In America, the Republicans have to worry about that pesky Tea Party, while in the UK, the Tories (and everyone else, it seems) has to worry about that pesky UKIP. Both the Tea Party (which is a movement, not a party) and UKIP (which is both) are on the rise due to under-representation of a large block of voters in both countries. But much like the superior Star Wars movie “The Empire Strikes Back,” the establishment powers are doing just that.
Many political news stories in America this year have been about a Tea Party on the ropes. What has happened? Well, it’s pretty simple. The establishment GOP, even though they have a majority in the House thanks to the Tea Party, are pissed off that some of their long-time members are getting bumped off, i.e. Richard Lugar, Bob Bennett, et al and decided to enact revenge in the only way they know how…spending more money. The MSM feigned shock that the Tea Party candidates had a rough go of it this year when it was as simple as the fact that they got outspent and vilified in the press by Republicans. Again…simple, easy.
Across the pond, UKIP just had their watershed moment in the recent by-elections and took from every party: Tories, Labour, Liberal-Democrats. Needless to say, the Tories are pissed and have upped their game:
It is the Conservatives who have gone all out, however – nervous of the damage a win for Ukip would do, the party has reportedly ordered every single one of its MPs to visit the constituency at least three times before Thursday’s ballot.
On David Cameron’s fourth trip he spoke to a group of workers, and told them: “A dog is for life not just for Christmas, it’s a bit the same with your Member of Parliament.”
All the canvassing has prompted something of a local backlash, with one quick-witted businessman setting up an offer of 50p per “single egg for throwing” – encouraging market-goers to “pick a politician”.
But all the activity seems to have paid off, with a poll from Lord Ashcroft suggesting the Tories now have a significant lead among prospective voters.
Interestingly, the Tories haven’t taken the tack of becoming more like UKIP to win back voters but instead have considered a deal with the devil:
An unholy alliance between the Conservative and Labour parties is emerging, with party members in Thurrock, Essex, deliberating on how best to keep Nigel Farage’s new UKIP councillors out of decision-making processes.
Last year, Conservative Party activists slammed UKIP for considering a coalition to keep the Tories out of power in Norfolk, but the Conservatives seem to have adopted these very same tactics as animosity between the two parties shows no sign of relenting.
The Thurrock Gazette reports that in the Essex town where UKIP picked up five seats (three Conservative, two Labour), the Tories and Labour are now in talks over a “grand coalition” which seeks to lock UKIP’s six councillors out of the decision-making process.
It had been noted when the results came in last week that UKIP may now hold ‘kingmaker’ status in the council. But representatives of the 23 Labour and 18 Conservatives members “had anticipated a Ukip surge and were discussing the prospect of teaming up ahead of last week’s vote, which left both Thurrock’s main parties a lot lighter.”
One source told the local paper: “I’d lay my money on a grand coalition between Labour and the Conservatives. Talks have already taken place and more are planned.”
This scheme didn’t pan out, but it shows you just how far the establishment types are willing to go to protect their turf. Imagine, the Democrats and Republicans in America forming an alliance to keep the Tea Party down. Well, we don’t have to imagine it. It happens every day.
Turning to Mississippi, we have an establishment Republican incumbent being challenged by a Tea Party candidate and all hands are on deck to maintain the staus quo, even if it means delaying retirement:
The Abramoff connection is another reminder for Mississippi voters that Cochran’s real address isn’t his cabin in Oxford or his phantom apartment at Webber’s crib. It’s on K Street.
In fact, in a Washington Post interview over the weekend, Cochran said he had intended to leave the Senate after this current term, but he changed his mind:
Cochran said he is running because others encouraged him to seek another term. “I thought it was time for me to retire,” he said. “I thought I’d served long enough. …But people were saying, what are we going to do without you?”
Crush the establishment.
So yesterday there was a big floor battle over the changing of some RNC rules that some say would squelch the grassroots and give more power to the beltway insiders of the party. Many were shocked (shocked!) at this power-grab the establishment wing of the party at a time when unity is needed to defeat Obama. To me, it’s not much of a surprise.
Erick Erickson over at RedState floated an interesting theory.
I’ve been talking to some of the older delegates who have been around for a while. They have a theory that only people who’ve been in politics at this level for a very long time could come up with.
