Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Big Could It Get?

I was reading recently some liberal acquaintances parroting the current Democratic talking points: that the opposition to President Obama is all racism and/or astroturf organized by the insurance companies.

Poor dears. They are really in "denial," as they like to call it. They have to believe that the opposition to the president is all a cooked-up deal.

Let's be honest, here on the right. We don't know how big this is, and how big it will get. Nobody does.

But if you ask me this is the biggest thing since the anti-war movement of the 1960s.

Let's review the big Republican political years of the recent past.

Starting the 1970s we have had the pro-life movement. It has been solid and persistent, but it has never gone viral.

Starting in the late 1970s we had the Moral Majority and the Christian Right. But it was top-down, run by Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

In 1980 we saw the Reagan Democrats taking over the Republican primary process. But this was top-down politics organized by the Reagan campaign.

In 1994 we saw the Year of the Angry-White Male, as Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay organized the Republican takeover of Congress. But this was top-down politics also.

The thing about the Tea Party and the Town Hall movements is that nobody saw them coming. Our Democratic friends are all busy looking under their beds for a new militia movement (yeah, remember them?). They want it to be Southern racism redux. They want it to be neo-McCarthyism. Yes, really! Liberal columnist Richard Cohen wrote recently about echoes of McCarthyism in Sarah Palin's "death panel" remarks,

But the truth is that this is new, it is spontaneous, and nobody knows where it may lead.

It may sputter out if the Democrats pass on death panels and the public option. Or it may not. It may already be too late for that.

The Democrats may have woken a sleeping giant.

The fact is that health care provision in the United States is not what ordinary middle-class Americans would like if they had their druthers. It is a product of politics, which means that it is helping politicians get elected, not helping people get health care. If the American people get the idea that they can change health care by grass-roots political organizing, and if a movement gets to critical mass... Well, nobody knows nuttin'.

The movement could revive the Republican Party, or it could transform it. It could send change the balance of power in Congress, in 2010 and send a new President to the White House in 2012 or it could blow up tomorrow.

But the fact is that we've never seen anything like this on the right. Not in anyone's lifetime.

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