If Republicans Want to Save Their Party, They Must Permanently Destroy the Tea Party

paul-rubio-teapartyThe tea party was initially embraced by the Republican party as a mechanism to reinvent itself after the Bush administration.  See, for all their finger pointing at President Obama, they went out of their way to try to wash away any remnants of G.W. Bush.  Yes, the tea party was also a response to Barack Obama being elected president, which is evident in the clear racial overtones within the party — but it was also the Republican party’s way to try to say, “We’re conservatives, and this time we mean it!”

But what was once meant to usher in a new era in the Republican party has now turned into a disease that’s not only threatening to rip our country apart, but also destroy the very political party which it was supposed to be saving.

When Republicans embraced the tea party’s philosophies, they were embracing the worst elements of their own party.  Both parties have their radical bases, but liberals don’t put theirs in charge.  Hell, we don’t even give them much attention.

Sure, some Republicans think President Obama and the current crop of Democrats are “radical liberals,” but what they don’t get is that real “radical liberals” think President Obama and this current crop of Democrats are no better than Republicans.  Which proves they’re far from anything “radically liberal,” as many Republicans like to imply.

However, as the years go on, the tea party has eaten away at any semblance of sanity that remained within the GOP.  Now you have Republican senators calling out “tea party favorite” Republicans for simply not understanding how government works.  But even when these non tea party-backed Republicans do oppose the radical nature of some of their tea party-supported members, they usually end up treading that water very lightly.  By opposing these radical antics by some of their colleagues they could possibly expose themselves to weakness in their primary battles, and ultimately lose their seat to a candidate the tea party supports.

And that’s where the danger lies.

See, liberals can’t defeat the tea party.  Sure, we can expose their lies and vote for Democrats that will stand against them—but that doesn’t stop the tea party from engulfing the Republican party and sending this country into a perpetuate battle between common sense and radical right-wing idolatry of some kind of mythical reality.

For the tea party to truly be defeated, it’s going to take Republicans to stand up and take their party back.  It’s up to sensible Republicans (yes, I know some do still exist) to stand in fierce opposition against the most radical elements of their own party.  Because if the antics of Ted Cruz have shown us anything, it’s that these tea party Republicans simply don’t operate on rules that are based on reality.  They operate based on whatever they want  to be real instead of what is real.

Liberals simply cannot remove tea party influence from the Republican party.  Trust us, we would love to be able to.  But any time we try to take a stand against one of these clowns, it just comes off as some sort of partisan attack.

And if Republicans don’t stop the tea party from continuing to infect their party, it’s ultimately going to destroy it.  While I would love for liberals to have ultimate power, I understand that’s never going to happen.  Our best chance is to have representatives from both sides that are willing to work past differences to find a compromise which can push our country forward.

So if Republicans don’t act (and soon), the tea party is going to continue to slither its way into more power and more influence.  Ultimately the GOP will be left weak, fractured and in a state of “civil war” between those Republicans who understand reality and the tea party Republicans who seem to like to invent their own.  And as much fun as that sometimes may be to watch, it’s still terrible for our country and the progress we need to be making.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • SophieCT

    It’s time for those reasonable Republicans to acknowledge that their medicine was worse than the disease. Thanks to Fox News, gerrymandering, Citizens United, the old RNC as they knew it is all but dead.

  • Willa Spatz Cartwright

    “The tea party was initially embraced by the Republican party as a mechanism to reinvent itself after the Bush administration. ”

    Not exactly… that would be the libertarian party.

    • Betty Caron

      After World War II, we had a debt equivalent to 120% of GDP. From 1946 to 1980, the economy soared, because we collected a lot in taxes and spent a lot on infrastructure investment. Wages soared, and most families could make do on one income. By 1980, the debt was about 30% of GDP.

      After 1980, we collected a lot less in taxes, and canceled most of our infrastructure investment. Wages stagnated, as did the economy, and we were told that 5% unemployment was “full employment.” The debt rose to 67% of GDP.

      In 1993, Clinton took office, raised taxes a little bit, invested greatly in infrastructure, and wages started rising again, unemployment went down to around 3%, and the debt dropped to just below 60% of GDP.

      Then, in 2000, Bush, Jr. repeated Saint Reagan’s and his father’s methods, and crashed the economy. Because of Bush, Jr. and the GOP Congress blocking every attempt to invest in the country again, the debt is up to 105% of GDP.

