Who Shall They Blame?
There has been a sudden wave of attacks by the DC establishment against Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. You know something is afoot when forces of the elites of left and right begin to unite, with Bill O’Reilly, and his recent mini-me, Laura Ingraham, along with all the other usual suspects, aligning with such leftist jackals as Maureen Dowd, who today compares the Tea Party members of Congress to suicide bombers. Foxnews is busily hustling Tea Party critics into their studio and via live feed, to claim that the Tea Party is to blame for our current crisis. With Foxnews having secured a lock on many Republican minds, they’re now free to push stories fitting the corporate messaging in service to the DC establishment.
Presidential candidate and Representative Thaddeus McCotter appeared onscreen in the well of the House to urge Tea Party members to “grow up.” Cut back to the studio, and former Harry Reid aid Penny Lee explains in exasperated tones that the Tea Party is too single-minded and inflexible. The week’s Washington meme continues to spread, and it has exactly two targets. Laura Ingraham was nearly bursting to tell us that Palin was wrong to call out Tea Party freshmen who supported the Boehner bill. Penny Lee showed her hand, positioning Sarah Palin as the problem. She called Palin “irresponsible” for urging Tea Party members of the House to oppose the Boehner plan. That’s right, I want you to think about the true meaning of this revelation: An allegedly conservative talk-host, in place of Bill O’Reilly, and a former lackey to Harry Reid shows up on Foxnews to attack the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, in defense of the Speaker Boehner’s plan. Hint: Boehner and Reid are leaders of [allegedly]adversarial parties.
As I said, when you begin to see this sort of union between alleged adversaries, you must know that something else is going on. There’s no disguising it any longer. The battle lines being drawn aren’t between Republicans and Democrats, or even between so-called RINOs and conservatives. The fault line is a good deal larger than that, and it threatens a ground-shift large enough to entirely reform the GOP as you’ve known it.
What the American people should take from all of this isn’t the media narrative that the Tea Party is a pack of wild government-haters, or that Sarah Palin is somehow the ‘queen hobbit,’ but instead that under the current establishment dominating Washington on both sides of the aisle, there is a two party system, but it is not the parties you’d thought. At this point, it isn’t so much Democrats versus Republicans as it is the entire DC beltway establishment versus the rest of us. In the unveiling of this new Axis-of-Evil, what we find is that Democrats and Republicans, along with their respective shills in the media, are suddenly willing to unite in order to defend America as they command it against that greatest of all threats to their vision: Americans.
Discussing this development over coffee with a friend this morning, I was asked, pointedly: “Okay, but why Sarah Palin, and not Michele Bachmann? Isn’t she a Tea Party candidate too?” I chuckled and explained to my friend that unlike Sarah Palin, who is independent of and from the DC-insider crowd, Michele Bachmann is effectively one of their number. Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus in Congress doesn’t exist so much to forward the aims of the Tea Party position as it does for the House Republican leadership to better control and shape and guide it. In all likelihood, Michele Bachmann may not even realize it, but she’s never had a particularly thorough grasp of the obvious. As our conversation wound down, and we prepared to part company, the friend’s smart-phone went off with a news flash: Bill Maher endorsed Michele Bachmann over Sarah Palin. My friend turned the phone so I could read the headline, and said with a note of conceding confirmation: “Well, you said it. We now know the fix is in.”
One of the other questions my friend had asked that bears a further examination is: “Why is Sarah Palin different? She’s a Republican, isn’t she? So why do they see a threat from her?” My friend hadn’t been able to tear away from work to go see The Undefeated with us when we made the long drive to Grapevine, but that film answers it as clearly as can be: Sarah Palin is not a Republican in the way we’ve come to think of the circles of Republican power-brokers. Instead, she’s the sort of Republican we envision when we think about ordinary Americans and America. In short, she’s truly more loyal to what America is and has been, and to what real Americans believe, than she is to any party’s establishment. For Sarah Palin, the Republican party has served as a vehicle to advocate for America, and for Americans, but it isn’t the final destination. If the GOP runs afoul of American ideals, she’s the sort who will immediately seek to set it straight.