Back in 1992, John Sununu had been pushed out of the White House as Chief of Staff, but was still a committed partisan for George H. W. Bush. Ben Ginsberg was a lawyer with the Republican Party.
In 1992, Pat Buchanan challenged George H. W. Bush, forced his way into the convention as a speaker, and lots of conservatives rallied to him. It was a very bad year for Team George H. W. Bush and to this day social conservatives and Pat Buchanan get blamed.
This year, John Sununu and Ben Ginsberg are with Mitt Romney. They saw an upstart campaign from Rick Santorum, who rallied social conservatives like Pat Buchanan did in 1992. He got himself onto the convention stage with a speech, tonight, on welfare that a number of prominent Republicans are worried about.
The Republican Party has been in a state of civil war for at least 50 years. Back in Goldwater’s day he was fighting a Republican establishment that was “New Deal Light” thus leading to his campaign slogan “A Choice, Not An Echo.” And like those Republicans in the 1960s that weren’t overly concerned about LBJ, many of them today are not as concerned about Obama as they might let on. And why should they be? They are part of the elite and when you’re in that club the rules don’t apply to you. For them, it’s about the game, having a seat at the table. Even if our worst fears are realized with Barack Obama, John Sununu and Ben Ginsberg aren’t going to have to worry about losing their house(s) or standing in an unemployment line. They’re concerned about having a piece of the action and the prestige that comes with it and in some cases, yes, about settling scores. Sununu has been an excellent surrogate in the media for Mitt Romney but many of us will never forget that he is the one responsible for Supreme Court Justice David Souter; a mistake that has had lasting effects. I’m sure Sununu associates the Tea Party with the Pat Buchanan crowd of yesteryear, but the Tea Party isn’t just social-cons; it’s also libertarians like myself who have eyes and know what they’re for.
Bottom line, the GOP civil war is not going to be won or lost by the changing of minds; it’s all about the numbers. Until there’s more of us than there are of them, we don’t have a chance of controlling the party. We’ve made inroads but you see how people like Senator Ron Johnson, who refuse to tow the elitist’s line, get punished with stories planted in the press about “difficulty” and the like. So, to combat this we have to send more Ron Johnsons to Washington. It’s as simple as that. Until we send enough of the right people to Washington, guys like John Boehner will run the party. Don’t get mad, get to work.
Today we have a guest post from the Libertarian Popinjay’s Senior Economic Analyst “UJ” coming from his secret hideaway in the center of the U.S. of A. It reads as follows:
The word from Leavenworth Street goes forward starting with the November election:
1). Obama wins by a landslide. Republican mouth pieces blame the MSM.
2) Sincere Republicans blame the party for nominating… “an echo, not a choice.”
3) January S O T U Address: Obama will put on a big act and play the role of a national unifier. He will give the appearance of moderation and conciliation. There will be some slight tinkering with the national health care law with MUCH hoopla.
4) The MSM will begin to turn as Obama’s 2nd term becomes yesterday’s news, but it will be too late.
5) By 2014 the road to Socialism will have no exits, only slightly alternative routes.
6) People born in the early 1970’s [Ed. note: like the Popinjay] will be forced to work until age 80 and will be told that they should be thankful that there are jobs available and are healthy enough to work, thanks to OBAMACARE.
AWOMEN (formerly AMEN)
Barry Rubin has an excellent column today on death of political discourse. Read the whole thing but here’s the heart of the text:
We are facing something truly remarkable. A system in which those on one side — and obviously this applies to far more than just the Israel issue — can simply wave aside any logical argument and ignore any evidence. All that’s needed is a category of denunciation: racism, hate speech, Islamophobia, etc., along with other catchwords like “fair share,” “one percent,” “global warming deniers,” and down the list.
Where did this come from? How was this remarkable weapon developed? One can mention the Frankfurt School or Saul Alinsky but clearly we are dealing with one of the most amazing and effective inventions in the modern history of political debate and struggle. It is the magic wand that turns terrorists into victims and victims into terrorists.
And sadly, it’s a tactic that even the GOP has embraced.
Awful headline. I do apologize.
Anywho, Barack Obama got about as clear a message as you can get from the voters of New York Congressional District 9 sending Republican Bob Turner to Washington, D.C. to fill out Anthony Weiner’s term.