      There’s an easy answer to why we seem broke, even though we’re not. It’s Republicanism.

      • Pat

        Right on, Betty Caron!

      • louis

        yes ma’am! if their was a nail you hit it with the hammer. the answer to our country’s problems is not to go around trying to find good rethuglicans, its to rid our-self of all of them.if the role was reversed, do you think they would be offering ways to save us from ourselves? hell to the no, they would just push warp speed on their domination of our country’s wealth.I have zero sympathy for them, let them dronw while i stand on the shore waving a life raft while cackling like an evil clown.the more they act like who they truly are, the more we are likely to win elections and take back our country so we can return it to our citizens where it rightly belongs!

      • Diana Reichardt


    • William Carr

      Some people can’t tell the difference; and I think some TeaBaggers believe they’re Libertarians.

  • Pat

    Excuse me, but who are these “reasonable Republicans”? The only Republicans who get any “air time” on TV, are the crazy tea party ones. I would love to hear from the “reasonable ones”, because I would love to hear what they have to say. Media needs to stop giving all the attention to the “bad apples”, (who are obviously the ones with the biggest mouths), and give the rest of them a voice. Come on “reasonable Republicans”, get in there and speak your peace. That may be your only hope, if there is any hope left.

    • GMUPatriots

      There have been plenty of “reasonable Republicans” speaking out against this stupidity. John McCain and other Senators have been the most vocal, but there have been Reps that have spoken out as well. Rep Devin Nunes from California called the Teabaggers in the House “lemmings with suicide vests.”

      I do agree with you that the media (both mainstream and Faux News) definitely won’t give the reasonable Republicans air time and that’s because they’re just that, reasonable. The idiots who froth at the mouth are better television and often provide better quotes to newspaper reporters and bloggers.

      The real problem is that these reasonable Republicans can’t, or haven’t, found a way to get enough votes to get something around John Boehner. Boehner doesn’t want to break the Hastert rule and I suspect many of these “reasonable Republicans” don’t want to break it either. After all, they’re getting paid even if 800,000 other government employees aren’t.

      • Pat

        I read about this “Hastert Rule”, and it sounded like Boehner has broken it a couple times previously. Maybe when he did, the Tea Party tyrants came after him, and now he is afraid to do it again. Boehner is just so useless as a speaker.

    • CM

      I personally think by giving the tea party air time, it does more harm to them than liberals could ever hope to do.

  • Coletta

    It’s about time the GOP realizes they’re being used by the Tea Party aka The American Nazi Party, headed by the Koch Brothers! The Koch Brothers have been hiding behind the so-called Tea Party, so they could get the dumb GOP Party to do their dirty work for them. The so-called Tea Party wants people to blame the GOP for all the stuff they’re pulling on the middle class, suppressing the voting rights, busting unions, cutting worker’s wages, cutting all necessary benefits that help the needy and the low-income Americans…and the list goes on. The Koch Brothers are going forward with a plan that was formulated 80 years ago by the Nazis in Germany and that plan is: world domination! BUT, they can’t reach that goal UNLESS they control the US! So that’s why they’re pushing forward with their plan to overtake this country just as Hitler did to Germany in the 1930s. If they overtake our government and this country, they will put a dictator in office instead of a president. He will rule with an iron hand! Gone will be our freedoms, Rights and privileges! NO more SS, Medicare or Medicaid! NO more unemployment compensation, NO more affordable, adequate healthcare for the middle class and the poor! No more SNAP, or school lunches! NO more public education! NO more unions, NO raising the minimum wage, NO homeless shelters, food pantries, or soup kitchens! NO more Welfare, or Planned Parenthood or WIKI! NO more ANYTHING that benefits the poor or needy! Many of us will starve to death. Many will be killed by the Nazis for some trumped up charges of some kind! Children will be taken away from their parents at school age and educated in the Nazi controlled schools and taught the Nazi doctrine. Parents will have NO say about their children’s education! Before the Nazis take over, they will confiscate all citizen’s firearms and weapons so that no citizen or citizen’s group can fight against the Nazi regime. I hope and pray that this doesn’t happen here, but signs are pointing toward it. The handwriting is on the wall, so to speak. Middle class people need to be aware and not vote for the Tea Party or the GOP. If they do, they’ll be helping our enemies to take over our country!

