Saturday, February 13, 2010

Glenn Reynolds: What I Saw at the Tea Party Convention

The godfather of the blogosphere, Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), has penned an interesting piece on what he observed at Tea Party convention in Nashville for the Wall Street Journal. The article has been buzzing all throughout the blogosphere. Here are some highlights:

"There were promises of transparency and of a new kind of collaborative politics where establishment figures listened to ordinary Americans. We were going to see net spending cuts, tax cuts for nearly all Americans, an end to earmarks, legislation posted online for the public to review before it is signed into law, and a line-by-line review of the federal budget to remove wasteful programs.

These weren't the tea-party platforms I heard discussed in Nashville last weekend. They were the campaign promises of Barack Obama in 2008.

Mr. Obama made those promises because the ideas they represented were popular with average Americans. So popular, it turns out, that average Americans are organizing themselves in pursuit of the kind of good government Mr. Obama promised, but has not delivered. And that, in a nutshell, was the feel of the National Tea Party Convention. The political elites have failed, and citizens are stepping in to pick up the slack." 

That's just a taste of the rather insightful and candid article. The werewolf has only written briefly about the Tea Party movement as he is still trying to get his paws around what it really means. The roots can be traced back to the nascent days of the Obama administration during Rick Santelli's famous live rant from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange almost a year ago. The ideas driving the Tea Party have played a huge role in the recent GOP victories in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia. However, it seems the criteria for being a Tea Partier have little to do with traditional conservative causes around social issues or foreign policy and there is no official litmus test for membership. The tired template of rabid right-wing populist extremism that certain media outlets are pimping is poor analysis at best or bigoted bias at worse. Skepticism of an ever-expansive government apparatus seems to be the primary driver. Reynolds offers a great road map to a better understanding of the Tea Party phenomena, but the the werewolf is still unsure how to measure to scope and scale of the Tea Party movement as a new dimension on the American political landscape. It'll be a treat to watch and analyze. 

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