Whistling Past The Tea Party

No, not Obama’s game of budget chicken.

I’m talking about the growing feeling amongst Republican rank-and-file that this Tea Party business may not be the best long term strategy. As it turns out, the Tea-free GOP isn’t too far removed from the Democratic party when it comes to spending priorities. We’ve already seen some pretty high profile conservatives come out against the increasingly unhinged movement that currently dominates the Republicans’ agenda. But what happens when that frustration and rejection trickles down to the party faithful?

Judging by some reactions from CPAC (which just finished up yesterday in DC. For a hilarious recap, click here), it already has. If you don’t know, the Conservative Political Action Conference is an annual gathering of various wingnuts, nutjobs, and Andrew Breitbart, along with hundreds (millions?) of pasty white folk, clogging the DC metro and screaming about taxes. Despite the wide spectrum of lunacy and occasional glimpses of sanity, however, the crowd is a pretty good barometer of how the party is feeling. And none of the hundreds (millions?) of potential 2012 GOP contenders is lighting their torches of liberty:

Ask anyone attending the gathering, and you’d hear something like this: a dynamic conservative with a backbone who can win.

“That’s it. But there’s nobody who meets that criteria,” added Bill Hemrick, a Nashville, Tenn., businessman who founded Tea Party HD, a conservative media company. He said the only two who even come close — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — “aren’t electable.”

Which is true. But I don’t think anyone has actually told either of them. It’s a bit like the loudmouth, racist, drunk, friend-of-a-friend who crashes the party: no one is going to anything about it until the cops get called. Except in this analogy, you were the one who invited him over and gave him a bottle of whiskey.  The Republican party cultivated, nurtured, encouraged and praised this group of “patriots” and now finds itself increasingly embarrassed and devoid of a plan about what to do with them. Well, like I said, some…

Regardless, the 2012 GOP primary is going to be entertaining to say the least. The combination of completely under-whelming sensibility, bat-shit insane, and just plain goofy (not to mention Mormon) is going to cause a tornado that I’m not sure the GOP is quite ready to deal with. Especially if only half of the party actually agrees with the lunatics everyone is trying to please. However, there is some evidence that the GOP leadership has seen the writing on the wall and is simply pushing the envelope as far as it will go (with only a wink and a nod, of course) until it all comes crashing down. If that’s the case, then they truly have nothing else to offer and nothing else to lose.

Actually, that’s equally as terrifying as it is entertaining.


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