Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tea Parties, Defeatism and Wolverines

Discussing Rick Moran's criticisms of the Tea Party protests, Dan Riehl writes:

I remember when Rick pronounced the Iraq War lost and a humiliation for America. So this sort of thing from him doesn't really surprise me. . . .The naysayers are always the least remembered voices when something succeeds or even when it fails. There's good reason for that. America just doesn't take kindly to losers, even if they turn out to have been on the right side of events.
Very harsh. I hesitate to judge Rick as harshly as I would judge David Brooks or George Will if they wrote the same thing -- and perhaps I'm wrong to be more tolerant of bloggers than of Old Media pundits.

Friday, I had lunch with Tim Mooney of Save Our Secret Ballot and, in the course of discussing everyone's favorite CPAC '09 topic -- what's wrong with the GOP? -- discussed the problem of the polluted information stream.

Among the ill effects of liberal bias in the media is that much political "news" amounts to thinly disguised DNC talking-points. The conservative must learn to think critically about news and politics, to filter out that which is misleading, or else he will internalize the funhouse-mirror distortions of reality that define the liberal weltanschauung.

This, I said to Mr. Mooney, is one of the major problems of the Republican Party, that so many of its supporters have unwittingly accepted liberal beliefs as political truths. Therefore, when those who present themselves as conservatives parrot the liberal line, the damage they do is far worse than if the same statements were made by Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Why? Because this "conservative" echo tends to act as a hardening catalyst for the conventional wisdom.

I have never forgiven David Brooks for "National Greatness." Brooks's argument, that "anti-government" conservatism is both wrong as policy and doomed as politics, had a demoralizing effect on the Republican Party. The elegance of Brooks's writing -- whatever your opinion of the man, the elegance of his prose style is beyond dispute -- was the spoonful of sugar to make that poisonous medicine go down. That was 12 years ago, and if the GOP now appears disastrously ill, Brooks and his erstwhile publishers at the Weekly Standard are heavily implicated in this perhaps fatal disease.

Rick Moran is not David Brooks. Moran's influence is sufficiently limited that he can be wrong without inflicting much damage. But in such a desperate political crisis as conservatives now face, they can ill afford to let off-key voices lead the chorus. Moran and others are free to quarrel with the "Tea Party" tactics of opposing Obamanomics, but small-d democratic considerations will relegate them to the role of dogs barking at the passing caravan.

"The opposition party must oppose," as Jennifer Rubin said. Since the Democratic majority is proposing a liberal economic monstrosity of epic scale, opposition ought to be easy. And just because it is so easy, conservatives should resist the temptation to be lazy or sloppy in tactics.

Constructive criticism of tactics is one thing; pronouncing the opposition as doomed from the outset is something else. Stephen Green is a good blog buddy (whom last I saw at 2 a.m. in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham), but when I heard Stephen arguing in essence that the GOP couldn't possibly make a dent in Democratic hegemony before 2014 -- hey, I called bullshit.

Friends don't let friends peddle defeatist bullshit. You cannot organize opposition unless you first believe that opposition can be effective and meaningful. Telling conservatives that there is no point deploying an ambush on the road to serfdom? That's defeatist bullshit. If Ho Chi Minh had thought that way, the French would still rule Indochina.

Conservatives are now a guerrilla resistance. Harassing the enemy -- staging raids and ambushes that prevent him from enjoying his conquest at leisure -- is basic to guerrilla resistance. If we are doomed to destruction, as least let it be said that we died fighting. But those who never fight, never win.

In a word: "Wolverines!"

UPDATE: Linked by Dan Riehl, who colorfully accuses me of being too nice to Rick.

2/25: Thoughts on strategy
2/23: Rick Moran takes counsel of his fears
12/21: But seriously, folks


  1. Did anyone catch Moran's petulant response? Other than having one of the "most popular"political Blog Talk Radio shows out there why is this guy even relevant anymore?

  2. Rick might be tired of getting the cold shoulder at home for the holidays.

    Trying to be more like Brian..

  3. In defense of Rick Moran: at least he had some hardware with an SD card reader, so I could give him some Tea Party pics from Lafayette Park.
    Less in defense of Rick Moran: he appears to have used 0 of them. Was it the fact I requested he link you? Ah, well, Right Wing Nut House is his blog, after all. If you're too lazy to rise above kibitzer, what do you expect, no? ;)

  4. One thing I'm not seeing, for all of this talk about a return to values in the GOP, why aren't we being critical of the neocons? They were liberals to begin with and their actions showed that they have no place in the right. If we really want to make conservatives stand strong intellectually and appeal to a wider audience, we need to drop these fakes that helped in destroying our power in politics.

  5. Well the important thing about the Tea Parties is not the quantity of protesters themselves but the quantity of the protests themselves. The quality of the rhetoric is not high but the quality of the people in the protest are. My bet is the protest keep going on even at the love level of rhetoric the MSM will have to examine them. If the MSM does a hatchet job on people that the middle class identifies with it could very well backfire on them big time. Also given the paranoid nature of the radical left you can expect them to roll out there professional protest thugs to counter the Tea Party protest and end up hurting someone. Then the real fun begins.

  6. I don't mean to add more fuel to the fire... but a good old-fashioned bit*h slapping by JSM or Dan Riehl is delicious enough, but when Mr. Reynolds opened up a can of "Insta-Whoop Ass"...the case is closed.

    Off the island he goes!

  7. @Anonymous:
    Getting rid of everyone "who doesn't agree exactly with me" ends with a suicide, as even the individual opinion shifts over time.
    If you're dealing with a 9/11 Conservative, treat that as the starting point.
    Steady application of common sense over time will help them out of the collectivist penalty box.

