• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

How The Tea Party Lost The 2012 Republican Primaries

Last week, Conor Friedersdorf observed that the race for the GOP nomination seems to be going badly for the Tea Party Movement:

First Sarah Palin didn’t run, and the documentary about her disappointed at the box office. Then a series of Tea Party friendly candidates jumped into the race. But neither Michele Bachmann nor Rick Perry nor Herman Cain could withstand the scrutiny of a presidential run.

As if to underscore the reversal of fortune, Bachmann, whose star was born with the Tea Party, finished sixth in the Iowa caucuses. And the winner of the first-in-the-nation contest? It was a virtual tie between Mitt Romney, the preferred nominee of moderates in the establishment, and Rick Santorum, arguably the man whose political philosophy is most antithetical to that of Tea Partiers, being the closest to the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush. Now all the candidates not named Romney seem to be fading, save Ron Paul, who has been deemed an unacceptable candidate by the Republican establishment, the religious right, and neocons alike.

What happened to the Tea Party?

Early as it is in primary season, with the GOP race still focused on New Hampshire, and South Carolina after that, there doesn’t seem to be any plausible scenario that will permit the Tea Party to maintain a consistent small government message and play any meaningful role in Election 2012. If Mitt Romney wins, the movement, or the vast majority of those in it, will find themselves supporting a flip-flopping Northeastern moderate who once passed an individual mandate in health care — a calculated compromise with views antithetical to everything Tea Partiers have preached.

As Friedersdorf goes on to point out, the pickings are pretty slim for a Tea Partier from the remainder of the field. Notwithstanding the fact that he has tried to hitch his star to the Tea Party virtually since the time the movement started, Newt Gingrich is clearly not a Tea Partier. Before running for President, he supported an individual mandate for health care, worked to advance the interests of Freddie Mac, urged his fellow Republicans to pass No Child Left Behind and George Bush’s budget-busting Medicare prescription drug benefit, and supported TARP, the last of which has been something of a litmus test for Tea Partiers. If the Tea Party doesn’t like Mitt Romney, it’s hardly likely to see Newt Gingrich as a savior without completely sacrificing its principles.  Ron Paul, meanwhile, carries the fiscal conservatism banner that the Tea Party likes, but his foreign policy positions are likely to alienate as many Tea Party voters as they attract, if not more. Perhaps Rick Perry counts as a Tea Party candidate, but his campaign is on life support at this point and unlikely to be revived.  This leaves the Tea Party left to choose between the moderation of Mitt Romney and the reincarnation of George W. Bush known as Rick Santorum. That’s got to be frustrating.

It gets worse for the movement, though, because the heady days when they were the new things on the political scene are long past and the public has largely turned negative on the movement. A new Rasmussen poll released the day after the New Hampshire primary showed that 46% of likely voters think the Tea Party will hurt the GOP in November. This continues a trend of negative polling for the movement that stretches back to 2010 and suggests that a Presidential candidate with ties to the Tea Party may not fare so well in November, especially among independent voters. Given that, it’s not entirely surprising if candidates for President keep the movement at arms length, adopting their themes in stump speeches to the faithful but eschewing the chance to be closely identified to them.

It’s a big difference from the way things went during the 2010 campaign. Back then, Republican candidates were falling all over themselves to curry favor with the Tea Party movement and it was next-to-impossible for a candidate openly opposed by the movement to make it through a Republican primary unscathed, just as Mike Castle and Lisa Murkowski about that one. Of course, as with any political movement in its infancy they ended up picking more than a few fringe candidates and arguably contributing to losses in states that the GOP probably should have won, such as the Senate races in Delaware and Nevada. It was perhaps because of that bad record of choosing candidates that the Tea Party has lost influence this time around.

One could also point to the movement’s ideological rigidness as a reason for their lack of influence. As we saw during the first year of the 112th Congress, even the slightest hint at compromise is seen by Tea Party members as a betrayal. In reality, of course, compromise is an essential part of governing, though. Instead of governing, though, Tea Party pressure forced the House GOP to go through a month-long ritual of insanity over the debt ceiling, with some members, and indeed the Tea Party movement as a whole, making the rather idiotic suggestion that we didn’t need to raise the debt ceiling at all. Then, just last month, similar behavior saw the GOP find itself on the side of being in favor of a tax increase for the poor and middle class. Apply the same ideological purity test to candidate selection, and it’s really no surprise that that the Tea Party can’t find a candidate to unite behind, even when there are men in the field who, given their record and the policy proposals they have made, would seem to be a pretty good fit with less baggage and a better chance of actually winning a General Election.

