Tea Party Splash-back? Upset donors balk at giving to Republican Party

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The Tea Party, the House dominated Tea Party, and the influence of talk show hosts in the Republican party is facing a splash back. There are most assuredly Republicans who don’t feel you must be a “RINO” if you feel the Republican House-engineered government shutdown is no problem, or that the danger of a debt default is exaggerated or merely figment of the (not really) liberal news media. And they are making their ire known to reporters.

They are embarrassed, worried and concerned over the sharp-right turn of their party and of their party’s image. And they are starting to talk about withholding big campaign donation bucks.

Note this piece in The Huffington Post that needs to be look at in some detail:

Tension is brewing in the Republican Party as the federal government shutdown enters its seventh day and far-right members of the GOP show no sign of letting up.

The shutdown — which has already affected hundreds of thousands of federal employees and hit critical government programs — is bringing the Republican Party to a boiling point, angering GOP fundraisers and throwing a wrench in the works for the upcoming 2014 elections.

Indeed, the GOP’s we-love-confrontation-and-hate-Obama class is digging in its heels, even as polls show that the Republican Party could lose the House in 2014. Good news for ratings for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; bad news for the Republican Party and serious and thoughtful Republicans everywhere. More from the Huffington Post:

“People are totally annoyed,” one GOP fundraiser told the Washington Post.

Backers of American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS — two influential Republican fundraising groups — attended a conference in Washington D.C. over the weekend. According to the Post, many attendees had similar concerns: they wanted to see the end of Obamacare just as much as the next conservative, but not at the cost of a government shutdown.

“It appears that we’ve got a bunch of crazies running around — one from Texas and some from other places,” Al Hoffman Jr., former finance chairman for the Republican National Committee, told the Post. “I love the idea of defunding Obamacare. However, I don’t think it’s going to happen until we have a majority in the Senate and in the House.”

“I oppose Obamacare as much as anyone else does, but this is not the way to repeal it,” Bobbie Kilberg, a Republican operative who has worked for Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, said to the Post.

Members of the Republican party have voiced concerns over the “Ted Cruz wing of the party”: Tea party-backed members who have relentlessly pushed defunding Obamacare at the cost of a government shutdown. Now, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and their colleagues are jeopardizing the party’s funding.

But the problem here is the problem the GOP has had now for years: a loud, noisy, prominent voice — a Limbaugh, a Sarah Pain, and now a Ted Cruz — can run a fact-less, reality-less verbal crusade and get the party’s base all riled up. The more serious Republicans who sift through facts and analyze likely political and other consquences are then too timid to step forward. So the loudest, meanest, most Face-book-comment or Tweet-worthy Republican voice prevails — and becomes the face of the party. And eventually determines Republican strategy.

Most notable:

“There are a lot of major donors who feel that until the Republican Party can field people who have a vested opinion of what to do and to do it in a prompt and efficient way, we’re going to withhold giving money,” Hoffman told the Post, saying the freeze could affect “a lot of current far-right Republicans.

And this:

The shutdown fallout could also clear the way for more center-right candidates. Tea party-backed candidates are losing the support they once had at home. Their backers are disappointed in their unwillingness to compromise and refusal to collaborate.

The Daily Beast has a piece titled “GOP Donors Revolt Against Republican-Led Government Shutdown” that in effect confirms The Huffington Post and Washington Post reporting:

On a Monday last month, Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, met with some top GOP donors for lunch at Le Cirque on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The donors, a youngish collection of financial industry types and lawyers, had some questions for Walden, a mild-mannered lawmaker from eastern Oregon known for speaking his mind.

Why, they asked, did the GOP seem so in the thrall of its most extremist wing? The donors, banker types who occupy the upper reaches of Wall Street’s towers, couldn’t understand why the Republican Party—their party—seemed close to threatening the nation with a government shutdown, never mind a default if the debt ceiling isn’t raised later this month.

“Listen,” Walden said, according to several people present. “We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”

Walden asked how many of those seated around the table were precinct captains. These were money men, though, not the types to spend night after night knocking on doors and slipping palm cards into mailboxes.

“A lot of the people there didn’t even know what a precinct captain was,” said one attendee.

Not a single hand went up.

“I hear this complaint all the time,” Walden said. “But no one gets involved at the local level. The Tea Party gets involved at the local level.”

(An NRCC spokeswoman disputed that Walden mentioned the Tea Party at the event.)

In journalism this kind of denial is not unusual. While it could be that the reporting got it wrong, it’s also quite possible that there’s an attempt to undo political foot-in-mouth disease by blaming it on that old news media. MORE:

It is unlikely that the gilded power brokers in the Republican Party are likely to join their local county political club any time soon, but as the stock market wobbles amid the government shutdown and the continued demand for an Obamacare delay, a number of GOP donors are wondering if it is time for a little outside counter-pressure to sap the Tea Party of some of its energy. To be clear, none are considering joining the Democrats, and they find plenty of fault with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The deficit, taxes, and regulation remain top concerns. But several top GOP donors say figuring out a way to “break the fever”—as Obama once put it—or at least keep their fellow party members from damaging the economy any further has become Topic A in their social set.

And, most significantly:

“We are finding a marvelous way to grab defeat from the jaws of victory,” said Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based businessman who was a major donor to both of George W. Bush’s presidential campaigns. “The way we are handling this has been a mistake from the beginning. I think we misread where the country was.”

Zeidman pointed to the way the Republicans handled Syria, which, he said, “allowed the administration to fall on their own sword.” He contrasted that with the negotiations around the budget, which he said have overshadowed what should be a winning issue for the GOP, Obamacare.

“The Tea Party is not looking at the big picture,” he said. “In the long run it will have deleterious effects on the whole party when we could have taken the high road. There is so much going on right now with Obamacare, and no one is saying a word about it.”

“I am not writing a check to anyone,” he added. “That is not working for the American people.”

Bobbie Kilberg, a Republican fundraiser who has worked for four Republican presidents, echoed Zeidman.

But you would never know this kind of sentiment existed if you listen to conservative talkers, watch Fox News, watch Ted Cruz on TV or visit websites written by many conservatives. They paint a picture of a united party, a Democratic Party engineered government shut down, of a Barack Obama who can’t wait for a default, and only Democrats, liberals, detested moderates and RINOS are not seeing reality.

Which is why it’s called an “echo chamber.”

embarrassed man graphic via shutterstock.com

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