As Judson Berger points out, MoveOn is about to be MovedOver. Why? Because the grassroots on the right side–conservatives, libertarians, pro-lifers, home-schoolers, Flat Taxers, Fair Taxers, and a host of other causers and crusaders–are starting to burn with white-hot political energy.
Plenty of credit goes to the organizers of the nationwide network of “tea parties” and other expressions of conservative passion. And plenty of ironic “credit” goes to the Obama administration, for stirring up the folks with its lefty policy agenda.
“We see the pattern: When you lose the White House, you gain your grassroots energy. When you win the White House, you lose your grassroots energy.”
But a lot of the Moving Aside of Moveon has to do with the natural cycles of American history. A look back tells us how this is so.
Consider: when the 103rd Congress convened in January 1993, the Republicans had just 43 Senators and 176 Representatives. The previous year, George H. W. Bush had been defeated for re-election, ending a 12-year stretch of Republican control of the White House. During the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and the elder Bush, conservatives made many gains for themselves and for America–defeating communism, restoring economic growth, appointing great Supreme Court judges such as Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas–but during that time, a curious thing happened: the Republican grassroots grew complacent, or sometimes even demoralized. And that’s why, during the 80s, Republican strength in Congress ebbed.
But then came Bill Clinton. And Hillary Clinton. And Al Gore. And Janet Reno, Webb Hubbell, George Stephanopoulos, Rahm Emanuel, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Lani Guinier, and the whole rest of that motley crew of Clintonians. Pushing Hillarycare, raising taxes, jacking up spending, nominating liberal judges. And oh, by the way, a scandal or two. Or three.
Needless to say, in response to this heavy dose of liberalism, conservatives woke up in the early 90s. Newt Gingrich, then the #2 Republican on the House side, provided the intellectual spearhead, and Haley Barbour was a brilliant chairman of the Republican National Committee, but the Republican “surge” was nationwide.
Fox News 4/13/9