In many ways, the Tea Party movement was for 2009 was the Obama campaign was for 2008, the defining political movement of the year, the primary difference being that the former was built around an idea (or set of ideas) and the latter around a man (and his contrast with another). In a must-read essay at the Washington Examiner, Obama’s rapturous style versus tea party substance, Michael Barone sums up the difference:
But when you look back over the surges of enthusiasm in the politics of the last two years, you see something like this: The Obama enthusiasts who dominated so much of the 2008 campaign cycle were motivated by style. The tea party protesters who dominated so much of 2009 were motivated by substance.
Remember those rapturous crowds that swooned at Barack Obama’s rhetoric. “We are the change we are seeking,” he proclaimed. “We will be able to look back and tell our children,” that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
A lot of style there, but not very much substance. . . . .
In contrast, the tea party protesters, many of them as fractious and loudmouthed as David Brooks thinks, are interested in substantive political issues. They decry the dangers of expanding the national debt, increasing government spending, and putting government in command of the health care sector.
Read the whole thing.