Skip to comments.Tap The Breaks On That Tea Party Decline
Posted on 05/23/2014 5:18:34 AM PDT by Kaslin
The moment Matt Bevin was shown the door back to private life in Kentucky Tuesday night, you could hear liberal analysts hands rub together in glee. Their night had come, another milepost on the road toward the extinction of the dreaded Tea Party.
How else to explain Mitch McConnells win, and the failure of specific tea party candidates to make the Senate runoff in Georgia? Surely the insurgency is dying. Surely the fires of Tea Party discontent are dwindling as the batons are passed back to the establishment figures who will occasionally work with, and even vote like Democrats.
Well, hit the pause button on that.
As Kurt Schlichter wisely observed here in March, if the conservative insurgency has been crushed, why was Mitch McConnell walking around onstage at CPAC with a musket? The Tea Partys greatest claim to victory is that its values have been absorbed into the bloodstream of the Republican party itself. What is dwindling is the need to firmly stamp some candidates as Tea Party and others as something else.
Are there still cafeteria conservatives in the GOP, picking and choosing the items they wish to run on? Certainly. The RINO is not yet an extinct species. But there have been no Republican winners this primary season offering themselves up as proud centrists, establishment heroes or Rockefeller retreads. From Kentuckys McConnell to John Cornyn in my state of Texas to various House races featuring incumbents surviving Tea Party challengers, the results did not reveal distaste for the grassroots approach. What was on display was a class of incumbents who have been shown the new stripes on the playing field.
To their credit, they were able to show a sufficient number of Tea Party voters that they have heard the cries from the conservative base and are willing to listen.
There remains the possibility that we are all being hosed. It is one thing to sound conservative on the campaign trail, and wholly another to actually govern in that fashion. But when Mitch McConnell told his state (and the nation) that he would do better as offensive coordinator (Senate Majority Leader) than defensive coordinator, an understandable reply was: Youd better.
While some conservative voters are willing to take a leap of faith with familiar names who profess enlightenment, the Tea Party purists remain skeptical, and they are not to be blamed. The Kentuckians who voted for Bevin had simply had it up to their eyeballs with a status quo featuring Republicans unwilling to stand up to Obama-era expansionism. They consider fresh faces the only option, and that is not unreasonable.
But the lesson is: not every Tea Party candidate brings the brilliance, skill and message discipline of Ted Cruz. Please remember that Americas strongest Tea Party icon did not take out an entrenched incumbent to reach the Senate. He captured an open seat, and thus the hearts of conservatives tired of decades of Republican meekness. If the Tea Party phenomenon is at such an ebb, why is its biggest star the most powerful force in Washington?
When Tea Party candidates lose, sometimes its due to flaws other than ideology. Some are not the crispest campaigners. Some do not have the sharpest staffs. Sometimes they say wacky things and hang themselves.
None of those events constitute a narrative of a Tea Party in decline.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe has it precisely right: Everybody runs like a Tea Party candidate now, he observed. Everybody is running against Obamacare and against overspending in Washington. It wasnt always like that with the Republican establishment. I dont even recognize McConnell from where he was a few years ago.
Precisely. That is the power of the Tea Party, this movement supposedly on the ropes. If not as many easily stampable Tea Party candidates are rocketing up the ladders of power, their views surely are, newly embraced by some incumbents who recognize that the old Republican party is dead, or needs to be.
The strength of the Tea Party was never going to be measured by how many of its candidates did battle against the Republican party; its success is confirmed by the extent of its thorough infiltration of the party, moving it to the right by championing consistent, unapologetic conservatism which is all the Tea Party has ever been.
I guess the brakes aren’t going our way.
This article would be more credible of the GOP-e wasn’t spending more money against Tea Party candidates than against Democrats.
Boehner, McConnell, Graham and McCain’s collective gloating and derision of the Tea Party ooga booga will come back to bite them in the a$$ if they don’t shut up and take their wins humbly.
Those Mexicans you think will vote for you if you just let those 12-50 Million illegals have citizenship will NOT be there to vote for you. And many of those conservative Tea Party sentiment voters you ridicule won’t be there either.
The “tea party” became everything and was doomed without formal structure and principles to eventually become nothing. Anybody could hang out a “tea party” sign, and they did.
McConnell lost 40% of the vote in a republican primary as the Minority Leader of the US Senate in a state he’s been an elected official for over 35 years.
Yes. Tap the breaks. Breaks need to be tapped.
Good points in the article.
I am in accord.
Tea is seeping back in - if slowly from appearances.
C’mon, dave, gimme a brake.
One brake, Coming Uuuuup!
The author probably meant brakes and used a voice program and because there is no spelling error he didn’t notice the mistake
Braking News !
That’s why news orgs should hire English majors.
I agree with this. Nobody (well maybe McCain) is running in a Republican primary as the bipartisan compromise douche we are all longing for. Those days are over.
Some bipartisan compromise douches still seep through, but that because not enough Republicans study the candidates and see who is actually going to fight the fight.
