The Coming Club for Growth Versus Tea Party Fight

January 14th, 2010 at 4:43 pm | 8 Comments |

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One thing political parties and partisans seem never to learn:  the purer you are, the more you lose.

The divisions of Red and Green parties in ancient Rome, where heads literally rolled, have manifested themselves in the blog beheadings by the two greatest proponents of purity in American politics today:  the “progressive” left of the Democratic Party and the “purifier” forces in the Republican Party.  So far, the great achievements of these two forces has been two-fold:  the Progressives have been able to help President Obama’s approval ratings  tank; and, the Republican purists have been able to facilitate the Republican loss of the 23rd House District of New York and help push Sen. Arlen Specter over to the Democratic Party.

But, MoveOn.org and the Club for Growth have so much more work to do.  After all, the theological nature of these two groups demands that they drive out apostasy even if it means that they defeat the very policies they purport to support.

One of the best current examples is Charlie Crist in Florida.  By all accounts, Crist should have as close to a lock  on the next Senate seat from Florida as one can have. But,  fueled by support from the most conservative social and anti-tax elements in the Florida GOP, former Florida State House Speaker Marco Rubio has decided to challenge Crist in the Republican primary.   The first palpable result of this internecine war has been the resignation of Florida GOP Chairman Jim Greer last week.  While the resignation emerged from a variety of factors, a major one was the fact that Greer supports Crist.

Adding injury to insult, Crist’s home county Republican Party Executive Committee took a straw poll to see where the GOP activists stood on the race — and Rubio won, 106-54.  Media reports are that Crist is now running a new web video that tries to paint Rubio as a “late-comer” to the true conservative faith.  A  chance exists that the two will scar each other up enough that the Democrats will gain the seat.  Then, both the Club for Growth and the Tea Party activists can claim victory—after all they then would have helped elect someone who will vote against the interests of both groups.

The old cliché is that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.  Expecting a Democratic Senator to pursue the interests of the Club for Growth is a form of insanity.

The facile observation that this is the result of “Tea Party” anger misses a larger historical theme that has roiled the Republican Party for decades — the battle between the Libertarian members (Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan) and what was once called the “Moral Majority” (think Jerry Falwell).   In regional terms, one could say Southwest and West Coast against the Old South and Border states.  Libertarians by and large say, “Do what you want, but don’t scare my horses doing it.”  The social conservatives say, “If you don’t do what I want,  then I will have my horses stomp you.”

If we were to scratch most of the Tea Party protesters, we would probably find just as many libertarians as social conservatives, if not more. Indeed, the battle within the GOP won’t be among  so-called moderates, social conservatives, and populists.  The real battle will be between the pro-Ayn Rand Club for Growth (which supports the right of any banker in New York City to make any amount of money he or she can) and the populist Tea Party gang (which wants to hang every banker in New York City).  The present marriage of convenience between these two forces cannot last.  Can one imagine a true Tea Party member supporting the right of Goldman Sachs’ employees to make as much money as they can, regardless of the consequences to society?  Or the Club for Growth insisting that their members absolutely condemn abortion in any circumstance?

So, Charlie Crist in Florida,and many other conservative, but not theologically pure, Republicans will find themselves caught between these forces in the next 9 months.  Where this leaves the folks who are trying to balance a constructively smaller government with a practical maximum of individual freedom remains unclear.

It does leave immense openings for any number of Republicans—from Mitch Daniels in Indiana, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Bob Corker of Tennessee,  Mitt Romney, to Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin—to forge some form of coalition among the groups based both on fiscal prudence and on personal freedom.

Or, as once was written in this land, the freedom  of  Americans to  pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Recent Posts by Steve Bell



8 Comments so far ↓

  • mlindroo

    > the Progressives have been able to help President Obama’s approval ratings tank

    Obama’s (dis)approval are mostly related to the state of the economy — not extreme liberalism. Or do you really think the health care reform bill produced by the Senate fulfills all the dreams of the extreme left?

    > But, fueled by support from the most conservative social and anti-tax elements in the
    > Florida GOP, former Florida State House Speaker Marco Rubio has decided to challenge
    > Crist in the Republican primary.