In this week’s New York Times Magazine has a long piece exploring what’s happened to Tea Party influence in the Palmetto State, one of the states where it has arguably been the strongest from the beginning and which sent to Congress men like Senator JimDeMint, Congressman Joe Wilson, and Congressman Tim Scott, all of them Tea Party stalwarts. What Bai finds is interesting. While Tea Party activists would tell him how much they disliked Mitt Romney, the opposition to him was diffuse and split among any number of candidates. More importantly, there’s already a sense in the Palmetto State that, like it or not, none of the remaining candidates that might be palatable to the movement have any chance of actually winning the nomination:

In the days after the Iowa vote and just before New Hampshire, as polls showed Romney surging in South Carolina, activists in the state seemed ready to embrace Santorum in hopes of turning the primary into a referendum on Romney, rather than a multiple-choice test with several right answers. “My sense is there will be a very large coalescing of forces around Rick Santorum,” Stephen Brown, a conservative activist and Bachmann supporter, told me on the day his candidate withdrew from the race. “I think he’s going to be the guy.”

When I called Karen Martin, though, she sounded less sure. “I’ve had some e-mails from Tea Party people today saying, ‘Look, can we just put our emotions aside and get behind the candidate who has the best path to victory?’ ” she said. “But I just don’t know if that’s possible.”

I asked her which candidate had the best path to victory. There was a pause on the line.

“And that’s the question,” she finally said.

And that about sums it up. In the end, the Tea Party had little influence over the Republican race because there were no viable candidates to choose from that meet their tests of ideological purity. That strikes me as a reason to re-evaluate the standards by which they judge candidates, assuming the movement actually wishes to remain an influential part of the Republican Party.

Photo via The New York Times

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. DRS says:

    “…against a tax increase for the poor and middle class.” Um, I’m blanking here: when was that?

    Also: maybe they should just hold out for the Republican candidate who’s willing to wear 18th century garb until the election. I’m not at all pro-Romney, but in fairness to the man he’d probably look smashing in a tricorne.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Ben Wolf says:

    It was a terrible mistake for the Tea Party to allow itself to be co-opted by the Republican Party. It should have remained independent, made common cause with anti-establishment activists on the left (both agreed on a surprising number of non-cultural issues such as corruption of politics by money, bailouts for the wealthy, etc.) and dedicated itself to throwing as many wrenches into the works of the two-party system as possible. It might not have gone anywhere but it had a better chance on its own; irrelevance was the inevitable result of becoming part of the GOP.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. @DRS:

    Obviously I phrased that incorrectly. Fixed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Eric Florack says:

    All you’ve done here, Doug, is demonstrate that the tea party is not present in the GOP leadership. That was known going in.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    More bad news – Jesus’ personal QB got beat bad by NE heathens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Bob in Boston says:

    This article totally misses the mark. The Tea Party, originally spawned from the 2008 Ron Paul Revolution, is no longer a factor because it has completely lost sight of its roots. Somehow the movement has been partially coopted so that in addition to the message of “smaller government” (for which Ron Paul is the obvious candidate to support) it has supposedly become a supporter of the current interventionist/isolationist foreign policy. That was never in the original intent of the Tea Party, back when I joined it, but somehow it’s become a part of the lexicon, and so the Tea Party has basically lost the support of the Liberty-minded supporters of Ron Paul. If the Tea Party and Ron Paul supporters were working together, they would be stronger than the sum of the parts. But once the Tea Party went off in their own direction on the subject of war-mongering, they have *lost* their most ardent supporters, who now only support Ron Paul. Ron Paul will eventually win the nomination, but if anything it’s going to be despite the GOP establishment and the Tea Party’s support of false conservatives like Bachmann, who supported the Patriot Act. And the Tea Party will have nobody to blame but themselves.
    Don’t worry though, I believe Ron Paul is incapable of holding a grudge, so the position of the Tea Party members of congress will be stronger once Ron Paul is elected to the White House.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. anonoped says:

    Couple of corrections need to be made:

    “It was a virtual tie between Mitt Romney, the preferred nominee of moderates in the establishment”

    This should read Mitt Romney is the preferred nominee of the establishment leadership. No moderate wants Romney. Same side of the same coin as Obama. Anyone voting for Romney is bandwagon voter and can’t be considered a moderate.
    ++++

    “save Ron Paul, who has been deemed an unacceptable candidate by the Republican establishment, the religious right, and neocons alike.”

    The establishment is openly hostile to Ron Paul because they are Neocons. All the leadership in the Republican party has been co-opted by Trotskites. The religious right does not mind Ron Paul as they and he stand on the same side of abortion.

    You’re mischaracterizing Ron Paul in a subtle way here and it’s either because of personal preference, you’re following a script or you’re pandering. Either way, you need to adjust yourself.

    I stopped reading your article after that. If you don’t see it then you’re part of the problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. Jenos Idanian says:

    There’s one element in play that this analysis completely overlooks: the Tea Party movement has never been about individuals. It is, by design, a largely leaderless movement. That no single candidate emerged as the official “Tea Party Candidate” is not that big a surprise. Or even that big a problem.

    Romney is definitely not a Tea Partier, but did attend a few Tea Party events during the campaign. And he’s sent signals that he’s willing to listen and accept some parts of their agenda.

