What the Tea Party needs now

On National Review Online’s The Corner this morning, Betsy Woodruff reports something that Katrina vanden Heuvel said that just stunned me (Nation Editor: With Cruz, Delusional Is No Longer Marginal, emphasis mine):

The morning’s panel on ABC’s This Week didn’t have much love for Senator Ted Cruz. In a discussion of the fight over last week’s debt ceiling hike — read some of NR’s reporting on it here and here – Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel said Cruz was delusional. And that didn’t get much push-back from fellow panelists. After describing the Tea Party as “a corporate-hugging, well-funded lobby,” she said, “The delusional is no longer marginal when you look at Cruz.”

What stuns me is that any literate journalist would cling to the idea that the populist, anti-corporatist Tea Party could be labeled “corporate-hugging.”

Or that the editor of something called The Nation would fail to know that progressivism is shot through with corporatism and always has been.

Or that a growing horde of conservative activists has read the books and knows this history.

(It also alarms me that a significant portion of conservative punditry hasn’t read the books and doesn’t know this history.)

What stuns me even more is that no one on the panel corrected her misapprehension.

Meanwhile, Doyle McManus, in this morning’s Los Angeles Times (The tea party grows up):

Throwing tantrums may be fun, but they’re no way to build a movement.

Ever since a wave of conservative insurgents arrived in Washington after the congressional election of 2010, Congress has careened from one tea party-inspired fiscal crisis to another, from the debt-ceiling showdown of 2011 to last year’s 16-day government shutdown.

But last week, when the debt ceiling needed to be raised again, conservative Republicans decided not to fight. They still voted no, but they meekly stood aside to let the ceiling rise.

“You’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who once reigned as chair of the House Tea Party Caucus, explained to the Washington Post. “Now is not the time to fight.”

Could it be that the tea party is growing up?

This one doesn’t stun me.

It infuriates me.

Not where McManus comes down (that merely frustrates me).

What infuriates me is the battle-fatigue I see beginning to grip Tea Party stalwarts like Bachmann.

These good folks are under constant attack from the right and from the left.

From their own party leadership.

From swayback horses like John McCain.

From the mainstream press.

And from most of the right-wing press.

What the Tea Party needs now isn’t to “grow up” and become like the Republican majority that grew the government and shrank liberty during Bush II.

What the Tea Party needs now is journalists who understand what the Tea Party is trying to do and party leadership that understands the power available to the minority in Congress.

What the Tea Party needs now is reinforcements in Congress and a beachhead among conservative pundits.