October 18, 2009

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Tea Party “Insurgency” Marches Into Key States.

Begun as a loosely affiliated groundswell of Constitution-waving protesters in tri-cornered hats, the Tea Party movement is now starting to rock the political establishment in key arenas.

The growing numbers of Americans coming out to the Tax Day Tea Party, the Fourth of July Tea Parties, and then the 9/12 Tea Party march on Washington are going back to their home districts and keeping up — even intensifying — the fight for smaller government and more transparency on spending and taxation.

In places like New York, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, local, state, congressional, and gubernatorial seats are suddenly being tugged to-and-fro by the new and unruly political force.

The upshot?

The street energy is welcome for an otherwise moribund Republican party looking for new moorings amid a tumultuous electorate.

The downside is that early examples shows that, in the short run, Tea Party-sponsored candidates could make it more difficult for Republicans as they — Ross Perot-like — split races as they target both “tax and spend” Democrats and those they like to call RINOs, or “Republicans-in-name-only.”

For the Republicans, the obvious solution is to run candidates who are less RINO-ish. For the Tea Party folks, the obvious solution is to push hard for their guys in primaries, then vote for whoever wins even if they have to hold their noses a bit sometimes. That’s politics. Though even RINO-ish candidates will be less so if they have to worry about primary challenges. (Via NewsAlert).

UPDATE: Michael Greenspan emails: “You’re exactly right, though if either the Republicans or the Tea Partiers learn their lesson before the 2010 elections I’ll be amazed.” Hey, I just blog this stuff. Whether people listen is up to them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: On the NY-23 race, reader Michael Kennedy writes:

Glenn, the Republicans are upset at the tea partiers in NY 23 for backing Hoffman but that will be a nice test. The election is only for one year so little is lost if the Democrat wins a split race. But, if Hoffman wins, they will have to start to take the movement seriously instead of trying to co-opt them. First, I think the tea parties are libertarian, not “right wing.” That’s what I’ve seen in Mission Viejo, where we have turned out 500+ on each occasion.

This will be a very important race, more so than Virginia or New Jersey which are old line pols running on both sides.

I do wish Hoffman’s donation software was better. I tried to give him money and couldn’t.

Stay tuned.

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