    The opponents of the Tea Party movement have tried, for years, to apply their favorite Alinsky Rule to it — “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The problem is, with no defined leadership, the “personalize it” part fails. Which is why there have been so many efforts to crown someone as the head of the movement — that way, they can go after that individual or group (Armey, Koch brothers, Bachmann, Palin, etc.) and take down the movement with them.

    But the Tea Party movement isn’t about to let anyone — especially their opponents — pick their leaders for them.

    The Democrats’ contempt and loathing for the Tea Party movement was instantaneous and instinctive. And it cost them dearly in 2010. I suspect it will cost them more later this year.

    One final point: I’ve lost count at this point. Is this the fifteenth or the seventeenth time the Tea Party movement’s been pronounced dead here at OTB?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. @Eric Florack:

    All you’ve done here, Doug, is demonstrate that the tea party is not present in the GOP leadership. That was known going in

    I am not sure how you blame lack of actors in leadership on the fact that TP candidates could not get the needed votes from the GOP selectorate.

    If the TP was actually a serious and powerful faction within the GOP then it would have had votes for its candidates.

    The lack of votes (and the poor quality of its candidates) speak to the weakness of the TP as a viable faction.

    Indeed, going back to 2010, the TP has a record of picking some rather bad candidates (e.g., Angle and O’Donnell) and even some of their elected officials (e.g., Allen West) have hardly been impressive.

    People like Angle, O’Donnell, West, Bachmann, and Cain (and even Perry) are all examples of talk radio made manifest, i.e., sound bites, snark, platitudes, etc. in place of a serious interest in governing. This is the real problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. John Burgess says:

    I agree mostly with Bob in Boston. The Tea Party started out militating for smaller government and fiscal prudence. On those issues, it had success in 2010.

    As the TP grew, it also grew more diffuse, allowing itself to be co-opted by various segments of conservative America who heretofore had labeled themselves — faute de mieux — Republicans.

    By accommodating and/or accepting SoCon issues and values, the Tea Party simply lost its focus. In doing so, it alienated much of the moderate Republican base as well as Independents.

    The Tea Party isn’t harming the Republican Party, it’s harming itself. Until it rids itself of the radical right, it has no future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Bob in Boston: Dude, what evidence do you have that Ron Paul will win the nomination?

    If you are absolutely, perfectly, fantastically convinced that Ron Paul will win the Republican nomination, then I suggest you hike over to wherever it is you can place a bet on the eventual winner and make out like a bandit. Otherwise, you’re just sounding like a little kid screaming NO at the eventual success of Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. sovereign says:

    University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape has studied extensively the cause of suicide terrorism and concluded that over 95% of the motivation behind these deadly attacks is due to foreign occupation. So everyone who listens to people like Romney, Gingrich and the rest prophesying Iran getting a nuke and having some terrorist come to the US and bomb us should ask those people “how does their foreign policy deal with over 95% of the problem when they want more foreign occupation”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. anonoped says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Try not to use talk radio as a source of anything other than entertainment.

    All of the “pundits’ and I mean all of them are entertainers in the business of making money. None of them are reporters or journalists by any stretch of the imagination.

    Additionally, the big three, rush, hannity and levin are mouth pieces for Bain Capitol who owns Clear Channel communications.

    It’s apparent that anyone on the radio talking bad about anyone is doing so at the direction of whom Romney’s handlers want gone or affected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Eric Florack says:

    I am not sure how you blame lack of actors in leadership on the fact that TP candidates could not get the needed votes from the GOP selectorate.

    So, the GOP leadership has no input whatsoever on what the loyal GOP votes for?
    Even you should know better.

    Let’s try this; Gallup suggested the other day by virtue of their most recent polling that conservatives outnumber liberals two to one. They even outnumber the center by a significant margin.

    how do you accomidate these facts in your idea that the GOP rank and file is supporting these weak-kneed centrists?
    Further, explain to us how it is that Dole and McCain lost in the general, if we accept the polling as accurate?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. @anonoped:

    All of the “pundits’ and I mean all of them are entertainers in the business of making money. None of them are reporters or journalists by any stretch of the imagination

    Yes, but that is rather the point. When politicians start sounding like talk radio hosts, this underscores a rather serious problem about said politicians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. @Eric Florack:

    So, the GOP leadership has no input whatsoever on what the loyal GOP votes for?
    Even you should know better.

    I am unaware of any capacity for “leadership” to provide “input” in a way that dictates how voters vote in primaries.

    Who, pray tell, are these leaders (specifically) and how are they forcing voters to not vote their preferences (specifically)?

    Voters have the right to vote for whom they prefer, and if they had preferred TP candidates, the TP candidates would have done better.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. c.red says:

    Did anyone notice that the Tea Party lost its influence when it took a principled stand and repudiated the racist elements that had been tagging along with it?

    They are a irrelevant now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. Eric Florack says:

    I am unaware of any capacity for “leadership” to provide “input” in a way that dictates how voters vote in primaries.

