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Tuesday, February 2, 2010
By Steven L. Taylor

NPR had a story this morning (Tea Party Star Leads Movement On Her Own Terms) on Keri Carender, a blogger associated with the Tea Party movement.  In the interview, Carrender notes her preference for an atomized movement:

Tea Partiers don’t want to be harnessed. They’ve shown a willingness to reject Republican candidates they don’t like. On the other hand, they’re not about to start their own national political party, as evidenced by the backlash within the Tea Party against the Nashville convention. It’s a movement without a central organization, and Carender likes it that way.

"If you have a machine, you know exactly how to attack it, exactly how to shut it down," she says. "If you have 3 million machines coming at you, you don’t know where to turn."

It seems to me that any number of Tea Party activists share this attitude.  And while I get the point that fending off multiple attacks can be more difficult than fending off one, the fact of the matter is that if those attacks are extremely diffused, then they are not going to be especially efficacious.

Now, if one wishes to work at the grassroots, that’s fine.  However, if the goal is actually a national, long-term effect, then some sort of broader organization will be necessary.  This a corollary to what I was getting at the other day when I wrote “frustration is easy, governing is hard.” 

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