In truth, this is what characterizes the Tea Party too. Contrary to the media myths designed to scare Republicans, Independents, and not a few centrist Democrats away from the Tea Party, the Tea Party is an expression of these same American ideals, which explains why so many of them are actually either former Republicans or even current Republicans, who have decided the party’s excuse-making simply isn’t good enough any longer. Never completely comfortable with some of the corporatist tendencies of those at the top of the party, Tea Party members seem no longer willing to bow down to them.
This makes the Tea Party Palin’s natural constituency. Less concerned with party labels, or what the media permits may be possible, they concern themselves with a singular goal: The restoration of the representative, constitutional republic. The very notion of the resurgence of true conservatism is anathema to the clique of progressives who manage the Republican party. In truth, while at times a few rare Republicans have risen to re-direct the GOP back to that sort of course, notably Ronald Reagan, what’s often forgotten is that predominately, most of the Republicans of the last century have been merely right-leaning progressives.
That notion of governance has never found widespread acceptance among actual conservatives, who have always looked with a raised eyebrow at some of the antics of the progressive wing of the party. This tension in the Republican party served to elevate Ronald Reagan to the White House, too, and while the Republican establishment claims him, it is nevertheless a sort of tepid, grudging admission that “the Gipper” had it right. They spent much of his presidency attempting to co-opt him, but they know they will have no such chance in a prospective Palin administration. You can identify these slack-jawed progressives, as they pounce on every political sea change, great or small, to let you know the “era of Reagan is over.” If that era is over, Americans haven’t noticed, as time after time, the American people now thoroughly recognize the historical impact of Reagan.
It’s in this context that the DC axis now goes to war, simultaneously against the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. They see the seeds of a greater movement flaring, and it’s their full intention to stamp it out. With it looking increasingly likely to pundits that Sarah Palin will jump in, after months of sneeringly assuring you she won’t, the full-court press to defame her is back on, either directly, or by association with the Tea Party, and it’s coming to its fully offensive vigor. When the establishment heard, as reported here Friday, that Rush Limbaugh told his millions of listeners, in defending Tea Party principles on-air that “We’re all Sarah Palin now,” the DC consortium of establishment progressives, both Democrat and Republican, went screaming onto the airwaves in any outlet they could obtain a moment’s attention, to tell audiences of Republicans and Independents that the Tea Party is bad and Sarah Palin is not to be trusted.
What the establishment crowd never seems to sort out is that with the state of the Union being what it is, with the economy already sliding off the cliff into something like a permanent depression as revealed by Friday’s GDP reporting, it’s too late to avoid the consequences of their actions and inaction, but it’s never too late in Washington to shift the blame. The American people have begun to wake up, and what they’re noticing is not that Sarah Palin is the problem, or that the Tea Party is to blame, but that progressives in Washington have been our perennial and persistent problem, irrespective the particular party to which they may be attached.
This recognition is catching fire among one of America’s most sought-after cultural, economic, and political segments: Those at, above, or within twenty years of retirement age, have begun to step forward with courage usually reserved to the brash and the young, to question the course of the country under the direction of the elites in the GOP. Naturally more conservative, but far more thorough in their understanding of the issues at stake, this demographic seems poised to reassert control, if only they’ll speak up. After all, in truth, these are the adults in the room, but unlike generations past, this segment is now finding its voice. Increasingly, they’re using it, and they’re re-establishing bonds with the younger generations from which they’ve been isolated intentionally, by DC planners, and they’re streaming into social media in a way not ordinarily associated with the more mature crowd.
Neither is it accidental that rather than fulfilling the media template that’s been created in the Axis of the Establishment, they’re better educated, more discerning, and far more politically adept and savvy than the narrative admits. They’re more patient information-gatherers, and more accustomed to considering a broader range of information in forming their own opinions. They’re also more prepared by a lifetime of experience to recognize when they’re being ‘played.’ They’ve suspected this for some time, but now they’re coming to know it with a forthright certitude about the motives of the man behind the curtain. Increasingly, despite their position of recently-disparaged respect in their communities and their families, they’ve begun to rise in voice and in volume against the ill tide afflicting our nation and its people. Most of all, what this group does reliably these days is to vote. They’re still opinion leaders in their families and communities, and their influence is increasingly palpable. No longer satisfied to leave the management of the country to false promises and falsified intentions, they constitute a vigorous element, perhaps the driving element, of the Tea Party movement.
