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Belmont Club

The End of Blagojevich

June 27th, 2011 - 1:33 pm

The Tea Party no longer trusts establishment Republicans. And maybe the blue collar Democrats have stopped trusting the Democratic establishment. Both parties have now become the party of incumbency. But it’s not helping anyone. Not only are one in ten families out of work, but one in five families are working as hard as possible and still unable to pay the bills. This is creating the pressure to find alternative ways of doing things.

To show their anger with some of Hatch’s votes over his 34-year career in the Senate, Kirkham and FreedomWorks planned to march on the National Republican Senatorial Committee today to protest what they see as support for Hatch. …

At a press conference featuring posters reading “Retire Hatch,” FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe said voters have “given up” on Hatch for supporting efforts like TARP and the auto bailout. David Kirkham, spokesman for the state party, added that Hatch’s more conservative votes since the party helped oust former GOP Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010 haven’t changed his view that Hatch is a big government Republican.

Just today, the health care compact passed both the Texas lower house and the upper house. The health care compact, readers will recall, is an idea based around moving power away from the federal government back to where voters can more easily get at the policy issues. It’s going national and that says something.

What it says, I think, is that the “mainstream” by its failures has worn out its welcome. Jena McGregor, writing in the Washington Post, notes that Chris Wallace’s question to Michele Bachmann — “are you a flake?” — is likely to boost her popularity. “Mark my words: The evangelical feminism that’s inspired by Bachmann, as well as Sarah Palin, is sure to get a boost from Wallace’s condescending query.” But it isn’t a feminist backlash that will drive the rebound. It’s the ironic demonstration by Wallace that he, not Bachmann, is the flake, an argument Andy McCarthy seriously makes.

That would surprise Wallace. He still thinks that the narrative carefully constructed in the late 1990s is normative and normal. It isn’t. That old narrative is hanging in tatters and is barely credible. Barack Obama is the epitome of the perfect media candidate and he is as strange as a man from Mars. What propels Bachmann and Palin’s popularity isn’t so much the content of their politics (though it does) as much as the possibility that the public now trusts plain folks far more than the badged Ivy League/media product. The old elite has gotten so precious that it is now the Other. That distrust of the establishment is going to fuel a widespread search for alternative solutions to current problems. Nobody’s going to wait for the Fitz to clean up Chicago. They know he’s not going to do it.

That means the search is on for some other way for the public to do it themselves. Who knows if they’ll succeed. All that is clear is that the old ways aren’t going to do the job.

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