A Message to the GOP
Posted by Mike O on April 9, 2010
This is a response to a message the GOP ‘regulars’ (of which I was once one) have been passing on to the Tea Parties. The message:
“The Tea Parties need to become more like the GOP for conservatism to win.”
“The GOP must become more like the Tea Parties for the GOP to SURVIVE.”
Here are a few data points for those regulars to consider:
First locally: the Tea Parties- not 8 months old- put together a candidate forum, containing the candidates of only two of the local races. We had 300 people show up. Groups like the long-established Collin County Conservative Republicans have a forum for a score of candidates and can’t produce half the audience. There was vastly more discussion and angst across the county of the North Texas Tea Party ‘TeaApproval’ than any other endorsement of other groups in local commentary sections.
Nationally, let’s start with the fact that the Tea Party label- by itself- is now higher thought of than the President and has a better understanding of issues than Congress. Neither of these are hardly grand achievements, considering the competition, but more telling are the overall popularity of the two established parties as shown in the graphs here. Bottom line: the Democrats have lost 17% of their support among independents since the elections, but the GOP has shown their incompetence by only gaining 4%. Until the GOP can do things like:
- get rid of things like earmarks,
- stop weasel-wording its opposition to Obamacare,
- end embarrassing shenanigans in their national organizations
- boneheaded moves like the early endorsement of Crist in Florida
, that won’t change. The GOP ‘establishment’ is seen as an incumbent protection organization by many independents (a BAD thing this cycle) and the national party has done nothing since Obama’s election to change that perception. And it’s lack of fundraising prowess at the moment
On generic balloting, the Tea Parties consistently poll within the range of the GOP itself, sometimes surpassing it. This from a spontaneously risen grassroots organization just over a year old with almost no money and no centralized leadership (which actually remains one of the Tea Parties’ strengths). This is as much a sad commentary on the continued state of the GOP than it is on the ‘genius’ of the Tea Parties.
Whatever the Tea Parties are doing, it simply is working better than what the majority of the GOP leadership is doing. And it is the GOP that needs to gain political standing, NOT the Tea Parties. Even false portrayals of the Tea Parties being racist and potentially violent by the Democrats and the News Media are failing to do significant damage, for- instead of kowtowing like the GOP does- the Tea Parties stand up and say- show us the proof (of which there is scant).
The GOP will NOT be given much time to change fundamentally (not cosmetically). That means that they begin to enforce fiscal conservatism and proactive ethical conduct within their own ranks. The election of 2010 is likely it; if the Republicans continue down their obstinate path, it will be very difficult for we in localized Tea Party leadership to argue against those who would have us create a third party. And, while that may lead to initial defeat, there is no certainty that it would be the Tea Party that dies out, and not the GOP, in the end. This is NOT my desire, but unless things change, I see few other potential outcomes.
So this is my warning to the GOP ‘regulars’:
it is the GOP who has to learn from the Tea Parties, NOT the other way around.