The New Grassroots or How to Sell Your Soul

I was over at Marco Rubio’s official website, breezing through his press releases when I saw this:

Grassroots leaders at the press conference included ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell, Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder Jenny Beth Martin, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and FreedomWorks President & CEO Matt Kibbe, as well as representatives from the Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America and Citizens United.

Another amazing example of how the Citizens United Supreme Court case has changed the landscape of politicking. Back in the day, “grassroots” meant regular folks with no real affiliation or label other than mad-as-hell or liberal or feminist or generic activist.

MoveOn was probably the first organization to call up a disorganized mass of like-minded people. MoveOn created the needed glue which allowed these folks to exert their collective strength. It worked. Barack Obama was elected president.

After the defeat of the left, it decided to co-opt MoveOn’s tactics. But when the Supreme Court agreed that a corporate body has the same rights as an individual, the idea of collective action took a sharp downturn.

How things have changed. Today, grassroots is a term that has no connection to actuality in the same way that the corporation-as-person is a non sequitur.

Grassroots per Rubio means a coalition of slick, monied interests that dispense red button, knee-jerk alarmist propaganda to incite their uneducated base and satisfy their deep pocket underwriters.

But the Rubio grassroots are distinctly different from Obama’s and for more than obvious reasons.

First, they are savvy media machines bankrolled by deep pockets.

Second, the allegiance of the voters is NOT to the candidate but to the ideology. Rubio gained office by votes, sure. But those voters were casting lots with Tea Party ideology or the Family Research Center’s stances. In other words, Rubio as an individual politician has become less important than Rubio as a tool. If it were not him, it would be another man in a shirt who vowed to stay true to his bankrollers. This brings up the biggest difference in the so-called grassroots.

The clench of these entities is a stranglehold. For MoveOn, it was enough to get Barack Obama elected that first time.  Then it disengaged, springing up periodically to alert its base of needed action. But in the new GOP, those Tea Party-vetted candidates who make it into elected office are forevermore beholden to their masters. They have become Faustian eunuchs in the grasp of their devils.

Thus, the terrorizing fear. For Rubio knows he was not elected because of his singular popularity. He was elected because he mouthed the manifestoes of the Tea Party. He knows that if he utters a line of contradiction, he will be gone. After all, he is a tool, and a disposable one at that.

Sadly, in giving away his soul to meet his own ambition, Rubio is bound to the devil called The Tea Party. He will never be his own man. If he dare, he will be disavowed and replaced. Perhaps he should consider this a good thing.

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