Blame Republicans’ defeat on the Tea Party
Now that the people have spoken, what have they told us about our political system?
The answer is simple. The Tea Party is the problem.
If nothing else, this election cycle has been a referendum on the corporate-funded, astro-turf movement that seems to misunderstand the Constitution, the very document that it wraps itself in.
Across the country, candidates who aligned themselves with this group went down in defeat. In New Hampshire, U.S. Rep. Charlie Bass – a one-time moderate Republican – courted the Tea Party crowd and lost to Democrat Annie Kuster. Perennial political loser Ovide Lamontagne claimed he would be “Scott Walker on steroids” and now he has the distinction of losing yet again, this time to moderate Democrat Maggie Hassan, a protegée of Gov. John Lynch.
On the national stage, several Gadsden-flag-waving candidates got into hot water with their clueless comments on rape, abortion and other issues important to women. They went against the concept of limited government that the Tea Party supposedly cares so much about by demanding that government take control of women’s bodies – and paid the ultimate price at the polls.
Most embarrassing for the GOP: The Democrats seemed to have a crystal ball regarding the Tea Party’s poisonous effect. Claire McCaskill used her own money to purchase ads about Republican Todd Akin during the Republican primary highlighting his positions that appealed to GOP voters – because she knew that he would be the easiest candidate to beat.
In the presidential race, I still believe as I did during the GOP primary that the one man who could’ve beaten President Obama was Jon Huntsman. He was the furthest thing from a Tea Party candidate that the GOP had. Huntsman is an intelligent, moderate, reasonable, experienced politician with a track record of economic success and a penchant for putting country before party. And he even believes in global climate change!
For all this he was ridiculed by the other Republican presidential candidates during the primary. In the end, the GOP went with the chameleon from Massachusetts who reinvented himself yet again for the 2012 campaign as a hard-right, socially conservative Tea-Party type. We all know how well that worked for him.
My hope for the Republican Party is that its two-year love affair with the Tea Party is over. Everything they stand for has been disproved. Obama is not going to take anyone’s guns away.
The founders – contrary to what the Tea Party says – were not anti-government. Freedom, it turns out, extends to a woman’s right to an abortion – thanks to Roe v. Wade.
In the aftermath of the national Tea Party debacle, I predict that Republicans like Huntsman will reemerge as the core of the Republican Party. Perhaps then they can once again compete as a legitimate party in our political process.
(Dan Williams of Concord is a professional musician and educator.)