Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Romney nomination - The Tea Party's only hope

There has been speculation about the future of the Tea party. Will it die out? Is it here to stay? The opinions are many.

In this post, I am going to argue that the only thing that can ensure that the Tea Party survives over the forseeable future is if Romney is the Republican nominee in 2012.

First, we should be clear about one thing: If Republicans win the next presidential election, it is over for the Tea Party, no matter who does it. Being insurgents against a democratic president, that's one thing. But few people are actually willing to go against the establishment in the party if they happen to control the white house - that is why there was no Tea party back in the Bush era. The Tea Party won't be able to muster the strength it needs to affect anything if a Republican is president.

Now, let's look at the other scenarios and how they would play out for the Tea Party:

1) If Palin is the nominee and loses, then that is it. The Tea Party will have been officially defeated by Obama and his ilk. It will die, and MSNBC will be dancing on its grave.

2) If Huckabee is the nominee and loses, that will be it too, since he still (according to polls) have a lot of favor with Tea Partiers and is a Republican outsider. The outsiders will have a hard time staging a comeback after a Huckaloss. It will probably mean the end for the FairTax as well I'm afraid (which would be sad for me as a supporter of the FairTax system).

3) If Gingrich is the nominee and loses, they will probably die too. Gingrich, while by many seen as a part of the establishment, is one of the authors of the Contract with America, and his 1994 revolution could be seen as a predecessor to what happened in 2010. That makes him enouh associated with the Tea Party so that a loss for him could be blamed on the movement.

4) Romney on the other hand, is as establishment as it gets. Some of his supporters may say that this portrayal is unfair, but it is none the less there. If Romney were to be nominated, but go on to lose against Obama, the Tea Party would certainly surge since this would prove that "establishment republicans can't get elected (either)", "we need more candidates from Sams' club, not the country club" and "Had it not been for the fact that we nominated a Rino, we would have won" (this is the way they would spin it, anyway). Palin would then have a shot at the nomination in 2016. It would be kind of like when Goldwater was nominated in 1964 after (the much more moderate) Nixon's loss in 1960.

Of course, if Palin/Huckabee/Romney were indeed elected president, there might not be a need for the Tea Party anymore. The movement will still cease to exist, for a "good" reason (because they have reached their goal) or for a "bad" reason (their candidate has been rejected by the people).
These are my thoughts on the issue. What do you others think about this?
John Gustavsson


Dave said...

There is a lot of overlap between the Tea Party and the Republican Party, and if both are successful in 2012, you will see a full-scale merging of the two.

The root of the Tea Party is outrage over the size of deficits, debt, and the mortgaging of the future of younger generations.

Everything else feeds off of that. Romney is the ideal candidate to cut the size of government without raising taxes.....he's done it before, and he has a long history of making dysfunctional organizations work effectively.

This suggests that the Tea Party will become part of the big tent as the Republican Party addresses its core concerns successfully.

Jeff Fuller said...

I still don't get how Romney was the "conservative alternative to McCain" in 2008 (with endorsements/support of Jim Demint, Rick Santorum, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, The American Conservative Union--David Keene, etc . . .), but is now listed by everyone as "the establishment candidate." ANyone ever care to think that "the establishment" has generally wisened up, listened to the Tea Party, and become more conservative itself?!? Or does the simple-minded contrarian thinking of some Tea Partiers automatically reject anything from "the establishment" just because of what it represents? That is unfair and unwise.

I think any Tea Partier, and I am one who does support Romney, would be pleased as punch to have their ideas put into practice to save our nation, even if it meant that there was no longer any immediate need for the Tea Party to make major waves, and therefore the movement died out.

Your post makes it seem like the Tea Party must continue to exist just for it's own sake, and that some of it's leaders/members would consider "throwing" an election by nominating an unelectable candidate just so that they could stay in the minority and stay relevant. That, my friend, is a trick of the left and some minority organizations and, I believe, offensive to Tea Party members like myself. Us Tea Partiers would rather mind our own business and work and not have to protest . . . but we'll rise to the occasion anytime The Constitution and/or our great nation are threatened.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure he was the "conservative alternative to McCain," but if he was, then that is not really a tall order. I, personally, think it is not accurate to question Romney's conservatism but that is something he has backed away from as of late. In 2008 he courted the conservative movement, as any serious Republican candidate would, many believed he was genuine, many believe he wasn' seems this time around he feels he has a different route to the nomination. To address your thoughts about the TP...of course Romney has Tea Party support, just as any other candidate would. The Tea Party Movement is not that difficult for a Republican voter to sympathize with, especially considering the Administration we have to deal with now.


Noelle said...

Based on the TEA party's original message (Taxed Enough Already), I believe that Romney was a TEA party member before there was a TEA party. If the TEA Party is about adherence to the Constitution, shrinking the size of government and getting the finances of the government under control, I think that Mitt best personifies that mission. (I think others contribute to that mission to, but I think Mitt is the best.)

I get mixed messages these days regarding the current mission of the TEA Party. Are they about being fiscally conservative? (I hope so.) Are they about getting the most conservative candidates possible elected to Congress and the White House? Are they about "purifying" the Republican Party? (I'm getting pretty tired of calling people RINOs. They exist, but I think that term is overused. A lot.)

