Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Is The GOP Still In Charge of Itself?

I have watched, with more interest than I would normally do, I must confess, the role the tea party is playing in the goings on in the Republican Party as it concerns the election of candidates for the upcoming elections for congress. What has been outstanding has been the frequency with which the tea party has usurped the candidates that were backed by the national party -the establishment, if you will.

This has had the effect of putting the Republican Party in some sort of quandary, in the sense that they are saddled with candidates whom they’re not very comfortable with. In most cases, these are candidates the national party has run negative campaign ads against, a fact that makes it even more uncomfortable now that they would be forced to work with these candidates.

What has happened, so far, has been that the beaten establishment candidates have found it difficult to accept the victorious tea party nominees and vice versa. Examples of this abound but I will mention only two in Nevada and Alaska. In both states, the defeated establishment candidates have refused to reconcile with the victors even refusing to attend the reconciliation parties that are thrown in order to bring the party together after election primaries. In fact, the Alaskan losing candidate has gone as far as intimating that she might still run in the general elections as a third party candidate. This scenario is in very sharp contrast with the one presented by pundits and party leaders of the Republican Party which is one of unrivalled party unity and confidence heading into the fall elections.

Another fact that has held my interest is the quality of these tea party candidates that have been selected the Republican Party’s nominees for the November elections. These are mostly people who would have been judged too extremist to be considered as candidates a scanty two years ago. Candidates like Sharron Angle of Nevada whose views that social security should be scrapped and that women should not have the right to chose abortion even in cases of rape and incest are, at best, very far right. It was also Ms. Angle who said, and keeps repeating, that Americans should expect conservatives to pick up their guns and fight their way to power if they fail to get it through the ballot box.

In other words, Ms. Angle is calling for a civil war in the event that conservatives don’t succeed in electing all their extremist candidates which makes you wonder if this is just Sharron Angle talking or maybe something behind her. You also have nominees like Rand Paul who in addition to wanting to privatize social security and scrap Medicare, also wants to abolish the department of education and remove all regulations leaving industries and corporations to run on their own terms.

Then there is the Alaskan Joe Miller whose positions keep changing with every new interview. First he was for scrapping social security, then he was for privatizing it and then he changed to ending it for any child born from the day he is sworn into office as a senator of the United States of America. This is in addition to his changing views on federal spending where Mr. Miller had held that Alaska should gain control of lands currently run by the federal government, which would have allowed the state to receive fewer federal funds. In an about face typical of his views on every other issue, Mr. Miller changed his position saying in a press statement that he rejects the notion that his election would result in an end to federal spending in Alaska. Talk about eating your cake and having it.

The Republican Party also has nominees like Christine O’Donnell from Delaware who holds beliefs as far fetched as being anti masturbation. In an MTV interview that Ms. O’Donnell gave some years back, she had advised that people stay away from masturbation because it’s ungodly and unchristian like. This, in itself, is not such a bad advice, but given that the tea party keeps touting its Christian roots, this next candidate is a bit hard to explain and that brings me to the nominee for New York state gubernatorial election, Mr. Carl Paladino. Mr. Paladino has been known to send emails of people having sex with animals to his friends with notes like “Take it easy big fella”. Now, isn’t that something that the “Christian” tea party is so large and diverse that it can deliver two candidates with one being anti masturbation and the other being pro bestiality? Such a wonderfully large tent they have, indeed.

Seeing all these brings me to this pertinent question, what is going on in the Republican Party? I can proffer some answers here but I can’t vouch for the correctness or otherwise of them. One answer is that the rich owners of the party have become discontented with the pace of the establishment Republicans in advancing their (the rich’s) programs and want to replace them with these radicals with whom they feel they can get their agendas passed into law no matter how outlandish they might be.

Another possible answer is that the Republican Party has succeeded in creating a monster that is now on the verge of devouring it. Explanation being that the tea party which was created as a means to fight the policies of the government controlled by the Democratic Party has now grown a mind of its own and has turned into a cancer that is threatening the very life of the same thing it was supposed to save.

You only need to hear some of the sentiments expressed by some of that party’s leadership on many of the tea party candidates to realize that all is not well in the Grand Old Party. A ready example is the recent outburst on Christine O’Donnell by Carl Rove while speaking on Sean Hannity’s Fox news program. In the outburst, Mr. Rove described Ms. O’Donnell in very unsavory terms and ended up by calling her a liar who cannot win in the general elections.

So what does the future hold for the Republican Party and its favorite son the tea party? That’s a hard question to answer right now because we won’t know until after November when the ballots will have been counted and the elections concluded. Only then can we know, for sure, the direction in which that party is headed and whether its favorite child will still be along for the ride.

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