The Tea May Be Losing its Flavor

In commenting on a recent special election Republican primary in Florida to replace the late Congressman C.W. Bill Young (who died in October), Washington Post columnist Dana Millbank saw the victory by establishment candidate David Jolly, a corporate lobbyist, over local favorite Kathleen Peters and Tea Party favorite Mark Bircher – by a 45-31-22 margin – as a sign that the Tea Party finally may be down for the count.

Millbank sees Jolly’s win as more than just backlash against the Tea Party, an oft-recalcitrant movement now infamous for its steadfast ideological principles, even at the expense of shutting down the government (as was the case a few months ago). Rather, he perceives it as mounting evidence that corporations never really lost their influence in the GOP, even as populism and social conservatism garnered the most attention from the media.

The Republican Party of old (aka before the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s) to a great extent attracted the well-to-do. More button-down corporate types than NASCAR fans and Walmart shoppers, holding “I Love My Gun” posters and wearing Revolutionary hats at public rallies.

As Millbank points out, that old-school GOP may indeed have made a comeback, and it will be interesting to see how that fares in the midterm elections this November, not to mention the race for the White House in 2016.



  1. So you let a liberal writer from a liberal establishment rag like the WP guide you on the fate of the Tea Party based on an early runoff in one district? Come on Mr. Scaros, my 10 year old does more research for his reports.

  2. Thank you for your comment! I appreciate it and I’ll be happy to answer.

    First of all, I don’t think the Washington Post is a “rag,” as you say. In fact, I think it’s one of the better publications in the country. Yes, it is left-leaning, but there are very few newspapers that are truly square in the center neutral (the Christian Science Monitor comes to mind).

    Unlike the New York Times, which I often rail against in my columns and call it a “well-dressed tabloid,” I think the Washington Post is a responsible newspaper that keeps its opinions where they belong – on the editorial and feature pages. Remember, the Post features conservative writers like George Will and Charles Krauthammer among its regular columnists, too.

    If, in fact, I let a single article guide me, then you would be absolutely correct to criticize my research methodology. But this article is simply one of many sources I have examined over the past couple of years that indicates, to me, that the Tea Party began as a well-meaning idea to combat run-amok federal spending, and has morphed into anything from conspiracy theories that President Obama was born in Kenya, to distortions of the Constitution that forbid any regulation of anything the particular protester holds near and dear.

    To put it another way, as a person who admires most conservatives and Republicans pre-2006, I would love to see a “grown-up” version of the Tea Party emerge. I just haven’t seen it yet, and I think that’s why its members are losing support among the electorate.

    But, again, I’m very happy to have received your comment and encourage you to continue commenting. I hope to generate honest discussion in this forum, and your ideas are welcome.

  3. Mr. Scaros, thank you for your kind reply and believe me, I appreciate your time and points. Please allow me to rebut your comments as I think your reply, quite frankly, illustrates nicely the challenge the country faces in overturning the statist and politically condescending mind set that the ‘Inside The Beltway’ establishment crowd sees those who ‘radically’ support Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.

    To think that to choose between the Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor and the like to form political and philosophical opinions is ‘Milquetoast’ to say the least. I realize you need to sell newspapers and you need to appear to be right down the middle, yet you join the hard left when you criticize the Tea Party for some reason. Down the Middle may be ok to sell papers, but many of your readers who have young kids in public schools, try to run small businesses and are struggling with Obama care tend to dig deeper when we examine our current crop of politicians because we continue to feel the economy sucking wind. We see them passing laws via the emergency of the month so us simple folk can see what’s in it. They always ram through bills, whether it’s the debt ceiling, Obama care, another massive Omnibus spending bill not to mention the lawless nature of all the executive orders from the White House to go around Congress and oversight.

    George Will and Mr. Krauthammer are two inside the beltway, gentlemanly and polite conservatives for sure, but they are the only two there out of many liberal columnist there. Besides, Mr. Will can have his claws out as well for constitutional conservatives as well considering his recent comments on judicial activism and majoritarianism where he crossed his wires a bit. What are the other paper sources? LA Times? USA Today? Do you think there are any other qualified commentaries not in old newspapers? Subscriptions are tanking in print magazines and papers. We all get our information on our computers and phones these days believe it or not. How about the radio or internet or is that too low brow? Is there a, National Review and American Spectator that have a marketplace of conservative ideas like the Agora mentioned frequently in this paper?

    I would like to address your thoughts about the Tea Party in general. I am constantly amused at so called ‘Moderate Republicans’ struggling to find linkage with a radical leftist, ideologically driven Democrat party, who frankly, has essentially purified it’s own ‘moderate’ ranks. Where are the national security or fiscally conservative Dems? Hubert Humphrey and JFK could not get elected dog catcher in today’s Dem Party. Even FDR’s Vice President spoke out against his progressive plan to pack the courts with New Dealers that would march right along with him.