    Of course you are.
    But by the same token you’re unable to explain the disconnect between the GOP and those who call themselves conservative, who happen to be the vast majority in this country, right?

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time. Yet, Bob Dole and Jon McCain’s losses suggest that there’s a disconnect between the GOP leadership, and the rank and file. That disconnect will be demonstrated yet again, this time round.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. JohnMcC says:

    The Tea Party is as dead as those Taliban in the video and they are getting the same treatment. In ’09 and ’10 they held their breath til they turned blue and stamped their little feet and the tantrum got them a House of Representatives. Now they’ve started breathing again and they’re being handed a Romney. Meh!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. An Interested Party says:

    Don’t worry though, I believe Ron Paul is incapable of holding a grudge, so the position of the Tea Party members of congress will be stronger once Ron Paul is elected to the White House.

    Hahahaha…thank you, I was looking for my first joke of the day…

    The Democrats’ contempt and loathing for the Tea Party movement was instantaneous and instinctive. And it cost them dearly in 2010. I suspect it will cost them more later this year.

    Oh my, apparently it’s never too early to try to peddle some revisionist history…the state of the economy in 2010 cost the Democrats dearly, not whatever they felt for the Tea Party movement, therefore, your little prediction is lacking…

    The Tea Party started out militating for smaller government and fiscal prudence. On those issues, it had success in 2010.

    Success in getting people elected perhaps, but how was success achieved in regards to smaller government and fiscal prudence?

    Did anyone notice that the Tea Party lost its influence when it took a principled stand and repudiated the racist elements that had been tagging along with it?

    Umm, no…I doubt anyone else noticed this either…the Tea Party lost its influence when it got co-opted by the GOP…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. An Interested Party says:

    …those who call themselves conservative, who happen to be the vast majority in this country, right?

    If conservatives really are the “vast majority” they certainly haven’t shown that they hold much power or can achieve much in terms of results for their supposed size…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. @Eric Florack:

    But by the same token you’re unable to explain the disconnect between the GOP and those who call themselves conservative, who happen to be the vast majority in this country, right?

    As usual, you make assertions without evidence. Polls do not, in fact, show “conservatives” to be the vast majority of the country. This is especially true by your definition (which, I will admit, is nebulous).

    You also do not explain the “input(s)” from “GOP leadership” and how it can control the nomination process. You simply assert.

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time.

    Ok, so who are these “real conservatives”? I guess that none of them ever run.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. tjnews says:

    Right on!

    Even though Ron Paul is top tier now, have you ever wondered how much more popular he would be if he wasn’t being unjustly crucified in what appears to be an orchestrated smear campaign by so called conservatives on talk radio.

    Bain Capital Owns Clear Channel – Premiere Radio Networks (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Etc.) http://bit.ly/yX4ujW.

    Limbaugh’s parent company still using actors to fake radio call-ins, exec tells Raw.
    http://bit.ly/g0fKZZ

    The real reason they don’t like Paul is because he has not sold his soul to the devil and will not sell this country out. In other words he is not another bought and paid for establishment (military industrial complex, financial terrorists on wall street, crony capitalists, globalists, neocons and the bought and paid for press that prop them up) sock puppet. So they try to smear him, while hoping their gullible audience takes the bait and chooses a different candidate to vote for. After all, propping up the establishment is what they get paid to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. I’m not really convinced the Tea Party has foreign policy views beyond “whatever Barack Obama does is probably wrong.” As such Paul could just as plausibly be a TP favorite as any of the other elves, particularly since his states’ rights economic and social conservatism (don’t confuse it with libertarianism, at least if you live in a state more conservative than Vermont) is right up the alley of TPers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. tjnews says:

    My last comment was supposed to be a reply to anonoped.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. tjnews says:

    @anonoped: Right on!

    Even though Ron Paul is top tier now, have you ever wondered how much more popular he would be if he wasn’t being unjustly crucified in what appears to be an orchestrated smear campaign by so called conservatives on talk radio.

    Bain Capital Owns Clear Channel – Premiere Radio Networks (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, Etc.) http://bit.ly/yX4ujW.

    Limbaugh’s parent company still using actors to fake radio call-ins, exec tells Raw.
    http://bit.ly/g0fKZZ

    The real reason they don’t like Paul is because he has not sold his soul to the devil and will not sell this country out. In other words he is not another bought and paid for establishment (military industrial complex, financial terrorists on wall street, crony capitalists, globalists, neocons and the bought and paid for press that prop them up) sock puppet. So they try to smear him, while hoping their gullible audience takes the bait and chooses a different candidate to vote for. After all, propping up the establishment is what they get paid to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Eric Florack says:

    As usual, you make assertions without evidence. Polls do not, in fact, show “conservatives” to be the vast majority of the country. This is especially true by your definition (which, I will admit, is nebulous).

    Incorrect.

    As such the rest of your comments…. and your usual mantra… may need revision.
    Care to try?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time.