    • Suzie

      I am starting to think you might be right. So scary, so wrong. So how do we convince the so-called “innocent ignorants”, (or is it ignorant innocents”) to get the message, and vote accordingly? They seem just totally clueless, (I know plenty of them myself), as to what is REALLY going on, and defend the GOP no matter what they say or do.

    • Philip Mekeel

      Um, Germany had strong gun regulations long before the Nazis were in power. The just weakened those laws to rake in more participates for Hitler’s police force.

      • annev

        Philip… NO ONE IS TAKING YOUR GUNS AWAY !!!!!!.. Your comment is a perfect example of the distortions provided by FOX.. !!.. But If you are a hunter do you really need an AK47 ???.. You must admit that gun violence in this country is sickening.

      • gemma liar

        Obama is taking away my bb guns,,,, ( so sayeth the scumbag liars on FOX “news”) I want to see so-called stand ur ground laws escalate to what was the old 1880’s and 1890’s and then have scumbags like Hannity and beck and tea brain T cruz get shot

      • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

        The thing is that the 1880s & 1890s have been romanticized & Hollywoodized to extreme. Yes, many people carried guns on their hips – but what those don’t show is that in many cases, Sheriff’s confiscated them upon arrival in town. There were gunfights to be sure, but not as many as Hollywood would have you believe. Guns were needed. Many people lived in rural areas & they faced lots of dangers where a gun or a rifle was necessary; but they didn’t proudly wear their gun, stand their ground or shoot ’em up. That IS a myth.

    • dagobarbz

      Is there a part in there where the people rise up and slay the oppressors? Because if history has taught us anything, it is that people will bring snacks to public executions and treat them as a huge holiday.

  • Gabriel Gentile

    Or the GOP could just break off from the TEA Party and let it be what it was before they got involved.

    • deb

      That’s exactly why the John Birchers finally died off. The mainstream Republicans realized just how wacko and extreme they were. The old John Birch Society had the same “talking points” that the tea party now has, i.e., “take back our country”, etc., etc. Charles Koch, father of the Koch Brothers, provided much of the funds for the John Birch Society back in 1958 when it was founded. I’m currently reading a book called “Wrapped in the Flag” written by the daughter of former Birchers. It is a very revealing autobiography about her childhood indoctrination by her rabid parents who were high up in the John Birch Society. Charles Koch’s sons are now funding the tea party.

      • dagobarbz

        So how many times does the GOP have to learn this lesson?

  • fairness_rules

    Thank fox news and rush for the radical rights craziness. I can’t believe how effective they have been. They have slowly but surely changed the political climate with their promotion,support and encouragement of tea party antics. It is too bad they don’t realize how much damage they are doing. Our country is going to pay dearly for their adventure. God help us all.

  • Edward Kirby

    We seem to be caught in a strange variant of the kind of problems that the European parliamentarian systems have to deal with. But instead of having two or three large parties and a slew of minor parties with power disproportionate to their numbers, we have one major party and two minor parties — one of which has power disproportionate to its numbers.

    The time has come to get rid of the archaic political party system. We don’t need it, and a host of Amendments have solidified it into place, making sure we are stuck with it whether we like it or not.

    The rules that govern the way Congress operates needs an extreme makeover. We should get rid of concepts like “majority leader” or “whip” and remove the ability of the parties to control business in each house.

    • GMUPatriots

      I don’t know if we have to get rid of the party system altogether but I do agree with you that Congressional rules, or at least historical precedent, is a major problem. I’ve read multiple articles over the past couple of days where several Republicans are quoted as saying there are in fact enough votes for a clean CR to get out of the House. The problem is the “Hastert rule.” Boehner doesn’t want to bring the Senate version of the CR to the floor for a vote without Obamacare strings attached because a majority of Republicans don’t support it. There is enough of a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to pass it but Boehner won’t allow it.

  • Rev. Janell Smith

    The only way I see to break the hold on the house by the tea party is for moderate Republicans to grow some guts and begin to work with Democrats to pass reasonable legislation and isolate those 40 members who are the cause of dissension. If honest Republicans can not control the radicals in their own party then they will have take drastic measures in order for their party to survive.

