A mild defense of Michael Steele’s non-involvement in the Tea Party movement.

Glenn Reynolds published a note from a reader indicating that the RNC is not referencing the Tea Party movement in its latest fundraising materials. This may have something to do with the fact that the Tea Party movement itself has no interest in bringing in the RNC:

With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steel that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.

Speaking as someone who is simultaneously a supporter of both the Tea Party movement and the GOP: the door swings both ways on this. If it is made clear that someone is not being invited to participate, it seems a bit unfair to object when they take you at your word. While I perfectly understand the desire of the Tea Party people to keep the GOP from taking over, unless the movement plans to actually start a third national party it’s going to have to come to at least an alliance with one of the two existing ones. And starting a third party right now will – at best – merely ensure that the Democrats will retain power for at least the next three election cycles. That works out to at least nine years of more-of-the-same.

We may not have nine more years. I’m of the opinion that three years would be two too many.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.


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  • Jaybird says:

    A danger to watch out for is that the 3rd Party types might find themselves thinking that “hey, the last time we ran with a Perot, both the Republicans and Democrats acted somewhat responsibly for a handful of years”.

  • Bill Johnson says:

    Yes, a third party is a risky, troublesome, and anything-but-instant-gratification solution. A lot of “us” are disaffected Republicans BECAUSE the GOP has been ignoring the things that matter to us. If you look closely at the Tea Party phenom, what you’ll see is us choosing our 10 ft long oak 4X4, letting it season really well in the kiln, and carving our two-handed grip into one end. (See, before you can communicate with a Missouri mule, first you must get his attention.) We intend to get the GOP mule’s attention – or kill him. Take your pick.

  • Moe_Lane says:

    I’m all for getting the mule’s attention. But at the end, better the mule than the jackass. 🙂

  • Jaybird says:

    After Perot, the Republican Party put together a Contract with America and said “look, we have been out of power for quite a while… as a matter of fact, the majority of you can’t even remember the last time there was a majority of Republicans in the Congress! (and probably weren’t even a twinkle), give us a shot and we’ll make everything okay. Here’s a contract!”

    Clinton acted like a Democrat despite getting 43% of the vote and, wouldn’t you know it, the Republicans handily took the House in the next election.

    There are a lot of differences between that dynamic and the current dynamic.

  • Brad S says:

    Moe, back in the late ’70s (when you and I were little grade school crumb crunchers), the GOP gave slightly more hindrance than help to both Phyllis Schlafly and Howard Jarvis when it came to the political activities of both individuals. Both Schlafly (defeat of the Equal Rights Amendment) and Jarvis (passage of Proposition 13) won big anyway, and their victories didn’t stop the GOP from being the eventual beneficiaries of those victories. Bear in mind that the residual effects of those political actions benefit the GOP to this very day.

    The bottom line: Don’t sweat it, folks. The Republican Party and the Tea Party folks will eventually embrace each other, and help each other immensely.

    I DO have to address one issue: Why is it that the talk of “3rd Party NOW!” always centers around the GOP, regardless of whether or not they hold the White House or Congress? Good grief, not even George Corley Wallace threatened to go 3rd Party that often, and he got electoral votes!

  • Jaybird says:

    It doesn’t always. See: Nader in 2000. Granted, he only got 3% of the vote… but that was a pretty influential 3%, all things considered.

    In recent memory, however, the 3rd Party that did the best was Perot who got 16% and, let’s face it, took a lot more votes from Bush than he did from Clinton.

    Even now: Imagine an effective (by “effective”, I mean “gets 10% or more of the vote”) third party. Which of the two parties are they most like (and, by extension, which would they syphon the most votes from)?

    The ones that pop into my head are more Republicanesque than Democratesque.

  • Skip says:

    As far as third parties go, the idea that we don’t have 9 years is really a non-starter, if you believe that the country’s just going to keep getting worse no matter what, regardless of the occupant of the White House. If that’s the case, it needs to happen ASAP, to minimize the total damage.

    And I’d question the idea that it would take 9 years either – the birth of the Republican Party itself basically shows this. The Republicans went from just an idea in 1854, to a creditable showing in 1856, and victory in 1860. Do you really think that things would take longer in the internet/twitter age?

    Of course the Republican Party came about by breaking off the progressive elements of the Whigs, combined with peeling off many of the anti-slavery elements of the Democrats, leaving a disaffected conservative Whig minority with no home for quite some time, so this may not be the best model for modern-day onservatives. But then again, it may – I could easily imagine sound fiscal policy peeling off a good chunk of the Democrat base, combined with the fis-con wing of the Republican party, leaving the big government social cons with no home, much like what happened to the reactionary portion of the Whigs.

    Now note, I’m not saying I think this should happen – I haven’t completely given up on the GOP yet. Although I have to say the nomination of a Senator at odds with the values of such a large portion of the GOP base last time around made me come close. But amazingly, McCain’s loss may well have saved the GOP as a national party, because the inevitable big government and liberal policies that would have happened under a McCain administration would likely have hastened its demise.

  • Moe_Lane says:

    I’d say that if the Democrats hadn’t effectively split themselves in 1860 we wouldn’t have seen a Republican in the White House before 1868. And I cannot even *begin* to work out what the political landscape would have looked like at that point.

  • Brad S says:


    If the Great Depression couldn’t kill off the GOP, if Nixon and Watergate couldn’t kill off the GOP (and bear in mind that was a time when states like South Dakota and Utah were electing Dems for Governor!), what on earth would make you think that the presence of a milquetoast veteran who “crosses party lines” like McCain would wreck the GOP today?! Please reference my above comment on what the GOP’s likely course of action will be, and stop thinking that the ideas trump personalities and party identity.

    BTW, quick quiz for you all: Which state currently has the nation’s longest stretch of one-party rule in its Governorship? You might be extremely surprised at the answer.

  • Jaybird says:

    I don’t think that McCain could possibly kill the Republicans, but I think that the right 3rd Party Candidate could effectively cause a major realignment.

    If the Perot voters (and Perot-inclined) show up in the same one-outta-six numbers (unthinkable in 2000 and 2004… back to being thinkable) *AND* manage to peel off a chunk of democrats to pull in, oh, 20-25% of the vote?

    Now this would require a Force of Nature kinda candidate rather than a candidate with a really kick’n platform… but if the Republican Party is just as fractured along Huckabee/Palin/Romney (not to mention that other guy) lines in 2012 (is being that fractured in 2012 unthinkable?) lines, a Force of Nature could easily pull down 25%. Easily.

    I have no idea whether such a Force of Nature exists, however.

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