Joe Kennedy: The Forgotten Tea Party Senate Candidate in Massachusetts
Pressure from national tea party activists on Massachusetts conservatives to vote for Scott Brown may backfire.
January 13, 2010 - 12:10 am
Tea party groups across the land have been handed a giant dilemma by the race in Massachusetts to succeed the late Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate. The irony is that the interest in the race is at least in part based on an issue that Kennedy was obsessed with: creating a socialized health care system.
The reason this problem exists for tea party members is that with a non-Democrat in the seat, Senator Harry Reid would not have the 60-vote filibuster-proof majority he is enjoying right now. Unfortunately, there are some problems with the Republican candidate Scott Brown — such as the fact he voted for RomneyCare.
RomneyCare is socialized medicine for Massachusetts. Worse, Brown is certainly not the kind of limited-government, fiscally conservative candidate about which tea party members are so keen. Rather, he is a typical big-government Republican.
The tea party movement nationwide is obsessed with ObamaCare and wishes to do everything it can to stop it. This is where they come into a bit of a problem. There is a tea party candidate running as an independent. He is confusingly and ironically named Kennedy (Joe), although he is not related to the clan at all. He is a conservative who believes in limited government — the type of candidate that most tea party types across the land profess to want to see elected. (Here is a good examination of how they differ on the important issues of the day.)
Needless to say, people in the Northeast, presumably like everywhere else in the U.S., do not like being told what to do. However, there are some in the movement who are basically ordering conservatives in Massachusetts to vote for Brown despite his shortcomings. There are others who respectfully disagree and consider that voting for Brown is not a good idea.
Those of us in the Northeast are used to this type of browbeating from the Republican Party when it comes to voting for such formidable RINOs as Maine’s Susan Collins or, worse yet, Olympia Snowe. We are told that we must vote for them in order to preserve a Republican vote in the Senate. This is despite the fact that they vote infrequently with the Republicans and are far more likely to side with the Democrats. Needless to say, Republicans, though interestingly not the RNC, are urging all right-of-center types to vote for Brown.