Ed Driscoll

'Is Politics a Liberal Game?'

That’s the question that “Lady Kurobara” is asking at Ricochet.com:

Over on Dave Carter’s thread, “What Say You?” Ricochet member Freeven offered a brilliant observation — so good that it deserves its own thread.  So I am posting it here on Freeven’s behalf (without his knowledge or permission, let it be noted):

Alas, government is a Liberal’s game. The best conservative candidates, almost by definition, never get off the bench. They have better things to do. Liberals will ultimately prevail because they’ve got their All-Stars matched up against our second stringers.

That point deserves a lot more attention and warrants a lot more discussion.  I have noticed the same phenomenon.  Liberals and Democrats always seem to be more deeply involved in politics, and the level of their emotional commitment is downright unhealthy.  Plus, liberals are far more likely to view politics as a livelihood.  A liberal acquaintance once explained it to me very succinctly: “There is a feeling among Democrats that, if you don’t win, you don’t eat.

Speaking of comments, a comment to her post is worth quoting as well:

Democrats are the modern version of the people who hung around the King’s court seeking favors.  They are the astrologers, mathematicians, scholars, artists, entertainers, and sycophants who live by providing services to the King.

The Republicans are the Bourgeoisie, performing useful work, but not having time to spend the whole day at court. They are useful to the King when the King needs money, but otherwise held in contempt by the aristocratic coterie.

One of the reasons why the president and his media courtiers were so eager to smear the Tea Parties six ways to Sunday is that they represent a sea change in American political thinking. Recall P.J. O’Rourke and Andrew Ferguson’s classic riff on leftwing protest movements 20 years ago in Parliament of Whores

“How come,” I asked Andy, “whenever someone upsets the Left, you see immediate marches and parades and rallies with signs already printed and rhyming slogans already composed, whereas whenever someone upsets the Right, you see two members of the Young Americans for Freedom waving a six-inch American Flag?”

“We have jobs.” said Andy.

…And then what Rick Moran wrote about the mammoth Glenn Beck-Tea Party-9/12 rally last year: “the first truly conservative mass movement in American history:”

What makes Saturday’s massive turnout around the country so significant is that it is the first truly conservative mass movement in American history. The amorphousness of conservatism until the 1950s probably had something to do with that. Conservatism prior to then was rather clubby and its “leaders” had very little interest in developing a mass movement like labor, socialists, or communists were attempting to do. Even the candidacies of Goldwater and Reagan were more party-oriented than ideological in nature, although there is little doubt that conservative activists learned how to organize an effective movement by being involved in both those races.

I think it unfair for the media or the left to characterize this movement as “Republican.” The fact that GOP politicians are seeking to hijack the movement for their own purposes should tell you that they themselves feel the separation and are drooling over the prospect of tapping the enthusiasm, the anger, and the commitment of the protestors for electoral gain.

It is definitely an opposition movement, however. Certainly there is mass unhappiness with President Obama and his policies. And there is opposition to the Democrats in Congress. But does this really translate into electoral strength for Republicans? I am going to go out on a limb and say no. The anger here is a reaction (reactionary?) against a growing government, higher taxes, and the sense that the country that they grew up in is slipping away right before their eyes.

And as Kevin Williamson wrote yesterday at NRO, proffering “A Few Words In Praise of Fear:”

Funny what catches the notice of politicians. I was a newspaper editor for years, and I’ve had at least a dozen politicians tell me: “We don’t really give a damn what you write about us in the editorials. We don’t even really read them. But if we start seeing letters to the editor, we notice. Any time one constituent is ticked-off enough to take the time to write a letter, that’s significant. One guy writing a letter means that there are 500 more who agree but don’t take the time to write.” One guy writing a letter represents a few hundred people in the mind of Joe Congressman. Those Tea Party rallies, too, loom a lot larger than the raw numbers would suggest, impressive as those raw numbers have been. Joe Congressman does not want to see that crowd camped out on his doorstep.

The second reason used to dabble in witchcraft. Say what you like about Christine O’Donnell and her incompetent nut-cluster of a campaign, she showed the Republican establishment that the Tea Party, and the fiscally discontent at large, are willing to run a kamikaze candidate against any RINO target of opportunity. And not all of the challengers are going to be O’Donnell-type buffoons. Sharron Angle was a much more serious candidate and ran a much more serious campaign. Pat Toomey chased Arlen Specter out of the Republican party and then put the smackdown on his Democratic opponent — a retired admiral, let’s remember, not some wild-eyed hippie — in the general. Pat Toomey scares the old guard. They do not want to see a dozen Pat Toomeys showing up in Republican primaries next time around. Kay Bailey Hutchison does not want some Stetson-wearing Toomey showing up in her backyard.

So “Is Politics a Liberal Game?”

For the moment, yes. Whether it continues in that direction is up to you.