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The Tea Party Is Not the Problem, The Establishment Is

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On February 3, 2013 @ 7:59 pm In The Point | 12 Comments

In the 80s, every other stand up comedian wore a garish suit, a loud tie and began his act with, “Well what do you think about that?” or “Who were the geniuses who came up with that?”

Ben Shapiro brings us word that the geniuses who came up with the last two presidential elections, and I mean the ones on our side, are getting ready to get to the core of their problem. The Tea Party.

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” have joined forces with Karl Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, to create the Conservative Victory Project. The Times reports that this new group will dedicate itself to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s effort to win control of the Senate.” The group points to candidates like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana as examples of Tea Party primary picks going sideways in major Senatorial battles.

As the Times reports, Conservative Victory Project won’t merely protect incumbents – it will challenge sitting Congresspeople of the Tea Party variety, including six-term Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who may run for Senate. “We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Law told the Times – with whom he seems far too friendly. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”

The Tea Party, like any grass roots ideological movement, has made mistakes. But it’s the only reason that the Republican Party is even a viable proposition.

The Establishment has not had a single new idea since it tried rebranding Republicans as “Compassionate Conservatives” in 2000.

It’s debatable whether or not that strategy actually worked, but what’s not debatable is that it pushed the government deeper into the hole and that was followed by a muddled attempt to try selling austerity in 2012, after Obama proved that a liberal can always outliberal a compassionate conservative.

By 2016, perhaps Rove and Co. will figure out how to roll out a Republican who capitalizes on some of Obama’s appeal. Perhaps he’ll be a Super-Compassionate Conservative. But if that happens, it will likely be because Obama, like Clinton, will have imploded in his second term. And that will put us right back where we started.

The biggest problem with the Republican Party is that no one in the establishment paid the price for two straight presidential defeats. Instead the blame is being dumped in the Tea Party. And that’s only fair, what with the Tea Party being huge Romney backers.

Does the Tea Party bring out candidates who aren’t ready for prime time? Sure. Did the establishment bring out a candidate who after two elections, an army of consultants and foreign policy advisers blew a foreign policy debate against Barack Benghazi? Also yes. And that establishment set the narrative for tearing down Tea Party candidates that the media picked up. Remind me which branch of the Tea Party, Steve Schmidt worked for again.

In 2008 and 2012, the establishment told us that they knew electability. And their candidates were electable. They just didn’t get elected. Now they’re working overtime to safeguard their electability status by backing Amnesty for illegal aliens, tax hikes for the middle class and No Tea Party signs on front laws.

The Republican Party of suits and ties, weekend golf games and exciting business success stories is not going to catch fire. Their best shot at that was Mitt Romney who projected affability, competence and no clear message except that he was going to clean up Obama’s mess.

The GOP can either “evolve” into liberalism, it can try to run as the unimaginative competent party or it can actually open the door to fresh ideas, which is the only thing that has saved it in the past.


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