Ross Douthat's take on Beck-a-palooza is about as insightful as I've seen, and it captures a lot of what I've felt but haven't been able to artfully express. Here's a key graph from his editorial:
"In a sense, Beck’s “Restoring Honor” was like an Obama rally through the looking glass. It was a long festival of affirmation for middle-class white Christians — square, earnest, patriotic and religious. If a speaker had suddenly burst out with an Obama-esque “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for,” the message would have fit right in."
That's it, really, for me. This rally and the Tea Party, represents a bunch of State-U or No-U, hard workin', church goin', tax payin', flag wavin' folks (I was channeling Sarah Palin there) who are a little bit tired of what they are seeing. And they will not be ignored.
Barack Obama's genius as a political figure is that he tapped into the hip, urban, cosmo, hepcat meme--and he got a pliant, cheering press to go along with him (because he was so much like them!). That was enough to win an election when the Dems could have run a goat against the Republicans and won--but now that the country has re-awakened, Obama and his Greek chorus at the NYT/WaPost, ABCNBCCBS, are beginning to realize how very, very different they are from a large chunk of America.