Tea-Party Muscle

1 02 2010

I support the Tea-Party Express.

Although I don’t like it, I can see why power brokers in the USA would like to minimize the Tea-Party movement, so I’m forced to go to other sources for what I’m looking for. Like the article below from the UK Guardian. I can’t pretend to be happy about the end result as is reported here, but we are making a difference. Never give in, never give up! 


The GOP litmus test resolution

You may remember that I wrote last week about the litmus test platform the GOP was debating out in Hawaii. Wanted to bring you up to date.

Delegates rejected the concrete resolution that would have firmly required candidates to support eight of 10 plank points in order to receive party financing for their race, but they passed a marginally watered-down one demanding that chairman Michael Steele “carefully screen” candidates and determine that they back “core principles and positions” of the party’s national platform. This Washington Times article is fairly detailed and rather fascinating.

At first blush you may say: well, that doesn’t sound so weird; candidates should support the party platform. It certainly wouldn’t sound odd at all to my British readers, or readers living in any other parliamentary country, where that’s just how it works.

But that isn’t how is historically works in the US. The platform is just not something that particular candidates across the country have ever had to adhere to. It’s a bit of an abstraction here, the platform, and it’s mostly a way for different factions within a party to flex their muscle quadrennially (when platforms are written) and see if they can get a word changed here, a sentence there. But it’s never been something all candidates are expected to follow.

So this development, while not the most severe version before the RNC members, is still pretty striking. It shows tea-party muscle. And it sets up some problems for some GOP candidates.

Two come to mind immediately. In this year’s Illinois Senate race, for Obama’s old seat, the GOP has a strong candidate in Mark Kirk. He’s been historically more or less pro-choice. Kirk did vote for the Stupak amendment — he’s been tacking right as he’s been mounting this run — but his people insisted in the wake of it that was still pro-choice.

Then there’s tea-party hero of the moment, angel-is-a-centerfold Scott Brown (he’ll be sworn in Feb. 11, by the way). Brown ran as pro-choice.

Will the national GOP oppose Kirk this year, assuming he wins the GOP primary as expected? And will it have to withhold money from Brown in 2012, when he seeks the full term?

It seems more likely to me that these candidates will just flip-flop, which is of course the point of the resolution. And this in turn will have impact, potentially, in many suburban and exurban districts in the northeast and upper midwest and to some extent in certain Rocky Mountain locations, where voters want more moderate candidates.

So this is quite an important development. And oh yes, naturally, I feel compelled to stipulate that both sides do it. Or I would feel compelled to stipulate it, but it’s not true.




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