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The Tea Party Is Dead? Nah, Thatís Just a Flesh Wound
The Daily Beast ^ | May 20, 2014 | Michael Tomasky

Posted on 05/21/2014 7:39:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

The right wing of the Republican Party is going to get whipped in Tuesday night’s primaries, but its grip is strengthening around the real prize: 2016.

Tonight, the Tea Party is going to lose some elections. Its Senate candidates in Kentucky and Georgia are going to lose—and lose really, really badly in at least in Kentucky. The theme of the night on cable (and for the balance of the week really) will be the death of the Tea Party. Everybody’s waiting with a safety net, as Elvis Costello (nearly) sang, but I say don’t bury them ’cuz they’re not dead yet.

Why? Because while 2014 is, to be sure, going to go down as a bad Tea Party year in electoral terms, we certainly can’t yet say the same of 2016—a much more important year, i.e. presidential. In fact, as of today, what we can say about 2016, speculative as it may be, is that the tea party is if anything in the driver’s seat. The guy we’ve all taken to calling the GOP front-runner, Rand Paul, is a Tea Party guy. That simple fact alone hardly makes for anything I’d call dead.

Beyond Paul, numerous potential candidates are backed by the Tea Party or in some sense have that aura about them. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker—even Mike Huckabee, if he casts his lure [good] into the waters, will be fishing in the Tea Party pond for votes. Yes, there’ll be a Chris Christie or a Jeb Bush to represent the establishment. But if most of the candidates are flat-out Tea Party people or at least Tea Party-friendly creatures, that means to me that the pull of gravity in that primary season is still going to be pretty far to the right, and driven to some decent extent by Tea Party priorities. And let’s face it: If the party does nominate Paul, the Tea Party will have won the biggest prize in intra-party politics: determining the presidential nominee. So 2016 could well be a huge Tea Party year.

But let’s circle back to this year. While it’s true that the majority of Tea Party candidates are losing, something else has been going on more under the radar, smartly picked up on recently by Jamie Fuller of The Washington Post. A lot of Republican candidates are trying to finesse the establishment-Tea Party Maginot Line and be both things to all people. She writes, I believe accurately, that the clear goal of many candidates is “staying comfortable with the tea party while networking with the establishment on the side.” This certainly describes North Carolina’s Thom Tillis. He beat an explicitly Tea Party-backed challenger, but Tillis is still deeply reactionary (eliminate the minimum wage entirely, he once suggested!), he backed the Cruz-led government shutdown, and he is distinguishable ideologically from tea party candidates only in that he’s not quite as wacko as the tea party guy was.

In other words: In one important sense, the tea party has won. In fact, one Tea Party candidate did win a GOP Senate primary this year, Ben Sasse in Nebraska, who campaigned with Cruz, Sarah Palin, and Mike Lee. But the larger point is that when people like Thom Tillis are mainstream Republicans, the Tea Party’s mission is basically accomplished.

If the GOP’s establishment honchos were out there nominating and electing a bunch of Olympia Snowes, then, yes, the Tea Party would be dead. But they’re not. They’re nominating Tea Party wannabees! Not in all cases, certainly. Lamar Alexander is not a Tea Partier. But they’re doing it in enough cases (Tillis, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, others) that If I were a Tea Party organizer, I’d be happy to let the establishment Republicans think they’re winning, knowing that I’d already transformed the party substantially—that I control the GOP caucus in the House and have enough of a plurality in the Senate to stop and subvert almost any compromise the more reasonable Republicans might be willing to make.

I just by implication raised the G-word that you’re not supposed to raise in political columns—governing—because it isn’t horse-racey and fun, but it’s kinda-sorta what all this is about, innit? Yes. And on this front, the Tea Party influx into the congressional GOP is already large enough that the Tea Party can call a lot of governing shots. Theda Skocpol made the point a while back in Democracy, the journal I edit: “…a clear-eyed look shows that Tea Party obstruction remains powerful and has achieved victories that continue to stymie Democratic efforts to govern effectively—a necessary condition for Democrats to win enthusiastic, sustained voter support for the future, including in midterm elections. Our debates about federal budgets still revolve around degrees of imposed austerity. Government shutdowns and repeated partisan-induced ‘crises’ have greatly undercut U.S. economic growth and cost up to a year’s worth of added jobs. Real national challenges—fighting global warming, improving education, redressing extreme economic inequalities, rebuilding and improving economic infrastructure—go unaddressed as extreme GOP obstructive capacities remain potent in Washington and many state capitals.”

