Friday, September 17, 2010

Party Time?

Columnist Peggy Noonan thinks that maybe, just maybe, there's something to this Tea Party thing after all. Welcome to the, uh, party Peg!

After two years and more disparaging anything insufficiently "establishment" Republican, she's been forced to concede the obvious. Using the analogy of a yardstick with the political left and right at opposite ends engaged in a perpetual tug-of-war, she notes that the mid-point that should be found at about the 18-inch mark has slowly shifted over time, shifted toward the "left" end of the stick. (BTW, her analogy appears suspiciously one day after my "fifty-yard line" piece. Might the Sage have a secret admirer and reader?)

But before we readjust the chairs to make room for her at the party, remember that I began this with a big "maybe". By the end of her column, apparently afraid to actually go out and buy a new dress for the occasion, she reverts to form.
A movement like this can help a nation by acting as a corrective, or it can descend into a corrosive populism that celebrates unknowingness as authenticity, that confuses showiness with seriousness and vulgarity with true conviction. Parts could become swept by a desire just to tear down, to destroy. But establishments exist for a reason. It is true that the party establishment is compromised, and by many things, but one of them is experience. They've lived through a lot, seen a lot, know the national terrain. They know how things work. They know the history. I wonder if tea party members know how fragile are the institutions that help keep the country together.
Peggy, protecting and restoring fragile institutions like the Constitution itself is what the Tea Party is all about. Come join us!

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