Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How the Tea Party Could Lose

The Tea Party has some problems. Members need to reassess and reengage. Don't retreat, reload. Ignore anyone who calls you a violent racist homophobe - they will say that because you're "the enemy". Remember:

"Ridicule is man's most potent weapon." "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."
- Saul Alinsky

They're going to say that crap anyway. They're going to accuse, attack, and lie. The left's use of "teabagger" ridicule, attacking the Tea Party as extremist, and generally trying to terrorize those who oppose them is part of their rulebook. Just remember to ignore them - the people on the far left are unlikely to change (unless their own side rejects them).

But on to what's going on:

CNN Poll: Unfavorable view of Tea Party on the rise

-- Nearly half of all Americans have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party movement, putting it in the same company as the Democratic and Republican parties, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicates that 32% of the public have a favorable view of the two-year-old anti-tax movement, which also calls for less government spending and a more limited role for the federal government in our lives. The 32% favorable rating is down five points from December.

The people questioned for the poll who say they have an unfavorable view of the Tea Party is 47%, up four points from December and an increase of 21 points from January 2010. That number is virtually identical to the 48% unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in the same poll.

"This is the first time that a CNN poll has shown the Tea Party's unfavorable ratings as high as those of the two major parties," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It looks like the rise in the movement's unfavorable rating has come mostly among people who make less than $50,000."

Why? Because the Tea Party is disorganized to begin with. The Tea Party, by its very nature, is composed of people who are interested in fewer taxes and less government intervention. Tea Party members have jobs to go back to. Those who are on welfare of one form or another are opposed to having their gravy train cut off. The "recipient class", as Sirius/XM radio host Andrew Wilkow refers to them as, will not vote against their own handouts. They aren't going to reject handouts - unless the Tea Party can explain that, to adjust Art Alexakis song lyrics a bit: "The hand that feeds is the hand that holds you down."

That's a lot to digest, so let's look at some parts of it.

Thomas Sowell wrote about one aspect of the hand that feeds is the hand that holds down recently, but with regards to the Republican party and its inability to win with black voters (arguably the best avenue for the Tea Party movement to make inroads into national politics). He notes specifically that Democrat housing policies have driven blacks from the San Francisco area to the point that blacks now represent as little as only 3% of the population in some places there.

Sowell writes:
Between restrictions on development and the destruction of existing low-income housing by redevelopment, low-income and even moderate-income people are forced out by high housing costs.

Often this process takes the form of ethnic cleansing. Blacks, for example, have been driven out of communities up and down the San Francisco peninsula, including East Palo Alto, which was once 61 percent black, and is today only 17 percent black.

But that 17 percent is still the highest proportion of blacks in any community in three whole counties on the San Francisco peninsula. None of the 38 other communities in those three counties has a population that is even 5 percent black.

Sowell also writes:
With all the Republican politicians' laments about how overwhelmingly blacks vote for Democrats, I have yet to hear a Republican politician publicly point out the harm to blacks from such policies of the Democrats as severe housing restrictions, resulting from catering to environmental extremists.

If the Republicans did point out such things as building restrictions that make it hard for most blacks to afford housing, even in places where they once lived, they would have the Democrats at a complete disadvantage.

It would be impossible for the Democrats to deny the facts, not only in coastal California but in similar affluent strongholds of liberal Democrats around the country. Moreover, environmental zealots are such an important part of the Democrats' constituencies that Democratic politicians could not change their policies.

Although Republicans would have a strong case, none of that matters when they don't make the case in the first place. The same is true of the effects of minimum wage laws on the high rate of unemployment among black youths. Again, the facts are undeniable, and the Democrats cannot change their policy, because they are beholden to labor unions that advocate higher minimum wages.

Yet another area in which Democrats are boxed in politically is their making job protection for members of teachers' unions more important than improving education for students in the public schools. No one loses more from this policy than blacks, for many of whom education is their only chance for economic advancement.

But none of this matters so long as Republicans who want the black vote think they have to devise earmarked benefits for blacks, instead of explaining how Republicans' general principles, applied to all Americans, can do more for blacks than the Democrats' welfare state approach.

The Tea Party intrinsically understands these concepts, both in the general in in Sowell's specific, but isn't getting out that message well enough. The leftist modern liberal statist is inherently destructive to the black community. The modern left thrives on it, because it creates dependency, and it creates a "good feeling" for those giving handouts. It also breeds resentment on the part of the black community, which when directed by the poverty pimps (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc.), turn into tools for the left to use against the right and conservatives. The "liberal" creates a handout that's viewed as "good", that "helps" people when it really hinders their growth and development (as individuals and as a community), and the inevitable negative results of domestication by the Democrat party is then blamed on the right.

