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At least one person seems to "get" the Tea Party movement (update)

Jonathan Rauch, writing in National Journal, seems to have done what no one else in the media has yet done – get a fairly decent handle on the phenomenon known as the Tea Party movement.

"From Washington’s who’s-in-charge-here perspective, the tea party model seems, to use Wildman’s word, bizarre. Perplexed journalists keep looking for the movement’s leaders, which is like asking to meet the boss of the Internet. Baffled politicians and lobbyists can’t find anyone to negotiate with.

The "boss of the internet" makes a great point. This is an unknown beast in politicoworld. And since the politicians can’t find the leaders (and there by attempt to "negotiate" or buy-off that leadership) and it is something journalists don’t understand, they’re afraid of it. And they keep trying to pigeon hole it, but the movement doesn’t really allow that. It is what it is for a reason:

"[R]adical decentralization embodies and expresses tea partiers’ mistrust of overcentralized authority, which is the very problem they set out to solve. They worry that external co-option, internal corruption, and gradual calcification — the viruses they believe ruined Washington — might in time infect them. Decentralization, they say, is inherently resistant to all three diseases.

And that’s a another great point. But keep in mind, that wasn’t a design feature, that’s a feature of the spontaneous coming together of those who’ve signed on with the movement.

Sell-outs occur when leaders are co-opted by enticements and promises. No leaders, no co-option. If you want examples of the other two – corruption and gradual calcification – look no further than your Democratic and Republican parties, or the governments they run. There is no TP "president", no "treasurer", no "communications director". In fact, the movement is a collection of hundreds, if not thousands of local TPs which identify with the movement as a whole. Negotiate with that.

"’The reason the tea party isn’t yet there is they don’t yet make a distinction between friends and foes and persuadables,’ says [Ralph Benko, a Washington-based public affair consultant]. ‘They don’t yet make a distinction on who they can focus on to change a vote, or how they can change the fortunes of their preferred candidates. As long as they’re in ‘We hate you all’ mode, I don’t know if they’ll manifest as a powerful national force.’

They’re clear in what they’re interested in – fiscal sanity on the whole meaning smaller, less intrusive government, less spending, less taxation. That the type candidate they’ve been backing in the various primaries. And, at least in the primaries, they’ve had some success.

But those in the movement are at once national and local. They’re a spontaneous reaction to the frustration the general population has felt by being ignored completely between election cycles while the politicians proceed to break every promise they made, spend us into oblivion and generally treat us like chattel.

The "We hate you all" mode that is referred too isn’t quite as global as Benko would like you to believe. Obviously some politicians haven’t had to face TP backed candidates or have been backed by the TP as incumbents. That’s because they reflect the general political goals of the TP – both the local one in their area and the national movement.

As for becoming a “powerful national force”, if Benko doesn’t consider knocking off establishment party candidates in a number of Senate primaries the makings of a powerful national force, I’m not sure what would impress him.  He seems to be looking for that traditional political model with which to bestow that power.  What the TP movement is doing is finding its legs. 

It’s power is in its decentralization as Rauch points out above.  How to wield that power effectively is what the movement is just now exploring.  If it uses its template of governing principles and applies them consistently and persistently it will indeed be a ”powerful national force.”  But I think it is a mistake to claim the TP is in a “we hate you all” mode.  In fact, it’s just a target rich environment right now.  In a few years with a few successes and other politicians figuring out which way the wind blows politically, the TP may be much more selective in its application of that power.

Which brings us to this:

"But, tea partiers say, if you think moving votes and passing bills are what they are really all about, you have not taken the full measure of their ambition. No, the real point is to change the country’s political culture, bending it back toward the self-reliant, liberty-guarding instincts of the Founders’ era."

Why do you suppose the TP is such a incredible mix of types of people?  Because the dissatisfaction with the country’s political culture is an across the board phenomenon.  It is this the two parties just seem not to be able to grasp.  It isn’t about a preference for one or the other, it’s about not liking either of them or the culture they’ve spawned.  The TP’s main message is “change that culture or we’ll find and back someone who will, and if they fail, we’ll kick them out and find others”.  The fact is that in principle, it is the Republican party which should be the greatest beneficiary of this sort of a movement.  But over the years, speaking of co-option, corruption and calcification, the GOP has lost its way.  Dumping the Murkowskis and Bennett’s and rejecting the Crists and Castles of the party is the movement’s way of pointing out what the Republicans have to do to win their support.  Naturally the establishment party is resisting the guidance.

