Can the marriage between the Tea Party and the GOP survive?
My answer is: It better. The White House is occupied by a lifelong anti-American radical who has done more to bankrupt this nation’s economy, take us down as a military power, and destroy individual liberty than anyone would have thought possible in January 2009 when he took office. And it’s worse than that. Obama is the head of a Democratic party that has moved so far to the left over the last 46 years that it has become anti–free market, anti-individualist, anti-constitutionalist, and unready to defend America’s sovereign interests at home and abroad. We cannot afford to let such a party run our government for another four or eight years. The world cannot afford it.
So how do we hold together the conservative coalition opposing this national suicide? How do we make this marriage survive? First of all, by recognizing that the basic difference between the Tea Party and the Republican party is a matter of tactics and temperament, not policy and ideology. To understand what I mean by this, one has to go back to the flashpoint that has made the possibility of a Republican schism a topic of the day: the famous alleged government shutdown by tea-party hero Ted Cruz. I probably should acknowledge here that I am a huge fan of what the Tea Party represents, though not always what it does. I believe the emergence of the Tea Party is the most important political development in conservatism in the last 25 years, and is possibly the last best hope for our country.
The government shutdown was the alleged result of Senator Cruz’s filibuster of a continuing resolution to fund the government. In fact, the House had passed a resolution to fund the government but not Obamacare. In the Senate, however, Majority Leader Harry Reid stripped the Obamacare-funding ban from the bill. Cruz conducted a one-man filibuster to express his opposition, both to Reid and to the Republicans who voted to fund Obamacare rather than join him. And so Republicans attacked each other instead of the real culprits.
You might ask yourself this question: What would have happened if the Republican party and the Tea Party and the big PACs run by Rove and Koch had funded a $30 million campaign to put the blame on Obama and Reid, where it belonged? There was no such campaign. All the parties on our side failed to take the fight to the enemy camp. The finger-pointing that followed is just another example of the circular firing squad that we on the right are so good at and that continually sets us back.
Here’s a second important point that applies to all the frictions between tea partiers and Republican regulars. The conflict among the Right about the Obama shutdown was not about policy. It was about tactics. Every Republican in Congress is opposed to Obamacare, with no exceptions. Not a single Republican legislator voted for it. Not a single Republican legislator would support it. The issue is how best to defeat the Democrats and repeal a monstrous law — how to defeat the socialist party that now controls our government and is hell-bent on bankrupting our country, crippling our military, and destroying the culture of individualism and opportunity that has made this nation what it is.
Understanding that what divides us is tactical, not fundamental, is crucial to keeping the marriage alive. A tactical difference is no grounds for divorce.
Another important point to understand is that there is a difference between politics and policy. Republicans (and I would include conservatives and tea partiers) are good at policy; they are not so good at politics, which is the way one gets to make policy. Do we repeal Obamacare by obstructing it at every turn? Or do we repeal it by lying low until we have a majority and abolishing it at a stroke? And if we lie low, do we demoralize our troops, who see us as compromisers and appeasers, and in effect give up the chance of ever winning a majority and accomplishing our goal? These are the questions that divide us. They are legitimate questions and — excuse me for blurting this out — no one knows the answers. Politics is always a gamble. No one can be sure of what will succeed, which is why we have to respect each other and keep our coalition strong, even though we disagree.
I said we were not so good at politics. Actually we’re terrible at politics. Whenever a Republican and a Democrat square off it’s like Godzilla versus Bambi. They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, and selfish pigs, and we call them . . . liberals. Who’s going to win that argument? They spend their political dollars calling us names and shredding our reputations; we spend ours explaining why the complicated solutions we propose will work and why theirs won’t. But when you are being called a racist, an enemy of women, and a greedy SOB, who do you think is listening to your ideas about the budget? Who is going to believe you when all your motives are ulterior and degenerate?
This is the problem that not only Republicans, but also tea partiers and conservatives, have failed to address. It is why the Democratic party, which supports policies that are morally repugnant and have also failed on an epic scale, still wins elections. Medicare is bankrupt and a mess; Social Security is bankrupt and a mess; the War on Poverty is a trillion-dollar catastrophe that has created worse poverty than it was designed to cure — and yet Democrats can still win elections, and can pass the biggest socialist entitlement and redistributionist scheme ever and get away with it. Until Republicans and tea partiers start to fight fire with fire, this scenario is not going to change. Twenty-five years after the most oppressive empire in human history collapsed because socialist economics don’t work, 49 percent of American youth, according to a recent Pew poll, think socialism is a good system. That’s a political failure on our part. We won the Cold War, but we didn’t drive the stake through the Communist heart. As a result, the vampire of “social justice” has risen again.