    A question and a point…

    Question: Eric, what people on the national stage do you consider “real conservatives”? I’m havin a hard time thinking of anyone post Regan who consistently seems to meet your bill.

    The second point is that, if I take your writing seriously, then it seems that the conservative movement must be the single most ineffective political movement ever. If the conservative ideology is SO pervasive, how could as ineffectual an organization as the GOP continue to suppress it?

    Or is it just that the vast majority of conservatives are easily convinced into voting against their own best interests? Could it be that conservative voters, on a whole, are even greater lemmings than democrats.

    I mean we’re more than 20 years after Regan, and in seven election cycles, apparently ever credible conservative candidate for president has been suppressed? Has the GOP establishment stolen ever primary cycle from the real conservative candidates?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. @Eric Florack:

    1. Your link is broken.

    2. I repeat myself because you never actually answer questions. (which is what mattb is pointing out as well).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:
    I think the link you ment to post was this:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/152021/Conservatives-Remain-Largest-Ideological-Group.aspx

    From the page:

    Political ideology in the U.S. held steady in 2011, with 40% of Americans continuing to describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.

    Note that, according to Gallup, 20% of Democrats count themselves as either very conservative or conservative. This gets to the problem with the poll — namely that it seems like this is a self identification poll versus an issue identification poll. Gallup provides us with no data on how this identification effects how one votes or thinks about specific issues.

    Eric perhaps you could explain to me how a conservative – as you understand it – could ever possibly consider themselves part of the Democratic party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. anjin-san says:

    The opponents of the Tea Party movement have tried, for years, to apply their favorite Alinsky Rule

    Do these rocket scientists realize that the Democrats who had even heard of Alinsky before the fringe right became obsessed with him could be counted on one hand?

    Heres a clue. Glenn Beck is not a good person to outsource your thinking to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. @Eric Florack:

    Ok, now that mattb has provided the link, we see a 40% self-identification of persons in the poll as “conservative.”

    Your claim:

    But by the same token you’re unable to explain the disconnect between the GOP and those who call themselves conservative, who happen to be the vast majority in this country, right?

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time.

    First, a plurality is not a “vast majority.”

    Second, a plurality is not the stuff of “winning by landslides every time.”

    (These are just basic math issues, yes?)

    Third, as mattb notes, this survey is not about a specific definition of “conservative” but rather is one of self-identification–meaning that different people have their own definitions of what “conservative” means. It is highly unlikely that the 40% who identify as “conservative” do so in a way that makes your personal definition of the term.

    (This is further complicated by the fact that I can never seem to get an operational definition of “conservative” out of you in these discussions).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. Eric Florack says:

    Eric perhaps you could explain to me how a conservative – as you understand it – could ever possibly consider themselves part of the Democratic party

    Well observed.

    In answer to your question, a lot of it ends up being a emotion attachment, more than anything else. Such as why, for example the democrats continue to win black voters, whilst demonstrably screwing black voters over for the last several generations running. Trying to deal with emotions in politics is rather like trying to nail jello to a tree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. anjin-san says:

    If the TP was actually a serious

    FTFY

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. @Eric Florack: So, in other words, you really don’t have an explanation. And, further, you are admitting that attachment to labels may be emotional (or, at least, multi-faceted), thus making simplistic polling about a given label to be insufficient to explain the complex nature of these terms and the way in which people view themselves?

    Who knew?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:
    So basically you support with my second point that self-identified conservative voters are party driven lemming.

    This goes a long way to undercutting the idea that:

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time.

    The conservative dems would voet democratic and the republican conservatives, will for the most part, vote for whomever wins the primary. Doesn’t exactly make one hopeful for that conservative uprising you keep predicting.

    BTW, still waiting for names of real conservative politicians on the national level since Regan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. anjin-san says:

    Such as water for example the democrats continue to win black voters, whilst screwing black voters over for the last several generations running.

    Those poor, lost black folks – they can’t even see where their own best interest lies. They are kind of like children. If only they would listen to bithead. He would lead them out of the wilderness. They clearly need guidance from a white man.

    Interesting that a guy who’s political views tend to be driven by rage and over compensation for low self-esteem would call out millions of people for making poor political choices made on emotions, all the while lacking the insight to see that emotion is responsible for so much of his own political calculus.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Herb says:

    Political ideology in the U.S. held steady in 2011, with 40% of Americans continuing to describe their views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal.

    Aha!

    It would appear that the “vast majority” of this country is NOT conservative. 40% is neither a majority, nor is it vast. At 56%, the non-conservatives are a majority….but alas, they’re not all that vast either. Doh!

    And then there’s this:

    If the GOP were offering real conservatives, the Gallup poll suggests they’d be winning by landslides every time.

    When your fake political party attracts all the real conservatives, let us know.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. mattb says:

    Also on that Gallup poll only 10% of adults consider themselves “very conservative” versus 30% who consider themselves “conservative”.