Democrats, of course, are scared witless of the movement because they – on the whole – represent everything the TP isn’t for.  Consequently that party has spent all its time denigrating, demonizing and falsely accusing the movement of being everything from a reincarnation of the KKK to the Nazi brownshirts.  But they’ve been unsuccessful in pinning any of those tags on the movement.  Time and again, TP rallies have formed in large numbers and done so peacefully and without incident.  And, the one time there were supposed “incidents” it ended up blowing back on the Democrats when not one shred of proof of their charges could be found.

Obviously, it is still too early to say if the TP will actually have any staying power or whether or not if it does it will become a “potent national force”.  However, it is clear that the media and politicians don’t know what to do with it, what it really is or means or how to take it down.  And that’s the core of its power right now.  Its spontaneity and decentralized “structure” enabled by today’s technology have them running scared.  And personally, I’d like to see politicians kept in a perpetual state of fright – it seems to me that’s when they’re most responsive to the will of the people.

UPDATE: Ralph Benko responds.

~McQ

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31 Responses to At least one person seems to "get" the Tea Party movement (update)

  • AKA-The Silent Majority, a distinctly American culture the socialist claim doesn’t exist.

  • The leadership is definitely decentralized.  I have to wonder whether the funding is decentralized as well.  Is the Tea Party taking a Army of Davids approach or are there a significant but fairly small number of large donors backing the candidates.  People who support the Tea Party think it’s the former, but people that don’t tend to write laughably bad pieces in the New Yorker.  I don’t know which is right because I haven’t researched candidate funding.

    • I’ve seen the decentralization as a major plus when combating Saul Alinsky’s “Rules For Radicals”

      13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

      When you can’t even seen to define them, it’s almost impossible to freeze it or personalize it such a moving target.

    • … yes, we have entered the era of non-conventional political warfare (i.e. political guerrilla warfare), The American Maquis.
       

    • None of this happens without the internet.  When the Iranians feared the “Green” revolution, the shut down the “in country” internet to prevent communication.

  • “And personally, I’d like to see politicians kept in a perpetual state of fright – it seems to me that’s when they’re most responsive to the will of the people.”

    The Tea Party really got legs because their average Congress Critter thinks he/she:
         Is above their constituents.
         Knows what is best for their constituents.
         Is entitled to the job they hold.
         Thinks the money they vote on is theirs.

    The Hubris displayed by the Ruling Classes these past two years put them at loggerheads with the Tea Partiers.  Had they but done what they promised: Be Responsive to the needs of their constituents, this would never have come to pass.  But then neither would there have been a Stimulus Bill, Bailouts, and ObamaCare.

    It is really easy to see or “get” the Tea Party – take a moment to stand in their shoes and clarity occurs.

  • I love it. Really, I do! Stop laughing! Because those limited government types are going nowhere. All the best minds in the New York Times agree on that.

    The Republicans are behaving like the Democrats used to. Of course, I don’t have to give any examples of that. It’s a good general purpose phrase that indicates that I’m a pragmatic moderate leftist who can criticize both sides. Though somehow when the chips are down, like 95% of my academic colleagues, I always agree with the Democrats, because they have by far the highest percentage of wise leftists.

    The ideologues try for ideological purity, believing somehow the rest of the country will go along with them. I mean really. Fiscal restraint? They think the rest of country will go along with that? When we wise leftists have conditioned them their whole lives to believe that government is a magical source of money that can make their lives risk free and wonderful? Ha!

    Internal divisions risk turning what should be a big year for them into what may lead to major disappointment on November 5th. Yes, major, major disappointment, because nominating those extremists is just risky, risky, risky for the Republicans.

    I’ve told you before that the tea party is just a small group of extremists, and the fact that they somehow keep coming up with enough votes to elect Scott Brown, oust Bob Bennett, Lisa Murkowski, and Mike Castle, and induce Arlen Spectre and Charlie Crist to leave the party is not either a contradiction to my assertion that they are extremists so stop saying that. They’re extremists. I decree it. There were only a few thousand of them at those Washington events, and don’t you dare pull out those aerial photos again! La, la, la, my fingers are in my ears, I can’t hear you!

