Why the Tea Partiers Think They'll Win

Way back in the days when bloggers carved their missives out on stone tablets (by which I mean 2005), Digby noted, in response to the nascent trend of conservatives deciding that George W. Bush wasn't a conservative after all, wrote, "Get used to hearing about how the Republicans failed because they weren't true conservatives. Conservatism can never fail. It can only be failed by weak-minded souls who refuse to properly follow its tenets." We've seen that a lot in the years since—the interpretation of every election Republicans lose is that they weren't conservative enough, and if they had just nominated a true believer or run farther to right, victory would have been theirs.

There's already a tactical division within the Republican Party about the wisdom of shutting down the government in an attempt to kill the Affordable Care Act. The members who have been around a while understand that no matter what happens, Barack Obama is not going to bend on this one. He won't dismantle his greatest domestic policy accomplishment, and he won't delay it for a year. He just won't. The members who are newer, particularly Tea Partiers who got elected in 2010 and 2012, think that if they just hold fast, eventually Obama will buckle.

And there's another difference between the two groups. That first group of older members were around for the shutdowns during the Clinton years, and remember how badly things turned out for them. Here's an excerpt from an NPR story aired this morning:

"It was a calculated gamble on the part of the speaker, Newt Gingrich," says Steve Bell, who was a Republican congressional aide. The new Republican majority in Congress decided to push their spending fight with President Clinton to the limit, even if it meant shutting down the government.

"And at first, about half of us thought it was a bad idea and half of us thought it was a good idea," says Bell. "But in the perfect example of groupthink, we talked ourselves into believing that, oh, the president will get blamed and we will be able to get our way."

Bell, who's now with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, says the Gingrich gamble didn't pay off, except for President Clinton.

"The president wasn't blamed," says Bell. And "the amount of money we saved over that government shutdown literally is almost a rounding error. So we went through all of this for almost no savings, net-net, and we successfully re-elected someone that we thought we were supposed to defeat."

All the reporting I've seen says that is the perspective shared by John Boehner and others in the GOP leadership. The problem is that Tea Partiers in the House don't see it that way. They believe the shutdown will be blamed on President Obama, and the only possible way for Republicans to lose is if they give in too soon.

That's because the idea that conservatism can never fail, it can only be failed, extends beyond ideology to its tactical extension, eternal and maximal opposition to Barack Obama and everything he wants to do. Fighting Obama is a strategy that can never fail. If failure happens, it can only be because we didn't fight him hard enough.

Once this is all over, they'll be telling everyone the same old story. If only the party had been stronger, if only Boehner had stood firm, if only we had kept the government closed for another week or another month, everyone would have seen we were right, Obama would have been crippled for the remainder of his term, we would have won a smashing victory in the 2014 mid-term elections, and the blow that led to Obamacare's inevitable death would have been struck. But we were betrayed by Boehner and the other cowards and quislings.

I wouldn't even be surprised if come 2015, where you stood on the shutdown becomes a key litmus test Tea Party activists apply to GOP presidential contenders.

Comments

So called "conservatives", "evangelicals" and "southern doctrine" have much in common. They are zealots with the belief that after generations of speaking in code, everyone really is like them. With the help of the propaganda arms of the Republican party, they megaphone lies told daily with false facts much like their "global warming" science and redone text books. Their world in under attack party because a generation of younger people have been raised without their ideology. The voting public is not the old white southerner or their friends in rural districts of the US. To prop them up the billionaires are using them to great advantage in the red states for fossil fuel extraction, ability to pollute, destroy unions and replace all public services with for-profit companies. Of course they must take this tea party temper tantrum to the wall. When the economy is hurt, they will lie and blame Obama. Notice they never admit what happened during the Bush wreck. The corporate media is their friend much more even then during the Clinton bashing years. Democrats of the Third Way corporate sector like Obama are also helping sell out the US with their trade agreements, cabinet corporate appointments and even allowing the health care industry to rewrite the House ACA.

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I am a former sawmill employee who has a high school education. I go to church every Sunday. I would really like to engage some of these educated people in conversation sometime, but they never want to talk to me. The ones I really get a kick out of are scientists in the newsgroup sci.physics.relativity. They base all of their science on what they call scientific time, which says that a second is a certain number of transitions of a cesium isotope atom. Then in the next sentence, they say that the transitions of a cesium isotope atom will slow down if it is put in motion relative to a cesium isotope atom considered to be at rest. Then they use equations for time that require distances to be contracted in the moving frame of reference. When I pointed out to them that what they were doing with respect to time was like saying that Jupiter and the earth both rotate on their axis in the same amount of time, a day, which is one rotation of a planet, but a length contraction is needed because Jupiter rotates once every ten hours of earth time. Then I showed them the correct equations for relativity, the Galilean transformation equation. They threw away the Galilean transformation equations in 1887, and now they do not want to talk to me any more.
Scientists are the same way when I talk to them about forest management. I really do believe there is global warming. There is bound to be some global warming with all of these 500,000 acre forest fires burning all of the time. When I was working for the Forest Service, a 40,000 acre fire was considered huge.
It is difficult for me to see anything being said today that is not Democratic Party propaganda. The Democratic Party is more like totalitarian parties of Europe such as the Nazis and Communists every day. I registered as an independent voter the first time I ever voted and have never registered any other way.

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