GOP Civil War
Okay, let me get this one distraction out of the way. I am a Tea Party sympathizer. I want the Republican Party to become a vehicle for real choice, real change and real freedom. It was Independent Living that reported nearly a year before it became news that the IRS was targeting Tea Party groups for “reprisals.”
That said, my take is that the Tea Party needs the Republican Party establishment. And the reverse. This includes the libertarians, the religious right, conservatives, and yes, even foreign interventionists. No single faction by itself can win the next presidential election. Which is bad news because there is a lot of turf warfare going on.
I have many respected friends in the GOP who don’t like the Tea Party. And I’m sure you have your own ideas of who you support and why. So I’ll try to stick to the strategic situation. Because the circumstances exist right now to take back some freedoms. That has always been of greater interest to me than jockeying party factions or candidates’ personalities. And I am
far more interested in hearing your views than mine. We’ll get to that in just a moment.
In politics, it’s less about who wins or loses and more about who gets to control the wreckage. I’m talking about the much-anticipated voter backlash against Obamacare next fall. Most assume the GOP is going to win big in Congress. So the battle for control of the Party is on. And everyone is being rather intense about it. There’s Karl Rove and the establishmentarian Jeb Bush. Versus the “Fighting Right” with Senator Ted Cruz. Versus the libertarian, anti-intervention Ron Paul – inspired wing of the party.
Plus the cantankerous Chris Christie and the religious right’s favorite, Mike Huckabee.
Some of what I’ve seen is discouraging. About a year ago I saw governor Christie on an interview with Rand Paul. Christie slammed the libertarians in a way that it is hard to see him walking back as a presidential nominee.
For now, none of these candidates is pulling down more than 15% of the GOP rank and file. We are now 20 months out from the first New Hampshire presidential primary.
IRS Investigation is Being
Hampered By GOP’s Tea Party Fight
It’s a huge turf battle. Especially among the House and Senate GOP leaders. What it boils down to is that everyone except the Tea Party seems to hate the Tea Party. I think that’s one of the reasons the Republicanled Congressional investigation into IRS abuses of Tea Party activists has not gotten very far.
The witch’s brew includes a surprisingly strong movement among 30-40 House Republicans to replace their leadership after November. The oust-the-leadership
campaign is real and is aimed straight at Speaker John Boehner and his chosen successor, Eric Cantor. A recent National Journal story picked up on this.
They cited many causes, especially conservative anger over Boehner passing a “doc fix” provision that bails out Obamacare.
Another fight that riles conservative and libertarian stalwart “Tea Party” members in Congress is Speaker Boehner’s acceptance of token spending reductions. All in exchange for concessions on the existing successful “budget sequester” the Administration reluctantly agreed to in a weak moment.
Adding fuel to the “Dump Boehner” campaign is Mssrs. Boehner and Cantor’s involvement in a $5,000 per attendee anti-Tea Party conference at Amelia Island, Florida. The event is funded by the Republican Main Street Partnership, an anti-Tea Party group that is backed by labor unions.
The GOP Establishment and Tea Party Are
Sinking Each Others’ Candidates
On the other side of all this, the Tea Party activists have big financial backers. They’ve “primaried” and defeated go-along-to-get along Republican incumbents
with safe seats. These include Senators Robert F. Bennett of Utah and Richard Lugar of Indiana. The Lugar defeat has moved other Indiana politicians to the
right — such as the case with Senator Pat Roberts. (In the last year, the Indiana Republican has realigned his voting record to an 84% compliance with the conservative
Club for Growth.) A surprise victory by Florida Republican David Jolly in a recent special election — in a district that Obama carried easily in 2012 and 2008 — is another Obamacare-centric victory.
Business groups aligned with the establishment are fighting back against Tea Party candidates in North Carolina, Idaho and many other states. In some cases, the Tea
Party candidates are losing. Sometimes because they are bad candidates. Sometimes because they are knifed by establishment money. Sometimes both.
It’s caused lots of bad blood within the establishment — the equivalent of a nuclear war in politics. Conservative organizations are still fuming at Karl Rove’s organizations’ move to take over the GOP in 2012. Mr. Rove’s front groups sucked up most of the “defeat Obama” funds among the big donors that year. So, Mr. Rove held all the funding high cards – and got caught with a lot of egg on his face on election night 2012 — as his “scenario for success” in Ohio went south live on FoxNews.
