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Weak tea revolt!

November 3, 2010

Did the Right scupper their chances by knowingly courting deeply flawed and controversial candidates?

You know I am putting my hands up – yes the Democrats got a slamming last night and yes the people showed that they aren’t happy with the course taken recently by the Obama administration. Whether it fair that the people should expect a complete turn around on the devastating impact the 8 years of Bush made, in just 20 short months – I don;t agree.  It’s going to take longer than that, but people are struggling and for them waiting is not good enough.

Of course amongst the voters a revolt also took place, aided by the GOP and the new Tea Party, who have since day one of the Obama administration worked on a “do anything to get him out” meme.

The loss of the House of Representatives to a Republican majority and wins for Tea Party backed favs such as Rand Paul and Marc Rubio – oh and John Boehner winning the Speaker of the House position from Nancy Pelosi ARE a wake up call – I am not going to try to paint over that fact.  However where it leads now – well that’s up to whether Obama allows the GOP win on November 2nd to empower him as it did for Bill Clinton who went on, after a punishing first mid-term defeat to become a two term President and leaving with a massive surplus. Or Obama can allow the right to lock down progress, allow them to tie up his agenda and damage his chances for a second term. Or on a lighter note as Time Magazine points out:

If Obama can settle his differences with moderate voters, and seize ownership of the middle ground, he will find a lot of the electorate waiting patiently for him.

John Beohner may have been all sweetness and light as he gave an emotional speech last night when he learnt that he was now Speaker-in-Waiting by saying

“We hope President Obama will now respect the will of the people, change course, and commit to making the changes they are demanding. To the extent he is willing to do this, we are ready to work with him”

but let us not forget he intends to hold Obama to changing to the GOP way and if Obama does not, he will obstruct as he has promised to do over the past week by promising “no compromise”.

So yes the Democrats were hurt and they have a lot of inward looking to do.  Obama has to decide how he moves forward now – and I think if he concedes further to the GOP he will lose any hope of a second term, but let us remind people who last night the voters also sent out another clear message to those in power, the lawmakers and those that would hope to gain a place there.

For the past few days there has been talk of a Tea Party tidal wave against the Left and for certain there were notable inclusions as new lawmakers to the Senate and House who are either bona fide Tea Party activists or those who realized that they needed to drink some tea to save their political skin. We can not discount people like Rand Paul, Mark Rubio and other successful TP candidates, but let us not get carried away that they won with a resounding wave – I would say a gentle swell more like.

For example, many believed Harry Reid‘s Nevada seat was certain to fall, and if the Republican candidate previously on the ballot had won their primary then Reid may very well be looking for a new job today – but instead the Tea Party usurped that primary and Sharron Angle was nominated – and hit was her inclusion on the ballot, and her subsequent actions, which included racial stereotyping, falsely trying to connect Reid to an affair, talk of “Second Right Amendments”, running from the media etc that scared the voter away and guaranteed Reid a safe win.

In what The Guardian classed as “bad-tempered race”, Harry Reid ended up retaining his seat with a margin of 5%.  Which says a lot to Angle who had predicted a “tsunami of conservatism”. It also says more about the voters who with a resounding “no way” showed that while they may not be happy with the goings on in Washington, they do not entrust their lives to someone like Angle who has been a disaster from day one. As Reid said in his victory speech: “Today Nevada chose hope over fear.”

Angle probably didn’t realize in her own concession speech she actually gaffed again:

“We didn’t just inspire Republicans, we inspired Democrats and independents as well.”

Yes, for certain, she inspired people to vote – against her. And Reid was backed by an overwhelming non-white vote – which if Angle is able to understand is a resounding “Sod Off” from the numerous ethnic groups she besmirched during her campaign.

Another major looser was Christine O’Donnell – she of the “I’m a witch – not a with, I’m You, don’t masturbate” etc (see my previous blog post Run Tea Party, Run for more).  To be fair once her background became clear, there was really no sane reason she would be voted in – even with Mama Grizzly Sarah Palin’s endorsement. She remained defiant saying the Republican party would never be the same – another snarky remark towards the main party that she felt had not supported her during her campaign.  In fact I am hearing on Twitter as I write this that on CNN this morning she is blaming everyone but herself (if I can find a clip I will post it here). It makes me cringe that when I think about O’Donnell’s defiance and her inability to understand that it was her that turned voters off – her own words, her actions and her questionable background – I wonder if we are getting Palin mark two being thrust onto us – I hope not, I really hope not.

In an interview with ABC on “Good Morning America” O’Donnell said that it was the lack of support from the GOP that cost her the seat.  As (MyCentralJersey) writes:

O’Donnell said Wednesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the “lesson to be learned is to unite.” She said there was too much infighting after she beat Rep. Mike Castle in the GOP primary.

Chris Coons ended up beating O’Donnell with a resounding thump – 57 percent to O’Donnell’s 40 percent. (MyCentralJersey) Again the voters showed that change they wanted but there are limits to who they want to do that for them. O’Donnell could do well to reflect on that instead of blaming others.

