Sunday, December 4, 2011

Is the Party Nearly Over?

from The Tennessean
If history tells us anything, the rise of sometime-historian Newt Gingrich to Republican presidential front-runner is a sign that the tea party movement is destroying itself.

After all, the former House speaker has surged to the top of Republican presidential polls on the shoulders of tea party supporters, a movement that ironically came together to topple “Washington insiders” — like Newt Gingrich.

The tea party movement rose up angrily in early 2009 to expose and clean out what its members saw as the greedy Washington fat cats and wheeler-dealers who line their pockets while raising taxes, expanding government and spending taxpayers’ money.

Now, the movement has become a faction of the party whose front-runners are Mitt Romney, who the right largely rejects as too moderate, and Gingrich, the quintessential Washington insider.

After all, this is a man who has earned millions by doing precisely what the tea party rages against: advising, promoting and lobbying for big corporate and public-policy interests.

That includes at least $1.6 million he was paid by Freddie Mac, a government-sponsored enterprise that many conservatives scapegoat for the financial crisis, to help its efforts to block new congressional regulations it didn’t want.

Yet, fiscal conservatives appear to be putting all that aside in the way many social conservatives are looking past his two divorces or his ethical challenges, including his status as the only House speaker to be penalized $300,000 for ethics violations.

No, what’s left of the tea party insurgency appears to be willing to look past Gingrich’s shortcomings in pursuit of a bigger prize, the defeat of President Obama.

One reason for Gingrich’s rise: The tea party and the Grand Old Party have been looking for strong, sure-footed leadership, and no one’s feet are more sure than Newt’s. Gingrich provides leadership the tea party appears to need: someone who can tell a movement what they are for when they only know what they are against.

In a spectacle about as deliberative as American Idol auditions, GOP voters flirted with Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain — before coming back around to Gingrich. Of course, he could be toppled as the latest GOP flavor of the month, but this close to the Iowa caucuses, the timing of his return from the political grave could hardly be more fortunate.

But what does Gingrich’s rise say about the tea party movement? Are they selling out or buying in? Probably some of both. In that way, they’re beginning to look a lot like other conservative Republicans. In other words, business as usual.

So long, tea party. The name remains, but the spirit is fading.

18 comments:

Always On Watch said...

The GOP is hard-pressed to come up with even a marginally-acceptable candidate for conservatives.

**sigh**

I think that the TPM is past its prime and effectiveness now.

The political machine is cranking up for 2012. Such a game.

Joe Conservative said...

OWS was a great diversionary tactic... got the MSM off covering the conseervative Tea Party agenda and back onto covering the radical Left freak agenda.

Gwen Beck's #1 Bedpan said...

We can stop Newt! Subscribe now!

beamish said...

Et tu, Ann Coulter?

Joe Conservative said...

meh.

beamish said...

I hate to say "I told ya so" about the Tea Party, because I think Rush Limbaugh has that line copyrighted.

No bigger pro-Romney effort is walking the planet these days.

beamish said...

Don't look now! South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is endorsing Mitt Romney right alongside he fellow Teabaggers Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Dana Loesch, and Herman Cain!

What is it you Teabaggers like about left-wing candidates anyway?

Joe Conservative said...

Still trying to alienate the Tea Party from the RNC, beamish? I would have thought that a faux-conservative such as yourself would know better.

beamish said...

Perhaps you can explain the "faux conservatism" of your fellow Teabaggers for Romney.

Too big a task for you, Naderite?

beamish said...

LOL

Feel "alienated" yet?

beamish said...

Oh man...

You must be really alienated

LOL

Joe Conservative said...

Why because the Newt is disowning you instead of "fusing"? So much for the "fusionists."

Joe Conservative said...

ps- Did you see Bachmann's polling? Newt has peaked. More Iowans seem to be returning to their "first" impressions.

beamish said...

Henry Wallace. Harold Hughes. Tom Harkin.

Yeah, Iowa's a hotbed of conservatism.

Um, not.

Joe Conservative said...

Must be why they went for Santorum and Romney. For once we agree. Iowa is NOT very conservative. They're full of RINO fusionists.

beamish said...

Keep spinning in the dark, Naderite. You're bound to trip over clue eventually.

More Iowans seem to be returning to their "first" impressions.

That the Ames Straw Poll is worthless?

beamish said...

Have you heard the conspiracy theory about Sarah Palin mercy killing Bachmann's campaign?

Man, those "once usurped by bogus ethics investigations" conservatives got a helleva pimp slap, don't they?

beamish said...

Or is it that Mitt Romney's Tea-stablishment wheel got a little too squeaky?

I've heard if you don't opt out, it will make you retarded. ;)