The Tea Party has shifted the debate within the Republican Party to the right, but it moves at a glacial pace. We need to keep the pressure on the Republicans and keep shoving.
Count on it.
But, but, but...I have been told repeatedly (and rudely) here on this forum that the TEA Party did not need leadership or an organization, and that its lack of structure was its strength.
Guess the chest beaters were wrong.
All we need to do is look at how much chaos sown by just a handful of tea partiers in DC.
We don’t have to win every race or even most of them as long as we keep winning a few with the right people who can force change in Washington.
The NC GOP has for the fist time ever, dating back to the Civil War, taken from the Rebels (DNC) the State House, Senate and Governorship - and with that power has reshaped North Carolina fiscally and politically. They have Kate Hagan on the Run - and for the first time ever in Fayetteville we have Republican Judge. Times are changing in the Deep South, but should the Tea Party sit back and pat itself on the back. The primary season was one in which the establishment GOP beat it challengers within the conservative sphere. TEA Party is not dead but might as well be in Cumberland County because from what I saw attending meetings was a group of Liberals Fiscally Minded - this is not GOP nor is it conservative. If the TEA Party is failing it is precisely because of its internal politics - if not for their concern about Budgets, I would have guessed them all to be Social Leftists; therein lies the problem - they are not conservative at the end of the Campaign season. Our local TEA Party would do better campaigning as Democrats because that is their Social Constituency.
At this point, and strictly out of disgust, I’d vote Tea Party on any candidate or issue JUST because of the way the GOP has reacted to Tea Party issues and candidates.
ALSO, because of the way the most uninformed and shallow idiots who know NOTHING about politics in this country seem to know ABSOLUTELY everything about the Tea Party! Really??!!
The GOP’s top guy in the Senate has 40% of his own party’s voters in his own state vote *against* him?
Against a poor candidate?
I’d say that this should be a good scare for the GOP.
That fluidity is its strength.
In its case fluidity is lack of definition
You need to speak a bit louder, to get through the sand in the GOPe's ears:
The GOPe is staying in mostly under the power of incumbency. Look for the Tea Party to capture at lease a couple of open seats.
Exactly what I’ve said as well.
With the additional caveat that we need to get people like Cruz into positions of authority, Committee and Subcommittee Chairs, where they can do a lot more than shape things by by throwing bombs.
That means taking the Senate, and by a commanding enough margin where Cruz etc can claim a mandate. Unfortunately, it means running to win everywhere there’s a Republican on the ballot (including, yes, KY) trusting that within a GOP majority Cruz etc can drive change from within while the various Tea Party groups can provide support from without.
Good news, the seeds coming from the TP movement have been planted. Give it time, they will grow and come to life.
That will happen.
Thank goodness this guy is a better writer than he is as a talk show host.
He replaces Bill Bennett every Friday here locally, and never fails to irritate the hell out of me.
He was ragging on the Mexican imprisoned Marine for “driving around with an arsenal” in his truck - he had 3 guns !! Oh, NO !!!
He may make it DullAss, but he really belongs in New York, or Massachusetts. He sounds like a northern fast talking liberal whiner, NOT a Texan.
They are sooo wrong.
It was cute and fun back in 2010 to have it be like that, but it is time to get serious. One reason is that there are too many of these tea party groups that seem to do little more than make money off the name and then beg for more donations to do little more than ask for more donations.
No structure means that they can pick off little targets easily.
UKIP knows how to get it done. We should be following their lead.
I think that we've missed the boat and that the time is now passed in which to get organized into a real political party to take on the libs. That time was in 2009 and 2010, when the TEA Party movement was at its fiercest, but instead, the folks who wanted to "work inside the Republican Party" to change it from within won out. Now look where that has gotten us!
How would you solidify the form of the TEA Party? That lack of definition is a feature and a benefit.
I would make them an official conservative caucus within the Republican Party as were others through time.
As a caucus they would have official principles to which one would agree and they’d officially endorse, support, and organize for those they’ve officially endorsed and they’d be less enthusiastic about those they hadn’t endorsed.
That’s interesting, but don’t we have de facto that right now? What’s the benefit of formalizing it within the GOP?
If a half of the party had said last time, “we won’t endorse or work for Mitt Romney” that would, at a minimum, have told the gop-e where they stood.
I don’t think that would happen. Have you ever been involved in a national endorsement? The primaries are a very important element of the process. Being able to raise money, survive the grueling schedule and often withering attacks are critical in winning a Presidential Election. The goal is winning. Even with a GOPe President (which is the most likely, even Reagan was a Party Man) we’re better off. The real action happens at the state level with elections of Reps and Senators. Strong Reps and the most conservative Senator is more critical than getting the perfect Presidential candidate.
I love Reagan, but he’s overrated when it comes to shrinking government. Gingrich did more on that count than Reagan ever did. Congress is the prize. Let’s keep it for a generation.
Disagree. The establishment runs the party. They need a check on their power.
They always will and we’re checking it now. You cannot undo the establishment like that. You need to use their existing best interests and they’ll come round.