  8. Well said. Criticizing anyone attempting to do the right thing is not a recipe for victory.

    I don't care if its five or five thousand meeting to share their support for lower taxes and smaller government.

    The point is promoting lower taxes and smaller government.

    Whatever it takes.

  9. There was a passing caravan? I must have blinked and missed it.

    If you're going to oppose BHO, how about not doing it with the help of those who have no use for our borders?

    If you want to actually do something, one of the most effective ways would be to go discredit political leaders by asking them "prosecutorial-style" questions on video to their face and then uploading it to Youtube. Questions like this.

    Oddly enough, you won't find major bloggers pushing that highly effective plan but instead are pushing time-wasting plans that, among other things, involve signs that the vast majority of Americans obviously disagree with.

  10. Instead of holding up "taxation is theft" signs, here's another thing that could be highly effective but isn't being pushed by major bloggers and others. Most of those visiting this page will no doubt have been so effectively trained by the MSM that they'll dismiss the link as tinfoil hat talk without even reviewing the original documents, bothering to understand the point I'm making (and what my argument doesn't consist of), and without realizing how pushing that issue could help discredit a great number of MSM hacks.

    The "tea parties" are just another milestone on the descent into Idiocracy.

  11. @Lonewhacko:
    Being sworn in twice by Chief Justice Roberts renders your point moot en passant.

  12. If conservatives don't oppose big government liberalism, who will? Democrats? Don't make us laugh. Conservatives are obligated to oppose it with all we have.

  13. You say: “Among the ill effects of liberal bias in the media is that much political "news" amounts to thinly disguised DNC talking-points." seems like the shoe is kind of on the other was RNC awhile ago...don't we all have to use reason from both sides of the aisle?

  14. @Anonymous:
    As with academia, the media has a long way to go before the perception of fairness, balance, competence, and integrity is restored.

  15. Obviously, smitty1e doesn't understand my point, and probably intentionally so. He/she obviously doesn't want others to understand my point either.

  16. WOLVERININEINEINEIENIENEINEINEINSE!!!! AVENGE MEEEEEEE!!!!1111!1!!1!!1!!1 WOLVERINEINSESSS!!!!!!1 -COUGH- ACK! -COUGH- -COUGH- AHH CRAP! my throat... ohhh. ahh.g WOLVEerine... -COUGH- oh damn, I lost it, but you guys get the point, right?


  17. @LoneWhacko:
    The point of whether or not there has been a Constitutional oversight on the point of citizenship is an interesting one.
    However, you're missing the larger, organizational behavior point that, the more repetition a position has behind it, the less possible it is for the an organization to admit that they done screwed the pooch.
    As with Anthropogenic Global Warming, the investment level in the premise that BHO meets all POTUS requirements is so high that, even in the face of Really Good Proof to the contrary, Al Gore is as likely to back down from his position as Dan Rather was on the whole Texas ANG fiasco.
    My point is that history is littered with the corpses of those who prefer to die with their illusions rather than face realities.
    So, I think I do understand your point, as do others, but winning generals pay particular attention to the ground chosen for the fight.

  18. Could it also be possible that the US public doesn't really want what the conservatives are selling at the moment?

    Naaaaah, couldn't be that!


  19. Where were you when the last Republican administration was proposing a liberal economic monstrosity of epic scale? I mean, isn't the laziness and sloppiness of conservatives what got us into this mess in the first place? Sure, it's easy to say this stuff when the Democrats are in charge, but the real measure of character is how you act when "your people" are dropping the ball.

  20. Anon at 9:57..

    Do you even read this blog?

  21. Did you really say "wolverines" without irony?

  22. You mean 'Werwolf' you ignorant moron. It's funny how so-called conservatives called any opposition to the policies of the Bush administration treason or sedition. It's funny how a couple months changes everything. Oh wait. There was an election where the opposition won far-and-square. DEMOCRACY'S WONDERFUL, ISN'T IT?!?!? What a bunch of f*cking hypocrites. They should be all be thrown in the drink with their metaphorical tea. Have a nice swim.

  23. Last time I watched Red Dawn, I didn't see any pussies throwing used tea bags at the passing tanks, holding up signs that said "Read The Bill Before You Pass It!"

    I saw people, taking action to deny their oppressors the ability to collect the tax by destroying the passing parade with short-range weaponry.

    Maybe you should watch the movie again before you appropriate the tagline for your little band of whiners.

    You want a Wolverine protest: Then stop paying your mortgage. And encourage your neighbor to as well.

    Every month, Americans pay more in property taxes than they do in income taxes. If you're paying your mortgage, then you're propping up the very government that you're protesting, providing it the dollars to oppress you.

    You want effective protest? Move your tea baggers down the street to the GM dealership and block their driveway. Use union tactics to prevent those thieves from selling cars with your tax dollars.

    You want a better protest? Line up the tea baggers outside of a branch of the Bank of America. Tell passersby there's a run on the bank and that they better hurry up and get their money out, or they'll be left holding the bag. That'll teach the next bank that maybe it's not such a good idea to seek government handouts.

    You say "Wolverines!" but you don't really have the stones for it, do you kids.

  24. Hey everyone, get your Tea Party t-shirts at

  25. Florida, the wolverines chant is merely self referential humor. The purpose of the tea parties is to get the ideas out into the marketplace. Your suggestions do more damage than good. While people may have problems with the national government, they may have no problems with their local government. Your mortgage boycott, while ballsy, is highly misplaced. I mean, jeez, you act like next year's election has been canceled already.