Friday, September 24, 2010

What about the other side of that coin?

I'm not surprised that E.J. Dionne looks at things the way he does...

Judge the tea party purely on the grounds of effectiveness and you have to admire how a very small group has shaken American political life and seized the microphone offered by the media, including the so-called liberal media. But it's equally important to recognize that the tea party constitutes a sliver of opinion on the extreme end of politics receiving attention out of all proportion with its numbers.
The tea party drowns out such voices because it has money -- some of it from un-populist corporate sources, as Jane Mayer documented last month in The New Yorker -- and has used modest numbers strategically in small states to magnify its impact.

Just recently, tea party victories in Alaska and Delaware Senate primaries shook the nation. In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell received 30,563 votes in the Republican primary, 3,542 votes more than moderate Rep. Mike Castle. In Alaska, Joe Miller won 55,878 votes for a margin of 2,006 over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is now running as a write-in candidate.
...but it's incredibly disingenuous of him to focus only on how many votes Tea Party-supported candidates have gotten. Ultimately it doesn't matter if the Tea Party's influence is out of proportion to its numbers, because Tea Party activists exercise their power by voting. Does the support of the majority of the electorate really matter if said majority stays at home when it's time to vote? Christine O'Donnell, Joe Miller and Sharron Angle might well have gotten the support of a minority of the electorate...but the flip side of that is that Mike Castle, Lisa Murkowski, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian had the support of an even SMALLER minority of the electorate. One more time, this is nothing more than a lefty whistling past the graveyard. I'm not surprised that Dionne would be so disingenuous -- that's just how he rolls, and he's shown it time after time -- but you'd think he'd try a little harder.

(h/t Borepatch)