We love a political dilemma. The Republican Party has enjoyed significant success on the backs of the Tea Party. On the other hand, there have been Tea Party candidates, who have expressed such extreme views that they have cost the mainstream Republican Party election victories or in the least refused to compromise once in office and reduced the party to a reactionary stance rather than proactive. The Tea Party also has served to make “minorities” and others whom the Republican Party has been trying to court skittish about getting under the big tent.
At the end of the day, while helping to win elections, there’s apparently some feeling in the mainstream Republican Party that the Tea Partiers ultimately are bad for business. After all, when they’re yelling about getting rid of entitlements to the poor, they might start stirring up sentiments against corporate entitlements and alienate the party’s big donors.
Also, it will be interesting to see if, in the end, this conflict turns out to be about politics or principles. Will the Tea Partiers close ranks for the sake of winning elections, realizing that once they hand election victories to the mainstream party, they will be relegated to extreme fringes of the chambers, unable to truly affect policy, only to be trotted out at election time? Or will they forego politics for principles and refuse to compromise under the auspices of the party?
It’s interesting that former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney—whose Massachusetts health care policies gave birth to “Obamacare” is now talking about the need to raise the federal minimum wage—something that is sure to upset the extreme right elements of the Republican Party. Remember, Romney distanced himself from his own innovative healthcare ideas just to get the nomination during the last presidential election only to lose. Begs the question if pandering to the extreme left or extreme right has any ultimate long-lasting value in U.S. politics.
Republicans sideline tea party-approved candidates in push for unity
BY PHILIP ELLIOTT AND LAURIE KELLMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s too early to say the tea party’s over.
But with a Senate majority in reach, the Republican Party and its allies are using campaign cash, positions of influence and other levers of power to defuse what they consider challenges by weak conservative candidates before the 2014 midterm elections and the 2016 presidential race. The party is cherry picking other candidates, including some who rode the tea party wave to a House majority in 2010. Some of those lawmakers are getting boosts from the very establishment the class vowed to upend.
It all adds up to an expensive and sweeping effort by national and state Republicans to blur the dividing line between factions that many believe cost the GOP the Senate majority and prolonged the 2012 presidential nomination fight. “We can’t expect to win if we are fighting each other all the time,” said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party.