
What's left is a choice between high stakes gambles on the future or dragging out the inevitable with the establishment. The Tea Party was a series of high stakes gambles, many of which did not pay off, but the road to Obamerica began with a series of high stakes gambles for the left.
And there are few short cuts.
The Republican Party once again brings nothing to the table. It's no longer playing against old gentle enemies like the Kennedy clan or the Chicago Machine. It's now up against an ascendant left backed by billionaires and the entertainment-media complex.
And '08 and '12 shows us how well it performs in that arena.
The GOP's soulless teleprompter machines are no match the soulless teleprompter machines of the left. The ones on the left are occasionally capable of mimicking human emotions and make much better TMZ fodder.
And the left also brings ideology to the table while the GOP brings a shopworn Americanism that is vague on definition and big on grandiose rhetoric. Unfortunately the left has already hijacked that rhetoric and used its vague grandiosity to sell everything from illegal immigration to gay rights.
Tomorrow Obama can give a speech surrounded by American flags and quote from Madison and Lincoln to explain why he has decided to sell America to Saudi Arabia. It will be an obscene perversion and hypocritical nonsense, but then it will only be a matter of time until the GOP opposition summons forth a candidate who gives the same speech but with more flags.
He will say that you can only trust the GOP to get the best deal when selling America to Saudi Arabia.
The GOP doesn't actually believe in anything. It's been through too many changes over the years. It's become a big tent for fiscal and social conservatives, as long as they don't actually try to set policy, for foreign policy hawks, as long as they don't push for anything Democrats are opposed to, and for an assortment of constituencies that add color and identity, but don't actually get their way.
Republicanism has become a bland colorless conservatism that stands for some sort of competence and a vague commitment to smaller government and a stronger national defense which exists in theory, not in practice. It's for morals, until they become too unfashionable. It's for apple pie, as long as it's not too fattening. It's for proving that the left is unfair to call it a crazy bunch of extremists.
In placid times, that can work. Ideology is tiresome and no one likes being yelled at. It's why the left does so poorly in most elections. But in troubled times, people want something to believe in. They don't want the hollow assurances of hollow men that everything is fine when it clearly isn't.
That's when the Republican Party actually has to stand for something and explain why it stands for it.
Neither party actually does that except in the vaguest of ways, but the public rightly senses that there is a system of coherent beliefs behind Obama. Many of them would run screaming for the exits if they had those beliefs spelled out for them, but they're not details people. They respond to passion and certainty. They like knowing that a candidate is animated by something more than careerism.
The public rightly sensed that there was no such system behind McCain or Romney. Both men believe things, but they're big on being pragmatists. Their beliefs adapt to the situation. They have their own moral centers, but it's not ideological. Their passions are personal, not political.
The Tea Party changed that. It had clear and compelling beliefs. It stood for something. And now the GOP stands alone and stands for nothing.
The Tea Party isn't dead, but the results didn't show up quickly enough and there were too many setbacks. And no one likes defeat.
Whenever I'm asked how to beat the left in Field X or Z, I answer that it will take a long march through the system, one way or another. It's either that or cut the field out of your life entirely.
That's true of public education and the entertainment industry. You either beat them at their own game by thinking long term or you cut them out of your lives. Politics isn't like that. Boycotting it isn't an option. Not in the long term. The game is absolute power and that absolutely includes power over you.
The left is collectivist and the right is individualistic. Individualism is the strength of the right, but it also means that the left can create a machine that feeds tens of thousands of its best and brightest into public education until it dominates the system and indoctrinates who passes through it. It can plan this out and carry it out for generations.
Meanwhile many on the right bail out when they don't see results after four years.
The left functions like an army. The right functions like a guerrilla movement. Guerrillas can outlast an army by resisting occupation, but not when the army is fanatical and singleminded, and not if it manages to control the territory.
If the right is to have a future, it has to start thinking long term. It has to learn to understand the territory and it has to stop assuming that showing up is most of the job or that one decisive battle will change everything. It's not and it won't.
The American Revolution was a fight between one of the world's leading powers and bands of ragged farmers. The farmers lost badly, over and over again. They learned slowly that you don't win wars on passion. You don't win them in one battle. You do it by staying in the fight.
The left in America began as a political insurgency. Now it runs everything. It can be beaten, but doing that will require learning a lot of painful lessons and picking up the necessary skills. There will be less passion and more technique. There will be more organization and less waste.
