Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Lost his primary last night.

Lost his primary last month.

Lost his primary last month.

OK, we know that this resets the fame clock for filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger Jr. at 14:59 (he made all these ads, and now I guess it's pretty clear that the Palin 2012 campaign won't be returning his phone calls anytime soon). But besides that, what conclusions can we draw from the failure of all these guys?

They were all long shots (as Politico notes, Barber "ran a shoestring campaign") -- but I'm sure a lot of teabaggers don't understand why that should have been a problem. I'm sure they thought that just sending the word out through the tea party tribal drum of viral video should have been enough for victory (because teabaggers are, after all, the people).

The success of the tea party movement has spoiled them.

Up to now, the teabaggers have had it really, really easy. They gathered in their scruffy little groups and became an overnight phenomenon, and they think it's because they earned it. Oh, I'm sure a lot of them work hard -- but so do a hell of a lot of political activists, many if not most of them on the left, who don't get a thousandth of the attention for their causes.

You can tell me that the tea party movement is real and organic and grassroots and not Astroturf, but it doesn't matter, because the movement's path (particularly its path to media prominence) has been carefully smoothed by the like of Fox and FreedomWorks. The teabaggers think they're just living their lives and experiencing terrific results, but they're like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show -- powerful forces pave the way for everything they do, and they're completely oblivious.

Fox and FreedomWorks and the rest of the right didn't have a vested interest in the three guys in the videos above, because their slicker challengers were also right-wing Republicans. So the effortless success of the teabaggers wasn't so effortless.

The teabaggers will probably beat a lot of Democrats in November, and they'll think they did it on their own. But if the Christofs of the GOP establishment feel truly threatened by them, or feel they don't need them, they'll suddenly lose their magic touch. Because it's not their magic touch.

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