Now I plead with the GOP presidential candidates: Get off the Gardasil and start talking about the issues that matter. If the debate moderator ask a stupid, irrelevant question, ignore it and talk about how our country is being destroyed by a man with a G-d complex who is completely out of touch.
Perhaps one of the most shocking outcomes of the recent debt deal is how split the Conservative punditry is over the outcome. Rush, Levin, Hannity, Erickson and others are convinced the Conservatives got played and this is a huge setback. Others, like Charles Krauthammer see the deal as a huge victory for the Tea Party even comparing it to Henry V at Agincourt (Google it).
My take? I think now that the debt deal is done, we need to take a deep breath and rearm for battle. In my mind, a more apt historical metaphor would the Battle of Gettysburg. It’s a victory that feels like a defeat because it was so bloody, and it’s a victory in a much larger war. Again, it doesn’t feel like victory because we lost so much, but what little we did gain can be built upon and ultimately lead to winning the war, just as Gettysburg did for the Union.
Look, if not for the Tea Party members of Congress, this would have been a non-issue. Obama would get everything he wanted, the forces of statism would have marched on the capitol without a hint of opposition and the cradle to grave welfare state would be assured. In the end, we still have a higher debt ceiling, lots of spending and tax hikes looming (depending on who you talk to), but there were rebel forces there to meet the marching hordes. We bloodied them. Indeed, we could have done more with better Generals, but we did bloody them. Now is not the time to go wobbly and say it’s hopeless. Now is the time to send reinforcements. Now is the time to send Mike Lee, Jim DeMint, Ron Johnson and Rand Paul some backup. Now is the time to get Marco Rubio in front of every camera in the District of Columbia. Now is the time to get a Rick Perry or Sarah Palin in the White House and keep pushing the hordes back further and further until they’re forced to regroup, reinvent their message and start over.
It not too late, it can still be done. We’ve got one more chance to turn this thing around: 2012. 2010 was the prologue, 2012 will be the year we finally answer Ronald Reagan’s question of whether we will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. Over the top? Maybe, but by the time you answer that question, it’ll be too late.
UPDATE: Great minds think alike. Ed Morrissey’s take on the deal/battle.
Not too long ago, he looked like the great GOP/Tea Party hope: a Midwestern governor who had his state running like a well-oiled machine; conservative; dull; just what America needs after four years of megalomania. Then he started making odd statements…saying social issues should take a back seat; generally I agree with that, but there’s no reason to pronounce it when you need the support of social conservatives; and saying he couldn’t really debate Obama on foreign policy. Folks, I could debate Obama on foreign policy and win in a route. Thus, his star began to fade, but what ho? The establishment, elite GOPers started to love him. Yikes! Now we find out (supposedly) that his wife doesn’t want him to run. Look, I’m no more sexist than any other man but this doesn’t exactly help his alpha-male rating.
So it’s probably for the best that he has decided not to run. Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom explains why better than I can: (emphasis mine)
The truth is, at some other moment in time, Daniels may have made a good GOP candidate. But this is an election where, win or lose, conservatives have to make their case and present a clear, unambiguous, and unapologetic defense of liberty, individualism, free market capitalism, natural rights, and the rule of law proceeding from the Constitution. Whether you like Daniels or not — and many swear by him — it is clear that his particular worldview is that conservatives must bracket social and “wedge” issues; strain to be liked (as opposed to merely being likeable); and bend over backwards to understand and in some ways accommodate the opposition.
This was the same counsel we received by a cowed GOP establishment in 2008 after McCain, who ran just such a campaign, was soundly whipped. And it’s the same advice being repeated back to us — by mostly those same people — that we’re to heed now that the 2012 election season is in its infancy, lest we be marginalized as extremists and rhetorical Visigoths.
No offense, “pragmatists.” But pound sand. We need to wake Americans up and give them a definitive choice. Those who would tell us the era of Reagan is over — that conservatism / classical liberalism itself needs be re-imagined as a sort of big government, low-tax “compassionate” nannystate — are not among those opinions we should bother with.
An interesting article on Real Clear Politics about the governor of my home state and his role in the GOP Presidential race. Omaha’s TV market flows into western Iowa so his endorsement will get plenty of play leading up to the Iowa Caucus. Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman is pretty savvy from what I can tell from this distance. Let’s hope he chooses wisely.