The pundits, wonks and wannabes are busy debating what this week's primary elections mean. Newt Gingrich says Barack Obama has only "a 20 percent chance" of re-election two years hence (and he wants to be the reason why).
Punditry and wonkery are great fun, and occasionally get things right, but a man named Jonathan Kahn actually represents something new for conservatives to sing about. He's on his way to becoming an authentic hip-pop culture hero.
When he made the front page of The Wall Street Journal, it looked like the journal of high finance had been smoking something from the '60s. Why would a guitar-plucking singer from Hollywood who wears sunglasses, a baseball cap and a fashionably scruffy beard that begs for soap and a razor be news? But you quickly learn that he's not a throwback, but a leap forward. His lyrics to "American Heart'" appeal to patriotic derring-do:
Go on, raise the flag
I got staaaarrrs in my eyes.
It's tea party time from Searchlight, Nev., to Music Row in Nashville.
Kahn, who has sung at tea party rallies under the name Jon David, is a unique phenomenon on the left coast. He sings love songs to America and rails against Hollywood that "benefits so much from capitalism and bashes it at the same time."
Though he's been an incognito conservative in the town that tinsel made, he's no longer afraid to have his picture snapped with Sarah Palin. He even takes off his glasses for full facial identification. The two are in sync over what's important -- personal liberty and responsibility, tax cuts and smaller government.
What the tea partiers have accomplished, along with dramatically changing the terms of the debate, is to render the establishment stuffy. They've brought vigor and vitality to conservative convictions and a freshness to conservative thinking.
Now liberals are loathe to call themselves "liberal" and have taken to calling themselves "progressives." They know that liberalism is anathema to most Americans and the political center is shaped by conservative ideas. That's why President Obama in campaign mode ran as a centrist, a mediator and a uniter. He blew his cover with the bullying push for ObamaCare, hence his dramatic fall in the public-opinion polls.
Sen. Evan Bayh, once thought to be Democratic presidential material, knew what he was talking about after the 2004 presidential election, which George W. won.
"We need to be a party that stands for more than the sum of its resentments," he said. "In the heartland where I come from ... we're caricatured as a bicoastal cultural elite that is condescending at best and contemptuous at worst to the values that Americans hold in their daily lives."
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