Monday, June 07, 2010

A La Recherche Du Temps Perot

The Teabaggers are a blip on the radar. Poorly conceived, ill-timed and ultimately as all movements born of anger, doomed to fizzle out.
You may recall from the 1990s a similar "movement" gathered force when Ross Perot managed to climb into Presidential politics spending billions of his own money to create what ultimately became the Reform Party. That party scored exactly one coup: electing Jesse Ventura governor of Minnesota. Apart from that, any impact it had on American politics was to exacerbate already existing memes, like stealing more votes from George H W Bush than from Bill Clinton, all but guaranteeing Clinton's election, which was pretty much a foregone conclusion by the time Perot slipped into the polls.
That "movement" managed to slide quickly to the fringes despite the fact that it had been well-financed by Perot, and had gathered an impressive percentage of the popular vote in 1992. So abrupt was its decline into irrelevance that, even tho it is still an active party in America, the Teabaggers have refused to even discuss an alliance.
This, despite as has been pointed out, the Teabaggers are woefully short of money and woefully short of organization outside of a handful of states where they have managed to cull a few insigificant victories in a few small but strategic elections: convention votes, an underattended primary, and of course, the special election in Massachussetts less won by Scott Brown than lost by Martha Coakley...who promptly turned his back on the Baggers!
Tomorrow, Baggers will have opportunities in Nevada and California to gain some momentum. Don't bet on it. While they stand a good chance of stealing a Senate nomination in Nevada, it's no lock and this is Nevada where establishment politicians are despised, right or left. California will likely see the repudiation of the Baggers, an intriguing development from the state that delivered us unto the evil that is Ronald Reagan and is shackled in its bankruptcy by Prop 13.
The Baggers represent America at its worst, and while there are parts of the country where the worst is accepted and even applauded, it's to America's credit that this movement remains mired in the bottom of the toilet.