    Yep, instead of focusing on the economy and giving the public reasoned pragmatic solutions, the headlines are about GOP extremism and division. I go into this more in my blog today, but there is real reason to think that the GOP has just peaked, and now risk losing control of the message and blowing the biggest electoral opportunity they had since 1994. Stop laughing! It’s serious analysis, I tell you! They should be focusing on the economy! And just because all the candidates causing the division in the GOP are talking mainly about the economy, that doesn’t count! I decree it, I tell you! IT DOESN’t COUNT!

    This election cycle is starting to be fun. Because I finally found something to crow about, even if it just an intuition from my godlike powers of political science that the Republicans have peaked. Because psychologically, I don’t think I could stand it if they had a century-high wave election. Though if they do manage that in a couple of months, I’ll just say that’s what I predicted all along. Because I have other blog posts that say the GOP might do well.

    See, you guys around here just don’t get this prediction game. You actually think you’re supposed to predict that some things will happen and other things won’t. That’s silly. You just write different posts at different times that cover all the bases, with the proper chin-pulling style, and then in the future you get to point to the one that most closely matches what really happened, and look like you have godlike powers of political science prediction. Like me.

    Here’s an example, just to help you poor ex-military basket cases who got wigged out from the stress of serving in the armed forces. First, write a post claiming that a coin toss is going to be heads. In that post, you admit that there’s a small chance it might be tails, but all the signs point to it being heads when it’s flipped.

    Then, so a second post on how the wind has changed a bit, and now tails is a lot more likely that it looked like it was. Though it might still be heads in the end.

    Now, no matter which one happens, you can point to it and claim you called it right! Just like I’ve done with this election! If the GOP wins big, I’ll spend a few days in the basement dealing with my depression and the magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face and ample bosom that always seem to come out when I’m feeling worst, and then after recovering I’ll emerge to explain how it doesn’t really mean much and I predicted it anyway. If the GOP only wins a few seats, I’ll come here for the next year and crow to you about how you ex-military basket cases got it all wrong, and I’m brilliant and have advanced degrees and all, and the majority party always wins seats in off years, and Obama is going to be re-elected, and all the rest.

    See how brilliant that is? Even if the Republicans win seats, I’ll claim it was a defeat because they should have done better! I’m telling you, you guys just can’t win against me and my godlike powers.

    Though you should try. Really. You should engage me in debate and go back and forth a thousand times. Each time you should spend hours crafting a reply with rich links to support your case, because otherwise it’s just opinion. Then, I can use my godlike powers to handwave away all those arguments, without any links to anything except my blog of course, since with my godlike powers, I’m above all of that. Then just keep repeating. Forever. Otherwise, you’ve lost the argument. I decree it.

    Yes, I’m finally having fun in this election. Just like I have fun coming here and irritating you guys. And that’s not mentally sick to get pleasure by irritating other people. Stop saying that.

    • Which is why I often respond to the Erp posts…or others like his…with a single, descriptive term.  It’s just efficient, and it’s all they deserve.

      • See, you’ve proven that I’m right. Because you’re afraid to engage me. Stop laughing!

        Besides, don’t you want to go back and forth a thousand times? It’s fun! And every few dozen responses, I’ll give you a little condescending heat pat. It will feel so good! You would love it!

        I come here out of the goodness of my heart and spend my valuable time trying to educate you dense righties on the wonders of postmodern leftist thought, and all I get are insults. Which means I win, of course. And I don’t either come here to lecture down to people to bolster my own feeble self-worth, so stop saying that. Just because I’m a low paid professor at a moose-infested college in the middle of nowhere, that doesn’t mean I’m not smart. I am smart! And darn it, people like me!

        I’ve very popular in the faculty lounge. I can tell because everyone gets very quiet when I walk in the room. They’re all waiting to listen to the pearls of wisdom that drop from my lips. I can just tell.

        • (Rhetorical hand wave.  See, that is a double-edged sword…er…hand).
          But it IS FUN to murder the Erp-type posts…  As I like to say, “Foils are FUN…!!!!”

  • Perplexed journalists keep looking for the movement’s leaders

    >>> Because they need a villian to tar the movement with.  None of their choices so far – Palin, Paul, Angle (now O’Donnell) seems to have worked.  Helps explain why they moved onto Boehner (lol) as the example of EVIL that must be combatted.

