Shorter Ross Douthat:
I for one welcome our new Tea Party overlords.
That’s basically how Mr. Douthat is bracing himself for the influx of a “ragtag band of right-wing populists.” He thinks that all of the stories about the nutsery of the Tea Party are either exaggerated by hysterical liberals or being blown out of proportion by the liberal media. For instance, he cites a recent study by Emily Elkins, a grad student at UCLA and a former intern at the Cato Institute, that examined photos of all the signs at a recent Tea Party rally and found that only 5 percent of them referred to President Obama’s race or religion. Gee, only 5 percent? I wonder how high it had to get before it would become distasteful to Mr. Douthat; 10%? 15%?
He goes on to defend the Tea Partiers against the rest of the memes, such as they’re driving the Republicans off the political cliff, an idea he dismisses as being fomented by the nomination of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard “Seig Heil” Iott in Ohio. He points to a straw poll in Virginia that shows the frontrunner for the Tea Party isn’t Sarah Palin but New Jersey Chris Christie. As goes Virginia, so goes the nation? But if Mr. Douthat thinks that the “moderates” such as Mr. Christie will ultimately win, perhaps he’d better consult with Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) who lost his bid for renomination because he once smiled at a picture of Michelle Obama.
It sounds like Mr. Douthat and the conservative establishmentariat are bracing themselves. If the election predictions hold on, the Tea Party will no longer be an annoyance to the liberals and President Obama as much as they will be to the Republicans. They will demand instant results, and if healthcare and the 17th Amendment aren’t repealed and unemployment doesn’t drop to 4% by Groundhog Day, they will turn on them with a vengeance. And the Republicans, who heretofore have not been able to come up with any sort of plan to do anything about any of these problems except hold hearings on whether or not the White House offered Joe Sestak a job, will be the ones who are going to be in hot water with the teabaggers.