Tea Party

The Elephants Are Out of the Zoo in Mississippi

By on 6.24.14 | 5:09PM

The American Spectator has already predicted a win for Tea Partier Chris McDaniel in today's special Mississippi primary run-off. Senator Thad Cochran's embarrassing loss to McDaniel in the earlier June election (he took 48.9 percent of the vote, McDaniels took 49.5 percent, and the rest went to a spoiler) could already have been his coup de grace. A June 20 poll reported by Politico gave him 52 percent with Cochran at 44 percent.

Although the Mississippi run-off is good for race-horse politics, what truly makes it a national story is the fact that GOP elephants seem to be out of the zoo on this one. According to Fox News:

Campaign Crawlers

Shock Waves in Mississippi

By 6.3.14

ITAWAMBA COUNTY, Mississippi — State Sen. Chris McDaniel finished up an early morning campaign stop Monday by urging his supporters to “push like you’ve never pushed before” to get voters to the polls in Tuesday’s Republican primary. Polls show the Tea Party-backed challenger is neck-and-neck with incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and turnout will be the decisive factor in a bitterly contested GOP fight that has drawn national attention.

“If we can unseat a 42-year incumbent, it will send shock waves through this country,” McDaniel told about 40 of his supporters who turned out for a breakfast meeting at Chick-fil-A in Tupelo.

A Further Perspective

Texas Primaries: A Chance to Prove the Tea Party Right

By 5.30.14

HOUSTON – Texas Monthly is famous for three things: long-form stories of crime and punishment unsurpassed in American journalism, a barbecue editor who is the Robert M. Parker of smoked meats, and the political commentary of Paul Burka, whose experience and influence gets him called the “dean of the Austin press corps.”

While each of the first two is sui generis, Burka is generic, a perfect representative of what Jay Rosen once called High Broderism, the mainstream approach to political journalism that claims authority by pushing off against “ideologues” on either side. Since Texas is short on commies, Burka ends up pitting Democrats, open-wallet Republicans, and “pragmatists” like himself against conservatives, whom he describes as “extremists,” “bullies,” “ideologues,” “ultra-conservatives,” or anything else that marks them as deviants.

Since the primary runoff was held Tuesday, Burka has exhausted his synonyms for “zealot.”

Boehner and Company Circle the Wagons

By on 5.29.14 | 5:49PM

Since the beginning of his speakership, John Boehner has been trying to find a middle ground between his conservative flank in the form of the Tea Party and the GOP's more moderate faction. Boehner has become known for an unusual style of leadership, described as hands-off and willing to let the groups fight. A new story from Politico, however, indicates that his method might be changing.

Back in 2012, Boehner faced a very rowdy and heated caucus when it came to his re-election as speaker of the House. Nine Republicans voted for someone else while Congressman Steve Stockman voted present. Both Congressman Mick Mulvaney and Congressman Raul Labrador refused to vote. This revolt by members of his own party slightly embarrassed the speaker as he narrowly avoided a second ballot: he received 220 votes, barely enough to cross the necessary 218 threshold.

Mitch McConnell Likely to Prevail in Kentucky

By on 5.20.14 | 5:20PM

It's primary election day in Kentucky, the day the state's Republicans decide whether they will send a long-time Senate minority leader or a Tea Party freshman to face off with Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Mitch McConnell is the Senate minority leader and won his seat in 1984. His challenger is Matt Bevin, a businessman and Tea Party candidate who told the New York Times he would make history by being the first primary candidate to beat an incumbent with a congressional leadership position.

However, the endorsement from Rand Paul, Kentucky's junior Republican senator and a Tea Party hero, went to McConnell. Bevin, despite a lot of attack ads and some time on talk radio, will probably lose. He was twenty points down in polls a week before the election, according to Politico.

Political Hay

How the Tea Party Got 2014 Wrong

By 5.13.14

The North Carolina Republican primaries were a big day for the Tea Party. The movement had not one, but two candidates campaigning to take on Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November. Greg Brannon and Mark Harris had millions of dollars spent on their respective campaigns, yet it was obvious early on that this would be another case of the conservative vote being split. It’s become very typical in Republican primary politics.

Without a unified front, the establishment will always win. The time has come for conservatives to cut their losses and work on races where one candidate can overcome a weaker establishment choice.

In another North Carolina primary the Tea Party missed its chance. Frank Roche is an America-first, small-government candidate who challenged pro-amnesty, establishment Republican Renee Ellmers. Ellmers is a unique member of Congress for whom amnesty is not enough and those who don’t support “comprehensive immigration reform” are “ignorant.” Having more than a million dollars in resources, including more than $200,000 from Mark Zuckerberg, Ellmers won the primary with 58.8 percent of the vote.

Buchananite Rhetoric Reaches Tea Party

By on 2.28.14 | 6:20PM

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) accepts that the GOP is “tone-deaf.” And no, amnesty is not the solution; in fact, it’s part of the problem. It’s the economy, stupid:

The elites are failing America…the Republican Party needs to sever itself from this elite consensus.

Addressing the Tea Party Patriots in Washington Thursday night, Sessions called for a Republican Party that doesn’t overlook the average American worker in favor of Wall Street: succinctly, an economy concerned with “national interest, not special interest.”

Sessions’ slogan isn’t Occupy noise. Like most Republicans, he preaches fiscal sanity: He understands that business, both small and big, suffers from excessive regulations and that spending is out of control.

But fiscal policy doesn’t comprise all of economics. Even so, economics don’t comprise the whole of the nation. Corporate benefits and popular interest can conflict, and Sessions has two instances in mind: immigration reform and free trade.

When ‘Political Realism’ Becomes Unrealistic

By on 2.26.14 | 11:18AM

Rod Dreher claims to understand that populist movements only have to be “credible,” not “flawless,” though I’m skeptical he even holds that position. He writes at the American Conservative:

[Tea Party groups] have failed to appeal beyond a hard core, in part because they are so highly and unrealistically ideological. They seem to exist as a protest movement, not as a movement that can actually get things done. I’ve talked to some Tea Partiers who are reasonable, even if I don’t share their passion or their ideology. But many Tea Partiers of my experience are like better organized version of Occupy: long on outrage, but short on any serious idea about what might be done to fix the (very real) problems that provoked their outrage.

Dreher is expecting too much. The point of a populist movement is to spark mass attention to a specific cause and mobilize. It’s the job of those who agree with the group’s basic ideas—and are politically savvy—to articulate the message and see it translated into policy.

A Further Perspective

Tea Party at the Crossroads: Part II

By 11.13.13

In opposing ObamaCare, the Tea Party took a position that increasing numbers of Americans agree with, now that ObamaCare's potential for disaster is becoming clearer by the day. But in trying to defund ObamaCare without the Congressional votes to do so, the Tea Party made a major tactical mistake.

Polls show that this mistake has already hurt the Republican Party, the only party that has any chance of repealing ObamaCare. To have any realistic prospect of repealing ObamaCare may require the Republicans to win both the 2014 and 2016 elections.

The Tea Party's failed and foredoomed defunding effort predictably got the Republicans blamed for shutting down the government. The fact that the Democrats also went down in the polls means nothing. Politics is a zero-sum game. If it hurts the Republicans more, that helps the Democrats.

Some defend the futile attempt to defund ObamaCare on grounds that it is much harder to repeal a law after it has gone into operation. That may often be true -- but not always.