Thursday, August 26, 2010


I'm shaking my head at this passage from Amy Gardner's Washington Post story about the rally Glenn Beck will lead in D.C. on Saturday:

The disconnect between tea party groups and GOP electoral efforts has been viewed as evidence that the movement would struggle to translate its power into political results. Yet that disconnect could help draw activists Saturday who are unhappy with both major parties and would be reluctant to participate in a GOP event.

You're kidding. We're still talking about the teabaggers being "unhappy with both major parties"? Really? With the implication that that dissatisfaction is evenly distributed?

Oh, sure -- teabaggers say they're disappointed in the GOP. But they utterly despise the Democrats. Give a teabagger a gun, two bullets, and a locked room containing bin Laden, KSM, and Nancy Pelosi, and the teabagger will almost certainly shoot Pelosi twice.

And is Gardner seriously arguing that if the Beck/Palin rally featured a number of Republican speakers, the fanboys and fangirls who worship the talker and the ex-governor would stay away? "Oh, I love Glenn and Sarah to pieces, but Jim DeMint's going to be there, and I just refuse to go." Really?

And are we still arguing about whether teabag energy is going to have a pro-Republican impact at the polls? Oh, sure -- the 'baggers have foisted some candidates on the GOP who are going to have a hard time with the broader electorate in November. But what about the intensity of tea party rage in general? Does Gardner think this is entirely separate from the sharp uptick in enthusiasm among voters who plan to vote GOP? Does she think the 'baggers are in one corner, solemly hating both major parties, while all those GOP-leaning enthusiasts are completely tuning out the 'bag message and rallying exclusively to the stirring pronouncements of John Boehner and Eric Cantor?

Oh, and this line from Gardner's story is silly, too:

Also unanswered is whether Beck can pull off the connection to King without creating offense....

No, that question isn't unanswered -- the rally's connection to the Martin Luther King rally that took place on the same day and at the same site 47 years ago has already created offense, and (Beck's protests notwithstanding) was always intended to create offense. If there's a question, it's whether the rally can sustain plausible deniability about its deliberate offensiveness. Beck's goal is to prod and provoke liberals and African-Americans just enough that he'll be able to argue (at least to the right and center in the heartland) that any offense is undeserved because he's just an innocent, well-meaning patriot. It helps him immensely, of course, that the right-wing noise machine will fixate on any reaction to the rally that turns violent or rhetorically offensive, even if it's fleeting or isolated, while Beck and his cohort will have to go very, very far over the top before whatever offensive thing they say or do gets traction outside our isolated little HuffPost/MSNBC/left blogosphere world.

My guess is that we're going to spend the rally's aftermath arguing over crowd estimates, discussing whether a handful of hecklers at the rally are "disrespecting the troops" (Beck says troops a major rally focus -- way to politicize the military, Glenn), and gossiping about whatever schoolgirl taunt Palin makes the cenrterpiece of her speech. And King's dream will die a little more.

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