We realized that we would have to understand the tactics of the left. We realized that if we were to win the game, we needed to understand the game. We had to come to terms that we could no longer sit on the couch, except when we had to go to the voting booth, expecting everyone to see the obvious points of adulthood, values and the American ethic.
When millions of Americans got off the couch and demonstrated at Tea Parties across the nation, it demonstrated a willingness of effort and beliefs that until then only the Left had been able to produce. It gave us hope. Our movement took a huge step in the right direction by getting our voices heard. Conservative media grew. Our presence on the web grew. The Tea Party movement helped take seats in the Senate and take back the House of Representatives. We were learning that we could attack the Left and beat it.
We had leaders like Sarah Palin, Andrew Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch and a number of others in the new media and on the local level who took up the cause and fought despite being smeared relentlessly in the mainstream press.
We discovered that the liberals own the game and we're trapped in the room with them. They are destroying our country. We are held hostage to socialist policies. We have political guns aimed at us. We can sit still no longer. We need to attack and take those guns from them and use them if we are to escape this hellacious room.
Andrew Breitbart has been called gay in a pejorative way. Our people have been called racists. Our women have been called worse than "slut" by the Left with relative impunity. Turning the tables on them doesn't mean lowering ourselves to their level; it means strategically using their psychological weapons against them. Despite Rush Limbaugh's unnecessary apology, his attack on Sandra Fluke would have been pure textbook if he had done it on purpose.
J.R. Dunn explains it best in a piece at American Thinker:
The problem with conservatism is that it is a school of political activity based almost completely on nonconfrontation. It is quietist, scholarly, and unassuming, acting very much in the mode of the upper-class William F. Buckley and the reclusive Russell Kirk. This is not altogether a bad thing. Conservatives have always argued -- with some justice -- that a major goal of the movement is to maintain standards, to avoid descending to the level of the opposition. But like anything else, it becomes a bad thing when it is taken too far, when conservatives allow themselves -- as they so often do -- to be bullied out of the arena and on to the sidelines and irrelevance. (Buckley, to his credit, and as Gore Vidal well knows, never allowed it to go quite this far.) This is so common that it shocks both sides when it occurs otherwise. Recall the "blue-blazer riot" at the 2000 Florida election recount, with all the staid, Brooks-wearing paleos banging on the windows and shouting, "I say there," at the vote-counters. Nobody ever saw that before. The problem is, we haven't seen it since, either.We will have to get our hands dirty. We will need to be blunt and straight forward as well as be crafty. We will need to challenge them in creative ways. We will need to avoid their traps. We need to stop focusing on the things they want us to talk about and start focusing on what we need to articulate to the American people. Our country is dying. If we can't get that point across then we're done.
This is not meant as an attack on the bow-tie brigade. We need those types. We need the WASP ethos and the civilized behavior that it promotes. But we also need the hard boys in their black t-shirts and shades who can jump into the trenches and give as good as they get -- the kind of cadre that conservatism has for many years lacked.
Enter Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart created a new format for conservative action -- informed by left-wing tactics, utilizing IT to carry the message, utterly fearless, completely outrageous, and at the same time modulated with infinite care. There has been nothing similar in American political activism, though the left, curiously enough, came closest.
The American left has always been confrontational, from the strikes and marches of the early movement through the recent antics of the OWS. This became media-oriented in the 60s when figures such as Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin took what they'd learned in the civil rights movement a step further with the Yippies, an antiwar outfit that utilized difficult art of carom ridicule (acting like a complete ass and reflecting it back on your opponents), to the point of perfection. But the Yippie esthetic collapsed into chaotic violence at the Chicago Democratic convention in 1968, and while it prevailed in later actions on the left, it was a much tamer phenomenon.
The right, needless to say, ignored it. Until Breitbart, who brought it into the new media age by adapting it to the technologies of video and the net, along with the understanding that the authorities will act silly enough if you just give them the opportunity. What Breitbart did was take over the left's artillery and turn it in their direction. No wonder they hated him.
We are seeing the Republican Party falling back into the hands of the good ole boy network. Ideally, we should learn a lesson from the liberals and how they infiltrated and took over the Democrat Party. The progressive movement took over the party apparatus starting in 1968 and eventually gained access to the most powerful office in the world. That's scary stuff, but it's also a lesson we should very well learn. We need to emulate what they did if we are to take it all back.
Now, will we be able use the Republican Party as our apparatus? The GOP should see taking the bold conservative path as a clear way to win. Yet, they resist. The more they resist, the more they lose touch. The more they lose touch, the more adamant the Tea Party needs to become. We need to put it on the line. Word to the Republican Party: bring us into the fold or go the way of the Whigs.
Despite what Andrew Dodge and Christopher Barron say about Newt Gingrich in their column, they articulate a need and a growing sentiment that this lifelong Republican can understand and prepare himself to embrace if need be. What they write at The Daily Caller is a major plate of food for thought:
Many in the tea party movement believed that the Republican Party could be changed, could be saved from its big-government ways. It was certainly fair to surmise that changing the Republican Party into a truly limited-government party would be easier than changing the party of FDR, LBJ and Barack Obama.If I ever leave the Republican Party it will be for these reasons. The Tea Party is our movement. If it can't do for my Reagan Republican wing of the party what I hope and pray it can it do (and what the writers are saying about my hope for it to do), then pray it can stand on its own and win. But either way, we have to win.
Most of the Republican and conservative establishment has been leery of the tea party from the very beginning. Indeed, many within the Republican and conservative establishments were openly critical of the tea party. Social conservatives like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and current presidential candidate and former senator Rick Santorum all bemoaned the tea party’s lack of focus on social issues and the tea party movement’s libertarian streak.
Moderate talking heads like David Brooks and David Frum, along with their ideological soul mates on the Hill, attacked the tea party as “radical” and ridiculed tea party activists as politically naïve.
Both the moderate and the conservative establishment types feared that the dirty, unwashed masses of the tea party might actually change how things are done in Washington — leaving them and their K Street buddies out of power and out of work.
The Republican Party, believing that we have nowhere else to turn politically, treats the tea party and tea party activists with the same plantation mentality that the Democratic Party treats minorities in this country.
The truth is that the tea party movement is bigger than just one candidate or one election. Our country is facing big challenges: out-of-control spending, a federal government that has grown beyond its constitutional bounds and an exploding federal debt that has us on the brink of fiscal ruin.
The tea party is still the best chance we have for righting our fiscal ship. To do so, however, we must declare our political independence once again. We as a movement need to make it clear that we will continue to fight for what is right, regardless of partisan labels, and that we will support candidates who share our values whether they are Republicans, Libertarians, independents or even Democrats.
It is time for the tea party to stand on its own again, to stand for what is right and to stand up to partisan politics as usual.
The Tea Party is the future of our movement. One way or another, it has to prevail. Either way, we need to be all in.
We're All Andrew Breitbart Now.