Not so Dead After All: Tea Party Is Planning More Damage on the Right

Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

… Across the country, deeply conservative organizations angry about the concession on tax increases are pledging more, not fewer, primary challenges to Republicans they believe are straying too far from the party’s orthodoxy on taxes, guns, energy, immigration, spending and abortion.

“The gloves are off,” said Everett Wilkinson, a founder of the Tea Party movement in Florida. “We’re going to challenge a lot of the G.O.P. going forward,” he added, both in primaries and general elections. ...NYT

That would have seemed like a threat to the Democrats, now seen as the party of decency, economic recovery, and forward movement. The Dems, let’s remember, won Florida in spite of efforts on the part of Republicans to game the vote. That and the right’s growing reputation as the do-nothing, obstructionist faction may simply reduce Republicans to further embarrassment at the polls. Moderate members of the party are cringing but planning to mobilize from the center

Steven C. LaTourette, who retired from his Ohio Congressional seat at the end of the year and will become the president of the Republican Main Street Partnership, said his group would raise money to defend middle-of-the-road Republicans against the more conservative groups.
“There has to be an acceptance within the party of people who have nonidentical views on every issue,” Mr. LaTourette said. “You can’t be a national party unless you invite in and are accepting of members with different visions. You can’t treat them as pariahs.”...NYT

Abortion, same-sex marriage, gun rights and immigration are seen as political issues that Republicans will have to stay away from rather than embrace. Their win in the House wasn’t really a win. They were saved from a loss by having successfully gerrymandered districts in some states to block a Democratic upset. Democrats know that. Republican voters may be catching on. As they head into 2014 without the support of women and Hispanics, their political strength in 2013 is considerably weakened.

“Republicans will get their mojo back when they define themselves as the party of economic growth and upward mobility,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican who will become the president of Purdue University next week. Mr. Daniels said new lawmakers and governors — many of whom are minorities and women — would reshape the Republican Party. ...NYT


CBS News shows a picture of tea party activists that obliterates any notion that the Republican party will be able to control them.

Long-standing geographic tensions have increased, pitting endangered Northeastern Republicans against their colleagues from other parts of the country. Enraged tea party leaders are threatening to knock off dozens of Republicans who supported a measure that raised taxes on the nation’s highest earners.
“People are mad as hell. I’m right there with them,” Amy Kremer, chairman of the Tea Party Express, said late last week, declaring that she has “no confidence” in the party her members typically support. Her remarks came after GOP lawmakers agreed to higher taxes but no broad spending cuts as part of a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.” …CBS/DC News

President Obama’s choice of issues to lead off his second term are bound to exacerbate Republican divisions.

Obama has outlined a second-term agenda focused on immigration and gun control; those are issues that would test Republican solidarity even in good times. Deep splits already exist between Republican pragmatists and the conservative base, who oppose any restrictions on guns or allowances for illegal immigrants.

It’s unclear whether Obama can exploit the GOP fissures or whether the Republican dysfunction will hamper him. With Boehner unable to control his fractured caucus, the White House is left wondering how to deal with the House on any divisive issue. …CBS/DC News

And the bad cop-good cop Obama-Biden team may be just what Republicans most dread at this point.


The Chicago Tribune writes the Republican Party off as the Groping Old Party.


Probably the most naive defense of the tea party — which, you’ll remember, began as a genuine populist movement but was very quickly bought out by Dick Armey, American Crossroads, and the Koch brothers — is that it is still “populist.” That surprising defense comes from Michael Hirsh at Atlantic.

Sorry, but I think the drama is far from over. The rebellion against the size of government is a true populist movement, and it’s not going away. The debt limit is still the biggest card the tea party has. They’re going to use it. ...The Atlantic

Cross-posted from Prairie Weather

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