Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I guess this Tea Party business is for real, but what exactly is it?

The Tea Party seems to be having some success unseating incumbents in the primaries. It's not earth shattering, but it's certainly respectable. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it. When I saw Santelli's rant about dumping derivatives in the Chicago River, I thought, "Oh, hell yes!" I rewatched it several times. But now there's a lot more baggage involved. Sarah Palin is out there anointing candidates. What the hell does she know about the derivatives market? I ask 10 different people what the Tea Party is now and get 11 different answers. I have the sneaking suspicion that this is the Right's version of Unspecified Hope and Change.

I have no problem with RINOs getting drummed out of office and since it's happening in the primaries there's a chance of real conservatives picking up the seats so that's nice, too. Even if these Tea Party candidates lose in the general election or win and just become slimeballs replacing slimeballs, conservatives aren't out much. But at the same, I get a little nervous about this type of campaigning. All this everyone-to-everything stuff and all of this talk of "outsiders" just makes me shake my head. John Ashcroft campaigned heavily as an outsider (and legitimately was one at the time). How long did that remain true?

I guess when it comes down to it, I like some of the actual candidates I'm seeing come out of this Tea Party business, but I'm not so sure what to think about the movement at this point.


DADvocate said...

I see the Tea Party movement as a chance to shake things up on both sides of the aisle. I don't consider myself a conservative but more of a libertarian but there's a fair amount of crossover. I'm pleased Republicans are taking hits as well as Democrats. Both parties basically suck.

My big goal is to contract government and stop all the nanny state stuff. I don't have any great hopes for the future of the Tea Party but I'm enjoying the current upheaval on hope we can hold politicians more accountable in the future.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I'm just wondering what Tea Party candidates you currently consider "real" conservatives, or which real conservatives have been helped by the Tea Party cause.

I can understand frustration with Bush's bailouts and the Obama stimulus on a fiscal, policy level and think there would be real value in a national debate about those issues.

But you ain't kiddin' when you talk about baggage.

Dante said...

"I'm just wondering what Tea Party candidates you currently consider "real" conservatives, or which real conservatives have been helped by the Tea Party cause."

I don't consider any of them "real" conservatives just yet. By "real" I simply mean candidates who even pretend to try to act on their conservative campaign ideals. That's really not determinable at this point.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Fair enough. Redirect:

"I like some of the actual candidates I'm seeing come out of this Tea Party business"

Which ones and why?

Dante said...

Charles Perry was the first to catch my attention. He won the primary in a Texas House race that's unopposed by Democrats in Lubbock. He's a former account with no significant political ties (and not related to Rick). He unseated a career politician.

Then there's Rand Paul who seems to have most of his father's political sensibilities. If they translate to action, I'll be happy with that one.

Nikki Haley has a good track record on taxes and education. I liked what I saw of her in her South Carolina gubernatorial bid though I admit I haven't watch her closely given she's running for governor in a state that's not mine.

I also like Joe Miller out in Alaska. Some of the reforms he wants to see I think are doable: including ALL federal expenditures in the federal budget, government waste committee, earmark reform. Some others are pipe dreams even if I do like them: Line item veto, elimination of omnibus bills, and a private option for Social Security.

But probably most of all I LOVE Sharron Angle. She came to my attention when she was publicly opposed to fluoridating drinking water (no, that's not why). I noticed her again when people started accusing her of being a Scientologist (which near as I can tell she is not). But the big thing I like her for is wanting to transition Social Security to the Chilean model, which I am very much in favor of. She is in the pro-drill-everywhere camp but also believes BP should pay for the consequences of their spill, which more or less lines up with my views there. She goes off the reservation from time to time, but generally in quirky amusing ways that will never gain any serious traction.

Those are the ones that stick out. And I know they're not all completely born of the Tea Party movement but they've all been anointed by Palin or Romney.

The rest are just meh candidates, IMHO. Probably better than the incumbents they ousted but nobody I'm really expecting all that much out of.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...


Now let's talk some issues. I know nothing of Perry, but if he's replacing a seat-warming Republican, I'm all for it.

Rand Paul got in some hot water earlier this year. If he ends up with more of his father's sensibilities, I will feel less animosity (since they are legitimate beliefs earnestly held despite popularity). But his claim to fame is the Civil Rights Act dust-up. Where is Paul the younger lining up on foreign misadventure?

What has Haley done with taxes and education that makes you a fan? I'm sure she's got that election wrapped up (despite what our friends in Carolina say), so she has some political capital to think outside the box. Is she?

I'm with Miller on all those items save Social Security (natch). Do you think he can work with Democrats where he can those items, or does he sacrifice goals for politics?

Angle is the most difficult sell for me, despite my longstanding desire to see Harry Reid driven from the Senate like Daschle. Dare I ask what the Chilean model of Social Security is? And drilling everywhere is a hard pill to swallow, especially considering our need to drill is mainly backed by behaviors supported by government subsidy.

And when she goes off the reservation like a Christianist, alarm bells start ringing. I long for a return to legitimate debate over policy issues rather than the current telenovela regarding whose imaginary friends can beat up other imaginary friends.

Dante said...

I'm not so sure yet where Rand lines up on foreign policy. I assume he's for non-intervention but assuming is a dangerous game.

As far as education goes, Haley supported legislation that limited how much money could be spent on school administration which is a big win in my book. She's also paid some lip service to wanting to audit how money is spent but I don't know her actual track record there. And she actually votes for tax cuts and spending cuts. As I mentioned earlier, I'm less familiar with her than I am with other members here. I've also been exposed more to her campaign commercials since I pick up Carolina over-the-air feeds. I freely admit that may unfairly sway my opinion some.

"Do you think he can work with Democrats where he can those items, or does he sacrifice goals for politics?"

This question is a bit loaded with the premise that something is better than nothing. That's not always the case. I personally think it'll be just as big a hurdle to get fellow Republicans on board with some of his proposed reforms. By the time he compromises with them and with the other side of the isle, there may be no meat left in his legislation.

The Chilean pension system.

As far as Angle going off the reservation, she's way more fun than a "Chistianist." Her office once has to issue the following statement: "Sharron Angle does not advocate a revolution. Her goal is to go to Washington with other like-minded elected officials who understand the proper role of the federal government as already defined by our Constitution." That's a whole new level of awesome when you have to clarify that you're not in fact directly supportive of an armed revolution. I've never seen Mike Huckabee have to issue such a statement.

Dante said...

Uh... yeah. I meant "aisle" instead of "isle." Washington isn't Survivor last I checked.