One of the big questions hanging over any revolutionary leader is whether he can survive his own revolution.
Frequently when the mob starts rampaging for change, waving their pitchforks and torches, it becomes a kind of tailgate party for anarchy. Pretty soon they have not only stormed the Bastille, but they have also forgotten the cause, spilled beer on the rug, dyed the dog blue and wrecked the stereo system. And you can forget about them hanging around to clean up the mess.
See, when you are a leader who says you want to change everything, after a while, people start thinking that includes you.
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President Barack Obama swept into power on a promise of revolutionary change. He rallied the populace around the proposition that government, the two parties, energy supplies, health care and the college bowl playoff system all had to change as quickly as possible. And now, after two years of slamming up against the inertia of Washington, he finds that the revolution appears to be running away without him.
Liberals, who have been disappointed almost from the get-go, are growing louder. Moderates, who thought he would truly be a champion of bipartisanship, are looking for Republicans at the White House like it’s the D.C. version of “Where’s Waldo?” And conservatives? Two words: Tea Party.
Despite having wildly different immediate goals from this administration, the Tea Partiers share this with the Obamaphiles: They, too, want a dramatic shift in how Washington does business and they want it now.
President Obama, in a classic case of unintended consequences, made it plain two years ago that the country overall was ready to embrace this sort of radical thinking. He was a candidate of limited experience, who sold the idea that inspiration, integrity and a different point of view mattered more. That lesson was not lost on his political foes, because the Tea Partiers are now using it to power the single most potent movement against him.
They have captured the flag of “change” and are running off with it as their own.
– CNN’s Tom Foreman is a regular on “AC360°” (www.ac360.com) and “Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull.”
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