politics & government

Romney v. Newt: How the GOP and the conservative media killed the TEA Party

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The TEA Party is dead.  The corpse of hope has rigor mortis, and is beginning to produce a funky odor.  I write this as a funeral dirge for the light of the right, a remembrance of what was, and a lament for what should have been.

Ok, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic, but the fact remains that the TEA Party is done, and its influence has faded like the last flickers from a guttering candle.

I was one of the original TEA Party supporters.  And I mean seriously original.   I participated in the April 15th, 2009 protest (the only real protest the TEA Party ever made, after that it was all about playing a numbers game with the media, sort of a “see how big our rallies are” kind of movement), driving to Memphis, TN, which at 3.5 hours away was the closest major city to my home where a protest was being held.  I attended TEA Party rallies on several other occasions as well, hitting up Little Rock’s event, and the three TEA Party events held in the small town where I live as well.  I donated money, not a lot, but what was donated was sorely needed for food and gas, to the campaigns of TEA Party nominees during the ’10 election cycle.

I checked my kid out of school early one day so we could attend a TEA Party rally at the State Capital in Little Rock and she could learn, at a young age, what it looked like when We the People raised our voices in a peaceful, lawful manner, objecting not with violence, like the left, but with intelligence, logic, reason, and independent thought.

Such a waste.  She’d have been better served by sitting through the other two hours of US public education.

The only “success” my writings have had here on WFTC (if you think success means more than an intellectual/emotional release for me personally) have been when I made pitches for TEA Party PR and Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit graced me with a mention.

It’s actually hard to write this stuff down, you know?  As I sit here and think about how much hope I had invested in the TEA Party, only to see it all crashing down, in the exact same manner I predicted it would fall apart years ago?

Two years ago, I wrote a piece here on WFTC which I titled “A warning to the TEA Party: Beware Republican talking heads” ( LINK ), and in that piece I said the following:

TEA Party voters better not go crawling back to the Republicans or they’ll be in this exact same boat again in 8 or 12 years. It’s nonsense.

Do you realize that this may be the only time you’ll ever hear these talking heads [Limbaugh, Hannity, Rove, O’Reilly, etc — MM] discourage competition?

Why don’t the Republican die-hards drop their party and vote 100% TEA Party? Why can’t Hannity vote TEA Party? What’s wrong with that? Why do only the TEA Party voters have to switch? Why can’t the entire Republican Party die off? Why can’t Republicans come back to the fold and vote for real conservatives, instead of real conservatives having to give up their convictions to vote for Republican scumbags?

The thought of the Dems keeping their majority in November’s elections is a bogeyman. It’s an idea that is there to scare the living day lights out of you so you’ll go running to the GOP. But that premise is a Sorelian myth. It presents you with a false choice. Elect Republicans or the Democrats win.

The GOP is still trying to govern its former base through the politics of fear. The Republican Revival is already on shaky ground in my book, because if they’re still willing to govern the base the same way they did under Bush, I don’t for a split second believe that their goals have changed either.

Look at that, especially the last two paragraphs, and you’ll understand why I feel so hollowed out.

Romney.  Newt.  It’s now essentially a two man race for the Republican nomination for President in 2012 between a Republican who left the Office of Speaker of the House because of ethics investigations and violations, and the guy who is sooooo bad that the GOP nominated John “The Maverick” McCain over him in 2008…

And they’re being advanced in EXACTLY the way I told you they would be.  Through fear.  Through scare tactics.  By Sorelian myths.

From a transcript of Rush’s show earlier this month, “Is It Lesser Of Two Evils Time” :

RUSH: See, that conflicts with everything that we know. Like Winston Churchill, on the other hand, says, “Never, ever, never, never give up.” Dirty Harry says a man’s got to know when to give up.

CALLER: You know, you gotta know what’s evil in front of you.

RUSH: Well, what you’re saying is, “Okay, we gotta figure out here, at some point, if Romney’s the nominee, there’s nothing we can do about that. What’s the objective?” Beating Obama, right?

CALLER: Absolutely.

RUSH: And so there’s no alternative to that, if the only alternative to that ends up being Romney, it’s a no-brainer. That’s what you’re saying?

CALLER: Absolutely.

RUSH: And you do it with maybe a… You know, you’ll hold your nose but you’ll still do it?

CALLER: Absolutely. You know, I can’t afford four more years of him. So, you know, anybody that we would have would be far better than Obama.

