Thursday, February 25, 2010

The "Tea Party" and the GOP: Mixing Oil and Water?

The "Tea Party" movement has reached a critical moment.

This loose and spontaneous movement, which seeks to
unite Conservatives under the principles of "limited
government", "free markets", and "individual liberty",
has now grown large and loud enough that it is attracting
serious attention from both major parties.

And the GOP, the so-called "Conservative" faction in our
two-party political monopoly, is making a serious effort
to court the movement. Last week in Washington, GOP
National Committee Chairman Michael Steele met with
thirty leading "tea party" activists, to explore "ways in
which the GOP and the Tea Party movement can work
together to further our mutual goals".

And here's where The Thinking Nationalist is going to
issue a warning to both sides: be very careful about
who you are about to jump in bed with.

First, for the Tea Partiers:

1) The GOP, as it currently exists, is no longer the
party of Limited Government, Free Markets, Sound
Money, and Individual Freedom. Rather, the GOP
is the party of Wall Street bailouts and bonuses,
big banks and transnational corporations, real
estate and stock market bubbles, vast unchecked
illegal immigration, a diminished social safety net,
outsourcing and job exportation, and endless
inconclusive wars against "terror";

2) Owing to "numbers" (i.e., there are
many fewer wealthy than there are middle
and working class), the GOP has always had
to co-opt "social conservatives" to obtain
an electoral majority. This has been true
ever since the days of Richard Nixon's
"Southern Strategy". Once in power,
Republicans forget the "social" issues
and become "Big Government" conservatives,
taxing, spending and otherwise using government
to reward the powerful and the privileged;

3) Even out of power and in the minority, the
GOP marginalizes "social conservatives" as
rural, uneducated rubes while proposing
"strategic alliances" with groups that
normally vote "bloc Democratic"
(Hispanics, Gays, Asians, etc.).

In short - the GOP has no principles other
than gaining power, and no goals other
than aiding and comforting the top 1%
of income earners.

Tea Partiers - be careful.

And the GOP should be careful too. No
credible national political party should
ally itself with loose coalitions of dissenters
who have no national program, no manifesto,
and no credible national leaders.

I'm sorry - but Sarah Palin and the talking heads
from the Fox network don't qualify in this last

And the last time the GOP allowed itself to be captured
by a loose "libertarian-conservative" coalition, the result
was the presidential nomination of Barry Goldwater.
And we all know how that turned out.

And the last time I looked, the GOP doesn't really need
the Tea Party crowd to succeed. Just saying "No" to
anything the Democrats propose has already resulted in
by-election victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and

But in all three cases, the victories were decided by
mainstream American voters of both parties who turned
out in droves to register their disgust with "politics as
usual" . Both the Tea Partiers and regular GOP voters
were minor factors in each case.

But the tea party movement is not going away anytime
soon. And if it is to succeed, it will need to come up with
a credible national-level leadership and a message that
reaches out to the largest disaffected group in the country-
independent, non-partisan voters equally displeased
with both major parties.

And until that happens, mixing the tea party movement
and the GOP will be like mixing oil and water . There
may be a temporary emulsion, but it will all come
apart sooner rather than later.

And that won't be beneficial for either side.

1 comment:

  1. The "Sixties", a time of grave national division, mostly sponsored by the "people at the top", has fermented (fomented?) not the so-called promised revolution, but rather a shift in both parties. The "Blue Dog" democrats will meander to the GOP and the "Republican RINOs" will do the same for the Democrats. Recall Ross Perot's attempt in the early 90s. The "party" wanted it both ways, fiscal responsibility coupled with "social justice". What makes common sense doesn't exist in both those "places". The evolution of current American Politics is much like in the year 1859, the Democrats were for slaver, the "Others", as there was no Republican Party at that time, were anti-immigrant (anti -Irish Catholic). We are at a similar crossroads. Only time will tell the answer.