Although many first- and second-string bloggers wrote posts proclaiming the death of the Tea Party
, this third-stringer never fell for that line. The movement had too much money, too much vitality, too much populist rage.
Yes, I was surprised by what happened in Virginia -- but not that
surprised. For everyone else, this event was a Janet-Leigh-meets-Norman's-Mom kinda moment. But the violins did not go shriek shriek shriek
That said, we are
living in horror movie.
Dave Brat, the Tea Partier who beat Eric Cantor, is a dangerous Randroid. Sure, he says that he's not really
a Randian, but he probably makes that distinction only to distance himself from Ayn's religious views. To me, Brat seems like the kind of guy who can't read Galt's Big Speech without reaching for the Kleenex and Vaseline.
Backed by Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck, Brat wants to slash Social Security and Medicare
. We're talking about someone who thinks that Fannie and Freddie caused the financial crisis, someone who thinks that nothing will go wrong if we refuse to raise the debt ceiling, someone who thinks that the climate problem is no biggee because these things tend to sort themselves out.
How did this happen, given Cantor's comfortable victory margins in pre-election polling? Well, there's Brad Friedman's suspicion. (For more on that, see below.) Most pundits are pointing to the immigration debate, a few have speculated that crossover Dem voters won the day, while some think that Cantor's Jewishness
played a role.
Me? I think that the debt ceiling
and the government shutdown were key.
Ultimately, grudgingly, through gritted teeth, Cantor allowed deals to be made. He voted for ten of the past 15 debt ceiling raises, a record which Brat loved to highlight.
If Cantor and other Republicans had been completely
allergic to compromise, then the economy -- perhaps the whole damn American experiment -- would have collapsed. And that's the very reason why the "Brat pack" hated Cantor. Tea Party voters want to bring about the end of the United States government.
It's that simple.
Teabaggers hate government. Therefore, they hate democracy -- because democracy is a form of government. Democracy provides a mechanism by which the 99 percenters can demand things like Social Security, Medicare, a graduated income tax, public schools and (one day, God willing) genuine
health care reform.
For this reason, libertarianism and democracy will always be incompatible, a fact which the more honest libertarians readily admit.
The libertarian scheme is to insist on politicians who are ready and willing to destroy the democratic system of the United States. They yearn for The Ultimate Crisis, just as post-war Nazis yearn for Der Tag
. They will never compromise on this goal, although they may disguise their desires in public speech.
As for immigration: I'm sure that Brat has expressed his sincerely-held views on that issue, but I also think that immigration is not the topic that lights up the great pinball machine of his soul. No, Brat is an economics
guy, a Big Thinker, a man who wants to re-gesso the entire canvas and start a whole new picture.
There will be another financial crisis. Count on it.
And men like Dave Brat will not be content to peer over the edge of the abyss. They want to jump right in.
Sometimes I miss the Cold War.
Maybe Obama was right to attempt a comeback. Back in the old days, far-right madmen like Curtis LeMay or John Foster Dulles understood the need for big gummint. You needed big gummint to fight the filthy bolshies. An economic collapse in the U.S. would have meant a triumph for the international communist conspiracy.
And now? Today's far right doesn't care if America becomes the second failed superpower. Fine with them
if China surges ahead. Survival of the fittest, and all that.
Voting machine fraud?
Cantor's internal polls had him 34 points ahead, yet he lost by 11 points. Brad Friedman
wonders if the election was on the up and square...
Well, good question, of course, given that the reported results in this earthquake of an election haven't actually been verified by any human beings. Rather, the results, from 9 different counties (and one city) that make up the impossibly gerrymandered 7th District, which Cantor helped carve out for himself, are all based on the numbers reported by the oft-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators from the alphabet soup of different types of electronic voting and tabulation systems used in each of the separate jurisdictions that comprise the district.
All of the voting systems used in VA-07 have been found by computer scientists and e-voting experts to be vulnerable to error, malfunction and malfeasance, and --- whether it's a paper-based system or a 100% unverifiable touch-screen system --- each one uses a computerized central tabulator to total up all of the numbers from the vulnerable memory cards deployed in the systems at each of the various precincts in the jurisdiction.
Brat's margin of victory was large enough to assure that there will be no recount -- not that a recount would matter in those areas where no paper trail exists.
Friedman is surely correct when he writes:
After pretending to know why the results were the opposite of what they thought they'd be a day earlier, most pundits will then quickly focus on the political ramifications of the reported results, rather than bother to try and verify any of them to make sure they are actually accurate and that the Republican primary voters of Virginia actually elected who they now think they elected as their nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives.