On Meet the Press yesterday, Grover Norquist made a prediction:
"We are about to have a Tea Party second wave that will dwarf the first wave and that is because while 'spend too much' brought the Tea Party into existence, we're about to walk into 'spend too much, regulate too much, and tax too much,' all together. It's going to be a perfect storm of annoying government behavior, which is devastating to the economy, and I think the small business community which is particularly hit by Obama's tax increases are going to lead the fight bigger, stronger, tougher than the last Tea Party."The original tea party wave would have amounted to nothing if deep-pocketed billionaire Astroturfers hadn't bought the movement a place at the table, deploying cash, organizational aid, and huge amounts of media publicity, particularly on Fox. Whatever the tea party movement may have been in its very early days, the movement is a product of Right-Wing Billionaire World. And, yes, those folks didn't do very well when it came to trying to elect a president this year. They were wise, I think, to mothball the radical, frequently crazy and racist tea party agitation, but teabag-friendly ideas were albatrosses around the GOP's neck.
But they know they succeeded in the 2010 midterms. And since the right doesn't care about governing, or taking responsibility for the proper stewardship of America, they're already fixated on 2014 and wondering if the Obama turnout machine might falter again in an election without Obama on the ballot. So would they try to revive the tea party brand? Is that their plan -- to replicate 2009 and 2010 in the next two years, in the hope that the 2014 midterms will be dominated by the conservative old white people Gallup and Rasmussen see as extremely likely voters?
It's clear that congressional Republicans are going to try to prevent Obama from governing from the inside, which is what they did in Obama's first term, and is what the teabaggers tried to do to Obama and the Democrats from the outside in 2009 and 2010. Paul Krugman writes:
Oh, boy. This isn't going to end, even when or if a deal is reached on defusing the austerity bomb; John Boehner has just declared that he's going to hold the full faith and credit of the United States hostage every time we hit the debt limit.I think Republicans are hoping for exactly the opposite, at least on the left and center: they want liberal and moderate voters to be demoralized again in 2014, while right-wingers are fired up. Would they use the tea party again to get there? And will Democrats learn from what worked this year and didn't work two years ago?
... if the next two years are, as they seem likely to be, one long Republican tantrum, the 2014 election is not going to be a normal midterm. It will instead be a referendum on GOP obstructionism, which may attract a lot more attention -- and much higher turnout -- than normal.