Welcome one and all to the most intense nightly read anywhere on the ‘sphere… The BitsBlog Nightly Ramble
This is the Tea Bag Edition
Lots going on, today. I’m not stupid enough to try and grab it all, but here’s a few bits of it.
- Tea as medicine: My wife, when she was growing up, often said that whenever she had a stomach ache, a cold, whatever, her Mom would always give her a cup of tea to smooth things out. She ended up regarding tea as Medicine and never got into the idea of drinking it, as one would coffeee, Cocoa, or whatever. A little frustrating, really, because I often enjoy some Earl Grey, Constant Comment, or whatever. My desk drawer, both at home and at work, always and forever smells of the rather unique combo of whatever tea I happened to have stored there, recently. I think that’s a wonderful metaphor, for today; Tea as Medicine for what ails the nation. Apparently a lot of others are struck with it as well, based on the reports I’m getting.
- A Mea Culpa: Today’s happening, with some 800+ Tea Parties listed on the web as happening around the country has prompted a timely mea culpa of sorts from Rick Moran . I was one of the ones who took a bite out of Rick’s backside when he pooh-poohed the tea party phenom some time back. Frankly, I always expected this would happen. Rick’s just too damned honest to not make such a comment, now. Back then,Rick said:
If this really was the beginnings of something profound that was tapping into the rage of the American people, there would have been not 300 but 30,000 people screaming their opposition to spendthrift Obama. People would have taken off from their jobs, bundled up against the cold, walked, rode, took the bus, or crawled their way to a protest if they were truly fed up and ready to throw the Democratic rascals out.Instead, we get 40 events that remind me of the old Mickey Rooney Andy Hardy movies where he and Judy Garland would put on a show to save someone’s business or house. “Hey kids! Let’s put on a show!” was Rooney’s battle cry in those movies and it is an apropos slogan for the effort that went into promoting these tea parties.
When you get some money, organization, professionalism, and a little more realism, come back and see me.
Now, however, he says
Well, there still isn’t much organization and little professionalism, but it turns out that I was the one lacking realism. I failed to grasp the excitement this idea generated and how it would animate the grass roots to actually get out of their chairs and do something about the creeping statism and generational theft being perpetrated by the Obama Administration. I also failed to give any credit to the thousands of ordinary citizens who, without any help from an organized political structure and with little or no money, managed to organize around 800 of these tea parties, and make a virtue out of their inexperience by being imaginative and working hard. In the end, results count. Today will see uneven results from venue to venue but overall, will no doubt be judged a success – if not by the media then by the movement itself.
(Note to our lefty friends: By the time Fox News got around to mentioning the tea parties, more than 500 had been announced. To believe that FNC is “behind” the tea parties is delusional. Any publicity they give is, I’m sure, appreciated by the organizers. But what does it say about the “reality based community” when they so easily slough off reality in favor of paranoia and fantasy?)
But my concern in February, as it is now, is that the rhetoric about what the tea parties will accomplish will not match the reality of what actually occurs. Exaggerated claims of “revolution” as appear on the PJTV site are not only unrealistic but defeat the purpose of the movement by scaring otherwise sympathetic people off. Most Americans probably do not want “revolution” nor are they necessarily in tune with the goals of the tea party – not when 71% of Americans approve of Obama’s handling of the economy. The best that can be said is the that success of the tea parties show that many Americans are uneasy about this administration’s actions in spending our way to oblivion and that higher taxes for everybody are a dead certainty as a result.
I’ll admit at at the time; I was torn on the subject, myself, but finally concluded if there was too much professionalism in the look of it, we’d be even more ignored than we ultimately have been, so far. the claim would be that it was all set up by the RNC, or Fox or Scafe, or someone. That, and the idea that grassroots efforts are always more effective than top-down stuff, kept me in the tea party camp. The more I look around, though, the more I recognize that what’s happening, here, is more real than what gets tossed at us on the news every night. Rick under-estimated at the time, and I suspect still does, albeit to a lesser degree, the amount of anger there is out there. Any measurement of such anger must be tempered with the understanding that, as I said a few weeks back, Conservatives, generally speaking don’t protest things, particularly on work days. They’ve got jobs and families to provide for. They’re not getting paid by unions and other groups to carry pre-printed signs. By their very nature, they’re not as inclined toward public displays of anger as our lefist bretheren. 
Also there’s the factor of mistrust of the polling agencies who insist that Obama has 71% support numbers on the economy. It’s my guess that such numbers are both tilted in the reporting, and fragile at their base, and will as a result of both, fall markedly very soon. I hasten to add that we shouldn’t ignore the bandwagon effect.
Put another way, and twisting the ‘grass roots’ metephor, it’s my read that the grass has been awfully dry for a long while, and will catch fire very fast, once the match is struck. And we did that today.
I think I should point out in fairness to Moran, that his real concern, as I read it, his real concern is the effectiveness of the Tea Party movement, and that, I think depends to some degree on how the press receives it, and reports it. I’ll tell you this; I think the press, as Moran did, under-estimates the amount of anger out there. If they refuse to give this happening the weight it deserves… and the indications are that they’re already trying mightily to ignore it, they relegate themselves to irrelevance. Truth to tell, they were already on the path to it, as evidenced by the New York Times and other news orgs going down hill. If the Dinosaur news agencies that remain ignore this happening, today, they’ll be in effect adding rocket power to the irrelevance -bound sled. Fox, it should be said, has been doing the best job of any of them, but one gets the impression they’re doing it out of self-preservation, much as any other motivation.
- Guess who’s coming to tea? Reports from the DC protest (One such from Melissa Clouthier) are that lefty frother Jane Hamsher  showed up. The look on her face at the sheer size of the thing must have been utterly precious. It was raining, there, I hear, too.
- Comments from several: I wonder if we’ll get the inflated turnout numbers reorted, that the ‘Million Man March’ did….
- Anger is a strength: Our liberal freinds got strong and unified because they got angry. Think about it; every major political group in history, good and bad, became powerful because someone stepped over the line somewhere. So it is, here. There’s a lot of anger in this movement. In reality the anger has been building for some time, now. That’s why DHS put out that report I mentioned yesterday . Those currently in government are afraid of the electorate. Which is as it should be. As a people, we tend to under-estimate our power over events, until such time as a line gets crossed, one day, and we stand up, making use of our spine, and we find in the doing, that we are stronger than we thought possible.
- Everyone knows the American Legion is a terrorist group: Speaking of that DHS nonsense, I note the American Legion has sent a letter to DHS demanding an apology. This Ain’t Hell has details.  Here again, anger.
- Silence! I warn you, however, that the first reaction of government will be to try and shut us up. As an example, consdier Obama nominee Harold Koh. National Review‘s Ed Whelan writes last week:
But, Koh warns in a footnote, “our exceptional free speech tradition can cause problems abroad, as, for example, may occur when hate speech is disseminated over the Internet.” The Supreme Court “can moderate these conflicts by applying more consistently the transnationalist approach to judicial interpretation” that Koh advocates (and which I’m exploring in an ongoing series of posts on Bench Memos). Gee, I wonder what that would mean for our pesky First Amendment distinctiveness.
Personally, I wonder why this isn’t getting mroe attention from the right, myself. Perhaps it’s simply a product of there being such a target rich environment where Democrats are concerned, these days.
- Sustainability: Joyner, today:
In “Fiat CEO: Cut Wages or No Chrysler Deal ,” I detail how the Obama administration’s attempt to shepherd a shotgun marriage between Chrysler and Fiat appears to be in serious trouble. Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is demanding major concessions from labor unions before agreeing to any deal â€” and is offering next to nothing in return….
If the point of the bailout is either to 1) save an important American company or 2) prop up one of the last remaining vestiges of highly paid, union manufacturing jobs, it’s not looking so good.
That’s because this was never about saving the automobile business. Liberals have always always always been down on American business, so why would this occasion be any different?
What this has always been about was saving the UAW… which was never sustainable, absent huge import duties on foreign cars. Gas prices going up didn’t help matters, either, nor did the ever increasing scope of governmental regulation on the auto industry, which is in the end failing for the same reasons trains did… Governmental over-regulation.
Irony abounds. the UAW suffers from the worldview of the party they work so hard to keep re-electing.
In the end, the unions have to fall for the business to survive. Fiat’s smart enough to see that, and outside politics enough to be able to say it without causing themselves governmental backlash issues.
Cheers to them, I say.