It was 1992. All that was missing was a big eared guy and some flip charts.
If Republicans are thinking these are the guys who are going to be manning their phone banks in 2010, the ones who are going to be knocking on doors, or coughing up checks for the RNC -- they better think again. These folks are gone. They've left the reservation -- a lot of them left it back in 1992 -- and they're not going to come back.
Like the folks who backed Perot, the baggies are not Republicans. The signs there were a mixture of libertarian and populist, corporatist and anarchist, simply unhappy and deeply disturbed. Taxes were far from the only concern -- they weren't even the primary concern. They were simply upset, and momentarily excited to share that unhappiness with others, even if those others didn't care one whit about the cause of their unhappiness.
There are two big problems for the baggies (and the lobbyists who put together the tax day events) if they hope to match what Perot did in 1992. If they want to turn a one time outing into a political movement, they need acceptable, inspiring leadership. Ron Paul is not that guy. Neither is Bob Barr or Rick Perry.
They also need a coherent message. One that's not a mix of "I'm paying too much tax," "cap and trade is evil," "secession is legal," and "Obama is a fascist/socialist/communist wussy."
We're happy with this (proposed) ordinance (500 feet between new bars) only in as much as it becomes a first step toward addressing those broader concerns. Only as much as it leads the City Council to even more aggressively recommend denying liquor license renewals for problem bars. And, more importantly, only as much as it leads the City Council to finally do what it should have done years ago: establish a 21-only policy for bars in the city.
Uh... we had that conversation two years ago, and the voters, ALL of them, including the young and the landless, rejected it.
The city is stuck enforcing an unenforcable law. The Constitution says you're an adult at 18, and our alcohol laws should reflect that. Only when we separate the artificial age issue from the alcohol abuse issue will we be able to deal with actual problem drinking, as opposed to wrongly illegal drinking by rightfully legal adults.