Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tea Party Lesson Lost on the White House?

Like many…, the Morristown Tea Party was…an ad hoc affair…Still, it drew people from all around the state, generally considered a Democratic stronghold…From the occasional odd demonstration, it has become something of a small-scale national rebellion, driven less by partisanship than by a sense of frustration at the federal government’s spend-thrift ways….There is no small irony in the fact that much of the Tea Parties’ ire is directed at President Obama….his presidential campaign…inspired the idea that a “grassroots movement,” led by a former community organizer, could become a potent force in American politics….Jacob Laksin,, 4/16/2009

When the street theater of Vietnam war protests abruptly included tens, then hundreds, of thousands of middle class parents, it wasn’t theater any longer. It had become, rightly or wrongly, national politics. Instead of a marker for a line in the sand that Lyndon Johnson would not cross, it became a highly inconvenient invasion on his core constituencies. Within a year, his Presidency was in tatters, and Richard Nixon on the way to the White House. Johnson had missed a major political lesson. No matter how many tears were shed for the beneficiaries of your policies, if, as President, you fail to acknowledge your core, what Richard Nixon called “the silent majority,” they will come after you. Why?

Most of us are not much interested in national politics. It’s the nature of the our system, and has been for centuries. Generally, politics takes care of itself. As long as political beneficiaries don’t walk off with the core constituencies’ silverware and family cars, most folks just pay their taxes and get back to the business of earning a living, raising a family, having a little fun, and planning and saving for the future. When that basic lesson in national politics is forgotten, woe to the President with a poor memory, or with such bad teachers.


No comments: