2010/12 Election Series
Lots has been said by many in the media of a possible revolution in politics…..it began in New York with the failed attempt of a political outsider and continued on to Mass where Brown won in a landslide over a traditional Dem and now we come to the latest CPAC and their straw vote on a presidential candidate and for the last three years everyone has been enamored with Mitt Romney…but this year he had to settle for the “also ran” category for the winner was Rep. Ron Paul of Texas a Libertarian in the GOP…….the GOP was surprised at the vote, but they are NOT paying attention….anyone that is watching politics was not caught off guard…..at least we see the anger, even if the Repubs do not…..
Looks like a culture war is brewing….maybe even as pronounced as the one during the Nixon years…..Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic has a few observations of the battle brewing:
1. The Tea Partiers are a movement within the Republican Party; it is increasing the energy density inside the GOP; very few Tea Partiers are true independents. It remains to be determined how many of them are not registered to vote, or how many of them are unreliable Republican voters.
2. There are different Tea Party movements; some parts seem more influenced by different issue sets than others; it is mostly a shared sensibility; a few common strands run between them: outrage and anger at Washington, and a diffuse but palpable sense that the Elites and the Obama administration are changing the way American works — and looks and acts — for the worse.
3. The Republican primary base is different than the Ron Paul revolutionaries, many of whom are not registered Republican. They’ll be more influential in open primaries than closed primaries.
4. Ron Paul is really the only libertarian with street cred. (Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor? He gets the issues but doesn’t speak the language well.)
5. The Tea Partiers and Ron Paul’s libertarians overlap to some degree, but they differ strongly on national security, and the Tea Partiers are, generally, more ready to identify as Republicans than Paulites are. They’re also older.
6. Sarah Palin seems like a natural candidate for the Tea Party crowd; from a very un-elite state, anti-technocrat; anti-shades of gray; she’s taken on the elites and lost, and has a cross to bear; their embrace of her, for the most part, reveals how orthodox the TP movement actually is. Problem for Palin: if she’s seen as part of the establishment, she won’t play as well with the Tea Partiers. She really will have to run as an outsider and forcibly reject, for example, the Weekly Standard types who are rooting for her.
7. Uniting the Paulites and the Tea Parties is a view about the the role of government, expressed in the familiar cliches: low taxes, creeping socialism, lay off. And, I would argue, a geo-racial-ethnic anxiety about the emerging majority-minority nation and its attendent economic effects. When the immigration debate flares up, watch out.
8. Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have no chance whatsover to share the sensibility of the Tea Partiers and the Paulites, certainly not in their current incarnations. They don’t speak the language; and because the movement is not about particular issues, their resumes don’t particularly matter. Romney and Pawlenty have a much better chance with that portion of the GOP base which does not identify with the Tea Party movement — which is, by definition, more establishmentarian and hierarchical. The Tea Partiers, at least, have a vehicle for advancing a candidate; Libertarians (the Paulites) really don’t, because they are…libertarians and don’t like to be all collective-y.
9. Romney could not be positioned more poorly to harness the Tea Partiers, the Paulites, and the social conservatives right now: protestant evangelicals still think he’s a Mormon of the suspect kind (unlike, say, John Huntsman Jr., who comes off as a real guy); he is a national security hawk at a time when there is a growing “get us out of there” movement within the base of the GOP; he is unlikely to embrace libertarianism (gambling, marijuana, civil unions) that would transform his political image and attract some of the Paulites; his immigration positioning is solid enough, but his association with the GOP establishment — he’s seen as the establishment candidate — will make anything he says suspect. A deft candidate, which Romney can be, can find a way to articulate a muscular vision for national security (pro “enhanced interrogation,” anti-Gitmo closing) but simultaneously argue that American strength ought not be projected, lest it be diluted.
There seems to be a mounting opposition to the standards set by the GOP…the Tea Partyers, Libertarians, and others are preparing for a run at the 2010 and 2012 elections…..the young voters are tired of the crap in Washington and they showed their disappointment with the GOP at the CPAC……
But with all their anger, the Tea Partyers seem to be shying away from traditional conservative planks like family, faith, especially the meat of GOP politics gay marriage and abortion……The motto of the Tea Party Patriots, a large coalition of groups, is “fiscal responsibility, limited government, and free markets.” The Independence Caucus questionnaire, which many Tea Party groups use to evaluate candidates, poses 80 questions, most on the proper role of government, tax policy and the federal budgeting process, and virtually none on social issues. (Reported in the NY Times)…..
I found a very interesting thought on Republicans United (go to blogroll it is a very good and informative site) one of their writers, Travis Johnson, when writing about Dick Armey and the Tea Party, had some excellent points that I feel would be a winner if the GOP would just put aside the BS and concentrate on good governance…….
Republicans can counter the Democrats promises of hand-outs with a hand-up. We need to be actively encourage English-language and GED classes for legal immigrants. We should work with poor minorities to get them trained to do the jobs we are currently importing. We should target extremely low-interest government loans and grants to poor people to start their own businesses (then, keep the tax burden extremely low for them, to give them room to thrive). We should sponsor community-run childcare facilities to ensure the people who would be working or going to school so that they can feed their families don’t leave their children home to fend for themselves and can have adult supervision top help them with homework and teach them how to stay out of trouble.
These ideas are winners…..this is why it is time for moderate even liberal Republicans to take back the party of Lincoln from the hijackers that are now in control.
There is NO political revolution approaching. but there is what I believe a cultural war coming…….old farts will remember the one from the Nixon years….and with all that said….with the “new” mode of thought could also attract old farts like me……
To Be Continued……….