As most of my followers around the interwebs know, I live in Texas (unfortunately), and the primaries for US Senate in Texas are right around the corner. Watching the GOP primaries unfold makes me laugh (when it doesn’t make me cry), because it shows the kind of in-fighting and identity crisis that the GOP is experiencing in this political climate.
Currently, the top contenders for the Republican primary seat that is being left vacant by retiring Senator Kay Baily Hutchinson (the key figure who killed the DREAM Act, so good riddance) are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who is being backed by Governor Rick Perry (you know, the guy who held that giant prayer rally in Houston), and former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, who is being backed by former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin, both of whom (Perry and Palin) are Tea Party favourites. Both sides seem to be trying to call the other side moderates and that their candidate will cause the most disruption in Washington DC in order to win Tea Party support.
A spokesman for Ted Cruz’s campaign said, “…conservatives are supporting Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst to take our country back from go-along, get-along moderate politicians.” I watched a political ad today attacking Dewhurst, where they quote-mined a bunch of news articles in order to make it seem like he’s a moderate somehow. The problem with this is that Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is one of the most conservative politicians in Texas (which is a bad thing).
Now it seems that Dewhurst will win the Republican primary over Cruz. Once there, he will be going up against the Democratic candidate, which is expected to be former Texas House Representative Paul Sadler. Knowing Texas, the Democrats will lose unfortunately.
However, what it’s come down to is that conservative Americans have moved so far to the right that calling someone a liberal is overdone. They made liberal such a dirty word in America that they are moving along to the next thing: moderate. It’s bad to be a moderate. It’s bad to reach across the aisle. It’s bad to work with others like grown adults do. It’s bad to compromise, because we would rather see America suffer than have to work with those damn Democrats. We would rather kick and scream and whine to get what we want, and if we can’t get it, then no one can have anything.
The Tea Party is eclipsing, if not taking over, the Republican Party, and conservatives are becoming more and more conservative in response to claims that even the most conservative of them are moderates, which they are not. It’s a race to the right, and the losers are the American people, especially those that stand in their way. While the Tea Party is fighting itself to see who is the most conservative, it is creating an atmosphere that is extremely hostile to liberals, gay, religious and ethnic minorities, women, the poor, and anyone who is not a white, straight, male, Christian conservative.
In the Republican primaries for the US Senate in Indiana on Tuesday, long-time Senator Dick Lugar lost 40% to 60% to Richard Mourdock, Indiana’s state treasurer. This in it of itself is shocking; Lugar has been in office since 1976 and had been considered one of the greatest minds on US foreign policy.
What led to his loss is even more upsetting. During the campaign Mourdock railed against Lugar for compromising with the Democrats and reaching across the aisle. He continued to call him “Obama’s favourite Republican,” trying to paint Lugar as a moderate and friend to the Democratic Party, saying that he would oppose bipartisanship if he were in office.
This is the disturbing things about the Republican Party.
Anyone who has taken any political science or American history class will tell you that things only ever got done in Congress when parties compromised with each other and decided to work together for the benefit of the country. Someone just won a Congressional primary on the ticket of ignoring common knowledge and the slogan of “We Will Not Work With You, Only Against You.”
“Bipartisanship,” “compromise,” and “working together” have almost become dirty words to Republicans and the Tea Party. The right has become so radical that it has simply refused to do anything that would possibly get anything done if it meant being an adult and actually working with people to do what is necessary for the country.
This may be a good thing after all though. As the Tea Party ultra-nationalists alienate the moderate and establishment Republicans, they will eventually go so far to the right that they will form a third party that will split the vote for the conservatives, giving Democrats and liberals the chance to elect real progressive politicians who can bring real change to this country.