This won't end tomorrow or in 2016. Wars last a long time. They are passed on to children. They become a generational struggle. It's a daunting prospect for individuals as all wars are. But the alternative to the voluntary sacrifices necessary to win a war are the involuntary sacrifices that come from losing it.
So very true. Thank you for putting reality into words. A true identity crisis in the party. First awareness - next action through reality an communication. Who's setting the rules?ReplyDelete
You seem to be deluded by the idea that "voting" changes things in America. That might work in a free country like Israel--but this isn't Israel. We are a nation that hasn't had "free elections" at a federal level since 1865. The "progressive"(one party pretending to be two party's) government has ruled America with an Iron hand since 1900. The "leftist" policy's so hated by "the right" were put in place in 1913-1914 and have been reinforced and deepened by every "government" since. Believing that anything short of armed civil war will make any meaningful "change" in the federal system is self deluded. Calling for "democrats" or "Republicans" to be "voted" for, has no meaning as they are both part of the same "new order". This "new order" is no different than the last "new order" and exists to create the same things; god kings and slaves . People calling on others to "vote for change" would do well to remember how that worked out in Russia and Germany in the 20's, 30's and 40's---RayReplyDelete
A great book about the mentality of a guerrilla fighter:ReplyDelete
The book describes the proper mindset. Blend into the landscape. Analyze the enemy in detail, find weakness. Gather supplies, food and weapons. Organize and train the insurgent team. Attack with fury, exploit weakness and extend it. Escape, evade afterwards, gathering assets such as food and weapons along the way. Repeat.
To an outside observer, the early Tea Party lacked pragmatism, and it's candidates got nominated with an inability to compromise. Not that some of them weren't sterling people, they just weren't good at playing games.ReplyDelete
The far Left is composed of abortion fanatics, and other ne'er do wells, but their single mindedness has proved helpful in turning out voters.
If the Right manages to wrest the Senate from Harry Reid, and then find a way to tame Holder, they will have done a lot for the country, despite being as amoral as the Left.
The absolute proof the of accuracy of your essay is John Boehner, nuff' said.
Great job as usual Daniel
'Orders' consist of people. Power structures consist of people. Political systems have their weak points.
Elections in Israel were initially irrelevant. Then they became almost as relevant as in the US. The left has fought that every step of the way and it might end up destroying the country, but in the end change came.
The current political system in the US is resistant to real change, but it's not impossible to change. Candidates who weren't supposed to win have won before. What's missing has been a comprehensive plan to change the system and push out the structural unelected forces controlling things.
Obama has shown how much radical change is possible.
the far left talks to the center and acts to the left
conservatives talk to the right and act to the center and the left
it's one of our biggest problems
The Old Rules are dead. The Left gives them lip service then does what it pleases. The anti-Left needs to adapt in order to put them back in their box. Plenty of ideas on this front. Texas can ignore the EPA. Taxes can be collected by a state and the federal government can be defied. The Supreme court was defied by Andrew Jackson. Texas can put the national guard on the border and throw ICE out of the state. A national government led by Ted Cruz can suspend the federal civil service rules and fire the bulk of the personal.The FBI can prosecute SEIU, media matters, George Soros, the environmental defense fund, ACLU, SPLC, NBC and NY times can be closed indefinitely as a warning to the others. There is no consensus now nor will there be in the future. Our side needs to act decisively.ReplyDelete
So Andy Texans' solution to statism is statism. Andy, in calling for the government to violate the left's rights you have become a leftist. Those proposals go on the side of Krugman, Soros, and Alinsky, not on the side that advocates limited government and individual rights.Delete
Thank you for a great article.ReplyDelete
There's a debate in the Republican party, read all out intellectual war or so I hope, between those who fervently want freedom, inviolate individual rights, and their crucial corollary, strictly limited government, and the cowardly 'me too' semi-socialist 'Republicans', who simply want to change places with the Democrats in Washington at regular intervals, without disturbing in the slightest the on going gruesome march, eagerly directed by the current occupant of the Whitehouse, toward some form of socialist police state in America.
The latter 'Republicans' want nothing more valuable or challenging than to grab the reins of power, now held by the Democrats, and rule over the American people and that Democratic fashioned, but RINO nurtured, ever expanding big government.
The key is morality. Stand up for, speak out about, what you believe, what you value.
As long as Republicans treat elections as smiling contests (witness the pathetic, futile performances of two Republicans against the all time champion of the vacuous empty smile, Obama), they will continue to lose.
