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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama, the Drip Factor, and the Tea Party Party Movement

Lately, I have discussed the phenomenon in politics known as the drip factor. In the drip factor, a story is advanced negatively with each bit of negative news continuing to eat away at the popularity of those it affects. No one specific thing ultimately dooms the politician but rather the cumulative effect finally does them in. As I have said, the best example was how the constant and unrelenting daily violence in Iraq finally ate away at Bush's popularity and cost him at the ballot box in 2006.

President Obama may face that with several things but now he may create it with his unrelenting spending splurge. He's been President barely more than a month and already he has set an unprecendented pace on spending. He's passed a massive spending bill at nearly $800 billion. He's announced a mortgage bailout at $275 billion. There is an omnibus spending bill that just passed the House at $410 billion. Then, today, he announced a health care spending plan valued at $634 billion over 10 years. Still to come are bailouts for the automakers as well as another round of TARP. These may likely exceed $1 trillion as well. Beyond this, President Obama has big plans for both education and energy independence.

I believe that President Obama and the Democrats have far overestimated American's appetite for never ending spending. There is a sort of drip factor to all of this spending. With each spending plan, he loses more and more people. Folks continue to view the President with overwhelming popularity however they are already unsure and weary of this spending. The more spending he announces the more people he loses. As his spending spree continues, a grass roots populist movement will form and it will eventually severely erode his popularity.

That's where the so called Chicago Tea Party movement comes in. (Michelle Malkin has been detailing the movement) This is exactly the sort of grass roots movement that is perfect in time place, technology, and raw anger to take on this massive spending and ultimately take advantage of the drip factor of out of control spending. So far, the movement is still relatively small. Demonstrations only draw several hundred at any given demonstration. What makes this movement potentially devastating is that it is being created on the grass roots level. It's often being organized by ordinary citizens. It has harnessed the anger caused by the perception that many of these bailouts and stimuli reward bad behavior.

What this movement has going for it mostly is time. Demonstrations that start at a few hundred can easily grow to a few thousand and then tens of thousands and eventually millions if the movement is right. (and if the movement is given enough time) That's what we have here. This Friday, demonstrations are planned for dozens of cities all over the country. I don't expect more than a few hundred at each, but all of this is just the beginning. This movement will continue, but furthermore, it will gain strength with each new spending plan. As each spending plan is announced, the drip factor will grab more and they will join.

I personally believe the point that things will cross over at will be when the second round of TARP will be announced. It's very likely that the second round of TARP will be even larger than the first. By then, President Obama will have announced new spending in excess of $2 trillion. Another trillion Dollars for incompetent and corrupt banks will be the breaking point. At that point, the movement will also be gaining steam. It will be the perfect crossing point between populist anger, a coordinated movement, and one too many large ticket spending items.


Anonymous said...

Do you anticipate a bi-partisan movement? Otherwise expect your rallies to be met with pro-spending rallies outnumbering you as much as 10-1. The best you'd have going for you is a sympathetic media.

mike volpe said...

That's where I disagree. I don't know that people that support the stimulus, the mortgage bailout and all his other policies support them with the passion that those that oppose it do. Most folks have lukewarm support for spending trillions. That sort of support doesn't translate into someone going to a rally.

I also don't know what you mean by a sympathetic media. The media is definitely not sympathetic. This movement is being forwarded through the blogosphere and talk radio.

That said, there are hints that this is bi partisan. That's because this is a class war that pits responsible versus irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

By sympathetic media, I refer to the fact that sooner or later someone on Cable news will pick up on this and run with it. Interview its leaders, report from the rallies, bring politicians on to their shows to get them to try to answer the arguments you put forth, that sort of thing.