Suburban Warriors Rally at Orange County Tea Party
And folks ought to take a look around the states. Oregon's Democrats will raise beer taxes by 1,900 percent. In California, Governor "Benedict" Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing a slate of ballot measures seeking to raise billions in new taxes for the state. In response to that, activists from California Tax Revolt 2009 warned at Wednesday's rally that "Atlas is Shrugging." But as commentators have suggested all along, there's just an overall sense of righteous opposition to the movement, animated by the genuine deceit and hubris evinced by the Obama administration and the Democratic majority throughout the first few months of this year.
What's important is not whether Wednesday's tax revolt is "just the beginning." The organizers I spoke with were emphatic in their emphasis on non-partisanship and reaching out to those "Democratic leaners" who may now have buyer's remorse, as well as the younger cohorts who are open to a new era of genuine post-partisan governmental effectiveness. Activists are upset with both parties, as California's anti-Schwarzenegger sentiment indicates. I'm reminded of 1992, when Texas billionaire Ross Perot entered the race for the presidency as a third-party alternative to what's now referred to as the red state/blue state stranglehold on the party system. (And remember that Bill Clinton was elected that year, as the reformist elements of the electorate siphoned more from the GOP vote than from the Democrats.)
The challenge here is just as much for the Republicans as it is for the Democratic governing majority. For while 2010 looms large as an opportunity for the anti-tax rebels at the grassroots, the GOP itself remains largely wedded to an identity of pay-for-play big government in Washington. And if there's any sense one might take away from Wednesday's massive show of patriotic participation, it's that the voters are indeed disenchanted with politics as usual and are looking for innovative and cost-effective solutions to the enormous economic challenges ahead. If the tea parties end up ushering a new era of limited government and greater accountability, it will be all for the better, much better -- perhaps we'll even hear a new "shot heard around the world."