Now, you're never going to hear any GOP official admit this, but I suspect that the tea party movement has become a bit like Frankenstein's monster to the party establishment. They fomented its origins, fed its growth and now they're having a hard time controlling the beast. It is too wild, too unfocused and too liable at this point to take out not only the designated targets, but a few of the party's own as well.
But these petty details do not concern those who blissfully have never been in the trenches, like Bill Kristol. While Juan Williams suggests that these teabaggers may not act as the party establishment would like, Kristol shrugs it off with effusive praise for the "patriots", saying that the tea party is the best thing that has happened to conservatives in a long time.
Is that so, Bill? I think you might be overly generous with that notion:
The Tea Party Express has toured state after state trying to kick up a debate about constitutional rights and cast doubt on the legality of the recently passed health care overhaul, all with an eye toward the 2010 elections.
But while organizers have held the tour as a way to stay front-and-center as a political force, the rallies have also attracted the kinds of mistruths, exaggerations and conspiracy theories that make Tea Party leaders cringe.
Sorry, Billy Boy, but playing in the weeds of birther, tenther and all other manner of conspiratorial thought does not further the Republican Party one iota. Not that I mind you advocating for it, far from it. The more the public conflates the tea party with the GOP, the better off the Democratic Party is, and therefore, the rest of the country. There was a time where there were "adult" Republicans, but by fanning the flames of reactionary, bigoted, fact-free rage, the teabaggers resemble nothing so much as Frankenstein's monster.
By the way, that "Contract from America" the tea party leadership is now calling for candidates to sign in order to get teabagger support? Have you seen a better example of bumper-sticker sloganism over real policies?
This time it's the Contract From America.
All rage and no solutions. That's been the stinging, but partly true, criticism of the national "tea party" movement that has emerged in American politics during the past year.
But conservatives like [Newt] Gingrich and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour hope that the new contract – a crowd-sourced document that used hundreds of suggestions and nearly half a million online votes to produce a 10-point plank for conservative rebellion – defines a way for the tea party movement to bridge angry protests with ballot box success.
Indeed, despite influencing elections in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Virginia, the tea party movement has so far failed to flex real political muscle. It needs to show voters its activists stand for something, not just against President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress, say many political scientists.[..]
According to a press release from the Tea Party Patriots group that organized the online vote, the 10 points are:
- Protect the Constitution
- Reject cap and trade energy reforms
- Demand a balanced budget
- Enact fundamental tax reform
- Restore fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government in Washington
- End runaway government spending
- Defund, repeal, and replace government-run health care
- Pass an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy
- Stop the pork
- Stop the tax hikes
A key difference from the original Contract With America contract is the absence of stands on social issues such as abortion and the sanctity of marriage – culture war flashpoints that drove deep wedges in the electorate in the 1990s and early 2000s.
It's just another variation on a theme that the Republican Party has used since the Southern Strategy. They play to the lowest common denominator with a bunch of ultimately meaningless talking points (Defund government-run health care? What does that mean? Kill the VA? End Medicare?) to which it will be impossible to keep politicians accountable. After all, look how well Scott Brown, that teabagger victory, has worked for them.
So go ahead, GOP, keep listening to Bill Kristol with his below-the-Mendoza-line record of being correct, and keep regurgitating the same strategies over and over. It may seem momentarily successful, but the truth wins out in the end every time.