At just past eleven o’clock last Tuesday night, Russell Cote was standing in the gilt-speckled lobby of Boston’s Park Plaza Hotel, a whiskey on the rocks in one hand and a homemade-style Scott Brown for senate sign in the other. Brown, the newly elected U.S. senator for Massachusetts, had just given a rambling but measured victory speech in the upstairs ballroom. Now Cote, a 32-year-old tea-party activist who’d driven from his home in New Jersey to volunteer in Brown’s campaign, was engaged in a more succinct celebration—cocking back his head and sending a boozy howl in the direction of a giant crystal chandelier.
When Cote was done braying, I asked him what it was about Brown that had compelled him to come from Jersey—and his fellow tea-partyers to journey from as far as Hawaii. “Forty-one!” he yelled, “forty-one!”—as in the 41st GOP vote in the Senate that Brown now represents, giving Republicans the ability to filibuster Obama’s health-care legislation, or anything else they desire. But what about Brown himself? Cote was quieter now. “To be honest,” he confessed, “I only know a little about him.”
“Braying”…heh. I like that.
First, the kudos. I was impressed that NY Magazine took the time to fact-check the story. Sometime yesterday I received a Facebook message and then a call back from a pleasant enough, if not somewhat annoyed and mildly condescending young lady who asked all the right questions and, as it turns out, got the facts right. For that, I say ‘well done Molly’.
To the author, Mr. Jason Zengerle, I offer the same. Read the whole piece, as it’s tepidly insightful if not likewise a tad bit supercilious. His thesis is that the ‘tea party movement’, in rallying to Scott Brown, has tempered its otherwise hard line stance on ideological purity and displayed a certain adroitness:
Once considered long on dogmatic passion but short on strategy, the tea-partyers displayed nimbleness and, for the first time, pragmatism.
Now, I for one most certainly haven’t backed off my demand for ideological purity in any given candidacy, but that’s always been on a sliding scale depending on locale. Zengerle, for his part, completely misinterprets NY-23, as so many liberals have, by insisting that “the tea-partyers helped drive her out of the race and, in the process, wound up handing the seat to her erstwhile Democratic opponent (whom she ultimately endorsed) when the third-party candidate they backed proved too right-wing to win.”
That, of course, isn’t even remotely what happened but I’m not going to waste the time explaining that to Jason here. Ok I will. The evidence is overwhelming that had the local GOP stepped up and Dede bowed out in time to have her name removed from the ballot, not to mention had the usual ‘lie, cheat and steal’ Democratic voting philosophy not been in full swing, there isn’t really an argument that Doug Hoffman wouldn’t have made up the roughly 4,000 votes that separated him from Bill Owens.
But liberals misdiagnose, misinterpret and misunderstand pretty much everything, so I won’t lay into Jason here as he’s simply analytically limited by his political persuasion.
The point is that when an otherwise reliably leftist rag like New York Magazine starts offering relatively even-handed and intelligent analysis of the tea party movement, (if not months behind the curve), it means that, at least on a local level, liberals might just be starting to get the idea here that we’re not going away, we believe in what we’re doing and that we can win anywhere.
Far from “Bagging It”, as the title of Jason’s article so ingeniously proclaims, those of us tired of mind-numbing fiscal irresponsibility, outright Congressional fraud and breathtaking arrogance at every level of Government, will continue to march into “every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city” until the philosophy of Marx and Mao finally dies the slow, agonizing death it deserves.
So, nice job Jason. I have to warn you though, once your squinting eyes open just wide enough to see the sunlight pouring in through the window…it’s hard to go back to sleep.