In this morning’s Jolt, I examine Erick Erickson’s contention at Red State that the Tea Parties have jumped the shark, nuked the fridge, and whatever other pop-culture metaphors for “running its course” you prefer.
The tea party movement, one year later, is descending into a self-parody of infighting, money making, claims of national leadership, protests, unions, federations, amalgamations, etc. The groups have been so busy organizing themselves to distinguish themselves from each other that the core message is gone and media and left have been able to seize on the discord and paint a picture of the tea party movement as something other than it is and what we all know it to be – concerned Americans. This has nothing at all to do with actual tea party activists . . . But I have a simple message for them all – it is time to stop calling yourselves tea party activists and start calling yourselves concerned Americans.
I continue to contend that anyone who tries to manage the Tea Parties in a top-down manner will have roughly the same success as Dan Aykroyd’s attempt to form a union for professional assassins in Grosse Point Blank. Much like hired killers’ antipathy to the traditional models of collective bargaining, the kinds of people who show up to join a Tea Party movement are not the types who relish having other people tell them what to do. If they liked that sort of thing, they wouldn’t have joined the Tea Parties. So the Tea Party rank-and-file will gladly follow any freedom-minded leader – Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, Michelle Bachmann, whoever – until the moment that the leader starts contradicting the rank-and-file’s instincts and sense of what’s right, and/or the moment that it stops being fun.
As the would-be union organizer Grocer learned with his sales pitch to lone wolf hitman Martin Blank:
[Martin and Grocer are shooting at each other]
Grocer: Comrade! Comrade!
Grocer: Why don’t you just join the union, we’ll go upstairs together and cap daddy!
Marty: This union . . . There’s gonna be meetings?
Grocer: Of course!
Marty: No meetings!
[They resume shooting]