ConMan said...

How is Romney the ESTABLISHMENT?

4 years as Governor and over 30 in the Private sector.

Huckabee is more establishment with his 10.5 years as Governor.

Romney may be the establishments candidate, but that rests more on him being the most qualified and experienced to turn around the economy and BEAT Obama.

The establishment wants A WINNER!

Anonymous said...

I have a question...who are the Establishment...we sound like a bunch of paranoid hippies.


How about we say that Romney is AN establishment candidate...meaning that he can get a lot of funding and support from the biggest donors that keep the party afloat.

Noelle said...

@ConMan, you're right.

Anonymous said...

The "establishment" does want a winner...they also want someone who will support the policies that are important to them...whatever they are...


Revolution 2010 said...

"If Huckabee is the nominee and loses, that will be it too, since he still (according to polls) have a lot of favor with Tea Partiers and is a Republican outsider."

You're kidding, right? What polls? Most Tea Party folks I know IN THE STATES, can't stand Huckabee. They prefer Palin or Romney.

You must be referring to the Tea Party in Sweden.

OhioJOE said...

Interesting post, but under no senario, will the Tea Party just die out. We are past the point of no return. The Tea Party might not become a party per se, but it is a movement that will be here to stay. If the GOP governs from the Right, most Tea Parties will back the GOP, else they will be a thorn in the GOP, but in any event, it is here to stay in some form.

While there is significant amount of Tea Partiers who Romneyites (haha, a few of my facebook friends want me to like him) Mr. Romney is probably by far the most disliked among Tea Partiers. Most of them do not like MAcare and many do not like TARP. So you are probably correct that if Mr. Romney does become the nominee, he will galvanise Tea Partiers against him.

Anonymous said...

Your assertion that Gingrich is a tea partier simply because of what happened 17 years ago! is risible.


OhioJOE said...

Welcome back Dan

Anonymous said...

The Tea Party's success doesn't have to depend on being "against" anything. In the 90's, Free Republic became a force for conservatives in the battle against the Clinton corruption. With the election of President Bush, Free Republic didn't cease to exist. They continued to hold assemblies and to participate in activism. They've been standing outside Walter Reed Hospital to show support for wounded soldiers and to be a counter against Code Pink and various liberal groups since about 2003 or 2004. Free Republic has declined a bit in recent years as Jim Robinson has insisted on more and more conformity to his way of thinking on every issue, but Free Republic survived the good times and bad times for Republicans.

In the same way, the Tea Party can continue to exist and be influential regardless of the GOP nominee. Even if Republicans have both houses of Congress and the White House, controversies will arise over how to enact some of the reforms that Republicans have promised. Tea Party people can still hold rallies in support of the GOP fulfilling the promises that turned Tea Party members from everyday citizens to activists. The Tea Party can continue to hold town hall meetings where they present their ideas and concerns to their elected officials. The chance to talk to people who want reduced spending and more freedom is good for our representatives regardless of the person in the White House.

I still favor nominating Mr. Romney, but his nomination has nothing to do with saving the Tea Party.


Bill589 said...

The TPM purposely does not have a leader. It’s the American experiment that counts. I don’t see how Mitt could attract the TPM, unless he becomes a constitutional conservative. His record morphs in and out of conservative views. His socialized healthcare in Mass grew government and is the opposite of what the TPM wants.

IMO, even when Palin becomes president, the TPM will continue until our constitutional government is restored, which will take years. It may still continue as it is the nature of government to grow bigger and stronger and we will have to be vigilant in opposing that.

Politicons said...

Romney is a total GOP establishment candidate, and I would never support him for the nomination and neither would The Tea Party. He is not a Tea Partier. Unfortunately I think he is going to run, and will get killed by Sarah Palin in the primary process. I also honestly hope that Mike Huckabee doesn't run, because his supporters will back Palin putting it 40% support for Palin 18% for Romney. We do not need a President who is inside the beltway, we need like you said a "Sam's Club" President, just like you and me.

Also, The Tea Party is here to stay as long as corrupt unconstitutional officials are elected to Congress and the White House.

-Henry D'Anrea

Anonymous said...


"Romney is a total GOP establishment candidate, and I would never support him for the nomination and neither would The Tea Party."

I guess my 2 brother and I will have to stop participating in Tea Party events. I didn't know we weren't allowed to like Romney.


corep said...

The tea party is a fractured group of local activists. It means something different in each and every state. There is no cohesive leadership and no national spokesperson. Some will say Palin is the tea party but in CO where i live she isn mostly disliked by my tea party compatriots. Here its either Romney or Huckabee, mostly because at the end of the day those two at present represent the best chance to beat obama.

If tea party means purity to some then we cannot hope to pull together to win in 2012. This is a right of center country politicially and culturally and not a right of right country. If we nominate right of right then we further marginalize who we represent and the tent becomes so small that beyond 2012 there will be little attention paid to the gop or the tea party.

so as a tea party guy i say give me romney or Huck and keep the way out right for the state houses.