    I’d be interested in seeing what the difference in belief is between those two groups.

    Along those lines, I’d love to see a study that tried to discover if, when push came to shove, how many of the 30% would move “very conservative” versus moving towards the 35% of Americans who consider themselves moderate. (Those damn moderates!)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Ben says:

    If the Tea Party really had anything at all to do with “small government”, then either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson would have been the obvious candidates to coalesce behind. The fact that they’ve been supporting people like Palin, Bachmann and Perry puts the lie to any commitment to small government. They’ve been exposed as just a break-off rebranding of the Republican party. It was all a sham. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day we find memos planning the whole thing out at the RNC 3 or 4 years ago.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack:

    and those who call themselves conservative, who happen to be the vast majority in this country, right?

    Bwahahahaaahaahahaha…. What a card you are Eric.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Kylopod says:

    This gets to the problem with the poll — namely that it seems like this is a self identification poll versus an issue identification poll.

    That’s exactly the point. When you look at polling on actual issues, particularly economic ones, Americans have a definite tendency to support Democratic proposals over Republican ones. Polls show that a majority of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage, higher taxes on the rich, and leaving Social Security and Medicare alone. The ACA remains unpopular, but the public option that was discarded from the bill always polled well.

    (I am not going to post any links, because that tends to alert the spam filter, but here are specific phrases to Google for examples from Gallup: “Public Solidly Supports Increase in Minimum Wage”; “Many Americans OK With Increasing Taxes on Rich”; “Americans Oppose Cuts in Education, Social Security, Defense”; “Americans on Healthcare Reform: Top 10 Takeaways”.)

    So why do significantly more Americans seem to self-identify by the term “conservative” than by the term “liberal”? Partly it’s because over the past several decades conservatives have successfully turned “liberal” into a dirty word in the public mind, to the extent that many people are reluctant to call themselves liberals even when they agree with self-described liberals on the issues. The word “conservative” hasn’t suffered the same fate; you’ll find a lot of people who think of themselves as conservative for one reason or another even if they don’t support any of the policy positions of the GOP. In sum, conservatives won the war of language but not the war of substance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    BTW, still waiting for names of real conservative politicians on the national level since Regan.

    Might be a long wait. We have been hearing the “real conservative” line for a long time, but with no names associated with it since Palin. Now that she has descended from “reality TV star” to “washed up reality TV star” we don’t even hear her name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @anjin-san:

    We have been hearing the “real conservative” line for a long time,

    Seeing as Reagan is no longer a “real conservative” either, I think we have to back to Hoover. And he did a real bang-up job, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. John Burgess says:

    @Kylopod: Your 14:24 statement could be rephrased:

    A majority of the American people like to get stuff they don’t have to pay for, or pay much for.

    This is not a surprise, but I don’t think it shows particular support for a liberal agenda, either. I think a better parsing of it is that majorities don’t stop to consider how things actually get paid for and don’t really care so long as they’re not being asked to pay anything or much for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. mattb says:

    @Kylopod:

    I am not going to post any links, because that tends to alert the spam filter

    To that point, is there any chance that OTB might implement a system that would allow approved posters to include more than one link in their comments? It would cut down the amount of by-hand administrative work that needs to be done.

    Alternately, you could use something like Dicqus(http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/disqus-comment-system/) which still allows for anonymous comments but also provides people with approved profiles with a higher degree of rights.

    Plus Disqus also has some built in social media features that might be helpful for the site.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. john personna says:

    Isn’t the filter at about 3 or 4 links?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. Kylopod says:

    I think a better parsing of it is that majorities don’t stop to consider how things actually get paid for and don’t really care so long as they’re not being asked to pay anything or much for it.

    Well, yeah. That’s how you get those loopy polls showing that Americans favor the idea of cutting spending but oppose cutting the greatest expenditures, Medicare and the military. (The only federal expenditure that a majority wants to see cut is foreign aid, and most Americans are unaware that it constitutes a tiny portion of the budget.) I suspect the reason higher taxes on the rich polls so well isn’t because it will cut the deficit but simply because most Americans aren’t rich. So I do agree that these polls reflect self-interest more than ideology. I don’t think most Americans have a strong political ideology.

    What’s important in light of this discussion is not so much ideology but the fact that Republicans win elections more often than public opinion on their policy proposals would anticipate. You could see this at work in exit polls from the 2010 elections, showing that a majority of the voters did not support an extension of the Bush tax cuts on the rich or a repeal of the health-care bill. (Remember, this wasn’t a poll of public opinion but a poll of the people who actually voted in 2010–and even this more conservative crowd did not favor the two biggest policy proposals the GOP and Tea Party were campaigning on.) There are various reasons why Republicans have managed this feat, but giving the public a better understanding of how things are paid for isn’t one of them. If anything, the Tea Party and GOP are even more pathetically mired in have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too thinking, with their promotion of supply-side nonsense and the whole keep-the-government-out-of-Medicare business.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. Jerry moore says:

    I’m so sick of hearing all the pundits talking about winning or getting things done. Is it really winning to continue on the path that got us here like we got with Bush? Is it really getting things done if that means incessantly extending our debt limit?