Republicans have to stand for something. Romney would've won the last election if he hadn't played it safe in the last 30-60 days. The Republican Establishment believes there is dignity in "respectability." Yet they lose the sight of the big picture again and again. Respectably failing isn't sufficient. We have to think long-term and fulfill our vision for the Republic. We have to stop being reasonable.ReplyDelete
Romney was a leftist and he was pretending to be conservative. Everyone knew he was lying and many did not care. The problem is that many conservatives do not want to vote for known liars.Delete
Doug M...at the risk of being pedantic:ReplyDelete
"On July 26, 1920, the acerbic and cranky scribe wrote in The Baltimore Sun: '' . . . all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre - the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.'' H.L. Mencken
Daniel, How true, the "whatever works" form of morality is out and proud everywhere.ReplyDelete
". . . the Democratic Party would . . . be buffered against any major national changes by a judiciary, academia and bureaucracy that was largely in its pocket."
And, as you have pointed out many times, the always left-supportive main-stream media outlets.
Thank you again Daniel.
An exact description of how the New Left came to power, and a path the New Right must follow to oppose them.ReplyDelete
It is important to have an accurate analysis of why the GOP lost the last two Presidential elections in order to win the next time. I don't agree with Daniel in this regards. Both lost because the white working class did not vote for them - there is little in the short run GOP could do about the blacks and the Hispanics (especially in 2008 and 2012). McCain lost because he was an old fart that the working class whites did not trust to represent their interests and understand them, and Romney lost because Obama's campaign successfully portrayed him as an out of touch rich guy -- the working class whites had very little chance to understand what Romney did for a living except close companies and cur labor, so it was easy for them to buy into Obama's premise. Romney's campaign should have aggressively explain how he would help them, but they chose not to for whatever strategic reason (maybe, because they thought the white working class hated Obama more than mistrusted Romney).ReplyDelete
In the next elections the risk is that Hilary will pull the same trick by winning women and working class white people who will not trust GOP candidate if he or she would have business pedigree. Hilary has no business pedigree -- she has not succeeded in anything -- and this can actually be helpful winning various votes that will vote on perception and not facts.
"Many of them would run screaming for the exits if they had those beliefs spelled out for them, but they're not details people." This is one reason why Obama won again. The details weren't spelled out for them, not by the news media, not by the ones selling the beliefs. I still encounter people who, after I've pointed out the disasters and looting and blatant lying that occurred in Obama's first term, as well as in his second term, consider it sacrilege to criticize anything he's done. No, they're not "details" people. Truth is irrelevant to them. Emotions are the only things that count. Besides, he's "black," and blacks are beyond criticism.ReplyDelete
"They [McCain and Romney] have their own moral centers, but it's not ideological. Their passions are personal, not political." Their moral centers are not kicking dogs and liking apple pie with gobs of ice cream and being homey folks sworn to tradition. The Founders were not traditionalists, but thinkers. Were they "traditionalists," we'd still be a passel of royal provinces.
"The Tea Party changed that. It had clear and compelling beliefs. It stood for something. And now the GOP stands alone and stands for nothing." It hasn't stood for anything solid since the Bull Moose Party separated itself from the GOP during the 1912 presidential contest. After all, it was Teddy Roosevelt, nominally a Republican, who founded the Bull Moose or Progressive Party, funded in large part by a capitalist, U.S. Steel. The Progressive Party, at its own convention, unveiled its own platforms, which consisted of just about every statist and regulatory policy in effect today, including a national health program, which could've been called, "TeddyCare." The GOP won that election, but lost the ideological war. Democratic statist Wilson won in 1916. The GOP stands for nothing because standing for something – other than a "me, too!" deference to the left – would mean surrendering power.
"The left in America began as a political insurgency. Now it runs everything." With a great assist from the GOP and even many dapper school-tie conservatives. If you don’t stand for anything radical, naturally you will ally yourself, if only sotto voci, with those who do stand for something.
