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The Tea Party Time Bomb

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Tensions between Republicans and tea party supporters which began as a few seemingly random salvos have now become a full barrage, and will go fully nuclear by 2012 — threatening both sides with mutually assured destruction.

Leave it to the GOP, the party that embraces short-term prosperity based on deficit-financed tax cuts, to be as short-sighted in its alliance with the tea party.

What’s surprising isn’t that the Republicans are paying for their marriage of convenience, but rather that the repercussions are coming so soon.

It wasn’t that long ago that Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown was the tea party poster boy for winning Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat. But last month tea party queen Sarah Palin trashed Brown for his “antics,” which apparently involve occasionally siding with Democrats when doing so would actually benefit his constituents.

The eruption of antagonism on the Right didn’t end there, continuing to explode in recent days as the official Republican Party openly tried to destroy a tea party-backed candidate. In Delaware. Christine O’Donnell on Tuesday beat Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the Republican nomination for Senate in the First State. Castle has been a popular moderate in Delaware and was expected to take Vice President Joe Biden’s old Senate seat. It’s now much more likely today that Democrats will keep it in their column come November.

The chairman of the Delaware Republican Party  railed against tea party folks from outside the state coming in to “destroy our civility, and tell the people of Delaware they know more about our state than we know.”

This rapidly growing animosity between Republicans and their erstwhile tea party allies is only the beginning.

If, despite the rising rancor, Republicans holds enough of the tea party to take back even one side of Congress this fall, the recriminations will rise to radioactive levels.

If Republicans succeed in recapturing a majority in the House or Senate, they will bear some responsibility to join in governing, and mere obstruction will no longer suffice.

That means, inevitably, taking realistic policy positions that will be at odds with the ideological purity apparently valued by tea party followers.

Tea party fans may not like, or even realize this, but most Americans aren’t necessarily in their corner. A recent poll found two in five Americans (41 percent) say that they would be less likely to vote for a candidate endorsed by the tea party.

Republicans, ultimately, will have appeal at least to some degree to those 41 percent of independents and conservative Democrats in order to hold power.

The solutions that Republicans employ to solve problems in order to reach out to independent and moderate voters aren’t likely to find favor wit the tea party crowd.

Once that happens, the tea party base the GOP is relying on, will fall away, and come 2012 Republicans will have no base to rally.

Democrats, meanwhile, will remember that they need to fight and will become re-motivated to vote. Not only will President Obama be re-elected easily, Democrats will retake Congress and the GOP will have presided over one of the shortest majorities in history.

One of these days, Republicans will learn that short-term gain only leads to long-term pain.

About Scott Nance

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Good lord, Scott, do the math. If 41% (all the Democrats and a handfull of independents) won’t vote for Tea Party candidates then 59% of the voters WILL support a Tea Party candidate. It only takes 51% to win an election.

    Dave

  • http://onthehillblog.blogspot.com Scott Nance

    Dave,

    You’re right, I should have been more clear. The poll indicated 41% of independents are negative toward tea party candidates, but only 36% are positive.

    So, no, Dave the world is not a tea party fan club.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/scott-deitche Scott M. Deitche

    A similar thing happened in Florida with Rick Scott trashing Republicans left and right, now they are all playing nice in the sandbox. Well, for the most part. Anyway the Republicans are now stuck with a crap candidate with a suspect background and no plan for the State.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Really, Scott? I’ve heard nothing but great things about Rick Scott. And the reason Republicans are playing nice is that he’s a legitimate candidate even if he’s not an established insider. And since the recently removed leader of the Florida GOP is awaiting trial for fraud and money laundering and apparently just became some sort of Obama lap-dog, being associated with the establishment there is the kiss of death.

    Dave

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Great article, Scott,

    The GOP in their rush to take back their comfy country, let a handful of nuts in.

    When I look at these rallies, the only thing I see are a bunch of frustrated cougars who lack fashion sense(and brains) marching with frustrated white boys.I wont speculate about their brains. Let’s just say they don’t like *ferriners*

    The one question I ask, everyone: “Did that first *supposed Tea Party* candidate(Scott Brown) change Washington and take his country back yet?”

    JD

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    The world is not a tea party fan club.

    Thank God

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/scott-deitche Scott M. Deitche

    Yes Dave- really. Rick Scott has offered no specifics about any of the major issues facing Florida. His economic plan is not as good as Alex Sink’s, and he still refuses to come clean about the Medicare fraud issue.

    Sink has far more of a grasp on the state’s major issues and her business plan is a perfect combination of tax cuts and regulatory streamlining.

    For the first time I will be voting Democrat for governor of Florida.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    Scott,

    I hope that this statement is fortuitous:

    For the first time I will be voting Democrat for governor of Florida.

    I’m sure you are not alone!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    We can hope that Scott’s dubious history with HCA [they fired him and the company was not long after fined a record amount], and as an astroturfer drumming up last year’s phony anti-health reform outrage, will be enough to keep Floridians from voting for him. Polls so far indicate that is the case.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Scott -

    It doesn’t matter how bad a candidate Scott is – Dave will still blindly support him, having been steeped in the philosophy of “Thou Shalt Not Say Aught Negative About A Fellow Republican”.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    The last was for Scott Deitche, btw.

    For Scott Nance -

    I heartily agree with your article. I pointed out a year ago that this continual game of “I’m more conservative than you” is turning the Republican party into a vicious circle of rhetoric (largely driven by the most influential conservatives in the country: pundits who can’t be fired or voted out of office). I stated then that unless the Republicans get a clue and get out of this vicious circle that has brought them to a level that even Reagan would’ve been condemned as a socialist, they would be eventually be marginalized as a party.

    O’Donnell’s victory in the GOP primary is a shining example of the effect of this vicious circle.

    The party in the White House almost always loses seats in the mid-term elections, and the majority party ALWAYS loses seats when the economy is bad…so if the Democrats keep control of both houses (it looks like we’ll keep the Senate, at least), then that’s a telling statement, an indictment against the Republicans…and more evidence of the vicious circle of which I speak.

    Of course, Dave will pooh-pooh all this as mere daydreaming….

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ jeannie danna

    For, Glenn,

    I’m glad that they didn’t pretend to be liberal.