    The Dems are lock step in sync in statist ideas. They are a messaging machine that really is to be applauded. They smartly use their allies to form a successful and incestuous relationship with their ideological fellow travelers of their messaging organs: NY Times, MSNBC, and the networks of CBS/ABC/CBS/CNN. Sites like Media Matters, Daily Kos, Huff Post and Democrat Underground block and tackle for the Dems as well to funnel sound bytes and talking points. They are on message all the time while Republican establishment types struggle to make friends who support them for a while, like McCain, Lindsay Graham and Christie until either a scandal comes up or they run against a Dem, then they are thrown to the dogs as we see currently with Gov. Christie currently. How many times has our President complained and whined about evil straw man forces such as Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and the Drudge Report as keeping him from his imperial desires and whims. Lately he has said “I have a pen and a phone and I will use either to do what I want if congress does not agree to what I want”. Shameful. No consideration for separation of powers and limited government. Let the executive orders fly. What if a Republican rained down all these executive orders, there would be hell to pay. Let’s re-establish the rule of law, no matter what party is in charge.

    The facts are, the Tea Party was born of many people who were not a part of the political process before 2010 and rose up out of concern for the escalating high spending Washington ways that continued from the profligate Bush days to the astronomical times of Pres. Obama’s administration. Many of these tea party people had been going to local town halls and voted and maybe wrote a letter to the editor or once in a while … that was it. When they marched on Washington, I remember all the WWII vets and old ladies with their folding chairs who respectfully spoke their mind and who were outraged and scared regarding the massively growing federal leviathan and the debt that came along with it and finally organized in a formal way for the first time in their lives. They cleaned up after themselves, left the grounds they protested on clean as it was before they got there and went home. Unlike the anarchist wannabe, spoiled brats of the the ‘Occupy’ movement. Does that group need to grow up and get a 2.0 version? Let’s just say the 1.0 was enough to see for a long time.

    You know, there is no singular head that leads or organizes the Tea Party. They are grass roots voters that realize that the Constitution needs to be refocused on as a sacred document and that it is not a “Charter of Negative Rights” as Obama has said to limit what the government can do to folks. Imagine that? He frets that it does not go far enough to let an all knowing governing class have it’s way with the people as if the EPA, NEA and IRS don’t have enough power to do what it currently does. We need an IRS 2.0 of grownups that are not brown shirt hacks of the Executive branch that hound Tea Party and Conservative/Libertarian groups, religious organizations and even the single conservative/independent meeting group of Hollywood “Friends of Abe”. Media Matters goes along their business swimmingly whistling as they work all the while with their 501c3 status, not to mention a very grown up George Soros 2.0 that funds most liberal thought basins these days.

    Some times it’s hard to discern between McCain, Boehner and McConnell or Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid when the straw man attacks start up on the Tea Party. They are unified in their hatred of the Tea Party as it threatens their ruling class iron fist on Washington and the courts. Birthers and no government anarchy type aren’t welcomed or recognized as Tea Party types anywhere I read. Any thought that suggests restoring the rule of law and constitutional limits of the Executive and Judicial branches are painted as no government/no regulation types. Please. Our President, most brainless Hollywood types and leftist politicians use sexual innuendo branding the Tea Party as Tea Baggers. Who needs to grow up? They show their fear when they do that because they cannot battle in the arena (or Agora) of ideas, so the leftist will always personal attack and smear. We know the drill. We got it from Dems for sure before the election when they and the media smeared us as “terrorists” “arsonists” “radical” “extreme” and worse. The media did this all day and night 24/7. It’s the Alinsky way and his followers are well schooled. Hillary Clinton (then Rodham) would know just as well as our President. Hillary, as a student at Wellesley in 1969, interviewed Saul Alinsky himself and wrote her thesis on Alinsky’s theories and methods, such as those found in his “Rules for Radicals”. Our president spent years teaching his methods so well that Alinsky’s own son, L. David Alinsky said: “Obama learned his lesson well. I am proud to see that my father’s model for organizing is being applied successfully beyond local community organizing to affect the Democratic campaign in 2008. It is a fine tribute to Saul Alinsky as we approach his 100th birthday.” But the ruling class, establishment Republicans dish it out just as well too. This is the ideological umbilical that joins the two camps in order to protect the status quo.

    You mention ‘most’ conservatives pre 2006 with no elaboration. Would that be in the category of Ford, Rockefeller, George Bush, George Romney, Howard Baker, Nixon? Or in the mold of Goldwater, Buckley, Reagan, Kemp? Well, I’ll put my cards on the table with a hand dealt with a Ted Cruz, Mike Lee or Rand Paul type to start to clean up the cess pool of public sector union back slapping, bloated spending and over regulation of farmers and small business owners any time. 17 Trillion in operating debit, not including unfunded liabilities and IOU’s we’re on the hook for, which takes it to 90 trillion. If you want to put up Gov. Christie or Jeb Bush, to cut down that rot, go right ahead. They’ll follow right into the ‘moderate’ grave yard of forgotten moderate, get along types: i.e. Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney, etc.

