Green Room

What Makes Lefty Run?

posted at 9:17 pm on February 20, 2010 by

Sachi and I got to talking about the Tea-Party movement, and she asked me why the Left hated the Tea Partiers so much. “They don’t,” I said; then groping for an explanation of what suddenly seemed so clear, I made a slight correction: “It’s the liberals who hate and despise Tea Partiers, mocking them as “tea baggers” and such. The hard-core Left isn’t full of hate… it’s full of terror: I believe they are more terrified today than they have been since thirty years ago.”

The rest of this post is my attempt to analyze my mini-revelation, explain it, and justify it.

The Left is terrified because, more than any other political group, they know a growing popular front when they see one; and they’re seeing one now.

A popular front is an extremely broad-based coalition of political forces that normally oppose each other. In rare moments, the stars align, and so do the groups; what results is a mass movement that can wash away the status quo like a burst dam. The movement doesn’t have to include all or even a majority of the citizenry; but it is large enough to push aside any countervailing coalition — which means whatever the front wants, it gets.

Lefties understand the unstoppable raw power of a popular front; that’s why their own strategy for seizing control of a country and “communizing” it invariably includes creating a popular front of dissent and protest against the established government, local or colonial. But a popular front needn’t be based on leftist ideology; there are several examples in recent history:

  • The Khomeinist revolution in Iran depended upon a religious popular front that rose up against Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1979.
  • The Communist revolution in post-WWII Vietnam was driven by a popular front against colonial France.
  • The Communist revolutions in WWI-era Czarist Russia and post-WWII Nationalist China both depended upon international socialist popular fronts that turned into a general uprising against the established State.
  • The National Socialist takeover in 1920s-1930s Germany included a popular front against Communism and for German monocultural nationalism and Fascism.
  • The French Revolution required a popular front that arose against the jaw-dropping financial and dictatorial excesses of the Bourbon kings.
  • And the American Revolution critically depended upon a popular front revolting against the loss of home rule and the attempted subjugation by Mother England, thousands of miles away.

In each case, political groups forged alliances with hereditary enemies that more often fought each other hammer and tooth — for example, American aristocrats like Washington and Jefferson allying with lawyers and tradesmen (John Adams, Patrick Henry) against British rule. That kind of widespread movement is what defines a popular front.

The Tea Party front is the worst nightmare of the hard-core Left — a patriotic, small-government, capitalist popular front. While Tea Partiers are not specifically Republican, leftists realize that GOP leaders (Sarah Palin) and candidates (Scott Brown) are far better positioned to appeal to Tea Partiers than are Democrats: All Republicans must do is match their words with deeds; but Democrats would have to (a) repudiate everything they have said and voted for in the past four decades, then (b) convince Tea Partiers that this time they’re sincere!

The Scott Brown election is a perfect example of the relentless power of a popular front; I mean the timeline of the election itself, not its consequences. On November 4-8, a Suffolk University poll had Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the Democrat, ahead of state Sen. Scott Brown by 31% (58-27); in early January, the Boston Globe had her still ahead by 15% (50-35), while even Rasmussen had her 9% ahead (50-41).

Two weeks later, Brown beat Coakley by nearly 5%, 52-47. That represents a swing of 36% in just two months; and there is really nothing else to account for such movement other than a popular front. No terrible scandal engulfed Ms. Coakley, no state of emergency, no powerful or charismatic Republican leader turned the election into a referendum upon him- or herself; in fact, the closest analogy to that last is that Barack H. Obama personally went to Massachusetts two days before the election and campaigned with Coakley.

Tea Parties will likely have only a small (but significant) impact in 2010; what terrifies the prescient Left is the next election. Given another couple of years to build, and assuming nothing happens to destroy it, the popular front could produce a Noachian cataclysm on presidential and congressional elections then… as well as on state and local elections across America, which could lead to generational capitalist hegemony.

If the Tea Parties turn into a full-blown, patriotic-American popular front, which I think likely, Democrats, liberals, and lefties could go from winning it all in 2008 — to being inundated and immolated by the tsunami of 2012.

Cross-posted on Big Lizards

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And when the weasels are cornered and terrified?

livefreerdie on February 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM

We just have to make sure people understand capitalist is not a pro business person, but a neutral business person!!!

astonerii on February 20, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Just about a year ago, the statist forces thought they were riding the wave. Funny how the tides can shift, huh?
But we need to violate one of the laws of physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Our reaction must be to send the statists scurrying for eternal cover.

either orr on February 20, 2010 at 10:58 PM

AP, promote this!

either orr on February 20, 2010 at 11:01 PM

You’re on a roll. Lest we hope for too much.

So far the left is manufacturing hobgoblins to demonize the ‘popular front’. How long before someone ties their balloon to the party who has some real horror exposed in their closet? Hopefully never, but Johnny Raincloud is only a smile away. And I thought I was Mister Silver Lining on average. Oh well………guess I need more coffee, less sore knees today.

Robert17 on February 21, 2010 at 7:47 AM

Fine essay yet one which overstates the obvious. Leftist hate is nearly always driven by fear, and many commenters here have noted that the tea party movement represents the Leftist’s nightmare of an AUTHENTIC popular uprising. The lovely irony is that only Leftist overreach made this movement explosive. But that also was predictable; leftists cannot govern anything, instead they must control everything.

And this is wrong:

Tea Parties will likely have only a small (but significant) impact in 2010;

rrpjr on February 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM

And when the weasels are cornered and terrified?
livefreerdie on February 20, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Excellent question. Why, we’ll reach our hands across the aisle, of course!

rrpjr on February 21, 2010 at 11:10 AM

The left recognizes only too well the power of a popular front. It’s what got Obama elected after all. What they see is their own modus operandum working against them and they have no effective weaponry with which to fight it. No wonder they hate it so much. For them this is like a nightmare where you dream again of your earlier triumphs and victories, only now the enemy is somehow the winner and it’s all being turned upside down and your side is losing. No wonder they are going mental. “This isn’t the way it is supposed to be!!!” you scream and scream, but your voice is silent and nobody is listening. And then you wake up and realise that it’s not a nightmare, it’s real and that’s even worse.

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Ozwitch on February 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM

That represents a swing of 36% in just two months; and there is really nothing else to account for such movement other than a popular front

I blame HotAir for the movement.

percysunshine on February 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Noachian?

das411 on February 21, 2010 at 12:45 PM

The left is terrified that the right will do to them what they’d do to the right if they’d won. They don’t have to worry, we’ll be so glad they’re out of power, we’ll just let them continue living in their dope filled world until they meet their maker.

erp on February 21, 2010 at 2:33 PM

All Republicans must do is match their words with deeds; but Democrats would have to (a) repudiate everything they have said and voted for in the past four decades,

That’s what I say when anyone tries to make the case that the two parties are the same, or the Republicans are just as bad as the Democrats. With a porky Republican, you can remind him of the principles of his party so he might at least feel momentary shame. With a Democrat what can you say? If he believed in any of the principles you are reminding him of, he would be a Republican.

YehuditTX on February 21, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I almost feel sorry for them. Almost.

Ozwitch on February 21, 2010 at 11:25 AM

I don’t.
I hate them.
Leftism is a disease.

justltl on February 21, 2010 at 10:28 PM

I blame HotAir for the movement.

percysunshine on February 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM

22,000 registered commenters and 25 million page views — we might have had a small influence…

A telling moment in the Brown campaign was when the union dude admitted he was being paid $50 to hold a Coakley sign, and that he planned on voting for Brown! Epic epic fail.

GnuBreed on February 21, 2010 at 10:58 PM