The Hard Truth is the Tea Party Can’t Elect Anyone

The lunatic fringe of the GOP aka the Tea Party, has painted itself into a corner with its flavor of extremist discourse. This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person and it has apparently not escaped the notice of certain candidates put forward by the base.

It is not as if the Tea Party had anything like the momentum it pretends to. Despite their claims to represent the will of the American people, to be “real” Americans, they are very much a minority of the electorate.
The hard truth is that the base cannot elect anyone.

This should have become obvious with the results of the 2008 presidential elections. Though there are many conservatives (some conservatives even claim to outnumber liberals) another hard truth is that many conservatives are social liberals. Many of these people helped Barack Obama to office.

People like Sarah Palin can unite the base. The base loves her and she uses them with the same vigor to fill her pockets. It’s hard to say what she really believes, a person who once flirted with Alaskan secessionists now claiming to be a “real” American, and we can’t tell from what she reads because so far as she knows, she doesn’t even know what she reads.

The real point is that she is a lightning rod for the base. Her support can help get an extremist a victory in the primaries over more sober-minded and clear-sighted candidates. As has been noticed in some quarters, her ability to be a force multiplier in a general election is more questionable.

The hard truth is that the base cannot elect anyone.

There simply aren’t enough anti-intellectual, conservative religious, racist and bigoted voters to pass the lunatic agenda of the Tea Party. They can believe their own spin if they wish – some of them probably do – but even if you ignore facts the facts will still be there to bite you in the ass at the end of the day.

And that is the bleak future the Tea Party faces as the midterm elections loom.

Now remember, there was not exactly the expected rush on incumbents. There was no massively successful push to dominate even their own primaries. One notable example of Tea Party hopes, Scott Brown, turned out to be a rather decent and moderate fellow.

But the Tea Partiers are consistent in one respect, their disdain for inconvenient truths. They don’t talk about their failures, only their successes, even if they are only imaginary ones.

So what happens now with those who did manage to come out ahead in the GOP primaries? Do they moderate their extremist discourse to make themselves appealing to the majority of voters? Or do they stick to their “no compromise” principles and lose ignominiously?

They’ve painted themselves into a corner and it is difficult to see how they are going to get out of it.

Palin has no answers. She has led the charge on the “no compromise” front; she has praised herself as a “real” American outsider and somewhat more laughably as a maverick and she will have a difficult time offering meaningful support to people who are willing to compromise to get elected.

Some may not want her support. Though the base loves her, polls show that Americans as a whole are far less impressed. She is the force multiplier they looked for in the primaries but she will likely be a dead weight in the general elections. She turns off both the left and the center and I will say it again:

The hard truth is that the base can’t elect anyone.

There simply aren’t enough of them. They’re loud, but their bark is worse than their bite. Even a center-right media and a propaganda channel of their own cannot push the extremist GOP agenda to the front. Voters won’t buy it.

Liberals won’t buy it. Progressives won’t buy it. And most importantly, the conservatives’ own social liberals won’t buy it.

So what will the Tea Partiers do? Some of them have already sold out. As CNN reported the other day, Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle has called for the dismantling of the Department of Education and the establishment of a nuclear waste dump at Yucca mountain. But her new website mentioned none of this.

She has also said that rape is “part of God’s plan” and that incest rape victims should make lemonade out of their incestual lemons. You have to wonder how much we’ll hear of these gems as the midterms approach. Will she be telling us then that for a 13-year-old who was raped by her father that abortion is out because “two wrongs don’t make a right”?

This is a measure of the disdain the Tea Party has for facts. When Harry Reid posted Angle’s previous site, her campaign sent a “cease and desist” letter to Reid’s people claiming that he was misrepresenting her views. It’s quite clear who is really misrepresenting Angle’s views – Angle herself.

Pity the poor Angle who whined that “Today, I actually softened because I’m being held accountable for every idle word.” Does that seem unreasonable to her, that the voter should be able to take her at her word? She seems to be complaining that she can’t lie and get away with it.

Rand Paul has run into trouble too. Yes, he is another sell-out to moderation. Its amazing willing the party of “no compromise” is to compromise when push comes to shove. They can spin all they want but they know, and we know, they don’t represent the American people. If they want to get elected they will have to pretend to be moderates even while producing highly exclusive sets of “10 Commandments” for the GOP to follow.

The ultimate message, if a bit muddled, seems to be, “If you’re not willing to live by these guidelines, you’re not a Republican – you’re a terrorist (aka in GOP discourse as anyone who is not a Republican) – unless you are up for election and you happen to be a Tea Party candidate.

Because these no-compromise compromisers while willing to take their thirty pieces of silver to get a cozy Washington office and all the attached perks aren’t willing to extent any mercy to moderate Republicans who are seen as compromisers. No sir.

That’s not the Tea Party way.

Unfortunately for the Tea Party, the Tea Party itself, with its extremist agenda, is not the American way.
The midterm elections will demonstrate this, because even if they win, they will have won by casting down their own principles.

Because the hard truth is that the base can’t elect anyone.

8 Replies to “The Hard Truth is the Tea Party Can’t Elect Anyone”

  1. The problem for both Sharon Angle and Rand Paul is that their extremist positions are already all too well-known. They are only pretending to moderate their reactionary ideology just for the sake of getting elected, but I have no doubt that they would foist their bizarre, out-of-touch-with-reality ideas on the rest of us at the first opportunity.

    Although the kind of people they appeal to are a relatively small percentage of the country’s population, that should not lull us into a false sense of complacency which could keep some of us from voting in November. There is no underestimating how dangerous they are for this country, and for that reason they should never be in national positions of power.

  2. I think it has certainly come to their attention that the only way to be elected is to act as if you’re a normal human being.

    On the other hand they promised many things if elected. They are going to do this and that is if they have forgotten that there is an entire Congress there.

    I think the issue with Scott Brown is that he was much less a tea partier than they were a tea party for him. I don’t remember if he got into the hype in the same manner as Sharon Angle and Rand Paul. I don’t know what Mr. Paul’s future is, I almost think that he may be able to pull it out. But I don’t think Ms. Angle can do it.

    in the bad part is if you don’t stand up and act like a tea party person you are not going to get pushed by the tea party. And these days you can even send an e-mail that looks like it might be radical because someone will catch you.

    So radicalism is out. Another ism that fell into the dust

  3. You make good points — esp about the social liberal conservatives. I believe the majority of Americans identify as are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. The Tea Party is of course, not new — just a reinvention of the same old angry white far right people, with a few suckers thrown in. If it weren’t for Fox News pushing them, we wouldn’t know much about them at all.

    This fall should sure be interesting.

  4. I totally agree with you. America wants a fiscally responsible government yet a government that is also responsible to its citizens. Of course fiscal responsibility and responsibility to citizens can be two totally different things tied together by money

  5. And even before fiscal policy or stated ideology, how about “competent?”

    Seriously, the rubber has to meet the road at some point. When you wave the magic wand of intention, then you have to actually go out and do the hard work. That requires experts and a professional and efficient bureaucracy.

  6. Ah, but the Right is bound and determined to be incompetent, to prove that Government doesn’t work. After all, if government works and has a role to play in our lives, then their ideology is a fail.

    Now, if they hadn’t driven off the cliff into crazy land, and were Rockefeller Republicans, they would have a place at the table of ideas.

  7. I have a t-shirt I made (I have to make it accessible again) that shows Barry Goldwater and saying “1AU From Center – The Outer Limits of Reason.”

    His views of the authoritarian religious right were blunt and unflattering.

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