The Tea Party isn't weak. Its narrow. It motivates those who understand that the system is broken and the results are dire. Unfortunately those who publicly stand for that are mostly older whites. There is of course the people who are rapidly being destroyed by the Left. They consist of Hispanics in Latin America. Middle Class blacks and anyone remotely beyond inner city welfare and absolute despair. The long march can only go so far through institutions. Institutions are Leftist because the idea that an organization chart is reality is Leftist. Conservatism is about the chance for the individual to make it as the individual sees fit. The Left is about the organization chart being rock solid and pervasive. What has to happen is that a broader part of America needs to see just how alien the Left is. That won't happen under the current Republicans. These are people who live by the organization chart. On the other hand political opportunity is about being the outsider with the least to lose and the most available constituency. The Right has that. It just needs the right "entrepreneurs."ReplyDelete
Sophie - Not a bit pedantic and thank you for the quote.ReplyDelete
Simon - You may well be right about the difficulties for McCain and Romney.
But I am as certain as I can be that they would fared better if they had vigorously opposed Obama on a moral basis.
For example, I remember, during the campaign, watching McCain live, speaking to his own followers, explaining to them why Obama would make such a good President. That's when I knew he would lose.
And Romney did get a boost in the polls after the debate in which he went after Obama, a tactic which as far as I could tell, he then abandoned.
I'm frankly quite tired of all of this false bravado the Republicans have been putting out ever since Benghazi. Either stop this two bit commie or shut up. Certainly he has broken a few federal laws in the last year that can be prosecuted by Congress? The Republican Leadership either needs to stop this imbecile or start looking for a new job. Maybe they can work for the Democrats to form welcoming parties for the numerous illegal aliens that have flooded the SW.ReplyDelete
I decided last year that I am done voting in Federal elections, since it is a pointless exercise. Obviously that's not going to change anything, but I don't want to add my voice, however small, to legitimizing the farce.ReplyDelete
At this point, it is all pretty much a fruitless exercise. Like RobertW, for the first time in my life, I did not vote in the last presidential election. The inmates are running the asylum and everything is out of control and bass-ackwards and upside down.ReplyDelete
One of the few men I see standing up on principle and doing something is Trey Gowdy. I respect that kind of man and will stand with him, but I think it is too little, too late. Only the hand of God can help us now so we better get our prayer on.
Another great piece, very true, but also very sad. It looks like we are almost inevitably and rapidly approaching a new Dark Age.ReplyDelete
The Left is motivated by envy and hatred. Its either just barely disguised or deeply hidden, depending on the issue, but its always there. It's often couched in a language of pseudomorality or false compassion and its always sold as a way to fix a problem in the near term, but its done with the long term intent on destroying society.
Why the established Republicans can't see it or won't fight it is a mystery to me, unless they are truly too ignorant to see it or are in politics for their own selfish motives. Their opposition to the Tea Party helped the Democrats belittle and diminish those who believe in the philosophical basis for the Republican Party (the US Constitution, fiscal responsibility, and maximizing personal liberty), thus making them collaborators in their own irrelevance and the decline of the US.
I pretty much agree with Daniel as well as most of the comments. Since the Left seems so invincible at the moment, it is just as important to remember that in time, the invincible always collapse under the weight of their arrogance. The Left lives to destroy. In the name of Purity, they will turn on each other. Each little soviet will come knocking wanting it's payoff. Each soviet will believe its purity to the "Cause" is more important than the rest. By their successes they will fail. It is a long term war and a way to be ready is to have people ready at each level of government, within every school board and classroom. The growing radicalization on college campus is a curtain pulled back showing the Left's soft underbelly. This intolerance will turn off many. Let the Left continue to show itself. Their actions are the best weapon for the Right and a weapon that we don't have to build or pay for.ReplyDelete
Daniel is quite correct here. Yet it goes far deeper than this. Consider that the American Revolution occurred during a time of exceptional government sickness, but the overarching culture was strong and healthy. Even in Britain, the culture remained vibrant and powerful, else the world-straddling British Empire would not have been possible.ReplyDelete
Today, we like in an era of both a diseased government and a moribund populace. Western culture is dying. The age of tyrants and neo-feudalism is ascendant, rather similar to the period following Diocletian in the Roman Empire. There is truly nothing new under the sun. Diocletian introduced price-fixing, guilds and a tightly-controlled currency. Following him, religious turmoil swept the dying empire just as anti-religious turmoil does so now. Great tyrants like Obama and Clinton are interspersed with slightly more competent reformers like Reagan. But the reformers are inadequate to the task of sweeping back the cultural changes.
Just as Roman martial spirit died out, so now does American martial spirit wither away. Deserters are sung as heroes. Veterans die waiting in line. A vast military budget is used to accomplish very little. Far from fighting to keep their arms, many citizens fear possessing them. Invaders pour across the borders, like the Goth settlers in the 5th century. A vague sense of saturnalia and maudlin infects the dying empire.