    Journos (and Alinskyite politicos) are so pathetic and predictable.

  • Well, the New York Times is the New York Times …

    Republican leaders have to decide if they want the tiny fraction of furious voters who have showed up at the primary polls to steer them into the swamp for years ahead. They have a chance to repudiate the worst of the Tea Party crowd and show that they can govern without appealing to the basest political instincts. So far, they have preferred to greedily capitalize on the nuclear energy in the land without considering its destructive effects.

    Contemptuous bastards

    • How badly would the Deemocrats be falling over themselves to “greedily capitalize on the [ANY] nuclear energy” they thought their corrupt ideas could generate.
      They’ve been appealing to NOTHING BUT “the basest political instincts” they could manipulate for DECADES.
      The NYT is nothing but a hiss and by-word.  Still, FOILS ARE FUN…!!!

    • Yeah, like the Dems didn’t do that for 8 years with “BUSH LIED!!!”

      Eff the Times.  One day, they’ll get theirs.

  • Republican leaders have to decide if they want the tiny fraction of furious voters who have showed up at the primary polls to steer them into the swamp for years ahead.

    Now last weekend, the Times was exorciating a Republican leader (John Boehner) for listening to lobbyists. Now he’s not supposed to listen to his party’s voters.

    Exactly who is he supposed to listen to?  Ah, to ask the question is to answer it: the editorial staff of the New York Times, of course. Where in the world would a Republican get better advice!

    Here we have yet another example of how somehow, some way, the legacy media’s unsoliticited advice to Republicans is always, always, to move left. Don’t listen to those nasty tea partiers! They’re just a fringe! Listen to your moderates, like Snowe and McCain! No, that certainly would never get you in trouble with your voters to the point that they vote you out and give Democrats a majority! Why would you ever think that?

    • Billy HollisExactly who is [Boehner] supposed to listen to?  Ah, to ask the question is to answer it: the editorial staff of the New York Times, of course. Where in the world would a Republican get better advice!

      Bingo.

      I recall the NYT chiding the newly-elected George Bush that he simply HAD to go have a talk with Tom Friedman.  Yessir, Tom was the man for a new and (ahem) inexperienced president to see if he wanted the REAL inside dope on foreign affairs.  Indeed, only a fool WOULDN’T go rushing to get Tom’s opinion on… well… everything.

  • [R]adical decentralization embodies and expresses tea partiers’ mistrust of overcentralized authority, which is the very problem they set out to solve.

    Hmmm… It seems to me that there was another group of Americans once upon a time with the same problem.  I guess their plan for “decentralization” was thought pretty radical, too.

    They don’t yet make a distinction on who they can focus on to change a vote, or how they can change the fortunes of their preferred candidates. As long as they’re in “We hate you all” mode, I don’t know if they’ll manifest as a powerful national force.

    In other words, the tea party people haven’t learned to play by the rules.  They haven’t learned that the game is SUPPOSED to be influencing this guy, buying off that one, putting a scare into a third, and PERHAPS getting rid of the occasional “extremist” who just refuses to play ball.  They just haven’t figured out that they are supposed to put up the right sort of candidate: somebody who knows how DC works, how the game is played, how to get along, how to compromise, how not to rock the boat too much.

    Bah.

    I was hoping you’d be spared all this. I was hoping that you’d see the sights, absorb a lot of history, and go back to your boys. Now you’ve been living in a boy’s world, Jeff, and for heaven’s sakes, stay there! This is a man’s world. It’s a brutal world Jeff, and you’ve no place in it. You’ll only get hurt. Now take my advice. Forget Taylor and what he said. Forget you ever heard of the Willet Creek Dam…I know it’s tough to run head-on into facts but, well as I said, this is a man’s world Jeff, and you’ve got to check your ideals outside the door, like you do your rubbers. Thirty years ago I had your ideals. I was you. I had to make the same decision you were asked to make today. And I made it. I compromised – yes! So that all those years, I could sit in that Senate and serve the people in a thousand honest ways. You’ve got to face facts, Jeff. I’ve served our state well, haven’t I? We have the lowest unemployment and the highest federal grants. But, well, I’ve had to compromise. I’ve had to play ball. You can’t count on people voting. Half the time they don’t vote anyway. That’s how states and empires have been built since time began. Don’t you understand? Well Jeff, you can take my word for it. That’s how things are. Now I’ve told you all this because, well I’ve grown very fond of you. About like a son, in fact. And I don’t want to see you get hurt.

