Saturday, September 18, 2010

America And The Tea Party Movement, a German View

The picture of American politics as seen from Europe is often lucid, particularly when large matters are up for debate, because distance allows for a more dispassionate and objective view. Germany, for instance, is not too close to the trees to see the forest.

With that in mind, the view of President Barack Obama and the Tea Party movement as expressed in Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German left of center paper, ought to give pause to those in the United States who are inclined to blithely write off the Tea Party Movement as a passing fringe phenomena:

"Obama has underestimated the frustration in the country and the power of the Tea Party movement, which gives the prevailing disillusionment a platform and a voice. It is by far the most vibrant political force in America. Obama's left-of-center coalition, which got young people and intellectuals involved and which appealed to a majority of women, blacks and Latinos, has evaporated into nothing."


Bruce Rubenstein said...

Don...I think the German newspaper got it right.For the immediate future, the tea party will be the bane of existence for the moderate country club type republicans who want business as usual and several of them have paid for it at the ballot box recently.If the tea party matures as a political movement force capable of understanding and mastering electoral politics on a national level and acting in concert with your religious and fiscal right wing then we democrats could have "trouble in paradise" As you would know,the logistics to actually run a national winning campaign require a more "top-down" type of management then the tea party,which is not a organization with democratic centralism,but is actually leaderless in many instances.It will be interesting to see if the tea party folks subordinate their almost alinsky like ( i know you are laughing at that one) style to a more centralist organization in the future,in order to be more effective on the national stage.

Some of the tea party folks talked to me about my SDS/Weathermen days and were very interested in the similiar style of organizing,even after so much time has past.I have heard from others in the old SDS that they were also approached for discussion on organizing.

Don Pesci said...
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Don Pesci said...
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Don Pesci said...


Well, it is always possible to learn a thing or two from a somewhat chastened SDS’er. You are one of the better organizers in the Democratic Party. In this respect, I think of Horowitz, a convert to conservativism from his days on the radical front. I believe Christopher Hitchens -- who approved the war in Iraq, though, a hearty atheist, he still is stiff on the Pope and Mother Teresa -- was a Trotskyite.

I agree that the tea party movement is not going to disappear, and Republicans of a certain ideological disposition, as well as Democrats, may fall under their indictment. As yet, the TPM is without leadership from above; and while the movement seems willing to walk hand in hand with the Republican Party, there are places it will not be willing to go. The opposition to partiers as such within the TPM is more than temperamental; it is part of the ideological program.

If analytical pollsters such as Quinnipiac had done their homework much earlier – and made a serious attempt to plumb the reasons for apostasy of independents, about which we know precisely nothing – the tea party movement might be more understandable. I’ve written about it here, way back in March 2010:

But no one paid much attention to all this at the time. The movement, for obvious reasons, is better understood on the right. On the respectable left, commentators continue to be flummoxed by it, content merely to denigrate Tea Partiers. They are very good at that.

By the way, there are some in the TPM who are suburb organizers – not many, but some. Here’s a piece by Sean Murphy I thought worth publishing: Here’s another one: Murphy is mentioned, slightingly, by Mr. Rick Green in one of his recent effusions as one of those placards carrying TPMs protesting Obama’s visit in Stamford.

If only reporters would mingle more, eh?

Good hearing from you.