    • GMUPatriots

      There are enough reasonable Republicans in the House to pass a “clean CR” right now. Several Congressional Republicans have gone on the record saying so. The problem is Speaker of the House John Boehner. Boehner will not allow a vote on the Senate version of the CR without Obamacare strings attached because it violates a historical precedent called the “Hastert rule.” This “rule” says that a Speaker won’t allow a vote on a bill that a majority of the majority doesn’t support. A majority of Republicans don’t support a clean CR without Obamacare strings attached. But there are enough Republicans who do that their votes, plus all of the Democrats votes, would result in the passage of a clean CR to fund the government. Speaker Boehner won’t allow the vote and right now there isn’t enough anger at the Tea Party just yet for those Republicans to openly break ranks with their party and find a legal way to get around John Boehner.

  • Angel Rivera

    I never trusted either the far left or far right. At the end we need both sides balanced to keep each other in check. That way people have to come up with realistic solutions that take the worries of both sides into account on all issues.

  • rick dalton

    No but new laws could and amendments to the constitution could too to keep out of government those who would harm the America way

  • deb

    The so-called tea party is nothing more than a revamped version of the old John Birch Society, a right wing group created/funded by Charles Koch, in 1958, father of the Koch Brothers! The John Birch Society were a bunch of wackos that finally died out. Hopefully this bunch will die out soon as well. Can’t come soon enough!

  • Tobey

    Well said, Allen. I’m a moderate Republican and i have to say; The GOP must go moderate or go home!

    • Susan Weber

      Tobey, fight on. I hope there are more of you so you and I can respectfully disagree on issues but still work together to find a comprimise. God Bless you!

    • I’m a registered independent and I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Michael Abracham

    Not to be (too) pedantic, but there is a big difference between a tea party and a Tea Party.

  • Jennifer Martin

    I think moderate Repubs need to form a temporary coalition with moderate Dems and get the government started again. Then hammer out some compromises on Obamacare. The country would rejoice that adults are still alive and well in Washington.

    • rx7ward

      The ACA *is* a compromise! Nothing more to “hammer out” there …

  • Patti Ski

    is going on in this country right now is seriously terrifying. There are
    factions who have been plotting for 80+ years to completely dismantle
    our government by floating ideas such as dissolving Social Security,
    Medicare, the welfare/unemployment system and unions, abolishing the
    minimum wage, the EPA, the Dept. of Education, etc, etc and these ideas
    are now gaining ground with regular Americans
    through a campaign of fear. Fear of minorities, fear of immorality,
    comparisons between our government’s debt and deficit and your personal
    household income, all very simple, easy ways to convince the average
    person that our government is unsustainable in it’s current form and it
    is morality and lack of personal responsibility destroying this country.
    Yes our government is bloated and wasteful, yes personal responsibility
    and entitlement attitudes are hurting this country, but none of this is
    directly responsible for the current economic situation. The current
    economic situation is a manufactured and tightly controlled game being
    played by very powerful people. What is really disturbing is the ‘both
    parties are the same’ mentality fostered by more and more people. What
    these people fail to understand is that this plays right into the hands
    of the 1%. Yes, Democrats are just as culpable as Republicans for the
    current economy, police state, and overblown military complex; greed and
    power is not exclusive to just one party. But the extremist attitude
    from a certain group of ‘tea party’ Republicans is a blatant and obvious
    split from the status quo, and if this country does not unite against
    this, we are finished. This country will become unrecognizable if we
    allow this to happen.

    Trump, Beck, many others have been
    warning since Obama was elected that the economy is headed for another
    collapse that will make the last one look like a picnic, encouraging
    people to pull their money from the market and hide it under the
    mattress or buy gold. Unfortunately, they are correct. The economy could
    collapse in the blink of an eye if certain people want it to. These
    certain people would not suffer, they did not suffer last time, they
    knew it was coming, they pulled out and hid their money overseas. And
    who better to blame this on then the country’s first black President?
    “See!! We told you!! This ‘socialist experiment’ is a failure. Now let
    us fix things.” It is a very simplistic and very terrifying plan, and
    unfortunately it is working.

    I like to think I am just being paranoid. I like to think people are not that evil. I like to think that. But I don’t.

  • Carol Wright

    I heard some program on NPR tonight with some info about how the Tea Party is actually energized by this mess they made, and one smartass said that they plan to BE the Republican Party, to shove the moderates off the stage entirely. That sort of objective. Wish I could remember who said it, could not write down info in the car.