    Senator Joseph Harrison Paine (Claude Rains)
    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939; dir. Frank Capra)

  • David Frum says
    “Obama won the Delaware primary.”
    http://twitter.com/davidfrum/status/24564907496
    Of course, the point is the establishment Republicans lost.
     

  • Bruce, this is a very fair interpretation of my comment as you encountered it but may I point out that it was taken from an hour’s conversation with Jon.   If I may clarify, I am an active and proudly self-identified member of the Tea Party Patriots.   Jon, not inappropriately, reported a moment in our conversation with my analyst hat rather than my solidarity hat on, making a cautionary point.  In a larger context, had space been available, it would have been clear that I was making the point that we as a movement are very young, that movements like this (I have been a movement conservative for over 30 years and am very heartened by the dynamism of the Tea Party, it’s a breath of fresh air) take time to mature, that there is a risk that our Tea Party movement will fizzle like the Prairie Populist movement of the late 19th century yet while we cannot take success in restoring the constitutional order for granted I am optimistic that the Tea Party, thanks in large measure to the integrity of the Tea Party Patriots, will evolve in political effectiveness as we have more practical experience and develop greater discernment.  I spent years studying how MoveOn achieved proficiency, as reported in my book The Websters’ Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World, which is available in a complete eBook edition as a free download from http://www.thewebstersdictionary.com, and I introduced Jon to Mark and Jenny Beth, both of whom are deserving of greatest respect, so he could get a really lucid picture of the Tea Party and consider his article the most perceptive of anything I yet have read on the Tea Party movement.

  • The tea party is a minority within the GOP.  It can influence low turn out primaries in a year where people are especially upset about the economy, but as any long term movement it’s got no chance.   In fact, it is quite likely to turn the GOP into a structurally minority party as demographic change continues in the US.   Meanwhile good solid Republicans get told that if they are not ‘ideologically correct’ and follow the particular view of how government should be, they’ll be assaulted by this tiny minority.   That is good news for the Democrats, but bad news for America since the US needs two vibrant competing parties.   The GOP will adapt — perhaps even before 2012 they’ll brush aside this emotion-driven radical extremism.     Senator Snowe understands what’s happening and for puffed up bloggers to suggest she’s somehow not a real Republican is the height of incompetent arrogance.
     

    • It’s bad news for America for the mainstream members of either party to hold the purse strings, stealing trillions from people not even yet born.  As a non-voter, an outsider to this process, I can only look in horror at the cowardly GOP maimstream which is still largely deaf to the completely understandable disgust and anger of people driven to take up the tea party banner, the LP, or just stay home on election day.  What you dismiss as “radical extremism” often is actually people who don’t accept the status quo, who look to the principles of individual rights, for example.  I’m not saying all tea party types do this (most of whom are unfocused and not ideologically consistent).
      But anyone interested in freedom must recognize that standing on ethical principles is going to invite twits like you to scoff at them as “radical extremists”.  Considering they source, they should disregard your disingenuous blathering and stick to their guns.

    • Snowe is not a principled defender of individual rights.  Too often she sides with the Democrats.  But to say she isn’t a Republican would completely ignore the reality that the cowardly majority of Republican politicians aren’t principled, either.
      At least she didn’t endorse Obama.

    • The tea party is a minority within the GOP. It is, it is, it is! I already told you, the fact that they keep electing their candidates in primaries doesn’t count! I decree it!

      Tea parties can only influence low turn out primaries in a year where people are especially upset about the economy. Which our glorious leader with the christlike visage is going to fix just any time now, you just wait. As any long term movement it’s got no chance. There just can’t be that many people opposed to our glorious march to leftist utopia via big government. There just can’t. I’ve spent too much time in the faculty lounges and the leftist internet chat rooms of this great land to believe it.

      In fact, it is quite likely to turn the GOP into a structurally minority party as demographic change continues in the US. Because we all know that young people have been thoroughly indoctrinated by wise leftists in our educational system all their lives, and you old people who still believe in silly concepts like controlling government spending, and who keep bringing out your goofy charts and graphs, will die off and leave the world to these fine young people. And they’re not either going to be so saddled with debt as a society that they’ll turn to an extremist Republican party led by stupid tea parties. It’s just impossible. I decree it.