Is Miller also headed for defeat?

Another Tea Party favorite who is loosing ground is Joe Miller in Alaska.  Another candidate who won his primary on a wave of support but whose background when exposed and his conduct during the campaign and the controversies that surrounded him, the exit polls (at time of writing the count has not yet been called) show a very different story.

As the Associated Press writes:

The Alaska Senate race was headed for another nail biter in the rematch between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and tea party favorite Joe Miller as supporters from both sides prepared Wednesday for a potentially prolonged ballot count.

Write-in ballots held the lead in the hotly contested three-person race late Tuesday, a potentially good sign for Murkowski’s long-shot effort to keep her job.

“They said it couldn’t be done,” she told supporters Tuesday night. “We said if it can be done anywhere, it can be done in Alaska, and let’s prove the rest of the country wrong. And we’re doing that tonight.”

No U.S. Senate candidate has won as a write-in since Strom Thurmond did it in 1954. But with nearly 99 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, write-ins had 41 percent of the vote.

Miller, who beat Murkowski for the GOP nomination in August by just 2,006 votes, received 34 percent. He sent supporters home early from his campaign’s Tuesday evening party, then returned to his hotel with his family.

Democrat Scott McAdams had about 24 percent and all but conceded Tuesday evening.

It is unlikely that this result will be known for a few days.  In fact initial reports suggest the count will be made on November 18 but Alaskan officials are also suggesting that this count could be sooner so the electorate is not kept waiting.  Miller’s side has promised to contest the write-in. And some still suggest that even though McAdams is in third place “could emerge from the Alaska Senate race with a victory, thanks to a split in the GOP vote between Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Joe Miller, the Tea Party backed candidate who defeated her” (CBS)

Another major loss for the Tea Party was Carl Paladino, who was plagued by one gaffe after another.  From his comments about gay Americans whom he described as “extreme people in bikini type outfits grinding at each other and doing these gyrations.” He was also found to have been emailing pornographic images of women to friends as well as racist cartoons and a bestiality video. (Daily Mail) His Democrat rival Andrew Cuomo, swept to a resounding victory.  But Paladino warned that we hadn;t heard the last of him.  As Dan Collins on the Huffington Post noted of Paladino’s campaign:

It’s not that Paladino didn’t try in a general, vague, useless way to talk about the state’s financial problems. It’s just that he didn’t have the discipline to avoid the obvious pitfalls that ruin an out-of-control campaign before it ever gets started.

Paladino ran as the candidate of the disenfranchised upstate voter, and all he did was to demonstrate to downstate voters how much state money has been wasted on useless economic development programs to benefit upstate businessmen like … Carl Paladino.

The Tea Party were big winners with Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson and possibly Ken Buck (although he is still fighting against Democrat Michael Bennet) coming through, but the voters also showed a measure of sanity and told the Tea Party that if they want to be taken seriously, tabling ignorant candidates such as O’Donnell and Angle will not wash.

As Time Magazine pointed out this morning:

Tea Party insurgents forced the nomination of weak, extreme candidates in several key races. The price of those primary victories proved high in the general election. Right-wing purists squandered Republican chances to control the Senate, to defeat Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada and to elect a governor in the swing state of Colorado.

Time will now tell if the Tea Party can go from being a movement to a working political force because if they can not get beyond the rhetoric and effectively work in government or prove that their only goal is obstruction and not genuine movement and problem solving – the next election will be a very scary countdown for them.

And of course there are some that are now wondering if the inability to win the Senate as well as the House from the left can be laid at the feet of the Tea Party. As CBS reported:

Ultimately, it’s impossible to know exactly how things would have played out had the Tea Party movement not existed. But it certainly appears that the nomination of both O’Donnell and Angle cost the Republican Party. Had those two seats gone to the GOP, Republicans might now be in a position to celebrate a takeover of both houses of Congress — instead of just one.

As the left picks itself up and evaluates the right may want to be wary for what Time Magazine call “the seeds of future squabbles”.

Lastly, do the GOP have any more need for the Tea Party now they are at least part of the way back in the door as they may see it.  Sure the movement will probably carry on but with defeats of favourites such as Angle and O’Donnell into whom so much time and energy was put – while ignoring the definate poison they both carried as candidates – will they haev the same power and will the GOP need them.

Yes the Left lost, but neither do I think the Right won resoundingly and they may want to remember that before they carry on regardless.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. afrankangle permalink
    November 3, 2010 9:32 pm

    What happens within the GOP in the days ahead will be interesting. In some ways, Mr. Boehner is the one on the hot seat.
    Will the Tea Party winners be able to work with the GOP establishment? (I say no).
    Will the GOP seek common ground with President Obama? (I say no).
    Will Sarah Palin live up to her promise that the “GOP is through” if they don’t follow the Tea Party lead? (I say no)

    Angle, no relation to me :), 🙂 -Reid race was interesting. Wow … The pollsters sure miss that one! The key stat: Independents went for Reid 2-1. In the end, the majority of independents turn away from craziness.

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