The PJ Tatler

Does Anger at the GOP Come from 'Pristine Ignorance or Pure Rage'?

Like so many of my fellow Americans, I felt helpless as I sat in front of the television in the fall of 2008, watching Barack Obama become the 45th president of the United States. I had high hopes for John McCain and Sarah Palin, but my hopes were dashed as America elected Obama, despite not knowing much about him.

I wanted to do something, speak out, have a voice, but I was just a mom in Charlotte, N.C., struggling to get by. I felt alone, my voice heard only within the confines of my own home as I snapped back at television commentators or politicians spouting drivel on the radio. Then came the Tea Party.

That is the start of the latest article by my friend and colleague at The Federalist, Denise McAllister. We have similar stories. I could have written the same opening only substituting “an American mom in London” for “a mom in Charlotte, N.C.”

I only knew one other American conservative mom in London. In the 2008 election season even the strollers, American family or not, had Obama stickers. The world was in thrall. When my friend and I first met, it took us about 6 months to come out to each other. We had already become friends by then, but then we became allies. Like Denise, we saw the birth of the Tea Party as a ray of hope. It was a call to action. We had our own little Tea Party in Duke of York Square, just the two of us with a sign and a bother of children. (I think that is the proper term for a group of children, a bother. If not, it probably should be.)

Like so many of us, my future friend Denise felt the need to do something. First, she volunteered. But it wasn’t enough. The Tea Party was a revolution that failed to oust the consultant class. And so after Romney’s predictable failure in 2012, she turned to writing, as journalism had been her work before motherhood. I had been a lawyer and as I was overseas and could not participate directly, so I had started a blog during Obama’s first term. My original “About” page was a lesser version of Denise’s story with a link to this November 6, 2008, post from Bill Whittle’s Eject! Eject! Eject!, “A Flag on a Hill.” (In fact, that was my blog´s first password. For the record, it isn’t anymore.)

It has been a source of delight for me these past few days to see nothing but evidence of this, all across our defeated lines. Nowhere have I heard a shred of defeatism or despair. On the contrary. In point of fact, the magnanimity and graciousness I have seen in defeat in so many places on the right tells me that this is an eager and seasoned army, one able to look defeat in the face and own up to the errors in tactics and strategy that got us there. And nowhere do I see a call to abandon our core principles and sue for terms, but rather that our loss was caused precisely by our abandonment of the issues which we hold dear and which have served us so well on battlefields past.

Now seven years later, we women of the Tea Party spark have a wider audience, and supposedly more power. But the insiders–the established consultants, politicians, and pundits–still hold sway. While we continue to lose big national elections under their direction, they continue to marginalize us and our allies by calling us stupid, declaring that our “stock in trade is either pristine ignorance or pure rage.” My compliments to McAllister for her reply. Read the whole thing here.