|Tea Party Republicans|
The Washington Post: Opinion: Michael Gerson: The Tea Party Risks Scaring Away Voters
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on Blogger
I'm going to take you on a trip back in time to the mid 1960s and we'll work are way up to the early 1980s as well. Imagine had the Barry Goldwater classical conservative movement managed to take over the Republican Party during this time period. And today it becomes what we see with Senator Rand Paul, or they combine with his father former Representative Ron Paul and this kind of conservative libertarian movement took over the Republican Party. With the Dick Nixon's, Gerry Ford's, Ron Reagan, George Bush's who all had things in common with this movement, but who are perhaps not pure conservative libertarians, but able to work with these movement's to lead the party.
Imagine had the Conservative Libertarians taken over the GOP and essentially kicked out the Northeastern Progressives, or those Republicans become more like moderate Conservatives as we see with Mitt Romney and Olympia Snowe to use as examples. The Libertarian Party never gets up and running is ever formed in the early 1970s. Why, because there simply wouldn't any need for it. The Progressives in the Democratic Party would've continued to push the safety net and perhaps even for a welfare state which is even bigger. But the Republican Party wouldn't of helped them and instead would've pushed to reform current federal social insurance programs and decentralize them and send them to the states.
The Christian Right still comes into business, but wouldn't have the power that they do today, or have had the last forty years or so. Because again you have these Conservative Libertarians and moderate Conservatives from the Northeast and Midwest and even Mid-Atlantic running the party. The Christian Right would've been left with a handful of seats in Congress in the Bible Belt for the most part. And probably treated by their Congressional Leadership the way the Progressive Caucus is treated in the House and Senate. As people you basically only talk to when you need their votes.
Another reason why the Libertarian Party would've never had gotten started is because again the Christian Right and the Neoconservatives aren't running the GOP. So the big government social agenda in the GOP is never put on the table in any big way as either part of the party platform, or into law. Even if this did happen, I'm not saying the Republican Party would be winning a majority of the African-American vote. The civil rights laws and all of those Southern Democrats bolting to the GOP as a result changed that forever. But maybe they get thirty or forty percent of the African-American vote. And the same thing with the Latin-American vote because you wouldn't consistently see Republicans who are tagged with either racial views or racists towards these groups.
Of course the Conservative Libertarians don't run the GOP. But they are certainly a growing and strong faction in the party today and I believe the GOP's best hope of appealing to Latinos and Millennial's in the future. And what you instead of Conservative Libertarians in charge are the Christian Right, Neoconservatives and Neoconfederates who love to talk about how much they love the Constitution. When at the same time they talk about how much they want to change the Constitution. Who take the Ron Paul anti-government views when it comes to the economy and public social insurance and almost anything that the Federal Government does that is not national security related as being unconstitutional. While they want to give the Federal Government more power as it relates to Americans personal lives.
The point I believe Mike Gerson was making in his column about the Tea Party is that they put the Republican Party in jeopardy with their anti-government approach because they have a habit of bashing public services that a majority Americans like and use everyday. And public infrastructure is a perfect example of that and the reason why Congress hasn't passed a highway bill yet this year is because the Tea Party in the House essentially believes the Federal Government has no business in funding infrastructure. Which makes Congress's job when it comes to legislating almost impossible, but infrastructure is just an example of that. The Republican Party pays a price for it because they look like people who can't get meals prepared and cars parked you know doing the basic business of government.