Oh my. Juan Williams probably didn't make his overlord Rupert Murdoch too happy with this segment on Fox News Sunday. What's next? Him letting everyone know that one of their owners is a sponsor of the "ground zero mosque" that's not a mosque? The horror! Williams actually dares to point out that outside groups like the health care industry and the oil industry are funding the "Tea Party" astroturf movement.
I found it fairly humorous to hear the rest of them on the panel pretend like this is not just the fringe right of the GOP while admitting that the so called "movement" has been good for Republicans in the mid-term elections with energizing their base and that they've not taken the movement outside of the party. Well of course they haven't. The teabaggers are the Republican Party and as we've said before, nothing but a re-branding effort to get that Bush stink off of the name. And note to Liz Cheney, if there's an "elite" sitting at the table, it's you, not Juan Williams. Your butt would not have had the job you did at the State Department or be sitting on Fox News as a panelist if it weren't for your daddy.
WALLACE: Juan, you know, I want to get back to this point. At least seven states that we counted, tea party insurgent candidates beat the Republican establishment candidates. I don't think you can ignore the fact that there's a sea change going on here inside the Republican Party.
WILLIAMS: I don't see how you can get away from the idea that there's a, I guess, civil war or whatever you want to call it going on within the party for exactly what does the Republican Party represent.
In fact, so much money that is funding the tea party clearly now is coming from outside the Republican establishment, some of it coming from, I guess, the health care industry, some of it from the oil industry. They're all angry at Barack Obama.
But they've overdosed now in terms of the anger at Obama -- you know, Obama's a socialist, Obama's a Muslim, Obama's this and that, not born in the country. And it's stirred up things to the point where I think the establishment has lost control and the tea party is now in control in terms of picking candidates. And when I hear you guys talking about O'Donnell, I mean, it's amazing to me. OK, so O'Donnell has trouble with taxes, her academic credentials, paying for school, paying her own mortgage. She's someone with no record.
And when you start to talk policy -- you know, Obama's un- American, she wants to do away with the Education Department, she's someone who says her jobs plan for America is simply cut the capital gains tax, I think when the voters of Delaware -- by the way, Delaware has very few Republican voters, more independents than Republicans, and more Democrats than independents -- I just think people are anti- establishment and willing to challenge things. They're wiling to give Republicans a chance.
But when they look at that kind of candidate, they say, "This is fringe. This is extreme." And that's the problem across the country.
KRISTOL: Look, O'Donnell may be a bridge too far, and Delaware is not the best state to nominate a very strong -- someone with a very strong conservative message.
But before the whole tea party thing began, when the Republican Party was the kind of party Juan liked, where the establishment was in charge, everything was quiet...
CHENEY: I missed that.
KRISTOL: ... on February 19th...
WILLIAMS: I missed that, too.
KRISTOL: ... on February 19th, 2009, when Rick Santelli did the -- you know, launched the tea party, so to speak, with his rant on CNBC, Republicans were trailing in the generic congressional ballot by about nine points. They had lost the national vote for Congress by 10 points -- more than 10 points in 2008.
Now they're ahead in the national congressional generic ballot by about seven points. That's about a 16-point swing. That has coincided with a huge amount of tea party activism with all these upsets in congressional and Senate races. Republicans at the time, if you looked at the standard forecast in the middle of 2009 before the tea party movement got going -- they might pick up a few House seats. They might pick up one or two Senate seats. Now they look like they're going to pick up 50 or 60 House seats and...
WALLACE: Don't you think...
KRISTOL: ... eight Senate seats.
WALLACE: Don't you think Barack Obama and the performance of the Democrats had...
WALLACE: ... a little bit to do with that, too?
KRISTOL: They did have a lot to do it with. But I still would say that the -- but not everything. And I think the sense that it's a new Republican Party, that there's citizen activism, that it's not, with all due respect to the former leaders, the Bush, Dole, McCain Republican Party, that when you vote Republican this time you're not simply voting for the old guys who messed things up in the Republican Congress and who were kicked out in 2006 or again, much as I like some of them personally, the people in the Bush administration.
You're voting for a new set of Republicans, newly energized conservatives willing to take a fresh look. I think that has been, on net, a big plus for Republicans and conservatives.
WILLIAMS: It has been a plus because it's...
WILLIAMS: ... energized the Republican base. The energy of American...
KRISTOL: It's brought in a lot of independents. How can these polls...
WILLIAMS: ... politics for the last year has come from the tea party.
WALLACE: Wait, let...
WILLIAMS: I don't have any doubt about that.
WALLACE: Juan -- wait. Juan, briefly go.
WILLIAMS: And I think that, in fact, it's a big benefit if you look towards the fall that Republicans are energized, much more likely to turn out their voters than Democrats.
But if you start to actually say, "Well, wait, you know, the election's not today, it's in several weeks," and Americans, including many independent swing voters who had been leaning Republican until now are going to start to hear about these candidates -- you know, Joe Miller talking about unemployment benefits, unconstitutional? Oh, my God.
WALLACE: OK. All right. And let me...
WILLIAMS: You know, people are going to think, "Are these people lunatics?"
WALLACE: Let me simply point out one of the facts. In studying up this week, it turns out that in all of the statewide races, all -- in the primaries across the country, 4 million more people voted for Republicans than for Democrats. That's the lowest turnout ever in all the primaries for Democrats and the highest turnout for Republicans since 1970. So the Republicans have got something going on.
EASTON: Well, the other thing is that the, you know, tea party candidates -- they could have taken this outside the Republican Party. We could have seen a third party movement. But instead they've kept it inside the party. And that is -- it's befuddled the establishment leaders, but it's also created a level of energy inside the party that could have existed outside.
CHENEY: And I think as long as Juan and others who are sort of part of the liberal elite establishment refer to...
CHENEY: ... refer to people who have strongly held conservative common-sense values as lunatics, the Republicans are going to do extremely well.
WILLIAMS: I didn't see...
CHENEY: ... this November and in 2012 as well.
WILLIAMS: I haven't heard much common sense, Liz. what I...
WALLACE: OK. OK.
WILLIAMS: What I -- I don't hear common sense.
WALLACE: All right. Take it to the commercial, guys. We have to take a break here.