    I say let the establishment own the results of what they will no doubt get and let the tea partiers stay out of it so that there is a clear distinction between the two ideologies. Eventually even the uninformed will realize that a change is needed…too bad it takes so long.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. doubter4444 says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Good lord. You’ve lost your mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. Hey Norm says:

    The Republican establishment was never going to allow the Tea Stain to have a say in the nominee. Its Romney’s turn. He’s the establishment candidate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. @Ben Wolf:

    It was a terrible mistake for the Tea Party to allow itself to be co-opted by the Republican Party.

    The Tea Party wasn’t co-opted by the Republican party. It was a creation of the party from the very beginning. It was nothing but a cat’s paw created to allow George Bush backers to attack Obama without having to acknowledge the complete 180 in their rhetoric.

    This is the GOP’s real problem. Four years later, they STILL have not seriously dealt with the legacy of the Bush administration, and until they do they will never be a philosophically coherent party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. Kylopod says:

    The Tea Party wasn’t co-opted by the Republican party. It was a creation of the party from the very beginning.

    Agreed. But it was sort of like the Frankenstein Monster–it took on a life of its own and turned against its own creator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. superdestroyer says:

    The Tea Party types have realized that they are irrelevant because the worked hard to elect Republicans in 2010 and all they got was more of the same: borrowing, spending, government, social engineering along with less freedom.

    Why should the Tea Party types support any of the current candidates other than Ron Paul when all of the others are just promising a return to more of the Bush policies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Why should the Tea Party types support any of the current candidates other than Ron Paul when all of the others are just promising a return to more of the Bush policies.

    Why not change the Tea Party to the Paul Party then?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    I’d say it was a terrible mistake for the Tea Party to let itself get co-opted by the pundits.

    It don’t believe it was created by the GOP either. It reflected a real movement away from the established parties. Early on, there were a lot of normal middle-class people who lent it an ear, for it’s clear neither party is representing them. A movement so horribly wrong-footed by the abject idiocy Glenn and Sarah, it was all but stillborn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. de stijl says:

    That the T(axed) E(nough) A(lready) “Party” emerged directly after the fiscal profligacy of the Bush years and at the same time a Democratic President (of unusual hue for that office) was pushing a program of massive tax cuts (i.e., Economic Stimulus Act of 2008) speaks volumes.

    The Tea Party are not just know-nothing anti-Keynesianists opposed to any government debt (Bush tax cuts) or spending above the basic protocols of the Constitution, else they would have emerged during the Medicare D debate or the run-up to the Iraq War or its expansions.

    The Tea Party is a rebranding (as others have noted upthread) of the rightest of the right-wing of the Republican Party. Its real purpose, as opposed to the stated express purpose was to land the entirety of the 2007 financial collapse and the aftermath in the Obama’s lap so he, his D cohorts, and his agenda could be not just defeated, but repudiated (or “refudiated” if you’re stupid enough to think that’s an actual word).

    A faction, that I might add, is not “Conservative” in any sense of the word.

    Right-wing radicalism != Conservatism.

    When you’re taxed at the lowest rate in 60 years and you tax rate has decreased after the new President has taken office, you have an entirely different agenda than debt, taxes and “small government”.

    The Tea Party never was about taxes or debt. It was never about the size or scope of federal government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. Kylopod says:

    Why should the Tea Party types support any of the current candidates other than Ron Paul when all of the others are just promising a return to more of the Bush policies

    Maybe because most of the “Tea Party types” never had much of a problem with Bush policies to begin with and are simply conventional Republicans dressed up as libertarians. That seems to be what polls indicate:

    “They do not want a third party and say they usually or almost always vote Republican. The percentage holding a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush, at 57 percent, almost exactly matches the percentage in the general public that holds an unfavorable view of him.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Hey Norm says:

    @ Dazed…
    It was created by Dick Armey and the Koch Brothers…that is the GOP. They couldn’t let their bastard step-child upset the apple cart. It’s Romney’s turn. Dick and the Koch’s won’t let that be derailed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. eddiebutch says:

    what a crock of s–t all this TP says this and that. The movement is still alive and all you who think they can speak for them will be truly unhappy when your interpretation of things will be off the mark.Media is doing everything they can to mar the rep of the TP

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. Pape’s research has been brutally debunked and is not to be trusted in the least. Terrorists want to kill Americans and Jews, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. Hey Norm says:

    You only have to look at the picture that accompanies this post to understand the power of the TP…nice hats…not much more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. Dazedandconfused says:

    @Hey Norm:

    I believe it was created by Fox News myself. We may both be right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. de stijl says:

    @Hey Norm:

    The TP Tri-corner dude always reminds me of Bodahn from Dragon’s Age:

    “Do you like my hat?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. Ernieyeball says:

    @Ron Beasley: I was at the local Buffalo Wild Wings for TBones Miracle Overtime Win a week ago and yesterdays disemboweling by the Patriots.
    The same fans who just last weekend squealed like they all came in their pants were crying and sobbing just like North Koreans after Kim Jong-il died!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. @superdestroyer:

    The Tea Party types have realized that they are irrelevant because the worked hard to elect Republicans in 2010 and all they got was more of the same: borrowing, spending, government, social engineering along with less freedom.

