Skip to comments.The Tea Party and the GOP: a marriage that isnít working
Posted on 03/03/2012 10:25:08 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Lets be honest, the marriage between the Republican Party and the tea party has always been a marriage of convenience and an uncomfortable marriage of convenience at best. Unfortunately, this marriage is no longer working and it is time for both sides to move on. Call it irreconcilable differences.
The split doesnt have to be a contentious one. The two can part as friends: certainly plenty of establishment Republicans would be happy to be free of the tea party, free to go back to doing business the way they have always done business; and there are growing numbers inside the tea party movement who would be happy to see the movement reassert its political independence.
To be fair, this marriage had little chance of succeeding long-term from the very beginning. The tea party was as much a reaction to the big-government excesses of the Republican Party as it was a reaction to the big-government excesses of the Democratic Party.
Many in the tea party movement believed that the Republican Party could be changed, could be saved from its big-government ways. It was certainly fair to surmise that changing the Republican Party into a truly limited-government party would be easier than changing the party of FDR, LBJ and Barack Obama.
Most of the Republican and conservative establishment has been leery of the tea party from the very beginning. Indeed, many within the Republican and conservative establishments were openly critical of the tea party. Social conservatives like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and current presidential candidate and former senator Rick Santorum all bemoaned the tea partys lack of focus on social issues and the tea party movements libertarian streak.
Moderate talking heads like David Brooks and David Frum, along with their ideological soul mates on the Hill, attacked the tea party as radical and ridiculed tea party activists as politically naïve.
Both the moderate and the conservative establishment types feared that the dirty, unwashed masses of the tea party might actually change how things are done in Washington leaving them and their K Street buddies out of power and out of work.
Of course, once it became clear that the tea party was going to be a force actually the force in the 2010 midterms, Republicans of all stripes suddenly had a change of heart. The tea party became the proverbial prettiest girl at the political dance, and the Republican Party was all for a quickie Vegas wedding.
Unfortunately, like most quickie Vegas weddings, the marriage between the GOP and the tea party simply hasnt worked out: certainly not for the tea party.
The tea party brand, a brand that was once popular among average Americans, has suffered under the politically poisonous weight of being seen as little more than an appendage of the GOP. Part of what made the tea party so popular to begin with was that it was not seen as a wholly owned subsidiary of either of the failed political parties. Indeed, surveys showed that up to 40% of tea party members didnt describe themselves as Republicans.
Now, unfortunately, the tea party is seen as just another Republican Party interest group. Another interest group to be used for fundraising and to turn out votes on Election Day, and then to be ignored when the politicians get back to doing the work of Washington.
The Republican Party, believing that we have nowhere else to turn politically, treats the tea party and tea party activists with the same plantation mentality that the Democratic Party treats minorities in this country.
Nowhere is this mentality more present than in the Republican primary for president. Its simply preposterous to believe that any of the three front-runners Romney, Santorum or Gingrich can claim the tea party mantle. Mitt Romney is the candidate of the establishment, a flip-flopping Massachusetts moderate whose healthcare plan was the basis for Obamacare. Rick Santorum has been openly hostile to the tea party movement, saying he will fight the libertarian right, and Newt Gingrich is a career politician who lobbied for the very entities responsible for the crash of the housing market.
The truth is that the tea party movement is bigger than just one candidate or one election. Our country is facing big challenges: out-of-control spending, a federal government that has grown beyond its constitutional bounds and an exploding federal debt that has us on the brink of fiscal ruin.
The tea party is still the best chance we have for righting our fiscal ship. To do so, however, we must declare our political independence once again. We as a movement need to make it clear that we will continue to fight for what is right, regardless of partisan labels, and that we will support candidates who share our values whether they are Republicans, Libertarians, independents or even Democrats.
It is time for the tea party to stand on its own again, to stand for what is right and to stand up to partisan politics as usual.
-- Andrew Dodge is the former head of the Maine Tea Party Patriots and a current independent U.S. Senate candidate in Maine. Christopher R. Barron is a Republican political consultant and co-founder of GOProud, a national organization for gay conservatives and their allies. He blogs at Red Barron.
