April 25, 2012
Throughout the GOP’s presidential debate and primary season for the past year, competing candidates appeared to be trying to “out-right” each other. Bidding to gain support of the party’s perceived conservative “base,” competing candidates continuously sought policy positions and even issue-oriented sound-bytes to what many perceived as the extreme political right.
In an interview with Martin Bashir on MSNBC-TV on Friday (April 20th), Carl Paladino, the unsuccessful GOP and tea party-backed New York gubernatorial candidate in 2010, bluntly expressed his disdain for the Republican Party “establishment.” He was expressing his support forin yesterday’s New York GOP primary, in the face of blunt questioning from talk show host. Bashir implied that in effect the party was over for anyone hoping to wrest away the GOP presidential nomination from . Paladino refused to concede the point, and with a smirk used wry humor to say about Romney: “He’s about as conservative as you are, Martin.” referring to Bashir’s acknowledged liberal political leanings.
In a brief statement byte re-broadcasted among CNN news summaries today, Gingrich stated he’s committed to defeating Presidentand helping his party, without being definitive about formally withdrawing. Shortly after Gingrich stepped aside, MSNBC’s announced that the Republican National Committee had formally endorsed Romney’s candidacy to challenge Obama’s re-election. Romney finally has an open field, but one still filled with in-party obstacles that he’ll have to prove his adeptness at dodging, while attempting to weather barrages coming from the President’s supporters.
Super Tuesday primary voter turnout was not so super in New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island and seemed anti-climactic, since Mitt Romney has in fact overwhelmingly presumed to be the eventual GOP presidential nominee by the majority of the public, politicians and media. By and large in most years, voters participating in Republican Party primaries tend to be those more politically conservative, so closer attention was paid to even lower than expected voter turnout in considering underlying reasons or potential implications. There might be have been some media attention paid perhaps to voter exit polling, on whether participants identify themselves with a Tea Party organization or sympathize with the movement in general, in a contest that was still competitive.
General public views and opinions of the various tea party organizations have polled negatively over the past few years, which is somewhat in line with the decline of Congressional members in polls that trend slightly lower for Republican members than Democrats. The GOP House membership’s domination by tea party-backed Representatives weakened the perceived effectiveness of Speaker of the House, (R-PA) throughout his tenure in the role. Stiff in-state challenges this year to long-term senatorial stalwarts Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) by tea party-favored candidates are expected to be early signs of its influence waning or being maintained from the 2010 midterm elections. The implications of out-of-state money flowing in to help defeat and support them, however, can’t be minimized in their being targeted for defeat in a factional fight for national party control.
There wasn’t much media anticipation for this non-Super Tuesday of five state primaries, especially since none of the participating states are “red” and do not tend to lean that way in voting results habitually. However, perhaps in anticipation of the New Jersey primary in seven weeks, an elected state GOP committeeman from a southern New Jersey county (Gloucester), Rob Eichmann, had an op-ed column published three days ago in the Sunday Star Ledger that claimed “The movement has attracted a deeply disturbing fringe element.” He also implied that some of them harbor extreme racial views in the ways some web sites have been characterizing the President, as well as the First Lady. Many still remember claims that tea party members protesting against the healthcare bill on Capitol Hill two years ago spat upon Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and used racial and other slurs aimed at Democratic members of Congress that were denied by Rep. Michelle Bachmann. She opined that someone needed to produce videotape as evidence, which someone subsequently did several weeks after the incident (see confirming video/spitting evidence here).
On the other hand Rep. That was among other things he said that seemed a bit on the fringe when he spoke off-the-cuff in response to a question from one of his constituents at a tea party group town hall meeting and in subsequent explanations.(R-FL), an African American, enjoys strong support from tea party members as a counter argument. However, he seems to have some rather extreme views himself with his recent assertions that Democratic Congressional Progressive Caucus members are all communists.
It makes one wonder whether it’ll be the “GOP establishment” or the tea party factions being the proverbial tail that wags the dog this year, and speculate which one will survive intact to be the real base of the party going forward. The loser could become a base component of a coalition leading to formation of a third party.
Additional sources, resources and references: CNN, MSNBC Andrea Mitchell Reports,
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