The Tea Party movement moves on. We who attend its gatherings can attest to its spontaneity and ultimate political influence. To the chagrin of clueless liberals and an inbred media, its impact may help change the course of the nation.
It is not a Republican effort, although the GOP will benefit from it and has already in Virginia, New Jersey and even Massachusetts. It will not benefit Democrats except in constituencies where it may find a Republican candidate unacceptable and split the vote.
This will damage RINOs, not real conservatives. There is a temporary alliance between Tea Party independents and GOP candidates who reflect their views that will cause the nomination of more conservatives. How well they govern and how far they will actually succeed in changing the direction of the country will be the ultimate determination of the movement's success.
One impact observed throughout Arizona and elsewhere is the appearance of many new faces in the ranks of GOP candidates, along with many new activists. Most are of a high quality, higher than prior cycles. The local GOP is filling more precinct committee slots than they have in years, and they aren't coming from the League of Women Voters. When was the last time you saw over 500 people at a candidate forum for anything in February, let alone October?
Democrats have been living off Astroturf and a tone-deaf, lame stream media for so long they project onto anything real the techniques they've grown comfortable with, from phony letter drives to pathetic talk radio screamers like Ed Schultz who actually advocated voter fraud in Massachusetts to "preserve health care reform." Discussion of issues with most liberals quickly degenerates to them using name-calling and challenging the motives of those who disagree. Which leads me to ask, "how's that working out for ya?"
Some Tea Party leaders are still rightfully wary of the GOP, which has gone wobbly before. Their inclusion in its ranks will go far to increasing its backbone, but Tea Parties have others attempting to use them.
One local example was the sucking in of local Tea Party leaders by a prominent businessman who solicited their support in a recall effort of the Tucson mayor and two council members he began, and then unilaterally abandoned. That cost them credibility which would have been partially maintained had they at least denounced his basically perfidious actions. First rule of leadership is not to hang your followers out to dry.
Another threat is groups with superficially similar methods but based in a different epistemology. One of those is called Get Out of Our House, or GOOOH. It sets up local groups, charges fees, has a ranking system for members who are supposed to pick, apparently among those in each district, issues to rank candidates. Their initial issue list had a left-populist tilt including elimination of the electoral college, reducing inherited wealth, banning lawyers from public office and other unconstitutional eccentricities. My KVOI colleague Charles Heller considers them communitarian socialist.
Threats from GOOOH and others along with the GOP will be overshadowed by the basic good sense of the Tea Party goers themselves. They are not pitchfork populists. They are mainly constitutionalists. The greatest factor contributing to the movement besides the arrogance of the liberal establishment is that they reflect the ideas that have dominated the bestseller lists for several years, contained in a host of conservative books ignored by a snot-impacted elite.
Like their intellectual forefathers, this group of revolutionaries are literate and understand what they want their government to be. They will not be hustled easily. And they will not be going away.
Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.