Who’s Afraid Of The Tea Party? The GOP!

Posted by | September 6, 2010 20:36 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

This isn’t a new meme, but the recent primary victory of Joe Miller and the upcoming Delaware primary have both brought out the worries of the GOP establishment.  The Washington Post chronicles the efforts of the Republican Party to put down Christine O’Donnell in favor of Mike Castle.

Castle, like Murkowski, was counseled by the national party to go on the attack immediately against O’Donnell, taking advantage of the $2.6 million he had in the bank at the end of July (O’Donnell had $70,000). Unlike Murkowski, Castle listened. He launched radio ads that describe O’Donnell as a “financial disaster.” Tough TV spots are on the way, according to knowledgeable insiders.

The state and national parties, after ignoring O’Donnell (and the race) for months, have turned decidedly negative as well, churning out press clips that paint her in the worst possible light.

The Republicans want the Tea Party to behave like the social conservatives of 1980-2008.  Show up on Election Day but don’t make too much noise when we focus on tax cuts for the rich and corporate deregulation.  The problem is that the Tea Party learned from the mistakes of the social conservatives and they are much better organized and much less ready to kowtow to the GOP leaders.

Of course the Tea Party has a problem, too. Their views are held by a minority of the electorate and that won’t change.   Who’ll cave first?  My guess is that some time in 2011 we will read an item in the Washington Post about how Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders co-sponsored a bill ending corporate subsidies.  Whoever is in charge, the bill won’t see the light of day. And, if it did, it would lose 90-10 (with most of the 10 votes coming from Democrats).  Then where do the true believers go?

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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