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Story Archives: Tea Party could rain on Republican Party's parade too...
|Tea Party could rain on Republican Party's parade too...|
As we forge ahead in 2010, it's easy to see that many Democrat's congressional careers are in danger disappearing this election year faster than a donut on the set of a Michael Moore documentary.
If things don't change, the thrashing Democrats in Congress got from Republicans back in the 1994 mid-term elections during the Clinton years could seem mild by comparison.
That doesn't mean, however, that the nation has suddenly fell in love with Republicans.
If Republicans want to return to power and keep it, they should pay attention to why they were thrown out in the first place. Pundits who don't really understand the Tea Party movement that has grown over the last year mistakingly classify it as Republican "astroturf" instead of grass roots, to borrow a phrase from soon-to-be ex Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
It's not. The Republican party should pay attention to these people who are organizing politically, many of them for the first time. They might want to get rid of a lot of Democrats, but many of them are just as sick of Republicans who get elected and, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, don't dance with the ones that brung 'em.
Witness how fast President George W. Bush sunk in polls among the very people who once supported him once they realized he was more interested in curing favor with Democrats and sinking the United States into the biggest debt in our history than shrinking the size of government.
It was under Bush, the self-proclaimed compassionate conservative, that federal spending skyrocketed from $1.8 trillion in 2000 to about $3 trillion in 2008, an increase of about 66 percent. Some of that was done with a Republican Congress. Don't think all of the spending was on wars that we are still fighting, either.
Welfare spending increased 60 percent during the Bush years in which he compassionately used your money for social programs. And don't forget the Republican championed prescription drug program which will rack up an estimated $1 trillion in spending over the next few years.
Things have only gotten worse, of course, with Obama, who upped federal spending to $4 trillion during his first year in office. The president's new budget threatens to add another $4.9 trillion in debt from the beginning of 2010 through 2016.
In response to Obama's overreaching and overspending, voters — like the proverbial sleeping giant—are waking up to help usher in Republicans like Massachusetts' new senator, Scott Brown.
Brown was recently sworn in to the seat of the late Ted Kennedy, the man who helped Bush craft the "No Child Left Behind" bill in 2002. Massachusetts' junior senator, who supported Obama's renomination of Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke and likes keeping Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner around, probably couldn't get elected Superdome restroom sanitation engineer by Louisiana voters. This is Massachusetts, however, so we have to take what we can get.
Other Republicans have also rode the anti-Obama tidal-wave to office. Last year, Virginians elected Republican Bob McDonnell governor over Democratic state Senator Creigh Deeds on the heals of Barrack Obama being the first Democrat to carry the state in a presidential race since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. More disconcerting to Democrats was Republican Christopher Christie's election which threw Democratic Governor Jon Corzine out of office in New Jersey, a state that went strongly for Obama in 2008.
Yes, voters are finicky, but it's more than just that. Voters are tired of politics as usual. That's why Barrack Obama's popularity has plummeted to around 44 percent after the country got a good look at not only his engineering of a government health care takeover, but the lengths he has gone through to get a bill on his desk that most Americans don't want.
Our own Sen. Mary Landreau has had to learn the hard way how disgusted we have become. The backlash she has gotten nationally, as well as here in Louisiana, over the $300 million Medicaid buy-out for her support of the healthcare bill is symptomatic of the outrage many in this country are feeling over the disconnect with our elected officials.
Republicans are sitting pretty as they survey the political landscape this year, but they should be warned that the political pendulum swings both ways. Their recent political gains have come because voters who fear the direction the country is headed don't have much choice but to elect the only viable party that has a chance of blunting Obama's radical progressive agenda.
Already, there are rumblings of voters bolting to third parties if Republicans turn their backs on principles of limited government that are motivating the Tea Party movement. In a poll conducted by Rasmussen in December, Americans said they would vote for a Tea Party candidate over a Republican, 23 percent to 18 percent, in a three way match up with a Democratic candidate. Thirty six percent of Americans said they would vote for a Democrat with 22 percent undecided.
Among independent voters, the fastest growing kind of voter, 33 percent said they would support a Tea Party candidate, compared with 30 percent who said they were undecided, 25 percent who would vote for a Democrat and just 12 percent who would vote for a Republican.
That number is even more impressive when you consider that the Tea Party is a protest movement and not a political party. According to the poll, if an official Tea Party were to emerge and start running candidates the result would be Democrats getting elected. If that were to happen, Republicans wouldn't have anyone to blame, but themselves.
Republicans should act wisely as they work to make their way back into power this year. Voters won't be fooled by those who try to latch on to the Tea Party movement for political expediency and won't be shy about kicking them to the curb faster than they can say "John McCain" should they get elected and return to business as usual.