America is now Rome at the beginning of the 5th century. Let us hope there will be a Byzantium.
One aspect of the Republican Party which has kept up with the times long after its senescence set in is their "small donor fundraising outreach." I, typical of their former base but no longer for the reasons set forth in this cogent article, still receive up to ten pieces of mail and ten automated phone calls per week, but they haven't figured out we're not here anymore for them.ReplyDelete
The cause of the left's successes is philosophical, not organizational. When the collectivist morality is accepted, collectivist politics has to follow. And even the Right (except for us Objectivists) firmly embraces the collectivist morality: service to others, to society, to "the most vulnerable among us"--not rational self-interest.ReplyDelete
The pro-freedom side won't achieve any lasting victories until it proudly denounces the ideas of the Sermon on the Mount, and the whole self-despising morality dominant today. You can't combine the right to the pursuit of happiness with: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven., , , Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." You can't base a defense of profit-making on "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven."
Real morality, as opposed to the preceding, is based upon recognizing that your own life is your ultimate value--the source of all lesser values, of good and evil as such. "It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible." (Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness)
The House of Saud is not going to be overthrown by the US.ReplyDelete
They have run diplomatic rings around "the West" since Ibn Saud retook Riyadh in 1902. They have successfully bribed; cajoled; haggled; conquered; and killed all of their erstwhile opponents from England to the US to the Hashemites to the entire Arab/ Muslim world.
President Reagan, may his memory be a blessing, firmly entrenched their oil power in his successful efforts to destroy the former Soviet Union.
The House of Saud will most likely be overthrown by their own current bastard offspring of their own Wahhabist Death cult which has replaced normative Sunni Islam.
When you write "Islam is a religion which believes that order and justice come about when Muslims dominate non-Muslims," you are referring to the "old Islam" of the last 1400 years.
As Sunni Islam has been superseded by the Wahhabist Death cult heresy and Shia Islam in Iran has been taken over by the heretic Vilayat al Fiqh death cult, the call to arms is no longer against "the Far Enemy;" the "House of War;" the "West;" or even Israel. The unrighteous Jihad; the hirābah, is against Arabs and Muslims who refuse to follow the local despotic offshoot of these death cults which are attempting to establish their Final Imaginary Salafist Caliphate.
The orgy of death that is engulfing the Arab/Muslim world is simply an intensifying of the over 100 year old Great Arab/Muslim Sectarian Civil War.
Arabs and Muslims have been slaughtering Arabs and Muslims by the hundreds of thousands, if not millions for the last 100 years. The rest of the world - "the West;" Israel; etc. - is just a pimple on the butt of this great self immolation.
If a tribe or sect or faction "hurts" the "Far Enemy," they gain "street cred" and new followers to murder and destroy the "Near Enemy," their fellow Arabs and Muslims.
It should be self evident that "destroying their wealth and power" is a fool's game.
The leaders with "wealth and power" of much of the Arab world have indeed been destroyed and the resultant chaos has allowed every tinpot faction to rain destruction upon their particular dominion in their efforts to establish their own power.
From Tunis to Afghanistan, the Arab/ Muslim world is engaged in a rampage of religious and secular suicide. The death of Syria has just spread into Iraq where that particular "government" will likely disintegrate within the month.
The "winners" of this orgy of death will be those that can terrorize and kill the most Muslims and Arabs, not your "wealthy and powerful" leaders.
These crazies will, indeed, once more turn on the Far Enemy in order to bolster their demented followers with their power and we will once more be subjected to massive terror attacks by the amorphous Terrorists of Unspecified Beliefs and Goals.
If left unchecked, portions of planet Earth will be left uninhabitable and billions will die.
An element to your story that is missing is the expanding bureaucracy such as the EPA and Dept of Education, just to name a couple. These agencies are powerful and autonomous. They regulate and run our country without the approval of the electorate.ReplyDelete
Partisan politics is become a red herring used to create conflict. Its the way it is by design. The two parties are nothing more that a charade to distract people. Congress and the Presidency exist to deal with foreign policy and drive the agenda of these autonomous agencies.
Good article, but we already lost. The only hope we have is to carve out our own states where we actually can implement conservative ideas and then contrast our prosperity with the left. It's like East v. West Germany after WWII.ReplyDelete