The Politico headline read: "Conservative elites pine for 2012 hero." They could have shortened that sentence to "Elites pine" or more likely to "Elites freak the heck out." Because it's not just the conservative cognoscenti, it's all of them. The folks in charge miss the good old days when they ran everything and ordinary American voters and taxpayers did as they were told.
Those days are gone and the in-crowd is afraid it is on the way out, too. Congress's favorability is down to 13 percent and even the lefties at Mother Jones are whining that both parties are cancelling town hall meetings to hide from angry voters.
The era when elite Washington - of all three major parties: Republicans, Democrats and the Media - could just raise our taxes or cut deals behind closed doors has gone bye-bye. And the Powers That Be are determined to turn back the clock.
They blame the Tea Party and rightly so. A combination of a grassroots movement and the technology to actually inform Americans has taken away some power from politicians and the media. The logical solution would be for both groups to reflect more what the public actually wants from them - a saner, more affordable government and a media that is fair to someone other than liberals.
Instead, the elites have declared war on the Tea Party.
That in itself is nothing new. Since the first spot of tea a couple years ago, anti-tax, anti-Big Government protesters have been called bigots, violent and a dangerous fringe element. The recent debt battle took it to a far worse level as those in power sought to blame Tea Partiers on our nation's unwillingness to spend itself into the grave.
The result of that battle was, seemingly, a toss-up. The debt ceiling was raised and a super committee established to discuss ways to solve the budget crunch. But the design of the committee makes tax hikes likely. The deck is stacked as everyone from President Obama and Vice President Biden to Speaker Boehner and almost every generic pundit is now pushing to do just that. And the clock is ticking as a Dec. 23 deadline looms.
At least a few admit they want to use the chance to raise taxes. Obama, most Dems and even loud-mouthed billionaire Warren Buffett are begging for a tax hike. On Sunday, Aug. 21, the major media chimed in. The Washington Post ran two huge pieces skewering the Tea Party on the economy and more. Columnist Allan Sloan led off the business section claiming "the Tea Party types bear primary responsibility." Over in the opinion section (as if the first piece wasn't opinion), they ran a pro-spending, pro-Keynsian economics piece complaining that critics of such policies "almost surely have it wrong." The critics are, of course, the Tea Party and friendly politicians like Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The very same day, The New York Times produced an editorial urging "business leaders to change the minds of the Tea Party lawmakers" and back a "grand bargain that cut spending and raised tax revenue."
The push to raise taxes is near universal across the media for two reasons. First, it boosts the size of the burgeoning Nanny State. The journalistic elite always support more government. Even when politicians trim the size of growth in government, reporters bemoan such "draconian" cuts. Journalists have never met a draconian increase in the size of government, but taxpayers sure have.
Secondly, a tax hike would require squashing the Tea Party. And the elites join in the hunt. Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. has claimed GOP politicians are "subservient" to the Tea Party. Post columnist Richard Cohen concurs and said Perry "occupies the cultural and intellectually empty heartland of the Republican Party" because he "vows to diminish Washington's influence." Cohen calls that a "moronic policy," instead claiming "what America desperately needs is more, not less, Washington."
The network news shows use the same strategy with just a dash more subtlety. When local Tea Party leaders confronted Obama in Iowa, they were put down on air. On NBC, Chuck Todd noted the "bitter taste of the energy and confrontational style of the Tea Party" and their "in-your-face tactics." ABC's Jake Tapper referred to it the "unruly Tea Party style."
Politicians took the same view. "Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the deficit commission, said the American people are rightly disgusted, and he's personally bothered by Republicans undermining any chance of Speaker Boehner compromising," explained Tapper July 12. That's a Republican argument supporting Obama's "shared sacrifice" plan where the elites control more of your money.
They were mirroring the elitist anti-Tea Party talking points, such as the one from Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod who called the downgrade of U.S. debt "a Tea Party downgrade." That, despite the fact that Tea Partiers were the only ones willing to cut enough government to prevent the downgrade in the first place.
Wherever you look, elites are moving to crush resistance. The West does it the democratic way of course. In Syria and Libya, they use tanks and guns and SCUD missiles. Here in America, elites use the more dangerous weapon of the media to keep power over everything we do. Our bosses envy the power of their counterparts elsewhere. France just "announced $16 billion in new taxes to ensure it reaches its deficit-reduction targets," rather than cut its massive welfare state.
In the U.S., Democrats and Republicans alike embrace the tax-and-spend approach, so the Tea Party threatens them all. Naturally, it must be stopped. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., made it all clear in a recent speech. "Let us all remember who the real enemy is. The real enemy is the Tea Party - the Tea Party holds the Congress hostage."
Like most politicians, she's wrong. If the Tea Party really had that much sway in Congress, our economy and our nation would be in much better shape.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.