Nov. 13, 2013

What It Really Means to Get ‘Primaried!’

In 2010 Christine O’Donnell emerged from Delaware as a senatorial candidate and changed the political landscape in America. O’Donnell was the first Tea Party  candidate for a major Senate seat without any real legislative accomplishments, but because of her conservative activism was able to garner financial support enough to defeat former Delaware Governor Mike Castle in the primaries. O’Donnell has had a reputation of radical religious anti-abortion views after her failed acting career ended. She was clearly not as qualified as Mr. Castle, but that didn’t stop Wall Street from supporting her bid. She won the primary and that served notice.

This race really serves as a reminder to all moderate Republican candidates across the board in all elections now. O’Donnell lost the general election, but the damage was done.

The entire Republican political landscape is now predicated on the fear of moderate Republicans fearing a “Primary from the Right.” It has crippled the U.S. political system in that the 30-40 far-right Tea Party House of Representatives basically control the house and have hogtied Speaker John Boehner since they took over the House in January, 2011 with a GOP majority.

This has thrown a monkey wrench into the current political landscape. The Tea Party element in the House was responsible, along with Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz in the summer of 2013. Speaker John Boehner was unable to rein this element of his GOP Party.

In the fall of 2013 South Carolina GOP Senator Lindsay Graham threatened to put  a Senate Hold on all confirmations unless the Obama administration complies with his requests to the administration: “So I’m going to block every appointment in the United States Senate until the survivors  are being made available to Congress.” 

It just so happens that a move like this helps Graham in his….Everybody….2014 Senate Republican primary in South Carolina. His opponent SC State Senator Lee Bright is a Tea Party candidate who called Graham "community organizer for the Muslim Brotherhood."

Graham has to maneuver his way through changing South Carolina politics, while doing his job in Washington D.C. The radical right candidates continue to  hammer away at the Washington insiders with disdain and they really don’t hold back as Lee Bright showed us with this name calling. It is only the tip of the iceberg for what will happen all the way up through the 2016 Presidential election.

The standard-bearing Republicans like McCain, Corker, Ayotte and Graham are finding themselves in a position of retreat when it comes to Tea Party abuse.  Their own survival depends on them flip flopping on issues they had championed in the past.

Florida Junior Senator Marco Rubio spent the spring and summer of 2013 championing and creating an Immigration Policy that passed the U.S. Senate.  Rubio immediately started getting flak from the Tea Party members of his caucus and outside far right wing groups that fund many Tea Party activities. On October 28, 2013 Rubio started backing away from his own policy saying he now favors “The House Bil,” which is more radical and was not even scheduled to come up for a vote at the end of 2013.

The Tea Party has crippled all legislation and functioning of the U.S. government. The Senate Tea Party members like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have led the charge to cripple the Obama administration and its signature legislative achievement The Affordable Care Act. Obamacare has its own problems with a shaky website rollout for implementation, but the GOP is hammering away at the law itself and the fine print issues that are coming up.

American citizens are pulling out their hair coming to grips with this new way of governing and poor communication by its leadership. Political agendas seem to overcrowd good governance in this decade of what I call “Governmental Incompetance.” The system is broken and the only real solution is the American people electing Democrats in all the branches.

In California, all three branches are Democratically run and the economy is thriving. California alone makes up what is equal to the eighth largest economy in the world.  The U.S., Japan, Germany, China, United Kingdom, France and Italy are larger. In California, most government agencies work flawlessly and the Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has a hands on relationship with the legislature and they are able to get legislation on the books easily.

If the GOP were as interested in good governance, I would have no problem voting for them, but right now there are very few NEW GOP candidates that have shown interest in helping our citizens. They have been about stopping the government.

In the 1980’s Ronald Reagan made his name on getting government out of our way, when in actuality he made government bigger during his tenure. Bush Sr. held that line. Bill Clinton shrunk it down by downsizing our military during peace time. George W. Bush built up the government to levels never seen before with two wars that were being outsourced on a government credit card.

The current administration has been forced by the obstructionist GOP to downsize the U.S. government to its lowest levels in 50 years. Sequestration cuts across the board are partially responsible, but Obama himself has had an attitude of stinginess when it comes to government spending.

The biggest single issue that separates the two parties would be entitlement programs like Welfare and Social Security. Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan has advocated privatizing entitlement programs and having school voucher programs throughout the land. The Democrats are staunchly against this approach. The rubber hits the road between Tea Party officials and moderate Republicans.

The big question that will have to be answered by the 2016 Presidential election is whether moderate Republicans will be swayed by the Tea Party enough in this area? Will the House turn over to the Democrats and give them all three branches? Will that possible development make the final two years of President Obama’s administration end his 2nd term with a flurry of big ticket items such as Immigration and gun reform?

There is a lot at stake in the next few years. Never has one party had so much impact so quickly on our public as the Tea Party. Every candidate in that party fears getting a primary challenge from candidates to their right. The question here is when will that NOT be an issue for Republicans? What will it take to change this dynamic in our country?

It is unlikely that we will see another African American president in the next two election cycles, so how far will this movement go? They sprung up in outrage of their “Country getting taken over.” The Tea Party and “Birther Movement” continually tried to de-legitimizing President Obama, accusing him of “Not Really Being an American” and other signs seen at Tea Party rallies.

I realize that all presidents are vilified by the opposition. This has been going on for centuries, but something seems just a little more vial in the profiling of President Obama by his opposition. Call it racist, call it disrespectful, but at least respect the office of President of the United States.  

We are definitely living in the most polarized political environment since the civil war and the more radical right people make a lot of noise riling up their base with a lot of subtle, but racist rhetoric. Until someone stands up to them, they will continue.

Wall Street is partially responsible for the Tea Party in that they funded them. Now the Tea Party House Republicans repaid them by shutiing down the government and almost defaulting by not paying the bills congress racked up in the most-recent Debt Ceiling debacle. Now we are beginning to see a crack in their armor. Wall Street is starting to pull away from the Tea Party monster and will likely back more moderate Republicans, even some Democrats. Stay tuned.