OOPS! There goes another conventional wisdom sentence. Some analyses about Sarah Palin have suggested that there is a possibility that if she was unhappy with the GOP that she’d take her Tea Party movement and other followers and possibly run as a third party candidate in 2012.
But that does not seem to be the case now. In an interview she says:
Now the smart thing will be for independents who are such a part of this Tea Party movement to, I guess, kind of start picking a party. Which party reflects how that smaller, smarter government steps to be taken? Which party will best fit you? And then because the Tea Party movement is not a party, and we have a two-party system, they’re going to have to pick a party and run one or the other: ‘R’ or ‘D’
Can you guess which party she’s suggesting?
The danger here is that it could be a harbinger of great battles between those in the Tea Party movement who are EQUALLY critical of Republicans and the Bush administration and talk radio political culture Republicans who see the Tea Party movement as a potential appendage of the Republican party. The latter folks will try to paper over Bush administration failures while stressing Obama administration failures.
But, guess what? Both administrations have had their share.
The key for the Tea Party movement will be whether it appeals to independents who see a systemic failure now due to almost addictive hyperpartisanship and polarization which is gridlocking the system, has made consensus politics as 21st century as pay telephones, put a premium on character definition and attack politics, and weakened the country’s center. Moderates and centrists are today more disliked and distrusted by many on the right and left than usual. Independent voters are NOT always moderates or centrists — but many of them ideed are.
For the increasing number of Americans who feel “a pox on both your houses,” if Tea Party members wind up being de facto defense attorneys for the Republican party versus honestly pointing out the policy failures and policy-halting focus on power games that have gridlocked the system, then the movement that started as a bunch of citizens angry at big government will become one more useful idea gobbled up by a major political party, spit out in a new form wearing a misleading Halloween mask and used for its own partisan purposes.
And a third party run for someone?
It’s always a romantic idea, but, in reality American history shows that the American political system is set up so its Nowheresville. A European political system, it ain’t.
Ross Perot had the best chance until it emerged that he had…ahem…”issues.”
And who could possibly be the next Ross Perot? Chuck Norris? Jesse Ventura? Michael Bloomberg?
If you believe they’d have a chance I can sell you THIS for $10.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.