Vincent Gray and the Tea Party

This notion, first offered by Adam, has been picked up, and expanded by Kevin Robillard, across the net:

Gray's coalition is mostly black, the Tea Party members are mostly white. The Tea Party is supporting right-wing candidates, while Gray is running to the left of Fenty. Still, Serwer's statement is more accurate than you might think. 

What links the two groups are the forces that are animating them, and generating the anger at the establishment (Adrian Fenty for the Gray campaign, Barack Obama for the Tea Parties). This leads to similar anxieties and rhetoric. Both are trying to preserve an economic and cultural position they feel is slipping from their grasp. Essentially, they are each other in reverse.

I'm not sure, but it's possible that Robillard is mangling Adam's comparison, which was delivered over Twitter. I say that because the more plausible Tea Party comparison isn't between Adrian Fenty and that other light-skin black guy in the White House, but between Adrian Fenty and former Utah Senator Bob Bennett. Like Fenty, Bennett was dumped by angry members of his own party heeding the call of populism.

The Fenty-Obama comparison doesn't strike me as particularly strong. It's worth remembering that four years ago Fenty scored the greatest mayoral win in the history of Washington D.C., "prevailing" according to The Times, "in every electoral precinct in the city." Moreover, Fenty wasn't the District's first experiment with a technocratic reform oriented mayor. His predecessor, the oft-bow-tied Anthony Williams, served two terms, as the anti-Marion Barry. The people who voted Fenty out, or simply stayed home, were also many of the same people who voted for eight years of reform, and then overwhelmingly for four more years.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party, a rebranding of the Republican hard right, never backed Obama or his agenda. Fenty entered into office with greatest mandate in the history of local D.C. The Tea Parties were organizing against Obama within days of his election. In other words, Fenty was ultimately undone by his own disaffected supporters. The Tea Party is a lot of things. They are not disaffected Obama supporters.

As an aside, it's worth checking out this thoroughly reported piece by Nikita Stewart and Paul Schwartzman in today's The Washington Post. There will be a lot of moist (to steal a Hitchenism) opining about race and Adrian Fenty over the next few days. But the Post's piece, while correctly pointing out race, highlights less romantic factors--like raising four million dollars in campaign funds, but refusing to hire pollsters.