She wrote those sentences six or so months ago, but there’s nothing in them that doesn’t hold up today. So the Tea Party is going to lose in tonight’s voting, but it has already won enough to screw the rest of us. And I’m not writing my obituary until at least 2016.


TOPICS: Issues; Parties; U.S. Congress; U.S. Senate
KEYWORDS: 2014; 2016; congress; randpaul; teaparty; tedcruz
Where is all this "Rand Paul is the front runner" nonsense coming from?
1 posted on 05/21/2014 7:39:53 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Idiocy. ...


2 posted on 05/21/2014 7:47:55 PM PDT by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously-you won't live through it anyway-Enjoy Yourself ala Louis Prima)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

His swing toward the RINOcratic center is making him more popular with those with their heads in the sand (or other places).


3 posted on 05/21/2014 7:48:30 PM PDT by ObozoMustGo2012
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

As Mark Levin said on this radio show tonight, “we’re still here”. And we will continue to increase in power and influence. I would like to see it move faster, but move it is. Ben Sasse will be a fantastic addition to help reinforce Ted Cruz and the other “good guys” in the Senate. We have more Tea Party nominees that will be winning elections this year. The balance of power is shifting and, at some point, the tipping point will be reached—likely sooner in the House of Representatives Republican caucus before the Senate caucus.


4 posted on 05/21/2014 7:49:38 PM PDT by House Atreides
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I can’t decide whether it is from Rand Paul, from democrats or from the mainstream GOP.

All I know is the Tea Party is alive and well.

At some point, look out.


5 posted on 05/21/2014 7:51:27 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html#2013)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’m surprise they haven’t asked the same question of Sarah Palin!


6 posted on 05/21/2014 8:07:02 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (Pubbies = national collectivists; Dems = international collectivists; We need a second party!)
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To: House Atreides

Lets take a better look at the electronic voting process and we may find out why the Tea Party is taking a beating. He who counts the votes decides who wins.


7 posted on 05/21/2014 8:10:56 PM PDT by jsanders2001
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Dead? Internal enemies will die B/4 freedom is dead. The T.E.A. party hasn’t even started to fight. It’s in its infancy. It CANNOT BE ABORTED, SCUMBAGS. It’s alive and growing. Baby steps right now. This kid is AWESOME.

SOAP box BUMP!

See something, say something ALERT!


8 posted on 05/21/2014 8:12:49 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Tea Party obstruction remains powerful and has achieved victories that continue to stymie Democratic efforts to govern effectively

Amazing. When liberals want to do something it is 'effective governance' When Conservatives want to stop something it is 'obstruction'. Yes we do want to obstruct your efforts to control every aspect of our lives and that too is called democracy
9 posted on 05/21/2014 8:15:41 PM PDT by slumber1 (Moderation is overrated)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
All I know is the Tea Party is alive and well.

At some point, look out.

Well-stated, Cringing Negativism Network! BTTT!

10 posted on 05/21/2014 8:16:40 PM PDT by PGalt
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
The problem with the Tea Party is that it supported "cutting spending" - but not really. It didn't support cutting Social Security spending. It didn't support cutting Medicare spending. It didn't support cutting Medicaid spending.

The only spending the Tea Party supported was Sequestration - which didn't touch Entitlements at all - but cut the military by 50% of every dollar.

Screw the Tea Party.

11 posted on 05/21/2014 8:19:02 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

There is no tea party, there are many tea parties. And therein lies the problem...or perhaps the opportunity.


12 posted on 05/21/2014 8:27:49 PM PDT by bigbob (The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly. Abraham Lincoln)
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To: SkyPilot

Huh? Sequestration is the product of Obama and boehner. Tea party had little to do with it. The tea party has supported the Medicare and Medicaid reforms proposed in the 2011 budget process.


13 posted on 05/21/2014 8:31:44 PM PDT by ilgipper
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Where is all this "Rand Paul is the front runner" nonsense coming from?"

The article writer, apparently...LOL!

Maybe "wishful thinking" on his/her part, too, that Paul would be the nominee for President. Presumably because Paul is a Republican.

