Commentary Magazine


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Their Time Is Now

A.B. Stoddard of The Hill writes:

Even before Christine O’Donnell handily defeated Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in an epic upset Tuesday night, the Tea Parties, all of them, had already won. No matter what happens in the midterm elections on Nov. 2, the Tea Party has moved the Democrats to the right and the Republicans even more so, and President Obama’s agenda is dead. …

What debuted in nationwide protests on April 15, 2009, has taken less than 18 months to become the current driving force in American politics. The Tea Party insurgency will not only cost Democrats dozens of seats in Congress, and likely their majority — it will define the coming GOP presidential nominating process, determine the direction of the GOP for years to come and threaten any remaining plans Obama has for sweeping reforms of education, energy policy or our immigration system.

One might add to that the unification of the Republican Party around economic issues, the further erosion of the national political parties, the intellectual and emotional crack-up of the left, and another hit to the credibility of the mainstream media, which ignored or sneered at the most important political development in a decade. But is it really fair to credit only the Tea Party?

Let’s be honest, without Barack Obama, there would be no Tea Party. The Tea Party rose up in opposition to Obamaism — the serial bailouts (which began in the Bush administration), the flood of red ink, ObamaCare, and the tone-deaf response of the former community organizer to complaints about it all. I would suggest that without Obama’s attempts to lay a New Foundation — the vast expansion of federal power shifting the U.S. closer to Western European economies — the Tea Party would never have emerged or taken hold.

It was the over-interpretation of an electoral mandate, a zealously liberal president, and the arrogance of one-party Democratic rule that spawned what Stoddard rightly suggests is the most interesting and unpredictable political movement of our time. And we are far from done. Election Day is the beginning and not the end. In January, I wrote, ”The Tea Party folks seem to think their time is now.” It took just nine months for the mainstream media to agree.