The Tea Party Has Won — And That’s Great News for Liberals

boehner-tea-partyWith the news breaking that House Speaker John Boehner has embraced (or caved) to the idea of threatening to shutdown the government in a futile attempt to defund the Constitutionally-upheld Affordable Care Act, it’s now crystal clear—the tea party has won.

No, they haven’t defeated Democrats or the liberal movement.  In fact, their “victory” is great news for liberals (more on that in just a minute).  But they’ve “won” in the sense that they’ve finally taken full control of the Republican party.

Sure, since 2008 they’ve had a fairly strong influence that seemed to have culminated in 2010 when they took back a lot of power in Congress, but since then they’ve fallen out of favor nationally with almost all Americans — aside from the very far right conservative base.

But even with their popularity, the more “mainstream” Republicans still hadn’t let the radical right-wing movement take over their party. Yes they still had some influence, but they were more like a gnat buzzing around rather than anything that had any meaningful impact.

Well, that’s changed.  The moment I read that John Boehner caved into a feeble (and radical) tea party supported plan to shutdown our government, I then realized the tea party had won.

All indications before the summer started were that Boehner had enough sense about him to avoid linking a possible government shutdown in with the GOP attempt to defund “Obamacare.”  He had seemingly gone out of his way to avoid even saying the words together in the same sentence.  Well, not anymore.

It seems Boehner has fully embraced the idiotic idea that Republicans can somehow shutdown our government and this will lead to President Obama giving in to their blatant attempts at blackmail.

What was once just the pathetic rumblings of people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul has now apparently become the leading “strategy” Republicans plan to utilize, in an effort to prove that they really don’t care about this country or Americans.

On an issue so large, normally the Republican party would push aside tea party radicalism and embrace some kind of compromise that resembles real governing.

Alas, that does not appear to be the case any longer.  Republicans have gone “full tea party.”

Something that I believe liberals really shouldn’t fear.

Sure, on some levels it’s a scary thought to see the most radical fringes of the conservative movement controlling one of the two largest parties in the United States.  And yes, they’re going to win a few “battles” along the way due to the simple fact that millions of Americans still do support the GOP.

But when it comes to national elections, these babbling idiots are going to fail—and fail miserably.

They’re going to push out moderate conservatives (many of which will in turn side with Democrats) and they’re going to continue to march out the most ridiculous political specimens we’ve ever seen.  At that moment the majority of the GOP will be comprised of people like Michele Bachmann, Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

People that, while very popular in their conservative districts, are a disaster nationally.  And once you go down this road of basing a political party around the fringes of your voters, it’s nearly impossible to turn back.  Especially when those voters often turn out in very high numbers—especially during primary season.

For a great example of this we need to look no further than during the GOP presidential primaries.  A whole host of tea party favorite candidates were put on stage.  One by one, each candidate “took the lead,” and almost as soon as that candidate was put under the national limelight—they were quickly replaced with the next “big thing.”

Once upon a time Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann were “GOP frontrunners”—that was until the public got to know them better and realized they were babbling radical idiots.

So after all the tea party momentum, the “movement” and all the hype, Republicans ultimately chose—Mitt Romney to be their candidate.

Has there ever been a candidate that was basically picked only because he was the lone candidate who didn’t seem completely insane?

A political party which had based much of its opposition to the current president on the issue of “Obamacare” selected a man who was the architect behind “Romneycare”—which is basically a blueprint for the Affordable Care Act.

It’s irony that the most creative writer would have trouble inventing.

And if this “shutdown the government” plan is what Republicans want to run with, I say go for it.  Trust me, independents won’t blame Democrats or Obama—they’ll blame Republicans.  These are the same sort of tactics Republicans tried to use in the 90’s against Clinton, which massively backfired on them and gave Democrats more power in Congress.

Then if they want to take their pathetic attempt to defund Obamacare a step further and default on our debt by not raising the debt ceiling, go ahead.  Because purposely ruining our economy is a perfectly logical response to try to block a law which Republicans say will ruin our economy.

Completely rational, right?

So while Republicans go “full tea party” and embrace the most fringe elements of their party, liberals shouldn’t fear too much.

