Peter Suderman tackles yours truly for backing the netroots in pressuring Obama to keep his promises while disparaging the tea-partiers for doing the same thing. His point is a decent one. In response, I'd say that I have no problem with Republican activists/insurgents challenging the GOP establishment. On the size and scope of government and on fiscal balance, I'm all for them in theory. In practice: not so much.
Why? Because the time to pressure your establishment is when it is in power. Back in Bush's first term and well into his second, a few of us actually did stand up to the unconservative spending and borrowing, the unconservative Federal Marriage Amendment, the illegal torture regime, and the unconservative recklessness with which both the Afghan and Iraqi wars were waged. Funny thing: none of the tea-partiers were with us. In fact they were mainly cheerleading a trillion dollar war based on false pretenses long after its bankruptcy was exposed. They were rallying for Bush's re-election. The moments they did wake up - the Harriet Miers nomination for example - were exceptions that proved the rule.
Only now do they actually get organized. And one can be forgiven for seeing it as a toxic mix of Fox-generated partisanship and paranoia, with some ugly populist and cultural under-currents. This is rather different than the netroots or the gay activists actually putting real heat on Obama in his first year. And the difference lies with political seriousness.