Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Leaves

I know that there was a Tea Party yesterday evening at the Capitol, despite the, shall we say, circumspect coverage of it from some local media. I also know that there were quite a number of people there. While I've already voiced my skepticism about these events before, now that they have happened, the next step is to see if the protests turn into something more than just a one-day event.

Conservatives are, in the main, involved in politics on the Cincinnatus model. They get involved when they see something that needs doing, then they return to their plow. There are certainly plenty of conservative political junkies around, and it seems like every single one of them has a blog, but you don't tend to see that many conservative political activists around.

There have always been more liberals involved in politics in this country, for the obvious reason that a lot of liberals tend to make politics their life's work. When you watch the campaigns at the local level, this becomes especially clear. In our house district (50B), if you see Republicans out dropping literature or knocking on doors, you can almost be certain that the volunteers are people who live in the district. The DFLers always have plenty of hessians from Minneapolis and St. Paul. Friends of this blog have seen people like Phyllis Kahn out doing literature drops in our neighborhoods. It's more than just an interest for many on the other side of the aisle.

One feature of the Tea Parties as they played out is that they were expressly non-partisan and, in some cases, just as critical of the GOP as they were of the Democrats. That's understandable, given the way the Republican majorities acted during the Bush administration. But can a non-partisan movement gain enough adherents to force change in what is a two-party system? Or do folks have to choose? That's a far more interesting question. And it's something we have to talk about.

2 comments:

Gino said...

conservatism in this country is a very diverse thought pattern.
i can say, from experience in the trenches years back, unitiing them is not unlike herding cats.

we all may agree something needs fixin. thats easy.
what we cant unite behind is what the most correct solution is.

look at any presidential GOP debate, and you can see this.

liberals, on the other hand, all agree that the answer is more of what there already is.

this tea party thing has nowhere to go, in my opinion. there is no party to take the demands to the next level.
with the failure of the GOP to act on its words in the past, and the present day, we already know how a vote in that direction is a wasted one.
i suspect all this activity will not end at the voting booth, but end up staying home for lack of a reliable truck to hitch the wagon to.

Mark Heuring said...

Gino,

I agree with you. And that's the problem. If conservatives sit it out, we get what we have now. If we vote in "moderate" Republicans, we get an ersatz version of what we have now.

We're not the only ones trying to square this circle. It's tough.