While the rhetoric that will continue to come from these individuals will no doubt be maddening, rest assured that the more Republicans continue to allow the tea party to take over their party—the less relevance they’ll have nationally.

And while Republicans rush to embrace the worst parts of their party, liberals must rush to energize theirs.  Because as the GOP seems determined to allow the tea party to run the show—we can’t get complacent and let them.

Come 2014, liberals must make damn sure tea party Republicans know we’re done letting them treat our government like a three-ring circus.

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

  • Nathan Buchanan

    The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

  • JJ Smith

    To be clear, the reason many of those Republicans are going to win is because of gerry-mandering run amok.

    • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

      Even gerry-mandering has its’ limits…Make people pissed enough & even that won’t save them…

  • Ann Hale

    Only recently, in reading some of the conservative posts on sites like Facebook have I come to appreciate a term I learned in school long ago–“lunatic fringe.” Seriously, people, when did so many people stop thinking for themselves and start merely swallowing the “party line,” no matter how far-fetched or how often debunked,

    • Glenna Jones-Kachtik

      I know, right? When I was in school, these “kinds” of loonies would be laughed at but certainly never actually elected. We didn’t have lots of pundits telling us what someone said or breaking it down for us…the news guys kinda trusted us to do that for ourselves. There were serious news journalists at one time & news was too important for ratings. What we have now are entertainers….

      • 1968_Camaro

        Fact: Fox has an FCC ENTERTAINMENT license! There should be a disclaimer permanently placed on the screen of that station to show that this channel should not be used as a source of news or factual information!

  • Darrell

    Great Article!!! Love it!! The Whole Truth and nothing but the Truth!!!

  • Beverly Haley

    While I agree with Mr. Clifton.. the thing that really scares me is all the damage that they are doing while we wait for the mid terms.

  • GOP is dead

    its the baby boomers and their racist, anti gay, anti democratic minds that are fueling the tea party. I hate to admit this, but i have friends and family that are so beyond stupid because no matter how many facts you throw at them, they dismiss it all and side with the rethugs. Even though they are voting against their interest, they believe that one day they will be allowed in the club. its sad but true.

    • Lorrie Crabtree

      Not all Baby-Boomers are radical right. Some of us (I dare say -most- of us) are more liberal, and intelligent enough to know that the teaparty is nothing but a mob of psychos.

    • patricia spinazzola

      Wow, where do YOU get your information? The Tea Party is a minority, and of course they will have some baby boomers in there. Let me ask, do you know your history? WE were the ones who marched in the streets against the Vietnam War, WE were the Woodstock generation, WE were heavily Democratic and anti-Republican. As a whole, our generation was considered by our elders to be way too far to the left.

      Just as in every other generation, we have our idiots. However, there are not very many boomer that I know who even vote Republican, let alone belong to the baggers. So, please, stop lumping us together as some monolithic entity with no variations. Apparently, you only have access to the minori’tea’ of my generation.

      • Femfelis

        Thank you, Patricia! I couldn’t have said it any better, myself. It just doesn’t do to lump all the members of any demographic group together under one description. We were not made on assembly lines, after all!

    • Kathryn Palasek

      Wrong. I am a baby boomer, and along with many boomer friends, are none of what you say we are.

  • FireTower

    TGOP = Whigs

  • Cathy Neal

    A GOP shutdown of the government is good news for Obama and the Dems – a sweep of the House in 2010 which hopefully carries into 2016. Go, Tea Party!.

  • Abigail Drew Patridge

    You’re kinda wrong about the independents and moderate conservatives. We’re not switching to Dem’s, we’re switching to parties outside either. I’ve gone Green myself. We’re fed up with the way BOTH of you have been ruining this country AND the world at large. If it’s not this next election, mark my words, soon, both of you will fall due to your insanity.

    I notice you also don’t mention all the former Democrats who are leaving YOUR party to seek out a new way.

