Jim Geraghty, on the deliberately decentralized nature of the Tea Parties:
The whole point of this movement is that these people hate being told what to do.
To pile on, it has been fascinating to watch liberal Democrats so comprehensively sabotage what was one of their greatest advantages in the political sphere: to wit, “Rightie don’t march.” Conservatives thought that they hated activism. We were proud about hating activism. “Do I smell like a patchouli-reeking hemp nut?” “There are better ways to meet girls.” “That’s something that they do.” “Marching around with signs never accomplished anything – look at the peace movement.” And, of course, the classic put-down:
“How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever something upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever something upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch flag?”
“We have jobs,” said Andy.
Annnnnnnd that would be the problem, right there. Because the hidden deal that the Right made with the Left in all of this was that if they wanted us to leave the marching and the megaphones and the signs and the slogans and the organized protests (and, yeah, the costumes and the theatrics and the camera-friendly stunts) to them then the Left had better reciprocate by making sure that we still had jobs. But apparently that deal no longer applies… and a bunch of people have now discovered that hey, this activism thing is kind of fun and gets them out into the fresh air on a regular basis, which they’ve been meaning to do anyway.
The long-term implications of that last realization will be playing out over the next twenty years. Particularly once the Left fully internalizes their realization that there was a reason why their operating economic/cultural paradigm of Big Government Solutions was never able to spark a true populist movement…
PS: All of this alarms the folks on the Other Side, of course – which is why they never pass up a chance to go after the Tea Parties. Both by attacking its head – which typically spectacularly fails, because it doesn’t have one – and more generally by attacking its members. Bob Heinlein once said something to the effect that you can judge the worth of an intellectual instantly by asking him what he thinks of astrology; I submit that you can determine just how “independent” and “iconoclastic” a particular “counter-culture” type really is by asking a bunch of them what their opinion is on the Tea Party. You’ll soon notice a remarkable lack of variation in the negative responses.