    Thank you for your consideration and Mr. Scaros, God Bless you and the National Herald and I’ll bet you the Tea Party candidates do better than you think in the mid-terms and 2016. I’ll bet you a Steak Dinner. Let’s right this great country of ours, it will take a lot of heavy lifting.

  4. Mr. Poulos, thank you for a wonderful and well-thought reply, and one with which I agree in great part.

    Let me begin, however, with the point with which I most vehemently disagree, and we’ll go from there. My personal political views, which I sincerely convey in my columns have absolutely nothing to do with selling newspapers. In fact, my “right down the middle” approach, as you call it, is exactly the type of thinking that does NOT sell newspapers (or otherwise amass ratings) very well. It is the red-meat extreme opinions that get most of the attention. So, please know that I have not, do not, and will not write or say anything simply because it “sells.” Whether I am right or wrong is another matter, but I only speak or write what I truly believe.

    You raised a lot of very good points, and I’ll try to address many of them, if not all of them (and I would be happy to address any other ones that you might think I omitted).

    First, about various publications and other sources of news and opinion: a good way to tell the difference between the Washington Post and the New York Times is to look at their respective editorials endorsing John Kerry for president in 2004. I compare the two because it is an apples-to-apples comparison. Both endorsed Kerry, but the Post did so responsibly, weighing the pros and cons of both George W. Bush and Kerry, and then drawing a conclusion. The Times proceeded to lambaste Bush in such a venomous way, it seemed more like a petty and cantankerous child than the “paper of record.”
    I absolutely agree that the “establishment” media needs a good dose of less bridled opinions injected within, in order to form a true “marketplace of ideas.” The O’Reilly Factor” most readily comes to mind, as opposed to, say the Sean Hannity show. Why O’Reilly over Hannity? Because O’Reilly focuses on what I think are substantive topics, whereas Hannity often obsesses over things like: Obama was speaking at some school and the scheduling forced teenagers to cancel their Holiday Dance Recital. That’s right up there with: Bill Clinton’s $200 haircuts and Nancy Reagan’s expensive White House china. Petty and unnecessary in the arena. I’m a also a fan of the National Review, as well as Politico. And I even think Real Time with Bill Maher (on HBO) has a place in the arena. Though Maher often takes great “comedic license” and distorts the facts, he is hilariously funny and points out rightwing buffoonery (admittedly, far more often than he points out leftwing buffoonery) very cleverly.

    Next, to which pre-2006 conservatives and/or Republicans do I refer? I must begin the conversation with Ronald Reagan, my favorite president and one whom I rank extremely high among all of them. I know, to some he’s not a true “conservative” in the sense that he, too, raised taxes, caused the deficit to grow, and played an active role in world affairs, but he had to start somewhere, and I think he did rather well, considering he had to deal with a Tip O’Neill/Ted Kennedy Congress. Jack Kemp is a favorite of mine. I knew him personally and we often exchanged correspondence. Too bad he never became president. John Connally is someone I liked, too, though very rough around the edges, and Barry Goldwater was wrongfully maligned. I also place a non-Republican in that mix, John F. Kennedy. In a nutshell, here’s why: 1) sweeping tax cuts 2) ask not what your country can do for you… 3) staunch anti-Communist 4) pay any price, bear any burden oppose any foe…to spread freedom and democracy.

    Nixon, on the other hand, was I think our last bona fide liberal president, more liberal than Obama. Ford and Dole? Good men, I respect both of them – neither great, neither terrible.

    One last point before this gets too long-winded: I am a centrist, not a moderate. The difference, as I see it, is that a moderate most often has a view of “5” on any “scale of 1-10” issue from left to right. I, on the other hand, have many 8s and 9s, and some 2s and 3s, and all together they might average to a 5 or a 6.

    For instance, I am 100% in favor of securing the borders AND making it ultra-tough for anyone to hire, rent to, or educate an illegal alien. (The only thing I would not deny an illegal alien is emergency medical treatment.) I am also 100% in favor of a Voter Photo ID, even though I realize some Republicans wanted to pass it for practical vote-getting reasons, doesn’t matter. It just seems unfathomable to me that a person, any person, can walk into a polling place and vote without proper identification. Simply outrageous. Like Eisenhower, I also think that, although going to war should be the absolute last straw, once we go to war, we need to go all out to win – no “limited” wars fighting with one hand tied behind our back.

