Friday, April 13, 2012


The leader of a national tea party group today "warned" that should Republican party presidential candidate Mitt Romney win the nomination they will not actively campaign for him.

Judson Phillips of the Tea Party Nation organization, while conceding most Tea Partiers will likely vote for Romney, stated yesterday that "we will not be out there with signs for him or in his campaign," continuing that "Romney has a huge problem with the conservative base of the GOP.  He had better do something about that ASAP or he won’t have to worry about that moving to the middle nonsense,” (for full article click here).

Such blunt talk by a leader of a movement partly credited with giving Republicans control over the U.S. House in 2010's historic mid-term elections should give pause to the GOP who desperately need a united party to come together after a bruising primary season if they want to have any hope of defeating Democratic candidate and incumbent President Barack Obama in the General Election Nov. 6.

Such statements as Phillips' also give full view to the deep divisions that have plagued the party in recent years and which this year boiled over in a particularly vitriolic and extended primary season in which at least nine Republicans vied for the nomination and candidates openly attacked one another's level of conservatism, (or lack thereof), in extensive and televised prime-time debates.

And while that number is now officially down to two, (Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney), most observers, and even Gingrich himself recently, have all but conceded the likelihood of Romney being the inevitable GOP nominee.

The Tea Party Nation leader also cited informal surveys on the Tea Party Nation website indicating that as many as 25% of those who identify with the tea party movement plan on not voting for Mitt Romney if he is, in fact, the Republican nominee.

For such voters, the option of merely "staying home" on election day is more palatable than holding their nose and voting for a candidate whose conservative credentials and commitment to such things as a balanced budget and spending cuts that will eliminate the federal deficit are, at least to them, questionable.

The salient question however is, in doing so, do they tip the scales in Obama's favor and actually end up helping a President who they uniformly despise and who has promoted policies which they find equally, if not more, objectionable?

While such matters are not the focus of our article here, it is certainly appropriate to ask whether the right wing of the GOP, members of which this party has frequently sparred with here and on social media such as Twitter, is unintentionally shooting itself in the foot with such tactics?

More of interest to us and our educational mission here at the ACLP, we thought it appropriate to ask in the aftermath of such statements whether those like Phillips, purists for whom the word compromise seems dirty and seem to eschew the ordinary maxim of politics being the art of incremental change, want "the whole cake and eat it too" regardless of the consequences to our broader body politic.

Over the next week we will examine this idea, not just in relation to the Tea Party but also Ron Paul Supporters, Occupy Wall Street, and other groups which have been active this year and oft-threatened to "take their ball and go home," with the goal our answering this question:  Do such threats of political "civil disobedience" evidence a new "purism" that signals the advent of a permanent era in American politics with long-term repercussions which threatens to further unravel our social fabric and prove counterproductive to the very groups that propose such political responses or is it just another side of expected partisanship in an election year that will ultimately prove temporal and benign?

Or, put another way, could such dissatisfaction with the status quo cause a "once in a generation" political "realingment" and foretell a rising of new and heretofore unknown political parties to give full voice to the political beliefs and values of a large swath of the American electorate? Intriguing questions and ones we will endeavor to contemplate, and hopefully answer, in days to come.  jp

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