Since the beginning of the media coverage of the Wisconsin budget battle between Governor Scott Walker and the unions, there's been a whispering campaign that is now becoming a full blown shout-fest. The Left wants the unions to become the Leftist equivalent of the TEA Party. Judging from the commentary on Politico, the Left is warning of Walker "waking a sleeping giant" and his electoral doom is all but certain once that giant awakes and gets moving.
I have three words for any Leftist who believes that: The Coffee Party.
Remember when The Coffee Party was supposed to be the Leftist counterpart to the TEA Party? Yeah. That lasted for about a month before the Left realized it just wasn't taking off like they'd hoped. Seriously, aside from this blog post, when was the last time you hear anyone mention the Coffee Party?
Although the Wisconsin union protests are encouraging, I honestly don't think the union movement is strong enough to be a Leftist TEA Party mainly because the union movement isn't that strong right now. With dropping membership and a badly damaged image over the past couple of decades, the time when unions were to be a feared political machine are pretty much over on a national level. Sure, you'll still have enclaves on a statewide level, but nationally unions are becoming dinosaurs.
And that's who you want to be the next TEA Party?
There is another reason why the labor movement will not be successful as a TEA Party substitute, that being a fundamental difference between the two movements. Say what you will about the TEA Party, they are motivated by a love of country and a desire to put the country back on the right financial course. From what we've seen and heard from the union movement recently, they seem more motivated by a love of money regardless of the fiscal consequences. Of course, they don't come out and say that because it would undercut their credibility as "hard working average Americans."
Just like Air America failed to live up to its billing as a Leftist alternative to talk radio, just like the Huffington Post failed to be an alternative to the Drudge Report, Leftists will fail if they try to make the union movement into a Leftist version of the TEA Party for the same reason the other two ventures I mentioned failed.
The Left doesn't understand Americans as well as they think they do.