February 20, 2010
What Makes Lefty Run?
Sachi and I got to talking about the Tea-Party movement, and she asked me why the Left hated the Tea Partiers so much. "They don't," I said; then groping for an explanation of what suddenly seemed so clear, I made a slight correction: "It's the liberals who hate and despise Tea Partiers, mocking them as "tea baggers" and such. The hard-core Left isn't full of hate... it's full of terror: I believe they are more terrified today than they have been since thirty years ago."
The rest of this post is my attempt to analyze my mini-revelation, explain it, and justify it.
The Left is terrified because, more than any other political group, they know a growing popular front when they see one; and they're seeing one now.
A popular front is an extremely broad-based coalition of political forces that normally oppose each other. In rare moments, the stars align, and so do the groups; what results is a mass movement that can wash away the status quo like a burst dam. The movement doesn't have to include all or even a majority of the citizenry; but it is large enough to push aside any countervailing coalition -- which means whatever the front wants, it gets.
Lefties understand the unstoppable raw power of a popular front; that's why their own strategy for seizing control of a country and "communizing" it invariably includes creating a popular front of dissent and protest against the established government, local or colonial. But a popular front needn't be based on leftist ideology; there are several examples in recent history:
- The Khomeinist revolution in Iran depended upon a religious popular front that rose up against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979.
- The Communist revolution in post-WWII Vietnam was driven by a popular front against colonial France.
- The Communist revolutions in WWI-era Czarist Russia and post-WWII Nationalist China both depended upon international socialist popular fronts that turned into a general uprising against the established State.
- The National Socialist takeover in 1920s-1930s Germany included a popular front against Communism and for German monocultural nationalism and Fascism.
- The French Revolution required a popular front that arose against the jaw-dropping financial and dictatorial excesses of the Bourbon kings.
- And the American Revolution critically depended upon a popular front revolting against the loss of home rule and the attempted subjugation by Mother England, thousands of miles away.
In each case, political groups forged alliances with hereditary enemies that more often fought each other hammer and tooth -- for example, American aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson allying with lawyers and tradesmen (John Adams, Patrick Henry) against British rule. That kind of widespread movement is what defines a popular front.
The Tea Party front is the worst nightmare of the hard-core Left -- a patriotic, small-government, capitalist popular front. While Tea Partiers are not specifically Republican, leftists realize that GOP leaders (Sarah Palin) and candidates (Scott Brown) are far better positioned to appeal to Tea Partiers than are Democrats: All Republicans must do is match their words with deeds; but Democrats would have to (a) repudiate everything they have said and voted for in the past four decades, then (b) convince Tea Partiers that this time they're sincere!
The Scott Brown election is a perfect example of the relentless power of a popular front; I mean the timeline of the election itself, not its consequences. On November 4-8, a Suffolk University poll had Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, ahead of state Sen. Scott Brown by 31% (58-27); in early January, the Boston Globe had her still ahead by 15% (50-35), while even Rasmussen had her 9% ahead (50-41).
Two weeks later, Brown beat Coakley by nearly 5%, 52-47. That represents a swing of 36% in just two months; and there is really nothing else to account for such movement other than a popular front. No terrible scandal engulfed Ms. Coakley, no state of emergency, no powerful or charismatic Republican leader turned the election into a referendum upon him- or herself; in fact, the closest analogy to that last is that Barack H. Obama personally went to Massachusetts two days before the election and campaigned with Coakley.
Tea Parties will likely have only a small (but significant) impact in 2010; what terrifies the prescient Left is the next election. Given another couple of years to build, and assuming nothing happens to destroy it, the popular front could produce a Noachian cataclysm on presidential and congressional elections then... as well as on state and local elections across America, which could lead to generational capitalist hegemony.
If the Tea Parties turn into a full-blown, patriotic-American popular front, which I think likely, Democrats, liberals, and lefties could go from winning it all in 2008 -- to being inundated and immolated by the tsunami of 2012.
Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 20, 2010, at the time of 6:44 PM
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Tracked on March 7, 2010 10:12 PM
The following hissed in response by: snochasr
If the GOP gets its act together, I think the tsunami could strike in 2010. It worked for Scott Brown; if it continues to build, it will work almost anywhere. Some have predicted that the Democrats could lose over 100 seats in the House.
The following hissed in response by: Sabba Hillel
Another point is that he tsunami of the popular front can be co-opted by a movement or an organization that would be anathema to the "popular front" itself. Examples can be seen in the French revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the Iranian revolution. It is only by the grace of G-d that the American revolution did not fall into that trap.
That is why the communists attempted to work behind the scenes of the "Popular Front" in the various attempts to take over.
I have seen articles by people who were in the forefront of the Iranian Revolution that the final outcome of the mullahs taking over was the last thing that the idealists who overthrew the Shah wanted.
The following hissed in response by: Ken Hahn
There is a difference between Republicans and Democrats. It is possible for the GOP to reform into something the tea party movement will accept. The Democratic Party cannot so reform. In 2010 this is very bad news for the Democrats. The popular front movement is Republican by default at the moment. It contains both Republicans and independents. It has a few Democrats but they are not in the party's leadership nor will they ever be. The chosen vehicle of the American left, the Democratic Party, is representative of the big government philosophy the tea party people oppose.
The GOP has about 18 months to clean up its act. To retain the support of the popular front, it must propose, defend and advance its ideas. Should the Republicans win in 2010 and then relapse into traditional politics, they will lose everything they gained and then some. The Democrats can survive without the tea party folks. They may indeed survive as a minority for years to come. But they will survive unless their extreme left destroys them. The Republicans can't survive if they don't reform themselves. Their core will desert and a hollow shell will go the way of the Whigs.
In the short term the tea party popular front is a great danger to the Democratic left. In the long term it is both a great opportunity and a greater danger to the GOP.
The following hissed in response by: LarryD
To build on Ken's comment, the conservative base of the Republic party is largely both fiscally and socially conservative, the overlap isn't 100%, but it's close. And they've been unhappy with the Republican leadership for nearly a decade now. The Tea Party folks will find lots of allies inside the Republican party to help clean house. And if the elite leadership was to beat off the housecleaning, well, the base has contemplating the third party option for years.
Actually shrink the size and intrusiveness of the Federal Government, and the social issues mostly become local issues again, and the social conservatives will be fine with that. Illegal immigration and assimilation will be partial exceptions, because part of those do properly lie in the Federal domain.
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