It would take a mythological reference to show the folly of the Democratic tack on the Tea Parties. Literary critic Stanley Fish believes Democrats will be helping Republicans “by saying scathing and dismissive things about the Tea Party and its candidates“:
The Greek mythological figure Antaeus won victory after victory because his opponents repeatedly threw him to the ground, not realizing that it was the earth (in the figure of his mother, Gaia) that nourished him and gave him renewed strength. The Tea Party’s strength comes from the down-to-earth rhetoric it responds to and proclaims, and whenever high-brow critics heap the dirt of scorn and derision upon the party, its powers increase.
Heracles finally brought the legendary giant “down”, literally by lifting him up. He defeated Antaeus . . .
. . . by embracing him in a bear hug, lifting him up high, and preventing him from touching the ground. Don’t sling mud down in the dust where your opponents thrive. Instead, engage them as if you thought that the concerns they express (if not their forms of expression) are worthy of serious consideration, as indeed they are. Lift them up to the level of reasons and evidence and see how they fare in the rarified air of rational debate where they just might suffer the fate of Antaeus.
Today’s Democrats lack a Heracles. To have a such a man in the current climate would require finding a figure who could show the same respect for the Tea Party that Heracles showed for his outsized rival.