      Meanwhile good solid Republicans get told that if they are not ‘ideologically correct’ and follow the particular view of how government should be, they’ll be assaulted by this tiny minority. Those good solid Republicans understand that we’ve just got to keep on increasing the size of government, and we can’t really cut spending anywhere, because it would hurt people. That is, even though they are Republicans, they have developed the fine emotional sensibility to distance themselves from you grunt engineer types who keep wanting to talk about exponential graphs and such. You need them! How can you drive them away! They’re the only ones on your side who understand that we wise leftists are basically good guys who sometimes want to move just a bit too fast, and they let us know that we need to slow down our march to glorious leftist utopia just a hair, to let the grunt engineer types catch up.

      That is good news for the Democrats, but bad news for America since the US needs two vibrant competing parties. As long as they both agree on the need for ever-increasing government, of course. We certainly don’t need one with silly tea party ideas of cutting spending and taxes! Why, we wise leftists have worked for decades to get us to this point! We can’t go back! We just can’t! I decree it!!!!!

      The GOP will adapt — perhaps even before 2012 they’ll brush aside this emotion-driven radical extremism. They have to. I tell you, they just have to. Otherwise, the world would not make any sense, any sense at all. Even a world full of magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face, full lips, and ample bosom would make more sense than that.

      Senator Snowe understands what’s happening and for puffed up bloggers to suggest she’s somehow not a real Republican is the height of incompetent arrogance. Only we wise leftists get to determine who is a real Republican, and it’s certainly not those extremist wackos in the tea parties.

    • Perhaps, oh learned political scientist, you can tell us what exactly the function of a political party is if not to promote a view of how government should be run.

    • Hmm. Methinks Erb doth protest too much.

      So, Erbie, the Tea Parties are just a fringe element in the end. OK. That’s just a generic assertion, and doesn’t really predict anything in particular.

      So put your godlike powers of political science on the line here and tell us what WILL happen this fall. How many seats with the Pubbies take?

      How about 2012? What will be the specific signs that the GOP has “brush[ed] aside this emotion-driven radical extremism” that you think is so bad? Mitt Romney as their candidate? The rejection of Sarah Palin as someone taken seriously at GOP events? Losses by the so-called extremist candidates that get elected this year?

      Heck, I would even come over to your blog to read your predictions, and it’s a real sacrifice to wade through that much smarm. If you make any predictions. Which you won’t, because you’re a gutless coward who doesn’t really want to do anything except pontificate about generalities to make yourself feel better.

    • In fact, it is quite likely to turn the GOP into a structurally minority party as demographic change continues in the US. 

      Compared to say…the GOP in January of 2009?
      After the 2008 elections the GOP had not only lost the Presidency, the House, and the Senate; they had lost so badly that they couldn’t even mount a filibuster in the senate. The GOP had zero political power in Washington. ZERO!
      How can anyone say with a straight face the tea party movement is hurting the GOP? Do people really think the tea party movement will take the GOP from zero to less than zero? There isn’t anything less than zero.
      The status-quo politics that the GOP establishment is clinging to left the party at zero. Instead of criticizing the tea party movement’s, maybe some of the political insiders should first eat some humble pie and apologize for destroying the Republican party. They are the one’s that made the GOP into the party of zero political power after the 2008 elections, not the tea party.

       

    • The tea party is a minority within the GOP.

      Actually, it is not. More than 30 percent come from outside the Republican Party.
      Their goals may be more compatable with the Republican Party than with the Democrat party, but this is not a stricly internal movement within one of the existing parties.

  • People who just look at seven primaries are myopic. This movement is active at all .levels In Florida they defeated establishment candidates for both senate and governor, changed the state GOP chairman, and showed up criticizing the county commission on spending.  I am reminded of Newt and his book on real change arguing that 5000 elected officials need changing, not just those at the top.

    Also, the success in defeating Rinos ignores themuch more prevalent phenomemon of working with Republicans they like. Those guys have found people to negotiate with!  The threat to Dems is that they are a top down organization that is always trying to get its message out. Republicans have been trying to listen since they yielded to the popular will on comprehensive immigration reform. They may not be perfect, but they are at least trying to listen to the people.