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The battered and bedraggled Tea Partiers have been taking it on the chin – they’ve gotten pounded, losing races in Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, Kentucky, South Carolina and Mississippi so, now, the press is humming their funeral dirge while Washington Republicans are chortling the Tea Party’s headed for the elephant graveyard of political movements.
So is saying the Tea Party’s kaput a political canard, a media feeding frenzy or clear-eyed truth?
The Tea Partiers got whipped in six Senate primaries by sitting Republican Senators – but it’s also a fact nothing in politics is harder to do than defeat an anchored in place incumbent Senator or Congressman.
I can’t recall an incumbent Senator losing a Primary in North Carolina in forty years and there’re plenty of reasons why: An incumbent starts with millions in the bank while his Tea Party opponent starts out broke.
An incumbent starts out well known and well liked by Republican voters in a primary – while nobody ever heard of his Tea Party opponent.
An incumbent has campaign (and helpful Senate staffs) in place on day one while a Tea Partier starts out with a handful of folks who enjoy talking to one another on the Internet but have never been troubled with the grind of building a multi-million dollar campaign.
There are a handful of Super PACs lending Tea Partiers a helping hand but there are more – and, more important,  richer – Super PACs fully armed and anxious to ride to the rescue of incumbents.
An incumbent Senator’s not quite as secure in his job as a tenured professor at Chapel Hill but it’s close. So it’s no shock – and hardly a political trend – that Tea Partiers are losing to incumbents.
The Tea Party’s been whipped and its popularity’s been battered but saying it’s dead as a doornail is more political spin;–wait two years, until the Republican Presidential primaries, when there’s no incumbent, then if the Tea Party gets trounced, write its obituary.


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4 comments on “Tea Party Hits the Skids

  1. Anonymous says:

    Carter, you are using some of the same distortions that are so often seen in the liberal media. You are not a liberal, so I wonder why you use them.

    What you are doing, like the liberal media,is calling all conservatives ”Tea Party”. That is hogwash. Many of us are old Reagan / Helms conservatives who are not happy with the spineless leadership of Washington’s Big Government Republicans. The Tea Party are recent and welcome reinforcements for the conservative movement, but they alone are NOT the conservative movement.

    Lets apply this to Senate races. The Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund are both well established organizations that were backing conservative candidates long before the Tea Party appeared on the scene, yet the liberal media almost always misidentifies them as ”Tea Party” organizations. That also applies to candidates. Chris McDaniel, for example, was a conservative activist in conservative politics long before the Tea Party came along and he was strongly supported by a broad range of conservative groups from the older Reaganite conservative groups through to the newer Tea Party groups. The media was highly unfair in labelling him ”Tea Party” given his own political history and that of his supporters.

    Many of the conservative groups, both traditional Reagan limited government conservatives and Tea Party have been more successful in House primaries this year than Senate primaries, which is why the liberal media seems to want to only focus on Senate primaries. Right here in North Carolina, the Washington beltway establishment spent $1.4 million to try to nominate a carpetbagging Washington insider over conservative Congressman Walter Jones, but Jones prevailed.

    But even on Senate races, the beltway insiders have stubbed their toes this primary season. The NRSC backed candidates ran third in both the Iowa and Nebraska primaries, while those backed by the Senate Conservatives Fund won. If we had had an honest election in Mississippi without the race-baiting, vote stealing and vote buying of the corrupt and thuggish Barbour machine, and only bona fide Republican supporters had voted, Chris McDaniel would have won by 8 percentage points. Instead, disgusting race-baiting ads stampeded thousands of liberal black Democrats into voting in the Republican primary to ”help President Obama” and the nomination was stolen (although a legal challenge may change that).

    The biggest threat to GOP party unity this November that I have seen is the anger among the conservative party base toward the vicious and dishonest scorched earth tactics of the Washington beltway establishment in this year’s primaries. Many are no longer willing to hold their noses for the lesser of the evils.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well…those “Teaparty” folks you’re presenting here that lost are people that lost to republicans….NOT to democrats. I see what you’re doing here…..kinda sad Gary.

    Tea partiers are fighting tooth-and-nail against “establishment” republicans, that’s for sure. it’s because of political positioning, long=standing employment positions within the GOP and in some incidents, beliefs. Truth is, the “establishment republican employees” have become so close to the mainstream, long-standing republican incumbents within our state, it’s tough to get them out and/or tough to get them to change their affiliations. At the end of the day, THIS is the problem in our GOP party today. All arguments to that are and will be nothing but innuendo and spin. These folks are more worried about being employued than being “conservative”. Next issue.

  3. Anonymous says:

    OOPS…I said Gary when I meant to say Carter. Freudian slip maybe? hahahaha

  4. Anonymous says:

    A couple of things could happen. The Tea Party could hire smart political consultants, that would help. Also they could pay off Democrats who live in their state to cross over in the Primary and vote for them, using the excuse that a Tea Party candidate would be easier to defeat than an entrenched Senator. We see that there are no boundries.

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