The Tea Party and the GOP: a marriage that isnt working for Democrats.
I'm waiting for the Whigs to rise again.
Fortunately, we don’t live in a no-fault state. Thanks SeekAndFind.
The points are valid. I don’t care what he looks like or does in his spare time.
It is obvious that the article is just an attempt to boost the viablitlity of the author’s “independent” candidacy for office. That said, he makes some valid points.
Conservatives have no political party to call home. The GOP is merely the lesser of two evils. The GOP candidate of choice is Romney, a liberal. He would make a fine Democrat candidate. The lines distinguishing the two parties are very much a blur.
Conservatives are left with two options. 1) start their own party or 2) take over the GOP. Starting a new, viable conservative party is folly. Taking over the GOP is an uphill battle. Of the two choices, at least the uphill battle is one that can be won.
But it's the only vehicle we have to stop Obama and the commies this election. They are pressing ahead with their agenda whether the GOP and the Tea Party are aligned or not.
However the first Wednesday in November 2012 is a good day to start another party with a 10th Amendment/liberty foundation...but very strong on real politic, borders and National Defense.
And there in lies the salty rub for this (social) conservative and others (I'm sure). The sooner the conservative right comes to grips with this reality the sooner they can start to coalesce around the principles of an independent (of the Republican Party) effort free of the destructive influences of the Washington Republicans and their ilk and mindset.
Nor for the social conservatives.
Precisely what I was thinking as well. Never mind that he writes for GOProud (sp), that does not invalidate any in the least what he has said here. IMO he is spot on the money.
“Christopher R. Barron is a Republican political consultant and co-founder of GOProud, a national organization for gay conservatives and their allies.”
In other words he’s a jackass who wears elephant-hide boots.
Like an openly admitted sodomite has any idea what it is talking about.
GO Proud ly to the Democrats... pervert.
Of course the marriage isn’t working. The GOP is cheating on the tea party with liberals.
I went to:
There is nothing about cutting social security, medicare, medicaid or any of the other dominant socialist programs.
There is nothing against socialism at all.
So, the Tea Party is useless they articulate actual things that will bring about the possibility of the core beliefs listed on the above link.
The TEA party was a good start, but the second it starts encroaching on socialist entitlement programs, it will lose it’s support.
It’s just like the GOP, only slightly different versions of the status quo.
I don't think it has worked out too well for fiscal conservatives either. That leaves the Republican establishment that got what it wanted. Control of one house of the Congress. With that they have enough power to get their pork through and too hell with that bunch of TeaParty yahoos. So far this election season, I do not see one Republicrat I would demean my vote for.
I would love to see a TEA Party evolve, but only if Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin write the platform. I think it is doable, but it has to have credibility, not something cobbled together by assorted so-called tea party “leaders”.
I can’t PING this one enough!
“We can’t continue wait another 24 years hoping for that uphill battle to have positive effects.”
You can start a major political party from scratch and have it compete with the two existing parties in less than 24 years — something that hasn’t happened since before the Civil War? If so, please go right ahead.
Conservatives have been able to get a few of their own elected within the GOP (West, Rand Paul and Rubio come to mind). It’s not much of a start, true, but is a start. Conservatives lack any kind of organization as it is. It would be easier if conservatives could organize to simply take over an existing party.
If some other conservative party pops up I will be glad to support it but they seem to be in short supply at the moment.
No politician will succeed by telling the truth - that socialism in America has to stop. They know they won’t get elected.
What marriage? There never was any marriage?
David Frum??? feh. If anything, the GOP is dead. Going back to doing things the way they’ve always been done IS the problem. The author is dense as a stone. After these primaries, I’m switching to Independent.
You’re right. Barron is no friend of ours. The Tea Party is great on cutting government. But libertines like Barron go out of their way to alienate the socially conservative wing of the party.
Libertarians fail to recognize that social conservatives like Catholic bishops are fighting in the trenches against ObamaCare. Although squishy on ObamaCare when it first passed, the bishops are now fiercely against the birth control mandate. But libertarians (crazed by promiscuous sex) are nowhere to be seen.
