Tea Parties a Wake-Up Call for Obama and the MSM
Wednesday's tea parties affirmed certain obvious but underreported (at least by the mainstream media) political developments in the era of Obama. For Democrats, and the president specifically, it should be a wake-up call.
First, the supposed advantage in social and new media which the Democrats enjoyed in the November 2008 election is being eradicated. Just as Republicans falsely believed that the "micro-targeting" perfected during the Bush years gave them some lasting advantage in get-out-the-vote efforts, Democrats may have been under the illusion that the 2008 campaign established their dominance in new media. But largely through new media, conservative and libertarian activists organized a single day of protest involving hundreds of thousands of people. Lesson: whoever rests on their technological advantage gets left in the dust.
Second, just as George W. Bush galvanized the Left, Barack Obama is generating not just political opposition but anger. The Columbus Dispatch reported on its tea party, which was attended by 7,000 people:
The message was simple: The federal government, already bloated by decades of growth, now is gorging on the next generation's earnings with a stimulus plan that relies on billions of dollars in borrowed money. ...
Although all of the political speakers were Republicans and the message was conservative, some attendees said they didn't show up for partisan reasons. H.K. Zolg of Columbus noted that some Republicans backed Obama's stimulus plan and have not hewed to a hard line on spending. "We're scared for our country," Zolg said. "This change is a change in the wrong direction."
Obama spent part of his final weekend as a candidate addressing a larger, supportive crowd on the same Statehouse lawn. In yesterday's gathering, bitterness at the new president was palpable. Some carried signs with slogans such as "Commander & Thief" and "Impeach Hussein Obama."
Dana Milbank also noticed it:
Without the spectacle of a 1773-style tea-bag dump in the square, the handmade signs became the focus of the event. Though ostensibly an anti-tax protest, it was more of an anti-Obama festival. Among the messages: "The Audacity of the Dope," "O Crap" and Obama as an acronym for "One Big Awful Mistake America."
It seems these people are very, very mad. Lesson: anger against bailouts, big government, and debt accumulation is building and the president -- not Wall Street or AIG executives -- is the focal point.
Third, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, when in power to duplicate the same energy, enthusiasm, and determination among grassroots supporters as those who are angry about the direction of the country and looking to topple the "establishment." Obama and the Democratic Congress are now "the government" and "the Washington insiders."