William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Tea Party, Birthers and anti-government types an asset for the Democratic Party

    One of the strangest things to watch in the mainstream media has been how hard they’ve strained to make anti-government protesters into a major national story.

    What’s even stranger is how this will continue to affect the political landscape. Because the Tea Party, Birther & anti-government sector of today’s far right are only going to strengthen the Democratic Party. Much like their ugliness and racism helped push Health Care Reform through Congress.

    There is a great truth about the fringe – they only connect with each other. So while the mainstream media may try and make the Tea Party and anti-government groups look like a monolithic grassroots uprising, the simple fact is this – it’s a relatively small bunch of political extremists yelling at each other. They convert no one that wouldn’t have voted Republican anyway

    The Tea Party crowed about the election of Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, until blunt reality hit home. Brown is a moderate Republican from a liberal state. And he has not received the credit deserved for his victory – he won because he ran an excellent campaign, while his opponent ran a miserable one. His was not a right-wing counter-culture victory whatsoever.

    In the end, elections and political momentum come down to one thing – the massive middle that takes only a cursory look at political issues. And when they see the Tea Party/Birther/Anti-Government types – Republicans all – on the news spewing ugliness and violence, they will continue to be turned off as hell.

    Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are terrified of coming off as leftist extremists. Say what you will, but they passed Health Care Reform, not the outlawing of private property. Call health care reform extremist at your own peril. And remember that Single-Payer was never even an option, and the public option didn’t even make it to the final bill.

    If the Democrats can pass the Reconciliation package to make this bill what they want, it will be a huge blow to Republicans. Because, along with the loss, their extremists will just get more extreme, until they all blur together as one.


    Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles



    I wish that I shared your confidence. But the extemism isn't new. It's been growing and evolving since the "New Right" became a force in the 1970s. You're right in a sense; it has turned off many people. That's why the entire northeast and west coast now vote reliably Democrat. But it has attracted at least as many people, which is why the south and the west now vote so reliably Republican.

    More importantly, by pushing the righthand limit of mainstream American politics further to the right, the extremists have succeeded in reorienting the center. While the Republicans may be out of office for the moment, blue dog Dems now occupy the political space that was once occupied by moderate Republicans, and the Dem left wing is now pretty much a one man Kucinich show. In the short run, the extremism may help out the Dems in 2010. But Republicans will return to power sooner or later, and when they do, I fear that that they will lead the most conservative government in a century.

    The only way that I see this trend reversing is through a fullscale backlash against extremist excess. That happened, for example, at the end of the Red Scare, when the country finally repudiated McCarthy, and his brand of paranoid extremism was banished to the fringe. But I don't think that we're close to that point, and I think that it will have to get pretty scary before we reach it.

    I dunno. Maybe the crazies have just been taking over my brain lately, but we don't seem to be moving in the direction of moderation.

    Since their inception the Teaparty crowd (not a movement since they do have the numbers or clout) have been “haters not debaters”. In my opinion this is what the small portions of the republican party of “birthers, baggers and blowhards” have brought you. They are good at “Follow the Leader” of their dullard leaders, they listen to Beck, Hedgecock, Hannity, O’Reilly, Rush and Savage and the rest of the Blowhards. Are you surprise at what they do when you know what they think? The world is complicated and most republicans (Hamiliton, Lincoln, Roosevelt) believe that we should use government a little to increase social mobility, now its about dancing around the claim of government is the problem. The sainted Reagan passed the biggest tax increase in American history and as a result federal employment increased, but facts are lost when mired in mysticism and superstition. Although some republicans are trying to distant themselves from this fringe most of them are just going along and fanning the flames. Lets face it the Republicans had 8 years to deal with health care, immigration and financial oversight and governance and they failed. They could not even win one of the two wars they started, the body bags are still coming in. The Republicans wanted to give Obama his Waterloo defeat over healthcare but instead they gave themselves their own Waterloo defeat by not participating in the debate of ideas and by becoming the party of obstructionist. But they now claim they have changed, come on, what sucker is going to believe that?


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