Monday, November 1, 2010

Final Thoughts on Decision 2010: The Tea Party Is Over

Over the next two days, we're going to attempt to boil down our thoughts on this year's election into two commentaries. Today, we're focusing more on those on the political right.

For all the hoopla, media coverage, and intensity - whether manufactured by folks like Karl Rove and Dick Armey, or occasionally genuine - the usefulness of the Tea Party to the Republican Party power structure is rapidly nearing its end.

We're not saying Republicans will fail tomorrow. We have no doubt that they'll pick up a measurable amount of congressional seats in this election. It's a mid-term election; the opposition almost always wins more seats than the party that has been in power. That many media outlets have been attempting to spin this as something new is dishonest, but sadly unsurprising.

What some pundits and political insiders - including the Republican leadership - are beginning to admit is something that we predicted would happen. The seats that these new members of Congress, new Governors, and others occupy won't be nearly as powerful as the most fervent far-right Tea Party supporters wish they were - and the change the Tea Partiers are hoping for is about as likely to occur as all of mankind being able to suddenly fly like birds. If you think most of the political amateurs who might win tomorrow are real fiscal conservatives, what you've been drinking is more likely kool-aid than tea.

Those wealthy individuals, corporations, and even foreign governments, who spent literally billions on this year's campaigns didn't just throw their money at politics because they were tired of buying things they didn't need. They were attempting to secure a permanent stranglehold on power. There is no way those same rich people are going to simply let political neophytes kick down the doors of their carefully constructed private world.

This isn't just hyperbole. Republican leaders of nearly every stripe have made it clear that their goals, once elected, aren't to help small businesses, or generate jobs for millions of unemployed workers. Their goal is political revenge. They've successfully ducked the issue of where they're going to make the massive budget cuts they've promised. They've "conveniently" not locked themselves into eliminating earmarks. They certainly won't be shrinking the size of government by eliminating government jobs, by cutting military bases in their districts, or attacking Social Security. They won't be able to roll back many, if any, of the provisions of the Health Care Insurance Reform. And they haven't said anything about re-instituting better regulation of Wall Street or campaign finance.

What Republican leaders have made clear is that they have only one goal: getting back into power, at any cost - then keeping it at any cost. This year, that included feeding their political appetites with the assistance of crazies on the far right. But now it's time to dispose of the Tea Bags, like they always do at their exclusive clubs when the main course is over.

All that will be left for true fiscal conservatives after this political meal are the post-election suckers.

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