Sep 26 2010
I think the Political Industrial Complex on the right is still trying to take control of the Tea Party, and is missing the point of the movement. I have said for a year this is a libertarian movement, not a social conservative movement. And two recent articles make the point quite clearly.
First, via RCP, there is this great USA Today article about how the only ‘civil war’ in the GOP, or in the country, is between the rising tide of voter anger with DC and the dinosaurs of the entrenched Political Industrial Complex:
Powell is right. The political center has shifted. Polls show that independents have moved right and are staying there. A recent one, conducted by Democratic pollster Doug Schoen in late August for the conservative Independent Women’s Voice, calls it a “fundamental realignment” as independents now lean to the right by 2 to 1. The survey asked independents what they would like candidates to do. The list of answers is clear: “Decrease the size and scope of government, cut spending and taxes, balance the budget, reduce the federal debt, reduce the power of special interests and unions, repeal and replace the healthcare legislation, and decrease partisanship.”
Notice what’s not on that list: climate change, financial regulation, bank bailouts, auto bailouts, troop surges, lawsuits on immigration reform, and repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Other things are also not on the list: ending abortion (though the making sure no dollars come from the feds for abortions will pass), forcing creationism on schools (though I would bet freedom to pray would be part of rolling back the government), etc. Anything that hints at an intrusive government pushing conservative social values is not a priority. The nation wants the government pared down to its minimum size needed. On the list: decrease partisanship – i.e., build consensus. It screams “more RINOs and DINOs and independents please“.
There is another article that brings this home by identifying ‘5 things [social] conservatives should be wary of in the Tea Party‘. Items #1 and #2 distill out the truth quite nicely:
1. Lack of reverence for conservative leaders and organizations. It has been my observation that many of today’s new activists are quick to conflate being “old” with being part the establishment. This is probably natural, but it is not always helpful. To be sure, some conservative leaders have been corrupted or co-opted.
2. A move away from social conservatism. Just as the rise of Christian conservatives in the late 1970s and 1980s profoundly changed the conservative movement, the Tea Party has the potential to change it once again, possibly making it more libertarian. While many Tea Partiers are full-spectrum conservatives, it’s fair to say that government spending and the failed economy are the galvanizing forces right now.
I think #1 shows why the movement is not being led by Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham or Mark Levin. They are cheerleaders, but not seen as the leaders. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin get the nod as being the visionaries of the movement, as do all the elected candidates running for office across the country. They are the movement and will decide priorities and focus.
#2 is just a reminder that the common ground of this movement is limited and does not extend too far to the right. This has been from the beginning a centrist movement and a centrist shift. It was unique in that it grew spontaneously from those who never had been politically active before.
Remember, I am pro-life and against embryonic stem cell research, and I really wish the latter was on the agenda. But I come at it from a balance of scientific and moral opposition – one that uses science to prove the lives being destroyed for spare parts are human individuals. Few realize to this day that science and existing law regarding DNA testing can prove beyond doubt embryos are viable human beings. And the lack of results in embryonic research prove the claims of many of us that humanity is maybe a century away from manipulating cells at this level, while adult stem cell research keeps producing amazing results each and every year. This matter will have to be pushed carefully in proscribing the limits of government. To have a even a hearing, though, we need the Tea Party movement to win.
As the first article notes there is no battle going on in the movement, the consensus of its focus and wrath is quite clear:
Despite what the White House says, the Tea Party agenda is more mainstream than the Obama agenda. That’s why, by a 52-to-40 margin, a majority of likely voters say their views are closer to Sarah Palin’s than to President Obama’s, according to Rasmussen Reports.
Among all Americans, the federal debt now has become the “top perceived threat” to the future of our nation—even topping terrorism in Gallup polls from this summer—driven by Tea Party supporters’ heightened concerns about fiscal irresponsibility. The national debt has become its own national security issue.
What Obama doesn’t seem to see is that there’s already a consensus, a new American mainstream centered on the need for reining in government taxing and spending, ending the squabbling, and reforming entitlements. The White House doesn’t realize that the “war” is over. The voters won.
It’s not just the White House still trying to adjust to this Brave New Country out there. It is the entire Political Industrial Complex – who still don’t truly see what is coming.