It’s becoming a mantra: if you guys hate this stuff so much, why didn’t you take to the streets in droves burning effigies of Dubya? Even Dave Weigel, in a well-advised piece in the Washington Post busting lame myths about the tea parties, falls prey to temptation:
If you think the tea party would have risen up to oppose a Republican president who spent like mad and violated conservative principles, then where was it in the Bush years?
From where I’ve been hanging out for the past several years, the answer has seemed pretty obvious: during the Bush years, tea partiers, step by step and day by day, were growing ever more deeply disillusioned. And when they first took action, it was largely invisible, because nobody really notices when you walk away from a party. It’s far more noticeable when you wrangle up all your disillusioned friends and go for million man marches.
But it’s not easy to take to the streets like that. Unless you’ve got a really serious gripe — one that eats away at you day in and day out — you’re more likely to spend your time deep in work or play. Protesting doesn’t make money and it doesn’t spend money. In that way, it’s not very American. Yet nothing’s more American than getting riled up about some transcendent issue, busting out the hand-lettered placards, and forming a benign if angry mob. The left’s experience with the Iraq War seems to me to bear this out too.
So am I right, or what?