Monday, November 15, 2010

How the Tea Party SAVED the Republican Party.

I've heard several conversations about how the Tea Party cost the Republican party the majority in the Senate.  I've heard that if Sarah Palin runs for President in 2012, she is basically handing the Presidency back to Obama with very little fight from the Right.

While all this has merit, I would also like to remind folks that if it wasn't for the Tea Party, the Republican Party may no longer even exist.

Who else remembers the crushing blow delivered to the Republicans in 2008?  I do!  I remember!

The Fall of 2008 was marked "The Death of the Republican Party!"  The media had stories, articles, op-eds, etc., there were books written on the collapse of the GOP... overheard during personal email conversations, or over lunch, were conversations like "Is McCain the best the Republicans have?"  "Is there ANYBODY out there that the Republicans can look too?"

Even our own Janitor (Love you Bruh) proclaimed (paraphrasing) "This is it...the Republican Party is dead and it will be years before they recover from this."

The combination of a lack of a credible representative, the overwhelming support for Obama and the Democratic Party, and how bad the Republican Party looked, created a belief that it would be hard for the party to rebound.  I argued against this position, but my argument was weak... I had nothing to grasp on to...there WAS no credible representative, there wasn't even a person on deck (you know it's bad when the party was looking at Bobby Jindal as the future), the majority DID love Obama... the majority DID hate Bush and the outgoing Republicans... but in the back of my mind I knew a couple of things....1.) The Democrats are perpetual screw ups... 2.) The same "hatred" for Bush was similar to the "hatred" directed at Clinton...and yet, the Democrats bounced back, 3.) The Democrats are perpetual screw ups, and 4.) Just over half the country is Center-to-far-Right...  Yeah... the Republicans would be back.

As much as I hate to admit it, John McCain's "Penicillin Moment" (picking Palin as his running mate), created that "credible representative."  Not loved by all, Palin DEFINITELY galvanized a dejected Republican base, it gave a voice and face to a silenced conservative minority, that grew to a vocal minority... and along with Glenn Beck, a little bit of red meat (buzz words like Socialism, Patriotism, Out of Control Debt), some white anxiety, slowly recovering economy, and Democrats being Democrats... that same Republican Party that was counted out and left for dead in 2008, came back and CRUSHED the opposition in 2010, a mere two years later. 

The controversies created by the Tea Party leaders allowed the conversation to continue and allowed their message to get out there.  You know what they say, "ANY press is good press."  It FORCED people to debate.  Those on the Right began to put their chest out, and take their heads out of the sand.  Back was a sense of pride that seemed to have been sucked out of them during Bush's last years.  Additionally, the extreme nature of Palin and Beck forced the media to pay attention, and it pushed their message into the mainstream.  No matter where you turned, or where you looked, the Tea Party message was out there.  Like Twista, the Tea Party made "Overnight Celebrities" out of people like Rand Paul and Christine O'Donnell... seriously, can anyone name the Senators from Kentucky Prior to Paul?  Did anyone know that Leader McConnell was from Kentucky? 

The Tea Party has its faults... but the Republican Party owes them one.  If it weren't for them, the Republican Party could have very well not seen a majority for decades. 

Did anyone else think the Republican Party was done for in 2008?
Do they owe their "comeback" at least in part (if nothing else) to the Tea Party?
Did the Tea Party do more or less for the Republican Party?
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