What a difference a year makes.
Last CPAC, the colony had no queen. The Movement soldier ants wandered around the Shoreham hallways witless, or sat in the main foyer flashing their Mac Book Pros at each other, looking for ways to die. Confusion and fear reigned. They still thought of themselves as ‘Movement’ but most by now had worked in the White House, for leadership on the Hill or been appointed to SES perk slots. Still, after McCain’s crash, these former campaign veterans sought each other at the Shoreham and vigorously shook hands. Some even hugged. A lot like old soldiers remembering those harrowing minutes on Omaha.
Meanwhile, wealthy plutocrats dined on overpriced average food in the lobby restaurant. They had cheque books at the ready for anyone who could convincingly launch immediate political suicide bombers. The plutocrats asked blunt questions. Was the canon fodder pipeline real? Were the political bombs ready? And they looked for any sign of flinch, of conscience about sending 20 somethings out to die politically with no reward (Carrie Prejean didn’t happen until later in June, so no one thought of that paradise for the departed). Finally, and most importantly, what was the profit margin per attack?
Now in 2010, the colony still doesn’t have a queen. But Obama’s inexcusably weak presidency has galvanized undeservedly the Movement. Instead of a queen, the Movement offers a conch – the conch of experience. It rallies the old soldiers and waived as a talisman to cow their own insurgency. The Movement Establishment rightly has been exposed as just another D.C. nomenklatura, rich and bloated. ‘Rich and bloated’, with a new jingle and website graphics, is peddled to the febrile tea partiers as magic ‘Experience’. So far, it is not catching on. Instead, the tea party influence at CPAC outside the now very dated old school scheduled events has the potential to wash like purifying acid over the rotten edifice.
The feeling is London, 1976. Both for what is and its potential denouement. Recall how 1976 began. British kids suddenly walking down the street with t-shirts declaring ‘I Hate Pink Floyd’ ignited a mass social movement based on angry rejection. They would smash down the out of touch, self indulgent sellouts and reclaim youth culture. Back to basics. Jonathan RIchman and his two chord classic ‘Roadrunner’. From them, the Ramones and the NY Dolls, London punk emerged to kick to the curb dinosaurs like The Rolling Stones and Zepplin. You know the story re Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Damned et al. And they did take over for a while, mostly in London. Americans remained skeptical. Like our politics, we then as now prefer both to be processed and manufactured.
Punk failed, of course. And there’s the analogy. Without anything to offer beyond rejection, they lost their audience after 3 years. Labels and corporations jumped at the opening and packaged New Wave and more marketable, malleable product to sell. If you lived through the 80s you saw the wreckage. One famous rock figure who just played a major sporting event, speaking of punk, could just as well be talking to Grover Norquist. ‘Punk scared all of us alot at first, but if one just stood there and took it, the abuse and the spitting, one survived.’
Movement figures have no where else to go. They must endure the spittle. And wave that shiny magic conch ‘Experience’. They infected, rode then depleted the Republican Party parasite for power and personal wealth. They left the parasite party, country and government in tatters. As with all institutions their ideology infects. The Republican Party is a non-existent player in these conversations for a reason, beyond Michael Steele.
Perhaps the tea partiers will learn from history and side step her trap. So far, they seem to enjoy merely singing ‘Smash It Up.’ One hopes Grover has a lot of kleenex.
Who said Obama didn’t create anything his first year?