Saturday, May 08, 2010

Bennett loses Senate seat at Utah GOP convention

Link to a story here.

Part of what Richard Fernandez has to say about it means:
The Tea Parties represent an asymmetric threat to political organizations optimized for party-line warfare. The threat is no longer across the aisle but outside the building. As such, two possibilities suggest themselves. The first is that the Washington elite will circle the wagons, bury their minor differences and concentrate on keeping the money and power flowing to the capital. A threat from outside the building is after all, a threat to everybody inside the building. The other possibility is that enough members of the elite will realize that jig is up and strive to accommodate themselves to the new reality. In the coming months we are likely to see both gambits. Some politicians will opt to tap the tide; others will seek to master it.

That new reality is driven by economics. The real problem is that Washington — and Brussels globally considered — is running out of Other People’s Money (OPM). The Tea Parties are not the cause but the expression of the underlying problem. By all the standards of power the Tea Parties are a nothing. But that is to misunderstand their nature. The political elite can infiltrate the Tea Parties, revile it in the press and put it down as hard as they can, but like the weighted doll it will rebound incessantly because the deficit, unemployment and the declining confidence in the elite system will keep pushing it up. The Tea Parties are the elite’s dark political dual. The only way they can vanquish the doppelganger is to leave the stage themselves.

The evolution of the Tea Party “threat” in the media has followed the classic trajectory of recognizing asymmetric threats: it was at first dismissed, then denigrated, then patronizingly understood and is now going through the stage of being set up as a national security threat boogeyman, when as it turns out, its main effect so far has been to eliminate a three-term Republican candidate for Senator. At some point the Washington insiders will understand they are facing a real, bona fide political challenge. But although the elite may go out clinging with their fingernails to the carpets of their offices their real enemy will always be not the Tea Partiers but the repo men. It’s the lack of money that will be their ultimate downfall.
The times they are a changin'.

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