Our political Quote of the Day comes from independent commentaror John Avon’s take on the Tea Party convention in Nashville, which he attended. He begins it this way:
As the National Tea Party Convention concluded this weekend, it’s clear that the Tea Partiers are propelled by two competing claims — a principled commitment to fiscal conservatism and a serious case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.
The first group remains true to the roots of the movement as it emerged almost one year ago amid bailout backlash. They feel like modern Paul Reveres, warning their fellow citizens about the unsustainable nature of our government’s deficit spending and unprecedented debt.
They still have an important civic role to play in our national debate.
The second group reflects the overheated, hyperpartisanship that emerged over the August town halls and the 9/12 march on Washington.
Oddly enough, this group embraced the tactics of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and applied them to the conservative cause, with angry confrontation and street theater protests. They ascribe to Obama every sinister characteristic imaginable — often a secret plot to undermine our constitutional republic and put in a socialist, one-world government in its place.
He ends it this way:
For the Tea Party momentum to continue in a constructive way, it will need to take at least two further steps: First, repudiate the unhinged Obama-haters and then focus its anger at fiscal irresponsibility into policy proposals instead of bumper-sticker platitudes.
With a growing number of conspiracy entrepreneurs trying to profit off populist anger in a recession, it’s also worth keeping the conservative virtue of healthy skepticism in mind.
Remember what the author Eric Hoffer warned in his book “The True Believer:” “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
Now read it in its entirety and give your take on it in comments…
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.