While many Republicans will deny the reality that their party is in trouble, the fact of the matter is the GOP is in disarray. And the worst part for Republicans is that it’s only going to get worse — with no real promise of it ever getting better.
See, the GOP has unleashed the monster known as the tea party, and truth be told, they don’t know what to do now.
Originally they had hoped the tea party would bring them to new levels of prominence after eight years of the Bush administration left such a lingering stench on their party that it’s still yet to wash off. I really believe established Republicans thought things would be “business as usual,” only this time under the banner of the “new and improved tea party movement.”
Well, that’s not exactly what happened. Some Republicans, seeing the radical writing on the walls, are beginning to take a stand against the nonsensical tea party ideology.
One such individual is Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander. He’s not cowering to the tea party as some other Republicans in the past have done. Instead, he’s taking direct shots at tea party Republicans.
Senator Alexander seems to have taken particular offense to the tendency for tea party Republicans to define what is a “real” Republican or a “real” conservative. In many of his speeches he’s scoffed at the idea of certain groups telling the people of Tennessee what it means to be a Republican.
“If all we do is stand around handing each other score cards, we won’t get anything done,” Alexander told the Washington Post. “That’s why, in the current health-care debate, I’m not in the shut-down- the-government crowd. I’m in the take-charge-of-the-government crowd, and get something done.”
In something that actually made me laugh as someone who lives in Texas, apparently Mr. Alexander has used Davy Crockett and Sam Houston as examples to describe his fundamental beliefs in how he governs.
He points out that Crockett went down to the Alamo and fought a futile, though brave, fight of pride against Santa Anna’s army. Many of those at the Alamo stood in defiance over logic to stand their ground and defend the Alamo. And while they were brave, the outcome was decided long before the battle had even begun. And as most of us know, they lost.
Then he goes on to use Sam Houston as the example of how he sees the best way to govern. For those of you who don’t know, Sam Houston led the army that ultimately defeated Santa Anna and won Texas its independence. And while a Texas hero, he was called a coward and questioned by many of his men for his tactics of running and hiding until he found the perfect time to confront Santa Anna’s army. While some questioned his abilities, his strategy and his tactics—he ultimately won, and Texas gained its independence.
Now, whether or not this example is accurate is certainly up for debate, but I get the premise behind what he means. While Republicans and Democrats might not always get along, it serves his party best to find the best strategy to work with Democrats and govern through compromise and bipartisanship. Whereas tea party Republicans are the defiant ones who blindly rush into battles they stand no chance at winning, not properly armed, and ultimately lose.
So, while many Republicans have chosen to pander to the tea party out of fear of losing their primary elections to candidates they support, Alexander has taken the approach that if he’s going to lose, he’ll lose on his terms, not theirs. And while I will probably rarely agree with this gentleman on many issues, I commend him for being one of the few Republicans with enough fortitude within themselves to stand up to this dangerous tea party radicalism.
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