    Actually, Rubio vs. Crist is probably the one exception that proves the rule…
    Given the state of the economy, Rubio *should* be able to beat Kendrick Meek in the general election. So I understand why Republicans feel they do not have to play it safe by choosing a centrist such as Crist.

    MARCU$

  • Mandos

    “Club for Growth”: I take it as an instruction.

  • communists-basher

    It’s amazing to watch how the Establishment Republicans (those who own/blog on this site) are trying to protect/save their OUTDATED, NOT PURE party. Do they really believe in Politics as Usual?

  • franco 2

    “..and, the Republican purists have been able to facilitate the Republican loss of the 23rd House District of New York and help push Sen. Arlen Specter over to the Democratic Party.”

    Ha!What a riot!Steve Bell, I can imagine, was afraid that putting Julius and Ethel Rosenberg on trial fearing it would push them into the pro-Soviet camp.

    “The real battle will be between the pro-Ayn Rand Club for Growth (which supports the right of any banker in New York City to make any amount of money he or she can) and the populist Tea Party gang (which wants to hang every banker in New York City). ”

    Bell displays his misunderstanding of both the tea party movement and the philosophy of Ayn Rand in one sentence!

    Tea party protesters are not strict libertarians either; they are ordinary Americans clamoring for getting back our Constitutional freedoms. Rand and her followers are not blind promoters of “bankers” or businessmen, not at all. In Rand’s books and philosophy she excoriates businessmen who ally themselves with government to gain advantages.

    So tea party people know that corporate “fat cats” are more a symptom, not a cause, and the solution is to stop bailing them out and over regulating the market. Where these two groups align is exactly where the primary problem lies – with government and the politicians who promote more government solutions… like your friend Specter.

    If there is ONE thing that reveals how utterly craven some Republicans can be is the continued boo-hooing about Specter defecting. The depth of self loathing in Bell must be profound.

  • sinz54

    franco 2: So tea party people know that corporate “fat cats” are more a symptom, not a cause, and the solution is to stop bailing them out and over regulating the market. Where these two groups align is exactly where the primary problem lies – with government and the politicians who promote more government solutions
    The Tea Party activists are NOT supporters of free trade like Club for Growth is. The Tea Partiers are very angry about all the jobs that have been outsourced to India and elsewhere–many of their own families have lost jobs that way. What does the Club for Growth say about outsourcing? That’s how a free market works, get used to it!

    There are a lot more staunch conservatives now that have turned on free trade. Phyllis Schlafly writes nearly as many columns attacking free trade and outsourcing as she does attacking abortion and same-sex marriage.

    What is YOUR stand on free trade? What do you say to all the Americans whose jobs have been sucked away to India, China, etc.?

  • LibertyandEcon

    The truth is the Tea Pary movement is raising the CONSCIOUSNESS of many people who in the past would never have called themselves libertarians but are now begining too.

    If one believes in the Constitution, in the freedom of the individual to make his or her way in life, to be free- the old ways of looking at politics fall by the wayside.

    How for instance can anyone who believes in freedom, is willing to fight for it, to die for it if need be, be against the legalization of pot or for the continuation of never ending wars.

    For some it is hard to follow the logical conclusions of being a free individual. These people cling to concepts of a “strong national defense” when in fact “defense” is largely a boondoggle these days. They cling to the “War on Drugs” despite the fact that it is also huge government boondoggle that terrorizes large portions of the citizenry. These people are “conservatives” in an almost european sense.

    What the author of the above article does not understand is that is that the “Ayn Rand types” would never be for what Goldman Sachs is doing. We want to string these guys up too. Goldman Sachs is coluding with the government and Federal Reserve to obtain huge profits at the expense of the tax payer. We libertarians are for profit, lots of it, so long as it is not obtained by fraud or force. GS has no problem with either.

    Unfortunately many people who still hold to outdated concepts of “conservatism” have little understanding of the economics behind politics. If it were not for a Federal Reserve with the power to print money and by extension destroy the savings of the average person, many of the social issues that “conservatives” as I have defined them, would cese to be issues. But firts one must understand the Federal Reserve and what they have done for near a century.

    http://www.libertyandeconomics.com

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