    • Karla Ibsen

      I sort of agree with you. I don’t see Republicans leaving their party in large numbers for the Democratic party. I suspect they’ll go independent, at least initially, and most will stay independent while others migrate to the smaller parties. I also suspect there is a possibility of a split between the Republicans and the TEAs into two parties, though that may be less likely. My thinking is that the split between moderate and radical conservatives does not mean either will cease to be conservative. I just think they’re going to have increasing difficulty getting along with each other.

      • Abigail Drew Patridge

        I could see a split happening… I could potentially see both of the large corporatist parties splitting into four large corporatist parties… which would give the smaller parties a fair playing field for the first time since the US turned into a partisan country. We weren’t, originally.

        And I’m speaking for myself here, I don’t think the rest of the Green party would see it the same way, but I would love nothing more than a complete end to partisan politics.

        As for myself I was always more centrist than anything but gave a nod slightly towards the moderate conservatives… But the moderate conservative no longer has any control or power for me give a nod to. And they only got my nod because they seemed to make at least a little sense.

        But with even that ever so very slight conservative lean I never saw Democrats as anything BUT crazy. So there’s just no way actual moderate conservatives would ever join the Democrats. They’ll leave and go independent or leave and join one of the smaller parties. My bet is most of them will join the even more insane Libertarian party, who’s clever words make them seem less crazy than what lurks beneath.

      • Karla Ibsen

        Democrats crazy? Compared to what? Radical right Republicans? I wonder about your standard for “crazy.”

        Nevertheless, you make some good points. I agree the Libertarian Party could gain some members. You’re right, they do talk well. Their ideas might even work on a different planet.

        We agree that few moderate Republicans would become Democrats. Some have, though. Actually, I view our current president as being somewhat like a centrist Republican of a few decades ago.

        I do think there’s some potential for a split of what is even now loosely described as the Republican Party. It’s almost two parties now. Possibly, the only thing holding them together at all is their mutual dislike for the Democrats–it’s a coalition of hatred. Take that away from them and there isn’t much left to bond them together.

    • melloe

      Oh goody, here we go with another gift to the right by ignoramuses who think a third party has a chance.. sigh
      That said, multiple parties sounds great on paper, But it gave us Bush

      • Abigail Drew Patridge

        The real gift to the right are the Democrats. More and more and more you put a Democrats actions once elected through the Political Compass and some of them even surpass moderate conservatives who are at least honest about it in their crookedness and right-wing voting. Obama in fact rates in as WORSE than Romney would have been.

        And you can take THAT to the “bank”! Who, after all, are the ones dictating Obama’s every action.

        I’m not saying Romney would have been good… But… at least he was is and would have been honest.

    • Kathryn Palasek

      Please name the dems who have left the party.

  • Karla Ibsen

    It’s odd that the GOP damaging the economy can be seen as a good thing if it results in Democrats regaining the House, but if that’s what it takes… The thought of President Obama working with a Democratic congress during his last four years is just so very, very appealing. I’m so tired of GOP obstruction. We need a government.

  • Gabriel Gentile

    You’re kidding, right?
    When is the last time liberals… REAL liberals… Won ANYTHING?

    Affordable Care Act?
    A Republican-made plan that only makes bloated insurance companies richer!
    The Obama election?
    The guy’s middle-of-the-road AT BEST!
    The repeal of don’t ask, don’t tell?
    It STILL doesn’t prevent harassment!

    Until I see some REAL change, ANY real change, single-payer health-care, federal medical marijuana legalization, nationally accepted gay marriage… Hell, I’ll even take MANDATORY SAFETY TRAINING for ASSAULT RIFLES at this point… Then the only thing this paradigm shift signifies is that we will now constantly get our asses handed to us by people even FARTHER on the right!

  • Why can’t Obama just compromise and be flexible? Why doesn’t he give up his unworkable, full-of-holes, statist healthcare plan that can’t work because voodoo policies never work. Where are these magic doctors to come from to serve 40 million new people? Just ship the illegals out, and that will take care of the problem. Compromise for the good of the country. Just scrap the heap of infamy for a new slate. Why does Obama have to be the angry black extremist holding the nation hostage to his communist-monstrosity? Who made Obama god? If he is a moderate, he should delay Obamacare until he is out of office.