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Tea Party and the GOP Establishment

Yesterday, in Pajamas Media, Rick Moran asks whether the GOP establishment and the Tea Party are like "ships passing in the night." He begins his comparative analysis this way:

"Reading the responses to the president’s State of the Union speech by Senator Marco Rubio and Senator Rand Paul, one might be fooled into thinking that the regular Republican Party — represented by Rubio — and the Tea Party — represented by Paul — were in agreement on 90% of the issues facing the country.

"On the surface, there is much truth to that idea. But the differences between establishment Republicans and conservative activists go far beyond where each side stands on the issues of the day. The cleavage starts with differences in temperament, and extends to matters of the heart: passion, commitment, and feelings of resentment and betrayal that currently make a marriage between the two wings of the Republican Party impossible to achieve.

"There are also differences in vision . . . ."

Moran's two-page long analysis is worth reading in its entirety. He concludes it by writing:

"It is inaccurate to say the Tea Party is “anti-government,” although there is certainly a faction within the Tea Party that is. The establishment sees the Tea Party as wanting to put government in a strait jacket, limited in what it can do based on a severely restrictive view of the Constitution. The Tea Party believes the establishment, in embracing the basic idea of the welfare state, is little better than the Democratic Party — indeed, their favorite pejorative is to refer to pragmatists as “Democrat-lites” — and that a sharper and more pronounced distinction between the two parties is a key to victory at the polls. This includes the radical notion that Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, as well as Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, should be rolled back — even eliminated.

"Those ships passing in the night are exchanging broadsides over the question of what the term “limited government” means in a modern 21st century, industrial democracy. Despite agreement on a wide range of issues, there will be no reconciliation as long as neither side is willing to alter their fundamental beliefs when it comes to Constitutional limits on government. Both sides believe in limits on government power. But the pragmatists recognize the reality that those limits should be broad enough to encompass those things a modern state must do; “keeping us safe, enforcing rules, and providing some security against the risks of modern life,” as Rubio put it. The other side sees a far more limited role for government and, to varying degrees, rejects the idea that government programs for the poor and government regulation of business are even constitutional.

"It hardly matters who is “right.” What’s important is that the competing visions of government’s role is keeping the two sides apart. And that is not likely to change anytime soon."

Pajamas Media is a great alternative to the 'mainstream media.'


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