Over at the Daily Beast, there’s a forward-looking double bill with Tina Brown’s op-ed—a pining for a post-midterms Obama who isn’t afraid to get a little more theatrical—and new guy Howard Kurtz asking what’s next for the media. Kurtz argues that glowing coverage of the resurgent GOP this Wednesday might be as short-lived as Obama’s own media honeymoon period. Tracing Obama’s decline in media fortunes, and linking it to the similar falls from grace of Jimmy Carer and Gerald Ford, Kurtz concludes:
The temptation, once the polls close Tuesday night, will be to portray Republicans as tenacious leaders who overcame incredible odds and are poised to rescue the country from runaway government. Well, maybe. Time will tell. We shall see. And by the way: Barack Obama, the day after the midterms, still gets an incomplete grade. The president who soared after 100 days and stumbled after 21 months may look very different by 2012.
Oh, where to begin? At least Politico had some sources to speak of—this is Kurtz typing out a hunch. Since when did it become inevitable that coverage of the GOP wave will be glowing, outside of Fox News? Pre-election day coverage has not taken that tone. Tenacious and shrewd, sure, the GOP is getting it’s due for that; but “poised to rescue the country”? “Well, maybe,” at best. From the coverage I’ve been reading, the narrative (fair or not) seems more likely to read: Welcome to Crazy Town, population Rand Paul and Sharron Angle. Or: Obama’s Failure to Communicate. Or: Where’s the Tan Man’s Plan? Or: The Tea Party’s in Congress, Now What? But that’s just my hunch. So let me not dwell on it.
McClatchy, in its newspapers today, is asking that last Tea Party question in a forward-looking piece by Anna M. Tinsley of the Star-Telegram. Like a lot of Tea Party pieces, there’s not much effort to note the differences between the individual and often localized groups that make up what’s now being called the Tea Party movement, but it does sound a warning for troubles newly elected Republicans might face when it comes time to legislate. It turns out there will be more Tea Party caucuses on the way, Tea Partiers will be out in force watching the polls, and the movement is here to stay.
“A line has been crossed between all levels of government and the American people,” said Angela Cox, president of the Johnson County Tea Party. “We are not shy when it comes to raising our voices when need be and also praising those and their actions that actually do the ‘will’ of the American people.
“We will be keeping a watchful eye on all in Congress and state legislatures and maintaining open communications with those that are smart enough to listen,” she said. “Those who neglect the voice and opinion of the American people will be repaid with very short terms in office, and their political careers will quickly come to an end.”
Tea Party members say they’ll be watching voters “to make sure that our elections are fair and honest.” Then after the election, they’ll watch the legislators, said Konni Burton, a member of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party steering committee.
“The general election on the 2nd is when we can begin to put a stop to the complete and utter bankrupting of our country and the absolute overreach of this federal government,” she said. “On Nov. 3, we will begin the process of keeping those elected accountable and will begin working toward the 2012 election.
Just how the Tea Party will hold its candidates accountable is a question that isn’t answered in the piece. On this day before the GOP earthquake/tsunami/storm/Armageddon, I guess we will just have to speculate.