Sweet Jesus Not This Bull Again

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Democrats and other skeptics are desperate to dismiss the tea parties that popped up across the country today. Kansas City political consultant Steve Glorioso told The Star they were being staged by the "same far right fringe characters driven in large part by talk radio."

This eagerness to explain away this movement is telling, suggesting the skeptics see these gatherings as a real threat. Certainly the tea parties have an anti-Obama slant, but what we're seeing is something outside the normal dynamics of Democrat-Republican tension.

The editorial goes on to cite one of the teabag astroturfers himself, Glenn Reynolds. I'm going to keep saying this until I'm blue in the face and until the right quits making this silly ass argument: We are laughing at you.

I'll be the first to concede that the right scares the beejezus out of me when they're in power. As one of my fellow liberal observers noted at the travesty they called a protest in Lafayette Park, can you believe these yahoos were running the country just four months ago?

Wednesday's pity party was the best the combined work of conservative blogs, talk radio, Fox News and a few lobbyists could muster. It turned out to be the same band of wingnuts who went to Sarah Palin rallies last fall but with even crazier things to say and believe (Abolish the federal reserve, Obama is a socialist, and of course Obama is not American).

That goes as well for the Twitter triumphalists like Patrick Ruffini and William Beutler. History may prove me wrong, but I highly doubt any medium thrives at a grassroots level when its consultants leading the way. The progressive blogosphere came about because folks - regular folks - were fed up and not being listened to. For me it started when the dotcom I was working at began slipping underground and a combination of free time and the 2000 election spurred me to action. We were echoing what the right did a generation before with political books and talk radio - things that came out of the Goldwater/John Birch movement and became mainstream conservatism.

I have studied enough history to know that these political changes are not permanent. And while I feel the Democratic party is clearly moving in the right direction and has America's backing, the last 8 years shows that none of this is permanent. But for a vital political movement to survive, Democrats learned that the safe and cautious consultant Dems that helped Bush's agenda on issues like the war in 2002-3 were not the way to go. My guess is that the Republicans will learn that a bunch of consultants on Twitter getting the Birther rubes whipped up for ANSWER/Code Pink style protests is not the way back to being a serious political force.