Much is being made in the mainstream media about a perceived schism in the Republican party due to the advancement of the TEA Party movement. With the primary victory of Christine O’Donnell, many in the so-called establishment fear that the TEA Party is causing more harm than good by advancing a candidate who is principled, though considered to be unelectable in a moderately blue state. So is this causing the GOP a schizophrenic breakdown, or are the voices inside their collective head nothing more than Jiminy Cricket? Also, is the GOP the only party plagued by internal divisions? Are the Democrats immune to internal strife or even mutiny?
Last year, I took the opportunity to attend my first local tea party. There were mostly good, old-fashioned people who were concerned about their country. But in a crowd of any size, you’re seldom short of a minority of dubious types (i.e. the overweight gentleman in a Guy Fawkes costume). Generally, they have the same principles as most dinner-table Republicans have always had: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-family, anti-tax, anti-big government, etc. These values aren’t unusual, they’re not outside the mainstream, they’re not extremist. In fact, you can find these same ideas in the Republican party platform. The TEA party is simply serving as the conscience of the GOP, a reminder to politicians of the principles they were sent to Washington to protect. And they are achieving results.
For the GOP, the TEA party is a correction of the course in the conservative movement. It’s not a hijacking of right wing extremist loons, at least not yet. Indeed, I suppose there’s always the possibility of that happening. But in some cases, I’m not exactly sure I would pass one of them up for a seasoned politician who votes in such a way that would nauseate me consistently.
Now on to our friends in the Democratic party. Considering the inevitable political doom they face in November, shouldn’t they be the ones concerned about division within their own party? After all, a lack of unity would only exacerbate their troubled status quo. If the media is ready to report on the perceived division in the GOP, what about the Democrats who are running away from their party leaders like Obama and Pelosi?
Right now, Democrats are spending more on criticizing ObamaCare than they are propping it up. The bipartisan opposition to the health care law continues, even after it has passed. But health care reform isn’t the only area where Democrats are going against the party grain. A significant portion of House Democrats are refusing to vote for the Pelosi tax reform. And in red states, some Democrats are avoiding Obama’s visits to their home state.
For those concerned about the TEA party causing a third party movement which will negatively affect the GOP, I would advise you to consider the possibility of a fourth party uprising, within the Democratic party. Moderate Democrats are finding fewer places to go if their party is tacking too far to the left of them.
Personally, I believe that the divisions in both parties are a matter of their respective consciences catching up with them. If this leads to an unavoidable psychological disorder, they should either divide themselves formally or seek professional help. But I think it’s possible that Jiminy Cricket or the angel on their shoulders are finally getting the attention they deserve.