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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Tea Party as Bogeyman

At the Weekly Standard, Jay Cost writes:
Goldman Sachs recently revised its 2012 economic forecast; it now sees growth ranging between 2 percent and 2.5 percent next year, and unemployment edging up to 9.25 percent. If this forecast turns out to be accurate, then Barack Obama will lose next year by a large margin, and scores of congressional Democrats will follow him down to defeat.
In response, Democrats need to focus the public on an enemy. The tea party is their target.

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is a fantastic movie because you do not see see the shark until you’re already well into the film, but eventually you see it. If you never did, the movie would have been forgotten long ago.

The Democrats are never going to be able to produce this terrible, villainous Tea Party for the world to behold. It will forever remain in the shadows, secretly making sure that nothing goes Obama’s way between now and Election Day. This makes for a very bad foil. There’s really no third act, no moment when Obama and the forces of light finally confront the Tea Party and its minions of darkness. Worse for the president, he does not get to square off against “the Tea Party” on the ballot. Instead, he will probably face Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, both of whom are living, breathing politicians with actual records, and no history of terrorism.

So yes, the Tea Party has become a red herring for the Democratic party and the liberals who dominate it, meant to distract the public from their own terrible record. Yet, as red herrings go, it is a pretty useless one – and a testimony to just how worried they are about next year.

Granted, disapproval of the tea party movement is on the rise. But whether or not this amorphous entity is popular, it remains a poor target, for the reason that Saul Alinsky explained:

The other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract such as a community's segregated practices or a major corporation or City Hall. It is not possible to develop the necessary hostility against, say, City Hall, which after all is a concrete, physical, inanimate structure, or against a corporation, which has no soul or identity, or a public school administration, which again is an inanimate system.