September 19, 2010
By Bill Kraus
Tip O’Neil’s dictum that all politics is local is right. So it is foolish to draw general conclusions from individual races where I don’t know who the winners beat and the kind of campaigns the losers ran. I’ll do it anyway.
The tea party phenomenon deservedly commands everyone’s attention as do the results of that non-existent category, “tea party candidates.” The tea party is not a political party.
What the tea party seems to be is a state of mind. The original tea party was about taxation without representation. This tea party seems to be about taxation without results.
Both were--”listen to me!”--cries for attention.
The new movement is not anarchistic. It has no leader. It wants no leader. Long time rightie Mark Block seems to be saying he is ascending to the Wisconsin tea party throne. He is likely to find it is a trap door instead.
Karl Rove--is he the new RINO?--and the candidates he is supporting are being handed their hats by the tea party.
At its best and most formidable the tea party is pointing to K-12 education where they are not getting their money’s worth, where the government is not only deaf but not working well either.
At its worst and least formidable the tea party is credited with advancing the campaigns of some major loonies.
Obviously, this election year is still a work in progress (a week is an eternity in politics), but my early take on the tea party movement is that it is a curve ball that nobody knows how to hit.
The fat pitch down the middle that is being hit at a Ted Williams pace is the one being thrown by the once invincible, well-funded incumbents.
Their campaigns are characterized by defensive nervousness.
The Democrats are not running on the claims of, at long last, beginning to wrestle the health care monster to the crowd and, just in time, turning what could have been a great depression into a great recession. They are running away from these not inconsiderable accomplishments.
The Republicans are finding that Dr. No and the iconic Karl Rove may not be a workable strategy or an unassailable political guru after all.
Incumbents in both parties are in the uncomfortable position of having challengers who aren’t saying who they are, what they will do, or what they are for but merely “Vote for me, because I am not him or her.”
To add to the confusion the talk radio toughies, who when confronted will quickly admit that they are mostly in show business, continue to prove that they are as scary as ever.
Whose candidate is on the GOP ticket in the Lieutenant Governor’s slot and which Democrat is no longer running for re-election to the state Senate? Not the party's favorites. Not the endorsees of Tommy Thompson’s or the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Instead it is the candidates favored loud and long and often by Mark Belling and Charlie Sykes.
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There's a sense of hopelessness in today's politics. This is why we vote the way we sometimes do. We think we are voting for something but in reality we vote because we don't like the way things are getting done. Sadly, the ones put into office spend their time bickering and trying to get re-elected. Instead of change, we get more of the same.
How do we break this system and start anew? Solve this one and perhaps we can go forward. Until we do, I am afraid we are in a rut that only gets deeper the more mired we become.
I think we have lost the art of compromise and working together. Everyone wants the credit, no one wishes to share or give it. We blame others to often in order to cover for our own inadequacies and failures.
The wheels seem to be spinning but we ain't gettin' nowhere and fast.
-Franz Fripplfrappl | Stoughton | September 19, 2010
People want change. They are obviously willing to cast votes for non-prototypical candidates. Sadly, the only option they hear (loud and clear) comes from the far right.
Yes, we are overspending (on the military).
No, the majority of us cannot bear the cost of this overspending (the wealthy minority can).
Yet, what alternatives have the people been given? Do progressives really try? Or are we simply too cowardly to stand on a corner and shout "Tax the rich! Feed the poor!"
Progressives are in a popularity contest acting like the school nerd against the tea party's starting quarterback. The conservatives have a cult of personality going with many strong voices saturating our lives. What we need is a Fighting Bob, or better yet a thousand Granny D's.
You know who you are.
-Lex Tinker-Sackett | Eau Claire, WI | September 20, 2010