Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose
A lot has been said about the August 28th rally on the Mall last weekend. As a non-Beck guy (not anti- just agnostic) and having a lot to do last weekend, I frankly didn’t pay too much attention to the event and the aftermath. Now that I’ve caught up a bit, I think Rich Lowry is pretty close in what it’s all about:
This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society.
In other words, it’s not a revolt so much as a retrenchment. While I think Lowry conflates the 8/28 and Tea Party movements a bit–it seems there may be some differences of emphasis (morals/tradition/religion or fiscal concerns, respectively)–they are pretty much the same bunch of people–average, middle-class Americans who our coastal/beltway elites like to call the bourgeois. Lowry continues:
For more than a hundred years, the bourgeois have been accused of being insipid, greedy, and unenlightened. To the long catalogue of their offenses can now be added another: unenthralled by Barack Obama, the Romantic hero seeking to transform the nation.
The tea party represents a revolt against his revolution, and thus a restoration. If a tea-party-infused Republican party were to take Congress and manage to cut federal expenditures by a sharp one-fifth, that figure would only be back to its typical level of recent decades of roughly 20 percent of GDP. If the party were to succeed in making the federal government more mindful of its constitutional limits, it would only be a step toward the dispensation that obtained during most of the country’s history.
Quite a revolt! Something about standing athwart History comes to mind….But Republicans shouldn’t get too full of themselves, no matter what the current over/under on November looks like:
The last time Republicans benefited from a wave election, they had their own Beckian figure at the top in the person of House Speaker Newt Gingrich. They wallowed in their revolution and let Gingrich’s ideological grandeur define them — to their regret in the end. If the wave comes this time, Republicans should endeavor to be a sober and responsible party for sober and responsible people, resolutely cleaning up after the failed Obama revolution.
As the last two “wave” elections–one each won by the GOP and the Democrats–have shown, the quickest way for a political party to undercut such a win is to display vast quantities of hubris in the wake of a supposed mandate. In each case, the party that won went too far, reneged on promises or decided that ideals were worth sacrificing for the mirage of long term power. Americans want change, but not that kind or that much.
Now we see average folks clamoring for something else, anything else, to stop what they believe is a disaster in the making. They don’t like the direction the country is taking politically so they’ve started Tea Parties. They don’t like the long cultural decline so they find themselves inspired to hold a rally on the Mall. In short, average folks–the silent majority–are speaking up like never before. They’ve got nothing left to lose.