How did this happen?  Where did the “I’m going to examine every candidate and then vote for the one whom I feel is the best, regardless of party” mentality go?  These days, people are rushing to line up behind Newt or Romney with such indecent haste that they’re possibly risking life and limb in their push to join the throngs.  Now it’s “Republican or Die” again, no matter who they’re running, or what candidate stands for?  Just *snap of the fingers*, like that?

As a devout, Ayn Rand loving, objectivist libertarian, I was excited to see so many of the GOP waking up.  I was ecstatic that there might actually be a GOP nominee whom I could vote for with a clear conscience.  I was such an enthusiastic TEA Party supporter because I finally saw the glimmer of a chance that I could join the rest of the conservative base in voting for someone who might actually win an election and do some good for our country.

Big time kick to the cojones.

The TEA Party was supposed to be sick and tired of “Lesser of two evils time”, and was supposed to be refusing to play that game anymore.

Why/How is it that the vaunted TEA Party, which gave the GOP a historic victory in Nov. of 2010, can’t beat the virtually non-existent RINOs insisting on the retreads, Obamney or the Clintonian Newt Gingrich?  How did this collapse of power and influence happen?

By listening to the “conservative” mainstream media, which is reporting only what the GOP establishment wants it to report, that’s how.  Look at the above quote from Rush.  HE’S EQUATING THE SPIRITUAL LEADER OF WW2 WITH A FREAKING STEREOTYPICAL HOLLYWOOD MAKE BELIEVE CHARACTER TO CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU SHOULD “Hold your nose, but … still do it.”

“Hold yer nose and vote for Romney.  It’s what Clint freakin’ Eastwood would want you to do.”

Well thanks, Rush.  Maybe you could use Chuck Norris to sell Romney next?  “Chuck Norris doesn’t do a push up, he pushes the world down, and he’d hold his nose and vote Romney.”

Hey Rush, would you “hold your nose and vote Ron Paul”?  I don’t think so!  So why should any of us listen to you make demands of us that you youself wouldn’t abide by if the situation was flipped around?  That’s the epitome of an abusive relationship, Rush.

“Hold your nose and vote for _____” is EVERYWHERE today.  Glenn Beck will hold his nose and vote for Romney.  After telling us for YEARS that conservatives can no longer afford to vote like that because it’s what led us to our current condition…

Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity are both holding their noses and voting for Romney.

Even the liberals, who don’t really have a horse in this race, are laughing at how biased Fox News is concerning this primary.  From Rachel Maddow in that link to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show in this one.  They are loving this turn of events because 1) It’s destroying Fox News’s credibility with anyone who doesn’t support Newt or Romney, and 2) Because they know Obama will beat either of these candidates.  Running as “I’m not the other guy” has NEVER been successful, right Mr. Kerry?

And Jon Stewart is 100% correct.  If you didn’t pay attention to our loyal, strong conservative blogosphere, you wouldn’t know that Ron Paul was still in the race.  You wouldn’t know that, in a race consisting of Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Ron Paul, Ron Paul is only running second in terms of “electability” when compared to Obama, and is well within the margin of victory usually noted when someone is running against an incumbent.  No, you’d only hear that this is “A two man race.”  from FoxNews, which has thrown objectivity out the freakin’ window for this primary.

What happened to the TEA Party patriots?  The men and women who, just two years ago, were telling everyone how they’d vote third party and follow their convictions, even if it meant losing a few elections here and there, rather than vote for another John McCain and the same old, stale politics which placed our country’s future on the knife edge?

What happened?

The GOP and the co-opted “conservative media” happened.

It has all been carefully plotted to eliminate any threat to the existing power structure.

Think about the primary system the GOP uses.  Where do they go first?  Iowa, a blue state in 2008 with a population density approaching zero and lots of money in farms and ethanol, which require government subsidies just to exist these days.  Second, it’s off to New Hampshire, in the liberal Northeast.  Jump on the plane and jet to South Carolina, home of Sen. Amnesty Graham, poster boy of the RINOs behind McCain for most of the last ten years, for the third election.  Then it’s off to Florida, which, while a “red state”, is packed full of all the old, retired Republicans from the northeast who moved to warmer weather.

This is, and has been for a long time, all carefully scripted, you realize?  The biggest batch of electoral votes amongst the Red States is called “TEXAS”.  Why doesn’t the Texas primary come early?  Why do we get blue and purple state primaries first, and leave the majority of the conservative base silenced and ignored for so long? 

Enter “The Conservative Media”.  Once you examine how they tune up the base, you’ll realize why the GOP has such a ridiculous primary system.

