The New York Times
Among 17 contested Senate races and in Texas, more than half a dozen of the Republican candidates — or those currently running ahead in their primaries — are Tea Party-embraced. The infusion of new conservative blood could alter the complexion of the Senate, increasing the sorts of conflicts between moderates and far-right Republicans disinclined toward compromise that have characterized the House for two years.
With this new infusion has come a revival of a very old tradition- Spiking incumbents. Ted Cruz was the landslide winner of a GOP primary against the endorsed candidate, Lt. Governor Dewhurst. The irony of the Texas GOP rout is extraordinary. This is the heartland of US conservatism in its most uncompromising form, to use the NYT euphemism. The Old Guard of the GOP is very much Texan.
The Tea Party has done what political Washington does best- Absolutely nothing at all, until elections are involved. It’s the low maintenance, low cost option. Cruz is a basic Tea Party candidate- Taxes and “government” are the only topics on offer. This is core values stuff, easy to produce and requires little or no actual thought.
It’s also purely populist material. Ask any American what they think of either taxes or government, and the reaction, strangely enough after the last 5 years of catastrophic national problems and the return to the Stone Age of Middle America, will be negative. Americans despise Congress (95% last time anyone could be bothered asking) and they loathe their incredibly antiquated tax laws. Say you’re going to do something about either problem, and you’ve at least got a listener, if not a listener who’s likely to be very well informed any time soon.
The formula of getting Tea Party support is so successful that the three Republican candidates in Missouri are actively trying to outdo each other in conforming to Tea Party positions. In other states, the Tea Party is calling the shots for nominations on a more or less routine basis, judging from its two candidates in Wisconsin opposing a former governor and Nebraska where Ms Deb Fisher beat what the NYT describes as a “more established” GOP candidate and Indiana where a Tea Party candidate also won.
Is there a Republican Party any more? If so, where is it?
These really should be rhetorical questions, but they can’t be, any more. The GOP as a party and the Republican presidents aren’t the same thing. The GOP as a party is very much a political organism. It’s been around for a long time. It’s called the “party of Lincoln”, but the GOP of the time was actually trying to get rid of him before the fall of Atlanta to Sherman, convinced the Democrats would win. It was also the party of Teddy Roosevelt, but his second stint as President was as a Republican independent because he couldn’t get along with the GOP establishment.
In fairness the GOP, pre-Tea Party, was always a straightforward conservative party. It was as diverse as the United States itself. There were Southerners, Midwesterners, West Coast and Northerners, all with their own state representation issues in Washington. They were an eclectic enough bunch, labelled conservative. Some were Birchers in their extremes, some were just plain folks. They were definitely not a monoculture, or anything like one.
The Tea Party, however, are always on the same page, all the time. Their agenda, to the extent you can call rhetoric an agenda, is entirely homogenous. It doesn’t matter where they come from, they all say exactly the same thing. The total lack of identity and individuality is hardly reassuring. It’s the same sort of “corporate” look you see in white bread commercials.
Those who talk like everybody else, think like everybody else and act like everybody else aren’t somebodies in their own right. They’re nobodies, by definition. They’re not movers and shakers. They’re a crowd scene, much like their highly choreographed rallies. They don’t wear uniforms, but they speak with uniformity. These are the people now calling the shots for the Republican party.
Those calling the shots also don’t have much to say- about anything, ever. There are no individual opinions. There are no dissenters. Take away the jingles about taxes and misquoted out of context references to liberty and American history as a type of game show answer to everything, and there is no Tea Party. They’d have nothing to talk about. The Tea Party has yet to produce anything resembling a policy on any subject. Nor have they ever achieved anything but bloc voting in the House and creating problems in areas where America as a nation needs fewer problems.
Just for the record- The Tea Party may go on record as the only group of people in American history who’ve ever managed to use the word “liberty” so uselessly or so shamelessly. Even a microcephalic retard glove puppet like Reagan managed to get it in context with actual issues and proper names. The Tea Party use it like Abracadabra. It’s a sad sight for a country where that word used to mean so much.
2012 is going to be big year for the GOP, win or lose. It’s going to decide who runs the party. The old conservatives are clearly on the ropes. The question for GOP incumbents is now whether conservative politicians should have their own opinions at all, not what those opinions are. The answer will be worth seeing. Don’t expect too many incumbents to be around to see it, though.
*** For those wondering what this has to do with us foreigners- Cheap talk is not a currency on planet Earth, even if it is in Washington. The jingles don’t mean a damn thing here. The constant disasters in the world’s largest economy, do. Take the hint.