Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stephen Gordon on Rachel Maddow Show

(BUMPED; UPDATED) Talking Tea Party:

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Right now, I'm staying at Gordo's house in Hartselle, Alabama. Will be speaking today at 5 p.m. in Tuscaloosa at the University Quad, then hot-wheeling over to Hoover for the 6:30 p.m. event at Veteran's Park.

UPDATE: BTW, where are those "right-wing billionaires" when you need them? Instead of flying in on a private jet, I drove 700 miles to get here. Then, because Gordo had fallen asleep and didn't hear his phone ringing, I slept in my car for a couple of hours.

To update a little more of what's gone online while I was offline for 18 hours:
Tons of more stuff at Memeorandum, including a few examples of today's JournoList-approved Meme O' Th' Day: "Oh, those silly right-wingers." Matt Taibbi mocks:
This new Holy Trinity of right-wing basket cases has been pushing all sorts of crazy hallucinations of late. . . . It’s like a Farrelly Brothers version of right-wing political agitation.
Marc Cooper at the L.A. Times:
Go to a hobby store. Buy a scale model of a U.N. One-World-Government Black Helicopter and a tube of glue. Toss the model kit. Sniff the entire tube of glue. You're all set for the party.
And of course, that sober empiricist Sully:
[T]hey deserve to be dismissed as performance artists in a desperate search for coherence in an age that has left them bewilderingly behind.
Leave your behind out of this, Andrew.

UPDATE: For anyone tempted to discouragement by such elitist snark, let me share a comment I made at Hot Air's Green Room:
It's important to understand the insight that someone shared with me last year: "The Ron Paul movement wasn't about Ron Paul. It was about a movement."
Could anyone reasonably claim that John McCain represented a movement?
Conservatives need to re-learn the idea of building a movement, instead of sitting around passively waiting for the Next Ronald Reagan to just magically appear.
People tend to get the kind of leadership they deserve. During the Bush years, the conservative grassroots developed a sort of inert passivity, waiting around for GOP HQ to tell them what the important issues were and what the appropriate messages were. This top-down, hierarchical model of organization was somewhat successful, so long as the Democrats were willing to play by the same rules.

What happened, however, was that after the Kerry debacle in 2004 people like Markos Moulitsas told the activist base of the Democratic Party that they should stop sitting around waiting for Bob Shrum to figure out a winning strategy. Instead, they started organizing at the grassroots level and just plain raising hell, and pretty soon the Democrats in Washington said, "Hey, who are those guys?"

Next thing you knew, Hillary, Edwards, Pelosi and everybody else was kowtowing to the grassroots, Joe Lieberman was walking the plank and -- lo and behold! -- the Democrats took back Congress in 2006, maintained the momentum and won the White House in 2008.

So if you're a conservative out there in Ohio or Florida or Colorado who's waiting for RNC HQ to save the GOP, you're part of the problem. If you want to be part of the solution, you've got to become an activist. You've got to organize.

Create a movement, and don't worry about who the leader of the movement is. Be your own leader.


UPDATE 1:30 p.m. CDT: One of Stephen's friends who is a student at the University of Alabama has invited us to visit him before the Tuscaloosa event. So I'll soon be on a campus abloom with beautiful 'Bama belles. A tough job, but somebody's got to do it . . .

UPDATE 1:50 p.m. CDT: Small world: I sent an e-mail to some old Delta House buddies from Jacksonville (Ala.) State, and got a reply from Robin Nee of Tullahoma, Tenn., whose husband Larry founded the Deltas:
Larry & I are a couple of right wing fools who plan tospeak up for what we believe in today at 4:30 p.m.(CT) South Jackson St. Tullahoma at our local Tea Party.
My sign says: "You can't fix Stupid, but you can VOTE IT OUT!
Larry's says: "Way To Go FORD...for not taking the Bailout...too many strings!"
Larry loves him some Fords. You ought to see him at Talladega. No, wait: You ought to see Robin at Talladega.

UPDATE 2 p.m. CDT: "When fascism comes to America, it will look like Tea Party crashers." Godwin's Law or fair historical analogy? Disrupting opponent's meetings was a specialty of Ernst Roehm's SA Brownshirts. And disruptive tactics aren't the only thing the contemporary Left of Weimar America has in common with Roehm's goon squads.


  1. And Rachel Maddow is a ****

    (fill in the rest)

  2. "During the Bush years, the conservative grassroots developed a sort of inert passivity, waiting around for GOP HQ to tell them what the important issues were and what the appropriate messages were. This top-down, hierarchical model of organization..." unfortunately perfectly natural when someone perceived as an ally is in power. Activists want to help the "good guy" succeed expecting that by succeeding he'll promote their cause. It was common to see those on the left doing this during the Clinton years (e.g., the feminists despite his being Serial-Sexual-Harrasser-in-Chief).

    There were certainly occasions where the movement parted company with the elected leader during the Bush years -- Harriet Miers, immigration -- but the war made it hard for the movement to capitalize after besting Bush on those issues. At the time I think not breaking with Bush permanently was the right choice, but it's having long-term consequences we need to deal with sooner rather than later.