There is no free in liberty.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Phony Anti-War Movements do not Equate to the Tea Party...


Megan McArdle:
Have you noticed all the huge antiwar demonstrations in the last twelve months? Yeah, me neither. It turns out that a lot of the energy for the movement seems to have been provided by Democrats who are a lot less worried about wars conducted by Democratic presidents.

She references Scott McLemee:

"As long as voters remain highly polarized along party lines," he responded by e-mail, "self-identified Democrats are unlikely to protest against Obama's policies, even if they disagree with some of them strongly. A sudden end to the era of partisan polarization seems highly unlikely. So I would say that it is a very good bet that Obama will not confront large left-wing demonstrations. Of course, LBJ faced large left-wing demonstrations, but the party system was not polarized back then in the way that it is today."

The same dynamics apply to the Tea Party: "Our analysis implies that the Tea Party will have a lower degree of organization and success in 2012 than it did in 2010. Because the Republicans won the House and made gains in the Senate, Tea Party activists feel much less threatened today than they did a year ago. So, while the Tea Party will obviously be around in 2012 -- and it will likely factor into the Republican presidential contest -- our analysis suggests that the Tea Party will not generate the same level of enthusiasm next year as it did last year."

I do not believe this comparison to the Tea Party is accurate. Although there will likely be some reduction in Tea Party enthusiasm the next election cycle, there will not be the wholesale abandonment of the movement.

The antiwar movement got its modern start in reaction to the Vietnam War, but today has devolved into less of a grass roots movement than the appearance of a grass roots movement commonly known as astroturfing. The antiwar movement has become a tool in the hands of the Democrat Party by which they reattain during wartime conservative presidents. The evidence of this is the vanishing act we have witnessed since the election of Barack Obama. Neither war in Iraq or Afghanistan has ended as promised and, in fact, a new war has begun in Libya under Obama yet the antiwar movement is nonexistent. It seems only to have legs under conservative presidents. The antiwar movement as it existed during the Vietnam War no longer exists today.

To be sure, there were those who truly believe in the antiwar message. Cindy Sheehan comes to mind. She is still doing her thing today despite the absence of the astroturfed support she received years ago under Bush. I am not sure of she used the astroturfing or if the astroturfed anti(Bush)war movement used her, but I respect her for continued albeit misplaced commitment.

In looking at the Tea Party no evidence of astroturfing, can be found, Pelosi's comments not with standing. The Tea Party was and remains a real organic grass roots movement that did not and does not derive its support from currently entrenched political elites looking to further their political or media careers. In fact, the Tea Party has had a record of attacking both Democrats and Republicans for their profligate spending and lack if respect for the Constitution. Bush was no favorite of the Tea Party, neither was the conservative congress under portions of Bush's two terms in office. And frequently the Conservative Party found itself on the defensive in last summer's primaries as Tea Partiers had Conservatives across the nation on the run. Just as frequently Tea Party candidates found themselves in the cross-hairs entrenched conservative-media elites; even Rush took the nearly the whole of last summer to come around to the Tea Party. No love was lost between Conservatives and Tea Partiers as the Tea Party sought to change Conservatism in Washington DC.

The dynamics between the Antiwar movement and the Tea Party movement could not be more different. One is an aged movement infected with a self preservation mentality in which power and money flows from above to the movement in an attempt to give the appearance of an energetic movement only when politically expedient while in the other power flows from the citizenry to affect change on a reluctant governing body.


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