I agree. The death of the GOP has been coming on for some time, but the future fiscal problems of the US will make it clear that the GOP has no clue and no solutions.... and mark my word, people will be demanding solutions, not talk.
Because we’ve seen in Europe what happens when people try to talk fiscal problems to death. The fiscal problems refuse to die.
Numbers are like that. They can’t be nuanced away by erudition and limp-wristed prose. They have to be dealt with.
The GOP has only one chance to pull their head out of their nether regions now, and that’s to come up with credible plans for cutting spending - and these plans have to include cutting defense spending too. A trillion dollars per year of spending needs to be cut immediately in the first year of any credible plan. A half-trillion dollars needs to be cut from government spending the year after that, again, for the plan to be credible.
The Catholic Church is a large part of the reason why there is so much government spending in the first place. They’ve tried to have their cake and eat it too: they want welfare and poverty programs, but they don’t want to be told what to do.
The broke bread with socialists, now they get to do their bidding.
The bishops’ protests will go nowhere and do nothing, because the Church will continue to try to have their cake and eat it too. The only way the Church can exhibit any power is to preach a message of independence of government to their congregations and make the votes on which the Democratic Party have been able to county... go away. The Catholics don’t need to go out and vote Republican, but they need to stop voting Democratic.
That’s not about to happen. Ever.
So the Democratic Party will do whatever is necessary to get the bishops off their back for now, and they’ll come back with another bribe to the Church that makes the mandate go down more smoothly.
There is no such thing as a “social conservative” without fiscal conservatism. You can’t be in favor of the government respecting conservative social institutions and beliefs if you’re in favor of the government taking someone else’s property by force and spreading it around in the name of “social justice.”
“Of the two choices, at least the uphill battle is one that can be won.”
Here, I think FR errs. It is possible to win an uphill battle.... if your enemy is only on the top of the hill.
Once you’re trying to fight both uphill and downhill... you don’t even have the option of falling back. And that’s where conservatives are now within the GOP: The opposition on the top of the hill are the liberals and free-spenders, and the GOP is stabbing us in the back.
There’s no way to take over the GOP from the inside. None. I think this election and the last one show that quite well. The way Bush was elected in 2000 wasn’t that he took over the GOP, it was that Bush brought in a whole organization from Texas with him. Bush effectively moved around the GOP hacks in DC by having such a large team in place before he started that the GOP couldn’t stop him.
Come 2008, however, we saw the first act of the GOP insiders vs. conservatives. The GOP insiders won.
This time, we’re seeing it again. And again, the GOP insiders are winning.
The only way to win now is to not play their game, on even on their turf. That’s what setting up a new party would do. The other thing that setting up a new party would do is what the marketing people call “branding.” There’s lots of idiots and hacks who can call themselves “Republican” and as long as conservatives persist in staying within the GOP, they have to put up with being lumped in with these idiots (like Romney and other RINO squishies) who call themselves Republicans as well.
Ah, but a new party could set up a whole new “brand” and insure that it stands for a small, tightly focused list of positions to which all candidates under the new party label MUST adhere. The party platform should allow no diversion on this small list of issues, so there is no “brand” dilution. The list could be as small as three issues:
1. Reduce federal spending.
2. Simplify taxation, everyone has to pay *something*.
3. Reduce regulations and intrusion of the federal government.
If a new party were formed that enforced discipline upon it’s members on those three issues (eg, any member of the party in congress who sponsors or votes for legislation that violates these principles is kicked out of the party, has to return campaign funds, etc), it would have more success than “conventional wisdom” predicts.
Well said. I hope the bishops have seen the light with the birth control issue. You break bread with socialists and you lose your soul.
Fortunately, weekly church-going Catholics tend to vote more conservative (McCain and Bush). We need a revitalization of the church itself, increasing church participation and enthusiasm. As you say, bishops should preach independence from the modern empire of big government. Just as early Christians sought freedom from the Roman Empire.