The media play it all as a fight between “moderates” and “extremists.” But it’s really just the same old argument from the Goldwater era. One between big government Republicans and more limited government conservatives and libertarians. Although in this fight, the Party is re-thinking where it comes out on foreign wars and unending global interventions, too.
The Curious Bedfellows
of the GOP Establishment
The clear establishment favorite is former Florida governor Jeb Bush. He is backed by Karl Rove and has a massive relationship with the K Street crowd. For example, when talking about his support for the “Common Core” federal education standards, quite literally every big government activist group on K Street is involved. This includes the left wing Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its many pro-statist tentacles.
Tea Party types hate Common Core. In it, they see the rise of political apparatchiks propagandizing our children with global warming and other select big government bugaboos. A victory for the Lois Lerners of the world who use their political power for partisan ends.
Other hot button issues loom. Governor Jeb Bush says that illegal immigrants “broke the law but it’s not a felony.” Of the Tea Party, he says “I do think we’ve lost our way. We need to elect candidates that have a vision that is bigger and broader, and candidates that are organized around winning the election, not making a point.”
The libertarian, anti-intervention wing of the party is represented by Senator Rand Paul. Paul has strong Tea Party connections but surprisingly close ties to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Governor Christie is a combative, big government conservative. His claim to the nomination will be a demonstrated capacity to win in a blue state.
Senator Cruz is also appealingly combative although many think he picked the wrong fight by pushing for a government shutdown when the GOP could have been rallying around an Obamacare repeal. Mr. Huckabee is hands-down the religious right’s favorite candidate. He is a big government conservative and a strong global
Lots of choices, to be sure. It is not my place to tell you who to support.
Please Voice Your View in Our Special
Reader Presidential Preference Poll
Later on, I am going to ask Independent Living readers to share with me your favorite candidate! I can’t wait to pore through all your responses. I will announce my findings to nearly 1,000,000 fellow freedom-loving Americans. So please stay tuned. Your voice is going to be heard, big time.
But first, let’s get straight into the coming Obama backlash. The first strategic issue is, are the chances for a major voter backlash actually real? I say yes. There are some indications it may be very large. And not just because of Obamacare. But also because people are starting to notice that big government has become pretty darn bossy.
The reaction has taken far longer than I preferred, but it is there. Recently the Obama Administration has bragged that some 7 million Americans have signed up for
government healthcare. Democrats who voted for Obamacare have sighed a breath of public relief. But here’s the skinny on why they may be whistling past the graveyard. Fox News reports that 6.3 million households have lost their insurance. Those people had no alternative but to brave the public exchanges. The actual number of families kicked off private insurance is probably much higher because there are an additional 11 states that do not report this information.
These cancellations affect everyone in a household. That means the numbers of voters kicked off private insurance plans is actually much higher. They are not necessarily happy campers. They’ve lost their doctors, their private plans, and quality healthcare. What they have gained is a place in line for piddley benefits
alongside illegal aliens and other freeloaders.
Many “mainstream” polls suggest a slight Democrat lead among registered voters. But they rarely mention stronger GOP traction among likely voters. The current
polling looks a lot like it did at this point before the 2010 congressional elections (that’s when the GOP took the House of Representatives back from Speaker Pelosi).
A February finding by Pew Research notes that among white voters, the GOP shows a whopping preference of 53% to 38%.
Is a Pro-Freedom Backlash Building?
Here Are Two Suggestions
Okay, let me offer you two practical suggestions. It’s easy and you can even add a comment or two about your decision. I will publicize the results to our broader
family of readers and to the entire political establishment.
Second, I want to recommend a book by longtime conservative activist, Richard Viguerie, Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It. It’s a great and revealing read.
Thank you for hearing me out. Please do participate in my online poll if you can. Or send your comments via conventional mail to me at: Independent Living P.O. Box 1240 Clover, SC 29710
P.S. Enclosed with this issue is an opportunity to get a two year renewal extension on your Independent Living subscription for the price of one. A great inflation saving
move that INCLUDES a very nice Paul Revere silver coin! Please watch for it.