Monday, January 18, 2010

Fooling the Tea Parties

With the special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy’s senate seat approaching, there is a lot of speculation that Republican Scott Brown’s potential victory in the Bay State may be a sign of things to come for the GOP. Brown, who spouts conservative-sounding rhetoric in the liberal commonwealth, is even being presented as proof that the Tea Party movement is making real strides, nudging the Republican Party to the Right, even in states like Massachusetts where the candidate of the Right might just prevail.

Browsing Scott Brown’s campaign website shows that the candidate doesn’t deviate from safe GOP positions. He’s for tax cuts but says little about spending cuts. He is wishy-washy on abortion, but On the Issues records that as of 2002, Brown felt that “abortions should always be legally available.” His policy positions on Israel and Iran fall in line with those of the Israel Lobby and should make Dick Cheney and the rest of the gang at the American Enterprise Institute happy that a Senator Brown would represent the Republican status quo on foreign policy. As bloggers Carla Howell and Michael Cloud discovered, Scott Brown in practice has proven himself to be the archetypal big government Republican in a blue state.

This makes Scott Brown January 2010’s Doug Hoffman. Hoffman, who ran on the Conservative Party of New York ticket in the special election for New York’s 23rd district in November 2009, was the unofficial Tea Party candidate and generated mounds of enthusiasm among the Tea Partiers, even though he was vague on issues and the ones he did articulate upon were well within the GOP mainstream.

So despite polls showing the Tea Party Movement more favorable than the Republicans, the Tea Party Express’ endorsement of Brown is proof-positive that no matter how bitter they may appear to be at Republicans, the Tea Parties are expected to return to the Republican fold on Election Day. Their support for Brown over the much more libertarian (and unrelated) Joe Kennedy also demonstrates that, so far, the Tea Party movement is not serious about challenging the Republican Party, even from the inside out.

Here’s why. On his Friday radio program, Rush Limbaugh addressed the issue of a third party, an issue that arose during the 2008 presidential campaign, while conservatives were dragging their feet for John McCain:

“[A] Third party, in my view, is the only effort that will derail all the progress and energy and early victories that we've seen in recent months. A third party of the Ross Perot type, the Ron Paul type, bleeds voters away from the Republican Party, not the Democrat Party. . . . The fact that every single Republican senator votes consistently against government-run health care should be a clear indication that we are being heard. The fact that all but one Republican in the House voted against it, does this mean conservatives run the GOP? No. Not yet. But it means we're making progress. It means we're in an ascendancy. . . . And we've gotta stop this third-party temptation. It will only bleed votes from our side.”

“Bleed votes from our side.”

Beneath the surface, this means that despite pleas to the contrary, Rush Limbaugh is a Republican first and a conservative last. A Republican Party that does not have its conservative act together is better than a third party that does. This is why the conservatives who compose the Tea Party movement must finally reject the Republican Party and their faux conservative hand servants or else overhaul them all.

Not doing so is like saying, “Look, I know the Republican Party isn’t perfect, but if we don’t elect Republicans, it’ll be worse. Plus, now that they’re in the minority, they’re voting the right way! I’m sure this means that when the Democrats are voted out of office, these Republicans will vote exactly the same way because they’re principled conservatives now and there’s no way they could simply be partisans voting against their opposition!”

Scott Brown is the latest big government wolf the party and its sycophants are trying to stuff into small government clothing. If he wins on Tuesday, the Republicans will know they can pull the wool over the eyes of the Tea Parties and will gear up for the fall.

Then all of Rush's cited "progress" will truly be lost.


Update: Over at The Humble Libertarian, Wes has a piece up about how conservatives and libertarians are stunningly fawning over Scott Brown, Establishment Republican. Check it out.

Also see the essays by Sean Scallon and William Upton at The American Conservative blog about some inconvenient truths about Scott Brown.


Steel Phoenix said...

The emphasis of late on winning being more important than the issues has got to end. The current tea party movement is crap. It is just an effort by the same windbag Neocons who supported Bush to try to remain in power after the inevitable small government backlash that follows the Obama commune.

If we are serious about our small government values, we will throw our support behind the Ron Pauls of the world and accept no substitute rather than wait for Bush III to come along. A hollow victory is no victory at all, as we can see with the Democrats who are still voting for a health care bill they know is bad just so they can call it a win.

The current problem of the far right isn't a lack of supporters, it's a lack of adherents. Adding supporters from the center just waters it down with sewage.

TRUTH 101 said...

You are exactly correct with your assessment here Carl. It also jibes with what I have said about the republican party. It has been hijacked by the neocons. It serves only the corporate interests. People like you are a threat so the true people in charge invent this tea party nonsense. There was a rally in Quincy for them sponsored by a local media outlet who's owner is a local republican party mover and shaker. The people there had no clue what they were angry about. They were basically angry because they were told they were angry. Ignorant signs about "government keeping it's hands off our Medicare" were prevalent.

I can deal with a hands off government republican. Ron Paul has no problem with my unions. He said they're legal and it's up to them. I take him as being sincere and he would also leave negotiation up to business with no government actions in it's favor.

Steel Phoenix is also absolutely correct that winning is more important than issues. I admit my side does as well. Tell the voters any garbage they want to hear if it means winning. Then reneging on everything they've said.

Sorry for the length Carl. Good luck to you and Rand Paul in the primary.

Law and Order Teacher said...

I agree with your assessment on the whole. Tea Party movement is a good deal in this regard. It represents the necessity for politicians of all stripes to listen to the people. Now the battle for the soul of the Tea Party is on and we'll see where it goes.

I posted on Brown and I too, distrust him, as I do all politicians. Mouthing the party orthodoxy is prevalent in both parties. I do however, think you underestimate the rank and file of the Tea Party movement.

I attend rallies but my interest is not in setting up another political party or to become an auxiliary of one. I think the mistake is made in viewing the movement as a monolithic party with a defined membership and chosen leaders.

Just because some guy sets up a website doesn't make him a leader. I think it is a mistake to attempt to label a large, unorganized group, with no stated principles its members are expected to adhere to, with a convenient tag. That I think, represents the American tendency to package everything, including opinion.

This is a mistake I think is being made by both parties when it attempts to psychoanalyze the people in the movement. To dismiss these people as mindless sheep wedded to the Republican party is really mindless in its own way.

My motivation and incidentally a lot of my fellow attendees that I've spoken to, is to remind our politicians that the constitution is our guiding document. Their power grab is in violation of the constitution and it must stop.

I have little confidence that either party is capable of returning to that standard.

I found the links and your post interesting. Good day.

Carl Wicklander said...

Steel Phoenix,

I'm afraid you're right. Brown might vote against the Democrats' bill, but he is not against the concept of government-run health care. It would be fine for him as long as Republicans run it.

Carl Wicklander said...


Ron Paul's position on unions is pretty close to mine. I'm not a union man but I don't see why people shouldn't be allowed to organize. My only problem is when union membership is compulsory.

Carl Wicklander said...

Law and Order Teacher,

I also agree that the Tea Parties are not monolithic. I know there are some who just mouthing the party's talking points and others like you or me who are just plain mad at the party. We'll see the difference when the November elections approach.

TRUTH 101 said...

Were unions not required to defend at union expense those that choose to not be members, I would accept your position Carl. Thus, right to work is legalized theft and scabbing.