Saturday, December 12, 2009

The tea party revolution: principle and purity

I'll be the first to admit it: if the Democratic Party doesn't get our act together, we're going to get killed in the 2010 elections. The Republicans have jumped ahead in Gallup's generic Congressional ballot. President Obama's approval rating has been on a long, slow slide since peaking this past spring. Senate Democrats' attempts to pass a health care bill are looking increasingly farcical.

On the positive side, the fractiousness of the right in this country seems to be increasing even as their electoral prospects appear to be improving. It's beginning to remind me a bit of what's happened to the political left in Canada.

Canada is a very liberal country. There have been four national parliamentary elections in Canada since 2000, and in each one the candidates on the left have received nearly two-thirds of the vote. So how did Stephen Harper's Conservative Party "win" the last two elections? It's because the Conservatives are the only right-wing party in Canada, while the vote on the left if split between no fewer than four major parties: the Liberals, the New Democrats, Bloc Quebec and the Green Party. If progressives ever want to govern in Canada again, one might think it wise for them to unite under one banner (or at least cut it down to two or three banners).

The United States is never going to develop into a multi-party system. And yet I see some hope that squabbling on the right may keep conservatives from achieving the kind of unity they need to get back into power. A new three-way ballot offered by the Rasmussen poll showed the generic Democratic candidate garnering 36% of the vote, compared to 23% for a "Tea Party" conservative candidate and only 18% for a Republican.

This poll mirrors the recent congressional race in New York's 23rd district, in which Democrat Bill Owens won a surprise victory because conservative support was split between the Republican nominee and the Conservative Party nominee. New York has a unique system in which third parties are allowed to cross-nominate the candidates of the major parties, so for the most part the race in the 23rd can be seen as a fluke that won't be repeated in a lot of other places.

The Washington Post this week provided a good summary of the mixed feelings that the Republican world has regarding the Tea Party conservative activist movement: "Publicly, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele and other GOP leaders praise the tea party movement as a crucial component of the party's base that will help Republicans make substantial gains in 2010. But the push from the right has also worsened infighting over the GOP's course."

Even if the GOP doesn't have to worry about the tea part activists backing third party candidates, it's clear that the movement is still going to cause the Republican establishment all kinds of headaches. In Florida, the National Republican Senate Committee has backed popular, moderate Governor Charlie Crist for next year's open-seat Senate race. Unfortunately for them, party activists are backing very conservative state representative Mark Rubio for the nomination. At a minimum, this will mean an expensive and divisive primary battle for the nomination that the party would prefer to avoid. At a maximum, Rubio will actually get the nomination and prove unpalatable to Florida voters in the general election and hand the seat to the Democratic nominee. The same thing is happening in Kentucky, where the establishment Republican candidate for Senate Trey Grayon is being challenged for the nomination by the libertarian Dr. Paul Rand. A recent poll shows Rand with a small lead to get the nomination. While Grayson would probably be favored to win in the general election over the Democratic nominee, Rand would not.

The Republican base is clearly moving to the right. Hopefully this movement will alienate more voters than it attracts, because right now Democratic prospects for 2010 election are not very bright.


Thimerosal said...

The Republican base is clearly moving to the right. Hopefully this movement will alienate more voters than it attracts, because right now Democratic prospects for 2010 election are not very bright

If wishes were fishes, we'd all cast nets... I'm afraid the real civil war is in the Democrat Party where the liberal's "spend all our grandkids money now" radical push to double the size of the federal government is causing real heartburn among the blue dogs and moderates who will be facing the voters in 11 months with nothing less than a quadrupling of the deficit and exploding debt and a run on the dollar.

Interest rates cant be dropped any lower than they are and yet the banks still cant lend money to consumers because they are too busy bailing out the Federal governement by buying Treasury notes.

You childish spendthrifts are stuck between a rock and a hard place, and if you do get this monstrous health care bill it will be the last thing this sorry Congress passes of substance. Enjoy the next 321 days while you can.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

1. Health care reform reduces the deficit. It also lowers the burden for taxpayers to provide 100% of care costs for the uninsured.

2. China buys our t-bills, not mortgage-debt-ridden American banks.

3. The Democratic Party handed the Republicans a record budget surplus in 2001, and they promptly turned it into a record deficit.

Thimerosal said...

Health care "reform" that adds 25 million people to the rolls reduces the deficit because it rasies taxes and slashes half a billion dollars from Medicare, which means rationing. Also, it only works for the first 10 years, where the first 4 have only tax increases. The first year after this passes everyones insurance premiums will go up, and seniors on medicare lose Medigap, many doctors will drop out of Medicare, and quality care will drop. And thats it, no bennies. 60 % of me wants this thing to pass so the Reps will run on this mess for 4 years.

The banks that are propped up by govt money can't and arent lending money because that money is tied up making the system solvent

Bush turned a small surplus into a 400 billion dollar deficit and now that has been quadrupled in less than a year.

BTW, the last NBC poll I saw shows both the Republicans( 28 fav/43 unfav) and Democrats (35 fa /45 unf) in unfavorable territory while the Tea Partiers (41/23)are favorably looked at. . Hooking up with them would be the way to go, don't you think?

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

"Bush turned a small surplus into a 400 billion dollar deficit and now that has been quadrupled in less than a year."
That's correct. The year in question would, of course, be the last fiscal year of the Bush Presidency which just ended a few weeks ago. Thanks for making my point for me so succinctly.

"the Tea Partiers (41/23)are favorably looked at. . Hooking up with them would be the way to go, don't you think?"
Yes yes by all means! Please continue to nominate ideological extremists in swing districts like you did in NY 23rd this year! Please nominate Rand Paul instead of the more electable Trey Grayson for Senate in Kentucky! Please launch right-wing primary challenges to Republican incumbents in swing districts all over the country! Like Michele Bachmann says, "It's the charge of the light brigade!"

Thimerosal said...

Heres how it works with you wingnuts:

1) Blame Bush forever for the Messiah's irresponsible and profligate spending and inept governance.

2) Distract what you are doing to the economy and the country by talking incessantly about the "racist teabaggers" and Sarah Palin and so on.

I know the media is giving you cover, but the dam is breaking and you have less than 320 days before your fraudster leader becomes a lame duck. Enjoy !

By the way, your blog is certainly very popular. I think I'm your only follower.

M. Joseph Goodfriend said...

Senator Tom Coburn today: "On January 1st, 2009, the national debt was $10.6 trillion. It now stands at $12.1 trillion. That’s not President Obama’s fault."

This blog gets about 200 page impressions a week. How many does yours get? Or do you not actually have a blog, and just enjoy trolling the web taking cheap shots at whomever you can find who has the courage to publish their thoughts, but does not agree with the totally failed, morally bankrupt philosophy of the Republican Party?