How to keep the grassroots growing
Amid all the recriminations about the electoral ineffectiveness of some Tea Party–backed candidates, it’s easy to lose sight of a central fact: It’s doubtful that, without a newly emboldened grassroots movement, Republican politicians would have been able to create enough momentum against Obama to produce the landslide of November 2.
As ebullient progressives descended on Washington for Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, many Republicans assumed the fetal position. Party strategists wondered just how much they could openly oppose the new president’s agenda, lest they be tarred as obstructionist or even racist. Barely a month into Obama’s term, his political operation tied Republicans in knots by pressuring them to disown Rush Limbaugh’s “I want Obama to fail” monologue.