September 16, 2010

There were three significant events that took place in yesterday’s final primaries before the November midterms that should have the Republican establishment in Washington quaking in their Buster Browns: Christine O’Donnell’s upset victory over presumed favorite Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Delaware, Carl Paladino’s unexpected victory over Rick Lazio in the New York Republican gubernatorial primary, and the near-miss by upstart Ovide Lamontagne who lost an excruciatingly-close GOP U.S. Senate primary fight to Kelly Ayotte, the long-presumed favorite of the state’s party apparatus.

What these three events have in common is their backing by the surging Tea Party Express and other tea party-related organizations, in the face of strong national and state Republican party resistance – if not outright hostility.

By far the biggest example of this was the broadside against O’Donnell by Castle supporters and Beltway Republicans, both at the state and local levels. So what, they argued, that as a congressman Castle had voted for the Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation, a) he did vote against ObamaCare, and b) if Republicans wanted to take the Democratic seat (formerly held by VP Joe Biden) in Deleware the only way to do so is to vote for a so-called “moderate Republican”. Nonsense, said O’Donnell supporters, what’s the difference between voting for a Democrat and a Republican who’ll vote like a Democrat more often than not when it counts. And it got nasty on both sides – negative stuff about Castle from O’Donnell supporters, negative stuff about O’Donnell from Beltway Republicans (“she’s uneletable”) and even the Deleware state GOP party chairman, who said she couldn’t be elected dog catcher.

The same thing happened in New York and New Hampshire, albeit to a lesser extent, but last night and throughout the primary season you saw the same civil war being fought: the “Republican establishment” defending their choices, often unsuccessfully, against resurgent tea party candidates. In all of these cases, the tea party candidates started out as virtual unknowns, slowly started gathering steam, received critical endorsements from the likes of Sarah Palin, (South Carolina) Senator Jim DeMint, and others, and closed very quicky in the last two weeks to defeat the presumed favorite. In most cases it was the tea partiers who flexed their muscles, proved their ability to run solid campaigns on the solid message of reduced spending and limited government, and, most importantly, on election day bringing their ground game to the polls.

(Of course, this doesn’t explain how poster-child RINO John “Maverick” McCain was able to trounce challenger JD Hayworth in Arizona’s GOP Senate primary, but the fact remains that inside Arizona McCain remains very popular across a wide cross-section of voters, and, compared to Hayworth’s gaffe-filled, incompetent campaign, ran one that was tough, smart, and disciplined.)

What does this all mean for the midterms less than two months ahead? There are three things to keep in mind:

1. Independents have swung very heavily away from the Democrats, oftentimes over to tea-party candidates who are better able to distance themselves from what’s going on in Washington by running against not just the Democrats, but incumbent Republicans as well.

2. As Brad O’Leary points out, there is a huge anti-incumbent sentiment out there, and, after the significant Democratic wins that Barack Obama brought with him in 2008, there are a heckuva lot more Democrats having to defend their seats in a struggling economy than Republicans.

3. Don’t think that RINOs (Republicans in name only – i.e., those whose voting patterns typically lean Democratic) up for re-election in 2012 aren’t paying attention. To that end, one can expect RINOs like Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham to be far more careful in their votes over the next two years. Without a doubt tea partiers have these three in their sights for defeat two years ahead.

You’ll never hear it from the mainstream media, but the tea party movement, which got its start out of discontent for President’s Bush’s handling of spending and economic issues during his second term but caught fire after CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s classic 2009 rant is not just some loosely-cobbled group of angry white people mad at Barcak Obama and the Democrats – this is a historic, honest-to-goodness revolution that is idealistic, smart, technologically savvy, and, most importantly, still growing as we hurtle towards the 2010 elections and beyond. It has no love for either Republican or Democratic lawmakers intent on the status quo and bankrupting this country’s future with a steady of of increased spending and taxation, and it has no problem rolling the dice with candidates like O’Donnell, who faces an uphill battle against Democrat Chris Cooms, whereas Mike Castle appeared a shoo-in had he taken the Republican nomination.

All the brave reassurances aside, you can be assured that the Beltway establishment on both sides – Republican and Democrat – are fearful and concerned about the Tea Party movement. The events of this year’s primary season, culminating in last night’s races, shows it has the muscles and the potential to make the November midterms truly historic in its scope. Only time will tell just how successful it will be, but looking at the tea lives (no pun intended) I see no sign of the wave cresting yet, meaning November 2nd could be a historically miserable night for all incumbents, and the Democrats in general.

Pool temp: Pool temp: 84 degrees

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 00:35 | Comments Off on Game Changers?
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