The Tea Party’s Red Harvest
“Plans are all right sometimes … And sometimes just stirring things up is all right – if you’re tough enough to survive, and keep your eyes open so you’ll see what you want when it comes to the top.”
– Dashiell Hammett from Red Harvest (HT: Spengler)
Like the town nicknamed “Poisonville” in the Dashiell Hammett novel Red Harvest, corruption had become the official indoor sport of Washington, DC. The Redskins and Wizards weren’t exactly lighting it up, so why the heck not? Washington had devolved in the last sixteen years. It had gone from a place with a Contract with America and a New Covenant to a place that Hammett would have recognized from the grave as “Poisonville.” Idealism and truth had both gone and died in a K-Street brothel, of sexual asphyxia.
In the run-up to the Election of 2010, the American People had finally seen enough, heard enough, and had enough. The buck (and the bull) was going to stop right here. So how was such a thing possible?
It seemed that if the voters elected Republicans, they would get the following: a major health-care boondoggle (Prescription Drug Panderation Act), a screwed-up set of financial regulations (Sarbox), an open-ended war (Operation Iraqi Freedom) and an incompetent and immoral Speaker of the House (Dennis Hastert). So in 2008, they elected Democrats. This got them: a major health-care boondoggle (ObamaCare), a screwed-up set of financial regulations (Dodd-Frank), an open-ended war (The Afghan Surge) and an incompetent and immoral Speaker of the House (Nancy Pelosi). The GOP gave them Sarbox; the Dems gave them Botox (Speaker Pelosi).
In 2009, the American People looked like they were going to lose. There seemed to be no plan that would alleviate this situation. As Hammett’s Continental Op would have told us. “We don’t need no stinking plan. We’re Americans.” From a state of disempowered frustration, merged with the American ability to audible out of a screwed-up situation, the huddled masses banded together and formed The Tea Party.
They started out as a protest against taxing, spending and over-weaning government interference. The leaders scoffed at them. They were called bigots, racists, hicks, stupid, ignorant. They were mocked for wanting to “get government out of their Medicare.” But they persevered athwart the unjust ridicule. They knew the power structure they were fighting was pretty empty beyond its Potemkin façade of toughness and authority.
But they lacked a fulcrum. They had no lever to acquire power over the wretched, corrupt, ineluctable swamp that was Washington, D.C. Enter the corrupt, defeated and morally dead GOP of 2009. The people who sat docile when President Barack Obama logically justified his latest policy outrage with “I won. I will trump you on that.” The party that called for dialogue and were told “I don’t mind cleaning up the Republicans’ messes, but I don’t want to keep hearing from the same people who caused the problem.”
The Tea Party members didn’t like or respect the GOP. Many of them helped throw corrupt and inbred GOP incumbents out of office in 2006 and 2008. However, after they saw ObamaCare, Cap and Trade and how blatantly corrupt and favor-currying the Stimulus package turned out to be, they felt that they had to do something. The GOP was the last viable car left in the driveway. The Tea Party decided to carjack it from The Yacht Aristocracy and get the people back into the race.
Down went Castle, down went Crist, and down went McConnell’s Milquetoast in Kentucky. Rubio arose in Florida, Angle in Nevada, Toomey in Pennsylvania, LaPage in Maine, Mo Brooks in Alabama and numerous others in nearly every state in the union. The GOP Asstablishment was being driven from the ramparts and replaced with candidates who espoused rhetoric that could never cross the lips of a certified establishmentarian hack.
This regenerated the GOP. It brought the American Conservative Movement back from the dead. The Tea Party brought the GOP from the dregs of ignominious retirement to the point where they could finally go toe-to-toe with the Democrats and their vile minions. Last Tuesday was an epic battle.
The GOP won the House, gained power in the Senate and threw Democrats out of nearly 1/5th of the Governor’s Mansions across the country. The GOP celebrated victory. The Tea Party won the fight. The GOP should remember that, or The Tea Party won’t show up in 2012 to kick down the doors and challenge the mob on their behalf.