Sunday, August 29, 2010

The AP Hearts Beckapoolza

To hear the Associated Press tell it, yesterday's Glenn Beck Ego Rally in D.C. is proof positive Tea Party forces are part of an epic movement in American politics which threatens to change the status quo in the next election.  Forget about the fact that these people are actually fighting for the status quo, as it was before the 2008 elections; this is about a revolution.

The article was titled "Beck Rally Signals Election Troubles for Dems," and describes "voter unrest" at this "nonpolitical rally" which they say "illustrated voters' exasperation" at the people in charge.  It described the Tea Party thusly:
The tea party is essentially a loosely organized band of anti-tax, libertarian-leaning political newcomers who are fed up with Washington
Political newcomers?  Is there some sort of evidence of this, besides that this is how these people sometimes describe themselves?  Because I've got another way of describing these people: The same a-holes who hated Bill Clinton, fervently defended George W, and insisted throughout 2008 that Obama was a Muslim traitor socialist who planned to destroy America. 

In other words, they're the sore losers on the far-far-right who attack anyone who attempts to deny them power.  How anyone can look at these people and imagine that they're some sort of bipartisan uprising of recently frustrated voters is absolutely amazing.  That might make a better news story, but it's complete and total fiction. 

When Sarah Palin whips them into an anti-Obama frenzy, it's the same frenzy she whipped them into before her epic defeat in 2008.  Or are we to forget the "paling around with terrorists" stuff and pretend as if these people were somehow fair-minded about Obama before he destroyed America?

Likely Voters Skew Angry

And what did the AP not mention in this story?  That this "voter uprising" was estimated to be a relatively miniscule 87,000 people.  And while that's at least 86,980 more people than I could probably get at a Biobrain rally, in the grand scheme of things, that's not particularly impressive.  I mean, hell, that's only 0.15% of the people who voted for McCain in 2008.  And if 53 million votes won't win them an election, why should we take Beck's angry 87,000 to be some sort of threat?

And overall, one of the big fallacies too many people are making regarding the upcoming election is that angry votes somehow count more than non-angry ones.  That's why the "likely voter" scenarios the pollsters create are skewing Republican, because angry people tell pollsters they're more likely to vote.  But this far ahead of the election, that's still an iffy proposition, no matter how much us politicos want to be able to predict the future.

As a reminder, in August 2008, McCain and Obama were often neck-and-neck.  As Polling Report shows, while some polls of likely voters had Obama in a sizeable lead at this point, CNN had it at 48-49 Obama, well within the margin of error.  In fact, for the first part of September, McCain was winning in more polls than Obama.  It wasn't until October that polls consistently showed Obama with a break-out lead,  Yet Obama went on to win by seven points, a landslide by modern standards.

And that's just to be expected.  I mean, like it or not, even a majority of voters only care enough about politics to start having real opinions once the election approaches.  And the people who have established opinions are going to be the people who are involved, but that really doesn't mean much.  Because again, angry votes don't count more than tepid ones and there will always be more tepid voters than angry ones.

And that means that all this can change by November.  To suggest otherwise is to play silly headgames with ourselves.  The desire for certainty is no assurance that it exists.

Angry Still Angry

And back to the point, Beck's angry 87,000 is much fury about nothing.  These people were angry in 2008, 2006, 2001, 1996, and every other election for the last twenty years.  These aren't political newcomers who have banded together to form a new movement.  This is an angry mob that latched onto a cutsie name to describe themselves, as a way of associating themselves with a history they refuse to understand. 

Them referring to themselves as a Tea Party is just more evidence that they're ego-driven fools who are angry that America isn't designed exactly the way they want it; whatever that is.  As Carpetbagger continues to point out, this "movement" has no real agenda, beyond ambigious goals like freedom, liberty, and truth; without any real comprehension of what those ideas mean or how we can apply them in practice.  And the whole thing falls apart once they actually start trying to say what they're going to do.  They want freedom and power.  Beyond that, it's every jerk for themselves.

But all the same, the AP is in love with the idea that they've got a new story to pimp, so pimp it they will.  Yes, they're angry, but they've always been angry and a small group consisting of less than 1% of angry Republicans isn't going to make a difference in November.  As much as these people can hurt anyone, it's Republicans in Republican primaries who have to worry.  But these people weren't going to vote for Democrats in any case, and their vote isn't any stronger than it was going to be no matter how angry they are.

As I've always said, the Tea Party is a splinter group that is as much a threat to Democrats as Ralph Nader is to Republicans.  Somehow, the media acknowledges Nader as being a thorn in the side of Democrats, yet refuses to understand how the Tea Party plays the same part.  But perhaps that's just because they listen too much to their confused rhetoric, rather than the practical implications of what they're saying.  So far this year, the only people who have been hurt by the Tea Party were conservative Republicans who weren't conservative enough.  I fail to see how that's a threat to anyone else.

1 comment:

ex DLB said...

Yes, the Conservative party hasn't been fielding nearly enough candidates to draw votes away from the GOP. I look forward to seeing the Tea Party have a regular spot on the ballot. Go freedom and truth!