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Wellington Daily News - Wellington, KS
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The Tea Party and the Republicans
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion ...
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Opinion page editor Rick Holmes and other writers blog about national politics and issues. Holmes & Co. is a Blog for Independent Minds, a place for a free-flowing discussion of policy, news and opinion. This blog is the online cousin of the Opinion section of the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. As such, our focus starts there and spreads to include Massachusetts, the nation and the world. Since successful blogs create communities of readers and writers, we hope the \x34& Co.\x34 will also come to include you.
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By Rick Holmes
Sept. 25, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Rob suggested a new thread in his comment, so here it is.

Rob’s hypothesis:

We need to discuss this on another thread, but the real misconception is that Tea Party folk, including me, belong in the Republican Party. This is only happening because of the calcification of the two party system. The Tea Party is something entirely different, a true third party, but it is stuck in the umbrella of a GOP that doesn’t like it and doesn’t want. But I had to reregister to the GOP as a Tea Party supporter. All of this talk about Boehner not controlling his party is really a reflection of the fact that he is trying to herd cats who don’t want to be herded. We need to find the way to break the two party hold.

My response:

I’ve said from the beginning that the Tea Party reminds me of the New Left. In the ’60s, the radical antiwar left, with all its countercultural baggage, was co-opted by liberal Democratic politicians who were sympathetic with some of its values.  But that pulled the Democrats away from the center of the electorate, and Nixon et al hung the most negative attributes of the leftwing hippie bums around the necks of their partisan opponents.

This time the Republicans tried to co-opt the tea party, but they can’t tame its radicalism any more than the liberal Democrats could tame the New Left, which from ’68 to ’75 careened into anarchy and eventually irrelevance.  But the hippie image dogged the Democrats for a generation.

The New Left wanted revolution, not the opportunity to govern. Same with the Tea Party hard core. Revolutionaries will always be a minority, history teaches us.  So will political parties tainted by extremism. This is a problem for Republicans, and it will be an even greater problem should the Tea Party become a real third party, permanently splitting conservatives while Democrats hew to the center.

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