Tea Party Power

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The last big primary day is finally behind us and with just seven weeks to the general election, the power of the Tea Party movement has been felt far and wide. Yesterday’s elections were no exception.

In Delaware, a decidedly blue state, conservative Christine O’Donnell won the GOP nomination for US Senate. Like Joe Miller in Alaska, she was thought to have little to no chance against the “establishment” candidate. In fact, like in Alaska, the powers-that-be fought against her. The NRSC ran telephone ads against her the last week of the primary and now that she won has indicated they will not be supporting her financially or otherwise. The GOP chairman from Delaware said she “couldn’t be elected dogcatcher.” Karl Rove was distinctly ungracious in his comments about her to Sean Hannity, saying “This is not a race we’re going to be able to win.” Congressman Mike Castle, her primary opponent, had won 16 elections before last night. In fact, he had never lost a race. He was heavily favored to defeat the Democrat, Chris Coons running for Joe Biden’s former seat. Coons is now predicted to win.

But here’s the deal. None of the so-called experts thought Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts. They didn’t think Lisa Murkowski was at risk and they did not think Bob Bennett would come in third at the state GOP convention. They were wrong.

The Tea Party movement has flexed its muscle and delivered some knock-out punches. The old guard had better take notice. We won’t win every election, but we will win enough to make a big difference this cycle. It will continue through the next cycle and beyond. We can’t “change the culture” of DC without changing the culture of America and that is what this political movement is doing. Those who insist on doing the same old things the same old way are being shown the door all over this country, from city councils to state legislatures to the US Senate.

Welcome to the brave new world.

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13 Responses to “Tea Party Power”

  1. Sylvia Andersen Says:

    While I agree with you on most things Holly, I am concerned that the big picture was missed here. It may be great that the Tea Party Candidate won in Delaware, but if that win ultimately delivers the seat to the Dem, where is the win? To win the nomination and not have the push to win the ultimate seat is not a win when as you stated, the GOP Candidate was slated to beat Coons. Did I misunderstand your blog?

  2. Aaron Gabrielson Says:

    The big picture is that we get true constitutional conservatives elected, not establishment RINO Republicans. It would be better to have a solid, principle based minority than a corrupt, wishy washy Republican majority that gives us things like the Medicare prescription drug bill and endless pork barrel spending.

    In Utah, we need to focus on what we can change, especially in the 2nd congressional district. Matheson cancels out the votes of Bishop and Chaffetz almost every chance he gets. It works out that Utah is only getting one vote in Congress, because of how Matheson votes. His voting record is far too liberal for how conservative our state is.

    Time for the Utah voters to rise up and send Matheson home, and put Morgan Philpot in our House seat.

  3. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “None of the so-called experts thought Scott Brown could win in Massachusetts.”

    Hardly many on Dailykos had figured this out 2-3 weeks before it happened, Coakly was a terrible candidate. Coakly used the same campaign strategy that Mike Lee is using right now, Hide and hope nobody notices until the election is passed(given this will likely work in Utah).

    “she was thought to have little to no chance against the “establishment” candidate.”

    Hardly surprising, Tea party is pushing candidates to win primary elections all over the place, the issue their going to have is in the general election. Christine O’Donnell is going to have a very uphill fight against the democrat in this blue state.

    Everyone of those Tea party candidates helps the Democrats by narrowing the enthusiasm gap deficit the democrats have by making the election choices more clear, and that is bad for republicans who would benefit from this election being a referendum on democrats rather then a choice between policies.

    Aaron,

    “It works out that Utah is only getting one vote in Congress, because of how Matheson votes.”

    Your what is wrong with politics, The opinions of the Democrats in the state are just as important as the republicans. The object is not to crush the voices of those you disagree with, its to work out a compromise that everyone can agree on(yea I know that is not working out to well lately).

  4. theSTARforum Says:

    NSRC has since come out and said they are behind her. I listened to the head on Sean Hannity today say that now the race is over, they will get behind the Republican nominee. (Gee thanks.)

    I think the most important message isn’t about Republicans or Democrats, but about the American people. What this is saying is that we are tired of the establishment and elites running our country, and in essence running our lives.

    But if we are going to win, we had better continue becoming educated.

  5. Aaron Gabrielson Says:

    I see your point Ronald. There is nothing wrong with having a liberal Democrat represent you if it is upfront and that is what the people are voting for. I think the difference is Matheson has been forced to hide what he votes for and believes in such a conservative state like Utah.

    Matheson has done an amazing job of getting Utahns to think he is moderately conservative. In fact, if you go to his campaign website you won’t find the word Democrat anywhere. He is trying really hard to hide what he actually stands for. He sends out mailers complaining about the deficit, when he is one of the biggest spenders in Congress (NTU gives him a 30% rating, CAGW gives him a 11% “hostile” rating). He votes yes on the Obama healthcare bill through all the procedural votes, then gets to vote No at the end once the Speaker has the votes to pass it without him.

    Since he won’t hold any public meetings or town halls, there is no way to hold him accountable or directly challenge his record (except by voting). Philpot asked for ten debates, Matheson agreed to just two. It is pretty obvious that his campaign strategy is to hide from the voters, since the more they know the less most Utahns will like what they see.

    If we are going to have a moderate liberal as our congressman, lets be upfront about it and let the voters decide if that is what they really want. It goes the other way as well, if Bishop or Chaffetz is too conservative they should be upfront about their record and let the people vote accordingly.