For my part, I am at the younger end of this group. I’ve paid attention to these issues since I was a teen, and I loved little as much as, when still a teenager, to be reminded by my own grandmother of the sort of America that existed before the rise of the so-called “progressives.” The Axis of DC-Evil would have us believe that such an America no longer exists, and that it isn’t possible to restore it, but I see in the eyes of my own daughter, and her husband too, a longing to return not to the technology of yesteryear, but instead to the sort of culture that had made all our advancements possible. That America isn’t dead, though official Washington wishes it were so. It’s alive in me, and despite the increasing groans from my aging joints, I’m far from dead. I can still stand. That America lives on in our children and grandchildren too, despite all the attempts of the popular culture to cleave them from us. Americans sense it not only in the ideals of the Tea Party, but also in the person of Sarah Palin. As I survey the battlefield, I see millions of Americans rising to stand with me.
Not accustomed to activism, this is the moment for this movement to begin its own drumbeat, but rather than fighting it out in the mass media, already owned or at least controlled and dominated by the progressives’ Axis of the Establishment, we’re seeing something quite different this time. In many millions of one-on-one conversations, or talks with neighbors and family, this too-long-silent majority is beginning to flex its moral and philosophical muscle. That prospect represents a real hope for a national restoration. No longer willing to be casually mocked by the pop-culture taunts, I recently found good cause to smile while in observance of one fleeting moment of revelation.
In the entry-way at Walmart, I was waiting with the cart, for my wife to catch up, she having stopped briefly to examine some item on our way out of the store. On the little public bulletin board there were posted some bits of Tea Party literature, and a woman roughly my age was looking at items on the board. Her two increasingly impatient teen daughters, noticing the direction of their mother’s gaze, clearly wanted to get on to the next stop on their shopping itinerary. One, rolling her eyes, and looking at the other, said “Pff… Tea Party?” The other answered, “Yeah…Lame.” In a head-spinning maneuver reminiscent of the exorcist, the woman spun to her daughters with a look of hurt and indignation demanding: “Who in the hell has been polluting your brains? Are you really calling me lame, or is it that you didn’t know I’m in the Tea Party, too?” The two girls looked searchingly to one another, in the hope that the other would speak first, but in near unison, they admitted, “well, that’s what people are saying.” Unmoved by the trite explanation, Mom now roused from her cheerful Saturday outing with her daughters, further demanding: “What people?”
After a moment of silence from the two, the mother stated more calmly: “It looks like we need to talk. Busy as I’ve been, I guess I need to spend more time talking to you two about some things.” Her tone was just grave enough to evoke a response from first one, and then the other: “What things, Mom?” and “Why, what’s going on?” Leading them out the door and into the parking lot, as she passed me, I could not help but notice two things, one of them at first hidden from view by position, and the other concealed only slightly by her determination not to loose her frustrations too publicly: On the shoulder strap of her purse was affixed a button bearing a name and the image of a grizzly. Over her shoulder, to her daughters, she issued a knowing poke: “It’s time that the two of you learned what’s going on, and why this country is on the verge of disaster.”
These sorts of incidents are increasing in frequency, but short as their duration may be in the public eye, it’s almost certain to be true that away from prying eyes and listening ears, parents and grandparents alike have begun their own quiet campaign in opposition to the media culture. That is what may be the most disturbing trend the DC intelligentsia have identified: Little by little, in families, church groups, and among neighbors, there’s a grass-fire kindling that threatens to unseat all of them. The audiences aren’t large, but the proponents need no television to reach their target audience. They live with them, worship alongside them, and talk over the fence with them. It’s this that the Washington Axis is seeking to quench and stamp out, but they’re powerless except by the absence or silence of those adults in the room, who after all, really do know better.
This is the nature of the escalating war against Sarah Palin and the Tea Party. Not controlled by the corporate masters who have had some hand in guiding Republican politics, the Tea Party and Sarah Palin represent an abiding threat to the DC elites. In no hurry to concede control to “the little people,” the Beltway Axis is banding together in a last-ditch effort to banish both Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, to prevent them from reclaiming for Americans the seat of national power. It’s here the battle lines are drawn, and if history is a guide, to the home army goes the advantage. It’s our country, and there’s little left but for us to rise and re-establish that. Nothing frightens the Washington elites more.