Call me crazy, (three words in and I’ve already gone too far with the “C” word) but it seems to me that if you sell your credibility to win the hearts and minds of a small minority, but later you will need to also win over the majority, you will soon find yourself in a rather precarious position. I’ll elaborate…
The Republican party, to anyone watching from the outside, is hardly recognizable when compared to the GOP of yesterday. There is little doubt at this point that the Republican party has been effectively taken over by the Tea Party. Non Tea Partiers within the ranks have largely been silenced by the louder, more extreme voices invading the right. Just look at a helpless Boehner during the recent negotiations to avert a national default. How sad it was to see a formerly strong Republican brought down by the fringe of his own party. His hands were completely tied since due to the ideology of the new members of his party, negotiating with Democrats, especially President Obama, is looked at as treason.
Now look at the current field of Presidential candidates in the Republican party. The closest person they have to a true Republican is Mitt Romney. The truth of the matter is, however, that he above anyone else is unelectable. Republicans have always shown reluctance to cast their vote for a non Protestant, much less a Mormon.
Which brings us to the other front runners: Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry. Both openly show support for constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage, deny man-made climate change, believe in Creationism, have histories of being anti-science and both hold onto outdated, archaic political ideas. In recent months and years, Bachmann’s antics have been well documented, from calling for an investigation into seeing which members of Congress were anti or pro American to proposing the “Light bulb Freedom of Choice Act”, her particular brand of crazy is well known. That’s not even to mention, her behavior as a State Senator in Minnesota and the possibility of her husband using rather questionable techniques to “cure” gay people in his clinic. But how about Rick Perry? Just yesterday he told a young child that the state which he governs teaches both Evolution and Creationism in it’s schools. For anyone who’s jaw just dropped, relax, he was wrong. A fundamental piece of information about the way the Texas educational system works is something you’d expect someone to know while governing Texas. Unfortunately this isn’t his only major lapse of knowledge in regards to the Texan way of life. He has also made the statement that Texas, in accordance with their agreement when becoming a state, could secede from the union if they so chose. He didn’t pull this out of thin air of course, however it comes from a very confused view of history- something the Tea Party has never been ashamed of. In reality Texas negotiated to have the ability to divide itself into four additional states if they felt the need. Secession was never mentioned.
History is not a strong point of the Tea Party, neither, it seems, is reality. Yes, they want government shrunk to the point of barely existing and to allow the nation to default and remove all taxes, at least from the rich, and to cut all “socialized” programs. These things won’t happen of course, but they refused to negotiate with the Democrats nonetheless. If they couldn’t have everything they wanted and ensure that the Democrats got nothing they wanted, then why bother. Come to think of it that is pretty much what happened after all, yet they still complained as and screamed as if someone had burned the flag on the Iwo Jima monument.
So these are the people that the Republican front runners are pandering to. On one hand it is understandable these members of the fringe element now run their party. The problem comes in when you consider they are just that, the fringe element. They are extremists in every sense of the word. Their ideas have no correlation with that of mainstream America. In fact a recent Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans feel any support for the Tea Party. That isn’t the percentage of members, that’s anyone who even feels at all sympathetic to their cause. These numbers have fallen drastically in recent months as the true face of the Tea Party is starting to show. There is little reason not to think the numbers won’t continue to fall.
When they have to pander to such small numbers simply to acquire the nomination and the views of those small numbers have such little to do with and usually are in direct contrast to the views of the vast majority of voters, what do they think will happen. The rest of moderate, arguably moderate-left, America is waiting for them in the primaries. Seems to me this could cause a problem or two. Or maybe I’m just crazy.