COTTO: The Tea Party should split from the GOP

In the long run, the Republican Party will be better off for this. Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., October 14, 2013 — Most people who aren’t members of the Tea Party feel pretty fed up with it these days.

Tea Partiers, on the other hand, don’t seem to care much for those who have different ideas than they do about public policy. This has caused major troubles not only in Congress and various state houses across the country, but the Republican apparatus.

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The federal government is currently shut down because rightists in the Republican-dominated House refuse to pass a bill which supports Obamacare. Congressional Democrats have taken advantage of this by not considering any legislation that may weaken Obamacare.

Essentially, the Tea Party’s bluff has been called. The results speak for themselves. Nonetheless, Tea Partiers stand undeterred. 

“The Republican leadership in Washington was pushed into this fight,” claimed Tea Party pundit Judson Phillips in a recent The Washington Times Communities article. “They did not like it.  House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor had already worked out a plan to surrender with style. The conservatives could even have another meaningless vote against Obamacare they could take back to the home folks.”

He later remarked that “(a)ll the Tea Party has to do is leave the GOP and the GOP will quickly be relegated to the status of the ‘Rent is too damn high’ Party.” 

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If Republican power brokers are thinking in the long term, then they should welcome such a development.

The Tea Party has become too extreme; its satisfaction is derived not from legislating, but obstructionism and, in an odd sense, class differences.  

Phillips touched on the latter when he wrote that “(t)he Establishment has been openly disdainful of the base that puts Republicans in power.  Some of that base, such as Tea Party members, aren’t even members of a country club. Many of them are blue-collar workers, they have convictions, and they want to see the party act on them. Perhaps most shocking of all, many of them are outspoken Christians!”

As if all moderate Republicans are country club members who despise hardworking Christians. This sort of hyperbole is precisely why the modern American hard-right is regarded as a basket case bar none. 

Really now, if you are a movement conservative with solid work ethics, then why would you choose to demonize wealth? What’s so scary about a country club, golf club, polo club or — heaven forbid — a yacht club? Is there any evidence that the GOPers who are members of these clubs hold anti-Christian views?

Many of these clubs probably aren’t even comfortable admitting non-Christians, but that is another story.

If the supposed parasites who are liberals or progressives should be disdained for their unproductiveness and the dreaded country club crowd is to be balked at for its affluence, then who is the Tea Party fighting for?

Is it really just a voice for disgruntled people — folks who don’t like much of anyone, including themselves? 

In any case, the Tea Party has outlived its usefulness. Even if the GOP suffers short-term losses due to an ultra-right schism, a new bloc of centrist voters can surely be found during the years ahead.

On its own, the Tea Party is likely to find no more success than other third parties have since Reconstruction. After a few election cycles of increasingly embarrassing losses, the Tea Party would fade into irrelevance. More reasonable Tea Partiers could be expected to crawl back to the Republican brand as ideological zealots drop out of the political arena entirely.    

Regardless, if the GOP rebukes radicalism, then it will have a place in our country’s future. If it chooses the easy road, though, Democrats are set to enjoy one-party rule for quite awhile.

That is something which this nation cannot afford — literally.

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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