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.