Friday, April 23, 2010

Something Fishy in This Tea

The other night on Rachel Maddow, Gov. Ed Rendell of PA made an important point about media coverage of the Tea Party:

"...the conservatives have won this argument and they‘ve certainly won it over the last 16, 17 months—in the fact that the tea party gets tremendous—the tea parties get tremendous coverage. And think about it—week before the health care vote, they had a rally in Washington, got 1,000 people, maybe not even that. The tax day rally, the big rally to protest federal taxes got less than 1,500 people showing up, according to their own organizer. Other people thought it was in the 400 or 500 range.

Gosh, if I had a rally in Washington to have stronger laws to protect puppies, we‘d have 100,000 people without blinking. And yet, the media, including the so-called liberal and progressive media, have given the tea party-ites elevation in terms of the impact they‘re having on the national debate and discussion—way above what they deserve."

Earlier in the program, Rachel highlighted some other rallies, involving thousands of people protesting cuts in government services. Rendell added that it would be hard to find any coverage of those, let alone the kind of major coverage the Tea Partiers get.

It's even worse than that. There have been several major demos in Washington which involved many times the numbers the T.P.s get, that were completely ignored.

This Sunday there's going to be a major Earth Day event in Washington. There will be stars like Sting singing, so that part will probably pop up on the cable stations. But will it be taken seriously politically? As a statement about national and international priorities? Especially when there's this report that the climate and energy bill is going to drop off the Democrat's agenda.

On the other hand, if this report is true, and the Senate "bill would remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act, and the states’ authority to set tougher emissions standards than the federal government," then it isn't a bill worth passing.

If this event falls flat, it's partly the fault of enviro groups, who have kept this event a virtual secret, except for the Earth Day committee that is running it. And part of it is the familiarity--nobody is really wondering, what are these people so angry about? But a lot of it is the media refusing to cover anything that is politically to the left of the Tea Party in a politically significant way. We'll see what they do with this event on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not on any NFL draft board, this running back a few years out of Harvard may not look impressive, but has a record of winning. Known mostly as a hoopster with questionable skills in bowling and baseball, he sees the whole field, follows his blocking, and can make quick adjustments that confound opponents. A leader, with even temperament but a fighting spirit, tenacious and focused, he also doesn't get in trouble with off the field bad behavior. A smart team could go far with him, if it understands what it's got.
Not Worried

I'm worried about a lot, like the future of civilization, President Obama going to West Virginia, paying the dentist. But I am not worried about the 2010 elections. Democrats will do fine.

It's not even May. Absent big surprises--and we do get those--this is apt to be the GOPers high point. The U.S. economy is improving, and unless stuff like the volcano in Iceland force the global economy into the tank, it will be better in the fall. Recovery Act funding of visible projects was backloaded--they'll be kicking in by the fall.

The last U.S. combat soldier could well be switching out the lights behind him in Iraq by summer's end. Afghanistan may even be winding down by fall.

The Rabid Right is dangerous in various ways, but not so much in major elections across the country. The Tea Party is hot media air, not enough to sway elections when other voters are paying attention (says E.J. Dionne, among others.) There are already signs that, contra opinion polls, being against health care is not going to be rewarded by voters--especially independents.

And in case anybody has forgotten 2008, we've got a pretty good campaigner now in the White House. Check out this speech for Barbara Boxer and see if President Obama isn't already sounding resonant themes.

The Democrats will likely lose some seats, especially where they have not very good candidates, and there is enough craziness out there to take away some others. But just as the death of the Republican party announced last year by the media bobbleheads proved a little premature, so today's doom and gloom over Democrats is out of proportion. Dems have a lot of work to do just to stay pretty even, but it's doable. And things for them might look a lot better by fall.