About Me

Twenty years ago I asked a Tarot card reader what would I be doing when I was 50. She replied, “I see you doing something so wildly creative, it defies a job title.” Only recently did I realize that was a slick way of saying, “I have no idea of what you’ll be doing.” But that prediction kept me charging ahead to the fifties with zeal and anticipation. Now that the future is today, I’m ready for anything!

A Liberal Tea Party: Just a Dream?

From a branding standpoint, the Tea Party is a work of genius.

  • It has a robust identity that's a mash-up of past history and present culture: the Boston Tea Party of 1773 and the anti-tax sentiment of today, with the acronym Taxed Enough Already?
  • It can be instantly identified with a simple and logo-ready symbol, the tea bag.
  • It began as a viral communication and developed a life of its own.
I don’t agree with it ideologically. But I’m in awe of it in terms of marketing and branding.

Will Van Jones’s American Dream Movement be the Tea Party movement that liberals have been waiting for? Time will tell, says this Washington Post blog post by Rachel Weiner.

Coffee Party was Weak Kool-Aid
Weiner mentions previous attempts such as the Coffee Party. This iteration didn’t work, in my opinion, because it defined itself in terms of the Tea Party. What exactly is a Coffee Party, anyway? What did it stand for? And can such a movement work when it’s billed as nonpartisan?

The Tea Party embraces its partisanship. I’ve been toying with names for a liberal Tea Party that embrace the terms that are used to deride and silence liberals:

  • The Class Warrior Party
  • The HellYeah Party (HellYeah we’re liberal. HellYeah we want living-wage jobs. HellYeah we believe in the healthcare public option.)
  • The Second Revolution (HellYeah, we’re embracing the French for rising up in revolution.)
But if Van Jones wants to try the American Dream Movement, I'm game.

What It Needs to Succeed
Jones, a former White House environmental official, announced the American Dream Movement at Netroots Nation, an annual conference of progressive political activists. For any type of liberal Tea Party to succeed, it needs to have a life beyond the Internet, beyond the digitally savvy and financially comfortable and politically plugged in.

  • People who aren’t political junkies but are recreational users, if even that.
  • People who don’t know chapter and verse of Robert’s Rules of Order, or the minutiae of legislative procedure. All they know is they’re frustrated because they’re not being represented by their party.
Going Viral Among the Unplugged
In 2003, Democratic Presidential  candidate Howard Dean was slapped down for saying he wanted to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks. In a clumsy way, he was talking about people who are disinterested in or disengaged from politics. People who don’t have smart phones or RSS feeds or even Internet service. A liberal Tea Party needs to have the momentum to migrate off the grid and go viral among the unplugged masses. The question is, how. Thoughts?

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