Monday, November 21, 2011

Warner Todd Houston: Illinois Tea Parties Boiling Over?

Excellent piece by Warner Todd Huston that's must read for anyone trying to understand the Illinois Tea Party scene.

Via The Prairie State Report, Illinois Tea Parties Boiling Over? |:

But the fact that so many Tea Party groups have not, if you will, “gotten their hands dirty” in the slugfest that is politics is a result of one of the problems with the premise of Tea Party itself. Many Tea Partiers feel such pride in not being connected to the “establishment” that anything that smacks of coordination with others makes them recoil in horror. This makes it hard to have an effective political force, to be sure. Many Tea Partiers are so intent on being unconnected with “the establishment” they go out of their way to say they are “non-partisan.” The Chicago Tea Party itself says this on its about page.

Cattoni also had an answer to that point when I spoke to her recently for this article. The Tea Party early started with the non-partisan label because they felt — and still feel — that if they become too partisan they will cut themselves off from the independents that they feel they need to sway elections. This is something I’ve seen reflected nation wide in the desire to steer clear of social issues. Straying from the powerful message of taxes, big government, and obscene government spending would dilute the message and make the Tea Party fall into the trap of too many issues.

Still, when you are expending so much energy trying to stay on the outside looking in, it is only natural that any hint of bowing to “them” from folks that are supposed to be on your own side causes some heartburn in the movement. This is what we are seeing in Illinois.
The most remarkable thing to me about the Tea Parties has been their self-discipline to stay focused on fiscal issues and to avoid Foreign Affairs or Social Issues.

 Truth told, I'm guessing those on the inside per Warner, would just as soon avoid social issues too.  While the Foreign Affairs stuff just out of scope for all of us when focused locally. Libyan intervention should be no reason to work with a Paulista on Illinois issues.

The root's the simple aversion to being connected to the Establishment.  The case study is Joe Walsh.

Walsh won, against the odds and establishment. But once you're in, you've got to be effective. Ranting in taverns a poor start. That may help rake in out-of-state donations, but it's not being an effective Representative for Illinois, and just makes all wonder if a bolt or two's loose.

One-off mistake maybe by Walsh, but Walsh and Hultgren offer voters very different styles.  (And their only difference is styles.)

One of those styles is effective and lasts. The other's going to be transitory at best, and at worst it hurts the cause.

Illinois 14th is going to be a real test for the Illinois Tea Party. Who wins or losses might be less of a test, than how both candidates conduct themselves, before and after this campaign.

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