Nixing Republican purism


After all the talk lately about the Tea Party and the rise of the Republican right, last week’s election was an eye-opener. As veteran Republican political commentator Tony Quinn has observed, not only did the most conservative Republican candidates for statewide office all lose by wide margins, but voters also approved Proposition 14, the so-called “top-two” initiative that for all its flaws stands a good chance of favoring moderate Republicans over their far-right brethren in future primary contests.

Read the whole article here.

  6 comments for “Nixing Republican purism

  1. Anon
    June 18, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I don’t think this article is necessarily accurate.

    Lt Gov: Maldo only got about 43% of the vote. The anti-Maldonado vote was split too many ways.

    Insurance Commissioner: Villines might lose and the other guy did nothing.

    Whitman/Poizner: Both are moderates campaigning as conservatives. Rank and file voters (those that would never read this blog) don’t trust either of them and saw Meg as the lesser of two evils.

    Prop 14: True tea partiers (not Republican hacks who are hijacking the movement) are fed up with the Republican party. The fact that the Republican Party opposed Prop 14 didn’t do it any favors with this group. The current system is not working. I doubt Prop 14 will fix it, but voters are ready to try. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are more moderate.

  2. friend of the blog
    June 18, 2010 at 11:33 am

    There are several things wrong with the tea party movement.

    1) The tea partiers don’t know what they want, only what they DON’T want. In the words of Marx (Groucho), “Whatever it is, I’m against it.” That’s not enough to create a lasting or effective political movement.

    2) Most tea partiers don’t understand how government works. They propose things that are completely irrational, which makes them hard to be taken seriously.

    3) They’ve allowed themselves to be lumped in with racists. I don’t happen to believe that the tea party movement is inherently racist, but as long as the movement refuses to loudly discourage racism it’s going to be associated with racism.

    4) They are more interested in headlines than with actually accomplishing something.

    They’ll be a footnote in history by 2014.

    • June 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

      They said the same thing about the first tea party.

      Racism is racial collectivism and has nothing to do with tea party tax revolts. Just because Rachel Madow, Janine Garafalo and Jimmy Carter say the tea parties are racist doesn’t mean they are. In fact it more likely indicates that they are not, but that they scare the leftists so much, because they have grass roots like leftists could only dream of, that they are willing to throw their most cherished insult at them.

  3. friend of the blog
    June 19, 2010 at 11:12 am

    I do not listen to Maddow, Garafalo, or Carter so I have no idea what they are saying. I am listening and talking to and watching the tea partiers I personally know. That is my sole source of information about the tea party.

    I agree that racism has nothing to do with the tea party’s tax revolts. Some tea partiers are racists, just like some lawyers are racists and some Nebraskans are racists. And some are not.

    The problem is that racism and racist talk has crept into the Tea Party movement and many people in the movement look the other way or ignore it or laugh it off because they aren’t offended enough by it and because they define “racism” much too narrowly. (You do this when you say it is simply “racial collectivism.” Narrowly re-defining a widely-understood term to suit your own purpose is not an effective way to prevail in a two-sided discussion. You may end up thinking you have won but no one around you will be persuaded. What’s the point in that?)

    Unless the tea party completely and loudly disavows all hints of racism — as broadly defined and whenever it happens — it will fail.

  4. lefty
    June 19, 2010 at 11:41 am

    The article is flat wrong.

    It ignores the over-riding factor in the races mentioned – not ideology – but $$$.

    Bottom line – those who had big bucks & spent them, & produced big results.

    That hardly proves ANY ideological point.

    In fact, contrary to the articles “point” – Poinzer was virtually even with Whitman at one point – scaring her army of highly paid consultants, & forcing them to counter Poisner – with something the Republican primary voters wanted to hear.

    So she took a hard line opposing illegal immigration – & along with massive spending promoting her “new” position – & regained her former lead.

  5. friend of the blog
    June 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    lefty: at the end of the article it says “Republican voters sent a strong message to their party Friday: We prefer mainstream candidates who can win in general elections not so-called “true conservatives” who cannot win and would doom the party to irrelevancy.”

    I agree with you that this is the wrong conclusion, and that the conclusion should probably be something more like “money still talks louder than anything else.”

    But don’t you think the results do say *something* about the prospects for Republican purism? In spite of the dollars spent I think the average Republican can tell you, for example, that Devore is much more conservative than Fiorina. Certainly the average OC Republican can. Yet he was soundly defeated, even in OC. (It will be interesting to see if he won his own Assembly District.)

    I think this says either that his party didn’t agree with his ideology, or that they think he can’t win in November. Or both.

    Since Whitman, Fiorina, and Poizner were so massively self-funded their races are unusual. But in situations where there is no wealthy candidate in the race, will the ideological purists step up to the plate with their dollars?

    As Value Critic points out above, the tea party movement is very grassroots. The grassroots on both sides of the political spectrum tend to believe that a correct-thinking candidate with substantial grassroots support will seize the imagination of voters and will be able to win elections without a lot of money. Sadly for everyone, elections just don’t work that way.

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