googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Fair Weather Friends

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fair Weather Friends

The Tea Party Movement that's swept the country in the last year has really ruffled some feathers. At first, the liberal media tried to simply ignore them but their silence became so painfully conspicuous that they could no longer ignore the protests and still maintain the label of a news medium. Their next tactic was to attack the movement by trotting out the tired terms like “racists” and the much more vulgar term, “teabaggers.” Liberal politicians said this wasn't a “real” movement but referred to it as “astro-turf.” The concerned citizens who protested at the Town Hall meetings were called a “mob” and “un-American.” In other words, the Tea Party did not have any friends among the liberal elite.

It was a completely different story among conservatives. FOX News (a truly balanced news channel but seen as conservative) was the only news network to cover the Tea Parties. Rush, Sean, Glenn, and all the usual suspects discussed the protesters in glowing terms saying that the movement represented the true heart of America. The people were sick of out of control government and had finally had enough. These were citizens standing up to unfair taxes just like the early revolutionaries of their namesake had done.

Since tax-and-spend is the only play Democrats use to solve anything, much of the Tea Party protest was directed at them. Therefore, Republicans were overjoyed, seeing this as a possible windfall for the Republican Party in the 2010 elections. It seems the friendship was fated to be short-lived. After the recent Tea Party convention, I'm starting to hear a different tune from Republicans.

I think the Republican Party is starting to realize that the Tea Party movement isn't exactly a group of Republican cheerleaders but a movement against government waste – whether the “waster” is a Democrat or Republican. Moderate Republicans (like John McCain) aren't likely to receive a ringing endorsement from the Tea Party.

The fear of the Republicans is that the Tea Party will beginning running 3rd party candidates. In an election, a Tea Party candidate could very well split the conservative vote allowing the Democrat candidate to win. Suddenly, the Republicans aren't so keen on the Tea Party movement. They are starting to warn the protesters that running their own candidates would be against their own best interest.

If the Tea Party decided to run its own candidates, I have to agree that it it's not likely they would win and it very well cost also ruin the election opportunity for the Republican on the ticket. But the solution isn't for the Tea Party to water down their message. Conservatives shouldn't have to hold their collective noses and vote for the Republican (or RINO as the case may be) simply because of the “R” after his name. The solution is for the Republican Party to run more conservative candidates.

I still remember the Republican revolution of 1994. We've come a long way since then (the wrong way). We've not only lost our majorities in both the House and Senate, we've lost them in a big way – giving up until recently, a super-majority in the Senate. I saw it coming when I heard Colin Powell speak at the Republican National Convention, 1996. There had been talk leading up to the convention about how Republicans need to become a “big tent.” At one point, Powell mentioned he was pro-choice (i.e. pro-abortion) and got a standing ovation. I had to check my TV guide to make sure this was the Republican convention. Had they already forgotten the conservative message that swept them into office only 2 years earlier? What were they thinking?

The Tea Party needs to put as much pressure on Republicans as is necessary to insure they run conservative candidates. If it costs us a couple of elections, then so what? In the last election, Republicans pitted a very moderate McCain against the very liberal Obama and look at what happened?

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