Via TBogg, we see that Ross Douthat's mother let him play with the computer again. It seems that the little girls who live next door invited him over for a tea party and he thought he was actually going to get real tea and cakes instead of water and Play-Do. So Master Ross takes pen in hand to think over the puzzling dilemma.
The Tea Party is a grass-roots movement — wild, woolly and chaotic — which sometimes makes it hard to figure out exactly what it stands for. But to the extent that the movement boasts a single animating idea, it’s the conviction that the Republicans as much as the Democrats have been an accessory to the growth of spending and deficits, and that the Republican establishment needs to be punished for straying from fiscal rectitude.
Little Master Douthat doesn't understand that a pretend tea-party is not the same thing as a real tea-party. The grown-ups have money to buy real food, and servants to give them real tea and cakes and sandwiches and little lemon tarts. The children are just pretending to have a tea party.
Their eccentric elements notwithstanding, the Tea Parties have something vital to offer the country: a vocal, activist constituency for spending cuts at a time when politicians desperately need to have their spines stiffened on the issue. But it’s all too easy to imagine the movement (which, after all, includes a lot of Social Security and Medicare recipients!) being seduced with rhetorical nods to the Constitution, and general promises of spending discipline that never get specific.
Disappointment has made him bitter.
It wouldn’t be the first time a mass protest movement won a rhetorical victory without achieving a lasting policy shift. The antiwar movement, for instance, seemed to effectively take over the Democratic Party in the middle years of the Bush administration. But here we are, two years into a Democratic presidency, and Gitmo is still open, the U.S. is still in Iraq, and Barack Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan.
Now, that was just mean.