The illusion of a coherent organization for the Republican Party has been dispelling as of late. The out-and-out Republican Civil War continues to escalate. Despite the warnings, both sides seem intent on victory being the only option. They don’t care what they have to lose in the process, victory is all that matters. Even the GOP’s leadership is resigned to a Tea Party split. But the problem is, the Tea Party is not splitting off into its own entity, they are aiming for nothing but an absolute takeover of the Republican Party itself.
In a pamphlet sent out by the Tea Party Patriots, Co-Founder and National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin makes it clear the organizations intentions. Quoting from the pamphlet:
If we can raise this money we will be able to go toe-to-toe with the big spenders in both
political parties and stop the Obama agenda in its tracks.
We’ll provide grants to local Tea Party groups so they can continue to recruit and grow.
We’ll train the next generation of Tea Party leaders to effectively deal with the hostile liberal media. And we will start more grassroots Tea Party groups all over America to take the fight directly to local offices of every single Representative and Senator in Congress.
And on top, a smiling picture of Karl Rove, wearing a Nazi officer uniform, captained with “Karl Rove believes he can raise hundreds of millions of dollars, crush the Tea Party movement and protect the big-government status quo in Washington from millions of freedom loving Americans.” The right-wing knee-jerk reaction, to label anyone they oppose as whatever the villain of the moment is. Right now, that is to label Mr. Rove as a Nazi, we can fully expect to see him decked out in a Keffiyeh and called a Muslim by the end of the month.
Other members of this push have put forth other parts of the proposal. Richard Viguerie has put together a website calling for a complete takeover of the Republican Party. He even has a form for people to propose their own plans on how to do it.
In answer to this push, the plan for how to “take over the Republican Party” is simple and incredibly effective: Don’t.
The fundamental issue is that the Tea Party never understood what the Republican Party was in the first place. In their attempt to make it over, they failed to grasp that the Republicans viewed them as nothing but exploitable idiots in the first place. Backed by Koch money, the same funding source as the John Birch Society, the Tea Party astroturf groups sprung up in 2009.
This is ultimately a fight between financial giants. The money behind the Republican leadership vs the money behind the Tea Party groups. Whatever else they may claim to be, ultimately it is just that, big money battling each other. Meanwhile, the Democratic Party is reaping in a whirlwind of small donors, exploiting new avenues for fundraising thanks to strategies created by the incredibly successful campaign of Barack Obama. The GOP’s addiction to large money donors has isolated it from the real revolution in politics, the rise of the microdonor. No longer does a political candidate have to rely upon political action committees and private interest groups. Now individual donations, mostly under $200, can be raised easily, and directly.
The true irony in the attempt to make an astroturf movement is that the Republican Party missed out on the real revolution. Their artificial grassroots organization is now losing out to real grassroots entities. The rules have changed, and the big money backers of the Republican Party are fighting over the deck chair arrangement on the Titanic while the rest of the country sails off into the future.
Nathaniel Downes is the son of a former state representative of New Hampshire, now living in Seattle Washington.
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