Thursday, April 30, 2009

TEA INFUSION. That's strange. I don't seem to remember insisting, when Bush was at the height of his popularity, that he was a goner and that the people would soon overthrow him. Maybe that's what we did wrong.
Despite President Barack Obama's early personal popularity...
That's Arthur C. Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, writing for the Wall Street Journal another of those ah-yes-everything-is-going-according-to-plan pieces conservatives go in for these days.
...we can see the beginnings of this schism in the "tea parties" that have sprung up around the country.
I also don't recall thinking that the enormous anti-war protests of 2003 or the giant demo at the 2004 Republican Convention were going to sweep Bush out of office, either.

It's interesting to consider that those protests were in response to things that were actually happening, as opposed to the speculative destruction for which tea-partiers preemptively blame Obama. Despite their laughable protestations of bi-partisanship, my own experience, along with casual observation of their own behaviors and common sense, shows that the tea people are mainly committed right-wingers whose main target is the Democratic Administration. Obama's budget hasn't even been signed and they're raging like they were already living in Hoovervilles. We may speculate on the weird brew of prejudices that animates them, but it clearly has nothing to do with actual events.

Brooks is happy to play dumb, though, and claims their anger is a form of "ethical populism" in favor of raw capitalism -- AEI's stock in trade! -- that policy wonks such as himself "have a constructive role" in shaping:
As policymakers offer a redistributionist future to a fearful nation and a new culture war simmers, we must respond with tangible, enterprise-oriented policy alternatives. For example, it is not enough to point out that nationalized health care will make going to the doctor about as much fun as a trip to the department of motor vehicles. We need to offer specific, market-based reform solutions.
He's clearly got the pulse of the nation: the rubes fear a less enjoyable trip to the doctor's office than what they currently enjoy, and he's going to focus their anger with position papers.

What's he doing is what they're all doing with every scrap of evidence or anti-evidence: retro-fitting them with a thesis that explains what the protesters are really angry about, which in every case exactly resembles whatever their policy shops have been churning out for years. They're like a rightwing version of ANSWER. Of course those same theses were extant when Bush was steering the economy onto the rocks, but never mind: it is important that, when the Great Rebellion comes, these guff merchants have lined up early enough to be at the front of the parade, waving their essays in triumph.

Yeah, it's all a fantasy in any case, but what else have they got?

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