If you take your country, the USA, seriously, and if you take its politics and public policy debates seriously, you have to be somewhat concerned that an electorate who elected George W. Bush could conceivably elect Sarah Palin. I’m serious. While on the one hand I don’t think she has ever demonstrated any knowledge of the issues and she is a terrible public speaker — she can deliver snarky one-liners like asking President Obama: “how’s that hopey changey stuff working for you?” but not complete paragraphs — on the other hand, George W. was not much of a communicator and not much of a student himself.
But while I have nothing good to say about Palin herself, and while I tend not to think much of what I have heard so far from the so-called “Tea Party” set, I have come to the conclusion that what they are doing is healthy for the democracy — that is unless somehow they get Palin elected president one day. But it is healthy because both political parties — the establishment itself — needs a good shaking up.
The Republicans at this time seem to have the most to gain from the Tea Party movement, but it has been noted that it could come around to bite them in the posterior, for the tea partiers indicate they are in nearly just as much a mood to throw out rascal Republicans as Democrats. And also, since although a true political ideology is hard to identify among them, they do seem to come across as conservative to reactionary conservative, and that means the GOP is likely to move even farther right than it already has, thus alienating that many more folks who might not identify with Democrats but would find it hard to go along with an unbending attitude of the far right.
The Democrats would seem to have the most to lose from the Tea Party movement and I think it befuddles most of them. They’d like to curry their favor for votes, but it is hard to please any group that is just plain anti government (are they pro-anarchy?). Of course if the Tea Party splits up the GOP, then maybe the Democrats actually have the most to gain from the Tea Party.
But make no mistake about it, we do have a government that is unable or unwilling to control spending, but not borrowing, and piling up a staggering national debt, even in the face of declining revenues from a stagnant economy. And as far as public policy, the government at this times seems nearly dysfunctional.
People need to raise a fuss, and maybe that is what is happening via the loose-knit Tea Party group.
I think there are entities or special interests trying to take advantage and even take control of the Tea Party, but as far as I can determine from reading on the web it is a true and spontaneous movement.
Sarah Palin. I believe, should have had her 15 minutes (or so) of fame as the surprise VP candidate selection by John McCain and then faded out of memory. But those years of beauty pageants taught her something. You don’t have to actually learn anything much at school if you can learn how to profit by selling yourself (and I’m not referring directly to the world’s oldest profession). She may well have been surprised as much as anyone else when John McCain called her. And she had to know that she was ill prepared. But she quickly discovered she could cash in on fame and boy has she –book sales and public speaking engagements and a gig on Fox News. She quit being a political office holder, not enough money in it (although she surely would not turn down the presidency).
Palin is supposedly a political commentator on Fox News. Well, first of all, FOX News, as far as I am concerned is not even a legitimate news organization. It is a strictly for profit operation (with no higher journalism calling) that just happens to have created a niche with the reactionary right that brings in bo coup advertising dollars. I am pretty sure that no original thoughts come from Palin herself.
It was reported that she made some weird commentary to the effect that if President Obama were to get a little tougher with his foreign or defense policy, such as do something like declare war on Iran, he might get a lot more political support. Does Palin suggest we need to go to war with Iran? Or does she just want to be able to criticize him for not doing so (knowing full well she does not have to shoulder the responsibility for any such decision)?
(Personally, with the latest news reports that Iran is continuing with its work on nuclear weapons, I would say if what we are being told is true, let’s not make a lot of noise, let’s just take care of the situation with a pre-emptive strike and be done with it — the only rub being that we would have to depend upon our intelligence community, and it has not had a good batting record over the years.)
Anyone who adores Palin probably would not be reading this, but if they are, I challenge them to read any transcript of what she has said and say with a straight face that she has demonstrated she has an ability to put forth clear thoughts — and I mean get beyond the cheap one-liners.
David Gergen, noted political animal who works both sides of the fence, said that the Tea Party is a populist movement, but unlike the historical populist movements which were essentially liberal, this one is conservative.
Now in my own thinking, I may have an answer to why that is. In the past vast numbers of everyday Americans may have had a beef with the establishment. And when you want to change the status quo, you are a liberal. But the American experiment has been so successful that the bulk of society has worked its way up to so-called middle class (although just what that is is debatable). So now the problem is that the heretofore silent majority is afraid that they are losing ground. They have been comfortable until the most recent economic shock wave, so they do not want to change things; they want to preserve the status quo or what was the status quo. So the modern populist movement is conservative, being that conservative is the opposite of change.
(I hate to use the term middle class, because I have never been clear on exactly what it is, but it’s what we all wish we could at least call ourselves).
After Gergen said what he did, a Democratic spokeswoman opined (and I paraphrase) that although Palin seems to be the titular leader (no pun intended, but what the heck) or spokesperson for the Tea Party and has even indicated she might run for President in 2012, she would need the backing of Latinos and blacks and other groups that do not seem to be represented by the Tea Party (it’s fairly white so far), and that might turn the Tea Party fans against her.
The way it looks to me now is that if the economy improves measurably, and barring any other unforeseen circumstance, Obama could be re-elected.
But if not, if the economy continues to be dismal, he is in trouble. And since a good candidate is so hard to find, the whole nation could be in trouble if Palin is ever seriously considered as a choice for President of the United States (remember, she reportedly did not know there was both a North and South Korea and that Africa is a continent and not a single nation. And she was not even up to speed on the wars in the Middle East until her son went over there).
The Tea Party needs to guard against being captured by the likes of Paln or other opportunists. If it really is pure, it needs to remain so, and it will have a big effect. I think it probably already has.