Alexander Bolton writes in The Hill this morning that “Democratic strategists believe their Tea Party moment has arrived.” Democrats and unions are planning to stock town hall meetings with their people, to attack Republicans who voted for spending cuts.
I believe Democrats are operating under the assumption that American political life is roughly symmetrical — which it isn't. The basic idea is to replicate the Tea Party summer of 2009, but the article shows that there are a few differences right from the outset.
First, this is an admittedly astroturfed movement, not like the grassroots and essentially leaderless Tea Party phenomenon of 2009. This time, the townhall rabble-rousing will be done by members of well-established organizations (unions, basically) who have been told by their leaders to show up.
Second, the complaints will be of a different nature. The Tea Partiers often confronted their congressmen rudely, but they were speaking to genuine public concern about Obamacare. In this case, union members will be confronting their congressmen with demands that they preserve their piece of the pie. This could work, but only if the public comes around to their way of thinking about government spending.
These new un-Tea Partiers can expect a lot more sympathy from the media than the Tea Partiers got, but that does not necessarily mean they can win over a public that seems comfortable with budget cuts at the moment.
In case I haven't convinced you to click through and read the article, at least click through to see which Democratic strategist said (in paraphrase):
[T]he lesson of the midterm election is that voters want Republicans and Democrats to work together.
So that's the message voters sent by throwing Democrats out of office and electing the most conservative House of Representatives in my lifetime. I'm sure it's just a talking point and not to be taken too seriously, but even talking points only work if they have some connection to reality.