    On the other hand, I am far less absolute about abortion, same sex marriage, gun control, and Obamacare.

    1. I have to strongly disagree with your assessment of media. Aside from Fox, each news station, cable or otherwise, is in the tank for this President. MSNBC may as well be called the Ministry of Propaganda. Rachel (Mad Cow) Maddow being the worst among them (since Keith Olberman is gone, again). She (and I am not really sure about using the word “she” here, at one point I thought she was the older brother of Pajama Boy from the Obamacare commercials…she’s the modern day version of the classic gender-ambiguous SNL character “Pat”) is just plain awful. Facts never seem to make a difference in her “reporting.” Chris Matthews is up there too. Bill Maher? I don’t find him amusing at all. And it’s not just because I am a conservative. He is a racist; absolutely hates black conservatives like Allen West, as most leftists do. One of the worst things you can be, according to today’s Democrats, is black conservative. They will destroy you. Being a conservative woman is bad too. They are obsessed with Sarah Palin and take every chance they get to call her stupid. Well, was it her or Obama who thought we had 57 states? I won’t even mention Biden because there is not enough space here to do so. Al Sharpton, another MSNBC host, may be one of the most racist individuals on television. The things he has said about whites, Jews, and Greeks is absolutely abhorrent. Ironically enough, he is one of the greatest race-baters of our time! Only the opinion people of Fox new can be called biased, and I think everyone who watches the opinion shows understands it and expects it. MSNBC, on the other hand, is biased in ALL of their reporting. Even their hard news. They are nothing more than brainwashed smear merchants. They allege that the Tea Party is racist. Do they not realized that to say opposition to Obama must be based on race is to reduce him to nothing more than a black man (even though he is half black)? They do not view him as a legitimate president, they view him as a black president. If they viewed him as legitimate, they would allow for debate regarding his policies. They do not allow debate though. Just like they say with man-made global warming, “The debate is over.” Well, no, it’s not over. CNN is another shining example. Thank God Piers Morgan is losing his job. Talk about the height of arrogance. And, again, never based on fact. Like his campaign against the 2nd Amendment. He brings on a guest who cites data regarding legislatively-created gun-free zones and the fact that more gun related crimes occur within the gun-free zones. Does this make a difference to Morgan? Of course not. Then there is Mika Brzezinski, of course also on MSNBC (or MSLSD as myself and Mark Levin like to refer to it) who says that our service men and women today are only in it for the money! Last time I checked, military personnel don’t get paid nearly enough for what they do! She also constantly rails against inequality in income distribution for men and women, yet refuses to acknowledge the differences in what men and women are paid in the Obama Administration or the differences in what female actors and male actors are paid in Hollywood. Hmm, why is that? Just exemplary of the progressive, leftwing statist mainstream media. And, of course, progressives in general. Do as as I say, not as I do. Limousine liberals like Al Gore (who, by the way, invented the internet) flying around the world in their private jets while they tell the rest of us to ride bicycles. I am glad, however, to notice that you are not towing the Dem party line on every issue like nearly all of the “journalists” at TNH. If you can respond to anything I have said, please respond to this question: Why is TNH so left-leaning? You would think that a publication primarily about Greek news would look at the history of Greece and realize that socialism, communism and left-wing policies in general only create misery and poverty.

    2. Dear Kimolos,

      Thank you for your very spirited and heartfelt reply. As you might imagine, I agree with a lot of what you wrote, but I also disagree with some of it, too.

      I do so not because I force myself into the “center,” it is because I naturally land there most of the time.

      For example: I absolutely agree with you that a great number of liberals hate the idea of blacks voting for anyone but Democrats, and even though I blasted Allen West for endorsing “Joe the Plumber” for Congress (uggh!), I don’t condemn him altogether, and think he has valuable things to say. I also agree that the media for the most part has a love affair with President Obama, though you may have noticed that has changed as of late. I’m not talking about Chris Matthews, but, say, David Gregory on Meet the Press, who even yesterday insisted to Democrats that Obama has disappointed many in his own party.

      On the other hand, of course Obama doesn’t really think we have “57 states” anymore than when George W. Bush said “we need to put food on your families,” he really meant “put food on the table for your families,” not that he thought we should put a plate of spaghetti on grandma’s head. These are just presidential cheap shots that occur time and time again, regardless of party regardless of president.

      Also not surprising, then, is that much of my writing is labeled as “left-leaning” and by some “far-right,” and so I have to chuckle and say: That’s what being in the center means.

      As for my TNH colleagues, you are probably right in that the majority of the op-ed columnists are somewhat to the left of me. But we absolutely adhere to the virtues of sound journalism. Unlike countless other publications – including the New York Times – we strive to keep our opinions out of the news stories, and put them where they belong: on the opinion pages.

      Thanks again for your comments and keep them coming!

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