Will the GOP Wake Up and Smell the Tea?

May 13, 2010 19:15

The GOP is being given that rarity in politics, a second chance. There will not be a third. Learn the lesson of Robert Bennett, or go to the wall.

By J.R. Dunn at American Thinker

It’s a painful thing to imagine Robert Bennett over the past few days, sitting alone in a darkened room, staring off into space wondering what hit him and whistling Nick Cave’s “There She Goes My Beautiful World” over and over again.

It happened quickly. Events in politics aren’t supposed to happen that quickly. It came out of nowhere, with next to no warning at all. Even a few weeks ago, there was little sign that Bennett was in trouble. Then the spirit of 2010 suddenly rose out the darkness and took him down.

It also wrong-footed the chattering classes, most of whom have echoed that master of analysis David Brooks in sputtering, “It’s an outrage.” From a certain point of view, perhaps so. But outrages don’t occur for no reason. After Bennett, three things can be said with certainty:

That the Tea Party movement is in no way a partisan phenomenon.

That it is not a minor event, one of those weird little upheavals common to democracies such as the Perotista uproar of the 90s, which appeared, wreaked havoc, and then vanished leaving no measurable effect on national politics.

That it is not simply a revolt. As the Duc de la Rochefoucauld explained to Louis XVI one fine July morning: “No sire, it is a revolution.”

The Tea Parties were well named. Like the Committees of Correspondence of the 1770s, they are the leading edge of a revolutionary change in American politics, one that has been gathering force for decades. This is the third wave foreshadowed by the Reagan Revolution of the 80s and the Gingrich Revolution of the mid-90s. It is a widespread national revolt against managerialism, administrative government, liberal paternalism, and the policies they embody.

The Reagan and Gingrich revolutions were aimed at the same targets. Other similarities exist as well, but the differences are just as profound. The previous movements were limited by party; as the Bennett ambush reveals, this one is not. They were doctrinal in basis; this one based almost purely on principle. They were only partially successful. And this one…?

Neither party yet grasps any of this. The Dems are in the position of a chicken in the middle of a thruway gazing bladly at an oncoming eighteen-wheeler. The only question is who will brush the feathers off the road?

The Republican stance is more complicated and problematic.


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