So the establishment candidate can get a few small, but highly publicized, victories under his belt. 

These insignificant victories in fairly rural purple and blue states will be touted for weeks, if not months, before the bulk of the conservative base gets to vote, and they are used to build the image of inevitability for the hand picked, progressive Republicans like Romney and Newt so that when it comes time to vote in Texas, the average Republican voter thinks they have to “hold their nose and vote for Romney” because he’s the only shot at winning, as the lady said to Rush.  Iowa and New Hampshire combined have like 1/10th of the conservatives in them that you can find in two or three counties in Texas or Oklahoma, but they’re blown up and used to make those voters in Texas and Oklahoma think they’d better vote the way the GOP establishment wants them to vote, or else…

If they held the first primaries in Texas and Oklahoma, why, by God, a real conservative might win a few big fights early on and the liberal Republican candidates wouldn’t stand a chance for the remainder of the primaries…

And that isn’t the only trick, either.  Notice how there aren’t any stump speeches in the GOP primary these days?  How it’s all “debate” driven?

Did you ever wonder why that is?

Because if the GOP tried open air forums, they might actually have gotten real people, saying real things and asking real questions of these horrible pieces of shit whom they’ve decided to present to their base.  Could you imagine a Romney speech in a truly free environment?  It’d look like the Health Care Townhalls from 2009.  Angry, disenfranchised conservative voters, 75% of whom hate Romney and want anyone else at all, would be screaming, swearing, and generally making a scene if he EVER tried to get out and interact with the common Arkansan.

Did you see how much grief the “conservative media” gave Obama over his unscripted Joe the Plumber episode?  Newt Gingrich took one look at that and said “Psha, I don’t think so.  I’ve been supporting the individual mandate for 20 years, I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them get clips of me being yelled at by an 85 year old man, in a wheelchair, with oxygen assistance, for telling him he’s just going to have to take a pain pill.  Quick, let’s get the networks to stand us all up on stage and lob us softballs about my extra-martial affairs!  I’ve been nailing other women all over the world, and fielding the resulting irrelevant questions, for decades.  I can handle them.”  Sure, he’s running around complaining that the audience at these debates can’t boo or clap, but by golly, he ain’t holdin’ Town Halls, now is he?

The other thing the conservative media has done has been to eliminate discussion of the TEA Party.  Mr. Reynolds gets prognostication points for calling it when he said the #OWS would stop getting press coverage when it became obvious they were hurting Democrats, but we’ve seen the same thing happen in the conservative media following the 2010 elections.  The TEA Party has been virtually ignored in the media, a big reason why I wrote a couple of months ago that the TEA Party needed to hold another rally while the #OWS nonsense was going on.

People tried telling me that was a bad idea, that the TEA Party didn’t need to have a rally, that they were still around, they just needed to be quiet and focus on winning elections…

Ok.  Fine.  Great.  Now we’ve got a two man race between Romney and Newt, with no TEA Party anywhere to be seen, much less heard from, and all of these people who said “Not a good idea” to a TEA Party rally are lining up behind Romney and Newt.  Stellar.  Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy on the insides, huh?

Where is the TEA Party during these primaries???  Actual votes are being cast RIGHT NOW.  I can write that the TEA Party has died because I now have freakin’ empirical evidence that they are all falling right in behind Candidate More-Of-the-Same-Bullshit.

It’s all so incredibly frustrating.  I want to scream, shout, kick, bite, and claw at the walls.  It’s almost enough to make a red blooded conservative want to run out and beat the first GOP politician he comes across with a stick (most likely the dog catcher around these parts, so I am not really advocating this course of action.  Like Animal in the new Muppets movie:   Seeeellllllfffff ccccooonnnntttrrroolllll) .  I’m fairly certain, outside of another magnanimous gesture from someone with a blog people actually read, that no one will ever see this, but I still need to get it off my chest.  All of that work and effort, and it winds up being useless, hell, worse than useless because prior to the TEA Party, the GOP was done for the next 40 years, but now they’re back, and putting the blinders right back on their base.

The more I think about it all, the more I realize that I have lately been considering taking P.J. O’Rourke’s advice and that I should quit voting.  Might as well.  It looks like there isn’t going to be a single worthy candidate for office again in 2012.  If I go vote and the only options open to me are Obama v. Romney/Newt, Mickey Mouse will just be getting another write in ballot.

Our country is screwed, you know?  That which cannot go on forever won’t, and our country cannot exist like this forever.  We’ve run out of time.

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