An easy example is minimum wage laws, championed by the left, and destructive to the communities they're intended to help.

The Tea Party needs to explain these things.

On to another problem:

The older Tea Partiers with signs that say "get government out of my social security" on the surface are subject to immediate ridicule (Saul Alinsky's rule again). The problem is that social security isn't explained. For those who think money magically comes from the government, it's a handout. For those who have had a percentage of their wealth taken from them at the point of the IRS's gun for their entire lives, the message means "I paid in to social security for 30 years and they do owe me MY money back, so get government away from the money I paid in that I want back". That's just a bit long for a sign - unfortunately it's necessary - otherwise it's a point lost on everyone, and easily misinterpreted.

Those "recipient class" see it as rank hypocrisy, because to them, money does just come from government. Or Obama's stash.

But what's the Tea Party's biggest problem? It's cliche, but it's the Tea Party's strength. The Tea Party's strength comes from the fact that they're normal, working people with jobs who have to work. Tea Partiers are productive individuals who don't have time to get into politics professionally. That's why the movement is so remarkable.

That's also why the Tea Party has such difficulty against people who are professional revolutionaries. Obama was a "community organizer" before he was president. The man was a professional agitator and political panderer. His buddy Bill Ayers, after being a terrorist, went on to dedicate his life to indoctrinating children and ruining the lives of black students especially.

These people are professional revolutionaries. Van Jones to Cass Sunstein, this is all they do. Their lives center on getting grants and departments made for the expansion of their own policies. They exist only to grow government as their means to control.

The Tea Party is made of people who desire the exact opposite. Tea Partiers are not lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians, agitators, or professional revolutionaries. They are plumbers, railroad workers, cops, engineers, insurance adjusters, car salesmen, fast food managers, ranchers, farmers, pilots, truckers, warehouse workers, small businessmen, factory workers, and people who produce goods or services.

There are no professional revolutionaries in the Tea Party. There are no conniving bureaucrats out to create their own government empires in the Tea Party.

The Tea Party certainly doesn't need that, but it is going to need some people to bite the bullet and leave behind the private sector to start taking down oppressive parts of government and actively rejecting influence of statist ideologies.

The Tea Party could lose if it doesn't get out its message, it's flailing a bit because it's not out there at the forefront getting the economic word out. It's already mocked and ridiculed, but its members are growing less afraid of being called violent racist homophobes. It does need to start illustrating to people why Tea Party ideas (which are mostly fiscal conservative/Austrian economic school classic liberal) do work. The Tea Party needs to stay active, not just when it's ticked off. The Tea Party needs people to do the nasty work of getting involved with government at all levels. Leftist-statists do this naturally, but Tea Partiers need to start doing it.

Electing new representatives in 2010 certainly made a difference, but now is not the time to rest on one's laurels. Now is the time to press the advantage.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.”
- General George S. Patton

At the basic level, this can mean talking to people around you about this stuff. If you discuss politics with 5 people of non-Tea Party mindset, the simple economic realities will be absorbed. They can't dispute numbers and facts. They may reject the facts, but eventually will come around. Don't preach, just educate. We're all ignorant of something, and for folks who don't pay attention to politics, discussing the examples of minimum wage or housing policies, for example, may be enough to start to get them to come around. Explaining why "get government out of my social security" isn't completely absurd can make a difference as well.

Assuming those 5 all have a negative opinion of the Tea Party as expressed by the CNN poll and represent that approximately 50% negative, if you change 2 of their minds, the Tea Party's disapproval rating drops to 30%. More importantly, the likelihood of them voting based on their own ability to discern the facts of the issues of the day changes.

If the Tea Party disengages, it could lose. If the Tea Partiers pack their bags and assume the job is done because of the 2010 elections, it could lose. If the Tea Party doesn't press the advantage, it could lose. If the Tea Party doesn't explain how statist economic models ultimately fail, and how lefty do-gooder govt. policies invariably hurt those they're supposed to help, it could fail. If the Tea Party doesn't get a leader or two, it could fail. If Tea Partiers don't get involved at the local level, and don't talk to their friends, it could lose.

The solutions are all simple, but require work - something Tea Partiers are actually quite good at. It's just a different kind of work.

*For the lefty who may stumble on this, no, I am not inciting violence. I am not suggesting that libertarians/conservatives/Tea Partiers attack people like lefties do. This is metaphorical, as in attack the ideas.

No comments:

Post a Comment