Yesterday, the Republican candidate to replace Ted Kennedy in the US Senate announced he was going to have a “money bomb” event and try to raise half a million dollars in a single day.
That didn’t last long.
That goal was quickly reached, so they said “let it ride, baby!” and bumped the goal to $750,000.
When they reached that, they went for a cool mill. Seven figures, baby.
When the clock struck midnight, Scott Brown’s war chest was 1.3 million fatter.
There’s a bigger story here, though — even bigger than a Republican taking Ted Kennedy’s seat in the bluest of blue states. (Brown, a state senator, is one of the highest-ranking Republicans in Massachusetts. The Democrats hold every single national seat, every single statewide elected office, and over 85% of each house of their legislature.)
No, the big story is who was behind the “money bomb.”
When the Democrats want to “drop a bomb” on a race, they have two tested and proven tactics. The first is they send in their “rock stars” — Obama, Biden (god help them), the Clintons, or the like. The second is they mobilize their armies — the unions, the “community organizers,” and their ilk.
In the Brown case, though, nobody was behind yesterday’s massive outpouring of money and support.
Or, more accurately, everybody. An “everybody” who was a part of the army of nobodies.
Somewhere, in the deepest circles of Hell, Karl Marx is gagging. The masses are speaking, the proletariat is indeed rising up against the elitists — and they’re doing it in the name of democracy and capitalism and free markets and freedom.
Oh, there are a few on the Republican side who have similar “star power” as the above-noted Democrats — the first that comes to mind as Sarah Palin. But let’s be blunt — she’s not exactly a mover and shaker in the highest ranks of the GOP. It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that the Republican elites despise her. And besides, she didn’t do a damned thing in the Brown case.
I think that might be a hefty element of the left’s fear and loathing of the Tea Party Movement. It represents so many things they simply don’t know how to deal with.
It has no leaders that they can personalize, isolate, and freeze. It shows graphically that sometimes people can unite and organize for a cause without the “help” of “community organizers” and unions and committees and organizations and the other organs of power they’ve spent decades building. And it has no interest in morphing into the kind of opposition they’ve spent decades and zillions of dollars in learning how to fight.
The really interesting question here is how the national leadership of the GOP will react to this phenomenon that is threatening to make them irrelevant. Their current tactic of “ignore it, and maybe it’ll go away” isn’t exactly working too well. They don’t dare try to snuff it; right now it’s the only part of the Right that has any real passion and dedication. They can’t co-opt it; there are no leaders to seduce, and quite frankly the party leaders don’t have a hell of a lot to offer.
The only realistic option for the GOP is to take a bit of wisdom from Tom Clancy’s “Debt Of Honor.” In that novel, a congressman explains to his lobbyist masters that he simply can’t do their bidding this time; the people are too outraged over circumstances. To paraphrase, when the people are stampeding in one direction, the politician’s choices are rather stark: stand still and be abandoned; try to move against the tide and be crushed; or run with the crowd and hope like hell to be near enough to the front to claim some kind of leadership role.
Right now, the national GOP is taking the first option, and watching as the crowds leave them in the dust. “They’ll be back,” they’re telling themselves. “They need us and our money and our expertise and our organization and our respectability. They’ll be back.”
It’s how I imagine the British nobility talked about those irksome Colonies about 235 years ago.