    Check out this graph that shows how Matheson’s record compares to how conservative Utah is: http://plixi.com/p/44966664

  6. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    Matheson liberal?!?!? That’s a good one.

    “In fact, if you go to his campaign website you won’t find the word Democrat anywhere.”

    So he wins based on who is is rather then his party affiliation. IMO this is a good thing but whatever.

    “He votes yes on the Obama healthcare bill through all the procedural votes, then gets to vote No at the end once the Speaker has the votes to pass it without him.”

    So they never passed the amendments he would have liked and he voted no on the final bill. I will never hold a vote to debate an issue against a candidate, allowing discourse is an important part of a functioning government.

    “Since he won’t hold any public meetings or town halls, there is no way to hold him accountable or directly challenge his record (except by voting). “

    Now this is certainly true, communication is an important part of politics.

    “Check out this graph that shows how Matheson’s record compares to how conservative Utah is”

    That’s fine, but we are talking about his district not the whole state, I am pretty sure Salt Lake City is pretty far from being a bastion of the Tea Party. You needn’t worry tho in 2011 we will have a forth house district and I am sure that the republicans in the Utah legislature will gerrymander 3 safe republican districts and 1 safe democrat district rather then having 2 swing districts and 2 safe districts, meaning we can replace Matheson with someone who really is a liberal.

  7. Aaron Gabrielson Says:

    Good discussion, I like it. My response: Unfortunately, Matheson’s party affiliation does matter. Matheson votes with the Democratic party line, with Speaker Pelosi 93% of the time.

    Those are the facts, but you won’t see that information on Matheson’s website. You won’t see his spending record on his website either.

    I don’t like that he has to hide this from the voters. Treat the voters like adults and let them know what you are up to. If you think that massive government spending is the right way to go, so be it. Let’s debate it openly.

    Matheson may not be as liberal as Democrats in other states, but it would be fair to call him a moderate liberal based on his voting record. In Utah that means he is put in a position where he can’t allow his record to be known, otherwise voters would throw him out. The 2nd district includes St. George and some very conservative areas, Salt Lake is less conservative but San Francisco it ain’t.

    I think if Republican voters knew the facts about Matheson’s record they wouldn’t be so quick to pull the lever for him because of his thoughtful, nice guy image. Which is well earned by the way. He is thoughtful and nice, but he is also a big spending Democrat.

  8. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “Matheson votes with the Democratic party line, with Speaker Pelosi 93% of the time. “

    Simply counting votes is a poor way to figuring where the guy stands, their are republicans who vote with her 80% of time just by adding up procedural votes. We have to look at what he has actually voted for.. or against.

    “I don’t like that he has to hide this from the voters. “

    I am sure this will catch up with him sooner or later, I am guessing in 2012 election when Utah has a forth house district.

    “In Utah that means he is put in a position where he can’t allow his record to be known”

    This seems to be a common strategy in Utah politics. I wonder if he is giving pointers to Mike Lee =-p.

    “I think if Republican voters knew the facts about Matheson’s record they wouldn’t be so quick to pull the lever for him because of his thoughtful, nice guy image.”

    Its because he is a down to earth guy, Seems the republicans think they can beat him with an over the top conservative every election when the district is pretty moderate. Their are a lot of people that benefit from Neo Liberal governance that he clearly supports in his district. The amount of work created by the federal government in Utah will eternally be a thorn in the side of the hardline conservative republicans here.

  9. Cameron Says:

    What’s being missed is that if all of this conservative activism over the last 2 years resulted in sending more of the same type of Republicans that lost power in 2006, then the TEA party movement was all for naught and a big waste of time.

  10. theSTARforum Says:

    Here’s the deal….. this is not a one election fix. This is going to take time, and the tea party movement, 9.12 movement in my opinion is about the awakening of the masses to the forces of government control over their lives. This awakening may end up sending no one to Washington that will help us, but the education we receive, and the connections we have made will take us through the 4th turning. If you want to see this movement in action, come and participate in the Utah United conference at the Raddison Hotel this Saturday. http://www.utahunited.org for more info.

  11. hollyonthehill Says:

    @Cameron – I’m not missing that point. You are absolutely correct. If this turns out like 94 – big changes, but then they all just became the good old boys doing the same old thing – the Tea Party movement WILL have been wasted. BUT – I really do believe that there are enough people interested in and committed to the basic principles of limited government and fiscal restraint/sanity that if these new peeps don’t vote right, we’ll vote ’em right on out.

  12. Cameron Says:

    @Holly – there were many people who didn’t/don’t take the movement seriously because they feel it was just a vehicle for the Republican Party. These primaries are a strong refutation of that.

  13. Ronald D. Hunt Says:

    “If this turns out like 94”

    I really don’t see that happening, the Democrats are much more energized then polling shows. In august OFA broke their record for volunteers bringing 388,000 people going door to door and phone banking for the Democrat party. The districts are much more gerrymandered then they used to be via the Tom Delay tactic of using a computer to generate district lines to maximize safe districts. And frankly many of these tea party candidates are scaring away moderate republican and independent votes.

    Republicans had a sure pickup in Nevada until Sharron Angle showed up, He had a 30% approval rating he was toast and now he is 5 points ahead in polling because of the gaffs coming out of Sharron Angles mouth. This appears to be a pattern that is repeating itself all over.

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