Long-time liberal commentator Michael Barone has commented on Fox Business that the Tea Party movement parallels that of the Sixties. The first major conference in Nashville last year did have the folksy qualities I first felt in the presence of Doc Watson and The Weavers back in Newport Rhode Island in the early 1960s.
What I’ve been looking at in the last two years is a kind of anthropological model based on what I saw happen there in the early Sixties when I went to high school. The Newport Folk Festival suddenly awakened our world with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. The Beatles said they inspired them to greater artistic challenge. Some writers of the era say The Sixties started from there; some marking the day when Dylan switched from a natural guitar to an electric guitar. It spread like wildfire. The entire generation changed overnight in a matter of one or two years.
Overnight; when real, organic change comes, it cannot be held back. There has been that same feeling in the Tea Party; rustic, folksy, from the people. If this continues and I believe it will, I’d say it is entirely possible now to see Rand Paul emerge as the significant figure in this movement, particularly in contrast with the old-school establishment Republicans. And the competence of the old-scholars doesn’t help. It even makes the old seem more crusty and entrenched. Mitt Romney, who I admire in many ways, well establishes the contrast of the establishment with Rand Paul and the Tea Party renegades. He is good, very good, but so was Duke Ellington when The Beatles arrived. The season had passed.
In this rich and volatile environment we are seeing the moment of awakening. It is now entirely possible to see Rand Paul as President. . . . with three necessary conditions: 1) Rick Perry stays out. 2) Polls show he can carry Iowa and South Carolina in the primaries. 3) Sarah Palin stays out and endorses him.
And what a contest the Obama v. Rand Paul debate would be.