By Mark Ross, Contributing Writer
Early March, 2007, Oakland Mayor Ronald V. Dellums and his hand picked replacement in the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara Lee, hold a joint press conference. It is Mayor Dellums’ first major public media event of his (fortunately) limited tenure. The topic? Condoms for incarcerated villains.
The rest of us can live or die without consequence (as long as we keep paying taxes). But God forbid the worst miscreants that society can produce should be exposed to disease as an unintended consequence of their punishment. I use this as an example of the extensive and often bizarre agenda of what I call the Urban Mob.
How did O’Bama get elected? Why is Pelosi (along with Barney Fwank, Slapsy Maxie Waters and Syphilis Brain Pete Stark) guaranteed a lifetime in Congress? They represent the Urban Mob. They (the Mob) are ultra leftist, agenda driven urban denizens who have little attachment to middle class concerns… such as making the mortgage payment and the happiness and security of their children (factoid: Nancy Pelosi has fewer chidren in her district than any other member of Congress).
They don’t own, they rent. Some work, some work the system. Many are self-described artists (say no more). Some support themselves illegally by selling drugs or other people. They have a list of issues from condoms for felons to gay marriage -- free health care to elevated life styles for farm animals. Some are wayward trust fund babies… others just wish they were. All consider themselves “counter-cultural” -- antagonists to the traditional American way of life.
How did this all come about? First, Tom Wolfe set the stage in 1970 with his essay “Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers.” Along with the Great Society of LBJ came the “poverty pimp” business. Opportunists easily learned how to manipulate do-gooder bureaucrats. Second, as written by others, Republican gains in the South pushed out several entrenched Democrat moss back pols from congressional chairmanships.
In the olden days there were many powerful mostly Southern Dems in Congress such as Sam Nunn, John Stennis, Wilbur Mills… and Boeing’s own Scoop Jackson. They were the right-wing Democrats that many conservative talking heads are now opining over. They were replaced by Urban Mob idealog thugs like Pelosi.
Fast forward to now. A serious grass roots political upheaval is building momentum just as a midterm referendum is coming to a vote. The puppet masters of pop culture are calling it the Tea Party Movement… and the dutiful worker bees of the movement say: “Just don’t call us late for dinner.” They are the complete antithesis of the Urban Mob.
They want a reduction in the scope and quantity of agendas and they want severe limits on government involvement with private life. That’s either mainstream conservatism or classic liberalism (a.k.a. Libertarianism). What is historically unique is that rather than a Goldwater, Buckley, Taft or Reagan igniting the flame… the broad base of the movement is essentially leaderless. There is a pantheon of heroes and heroines. Sarah Palin’s “Mamma Grizzleys” and Marco Rubio’s escape from totalitarian Cuba fit the narrative. But, you see, rugged individuals don’t need leaders… they just work to make themselves free and are willing to fight to stay that way.
Politically, the inside baseball here is that the Tea Party reaction was triggered by the removal of normal restraints on the Looney Left that came with O’Bama’s election. The subsequent success of the reaction has a lot to do with the dropping of abortion as a litmus issue. Tea Partiers are not conspicuously either pro or con. This author has long believed that abortion has been a hinderance on political process… but a convenient tool for mobilizing the foot soldiers of either side. The severe reaction to the unbridled Looney Left made abortion no longer necessary as a motivator.
The epitome of the Urban Mob may have recently shot its wad right here in downtown Oakland. The latest Johannes Mehserle/Oscar Grant riot featured all of the usual suspects… including mayoral candidates Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan who overtly interfered with police (for the good of the people, of course). It was a carefully planned performance of guerilla theatre… which would’ve never been held if Mehserle had been a non-white minority (or the opposite for Grant) -- all other facts remaining the same.
An encore performance is due out just after the elections. Will enthusiasm for pointless outrage wane in the interim? The inner Bay Area is way too insulated from diversity of thought for that to be the case. Should the Looney Left lose its grip on the reins of power, anger at the dominant, oppressive establishment may be even greater.
We’ll just have to wait and see.