National Review / Digital
Tea in 2012
How to keep the grassroots growing

(Roman Genn)


The smarter Beltway institutions realize that they won’t be able to orchestrate every advance the way they could in times past. They have latched on to the recent book The Starfish and the Spider as a way to explain the growth of the movement. With today’s communication networks, the book argues, movements can spawn and replicate without central leadership. If you cut off the spider’s head, it dies. If you cut the starfish in half, not only does it live, but the two parts grow into separate starfishes. FreedomWorks has been busy evangelizing the book and popularizing the Movement 2.0 concept of leaderless replication. “You take the Dayton tea party and you cut it in half, and it becomes two of them — and that’s what’s been happening,” FreedomWorks’s Adam Brandon told Politico in July. “It’s a better model for the type of activism we want to do. So we talk about it a lot. We recommend it.”

What comes next for the Tea Party movement? In a sense, the election results — including the lost Senate races in Delaware, Colorado, Washington State, and Nevada — were the best the movement could have hoped for. With the GOP controlling just one chamber, it remains a quasi-insurgency inside the Beltway, and insurgencies are conducive to the growth of true grassroots movements. 2012 will be all about the White House, not Congress, with the energy of the nomination fight and the general-election contest against Obama keeping Tea Party activists involved in Republican-party politics for the next two years.

November 29, 2010    |     Volume LXII, No. 22

  • And many have Jim DeMint to thank for it.
  • How to keep the grassroots growing.
  • It’s your policies that were the problem, Mr. President.
  • History need not, and likely will not, repeat itself.
  • Twelve spending-reduction priorities for the new Congress.
  • Ten tips for economic dynamism.
  • Letting rate cuts on top earners expire would cost more than it’s worth.
  • Keep your eye on these rising GOP stars.
  • The Democratic wipeout beyond the Beltway.
  • We will face pressure to cut military spending imprudently, and we should resist it.
  • Ronald Reagan articulated the principles that must underlie a lasting conservative majority.
  • A divided government faces a budget crisis.
Books, Arts & Manners
  • Conrad Black reviews The End and the Beginning: Pope John Paul II — The Victory of Freedom, the Last Years, the Legacy, by George Weigel.
  • Edward Feser reviews The Grand Design, by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.
  • Travis Kavulla reviews The Masque of Africa: Glimpses of African Belief, by V. S. Naipaul.
  • Fred Schwarz reviews Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda, by Carolyn de la Peña.
  • Richard Brookhiser feels the noise.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
The Bent Pin  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Editorial  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .