Friday, April 1, 2011

Simmer Down

That's the admonition I'm hearing more and more often from GOP professionals and many otherwise conservative DC pundits about the budget-cutting preoccupations of the Tea Partiers.  It's also a prediction about their tenacity.

Two years of Obama-Pelosi-Reid policies brought them to a boil in 2010 and the mid-terms erased overnight the Democrats' huge governing advantage.  Hurray for us!  But, the Wise Men now counsel, they must drop this singular focus on the country's immediate budget problems lest the rest of America lose patience with them and they do real harm to the Party's prospects for 2012.  No matter, they continue, feigning sotto voce, when the budget cuts effect them personally, that is, when their Social Security and Medicare benefits are reduced, their hot water will cool quickly indeed.

I'm not so sure.

The constituencies of the parties are not two sides of the same coin.  As the Democrat Party is the party of big and ever-bigger government, their base, as you would expect, is comprised chiefly of people who favor big and ever-bigger government.  Increasingly, it's made up of people who depend on governemt as well.  Witness all the public-sector union uprisings over the most modest of cuts or restrictions.  That dependency is key for it means that, ultimately, the Party owns the base and not the other way around.  No matter how much the Democrat Party disappoints them, where else do they have to go?

The base of the Republican Party is different.  As the GOP is the party of relatively smaller government (Sadly, I've given up looking for a party of actually small government), its constituents are people who think similarly.  As they want little or nothing from government, or from the Party even save to keep the government off their backs, they are more, much more, independent than the average Democrat voter.  They can, if they wish, own the Party.

They can also walk away from it.

This is all a long way of saying that I think the GOP professionals and DC pundits are dead wrong about the Tea Partiers.  If the Republicans remain focused on cutting the budget, both near and long term, they may well lose the next election.  But if they don't, they will most certainly lose.         

No comments:

Post a Comment