    However, I hope this “energizes” the moderate Republican base to back candidates who are sane , who have morals and not just opinions and “stands,” who know how to govern. Cruz has upped his arrogant level to beyond 100% … Apparentlly they STILL think they are right, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary…and in spite of all the damage they have done.

    If we had pulled a crappy stunt like that, these Tee Pee-ers would be holding hearings til the second coming of Christ…and that stenographer… someone take away her aluminum…and have it recycled…

    It is time also to keep exposing the think tanks and their talking points. Time for Republican to start using their own words instead of lock step PR phrases from these moneybags.

  • Alan Foxman

    Hearing you talk about how the GOP need to take back their party from the radical elements sounds like how we talk about moderate muslims needing to take back their religion from radical islamists. How soon before we see tea partiers strapping bombs to themselves like terrorists? They were figuratively ready to commit (financial) suicide so is it really that far of a stretch?

  • 4everdem

    “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.” The R’s welcomed these scum with open arms, thinking their hatred of Obama and over/covert racism was just the thing to “take back the country”. The did not realize that if you let the crazies out of the asylum, that doesn’t cure them. They are still crazy.

    • dagobarbz

      This after their John Birch hugfest. You’d think they’d have learned something from all of this, like those who fail to learn from history etc. etc.

  • Diana Reichardt

    You are so right!! If things don’t change the Republican Party will be history!

  • Jennifer Martin

    They’re also going to have to stop bucking reasonable regulation that is designed to protect consumers and the overall economy. And they need desperately to do something about the vast wage inequity in this country that is destroying the middle class.

  • Dan B.

    Allen, I always enjoy your opinion pieces, and often share them with my friends via email.

    I got to thinking about this whole “Tea Party destroying the GOP theory.” I think the analogy that works the best for me is trying to clean out an old rusty container, by using acid to remove the rust. The acid does its job quickly and effectively, but if you leave it in the container too long, it will begin to eat away at the underlying healthy vessel.

    That is just the effect the Tea Party is having: after shaking off some of the rust on the GOP, it is now having a corrosive effect on the party in general.

  • The Tea Party is the BORG to the GOP’s Enterprise.

    • Mr_Joshua

      LOL Sweet !

      An analogy that only a diehard trekkie would understand. So who is queen Borg ? Palin or Bachmann. ?

      And you can call me……………Mr Joshua

      • JBS

        And who is 7 of 9?

      • dagobarbz

        You can call me Locutus of Borg.

  • Michael Siever

    I’ve seen the Tea Party Facebook page share pro-Bush pictures with captions like “He may not have been perfect, but at least he proved that he loved America while he was in the White House! Can’t say that about the current occupant!” What a crock, Tea party! Why, it’s as if you learned absolutely nothing from what the Bush Administration did wrong, and say you want more of that! Bush was behind so much government spending, and your endorsement of him is a clear indication that you’re only mad because there is a Democrat in the White House instead of a Republican, since you argument against government spending holds no water.

    • Guest

      Someone I know shared that stupid meme with me on FB. When I commented that I believed starting a war on lies, killing our servicemen, allowing banks to run roughshod, enriching companies on the deaths of others, spending the surplus, giving the rich more in breaks was an odd way to show how much Bush loved America, I was accused of being another word for female dog.

    • Isidis St Claire

      Someone I know shared that stupid meme on my FB page. When I commented that I thought starting a war on lies, torturing people, spending a good surplus, leaving the country in horrible debt, enriching companies on the misery and deaths of our soldiers and innocent civilians and the patriot act as odd ways for Bush to show how much he loved America, I was called another word for a female dog. That’s the TP for you…oh…and this person is on disability, which the GOP would LOVE to eradicate because this person in their eyes is a “lazy taker”.

  • Edward Krebbs

    Repubs, YOU created it. YOU fostered its growth. YOU encouraged them to disrupt meetings. YOU are responsible.

  • Michael Siever

    It’s time to reinvent the Tea Party…in a burlap sack…in the bottom of the Potomac…

  • dagobarbz

    Watching the current “liberal” administration kiss corporate butt suggests neither party is viable. When that third one rises, oh boy. You gonna see some action then, once the Big Two realize their existence is in danger of being marginalized.