The Art of Political War for Tea Parties
Posted by David Horowitz on Nov 26th, 2009 and filed under FrontPage.
A specter is haunting America – the specter of a people rising. All across the nation Americans are waking up to the threat of a leftist elite determined to fundamentally change America, push through a socialist agenda, and make every citizen dependent on the state. The Obama machine is spending trillions of tax-payer dollars to finance their takeover of the American workplace and stifle the independence of the American people. But America is resilient nation, built on the principles of private property and individual freedom, and the resistance to their socialist plans has already begun.
In May 2009, just five months into the Obama administration, the people of California launched a tax revolt in the biggest spending state in the nation. So reckless were the leftist Democrats who run California (and have done so for as long as anyone can remember) that its deficit alone was larger than the budgets of most other states in the Union and of many of the nations of the world. Leftwing politicians don’t cut budgets; they propose new taxes. And California’s leftwing legislature did just that. But thanks to a constitutional amendment put in place by the California electorate through the state Initiative process, California legislators can’t raise taxes without a two-thirds referendum of the people. So they were forced to hold a special election in May to appeal to the electorate to pass five new ballot Initiatives to raise taxes.
But when the votes were counted, all five tax-raising Initiatives had been defeated by 60% margins. Even in San Francisco. A sixth Initiative designed by tax opponents to punish legislators who do not balance the budget passed by a more than 70% margin. Even in San Francisco. If one of the most liberal states in the Union is saying no to the soak-the-public philosophy of leftwing legislators, Obama socialism is in big trouble.
The revolt in California quickly spread to the entire nation through the efforts of the Tea Parties movement, the most innovative, exciting and powerful grassroots force in the history of American conservatism. It is vital to the health of this country that the Tea Parties movement grow. More to the point: it is essential to American survival that the Tea Parties movement succeed. On the eve of the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama said “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming America.” The Tea Parties movement is the American people saying no to Obama’s plans for revolution.
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A movement without an effective strategy for defeating its opponents cannot succeed. Therefore it is important to reacquaint ourselves with the art of political war.
While Democrats are morally bankrupt and clueless about policy – about what makes things work — they still win elections because they understand a simple fact: American politics is driven by the romance of the underdog, the story of the little guy who goes up against the system and triumphs in the end. It is a story about opportunity and fairness. To win the hearts and minds of the American voter, you have to tap the emotions the romance of the underdog evokes. Whoever does so has a winning edge.
America’s heroes are all cut to this common mold. Whether it is George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, Jackie Robinson, Ronald Reagan or Colin Powell, the theme is always the same: The common man who rises against the odds. America’s political romance is “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” to make things right. It is “Meet John Doe” who speaks for the voiceless. It is Luke Skywalker who saves the planet by using the good side of the Force to defeat the Empire. It is the odyssey of individuals who challenge power, overcome adversity and rise to the top. Everyone in America thinks of themselves as an underdog and aspires to be a hero.
The cause of the underdog wins American hearts because it resonates with our deepest religious and moral convictions of doing good and helping others. And because it is America’s own story. We began as a small nation, standing up to the world’s most powerful empire. We dedicated ourselves to the idea that all men are created equal. We are a nation of immigrants and a generous people who arrived with nothing and made fortunes in a new world. This is the American Dream.
It’s a story that will get you every time. But at election time, it’s the political left and the Democratic Party who know how to wield it as a political weapon, and Republicans and conservatives generally who don’t. Of course the Tea Parties have changed all that. And that is another sign that we are in an extraordinary political moment. The Tea Parties draw on the heritage of America’s own revolution as an underdog nation and are the voice of the people, oppressed now by their own government which is out of control and determined to crush them.
In positioning themselves as champions of the under-represented, neglected and oppressed, leftists employ a version of America’s story that they have manufactured through their grip on the media and the academic culture. They have transformed America’s story from an epic of freedom into a tale of racism, exploitation and domination. In their telling, American history is no longer a narrative of expanding opportunity, of men and women succeeding against the odds. Instead, it is a Marxist Morality Play about the powerful and their victims.
In staging their political dramas, progressives invariably claim to speak in the name of America’s alleged “victims.” Every policy of the Democratic Party is presented as a program to help these “victims”—women, children, minorities and the poor. Simultaneously, Democrats describe Republican policies as programs that will injure the weak, ignore the vulnerable, and keep the powerless down.
Republicans play right into the Democrats’ trap because they approach politics as a problem of management. To Republicans, every issue is a management issue—the utility of a tax cut, the efficiency of a program, the optimal method for running an enterprise. Republicans talk like businessmen who want a chance to manage the country so that it will turn a profit.
There is nothing wrong with instituting good policies and running things efficiently or turning a profit. But while Republicans are performing these Gold Star activities, Democrats are engaged in a different kind of drama. They are busy attacking Republicans as servants of the rich, oppressors of the weak and defenders of the strong. And enemies of “the people.”
Listen to Mario Cuomo describing Republicans to the Democrats’ 1996 National Convention:
We need to work as we have never done before between now and November 5th to take the Congress back from Newt Gingrich and the Republicans, because ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, the Republicans are the real threat. They are the real threat to our women. They are the real threat to our children. They are the real threat to clean water, clean air and the rich landscape of America.