There is no such thing as the "Tea Party" when you get to the voting booth. It will realistically be a choice between the Democrat or the Republican nominee, with a few third party/write-in options available just to make it interesting, and possibly split off liberal/conservative voters enough for the opposition to win (Nader/Perot)...I personally don't think Rand Paul will end up being the GOP nominee, but that remains to be seen.

IMHO, it's a very good thing that Tea Party people are having a strong influence on today's GOP. It's also very good that conservatives of all views do not let the liberal/progrssives "divide and conquer"...Obama was elected (twice!) with their collection of aggrieved, subsidized, and newly found/enabled "eligible" voters.

The MSM will do everything it can to magnify any speck in a conservative's eye, while they also do everything they can to minimize/ignore all the logs that are out there in the current administration, and so many voters are so ignorant that "what difference does it make?"

But it does make a huge difference...united we stand, FRiends! Let's US "rock the vote" for a change!

14 posted on 05/21/2014 8:32:02 PM PDT by 88keys (broken glass GOP; it matters, replace the Dems. 2014!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Jeb & Hill 2016 “What’s the difference?”


15 posted on 05/21/2014 8:44:55 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Jeremiah 50:32 "The arrogant one will stumble and fall ; / ?)
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To: 88keys

Unfortunately, the Tea Party is doomed because the majority of American people will never buy into it. They have been all but completely corrupted by free stuff. Oh sure, they pay lip service to Tea Party ideals, because it makes them feel good. But bottom line, you’ll never put together a mass movement for major reductions in government spending. People are all for reductions in programs which don’t affect them, or reductions in the abstract. But as soon as you start identifying specific programs on the chopping block, you’re doomed. C’mon, can you imagine millions of Americans demanding major reductions in Social Security and Medicare?


16 posted on 05/21/2014 8:55:44 PM PDT by huckfillary
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To: SkyPilot

“Screw the Tea Party.”

I urge you to rethink your position.


17 posted on 05/21/2014 8:57:34 PM PDT by MichaelCorleone (Jesus Christ is not a religion. He's the Truth.)
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To: huckfillary
Never give up...it's not the REAL American way!

Of course there will be no mass movement to cut back on Social Security or Medicare anytime soon, but what about the scandalous spending on fraudulent Social Security Disability benefits? MedicAid? Opposite side of the coin, maybe...but what about the complete and total debacle with the VA hospitals/benefits? Extra money going to employee bonuses/new "infrastucture"/remodelling, and not to care for the vets or providing sufficient doctors??

When push comes to shove on the bottom line budget, it's hard to quantify exactly what "benefits" anyone has actually earned or pre-paid/invested, and it's even harder to explain why the money's not going to be there for 30 years of retirement benefits (for examply) BUT, that's no reason to not work on it for the future, and certainly no reason to not investigate and remedy the fraud that's going on (which includes Federal employee bonuses, etc.)...

"A republic, if you can keep it"...bottom line! Requires strong leadership, not "cake" for the random ignorant collection of special-interest groups that are like the two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner.

A "mass movement", probably not, because "cut Social Security and Medicare" isn't really a great "rallying cry", but you might be surprised at how many sensible voting people there are out here.

Someone will come along who will be the Reagan of the new generation...I just hope it will be very soon. Meantime, keep holding the current government's feet to the fire, across party lines...not to mention the media!

18 posted on 05/21/2014 10:10:03 PM PDT by 88keys (broken glass GOP; it matters, replace the Dems. 2014!!)
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To: MichaelCorleone; ilgipper
I heard the Tea Party Congressmen on Sean Hannity’s radio program. We have to cut spending. We can agree on that. But the Tea Party folks he had on his show were dancing on the graves of military cuts. We are still living with the consequences of those cuts today. Do you have any idea what the devastation of Sequestration has done to America's military? Do you even care?
19 posted on 05/22/2014 8:08:12 PM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: SkyPilot
Well, let me ask you then - you say ‘screw the tea party’. To what end? Where will your support be then?

The ‘Tea Party’ is not an organized party like the GOP I'm sure you know. Rather, it is hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of red-blooded Americans who are not interested in the New World Order. We the People.

Not all TP candidates/elected officials are genuine. But most tea party folks want a strong America, including our armed forces.

20 posted on 05/22/2014 8:42:56 PM PDT by MichaelCorleone (Jesus Christ is not a religion. He's the Truth.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

No bias in this article.... /sarc

sheesh


21 posted on 05/24/2014 3:20:46 PM PDT by Principled (Obama: Unblemished by success.)
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