Right-wing wars: establishment crazies vs Tea party crazies

5:18 pm - September 15th 2010

by Guest    

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contribution by Tim Fenton

It’s happened in the UK before: candidates splinter off from mainstream parties and end up fighting their former colleagues. Or, party’s workers won’t turn out to help their own candidates.

Now it’s happening in the US state of Delaware, following the result of yesterday’s primary for the GOP Senate nomination. Republicans reckoned they had, in Mike Castle, a candidate capable of taking the seat.

But Castle was challenged for the nomination by “Tea Party” Conservative Christine O’Donnell, who turned out the winner.

Democrat Chris Coons now looks the more likely victor come November.

Why so? Well, mainstream GOP supporters, and more importantly party workers, don’t support the O’Donnell candidacy, and won’t work for her election. She claims to be able to win the race without them, but that may be a big ask: even Karl Rove is sceptical. The Republican state chairman says O’Donnell “could not be elected dogcatcher”. Ouch.

And that is utterly perverse: the “Tea Party”, a movement which might be thought of as bolstering the GOP, turns out to have the potential to split its vote and let in a Democrat – just at the time when politicians of all stripes agree that the Dems are vulnerable.

Were they to lose control of Congress, the remainder of Barack Obama’s term could be a lot rockier than his first two years.

But if the Democrats hold on to the House, the infighting might really kick off within the GOP.

As Ronnie might have said after last night’s result in Delaware, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

Video of Christine O’Donnell vs Eddie Izzard (via New Statesman)

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Reader comments

Hmmm. I’d be very surprised if the Republicans didn’t fall in behind their new candidate once their noses get back in joint. What you are witnessing is not two different factions fighting, but one movement/faction taking on the representatives of the party who seem to be too close to government and not close enough to their voters (and please note, it is their voters who make these choices). It is in fact what the Labour party for example needs – a clear out of those who think that power is the end for itself and their replacement by those with clear ideas. You may not like the ideas (although there is no racism or qu’ran burning in the shared ideas, which are about the relationship of federal government and individuals), but at least they are ideas. Whether they are good ideas or 1984 manifesto type ideas is of course a totally different question.

The republicans have been playing with fire for many years with the crazies on the Right. Encouraging them to get ever more angry and nuttier and now they are taking over their party. These people are batshit insane and will make Bush look quite mild.

3. Mike Killingworth

It’s perhaps worth recalling that Clinton was only elected President because a right-wing third party twice split the anti-Democrat vote. Having the crazies inside the tent gurning out may be the more logical option. The Republicans have always been an ideological party (although the ideology has changed many times over the years) – they have never seen themselves as the “party of government” in the way that our own dear Tories do.

Strange, my name has come out without the link, but anyone who’s bothered knows it by now:


Watchman @1, you are, as they say in the Sarfeast, having a laugh.

Party chairmen aren’t about to get behind someone they characterise as “could not be elected dogcatcher”. And there is an awful lot of racism in the ideas coming out of some of the Tea Party movement, and also supposedly mainstream Republicanism, like Newt Gingrich, for instance:


[he’s characterising Obama as “Kenyan”, just in case you missed it].

I think the development is far more sinister than the slightly positive way it’s being described above (namely as a bonus for the Democrats). Perhaps it’s true in the very short-term, but in the medium-term I understand this development as a worrying step towards the disintegration of democracy as we know it in the USA.

The economic crisis coupled with a strong inward turn (a slightly longer process) along with ever-growing anti-democratic, xenophobic movements could result in real civil strife in America.

Here’s a link to the Tea-party inspired Texas GOP platform. A small section to wet your appetite over what the teabaggers are calling for:

“Homosexuality – We believe that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown
of the family unit, and leads to the spread of dangerous, communicable diseases. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the
fundamental, unchanging truths that have been
ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. Homosexuality must not be
presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle in our public education and policy, nor should “family” be redefined to
include homosexual “couples.” We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, refuse to recognize, or grant
special privileges including, but not limited to: marriage between persons of the same sex (regardless of state of origin),
custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil
penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values.”

Probably NOT the example Labour really wants to be following. Unless they want to become the new nasty party anyway…

Eddie’s top is quite cool in that video

If you thought the neocons were fruitcakes just wait until we have President Palin – Vice President Glenn Beck – Secretary of State Rush Limbaugh – Treasury Secretary Ron Paul. No wonder the Iranians want nuclear weapons when that lot are out of the asylum. Every passing day I am more convinced that Al-Qaeda won as the American Right go progressively mad.

Speed the day when a Left movement can challenge the dirty Dems. The extremists in power are far more dangerous than the fringe absurdities.

@9, what, the people who’ve just given the US universal healthcare for the first time ever? I mean, I know that they’re still slightly to the right of the parliamentary Tory party, but they’re the most progressive government the US has had in 30 years…

Would I sound like a dreadful whinger if I said that’s more a reflection on the last 30 years than the current government?

if I said that’s more a reflection on the last 30 years than the current government?

Yeah but you can’t wish away the last 30 years as something that does not reflect the natural balance of reality. The Dems have been crap, but more importantly the Republicans have been supremely organised and better at winning elections and pushing their agenda.

That Obama managed to push through healthcare alone was something most Dems thought was politically impossible. And the threat hasn’t gone away yet either…

You’ve got to bear in mind that the entire point of a Tea Party candidate is to tap into the extreme hostility to the political establishment in the USA generated by the economic crisis – and, when you look at who’s funding it, to utilise that hostility to further the interests of rich Republicans and large corporations (although the supporters are kept pretty much in the dark about that bit).

For the Republican establishment (who fund the Tea Party, please don’t forget), expressing a bit of hostility to the candidate might be a good idea – what better way to further promote the candidate to the very large disillusioned sector of the electorate who want to vote against politics?

I also find it difficult to believe that Karl Rove would come out and condemn his candidate in an outburst of genuine emotion. Past form suggests he has no genuine emotions.

I may be wrong, but it’s possible.

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