Are Tea-Partiers a "Special Interest"?
Are Tea-Partiers a "Special Interest"?
A mostly political weblog.
Feb. 13 2010 3:43 PM

Are Tea-Partiers a "Special Interest"?

What do you want to bet this has something to do with the Swiss protecting


, the ACORN of the banking world? ...


Maybe it was a stretch to

that offering up Polanski for extradition to Los Angeles was also an attempt at pro-UBS bargaining. But

. Linkage hardly seems unlikely. ... [

1:42 P.M.


Glenn Reynolds' sensible account of the Tea Party movement notes that it is largely blogger-powered . My colleague Bob Wright would agree, but finds this technological development ominous . I dunno. Wright calls tea-partiers "Special Interest 3.0." But they look like people to me. Sure, they are not the majority--in that sense they are "special." But they are not "special" in that they seem to be representing their holistic interest as American citizens, not their partial identities as seniors, or union members, or veterans or employees of corporations. ...

Of course it would be easier to pass health care reform if all you had to do was cut a deal with labor unions and insurance companies and PhRMA--the o.g. lobbies of "Special Interest 1.0"--while ignoring the mass of individual voters. But you have to really contort yourself to think the replacement of narrow, economic interests with broader citizen interests is some sort of tragic turn of events. For decades good government types have been attempting to summon broad popular interests in order to defeat narrow economic interests. Now that it's happening they're having second thoughts (because they don't like the first result ). ...  Alternative theory: We got all the reforms we could get through old-fashioned interest group bargaining. The big reforms that have yet to be done are the ones that can't be accomplished that way. Empowering voters might ultimately be one way to achieve them. ... 

Anyway, in the "good old days" of elite corporatist dealmaking you still would probably have trouble passing a giant piece of legislation that was 10 points underwater in terms of popularity . We had democracy even in 1950. ...

P.S.: Lots of intellectual effort now seems to be going into explaining Obama's (possible/likely/impending) health care failure as the inevitable product of larger historic and constitutional forces. There's something to this of course--the Framers went overboard in making it hard for the government to act, for example. But in this case there's a simpler explanation:  Barack Obama's job was to sell a health care reform plan to American voters. He failed . He didn't fail because 55% of Americans can never be convinced of anything. It happens all the time. He just failed. He tried to sell expanding coverage as a deficit reducer. Voters didn't believe him and worried that they would pay the bill in some unadvertised way (through Medicare reductions or future tax increases, mainly). That's not constitutional paralysis or Web-enabled mob rule. It's just bad salesmanship .

And if Obama thought he didn't have to succeed in convincing voters because he believed he was operating in a "Special Interest 2.0" world where all he had to do was get AARP, labor and the business lobbies on board--well, that's his failure too. .. 1:35 P.M.


If you've read Ann Bardach's books and articles on Cuba , you know that the enmity between Florida's Diaz-Balart's and Fidel Castro is more than ideological. It's a family feud.  (Castro's first wife was Mirta Diaz- Balart . He cheated.)  ... Here's an apparently effective, anti-Diaz-Balart TV ad  on the subject that may explain why Congressman Mario Diaz Balart has now apparently decided to run his brother's safer district . ... 2:23 P.M.


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