Will the Tea Party Re-Elect Barack Obama?

The “Tea Party” movement in the 2010 off-year elections re-created the national political landscape. A decidedly leftist Congressional and White House agenda, characterized by bullied health care legislation, gave rise to a populist revolt not seen since the anti-war sentiments of the 1960’s.  Now what?

When Tea Party (TP) politics was a movement and not an institution, it served as a valid forum for electoral outrage. Reacting to the machinations of a Democrat-controlled Congress and an arrogantly left-of-center President, voters across the country rose in reactive protests. Proving that election to office does not always translate to an open-ended policy mandate, Americans of every social, economic, racial and age demographic unloaded on an unprepared and clueless body of elected officials. It was Hollywood come to life as “The Network” played out across America: “We’re mad as Hell, and we’re not gonna take it anymore!”

The GOP rode the wave of indignation and retook the House of Representatives. Anti-big government and reform candidates won elections from county to state-wide offices, defeating long-term incumbents, including Republicans perceived to be too comfortable as politicians and not the representatives they were elected to be.

The wash from that 2010 wave continues. President Obama is leaning more to the center (though his feet haven’t actually made the shift) and Republican candidates for his job are pandering to Tea Party groups and issues at every opportunity.

Too bad. As noble and necessary as some TP demands may be, acquiescence to them will likely result in the one thing the country can’t afford; another Obama term in office.

The 2010 elections were NOT about the Tea Party.  They were about voter resentment and indignation.  UberConservative and Libertarian activists kept that anger alive and have used it to form the nucleus of the 21st Century version of the anti-war movement of the 1960’s and ’70’s.  After the ballots were cast and public bile expelled last year, most of those voters went on about their business of trying to get by.  But those that remained active, the political concentrate, are forming coalitions that will marginalize everyone right of center and brand them as “fringe,” “kooks” and “wackos.”  They do not represent those who took to the streets and voting booths in such huge numbers.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the anti-war movement in the United States was a vocal and passionate reaction to U.S. government actions in Vietnam.  That passion led to a coup in the Democrat Party that overran more established leaders such as Ted Kennedy and Edmund Muskie and gave rise to the eventual 1972 presidential candidate – and rabid anti-war advocate – George McGovern.  Running against an incumbent Richard Nixon, McGovern lost the popular vote 61%-37% and the electoral college 520 to 17. [Yes, Nixon was helped by Democrat-turned-Independent George Wallace.  But, in 2012, will Ron Paul do the same for Obama?]

If the Republican Party succumbs to TP demands, it, too will likely lose to Barack Obama in a mirror image election.  Should the GOP move so far to the right as to be off the coast, it cannot – it will not – reflect the needs and demands of the bulk of the people that protested by ballot last year.

The hard truth is that the Republican Party doesn’t need the Tea Party.  The Tea Party, however, desperately needs the GOP.  Where else can the TP go?  What can it use for networking for funds, media and candidates?  In 2010, it was REPUBLICAN candidates that the TP put in office as its protest, not Independents or officially designated Tea Party office seekers.

Certainly, many of the TP platform planks should be implemented, but if examined closely and with a practical eye, one will find that those principles are already incorporated.

The goal for 2012 is to defeat Barack Obama and yank both houses of Congress from Democrat hands as well as state offices across the country, the GOP needs to select candidates that are strong fiscal conservatives with records or credentials that reflect a drive to right the country from the current hard list to port. Obama won in 2008 in large part because he appealed to the political center where most voters reside.  So, too, must Republicans prove to that massive group that it has the better plan for the country.  It is these citizens to which the GOP must appeal, not the Tea Party.

If the Tea Party makes too many demands on Republicans or if the Republican Party tries to reinvent itself in the TP image, then those goals will not be reached.

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6 thoughts on “Will the Tea Party Re-Elect Barack Obama?

  1. Sorry, Charlie. I think we’ve all seen what the Republican Party is capable of without the Tea Party. Fringe elements aside, the tea party principles must be emphasized in the new GOP or risk fierce primaries with potential far-right winners.

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  2. Interesting insight into a potentially problematic situation. As a Tea Party Activist, I can only pray we are intelegent enough as individuals to understand how destructive a third party (Paul or whomever) candidacy would be to our over arching goal, the defeat of a leftist administration and congress. But it is also crucial that we not elect a middling semi-conservative wishy washy candidate as our standard bearer, the true race is in the primaries, we must find the most capable leader available to us then all stand behind that person. It ain’t Donald Trump.

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  3. I agree. A third party candidate that has a strong appeal to the tea party will guarantee Obama’s re-election. Romney cannot win the presidency because if he gets the GOP nomination, you can be sure that a true conservative will run independently. Now is not the year for the libertarian either.

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  4. I honestly believe you give too much credit to the TEA Party Charlie. The simple fact of the matter is Obama did not give rise to the TEA Party movement he gave it fuel, I got involved because of TARP (republican program). If the republican’s in power governed as stated in the republican party platform, there would be no TEA Party. Most TEA Party organizations I know, want nothing more than republicans to act like republicans. My point is this, if republicans are pandering to their TEA Party base, then they are acting like republicans. In my humble opinion, if Obama gets re-elected it is the establishmant republicans fault, not the TEA Party’s.
    I agree with you to an extent that some factions are too militant and their refusal to compromise or to even consider a compromise does more harm than good. With that being said, I would personally rather see Obama win re-election than another quasi republican (IE McCain) get in office. At least with Obama you know what you are getting, and can more easily rally the troops to oppose his agenda.

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  5. My own personal record is this: I started out as a conservative democrat when I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976. No one talked politics to me (person to person). I reached political decisions more or less independently. When Reagan was elected in 1980, I said to myself ” I’ll be for him if he will close the (southern) border”. He never did. I started voting Republican in 1990 because of my views on gun rights and abortion. It took over ten years for me to begin voting Republican not because the Republican party was not mainstream enough but because it did not defend the Constitution as the supreme law of the USA (ie, was not conservative enough). The nonvoting majority will become energized when the Republican Party becomes the defender of the Constitution. Conservatives will win when they have the drive of Amway pyramiders and become organized and equiped to reach the politically ignorant.

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  6. Helmsman: “Captain! There’s a 4.5 cubic mile iceberg off port bow!”

    Captain: “Hard to starboard!”

    That’s what an iceberg would look like at $1.00 per cubic foot
    if traded for the public debt. You can question the captain’s
    order later.

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