This is a very interesting twist. Kleefeld would have his readers believe that the movement which is putting boots on the ground -- organizing dissent, bringing out people for protest rallies, training voters as grassroots activists -- is thereby giving evidence that it is "dying."
Obama's declining approval ratings, voters opposing single-payer health care by a 25-point margin -- all of this, Eric Kleefeld wants you to believe, is about "The Dying Of The Right."
How encouraging it is to see that liberal elitists are now resorting to such counter-factual rationalizations, telling themselves that these phenomena -- clear indications of Obama's miscalculations and policy overreach by Democrats in Congress -- are actually proof of desperation by the defeated "Right."
Certainly, it is heartening to me personally, as these grassroots protests are evidence of the power of "Libertarian Populism," which I described last year as "an enduring populist conception of the government in Washington as a corrupt insider racket controlled by special interests, in which both Democrats and Republicans are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Americans."
Libertarian populism was "The Spirit of '94," the mad-as-hell mood that fueled the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress. If the government in Washington is always by its nature an "insider racket controlled by special interests," both unresponsive and irresponsible, then effective opposition to the federal Leviathan is not about counting R's and D's in Congress, but rather about limiting the power of Leviathan.
And the failure of Republican leaders to live up to their limited-government rhetoric -- their seduction by David Brooks and "national greatness," which led to the discredited idiocy of "compassionate conservatism" -- is what has brought our nation under the thumb of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama.
The Tea Party movement appeals to a long and heroic tradition of "anti-government" activism in America. When John Cornyn gets booed in Texas, when union goons feel the need to beat up black man selling flags, in when Ben Cardin finds his town-hall meeting packed to fire-code limits in deep-blue Maryland, we are living in a moment that would bring a smile to the faces of those patriotic "angry mobs" who tarred-and-feathered royal tax collectors back in the day.
The Gadsden Flag has never been more in vogue. In April, I actually met a couple of college kids with Gadsden Flag tattoos, including a young Latina libertarian with a "Don't Tread On Me" tattoo on her lower back. ("Don't call it a 'tramp stamp'!" Ileana said. "I hate when people call it that!")
What is "dying" here, Mr. Kleefeld? Your "progressive" dream of omnipotent centralized authority, that's what. Like the lady said: Don't Tread On Me!