One other item about today’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Indiana. As Dave Freddoso notes over at the Washington Examiner, the race’s only public poll suggests that a plurality of Tea Party sympathizers support former Sen. Dan Coats. Survey USA said that he was the choice of 30 percent of likely voters who “identify with” the Tea Party movement.
Now, Dan Coats is no Charlie Crist. He compiled a reasonably conservative voting record (with a few exceptions) the first time he was in the Senate and I have no doubt he’d do the same a second time around. But if there was a candidate who fit the profile of what the Tea Party movement was supposed to be about, you would think someone who lobbied for TARP bailout beneficiaries, the pro-Obamacare pharmaceutical industry, “regulatory robber barons,” tariff hikers, and cap and trade would not be that candidate.
Freddoso speculates that “the movement’s sympathizers may not be seeking change quite as radical as one has been led to believe. Their backing of Coats suggests that they’d be happy just finding a Republican who will win in November and take over the Senate seat being vacated by Evan Bayh.” It’s also possible, since 30 percent isn’t much, that the Tea Party supporters may be divided between John Hostettler, Marlin Stutzman, Don Dates, and Richard Beheny.
But the Tea Partiers have billed themselves as a movement that is anti-bailout, anti-corporate welfare, and supportive of candidates who will not just accumulate decent ratings from conservative groups but actively oppose big government even when it is delivered by Republicans. They have goals, like the repeal of Obamacare, that are inconsistent with the way Washington usually does business. We’ll see what impact that has at the polls.