    Of course, the Tea Party backed candidates are themselves the primary reason for this. They’re all so focussed on purity, they’ve been completely unable to get anything done other than posturing. When you spend two years stubbornly insisting that no loaf is better than half, it’s hard to then complain that you haven’t gotten any bread yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. @de stijl:

    I was an up and coming political movement once, but then I took an arrow in the knee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Once again, you have provided a thoughtful, intelligent analysis of the problem.

    And the Eric Floraks of the world are hearing “blah, blah, blah…”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. Just nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Your point about self-identification is good. For example, I identify myself as a conservative and don’t identify Eric as one. He is a dangerous radical pecan log.

    Eric, are you seeing how this self-identification thing works now? (And yes, I know that all he is seeing when he reads this is “blah, blah, blah…” 😉 )

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Lolz

    Playing TES: Skyrim right now (2nd play thru – my golly, what a time suck. Boethiah screwed me on the first time thru on the Daedra gear cheevo. Love it, but does every dungeon need to be a 1 hour, 3 zone affair?).

    The Skyrim walk-by conversations are almost too on-point; I almost miss the mentions of mudcrabs and, my fave, “They say syndicates of wizards have led a boycott of Imperial goods in the land of the Altmer” obliviousness of Oblivion’s NPC’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    The Tea Party was never offered half a loaf. They were offered more taxes and spending now or more spending and borrowing now with a promise of spending cuts in the future.

    After putting enough Republicans into the U.S. House to put the Republicans into the majority, all that the Republicans have gotten is Boehner as Speaker of the House (a pork barreling hack, incompetent politician) and there have been no budget cuts, more program reductions, and no roll back of the government.

    In fact, there has been no changes and there has been no real plans to change spending, debt, taxes, or the size of government. The Tea Party types know that there is no future in conservative politics and there efforts in 2010 were pointless.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. sam says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The opponents of the Tea Party movement have tried, for years, to apply their favorite Alinsky Rule to it — “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The problem is, with no defined leadership, the “personalize it” part fails

    And that might be the Tea Party’s problem: lack of centralization. In some ways the Tea Party reminds me of the the Confederacy. I think it’s generally understood that the Confederacy was inhibited from the beginning by its ideology. When you have polity, the Confederacy, founded on a deep suspicion of and rejection of centralized political power, you’re in a deep trough when fighting a war against a power founded on centralization. That’s what led Jefferson Davis to say that on the tombstone of the Confederacy would be written the epitaph, Died of a Theory.

    So it is with the Tea Party. See, The Tea Party’s Not-So-Civil War

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Jeremy says:

    @Bob in Boston:

    The only part I disagree with this is Paul winning the nomination. As much as I love the guy…come on. The rest of the party hates his guts. He won’t win.

    Which is a damned shame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. Rob in CT says:

    If the Tea Party cared only about size/scope of government (particularly federal) and taxation/debt, they could’ve gone for Ron Paul. Maybe some did.

    But I think it’s rather obvious that the Teas care about other things too, and care enough about those other things that Ron Paul (or Gary Johnson, or some other libertarian or libertarianish candidate) isn’t their guy. And I think we know what those things are: generally speaking, SoCon domestic policy and aggressive foreign policy.

    Look, the whole “movement” was founded on an idiotic premise: “Taxed Enough Already” when taxes were as low as they’d been in decades. Yes, there is the debt issue which probably* means higher taxes in the future and I get that. But the debt was run up in no small part by doing things that TPers liked at the time: tax cuts & war, and more debt was added as the inevitable consequence of a particularly nasty financial panic. Comparatively little of it was run up by the Kenyan Islamofascist Commie just because.

    There’s a reason Paul Ryan’s fantasy plan is/was popular in certain circles: more tax cuts for the well-off, dramatically lower spending in various areas the well-off don’t need (particularly in the case of the already-old well-off) or don’t need as much, and fairy-tale assumptions about economic growth. It’s all about avoiding paying the bill racked up 2001-present, and getting to blame liberals while so doing. That’s the TP in a nutshell.

    * – probably = unless the long-term fiscal issue is attacked with cuts-only, which is both counter-productive and unrealistic (the Dems will fight that approach. They want a mix, and they’ve got voter backup on that).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. mantis says:

    Tea Party, Y U NO get better knee armor?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. Eric Florack says:

    @An Interested Party: And therein lies the problem… we’ve not had a real conservative since Reagan… so what data you’re basing your idea on, seems a question.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0